Open advising hours with Elias

Recorded Monday, November 1 at 09:30 PM

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About this livestream


This Monday, live from Austria, 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 Priya and Shane will pop in.

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.
0:27@summerorbanwrites:Hi Elias!
0:51@summerorbanwrites:Yeah we can hear you!
1:03@HelloHome:yup sound is working
6:38@Shriya:imagine ever firing elias
6:48@Shriya:okay now where are shane and priya
7:34@Gleb:Hey Elias! Thanks for doing this. I had a couple of questions about ECs and GPA. 1) Should I list my community service hours in my application under “activities”? 2) I got a 95 on the AMC (top 5%), but I didn’t take the AIME. Where should I list that (should I even?) 3) I filled up all 8 EC slots. Some of those things I don’t participate in any longer, but did some cool stuff in. Should I keep them in, or is it better to delete them from the application? 4) How big of a deal are interviews? When are those usually scheduled? 5) I have a 4.2 GPA, but 18 AP Classes (5 on every exam but Physics where I got a 3), but my class rank is 100. Will that screw me over for an ED to Columbia? I also haven’t submitted my AP scores yet to the college, can I self-report. Btw I’m Hispanic 6) Should I mention, in the additional information section, that my school allowed us to be in person vs virtual during COVID, and that I took in-person and couldn’t cheat? 7) For ECs that I had to compete for, should I include how many applied vs how many were selected? 8) On a similar note, if I won #5 in a global competition, should I mention how many people were in the competition?
11:21@Gleb:*that's 100 / 850, and UW is 4.0
11:55@summerorbanwrites:I've been to a few of Priya live streams before, but this is the first one with you I've joined so I'm happy to be here!
12:10@Kaelyn:are they through karma or money
12:20@DaKao:How do I submit an essay for the live review?
12:56@HelloHome:Advice for non-classical musicians considering submitting a supplement or original music?
14:02@summerorbanwrites:It's a Pomona prompt that's why I'm asking lol
14:06@summerorbanwrites:What's your favorite way to eat a potato?
15:18@JonathanCohen:Is counselor rec important? Are the questions around teacher letters of rec as important as the letters?
16:50@HelloHome:When is it good to submit a creative writing supplement and how much material is best to submit (upper/lower limit)?
17:32@JonathanCohen:Is a 4th place nationally (from a small country) in debate impressive?
18:25@fani:What counts as name-dropping professors in Why Us College essays? In one of my sentences, I say I look forward to taking one the courses by a specific professor, and I relate it to my past experiences and why I want to take it. Would naming the professor seem useless and ineffective?
19:18@JonathanCohen:summerorbanwrites is lovely
19:34@JonathanCohen:Are negligible courses like Biblical studies and PE considered as part of GPA? Do colleges recalculate on their own my GPA (Yale said no, but I am suspicious)?
20:10@summerorbanwrites:Why did you initially apply to Harvard and what separates Harvard from other Ivys?
22:10@Gleb:yes :(
22:28@spideyboy:Hey Elias! I am a Freshman in high school, involved in a bunch of extracurriculars like classical violin, sports, creative writing, advocacy, math and tutoring. If I am planning to pursue engineering in college, should I quit some of these activities and focus on ECs related to my potential major to avoid possible burnout in future?
24:01@Shriya:whats the process of transferring to a 'dream' school if i didnt get in the first time?
26:02@fani:What should be on your resume that makes it different than your common app extracurriculars/honors? why do colleges ask for resumes when they already have all that information
26:45@Kaelyn:I have an AA (associates of arts) degree that I have gotten throughout hs. Should I apply regular or transfer? (Not ivy btw)
28:00@joliehawthorne:Will colleges pay attention to my additional information essay as much as my personal essay? I wrote about my family responsibilities which take up a large amount of my time
28:24@spideyboy:Are ECs viewed by colleges in relation to their demographics? For example is an asian male with computer science EC viewed unfavorably?
30:19@JonathanCohen:If I apply in the domestic track but am an international student (with citizenship), how will my app be treated?
30:30@Shriya:lEgAcY aPpLiCaTiOnS
31:07@JonathanCohen:Does being White (middle east) matter in terms of demographics?
31:55@fani:is 7th place internationally impressive
32:07@fani:I don't really know anything about the professor though. I'm more interested in the class itself and I just said the professor's name because they taught the class.
32:30@summerorbanwrites:Hi Priya!
32:33@JonathanCohen:thank you
32:36@fani:international debate
32:40@JonathanCohen:I mean specifically middle eastern
32:55@summerorbanwrites:My school doesn't offer APs and when asked I would be discouraged by my principal to take on CCPs. I've gotten straight As on my transcript through high school but I've recently gotten a B+ in my Pre-Calc class. Would this negatively affect my application in top 30% schools?
33:56@HelloHome:Does only having projected grades for 11th grade and not actual final grades hurt my Harvard REA Application (school system is flexible and counselor says I'll graduate/I've been great academically in their letter)?
34:37@JonathanCohen:Being a domestic student is preferable? Even if my school is very different from the American system
35:29@JonathanCohen:SO helpful thanks
35:59@Kaelyn:Does being homeschooled affect my chances?
36:13@summerorbanwrites:What's a common misconception about Harvard?
36:22@spideyboy:Would a karate black belt be a tier 2 or tier 3 activity?
36:27@Shriya:are you familiar with naviance? if you are, how can i make the most of it?
36:37@Shriya:how important is taking language in high school for admission into the ivies?
36:43@JonathanCohen:My oh my! Cultural Judaism at its best!
