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Lokvani College Workshop Presents Tips For Success

Ranjani Saigal







The annual college workshop conducted by Lokvani provided useful tips to high school seniors on the college application process. The workshop was useful for younger high school students who learnt a lot about what to do during their high school years so that they are well prepared to apply to colleges of their choice.


Director of Admissions at Tufts University,   Allan Clemow and four Indian American students from BU, Harvard, MIT and Tufts provided useful tips and clarifications on the  college application process at the annual college workshop held at Tufts University on Sunday, October 16, 2005.

“Parents should not get in front of the admissions process” said Clemow “the decision of which College to choose should ultimately rest with the student.”  What are some things to keep in mind while filling the college application so that you get accepted rather than rejected? “Make sure that the application is reflective of who you are as a person. The application is about trying to tell the school about what they should know about you rather than about writing what you think they want to hear. Do not write essays about your relatives. The “grand parent” essay is a really bad choice.” said Clemow. 

Is taking AP courses a good idea? Clemow felt that taking them indicates academic preparedness. What if there are not too many AP courses offered in the school system? “The admissions office is fully aware of the characteristics of the different school systems.  We only want to see that you have made full use of the opportunities offered to you. We want to see that you have taken the most challenging courses offered within your school system” said Clemow.

What factors should a student look into before making an “Early Decision(ED)” application? Is there an advantage to applying early? “For many schools the early decision pool is slightly less competitive but there are schools for who the early decision pool is actually more competitive. I urge you to check with school. For those looking into financial aid, one must be aware that merit or talent based scholarship are often not awarded to ED applicants.”

Neha Uppal, a freshman (Pre-Med) at Tufts said that she had created a scrapbook highlighting her accomplishments and included it in her application form. She had applied to seventeen schools but since she got accepted through the early decision process, she had to withdraw her applications.  She felt that if she had to do it again, she may not apply to so many schools.

Dhruv Maheshwari is a freshman(Applied Math) at Harvard. He is the Presidential Scholar from New Jersey. While the public school he went to offered only six APs, he spent his summers taking college courses to get more AP credits which he thinks stood him in good stead. He also took up research internships at Universities during the summers  through out high school. He was very actively involved in the Vivekananda Kendra in his area and was passionate about the work he did with that institution. He was accepted early to Harvard. 

Vidya Venketaraman is a sophomore (IR and Public Health) at BU. “I would urge everyone to select their safety school carefully. There is a possibility that you will land up at the safety school and hence it should be one that you want to go to. Make sure you look at the programs in the schools before you apply. Do not apply just because it is a good school” said Vidya.  She strongly seconded the opinions on early decision. “Originally I wanted to major in film and hence I applied to NYU which is very competitive in my area. Even though I got accepted I had to turn it down and pick a school (BU) that offered me a full-ride. If I had applies through the early decision process this opportunity would not have opened up to me” said Vidya.

Shreya Dave, a freshman from MIT said she never had spent summers doing extra research or courses. “I am very passionate about environmental engineering and I think my application was able to convey that. I did not take any extra courses but during my high school years I did take the environmental club to the next level”

“This workshop was excellent. I was able to get many questions answered and received clarifications on many topics” said Vineet Nijhawan, President of TIE who attended with his wife Deepti and two sons.

Lokvani has run this workshop for four years and every year we learn something new. The director of admissions and the students present insights which are wonderful. For those who missed this event, keep a look out for it next year. This is especially useful for people with children who are just starting high school so that you can plot a roadmap for the high school years.

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Anil Saigal, Dhruv Maheshwari (Harvard), Shreya Dave (MIT), Vidya Venkataraman(BU) and Allen Clemow

Neha Uppal (Tufts)

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