Topic check with Elias

Recorded Friday, November 12 at 10:00 PM

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About this livestream


Coming up with an essay topic is no joke - and this close to the deadline, you might have questions about your essay flow and direction even if you’ve started. From feedback like users like you, CollegeVine has developed a solution to your writer’s block: a topic check!

During this stream, you can send in your anonymized topics for any admissions essay and have them reviewed by Elias live on the air. With plenty of admissions experience under his belt, Elias has the insight to help you craft the perfect personal statement topic.

You can submit topics for review to this form!

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.
17:24@dev8:Commonapp essay prompt 1 “Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.” I am a junior currently, but I plan on writing about my gradual shift in my primary interest from history to economics (personal interest on the past to the future) Is this a good topic or should I think of another topic? Dream schools- Princeton (27%), UPenn (29%), Dartmouth (31%), UVA (59%+Legacy) Thanks so much!
21:27@dev8:Thanks so much! :)
23:30@summerorbanwrites:Hi Elias!
23:32@summerorbanwrites:Sorry I'm late!
23:38@dev8:Do you recommend writing college essay drafts as a junior?
25:18@summerorbanwrites:I'm doing the diversity Harvard essay and I was thinking of like tying in how understanding my relationship with autism and how that ties in with my passion of environmental science, public policy, and psychology?
26:45@summerorbanwrites:Harvard has long recognized the importance of student body diversity of all kinds. We welcome you to write about distinctive aspects of your background, personal development, or the intellectual interests you might bring to your Harvard classmates. (500)
27:01@summerorbanwrites:Neurodiversity, you're totally fine!
32:41@Peterex:Where do you live, Elias?
32:47@dev8:Could writing about my various experiences with academic competitions (6+ years) and now working for an academic competition organization form a good essay topic? Thanks so much!
34:30@Peterex:Do you take ApplyTexas essays?
36:12@Peterex:How can we get notified of your livestreams?
36:54@summerorbanwrites:I did subscribe! How did you guess?
37:39@summerorbanwrites:An essay I have to write for Trinity Christian College has this prompt: Tell us about your personal faith (800 word count). I have a few ideas of what I could write about including addiction, depression, and self-harm. My concern is that I know this is a pretty personal prompt, but what's your general rule of thumb for being vulnerable in your essays vs oversharing or trauma-dumping?
37:48@summerorbanwrites:Yeah I just register for a live stream and then it sends an email for me since I already have an account!
39:37@Peterex:Where can I register?
40:18@summerorbanwrites:I can hear you you're good!
40:49@Peterex:Yeah. I can hear you!
45:40@2023:hi! I was the one that made the app! you mentioned sharing accomplishments, and I'm not sure how to do that without sounding like I'm bragging/listing off facts. I was able to get the app into 3 housing offices, and they help guide women who come in to download the app; I have around a 100 downloads rn
47:33@Peterex:I'm thinking my essay on the ApplyTexas should be a personal account with my brothers that illustrates how curious and experimental I am. How would I approach that?
48:23@Peterex:Option A
49:56@Peterex:Oh, cool. Super helpful
50:54@DaKao:Any recommendations for the letter to your future roommate essay? Should I focus on a specific story or thing about myself? Or should I just write random facts about myself and an explanation of them?
53:21@Kefe:Longer blurb length would be great (and full essays)!
53:27@dev8:6 months :)
56:29@dev8:In your opinion, what are the easiest T20 supplemental essays?
58:00@summerorbanwrites:I actually just watch your videos on YouTube about Harvard essay three and all their prompts! They were really informative!
59:46@summerorbanwrites:How to Write the 2020-21 Harvard Essays: Prompt 3 Parts 1 & 2
60:40@Peterex:What's your Youtube channel?
61:26@dev8:How should I answer Columbia's book prompt if I do not read a lot of books? Thanks!
63:05@summerorbanwrites:Bye Elias!
63:40@sofiavaldeben:thank you!!


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