Student T Gets Accepted to University of Chicago, Early Decision!

University of Chicago - Early Decision I

Student T is from California. He signed up for an Academic Mentorship and our Application Counseling program and got into the University of Chicago, Early Decision!

Application Persona

Future policy maker and politician with an unrelenting desire impact communities

High School Location

Northern CA


3.64/4.0, unweighted



Areas of Interest

Law and policy

Extracurricular Activities

  • President and Captain of Debate Club
  • Founder and President of Non-Profit Organization
  • Founder and President of Political Science Club
  • Team Leader for Congress Campaign
  • Founder and President of Young Mentors Club
  • Researcher for News Program
  • Research Assistant for Housing Discrimination Project

The Challenges

  • Student T wanted to apply to schools with single-digit acceptance rates.
  • Student T’s GPA was lower than the average GPA of students accepted to his top choice schools. This was most likely the result of spending so much time on his extracurriculars.
  • Because Student T was highly involved in his activities, he did not have a lot of extra time to work on his applications.

How Did InGenius Prep Help?

Application Counseling

  • Counselor Assignment: We paired Student T with a Former Admissions Officer from University of Chicago and a Graduate Coach from Yale Law School.
  • Relationship-Building: The work started off by getting to know each other and building a relationship. His counselors asked about his school, classes, grades, hobbies, extracurricular activities, family, etc.
  • Strategy: During the initial strategy phase, Student T and his counselors discussed his strengths and weaknesses, and worked on developing an application strategy.
    • Addressing Weaknesses - Student T’s strong test scores would help balance out his lower than average GPA. We also wanted to make sure that his essays and his application reflected a desire to learn. His counselors sought to emphasize to admissions committees understood that his grades were not due to laziness or a lack of care/curiosity; rather, they were the result of pouring so much effort into other areas that he was passionate and curious about. We needed to show this in his application materials.
    • To help balance out his GPA and to show that Student T was capable of challenging academic work, his counselors suggested that he sign up for an Academic Mentorship. Working 1-on-1 with a professor or researcher would help strengthen the academic side of his candidacy.

Academic Mentorship with Professor of Law at American University

  • Student T was interested in law and policy, and had done previous work in housing law. So, we paired Student T with a law professor at American University.
  • When we made the introduction, Student T actually recognized the professor's name from research he had done for a particular debate. Now, Student T had the opportunity to work directly with this professor instead of just reading his work.
  • Outcome - Student T would produce a 10 page single-spaced paper on a topic of interest. The primary purpose of this paper would be to give Student T the opportunity to receive feedback on his writing and ability to use sources.

Application Counseling Continued

  • Application Persona: Student T’s counselors were excited to help him develop an application persona. He had done so much throughout the course of high school and had strong passions all over the place. He also demonstrated intense commitment to his activities and causes he believed in. They decided that his persona would focus on the policy-aspect of his work.
  • Application Timeline: Student T was very busy with all of his extracurricular activities. So, his Graduate Coach created a schedule outlining all of their Application Counseling work. This would help Student T stay organized and on track.
  • School List: To get started, Student T’s Graduate Coach created a spreadsheet with rows for different schools and columns for various pieces of data. He assigned Student T to add schools to this list and plug in the corresponding data. This exercise forced Student T to research schools and learn about them. The spreadsheet had formulas in place to automatically determine if schools were reach, fit, or safety schools. Student T and his Graduate Coach spoke about all of the different schools on his list and crossed them off or kept them on one-by-one.
  • ED/EA/RD: Student T visited schools and together with his family and counselors, decided that he wanted to apply to the University of Chicago Early Decision.
  • Personal Statement:
    • Brainstorming: Student T and his Graduate Coach brainstormed topics for his personal statement. Then, his Graduate Coach created a document with potential topics. For each topic, we provided feedback on:
      • General impressions
      • Thoughts on possible structures, approaches, and talking points
      • Potential pitfalls
    • High-Level Feedback: Student T and his counselors decided that the open-ended prompt was strategic. Then, they started the editing process. First, his Graduate Coach provided him with high-level feedback that focused on the content, narrative, structure, tone, etc. He asked questions and made comments to get Student T thinking more deeply and creatively.
    • Line-by-Line Edits: Then, Student T’s Graduate Coach provided line-by-line edits.
  • Activities List: Student T and his counselors completed several drafts of his activities list. Student T participated in more activities than he had space for and wore many hats as a member of these extracurriculars. We were also using his impressive activities as a way to (hopefully!) balance out his less impressive GPA. So, demonstrating his leadership, impact, intense commitment, and substantial involvement would be absolutely crucial to his admissions success.
    • Deciding Which Activities to Include: First, Student T’s Graduate Coach compared the first draft of his activities list with his master resume. He highlighted activities that had been left out. This way, they could easily go back and add them in, or find creative ways to combine activities in order to list even more.
    • Editing: Student T’s Graduate Coach edited several drafts of his activities list before sending to his Former Admissions Officer for review. His edits focused on:
      • Organization and Formatting Consistency - we needed to make sure that Student T’s activities were easy to digest and that the format of his titles was consistent throughout. This would make it easier for admissions officers to focus on his accomplishments.
      • Word Choice - Student T’s Graduate Coach got down to the nitty-gritty and changed specific words to better capture what he actually did.
      • The Order of the Activities - Student T’s Graduate Coach changed the order of his activities to list the most meaningful/impressive ones first.
      • Supporting His Persona - His Graduate Coach edited the descriptions to make sure Student T was supporting his persona throughout. He encouraged Student T to highlight the policy-aspect of his persona more.
  • Interview Preparation: Student T’s Former Admissions Officer worked at University of Chicago, her alma mater. So, in addition to reading thousands of applications as an admissions officer, she had also conducted admissions interviews.
    • Background/Advice - To help Student T prepare for his interview, she sent him background information and advice about the UChicago interview.
    • Resources - Then, she sent Student T a list of resources to look at and research before his interview.
    • Sample Questions - Then, she sent Student T a list of sample questions to help him prepare.
    • Mock Interview - Then, they scheduled and conducted a mock interview. At the end of this process, Student T was ready to make a great impression during his admissions interview.
  • Final Review: When Student T and his Graduate Coach were done working on his early decision application, they sent it to his Former Admissions Officer. She reviewed his entire application with a fine-tooth comb. Then, she provided Student T with final feedback. Student T and his Graduate Coach implemented this input. Then, Student T submitted his application early to University of Chicago!

“My son was accepted to the University of Chicago for Early Decision! Nothing could be better than a stress-free holiday! Thank you so much for your help and support. I know it wasn’t always easy!”

Mother of Student T
Mother of Student T University of Chicago, Class of 2021

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