Open Advising Hours with Elias

Recorded Friday, December 25 at 06:00 PM

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About this livestream


Join Elias Miller for a special edition of open advising hours! Elias will be available to answer any and all questions that you have about the college admissions process as we enter the final week of the year.

If, however, you're taking a day off from college applications (you deserve it!), you can also stop by to ask Elias questions about music, the college experience, or life in general!

Your host

Undergrad College: Harvard University '17

Major: Music

Graduate College: University of Michigan, M.M.

Work Experience: Now in my fourth year at CollegeVine, I have helped dozens of students gain acceptance to their top-choice schools and have also advised and mentored thousands more through my livestreams. Apart from my work at CV, I am also a professional conductor and a multi-instrumentalist. I currently serve as the music director of the Apollo Ensemble of Boston, and I have led symphonic concerts and operatic productions throughout the United States.

My Admissions Story: Initially interested in pursuing a career as a performing cellist, I applied almost exclusively to music schools with dual and double degree options and ultimately enrolled in the Tufts University/New England Conservatory Dual Degree Program. Unhappy with the combined program and worried I'd never feel like I was fully a student at either school, I logged back into in October of my freshman year. I can't say I went about the transfer process in the smartest way (I only applied to two schools!), but Harvard miraculously accepted me (or 'excepted me' as I wrote in a celebratory Facebook post that day - no one ever let me live that one down), and the rest was history.

