Yale (STEM + Creative Writing)

KP started with IvyZen as an AMC student in the 8th grade. Over 90 percent of our students qualify for AIME and we average 8 USAMO invitees a year. The AMC is a great overall way to differentiate your students from the pack. If your student is in the 5th or 6th grade and has strong aptitude for math, try taking some tutoring lessons for the AMC. 


Fully committed to a STEM theme, KP worked hard to prepare for the AMC. She ended up doing well, but fell short of her goals. Prior to her AMC results, due to family issues, KP’s parents had decided to send her to boarding school. She aimed for the top boarding schools, so we worked on a few different STEM items, including an original math proof-based research paper, which she thoroughly enjoyed, and a coding project. 


Because of their stellar math program, Exeter was KP’s first choice and she had been contacting the math team coach about her interest and achievements in math. However, because her AMC score was a bit lower than expected, everyone began to worry and KP was in full panic mode. 


We believed that her leadership activities, math research, stellar recommendations and coding project were strong overall but also acknowledged that it might not be enough for Exeter. We sat down and brainstormed with the family and the mom asked if her poetry awards could help. We were delighted to hear about KP’s love of poetry and took a look at her pieces. They were very good for her age and we sent them out in droves to numerous literary magazines. 


Within two months, KP had 6 lit mag publications and we adjusted the boardin school app essays to discuss her love of poetry and her publications and various awards. With a little bit of luck, KP was accepted to Exeter. After a few days of celebrating, we met again to discuss her future direction. KP relayed to us that she was still very interested in math and also poetry. She didn’t know that her little hobby could be so effective in terms of elite level admissions. We told her that it would help her for top colleges as well.


We felt that, although KP’s love of math could be channeled into interesting research that could win science fairs, her aptitude for math wasn’t high enough to be part of the Exeter math team, which would help a great deal for college admissions. So we decided to focus on both math and creative writing. For math she would work on AMC, but not direct as much energy to it and lower her goal to just AIME qualification. For creative writing, we wanted her to go all the way.


KP excelled at Exeter because of her leadership talent, work ethic and self-reliance. With our Math Director’s (Kevin Ham) guidance, KP won top honors at local science fairs with her unique and creative math research. At the same time, KP devoted over an hour everyday to her poetry. Despite our best efforts, she couldn’t gain acceptance to Iowa and Adroit or win anything at YoungArts. She just didn’t have the foundation early on for literary art. However, through her hard work and guidance from our Mentors, KP won 12 gold keys and 4 gold medals at scholastic and also earned over 30 publications. 


Her common app essay was a brilliant discussion of how she found creative expression in both math and poetry. It was unique and compelling, exactly what admissions officers look for. Her supplementals focused on social justice policy club, her math research project and the activist work she did with her LGBTQ club. She was deferred from Harvard and we spent a great deal of time working on her LOCI (Letter of Continued Interest) as well as follow up letters updating her application. She also received an additional recommendation from a local politician she had met doing her social justice policy work. 


After a gruelling few months of waiting for the regular decisions, we were all elated to see the acceptance letters from Yale, Columbia and Dartmouth!