Unfocused ecs

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: February 2003 Archive: Unfocused ecs
By yang-qin on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 08:30 am: Edit

colleges now want just ONE focus?

i haven't deliberately shaved myself into a well-rounded person. it really is just the way i am. as i approach the end of soph'more year it looks like i have to drop some things *msn's cry face*

i need help - at the mo' my ecs group into a couple of categories

athletics -
on the selected team for school in two different annual events - long distance running, and the generally 'athletics' team

debating/writing -
model united nations, debating team (one year only - selective, but school policy - i need help explaining this) with considerable success , writer for school newspaper

musical -
royal schools of music violin grade 8 (highest level) 'w/distinction', (gr 5 theory wiht distinction too)
honors in territory-wide grade 8 (highest level) competition
concertmaster of both school's orchestra - which includes the orch. of the school musicals (then again my school is not really that great musically)

academic -
not especially prestigious school awards: mostly English Literature, awarded to one student in every year
math team

community service -
very paltry...
there's a service group which goes out to old people that was difficult for me to keep beyond my freshman year since i'm not fluent in the dialect spoken at the center and it makes it hard for me to communicate with them and keep them company as i'm supposed to...

so what do i do? what do i drop? what do i develop?
grrrr...i oscillate between 'screw it, i refuse to mold to fit some college filter' and 'ahhhh...panicpanicpaaanicccc'.

such is life, huh?

By cookie on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 12:26 pm: Edit

you should have stuck with the violin, colleges like one focus in ec's.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 01:07 pm: Edit

Cookie, it depends on the college. And some want
both some students who are focused and others who are well rounded.

Btw, if you're interested, I did some research on NYU admissions and have some stuff to share. Give a "bump" to whatever thread it was where we were discussing it. If you're not interested, it's okay. I'm enough of a data junky that I found it worth my while.

By cookie on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 03:18 pm: Edit


By k on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 03:21 pm: Edit

hey i just came here for the first time
whats bump

By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 03:53 pm: Edit

bump = Bring Up My Post

to keep a thread from disappearing so that (one hopes) someone will answer it.

By k on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 03:53 pm: Edit

oh ok thanks

By y-q on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 08:35 pm: Edit

thx thedad, but i suppose the higher tier colleges would go with cookie, huh?

notice i don't particularly excel-excel in them.

cookie -i'd go with violin too, but it seems like all freaking asians play freaking violin...garr and damn.

neway, i'm still a soph- nemore input on a focus?

By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 09:22 pm: Edit

y-g, I really hate stererotypes but my daughter's hs orchestra has so many violinists who are Asian that odds are good you'd hit one with a paper airplane from the balcony seats: 8/21 first violins and 8/22 of the second violins in the top level orchestra. And (flipping through the last orchestra program) the Asians are concentrated in the highest orchestra...the school has four. I don't suppose it's too late for you to change from violin to...French horn? Or the pogo stick?

But, no, the higher colleges I think are all over the map. Harvard is one, from what I've read, looks for some of each; Stanford another.

By fyi on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 09:37 pm: Edit

All depends, My son's friend who plays the
flute. GPA 3.4 , SAT 1300, Accepted Stanford and
Harvard but went to Julliard.

By y-q on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 04:52 am: Edit

lol, fyi!!!
well, if he went to julliard...well, he must have been good...haha...and i bet he was super focused.

i know thedad...darns...maybe if i write a good essay saying how i really do like it - how its expressive and versatile..you know - any violinists here - it can be deep and sweet and its all up to you.

argh, w/e.

even as i ask for a focus, i'm now seriously considering helping out at UCI but that's going to expose me as yet another stereotypical asian with a passion for becoming a doc.

