Student M Gets into NYU, Early Decision!

NYU - Early Decision

Student M is an international student who completed our Candidacy Building, Academic Mentorship, Writing Seminar, and Application Counseling programs. Student M was accepted to NYU, Early Decision!

Application Persona

Aspiring movie critic who wants to explore the juxtaposition of film and the written word through thoughtful discourse.

High School Location






Areas of Interest

Cinema & Comparative Literature

Extracurricular Activities

  • Screenplay Writer
  • Creator of Film Blog
  • Research on Film Plots and Character Tropes
  • Film Critic on Douban
  • Summer Program at Columbia University
  • Summer Program at UC Berkeley
  • Translator

The Challenges

  • Student M liked reading and watching films but was unsure of how to turn these pursuits into a career.
  • Student M struggled to study for standardized tests, and her resulting scores were lower than average for the schools she hoped to attend.

How Did Ingenius Prep Help?

Candidacy Building:

  • Counselor Assignment + Introduction: We paired Student M with a Former Admissions Officer from the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Relationship-Building: Student M and her counselor began by getting to know each other and formulating a strategy for her Candidacy Building. After their first few meetings, Student M’s Former Admissions Officer identified areas in Student M’s profile that needed improvement.
    • Strengths + Weaknesses: Though Student M had strong interest and passions, she was reluctant to get involved in extracurricular activities that would help her explore these subjects.
    • Addressing Weaknesses: Student M’s Former Admissions Officer then indicated ways that she could engage more with her school and her community. In later meetings, they would create actionable plans for completing these goals.
  • Interest Exploration: During their sessions, Student M shared her love of literature and film with her Former Admissions Officer. However, Student M expressed that she was thinking about majoring in economics, as she felt this would allow her to find a job more easily. Between meetings, Student M’s Former Admissions Officer asked her to do a reflection exercise and write about her interests. This helped Student M solidify her desire to study cinema and writing. 
  • Application Persona Development: As Student M focused her academic interests, she and her Former Admissions Officer began conceptualizing her application persona. Student M's counselor explained that her persona as an “aspiring movie critic and serious literature fan” would work like a movie trailer. The persona would feature the core of her interests and personality while tying together each aspect of her application. 
  • Extracurricular Enhancement: In light of Student M’s application persona, her Former Admissions Officer strategized ways she could explore her interest in film while boosting her profile:
    • Film Critique Blog: Student M’s Former Admissions Officer suggested that she start a blog where she reviewed films. This would not only help her codify her interests, but it would also improve her writing skills. 
    • Summer Programs: Student M’s Former Admissions Officer recommended that she apply to summer programs that would build off of her previous academic experiences. With the help of her counselor, Student M applied and was admitted to Columbia’s Media and Politics in Global Perspective Program.
  • Academic Mentorship: To further build her application persona, Student M’s team recommended that she participate in our Academic Mentorship program. Student M worked 1-on-1 with a writer, director, and artist with an MFA in screenwriting from NYU to learn more about film. At the culmination of their work together, Student M wrote an original screenplay. 
  • Standardized Testing: Over the course of their meetings, Student M and her Former Admissions Officer discussed her SAT test preparation. Together, they carefully planned the timing of her test sittings. When Student M received a low SAT score, her Former Admissions Officer strategized next steps and finalized when she should retake the test.

Application Counseling

  • Graduate Coach Introduction: At the end of 11th grade, Student M’s Former Admissions Officer introduced her to her Graduate Coach, who had an MFA in film writing and production. Student M’s Graduate Coach would assist her with her school list, activities list, essay editing, and more.
  • School List: Student M’s Former Admissions Officer guided her to find universities with Comparative Literature or Cinema Studies programs to ensure she would have resources for both of her interests.
    • School List Research: Her Graduate Coach assigned her to fill out a school research form. This spreadsheet directed Student M to pay attention to different factors that would affect her school choice, such as majors, classes, and extracurriculars offered by schools. 
    • ED Decision: Student M and her team decided that she would apply to NYU Tisch School of the Arts for Early Decision, as she loved their Cinema Studies program. NYU Tisch does not require test scores, which allowed Student M and her counselors to strategically decide not to submit her lower-than-average SAT score.
  • Personal Statement:
    • Brainstorming: Student M and her Graduate Coach began the writing process by brainstorming different topics that she could discuss. Student M’s Graduate Coach assigned her to write 3-5 sentences on each idea to see what flowed in her writing.
    • Outlining: After selecting a topic, Student M and her Graduate Coach devised an outline that would help her stay on track while writing.
    • Editing: As Student M wrote, her counselors provided her with high-level feedback as well as in-line edits on each of her drafts.
  • Portfolio: In addition to standard supplemental essays, Student M was required to submit two portfolio pieces to NYU Tisch’s Cinema Studies program. Student M’s Graduate Coach used his knowledge of film to help her brainstorm, write, and edit these pieces. 
  • Activities List: After Candidacy Building, Student M had many film-related extracurriculars for her activities list. Student M’s Former Admissions Officer helped her strategize which experiences should be emphasized, with activities more relevant to her application persona listed first.
    • Editing: Student M’s counselors edited several drafts of her activities list. Their feedback focused on improving Student M’s wording to create an activities list that clearly and succinctly displayed her interests and achievements.
  • Final Review: When her application was complete, Student M sent it to her Former Admissions Officer for a Final Review. Student M’s Former Admissions Officer read the application as she would in the admissions office, providing high-level feedback on her supplemental essays, the order and titles of her activities, as well as her portfolio. These edits ensured that Student M’s application would impress the admissions officers at NYU and Tisch.


“I am so excited that I almost cried. I want to say thank you so much guys, I couldn’t have made this without your help. Thank you!!!!”

Student M
Student M NYU - Early Decision

Schedule a free consultation

to find out how we can help you get accepted.