Observing Stanford Reception…


Over the past decade, Aim High Academy has taught numerous students with SAT/ACT scores in the top percentiles. Nivedha Soundappan is one such student who excelled on her college entrance exams. A soon-to-be graduate from Houston County High School, Nivedha, an Aim High alumni, worked tirelessly throughout her high school career to fulfill any inkling of potential she found within herself. During her high school tenure, she has undertaken (and successfully completed) 12 AP courses despite students being able to take a maximum of 16. During the first semester of her junior year, Nivedha was able to achieve a perfect super-score on the SAT.
With her combination of academic achievement and extensive exposure to extracurricular activities, she was accepted to the following institutions: Stanford, Princeton, California Institute of Technology, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Duke, and Georgia Institute of Technology. If she chooses to attend Georgia Tech, she will be eligible to receive a presidential scholarship for all four years of undergraduate coursework in addition to a $15,000 scholarship.
Nivedha has stated that attending Aim High Academy for the Fall Hybrid program helped her immensely in being accepted to such a list of prestigious academic institutions. In an interview with the star student, it was revealed that the guidance from Aim High’s teachers definitely improved her overall test-taking ability, speed in solving mathematical problems, essay writing skills, and reading comprehension. At the time, Aim High was located in the heart of Duluth, GA, but Nivedha’s parents put in the necessary effort in driving her to and from Duluth.

After getting a perfect super-score on the SAT early on, Nivedha was able to concentrate more on positions and activities to separate herself from the rest of the pack. Aim High Academy was able to provide assistance to Nivedha so that she may unlock her full potential without the added stress of test preparation in the last half of her high school years. Aim High believes it is always possible to maximize a student’s SAT/ACT score as long as a few criteria are met: motivation, parental support, and guidance. In order to thrive in an academic environment, a student will need to draw motivation from his or herself, in tandem with the assistance of family and teachers. With the help of Aim High’s rigorous instruction, Nivedha was able to take full advantage of her high school years by focusing on developing her personality outside of school.
Along with her stellar academic achievements, Nivedha participated in several extracurricular activities and organizations. In the summer of 2016, Nivedha attended a summer internship at Yale for their astrophysics program. One of her primary goals once out of high school involves studying aerospace engineering, and her passion for it remains strong. She has been a participant of the Future Business Leaders of America for 6 years. She held official positions during her 10th and 11th grade years, including a position as regional president. Her leadership qualities do not stop there, as she was also the co-founder of the Women’s Empowerment Club. As co-founder she acted as a host to instruction for women’s defense, as well as academic support for the women of Houston County High School. Also of note is her membership in the National Honor Society, for which she has actively participated in a fundraiser to raise $1500. Even her non-leadership activities provide insight into her personality. She plays the piano, competes in tennis, and even has intimate knowledge of aviation.

Stanford Reception:
I had received an invitation from Nivedha to attend a reception for students admitted to Stanford University in April 8th 2017. Some of the students in attendance were already committed to Stanford, but others, like Nivedha, were still undecided. The purpose of the reception seemed to be to provide students with insights from alumni. The reception was hosted by university alumni as well as one of the admissions officers from Stanford. Approximately 20 students were in attendance, but each student had a noteworthy personality. One student was a self-declared “tree-lover,” with her main focus being the environmental sciences. Another student already had ownership of three businesses, which displays entrepreneurial promise. One other student’s love for cats was strong enough for her to base her application essay on it. Evidently, students from many walks of life are welcome to attend Stanford University, but there is a commonality between them. They were all very well-rounded academically, but most of their efforts were focused on certain aspects of their personality.
Admissions jumped from approximately 25,000 incoming freshmen to over 44,000 within the past year, so Stanford has become even more competitive compared to previous years. I had an opportunity to speak with an admissions officer, so I asked him whether students who take less attempts for a desired SAT/ACT score were preferable to students who take several attempts. He assured me that there is no such preference. In order of importance, the officer listed the following as the determinants for acceptance: High school GPA, SAT/ACT super-scores, AP classes, leadership qualities, unique club activities, and character. The primary criteria for acceptance into prestigious colleges seems unchanged. Students should not refrain from taking the SAT/ACT multiple times in pursuit of a better super-score, as the admissions officer made it clear to me that multiple exam attempts does not affect the perception of an applicant.
 

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