One of my students who was accepted to Yale, Princeton, and Stanford wrote a very nice note to me recently, thanking me for my guidance. The best thing about this note, to my mind, is the fact that she feels strongly that despite my assistance, she was able to take full ownership and credit for her own accomplishments. It was a pleasure to give her some advice, but in the end, she was able to perform at the highest level in every way.
Mark has been an amazing source of support, advice and guidance in all stages of my college application process. There are three areas in particular that I would like to mention.
What I found most helpful from Mark was that he made an effort to get to know me as a person. We talked about my interests, values, beliefs, personality and my relationship with my family. If there’s one thing that most U.S. applicants know, it’s the utter randomness of the process, and the understanding that there is no one application or one Common App essay that fits all – they need to be shaped and molded to fit the particular applicant. Because Mark understood me, not only did he understand what college would suit me, he also knew what kind of application would best represent myself. Most importantly, this meant that our relationship was more like that of two friends, than of a student and a counselor. I always looked forwarded to our Skype calls and enjoyed our conversations (which were always peppered with his signature brand of sarcasm and humor.)
Mark was also particularly helpful when it came to developing my extra-curricular activities. Admissions officers probably root through thousands of jam-packed résumés, spending no more than a couple of minutes skimming through each one. Mark showed me which of my interests should be emphasized, which ones I could build upon and how to best show the colleges what my strengths were. Not only that, Mark gave me ideas that I would not have otherwise thought of, pointed out potential summer activities I could do and competitions that I could take part of related to my areas of interest. At the end of the day, these were my passions and interests, but Mark was vital in helping me communicate and translate these passions in the most effective way possible to the admissions officers.
Finally, Mark helped me eliminate a great deal of stress from the entire process. I remember when I was tearing out my hair the day before my early decision results were announced, no words were more comforting than what Mark said to me. Any questions or doubts that I had, from minute technical details of a particular supplement to big existential crises (that are inevitably bound to crop up every now and then roundabout the time decisions are announced), I knew that I always had a guiding hand that would point me in the right direction.
So, once again, thank you Mark, for being an incredible resource, mentor, and friend.
Y.L.Y., now attending Yale University