Hi, my name is Samuel Murk Caya, I come from Brown University, and I study computer science and economics! I attended a large public high school in South Carolina, so large that my graduating class had over a thousand students! With such a large student body, I learned how to make myself stand out, and I believe this was instrumental in my acceptance to Brown University. I made sure to pick a topic for my essay that felt so personal to me that I was confident no one else would write a similar essay. After receiving my acceptance letter to Brown University, I was invited to campus. I was fortunate enough to meet one of the admissions officers who reviewed my application, and the individual was able to recall the topic of my personal essay from my name alone! Beyond striving for good grades and engaging in extracurricular activities and clubs, differentiating yourself from other applicants is important. I truly believe that the personal essay is the best way to do so. So long as you start writing early, you have ample time to discover your it factor and carefully craft your response! Interviews are also another opportunity to stand out, so I would urge you to agree to any offers to interview. While you will want to prepare responses to the common questions that you might expect--such as why you want to attend said college or to tell the interviewer a bit about yourself--an interview is a conversation, so it will be hard to include everything you might want to say. You can never truly predict how an interview will progress, and you don’t want to sound mechanical by forcing prepared talking points into the conversation. Furthermore, all of my interviews were conducted by alumni, not admissions officers. A personal essay is a first-hand account of who you are. Interviews and letters of recommendation are only second-hand. That is why I think the essay is so important. Nowhere else in the application process will you encounter such a structured environment to showcase yourself. When you apply to schools where applicants with high grades are the norm and not outliers, the importance of moments to let your personality and passions shine through cannot be understated.
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Acceptance Rate: 7.7%
Average High School GPA: 4.08
ACT Composite Score (25th - 75th Percentile): 33-35
SAT Math Scores (25th - 75th Percentile): 720-790
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (25th - 75th Percentile): 700-760