Les Grandes Personnes Aiment Les Chiffres

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.


I grew up in a nonreligious household, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve been taught to worship my academics as the key to my success in the future. Instead of praying 5 times daily or memorizing biblical verses, nearly every day my mother and I would sit down with workbooks she bought, always with Clip-Art pictures of apples and pencils on the cover. Through countless addition problems and grammar exercise after grammar exercise, my mother – almost militantly – assured that my reading, writing, and math skills were always 2 grade levels ahead. Instead of a Bat Mitzvah or confirmation, my rites of passage were making the national spelling bee and scoring at the 93rd percentile on the SAT in 8th grade.

Why? Because just as devout Christians work for salvation, or Buddhists and Hindus struggle to attain nirvana, I have labored along the path toward a Holy Grail (an Ivy League education) and a vague fruition that my parents define as a prosperous career. As they love to say, my high school education is “laying a foundation for the rest of my life”.

I bought into this belief, reading Wikipedia article after Wikipedia article on the college admissions process. In 7th grade, I could recite all the names of the Ivy League...

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