Open advising hours with Elias

Recorded Friday, December 3 at 09:30 PM

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About this livestream


End your stressful week with one of Elias Miller's 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.
3:52@KSR:Is a 700 R+W, 800 Math good for Ivies+ or should I retake it? I’m in NY and planning to go into Econ.
6:15@dev8:Hello from Northern Virginia!
6:20@ImHarry:Hi :)
6:22@KSR:What would be some good extracurriculars for a prospective economics major shooting for T20 schools?
8:41@dev8:If I have a 59% at UVA and im a legacy, could you possibly guess a potential chance range? Thanks!
10:00@KSR:Is not having any awards a downside to an application for ivies+, if an applicant has very competitive extracurriculars and other aspects are competitive?
11:23@ImHarry:Should I put cooking/baking as my activity for the CommonApp if it is meaningful to me, I do it on a daily basis and I have an extra spot on the activities list?
12:08@dev8:If im a junior and planning my essay writing timeline, should i work on my commonapp essay 1st or my supplemental essays? Thanks!
14:01@Antibroccoli:Hello😁, I have 2 common app essays that I've finished writing, one has one common theme (walls) and I kind of integrated that into different experiences about my life(this might be a risky path as I've never heard of such example essays). The other one is written about a challenge I've faced, specifically my moms sickness and all the things I've learned in her absence( this is more of a safe route). Which approach do I think will appeal to admissions officers in top schools?
16:24@Ukki:Hello! I am a junior, reached out a bit earlier for advice about conducting. I am looking at pursuing it as a career and wanted to ask you what potential undergrads you recommend before an orchestral conducting masters, and the schools you recommend strongest for a BA in music.
20:15@KSR:My extracurriculars focus more on personal projects (that have quantifiable achievements) and having jobs. I really haven’t had time to participate in many competitions. Should I communicate this to the admissions officers in additional info? The only awards i have are national merit commended, honor roll, and NHS.
22:49@ImHarry:How to approach the "three words to describe yourself" question?
23:59@KSR:What APs should I take for Econ major?
24:53@dev8:This is more of a silly question, but if I think the Vanderbilt supplemental essay will be quick to write and I have a 38%, but I probably wouldnt pick it over any ivy, duke, or uva, should I apply to Vanderbilt? Thanks!
26:25@Ukki:(follow-up) Thanks for the info! Right now I am studying piano at the Colburn School pre-college, and previously looked at the option of piano performance at conservatory, but now am aiming for either a BA Music from a very good academic school or a bachelor’s in conducting in Europe (since I'm comfortable in German and French). What would you say about these two pathways?
31:13@KSR:Does establishing contact with your admissions officer necessarily increase your chances at a T20?
31:58@dev8:Will being in a lower math level than most other ivy+ applicants (most other top students will be in multivariable calc next year, I will be in calc bc and am applying to business/econ) significantly impact my chances? Thanks!
32:42@KSR:What do you predict the competition for T20s for Class of 2022 and Class of 2023 are?
36:28@KSR:Should i take linear algebra or multivariable calculus senior year for T20s for Econ?
38:55@Ukki:Hello – thank you again for all the info into conducting! I am definitely very interested in European conducting programs such as mdw. Aside from the conducting and piano parts of the audition, I am quite unfamiliar with the other aspects of it. How would you describe the score reading part of it and its difficulty?
45:40@dev8:Do you know if Brown's video portfolio is optional or required? Thanks!
45:48@KSR:Is developing an app and distributing it in 4 countries a “stand out extracurricular”? Is it tier 1 or 2?
45:59@KSR:Do colleges care more about weighted or unweighted grades?
46:07@MoonRamen:What should I do if my school offers 0 AP classes? I am planning to go to an Ivy League School.
47:42@KSR:Do colleges really see a difference between a 93 and a 98 in terms of grades? I mean they are both a 4.0. What about between 92 and 93?
48:37@MoonRamen:I guess planning is an interesting term, i'm hoping to apply :)
49:42@KSR:How many tier 1 activities for t20s?
50:05@Ukki:Sounds great – thank you for all the help and info about this. I really appreciate it!
50:10@dev8:If my school does not do A-'s, are my chances slightly reduced? Thanks!
50:23@KSR:Can you give some examples for tier 1 activities (Econ)?
52:27@MoonRamen:What would you recommend including in an application essay?
55:38@KSR:Are AP tests more important since sat subject tests are gone?
56:38@dev8:Thank you!
56:51@ImHarry:Goof luck!


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