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June 1, 2024


Navigating the Ivy League Application Process: Insights from Melina Kim

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Navigating the complex world of college admission can be a formidable challenge, mainly when aiming for prestigious institutions like Columbia University and Harvard University. Melina Kim, an alumna of both these Ivy League schools, recently shared her strategic approach to college applications on our podcast, providing valuable insights for prospective students.

Early Aspirations and Academic Strategy

Melina’s journey to the Ivy League began during her high school years in New Jersey. Her initial success set a strong foundation for her aspirations toward elite schools like Columbia and Harvard. Melina advises current students not to lose heart over early academic challenges, emphasizing that Ivy League schools, such as the University of California (UC) system, value an upward academic trajectory. Jump to YouTube section

Strategic Approach to College Applications

Melina applied to 17 colleges, categorizing them into reach, target, and safety schools. This strategy included applications to several UC schools, which share a common application system, thus simplifying her process. Melina's methodical approach to selecting colleges included considering academic fit and cultural atmosphere, which she assessed through campus tours, particularly on the East Coast. Jump to YouTube section

Emphasis on Early Decisions and Actions

One key decision in the college application process is choosing between early action and early decision. Melina opted for early action at Harvard University, allowing her the flexibility to compare offers from multiple institutions without being bound by an early decision commitment. This strategic choice is crucial for students still weighing their options across various universities. Jump to YouTube section

The Significance of Extracurricular Involvement

Melina underscored the importance of genuine engagement in extracurricular activities rather than participation for the mere appearance on a college application. Her involvement in meaningful activities helped her stand out in her applications to both Columbia University and other top-tier institutions, illustrating a well-rounded and authentic student profile. Jump to YouTube section

Overcoming Setbacks and Rejections

Rejection is part of any college application journey, and Melina was no exception. She faced setbacks from universities, including Harvard. She highlighted the importance of resilience, supported by a strong network of family and friends, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle to manage the stress associated with college admissions. Jump to YouTube section

Essays and Recommendations: A Personal Touch

The college essay and letters of recommendation are pivotal to any application, especially for universities like Columbia and Harvard. Melina stressed the importance of choosing recommenders who know the applicant well and writing essays that reflect true personal experiences and aspirations. Jump to YouTube section

Leveraging Resources Like Good Goblin

In her concluding thoughts, Melina praised the benefits of using advanced tools like GoodGoblin, which provides personalized guidance and support to demystify the college application process. Such resources are invaluable for students navigating the complexities of admissions to schools like the University of California, Columbia, and Harvard. Jump to YouTube section