Finding your spike with Elias

Recorded Thursday, June 10 at 09:00 PM

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About this livestream


Have you heard Elias's signature catchphrase "spiky beats renaissance" on air and been completely baffled as to what that means? Well, we've told Elias he can't use it unless he elaborates, so in this stream he'll walk you through CollegeVine's best advice on approaching extracurriculars (so that 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 share plenty of tips and tricks you'll need in order to find your spike and make your profile stand out to admissions officers.

Elias' advice is like a COVID vaccine: hard to find, but extremely valuable. So don't miss out on this opportunity and come prepared to drop all your admissions-related questions in the chat.

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.
4:51@User812:Hi, I couldn't hear you before but now I can.
4:52@Eden0Leeann:oh thank god i thought it was just me
4:54@fani:is it just me that can't hear him
4:56@fani:i can hear you now
22:02@fani:I recently won 2nd place at a states competition and was invited to move forward and compete internationally. I was wondering if participating internationally would mean anything on college apps even if I don't end up winning or placing. I paid 60 dollars to compete but I highly doubt I'll win anything so I'm hoping that just participating would mean something.
22:50@AniM:How about Big fundraising 10K during covid for local food pantry ? Is that a spike ?
24:09@saruhhh:Would your schedule also contribute to my spike? Like let's say I take every art class my school offers..
25:06@AniM:What about a middle school award at the state level ? Do I need to have latest awards in HS only or can I list my major award in middle school as well ?
25:55@User812:Does it hurt to have a spike that is not very related to the subject you are majoring in?
29:43@Eden0Leeann:i participate in art competitions and want to aim for biotech so i focus big on science themed contests
31:05@saruhhh:I’ve won several awards on the state and national level for art (more than 14), including one given to the top four students in 10th grade nationwide, but they have all come from the same competition over several years. A., is that a spike, and B., is it alright if it comes from only one competition, or should I search for more?
32:37@Eden0Leeann:yea i wasnt sure if that was a good way to relate it
34:06@User812:For clarification, is a spike made of one main activity/event or several ones?
34:26@yellow_roses:do APs count as part of smth that builds your spike?
35:07@goldenretriever1:Hihi pal
35:13@goldenretriever1:Is competitive summer camp a spike
36:05@Eden0Leeann:im autistic so i pick up well on the sensory portion of art, with science i like that it has pretty set rules to it. a lot of my extracurriculars relate to my diagnosis
39:08@AniM:For premed/BS/MD Path : I have Volunteer hours, community work, starting a club, full year residency with local hospital, Certified Nursing Assistance, Summer Programs on college level courses from Northwestern also virtual shadowing for 8 months in local hospital. Does that sound good list of activities ?
39:42@bw89:Is it fine if your major-oriented programs take half to most of your 10 spots on the Common App?
40:03@goldenretriever1:Any advice on personal statement?
41:36@AniM:For premed/BS/MD Path : I have Volunteer hours, community work, starting a club, full year residency with local hospital, Certified Nursing Assistance, Summer Programs on college level courses from Northwestern also virtual shadowing for 8 months in local hospital. Does that sound good list of activities ?
41:46@User812:Is it a good idea to take a hobby or interest and build on it in order to create a spike?
42:12@goldenretriever1:Pal did you have additional LOR when applying as freshman and tranafer
42:23@goldenretriever1:Srry transfer i meant
42:46@saruhhh:will there be opportunities to have our essays reviewed by college one people like yourself?
43:31@goldenretriever1:Letter of rec
43:33@AniM:Letter of recommendations ( LOR)
43:36@saruhhh:lor is letters of recommendation I think
46:29@User812:Can a spike make or break an application?
48:14@goldenretriever1:For H does EA or RD really matter for a non legacy
49:24@AniM:Thanks Elias !!
49:29@goldenretriever1:H = Harvard
49:33@Lunemoon:I missed your whole life stream! Was in the car amd it wouldn’t connect! Ugh!
49:58@Lunemoon:Would you say over all any score above 1500 is good and shouldn’t retake?
51:17@Ayush:Can you still get into selective schools if you have 3 Bs?
53:39@Lunemoon:But what about abs during Covid??
53:43@Lunemoon:If you’re a sophomore or junior??
56:01@goldenretriever1:If i wanna major in physics, and i took physics in ny sophomore year and bio junior year shall i ask bio or 10th grade physics teacher for rec
58:20@goldenretriever1:Good nite! Well done!!!


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