"On Applying to Upper Tier Schools"
12 May 2008
Nguyen's background at Vassar is in British Literature, in particular Milton. He was a Thomas J. Watson Fellow. He is at Penn working on a double degree of Public Health and an MBA at Wharton.
The Ivy Scholar Initiative will assist low-income students when applying to the top tier colleges.
The question is, with so many applicants offering perfect scores, and not getting in, what can applicants from poor, urban schools do?
You have to "sell" yourself. The posture, speech, and way that you present yourself is critical.
You do not want a laundry list of many student activities but concentrate on three crucial elements: community service, leadership, and academics. You should tie these three together. Package yourself correctly and you are a stellar buy.
In the Asian Health Initiative, Nguyen has hired two students. 5-10 students were selected to be in the program, their essays were reviewed, they wrote hundreds of essays.
Students need to compete with applicants who have 25K in cash for college guidance and a coach.
How do you compete with that?
They have the name game going for them. They know high-powered people and get recommendations from them.
You have to develop the charm and charisma in order to negotiate as an applicant with fewer funds.
If your family makes less than 100K annually and you are accepted, you can attend Penn for free.
Read a great deal. Read the daily newspaper and stay abreast of current events. Be involved, don't follow a path. You have to be high achieving, motivated, have a sense of preparation. Take college summer classes. Connect to your community, and the globe.
Rhodes/Gates/Fulbright are all grants that pay for foreign travel and experience.
You need recommendations that work for you from leaders in the community.