;) and don't tell me to take up a weird career interest like petunia-pruning or smth.

heartening reply tho, thedad, thanks.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 11:50 am: Edit

y-q (sorry about the y-g last time), what are
your grades/GPA like? I'm not reluctant to
offer an opinion but I'm usually hesitant to
suggest where one should/shouldn't apply...it's
an intensely personal decision with too many
variables. But: if your GPA/scores are where
I suspect they are, I think you can do better
than UCI, where the median SAT is around 1200 or a little less.

Otoh...if weird stuff comes to pass, you might
meet my daughter; it's her "safety" school if
for any reason she winds up having to go in-state
and doesn't get into Stanford.

By y-q on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 10:25 am: Edit

haha, no..my mom's a doctor there, but i don't know about meeting your daughter (although she must be wonderful) since i live in China.

grades, grades, grades.

not spectacular.

my courses for two years as of now(i'm a soph): world history, geography, english literature and language (one course), english drama, chinese (as a first language), science (igcse double award), PE, music, math (at the highest level).

freshman midterm- 3 'high As', 5 'low As' (one of them is music), 1 'B' - PE

freshman end of year - exactly the same!

soph midterm - all 'high As', one 'low A' (music)

soph end-of-year:
coming in a couple days.
i'm expecting maybe one B again from PE, but then again maybe not.
high-As: low As

you might be wondering how i could get a low-a in music and a B for PE when you compare the achievements in the ECs ;). for PE, if you're only good in track but not in field, you (i suppose quite reasonably) you can't get above a B. For music, - basically, i have a teacher who really takes the 'high A' as a really, really, high A....(i'm talking avg at least 97%) and doesn't take into account practical performance.

so there it is...looks good if the colleges take the high-a and low-a as As, but not very good otherwise.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 11:47 am: Edit

P.E. grades are generally discounted anyway; I wouldn't sweat the "B." As for the music, some teachers are like that. I would suggest that you make a an audition tape of 2-3 pieces that demonstrate your skill with the violin...make them pieces that demonstrate different aspects of competence...and send the tape to the orchestra director at the colleges you're thinking of applying to. Many colleges welcome players to the orchestra even if they're not planning to major in music.

Preliminary steps: go to the college website--usually www.collegename.edu--and then usue the "search" function for orchestra.

Find the name of the orchestra director and from their use the "directory" function to find his/her e-mail address.

E-mail the director, outlining your interest in the school, describing your musical background, and asking any questions you might have about participating in the orchestra.

Generally, they will e-mail back and at least chat with you and often invite you to send a tape. If they don't invite, ASK.

If they're impressed, they will let the admissions committee know.

By the time you get out of medical school, my doctor will be ready to retire and I may need a new one. :)

Looking forward to being able to say ni hao ma in person someday.

By y-q on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 03:09 am: Edit


thanks for the info : )and for the thoughts.

any ideas on the high-a low-a? i suppose it wouldn't be so unusual considering some of the US schools do A+s and A-s, huh?

By Thedad (Thedad) on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 09:42 am: Edit

Just to wrinkle considerations of the A+, A- further, my daughter's school drops all +/- on transcripts, though they're there on report cards, though some teachers give up and don't assign them in the first place. Makes a B+ really devastating though it saves a high-GPA student from the killing of an A-. I have long been of the opinion that +/- hurts overall more than it helps.

I think the _worst_ they will evaluate your "low A" as is an A-. I know international transcript for beans but I suspect the Admissions officers covering China will be reasonably familiar with the grading system and equivalences. Even within the esoteric area of admissions, international transcripts are off the beaten path.


My daughter heard back from one of the profs with the orchestra at Columbia last night. They're much more formal than Smith but she was issued a pro forma invitation to submit a tape to the maestro at the same time she applies.

She also got a very delayed response from an Admissions officer at Columbia, who in passing apologized but noted that they were very busy right now, as she was sure my daughter knew. My daughter responded, saying it was not a problem and "...I know, because my dad has been reading millions of admissions books (only four!) and tries to tell me about [interesting things he finds] while I'm doing my homework!" LOL!

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