Live essay review with Elias

Recorded Monday, December 20 at 11:00 PM

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About this livestream


Join Elias for another installment of our Live Essay Review!

During this event (designed specifically for current high school students), Elias will select a few pieces of writing submitted by the audience to review LIVE on air. Any type of writing is welcome in this review — college and scholarship essays, papers for class, articles for your school’s newspaper, or even personal projects of your own. For each piece, Elias will walk through what you’ve written, paying particular attention to any special review requests, and offer suggestions for improvement.

You can submit an essay for review to this form!

See you there!

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.
14:06@hauvi:hi c:
14:11@summerorbanwrites:Hi Elias! Sorry I haven't been on here last week, cramming for midterms and all!
14:14@Antibroccoli:Hello 😁 how are you? My essay prompt is "with what's your thing?" If you have time I'd love it if you read it.
15:08@summerorbanwrites:Also if you do happen to get to my essay (Harvard: Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences, 150-word count) I forgot to note that I formatted the essay in a podcast script style and also used five asterisks (*****) to mark paragraph breaks if that's okay and if you were confused with the format.
22:24@qwertytrewq:hello! My essay topic is "A hallmark of the Columbia experience is being able to learn and live in a community with a wide range of perspectives. How do you or would you learn from and contribute to diverse, collaborative communities?" It would be great if you go over it sometime this stream, thanks:)
22:32@jo1291:hey! I just joined how has it been going so far?
22:45@VSandwar:Hi Mr Miller! I just want to say I love these streams and am so thankful for you taking your time to this, they really have helped my writing. If you have the time can you go to my Yale topic essay? It starts with "A monkey profile picture," and I kind of just geeked out and am not really sure of how much I'd have to change to fit the college essay mold
38:48@safmehraneh:We need blunt essay reviews! It's helpful! Thank you for everything you do!
38:55@jo1291:Im a 10th grader and I want to get into the big Ivies; I feel like I'm always hanging out with the big kids. I love it! Its amazing to see people having the same goal as me.
39:14@Gleb:Hey Elias! Thanks so much for doing this. I was wondering if you would be able to read mine? It's titled "coalition essay" and begins with "Back in Belarus." I need to cut 40 words and don't know where I should. :)
39:25@Gleb:I also wanted to ask a side question about AP classes. I got COVID during the past 2 test sessions and so I got mostly 3s and a few 4s, but I had As in the classes. Should I still report my AP scores, even though I'm applying to like t20 schools?
40:24@Exaltedrealms:@jo1291 I'm a 10th grader too
40:40@jo1291:I think that many poeple try to sound smart and are afraid to use 1st and 2nd person. Would you recommend being more "you" and less of a Thesaurus?
40:43@Gleb:Thank you!!
41:19@safmehraneh:I saw my essay on the screen! 650-word limit "share an essay on any topic of your choice". Starts with a sentence about chicken biryani! I'd love if you would review it!
41:24@Exaltedrealms:Hey Elias for my essays about encountering failure and obstacles I'm writing about the time that I couldn't install Linux( which is and operating system) on my PC because I kept getting different errors. I want to know if this is unique enough or will be boring to admission officers.
41:47@ziblah:Unrelated to essays but do you think a 14-year-old could get into a t10?
43:22@qwertytrewq:I'm curious about your comment on my essay. Doesn't the fact I mentioned inclusive to all student somewhat answered the "diversity" question?
45:43@qwertytrewq:OK, that's very insightful tips, thank you!
54:05@VSandwar:Thank you for picking my essay! Just for context again here's the prompt I was answering 1. Yale’s extensive course offerings and vibrant conversations beyond the classroom encourage students to follow their developing intellectual interests wherever they lead. Tell us about your engagement with a topic or idea that excites you. Why are you drawn to it? (250 words or fewer)*
70:48@Antibroccoli:Sorry for asking for the second time but i was planning on submitting my essay this Saturday and I would love it if u gave me a final feedback because ur suggestions do mean a lot. The prompt is " whats your thing"
70:57@hauvi:how do we "show not tell" without getting too flowery or wordy?
71:44@summerorbanwrites:Thank you again Elias so much for the review! Don’t worry about being too blunt, I thought my essay was too cringey as well so it was a big help.
72:53@summerorbanwrites:In terms of college updates, I've recently been accepted into Marietta College and Miami University. They're not in my top five, but they're still great schools and I'm so excited I at least got in! Bye Elias!
73:15@Antibroccoli:Sure no problem 😁 thank you
74:11@qwertytrewq:princeton early rejection sadly


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