Open advising hours with Elias

Recorded Tuesday, September 28 at 10:30 PM

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About this livestream


This Tuesday, after a long-awaited hiatus, Elias Miller is back with Open Advising hours. In this interactive session, Elias will answer all of your questions with his expert advice on applying to college. There’s no set agenda, so stop by to hear him talk about college admissions, music, and the universe. As always, the chat will be open for all of your queries to be answered live on-air. Stay tuned for surprise guests - you never know when Shane Niesen or Priya Desai will hop onto a stream.

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.
5:44@dthakk12:How is your East Coast Tour going?
8:05@Perfect2023:I am a junior and am taking Spanish vh but considering dropping. Would that impact my admissions to elite schools if I’ve only done 2 years of language?
10:04@chaitna.d:Is it too late to improve my extracurricular activities? I'm a senior
10:50@Perfect2023:Some schools in my county/state consider A- as 3.73 and some does it as 4.0, how does colleges differentiate that?
11:52@harvard:Do colleges require official sat and AP scores or self reporting is enough?
13:50@harvard:Do top 20 schools give out significant merit based financial aid? Or do most students ineligible for need based aid end up paying full tuition?
15:30@carolinewebb:Does my common app personal essay have to be really emotional?
16:18@dthakk12:How was your conservatory experience? Would you recommend conservatory for a non-performance (composition) major as opposed to a more traditional school of music?
17:13@dthakk12:like nec or curtis
17:21@dthakk12:yes that is correct
20:09@Perfect2023:I am an Asian Indian and have a 33 on ACT in my first attempt, should I work on improving my score or focus the time for science fair and research projects?
25:37@dthakk12:what happens if your gpa reflects one tier of schools and your test scores and ec's reflect another tier of schools?
29:24@Perfect2023:Being a finalist at ISEF is what tier? Did not win any at the competition
30:03@harvard:I had to drop Spanish after 2 years in high school due to conflicts with AP courses. I'm planning to major in a stem field. How much will language matter? I'm also bilingual (non Spanish) if that matters.
37:06@dthakk12:Did CollegeVine's chancing engine get buffed? My percentages went up across the board and I did not change anything in my profile.
39:01@Perfect2023:I am interested in STEM, would stopping language for a Cyber engineering course be a good idea?
41:10@dev8:More specific question: does a 3.8 UW gpa and 1480 meet the academic threshold for the ivy league (advice for lower stats?)
45:00@dthakk12:What are your (Elias') thoughts on the music technology industry and what majors would suggest for someone interested in that field?
49:08@dev8:This is probably another silly question, but how much would legacy affect predicted admissions chances? Thanks! :) (UVA legacy, currently 59%)
51:21@dthakk12:Does in-state/out-of-state affect chances on the chancing engine?
54:01@NotaLegacy:what is the right ratio of apps reach : target: safety?
55:11@NotaLegacy:if reches are harder why woudlnt percentage of reaches be higher than targets?
56:26@NotaLegacy:25% 50% 75%?
57:09@dthakk12:where did priya go to school?
57:16@dev8:what are your opinions on the shotgun method? (applying to all 8 ivies, stanford, duke, northwestern, etc.)
59:15@dthakk12:It's called shotgun bcuz you are "gunning" for all the top-tier schools?
59:39@dev8:yeah i think so :)
59:42@Jacob_Monastra:it's called shotgun method because you fire a lot of rounds but barely any hit(if any)
61:25@dthakk12:Examples of schools that do not have any supplemental essays?
62:25@Jacob_Monastra:How much of an impact does your senior year gpa and course rigor have on admission chances?
63:23@NotaLegacy:any schools where things academically have gotten a lot better or worse lately ?
65:20@NotaLegacy:eg covid impacts, out of control activism,
66:49@NotaLegacy:very helpful feedbak
67:44@NotaLegacy:some schools are having lots of shoutdowns and walkouts others are handling covid well
68:23@dev8:is submitting an extra letter of rec from an out-of-school organization worth it or will it annoy the admission officers? Thanks! :)
69:43@NotaLegacy:thank you ! u guys are awesome .
69:50@dthakk12:How accurate are the CollegeVine rankings (compared to USNews, Forbes, THE, etc...)
71:25@dthakk12:What's the deal with the preference archetypes (the learner, explorer, etc...) Do those mean anything?
72:31@Jacob_Monastra:NYU has an average gpa of 3.6 to get admitted but the average SAT score is a 1450, why is there a large disparity between the two?
72:52@dthakk12:it's from the preference survey
73:48@dthakk12:What's the deal with the preference archetypes (the learner, explorer, etc...) Do those mean anything?
75:47@dthakk12:Thanks for the helpful stream, guys!!!
76:10@dev8:should i pick a reach school (Upenn- dream school- 25%) ED or a hard target school (Dartmouth/Cornell- 32-25%)? Thanks!
78:13@dev8:This made my day- thanks so much!
79:13@Jacob_Monastra:the chancing simulator has Umiami at 73 and University of Washington at 78 for me, however the average acceptance rates overall are 33% and 49% respectively, do you know how the algorithm ended up with only a 5% difference for me even though the overall is 17%?


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