University Case Study: Amy

Added on: 2017-05-05Share on :

For the Fall 2017 application season one student stood above the rest. Amy, a straight A student of BE Education, has received offers from 10 highly selective and prominent universities. in the end she decided to attend Boston College. Boston College is ranked 22 on Forbes’ ninth annual America’s Top College survey, joining seven of eight Ivy League universities among the top 25. Now this great success begs the question, what made her stand out from the thousands of other applicants? What characteristics does she possess that made her so desirable to all of these great schools?


“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” ---By Nietzsche


This pretty girl is almost like an offer reaper who has an incredibly high successful rate of application.



The 10 highly selective universities giving Amy offer are as follows:




University of British Columbia


University of California, Davis



University of California, Santa Cruz


Boston College


Northeastern University


New York University



Parsons The New School for Design



University of California San Diego



University of California,Irvine


University of Washington



Offer Letter


*at the request of schools and to respect the privacy of our clients, we do not publish acceptance letters.   Copies can be found at all of our offices if of interest.


She finally chose to go to Boston College, the top 5 university in Boston and one of the 25 new ivies in the US, enjoying the same reputation with MIT and Harvard. What made her stand out from the thousands of other applicants? What characteristics does she possess that made her so desirable to all of these great schools?



Suggestions from Amy when applying for college


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 Amy has always had an active lifestyle. When she was 12 years old, and with the assistance of BE, she went to Oakham School in England where she joined their IB Program. 


The main entrance of Oakham



“I learnt a new way of thinking”



Amy said, "In the beginning I chose Oakham School because I wanted to join their IB program, and my BE teachers told me that Oakham's IB program is one of the best. Additionally, I liked the environment there"


While in the IB program, Amy took classes in environmental science, English language, math, economics, and Spanish. She said that these classes really helped her broaden her horizons and expand her knowledge on how the world operates. However, most importantly her studies helped her acquire a new way of thinking, which has been extremely helpful for applying to US universities.





Amy also admitted that while she enjoys trying new activities, and also considered herself quite brave, she still felt a bit lost when faced with a totally new environment. "Oakham only has a few Chinese students in the school, and the overall Asian community accounted for below 5%. Additionally, the school is located in a small town with no Chinese restaurants and supermarkets. It's really an all-English environment to me, and I missed home so much" said Amy as she recalled her early days at Oakham. 


To cope with the loneliness, Amy strived to keep herself busy. Outside the classroom, she studied art, participated in community service, went on camping excursion, joined the badminton team, and practiced piano. After countless hours of piano practice, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music certified she was a grade 8 piano player. As time went on, all of the extra effort Amy put into her studies and extracurricular activities paid off. Not only was Amy succeeding academically, she was also committed to a number of extracurricular activities which helped develop and shape Amy into an ideal applicant for US universities.




“Maybe because I am comprehensively developed”


US universities are looking for students who not only work hard in the classroom but also work hard at their extracurriculars. This means finding a focus point and a passion, which for Amy was her art work, while also advancing to leadership positions. For example, not only did Amy participate in camping excursions, she also led other students on these trips. However, out of all the extracurriculars, Amy participated in her art work that she valued the most. She was awarded an art scholarship when she enrolled at Oakham, so for five years she developed her art abilities by creating many new pieces of work. These five years of training really made her stand out from other applicants.


To impress admission officers, Amy gathered some of her best and most favorite work to create a portfolio. Not only did she need the portfolio for some schools, but she sent it along as supplementary material to others. The results of her portfolio were quite satisfactory because Parsons: The New School for Design, not only offered her admission but they also offered her a scholarship.



Boston College


 The importance placed on extracurricular activities reveals a brutal fact: if you want to become a competitive applicant for US universities, academic grades are only the basic requirements. What pushes you over the edge and makes you stand out to admission officers is what you have achieved outside the classroom. 



Don't let your essay set within the framework


In addition to grades and extracurriculars, the application is also an integral part of what makes a good applicant. The only way Amy could "talk" to the admission officers at all 10 of these universities was through her application essays. Writing these essays was a great undertaking for Amy for many reasons. First, she was currently going to school in the UK and had little knowledge of the US application system. Second, she needed to write over 10 essays, and finally she also had to write her essays while keeping up with her regular school classes and extracurriculars. This is where BE Education offered their support. Via Wechat, and during her holidays from school she would meet with a BE foreign consultant who would first familiarize her with the US application system, and then help her brainstorm and edit all her essays. In the end, Amy was very appreciative of all the hard work her foreign consultants put into helping her with the US application process. 





"I want to thank Anne, for her endurance of the time difference between us and for improving my essay over and over again; I also want to thank Hao, who planned my whole overseas study, who told me when and what to submit, how to upload the recommendation letter to common app," said Amy. At this point Amy seemed a bit embarrassed because then she stated, "I have procrastination issues. Many times, I would see Anne and Hao leave me messages on Wechat, urging me to hand in materials."


While going through her essays, Amy started to also form her own idea on how to write application essays. She maintained that the essay cannot be limited to staying within the framework. You may be taught how to organize your essay in three paragraphs, each with a topic sentences, but if you always do that, your essay would never stand out. 




"US university admission officers have to view many applications. If your essay fails to be distinctive from others, how do you expect to impress them?" Amy said pointedly. 


Out of all the essays Amy had to write, the one she was most satisfied with responded to the prompt: “Describe an experience that totally changed your world view”. She talked about the first time she ever rode in a taxi. When she was around ten years old, she went out shopping with a friend until very late. Once she realized how late it was she asked if her friend could ride with her in a taxi to send her home, but her friend said no. Amy’s parents had always warned her to not get into a stranger’s car, but when she was left with no choice she had to take a chance and called for a taxi. In the end, the taxi driver was very friendly and delivered her safely home. 


Amy reflects on the experience saying, “Maybe it means little to some people, but it means a lot to me. I realized that you have to experience something yourself before you can call it dangerous and that you shouldn’t blindly abide by everything your parents say”.





In the end Amy’s willingness to try new things influenced her university choice. She decided to enroll in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences at Boston College. She is excited to go to college and is looking forward to her future. She believes that going to a US university gives her more choices not only in her studies but in her future as well. There is no doubt Amy will be just as active in Boston College’s school community as she was in Oakham’s school community.