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  • Writer's pictureHarpal Kochar

You are unique, contrary to what you tell yourself...

Defy stereotypes and go against the grain. You want to distinguish yourself from other applicants with similar backgrounds. For instance, it’s uncommon to see an Asian American student who is a two-sport varsity athlete with high grades. These are the types of people admissions officers love to get excited about


​Utilize the “Additional Information” section of the Common App. This is where you can upload a resume or expand on your accomplishments in each activity. I’d argue it’s better to focus on results and output, not on what you did. For example, writing “Co-authored a research paper on ovarian cancer that was published in a scientific journal” is more interesting than writing “Spent 15 hours per week doing ovarian cancer research”

Exceptions exist, but it is generally advisable that you present yourself as a quick learner and thinker rather than as someone who grinds away on homework for 6 hours every night. Again, don’t lie, but look for ways to demonstrate your natural brilliance and curiosity. Your interviews and letters of recommendation can be a great way to illustrate this.

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