Finding your "spike" with Elias

Recorded Saturday, May 8 at 09:00 PM

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About this livestream


We’re back with another episode where Elias finds your spike! If you’ve heard Elias's signature catchphrase "spiky beats renaissance," and been completely baffled as to what that means, then join Elias as he walks you through CollegeVine's best advice on approaching extracurriculars (so your "spike" can beat someone else's "renaissance").

Elias will give you a rundown on how to cultivate a strong narrative through your extracurriculars, and administer plenty of tips and tricks you'll need in order to find your spike and make your profile stand out to admissions officers.

Elias’s advice is like finding a celebrity’s spam account on your FYP — a rare and valuable inside scoop. So don't miss out on this opportunity and come prepared to drop all your admissions-related questions in the chat, and learn how you can be the spikiest candidate of them all.

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.
3:23@Naf:You got the undername idea approved! I was at the live stream where you came up with the idea.
4:43@PamDemic:How many extra currciulms for a spike
23:46@Naf:Could a spike make up for a lower SAT score?
26:48@Pooja_M:If I do wayyy too many extracurriculars, is it better to pick extracurriculars that are "more impressive" to put on the Common App (that have nothing to do with my "theme") or ones that fit better with the underlying theme of the majority of my activities?
28:11@anonymousems:can spikes be with like internships and impressive positions or does it have to be things you started?
28:45@PamDemic:spike for finance?
29:57@Naf:Would taking an EMT initial training course be considered a spike if you have other health-related extracurriculars? I'm not turning 18 until after college admissions and I believe you have to be 18 to actually become an EMT.
30:58@R9:are research positions also considered spikes?
31:39@anonymousems:spike for political science, specifically like human rights?
32:42@kamron:can creating a website be considered a spike?
33:32@Naf:It's about like 40 points lower than I wanted.
34:15@anonymousems:how do you figure out why you like things? Like I tend to enjoy leadership positions, but im not really sure why
36:01@dk:what if you don't have a spike?
36:29@only4liv:what if your extracurriculars are all over the place? how should you frame your essay theme?
36:59@Pooja_M:What if you have two distinct themes?
37:15@R9:Can having thousands of listens on spotify for your highschool band be considered a spike? Even though it might not be related to my desired major will its still be helpful to mention it?
37:57@Marco123:I only have 1 year left of high school. My theme is helping the immigrants and my intended major is cs. What are some spikes that you can think of? (Organizing a campaign to teach them coding?)
40:23@Naf:Almost all if not all of my extracurriculars are health related. Should I try to get some in other areas as well or does it look better if they're all geared towards one area since that's what Im interested in pursuing?
41:33@Incognito:Is making a website that teaches coding considered a spike?
42:18@PamDemic:what was your sat and gpa
43:25@mz:How broad can a spike be? I have a general direction I want to go in with some accomplishments—do I have to narrow it down over my remaining years of high school or can there be basically two smaller spikes that relate to one another?
43:49@PamDemic:is teaching woman coding a spike since is more male dominated
44:42@Naf:Drop the spotify @ so we can increase the number of listens :)
45:11@PamDemic:Sorry did not mean to sound aggresive i was just wondering because you said you need to pass the academic treshold and since you went to harvard i was just being curcuois. sorry again
46:43@Pooja_M:I have a lot of activities/accomplishments related to Spanish, menstrual advocacy, leadership, public speaking, music, and education. I intend to major in Public Health. Is there anything you can think of that might be a "spike" for me?
48:26@Incognito:Sorry I did many questions because I thought it was glichting.
48:32@anonymousems:also look at the average accepted sat/gpa for people in your demographic!!
51:00@kamron:Is attending summer programs helpful to your application? if so, to what scale?
51:47@Naf:Nah I'm having fun
51:52@MZ:Can family responsibility possibly be a spike
52:45@anonymousems:do you have any tips for applying to prestigious internships? I am applying to an internship that accepts high school students, undergrad students, and law students, and I don't know how to make my app stand out among older people
54:13@Pooja_M:Thank you!!!
54:15@PamDemic:how many top tier 1 EC´´s for ivy´´s?
54:41@anonymousems:college vine has that data in the chancing calculator
56:46@dk:thank you! very helpful
56:51@Learner:what could be a theme for academic outstanding, playing team sports, church-related community services and graphic-related hobbies?
58:44@PamDemic:do you do live profile review or is it only one person?
59:03@MZ:Which internship would you recommend, a non-prestigious unpaid internship related to major or a paid local generic one (like cashier)?
59:54@Naf:are the live application profile reviews anonymous and how hard is it to get your application reviewed on the stream
62:11@anonymousems:thank you so much!!!
62:18@PolarBear:what to do if all programs that were accepting are cancelled due to covid lockdown what to do if all programs have been cancelled due to covid
62:25@Learner:Thank you!
63:31@Incognito:Thanks! Good Night
64:16@Naf:Thank you!
64:35@kamron:Thank You!
64:42@dk:yes to weekend!
66:19@anonymousems:Yes!! weekend streams work better for my school schedule
66:27@PolarBear:ur right
66:31@Naf:me too im busier over the weekend
66:33@Naf:i mean weedays
66:40@Naf:WEEDAYS i meant weekdays oops
66:42@Incognito:yes for weekend


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