Student S began working with us during her Sophomore year to prepare for the SAT. She already checked off many of the boxes that one normally considers for top schools: excellent grades in challenging courses, a clear and demonstrated interest in synthetic biology, strong extracurriculars and leadership across the board. But while her baseline was impressive, she was missing a more cohesive piece that really tied her interests together and framed them in a unique way.
We worked with her closely to identify ways to further her interest in synthetic biology, a topic not taught in most high schools. More importantly, we helped her identify a way to not only combine her extracurricular interests with her academic ones in the form of a yearlong project, but do so in a way that also went on to serve the Tokyo community. This combination of academics, passion, and service forms the core of what universities are looking for in their candidates. Working with us allowed her to shape a clear, competitive “X-Factor” which helped her to stand out from the many other very strong candidates pursuing top university admissions.
Accepted Early Decision into Princeton University
Student A began working with us in the 10th grade to begin preparing for her AP World History class, but had expressed early on that her interest was in gaining admissions to a top US school. Her grades and course rigor were average for the Ivy League application pool, so a lot of her success was going to depend on developing a unique narrative that would help her stand out while also improving the standard of her grades and course difficulty in order to be seriously evaluated.
Worked closely with the student to develop a 3-prong approach to improving her overall profile: grades, test scores, and narrative. On our recommendation, she took on a much more rigorous course load for her Junior Year than she had initially intended, which we were able to provide tutoring and scheduling support for. The same holds true for her SAT, where through regular check-ins and discipline we were able to help her reach a 1500. We then approached her extracurriculars by helping her secure a series of internships for the summer but also by helping her brainstorm, iterate, and execute on a schoolwide teacher assistance program that improved the overall quality of education at her school. This allowed her to clearly demonstrate her passion for hospitality and creating human networks to optimize services, an aspect that was instrumental to her application to the Cornell School of Hotel Administration.
Accepted Regular Decision to Cornell School of Hotel Administration
Student J began working with us in 8th grade as an introverted, unmotivated student who was struggling to maintain his academic performance and leaving a strong impact on his classes, particularly in English, which is his second language. Starting with us early allowed us to draw him out of his shell, identify his love for baseball and encourage him to participate more in both his classes and community. The challenge for Student J was to organize his academic life so that he could spend more time focusing on developing his many other interests, particularly in art.
What initially began as a general attempt to improve his academics on behalf of TA’s tutors and counselors over time became a concentrated effort to maximize what this student might be capable of given time and discipline. In addition to broader academic support, TA counseling helped him articulate and pursue his interest in art, adding a unique focus of woodblock printing to what was becoming a very strong STEM profile. His struggles with English and consequent hesitation to speak up and volunteer or lead was recognized early on and counseling team worked with him to build his confidence and challenge him to put himself in situations where those skills would be challenged. He ended up with a leadership role in an organization that donates used goods to Japanese teenagers who are leaving the home for the first time, providing them with simple furniture and other goods that will help ease their transition. He developed and presented his art gallery to the public by taking AP Studio Art, a risk and challenge that he would not have dared take on when he first started high school.
Accepted Regular Decision to the University of Southern California.