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’24 BISV Senior College Application Interviews and Advice: Anoushka Tamhane and Anon[ymous]

college essays, extracurriculars (environmental, health), getting involved
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: I’m currently still in the Senior Lounge, and Anoushka and Anon are with me. We’re gonna jump right in! How has the college app process been treating you so far?

Anoushka: I mean, we’re in different stages. I haven’t gotten anything back and it’s kinda rough, but it’s easing up now. I think Winter Break was probably the worst of it. It was a lot, a lot of essay writing…

Anon: Yeahhh. It was good, because I got into my ED, so I haven’t gotten any rejections. [Alina: Congrats!!] I’m very happy with it. Thank you! But, yeah.

Alina: What worked best for you when writing college essays?

Anon: I just kind of wrote them [essays] everywhere, there was no specific environment or time of day I was doing it. It was just whenever I found the chance to have five minutes to do it.

Anoushka: I did a lot of my writing in coffee shops, where the ambiance is nice, but especially in the last two weeks, I did the writing at home. My writing process involved a lot of revisions, so it probably was not ideal for most people. Would not recommend it.

Alina: Got it! What are your main extracurriculars and how do you feel like they’ve helped you?

Anoushka: So I am mainly a part of Political Environmental club, Science Bowl, Model UN, and Political Discourse club. And all four are kind of very different niches for me. With the Political Environmental club, I do designing activities and being creative. It was something very fun to write about in college apps because I actually cared about it, and it was also just one of my first leadership positions, which was nice. Science Bowl was nice too, like getting more used to the scientific world and exploring that in more depth. Model UN was public speaking—fantastic. Another point for using creative leadership skills and trying to actually engage people instead of just a silent club for an hour. Political Discourse was just fun. Growth-wise, all four played very different parts. And I think people should join more clubs, and join clubs that you don’t plan to lead in as well. Like, they’re for fun and it helps you get to know your school and your classmates better.

Anon: I was a part of two clubs, but most of what I was doing that actually applied to college applications was outside of school. There was a research internship for a mental health organization, there was volunteering at a hospital, just different stuff like that, that had more to do with my major. I think it just helped me narrow down what I wanted to do, which actually kind of changed after the college application process, and was kind of inconvenient sometimes, but that’s fine. A lot of the internships went two to three years, some of them were two months, and I met a lot of people at a lot of the summer programs I did and kind of played a part in any initiatives they had. So I think it was just generally less of clubs, more outside stuff.

Alina: How were you able to find these people?

Anon: It was mostly because I was doing the same thing at multiple places with people. Like I was volunteering at the hospital with one person, and then doing another organization with them. There was just a lot of overlap. And I think more opportunities presented themselves that way because, for me, when I was doing a lot more club work, it just took a lot of time that I felt was better used in other places, like in my internship. So I didn’t put much effort into the clubs at all. I found more stuff to do that would help with college apps in the internship.

Alina: How did you guys get involved in volunteering and outside clubs?

Anon: For me, it was mostly searching online, because I didn’t really know anyone. And some of it was via summer programs. I did a summer program at Stanford and knew a lot of people from there, and we kind of found things through that connection.

Anoushka: Yeah, same here. So [in] freshman and sophomore years, it was definitely more searching online. I did more climate advocacy and research, my two main things. Climate advocacy—I don’t think I ever searched anything online beyond my first initial organization because just the nature of it means you have to connect with people and reach out. So every other thing I’ve done for climate advocacy has just been natural as part of the first organization, just finding the niche that suits you. And that’s not something you really find online, that’s something you find by talking to people. But then research, same thing. So summer internship at Stanford, I think a lot of people here do that. And yeah, same thing for me as Anon. We found that connection early on, and I think getting interested and used to the research process helped. And I found that by creating these connections, for both political and research, we’ve started our own projects on top of joining on projects that already existed, which is really cool.

Alina: Thank you!

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Alina Huang
Alina Huang, Arts Editor

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