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’24 BISV Senior College Application Interviews and Advice: Maggie P, Paras G, Nathan W, Sidhant C—plus S.K.!

time-management, exploration, keeping track of all your essays, work environment, Capstone courses, personal essays, clubs
24 BISV Senior College Application Interviews and Advice: Maggie P, Paras G, Nathan W, Sidhant C—plus S.K.!

Disclaimer: This interview consists of opinions based on different experiences from different students. While this publication may be used to gain some insight into the college app process, please remember that there is no “perfect formula” for getting into college and college applications vary by person. What works for one person may not work for another! Use your best judgment when taking advice from these interviews.
All interviews with The Quill are done with permission from the students. In order to protect their privacy, they may opt to be anonymous or just use their initials.

Alina: Currently we’re in the Senior Lounge, and we have Paras and Nathan here. Hi.

Nathan: Hello!

Paras: Hi.

Alina: At this point in the school year, we’re almost done with all our apps. How do you guys feel?

Nathan: Relieved. Very relieved. [Paras: Yeah, same.] But also I’m excited, waiting to see what all my decisions coming out are. Paras, how are you feeling? I mean, you already got into college, so…

Paras: Yeah. I’m feeling incredibly lucky and just very overjoyed. [Nathan: Something a bit profound, perhaps?] Wha…what’s more profound than that? I tried using fancy words, like overjoyed.

Alina: Overjoyed is not a fancy word…

Paras: I’m feeling luminous :]. [Nathan: What?] Illuminated.

Nathan: Are you a lightbulb?

Paras: I’m glowing with pride and with joy and with relief. A lot of relief.

Nathan: It’s giving spoiled [redacted].

Alina: Okay, so. How was the college app[lication] process for you guys?

Paras: I think he [Nathan] went kinda crazy. You applied to how many schools?

Nathan: Like, mm, 69? In the 60s? No, it was something in the 30s.

Paras: The process was very intense, but I think it’s like you choose the amount of time you allocate to it. So if you plan to spend two months on some app, then you’re gonna end up taking two months. If you plan on spending one, then you’re just going to spend one. [Nathan: Wise words, wise words.] I feel like that helps you allocate; you don’t want to give yourself too big of a window.

Nathan: For me, I felt like it was mentally draining because I’m not used to self-reflecting so much and thinking about who I am as a person and how I’ve grown. I’m not accustomed to this type of thing, you know. I was exploring some new sides of myself that I’ve never really seen before.

Alina: How did you guys schedule out your essays?

Paras: Look, everyone says to use a planner–

Nathan: I would like to give a shout-out to Ms. McCollum, my college counselor. She helped me a lot through this process and is an amazing person. I would like to just make one more statement that vegan people are the scum of the earth.

Alina: Um…

Paras: He doesn’t like vegan people.

Nathan: Cause think about it, think about it, think about it…………. [this part is cut off, but after some debate, he comes to the conclusion that vegan people are tolerable, and Paras states that we should “live and let live.”]

Alina: Okay anyways! Thank you for your opinion, Nathan. Continuing on…

Paras: You should keep a running doc of all your deadlines and stuff. I didn’t use a calendar or spreadsheet, I just used that running doc, and I had individual docs for each of my colleges. Each doc had different versions, so that was helpful. Oh yeah, and keep track of version history.

Alina: What was your work environment like?

Paras: Yeahh, I was hella productive at my desk just alone. And I don’t wanna suggest it but like, 2-5 AM? [The Quill agrees not to be like Paras and advises you to sleep earlier.]

Nathan: So for me, I was most productive in coffee shops and libraries and other areas where other people were working because I found that in my own house, in my own room, I would get distracted very easily. The kitchen is right there, the bed is right there, you know, it’s hard to maintain focus for 3-4 hours. But if you go to a place where everyone else is working, then you feel more incentivized in that regard.

Alina: Do you guys recommend any Capstone Courses?

Nathan: Okay genuinely, Existentialism and the Absurd is an amazing class. If you can take this class, take it. You’re not going to regret it—Mr. Meyerowitz makes the class so fun. In this class, you’ll challenge the ways you’ve thought before, you’ll learn to analyze history through multiple perspectives and multiple lenses, you’ll find that there’s no one-size-fits-all, and you’ll discover that anything can work.

Paras: I’d say also look at which teachers you’d like to learn from. I’d say that’s as important as the class, but the classes are good though.

[Maggie is listening]

Maggie: Take Industrial Chem! [Others: Ayy] Cause you get to learn a lot of interesting stuff and you have a lot of free time to work on your projects.

Alina: Any advice for underclassmen? [Sidhant joins in] Hi. Would you like to be interviewed?


Alina: Okay so. Lemme re-ask you. What was your college process like, especially for colleges you feel like you did well for?

Sidhant: So, I think one of the most important things in college apps, is to…start…on time… [laughing] Yeah, so if you start by July–

Maggie: You’re so hypocritical! [He’s a major essay procrastinator.]

Sidhant: Okay I admit, I didn’t follow my advice. I started a bit late, but by August, August is when I had my personal statement done. That left time for around 42 revisions of my personal draft. [He later advises not to follow his example: don’t start in August, start earlier instead, and don’t do 40-ish revisions, that’s a lot.] I think the end product was very polished. It might not have seemed authentic but it was very polished. Next question?

Paras: What was the next question? Advice for underclassmen? [Alina: Yeah.] So, advice.

Maggie: For senior year, take easy classes, take Rhetoric and Communications. [It is a really cool class! We have a Rhetoric endorsement coming up by S.K.…]

Paras: Coordinate with people, don’t end up in a class that you might not like by yourself.

Sidhant: Take classes you like, and don’t take that many AP classes. Honestly, I would take Honors Physics over AP Physics 1, if I could re-do it.

Alina: How about research, clubs, etc.?

Nathan: I would advise you to join the school newspaper. The Quill [and Inkwell] is the best club in the school. My opinion is a little biased, but…

Maggie: Join Key Club, join Key Club. Please and thank you. [Smh. The Quill does not endorse this, join us!]

Paras: Join Science Bowl.

Sidhant: Yeah! Science Bowl is one of the greatest experiences you’ll ever have.

Maggie: Join things that you’re genuinely passionate about. [And join many clubs at first so you can explore.]

Alina: Okay thank you guys!

Endorsement incoming…

Alina: Hi SK! SK wants to add onto the previous discussion. What do you have to say?

SK: Hi, so I endorse Rhetoric [and Communications]. It basically teaches you about a lot of things that you usually don’t think about or notice. [Alina: Maps.] Yeah, like maps. And like, decisions that were made that are subtly influencing your worldview and perspective without you noticing it. What got me personally to sign up for Rhetoric is when I walked into AP Literature last year, and what was on the board was the rhetoric of architecture. Yeah, I thought that was really interesting, and I wanted to find out what the hell that was.

Alina: [Amazed] No way…so you planned to do this all the way back then. Okay, sign up for Rhetoric!

SK: Sign up for Rhetoric. Mr. Hansen is really good.

Alina: Yeah, and he’s really funny. Ok, thanks SK!

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Alina Huang
Alina Huang, Arts Editor

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