With colleges starting up all over the nation, Big Brains would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our former students that are beginning university and to wish them the best of luck. This last year was a banner year for Big Brains students as a group and individually. In particular, a number of students that had been members of our Robotics teams (Mindstorm Masters in First Lego League; and, WASABI Robotics in VEX Robotics) were seniors. We were happy that many of them chose to have Big Brains help them with the application process.
Starting in their Junior year, we worked with KT, ES, PH, ZZ, IK, GH, TO to improve their SAT and ACT scores without having to waste hours and hours grinding thru SAT practice problems and taking and re-taking tests. In one case, our student increased his SAT scores over 400 points between his first and second taking of the SAT with just 22 hours of studying!!!
Throughout High school and, in particular, during their Junior year we were able to guide our students to volunteer opportunities and in competitions (Robotics, Math and DECA) to bring “stand-out” factor to their applications.
When we finally began developing lists where these exceptional students would apply, we dealt with factors like cost, major, school size, scholarship opportunities and simple geographic preference. Each and every kid was able to find exciting options that were affordable (after all, there is no reason to apply to a school if there is no chance a student will be able to afford it) and provided variety and opportunity (Again, there is no point in applying to a school if it doesn’t have a unique factor that would entice a student over their safety school). Among the unique schools that our students applied to were Davidson College (NC), Olin (MA), Oberlin (OH), Whitman (WA), UBC (BC) and Purdue (IN).
After developing our lists came the hard, hard work: writing essays and applications. We developed unique positionings for each student, polished their lists of activities into finished “Brag Sheets” and chose the right essay questions to minimize the number of essays that each student had to write to complete their list of applications. The essay writing process is never easy but some solid research on positioning and re-using applications can make the process much much easier.
After months of hard work, both by us and our students, the applications were sent in and, eventually, acceptances were received. We are incredibly gratified to say that every student we worked with got into at least one of their top two choices! The list of acceptances is humbling: Princeton, Harvard, Yale (2), Stanford (3), MIT, Cal Tech (2), UC Berkeley, UW, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, Pomona, Rice. Clearly, all the hard work was worth it and we expect great things from our students in the years to come.