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7 months ago
Admissions Advice
Discussion
AMA
collegevine
Interview

Introducing CollegeVine AMAs!

Hey everyone, happy Friday!

June is finally here which means school is almost out for most of you. I'm sure everyone is looking forward to the start of summer, we're just over two weeks away from its official start! As a way to celebrate the approach of summer we're going to try something new: CollegeVine AMAs.

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, AMA stands for "Ask Me Anything" and is similar to an interview. The person running the AMA is asked questions from the community and then they provide answers to those questions. We think there are a lot of fun things we could do with this down the line so we're going to do a few and see how they go.

We're going to start off our AMAs with some of our livestream hosts. You might be familiar with them already but this will be a great time to ask further details about their schools, careers, interests, etc. If you've ever asked a question on a livestream and didn't get an answer here's your second chance.

First up is Elias Miller!

Elias is now in his fourth year at CollegeVine, He has helped dozens of students gain acceptance to their top-choice schools and has also advised and mentored thousands more through his livestreams. Apart from his work at CV, he is also a professional conductor and a multi-instrumentalist. He currently serves as the music director of the Apollo Ensemble of Boston, and he has led symphonic concerts and operatic productions throughout the United States. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 2017 with a concentration in music, and he recently completed his Master's in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Michigan in 2020. He currently resides in Vienna, Austria, where he is pursuing his postgraduate diploma in orchestral conducting at the University for Music and Performing Arts, Vienna.

Initially interested in pursuing a career as a performing cellist, he began college in the Tufts University/New England Conservatory Dual Degree Program. Unhappy with the combined program and worried he'd never feel like he was fully a student at either school, he logged back into CommonApp.org in October of his freshman year. He can't say he went about the transfer process in the smartest way (he only applied to two schools!), but Harvard miraculously accepted him (or 'excepted me' as he wrote in a celebratory Facebook post that day - no one has ever let him live that one down), and the rest was history.

When not busy working or conducting, Elias loves to go hiking. Some of his favorite spots include the White Mountains in NY, New York's Adirondacks, and the Colorado Rockies. Elias has some great stories to tell! Consider asking about the time he had to conduct with only 15 minutes notice (and not knowing the piece) or his time living in Vienna. Personally, I would ask him about his thoughts on the phrase "spikey beats renaissance."

We're going to leave this post pinned for at least a week to give you all plenty of time to submit questions but that doesn't mean you need to wait a week for an answer - Elias will make sure to check in and answer throughout the week.

And with that, ask away!

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7 months ago[edited]

My Question - What were other colleges that you were considering in attending?

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7 months ago

Hey @Marbella! The first time around, I applied almost exclusively to dual and double degree programs, because I was hoping to pursue majors in both chemistry and cello performance. I applied to the Tufts/NEC, Harvard/NEC and Peabody/Johns Hopkins dual degree programs and also to schools like Northwestern, the University of Michigan, and Indiana University Bloomington where I could have pursued simultaneous academic and music performance degrees. I applied to Columbia and Princeton as well, but I would've only considered attending them if I didn't get into any music schools.

The second time around, I only applied to Harvard and Columbia!

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7 months ago

My question: If you weren't doing music and pursued a different major/career,

1. do you still think you could have gotten in to Harvard?

2. what would that major/career choice be?

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7 months ago

Hi @McKellarr! Your first question is maybe too hard for me to answer. My life has revolved around my musical pursuits since I was a little kid. If I hadn't done much music, my applications would've looked completely different. I had the grades and SAT scores to be competitive at schools like Harvard, but, of course, this is not an assurance that I would've gotten in. It would've depended at least partially on how I structured my extracurricular resume in the absence of musical activities.

For your second question, I certainly would've pursued a chemistry major! I actually applied to Harvard as a chemistry major the first time around (I was wait-listed, not accepted). I'm not sure if I would've gone the med school route or tried to do a PhD, but I found both those paths very interesting. These days, though, if I were to give up music and try to do something else, I think I'd go to business school.

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7 months ago

How does top tier LAC education (tufts) compare with Ivies academic wise?

For Harvard Tufts Michigan (undergrad - what you noticed of undergrad) how does the level of elitism vary?

Then somewhat personal what cuased to work with collegevine? College job? :-)

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7 months ago

Hey @DebaterMAX! Personally, I think that nothing really surpasses the level of teaching at liberal arts colleges. What could be better than having famous professors who are specifically hired to teach undergraduates? At larger universities, the quality of the teaching varies more, and you often have graduate students instructors (TAs) grading your work and doing a lot of the teaching, while your professors mostly work with their PhD candidates. That said small schools can be rather limited in their course offerings.

I should also mention that Tufts is not technically a LAC (it's a small university) and that not all the Ivies are the same! Harvard definitely fits into the large research university mold, but Brown and Princeton, for example, are much more focused on undergraduate education.

I'm curious what you mean by the 'level of elitism.' I think for example, that some Harvard students have fairly elitist attitudes towards non-Harvard students. However, within Harvard, leaving aside the final clubs, I found that people generally had great respect for one another.

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7 months ago

As for Collegevine, I'd applied to college myself a few times, and also unofficially mentored a few friends through their application processes. I thought I knew a good deal about what worked and didn't work, and I thought doing this kind of work would be incredibly rewarding. Also, my girlfriend told me I should get a job.

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7 months ago

:-) Thanks for responding. For the elitism I just heard more than a few stories about Harvard being so full of wealthy that I wanted an answer who attended there not a random blog

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7 months ago[edited]

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7 months ago

Hey! Cool information, thanks! I will participate :)

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7 months ago

Please fix High school rigor section on the chancing system which takes into account the classes available in high school and local college

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7 months ago

My question is: Do you think that ACT/SAT scores matter more than GPA in the eyes of colleges? I am asking because I have a competitive GPA(4.0) but my ACT/SAT score aren't that pretty.

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