How admissions works at elite schools

Recorded Tuesday, July 20 at 10:30 PM

The recording will load in a moment.

About this livestream


As application season comes to a start, you're probably wanting to gain some clarity around how to best optimize your application for admissions committees. The truth is, what you expect might not be exactly what goes down - and your application might not do as well as it could as a result.

Join Elias as he breaks down the admissions process at elite schools and helps you figure out how you can improve your application to make yourself stand out.

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.
2:07@mich5250:I'm enjoying it!
2:24@123SMD24:Is the session going to be recorded? :)
3:06@celinethefairy:Hello! what time will the live begin?
7:23@tea_4_2:Hey Elias, excited to be here!
7:41@Cmetz:Elias - you are great. Thanks for all your amazing advice. I feel like you Are my support system in this process !!
7:59@123SMD24:Does it affect me if I'm a student that didn't take the whole IB program and only certain courses?
8:05@123SMD24:The courses were oriented to my career :)
9:07@mich5250:We can see you XD
9:09@Corryn_Flahaven:what is IB?
44:56@celinethefairy:Hello! I have a question specifically about the collegevine website. I know that there is a calculater that helps you determine your chances of getting into a University but is there one for specific schoools within Universities ex. your chnaces of getting into NYU Tisch?
46:19@mich5250:If you think, you dont have any spikes in your ECs and have about four months to apply for colleges, how can you change that?
48:04@jcamper24:Does the weight that being first for class rank carry on your application decrease if you have a smaller class size of 30-60?
48:56@Cmetz:Do superscores really make a difference? Ie if superscore is 1540 or is it more important that the score be one sitting
49:28@mich5250:Are all college thresholds explicitly available somewhere?
50:39@123SMD24:Do you think elite schools are actually test-optional? Or they reject the ones that don't submit scores?
51:38@jcamper24:Why is it that we saw elite schools' acceptance rate drop a couple percentage points?
53:29@celinethefairy:why do some elite colleges specifcially accept more students from certain schools over others?
55:01@Parent24:Can you suggest a trustworthy Ranking of Colleges by Major?
56:33@rk2001:How about AP test scores?If I took 11 AP courses and only have four 5s. Should I not mention my 5s so as to not get the focus on the non-5s?
57:33@123SMD24:I'd like to go test optional but I take only 2 IB courses per semester, and had an overall grade of 97. Will it hurt my chances if I don't submit SAT scores?
58:22@tea_4_2:what if you are currently undecided about your potential major or career - how would you structure a theme for your essays?
60:54@tea_4_2:got it, thank you so much!
61:10@Parent24:One of the best streams I’ve watched!
61:18@Corryn_Flahaven:Thanks so much! You were great! Goodnight all!
61:25@celinethefairy:Will going to a performing arts high school boost my chances of getting into colleges that specify in performing arts? Will that be used as an advantage?
62:33@would:would you recommend taking double of one class that matches your major and dropping something else or taking 5 core subjects
63:19@would:oh ok thanks
63:26@Subi:Thank you for the stream! Highly appreciated! :)
63:32@tea_4_2:stan Elias to boost your admission chances
63:41@would:so would you recommend double science and dropping something like french or doing one science, one french, etc
64:07@Ksr2021:How impactful will having a job that usually requires a bachelors or masters degree for T10s extracurriculars wise?
64:21@would:how would you do a prelaw spike?
65:53@rk2001:How valuable are paid interships for college applications?
66:06@would:what major would you recommend for prelaw?
66:54@would:goat elias
66:57@would:ohh ok
67:00@Ksr2021:Will having great extracurriculars but no significant awards (just some in school awards) be a negative point in my resume?
67:26@celinethefairy:what major do you reccommend in conjuction with theatre?
69:59@Ksr2021:How accurate is the college vine chancing calc because it doesn’t account for essays?
71:13@rk2001:If I win multiple awards for the same activity, can I list them separately in the app?
71:17@would:would internship w district attorney be good for public speaking spike?
71:26@123SMD24:I got an SAT of 1280, but want to apply to elite schools. What should I do?
72:07@Ksr2021:Thats great!
72:09@rk2001:One last question:-) Should I send my research paper(40 pages) as an attachment to the app?
72:31@jlividini:I have 1510 SAT should I try a 4th tiem
73:47@Ksr2021:Should i list my athletic and musical pursuits in the additional info section if i dont have space in the 10 spots?
74:29@would:does going to a school w/o aps harm chances?
74:55@would:advanced placement tests
76:29@aida.sall2023:Do you think T20 colleges (ivies, NYU, Northwestern) would reject me for doing 3 years of tennis instead of 4 years? I would like to do 4, but I will really be too busy to do it next year


Open advising hours with Alex

Live profile review with Yesh

My admissions story: Robert from Yale

Most recent recordings