Audience questions

These are questions from the audience that we had time to answer during the live session. If you have any other questions, you can request an answer from Elias and other CollegeVine experts in an upcoming livestream or on the Q&A Forum anytime.
4:18@SophiaBangura:How did you write the Harvard supplemental essay?
4:43@mimi:Did you get into Harvard in early action or regular action?
6:21@SophiaBangura:What you wrote about?
10:00@SophiaBangura:+ Advice on applying to a selective schools; how do you stand besides academics?
14:36@JennyWu:For the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra, is it usual for people not studying/majoring in music to join? I've been a tuba player for 7 years and I'm wondering if I have a chance at getting in even though I'm not considering a professional career in music
17:24@goldenretriever1:Is this recorded
17:56@mimi:Do you think what has changed in one year that made you successfully transfer into Harvard?
25:32@Applesauce:I have arrived.
26:14@Applesauce:Of course happy to support
26:20@anonymous:I was in JV freshman year for tennis, then varsity my sophomore year, but I couldn't continue afterwards due to my family health obligations. Should I include in my additional info that I received a varsity letter my sophomore year even though I didn't continue?
27:19@goldenretriever1:Hey there I'm an opera singer. What opp do I have at harvard
33:16@goldenretriever1:What's AO at Harvard like
33:26@anonymous:any other hobbies/interests besides music?
35:34@goldenretriever1:You are my favorite !!!
35:40@Applesauce:Do colleges compare your sat score to people from your high school or county or neither? I go to a relatively low scoring high school but my county is pretty good, wondering who I'm going to be compared to.
37:47@anonymous:your livestreams are very entertaining
37:51@mimi:Can you talk about Harvard's cross-registering opportunities at Harvard's graduate schools and at MIT et.? What does cross-registering really mean? At Harvard, how do you get credits from cross-registered schools?
40:30@goldenretriever1:Yes admission officer.
41:29@SophiaBangura:Quantity vs Quality in terms of extracurricular activities?
42:21@goldenretriever1:Does Harvard still have a joint program with Julliard
43:52@Applesauce:Would you be able to read over an essay?
46:02@divyamjindal03:Hey Elias ! I don't know if you remember but you reviewed a bunch of my common app drafts ( about game theory and order & chaos) and I've received a bunch of offers. Just dropped in to say thank you !
46:26@anonymous:For an international student, does the colleges consider the fact that the intl. student's college assesment tests overlap with their school's exams?
47:20@Applesauce:I sent an essay through the box on your website just fyi.
47:24@mimi:Could you please tell me where to find Harvard sample essays on CollegeVine?
48:27@anonymous:I was an artist and copy editor in journalism sophomore and junior year, but I didn't continue senior year. I spend more time on other activities, but how will this look on my application?
49:21@anonymous:what's one thing you wished you knew before going to college?
52:34@Applesauce:I got an -A in microeconomics but A in macro and got a 5 on my macro exam, 4 on micro. This is one of my only -As but I'm applying as an econ major to elite universities- how much will this hurt my chances?
53:22@SophiaBangura:How do ask for a teacher recommendation of you move around a lot?
54:16@camiloc:hey! how do I hit that balance between funny and serious in my essays?
57:20@rayne.rose:I have a very low-GPA (2.7). How can I make up for this and explain it to AOs?
61:40@anonymous:Could you give an overview of how important are high school scores, SAT/ACT scores and essays in general?
63:02@Applesauce:I know not all colleges accept 4s on ap tests- is it worth sending them if they don't?
63:29@camiloc:I wrote a great story in my personal essay BUT at times it makes me sound reckless. If my main theme was my sense of adventure can I construe this as a good thing for me?
65:35@anonymous:Should I let the college know that I am not academically driven but still maintained a 4.0 gpa? I fear that it might play a negative role in my application
66:36@mimi:I was deferred in early application by a top 5 school in HYPSM. What is your advice? What do these colleges look for in my own mid-year report? I really want to attend this college. Thank you.
70:14@Applesauce:Tips for interviews? How much research should we be doing to have a stand out interview? Do any interviews have access to your application?
72:55@camiloc:can we ✨embellish✨ our activities on our essays? NOT lie but like stretch the truth?
75:06@anonymous:Who do I contact to find out who is my regional AO?
75:49@mimi:Has CollegeVine heard any new trends or challenges from this year's early applications esp. top colleges? e.g. acceptance rate, selection rules, etc.?
77:15@camiloc:yes being class of 2025 sucks lol ED jumped like 50%
78:49@anonymous:I'm the non-academically driven guy. I focused more on my extra-curricular activities during my school and have some achievements to support it. I am trying to approach colleges with my extra-curricular achievements and because I am passionate about my extra-curricular activity. is it a bad idea?
80:14@JennyWu:Does coming from a high school that doesn't rank its students disadvantage me in college admissions? Obviously, a very small minority of my class is applying to any particular elite college, so the AOs wouldn't really know how I compare to my peers at my school
80:58@camiloc:How can we avoid sounding too kitsch in our essays? Like I wrote that oatmeal was meaningful to me but I'm scared it sounds like way too forced. How do you keep this in mind when writing, finding that balance?
81:42@anonymous:International Mathematical Olympiad silver medal and national math contest prizes.
96:24@Elizzy4321:What if you did not start high school in the U.S and you barely have extracurricular activities?
97:31@anonymous:Sorry I don't remember if you answered my question, but who do I contact to find out who is my regional AO?
97:50@Applesauce:I had a ton of stuff to say in this essay and I feel like there's just too much in it. This is for the Harvard supplemental essay, I chose my own prompt. Also, the joke that is said in the first paragraph has to do with my last name.
99:40@Applesauce:For colleges with multiple supplemental essays including a why this college essay, would you say that the why this college essay is more or less important than the others? Do some colleges just look at this essay and, check yes or no for high interest, and move on? Also thank you for reading my essay!
101:45@anonymous:does ECA's count for more in international student's applications?
102:30@anonymous:extra curricular activities
116:54@anonymous:You said that admission officers harshly judge our applications. I am now afraid of the judgement on my imperfections which I thought of including in my essays. Should I be afraid oo include the imperfections?
118:06@camiloc:pigeon doves were too espensive it flew it away
118:10@camiloc:mans wings were clipped
118:37@camiloc:the feathers grow back
121:01@Applesauce:Happy Holidays!
121:05@Elizzy4321:Thank you for your time :D


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