36:50@spideyboy:Hey Elias! I am a freshman in high school, involved in a bunch of extracurriculars like classical violin, sports, creative writing, advocacy, math and tutoring. If I am planning to pursue engineering in college, should I quit some of these activities and focus on ECs related to my potential major to avoid possible burnout in future?
36:55@JonathanCohen:The questions is just how important the rankings are when compared with the letters
37:05@Shriya:how do i land intern/research opportunities?
37:35@Shriya:my high school has this requirement where i have to take bio and chem, phys ed and health, math, history, and english all four years, humanities credit, fine art credit, among others. I'm not even interested in the humanities but all these classes affect my gpa, how do i work around it? also is this a normal thing for high schools to require because none of the college youtubers i watched mention this.
38:31@JonathanCohen:Sorry, did you say we must take same language for 4 years? Is that necessary even if high school starts only in 10th grade for me?
38:56@Shriya:ahh thanks!! <3
39:09@HelloHome:we still have 12th grade but my school calendar is weird, so I'm only about to end 11th grade, though I'll still be able to graduate by Summer because of the flexibility thing
39:23@JonathanCohen:Is being literate in several languages impressive?
39:33@vishal:hello, college vine acceptance rate of 90% + for computer science, how much is the probability in reality
40:05@summerorbanwrites:I've been running my own podcast since January of 2020 and I included it in my EC Common App section. I haven't won any big awards but I do commit a lot of time and effort to it. Will that be impressive or basic for colleges?
40:49@JonathanCohen:Is there an option to schedule a one-time meeting with you or Priya as a consultation? Could you link it?
41:19@vishal:International student merit based scholarship for GPA 3.9, SAT 1470.. 790/680(M/E). your views please
42:14@Bretton:How does a white guy write about diversity - supp. essay asking what defines me and what I will bring to college? I was thinking about working in student government advocating for the inclusion of a diverse student body etc etc? any thoughts?
43:47@Kaelyn:Where are the best sites for scholarships besides here?
45:22@summerorbanwrites:How do you write really short supplements (150-50 word limit)?
45:37@Shriya:my gpa last semester was a 4.6 (weighted) and im taking 3 aps this year, and not doing as well as i thought i would. My rank was 11/992 last year (yes, 992 i go to the largest high school in CT) and i want to be valedictorian but is it worth it to exhaust myself or should i keep a balance between ec's and academics?
47:08@Shriya:yes, god forbid the b+ im asian
47:24@JonathanCohen:Can you get in with ok essays/ some good some bad essays as long as academic statistics and ecs are impressive?
48:05@JonathanCohen:This is really helpful. Please please make more of these livestreams :)
48:18@DaKao:I'm an international student. In my country, we graduate from high school in 11th grade, which transcripts should my counselor submit?
48:44@JonathanCohen:Thanks Priya :))
48:52@DaKao:I was a volunteer in an organization twice at different times and with different roles, should I consider them as one on my activities list or as two?
49:16@HelloHome:Would it look bad if an applicant with pretty big accomplishments in music didn't submit a music supplement?
49:42@summerorbanwrites:I have a graduating class of (including me) 21 and we don't have a class ranking. I'm applying to my top five colleges without test scores will that put more weight on GPA or the rest of application elements (essays, letters of red, etc.)
50:24@Kaelyn:Is it WAY easier to get into a UC school as an in state student
52:15@Shriya:@hellohome be asking all the right questions
52:19@Kaelyn:I subbed last stream to ur yt
52:30@JonathanCohen:I literally rewatched the Yale one like four times
52:38@summerorbanwrites:I watch the youtubes!
52:50@Shriya:love the yt
53:44@vishal:just subscribed to you tube college vine
53:46@Shriya:"idk how we did it" youre literally a god elias
54:08@summerorbanwrites:Is it risky writing essays in unconventional formats? (i.e. poems, haikus, plays, etc.)
54:41@Shriya:collegeboard take notes
54:46@Kaelyn:The videos are reallly good, but if you want more views and such try changing up your thumbnails to get more clicks
56:38@spideyboy:Would a karate black belt be a tier 2 or tier 3 activity?
56:44@JonathanCohen:How do I assess the level of my essays? I have reached a point where I really can't assess my own writing.
57:18@spideyboy:This was a very useful livestream! Thanks
57:22@HelloHome:How impressive is performing for 60,000 people in terms of admissions?
57:38@Antibroccoli:Hello, how are you? Thank you for this. Applying as from an under represented country, Is it a must to include our traditions or culture in our common app essay?
58:19@HelloHome:It was like a dozen-ish of us in a group
59:00@Shriya:thank you so much for this elias, these livestreams are really helpful. dont forget to wish your bro a happy bday!
59:44@HelloHome:it was like a big religious congress haha also don't forget to call your brother
60:48@Kaelyn:Favorite thing about living outside of the states?
61:00@Antibroccoli:Can we have a live topic check for the future?
61:07@spideyboy:Thanks Elias and Priya! And happy birthday to your brother
61:47@Shriya:whats a live topic check :/
62:14@Shriya:thanks priya and elias! see yall next time :)
62:21@HelloHome:Live topic streams sound amazing - just go through super short elevator pitches of people's essays
62:35@JonathanCohen:To Priya: sorry for the specific question, but if you remmebr my essay from yesterday, how would you rate it?
62:37@Antibroccoli:My pleasure 😊
62:42@JonathanCohen:Thanks so so much!
62:47@summerorbanwrites:That sounds like a great idea!
63:25@summerorbanwrites:Have a nice day Elias!
63:42@HelloHome:Thanks so much! Happy birthday to your brother!
63:51@Shriya:we need shane back :(


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