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February 13, 2022

3 Minutes Read

Hi everyone,

Greetings from New York!

The PCC team came together this week to review and discuss our Mission, Vision, and Values. Having clarity on each helps foster a culture of collaboration, and serves as our company's north star.

🚀PCC's Mission: To find and power the potential of students
The Savvy Applicant is here to do its part. If you have a question you'd like answered, just hit reply and let me know. If you want to to share this newsletter with a friend, use the link toward the bottom of this email. 


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📅 Class Time 


Choosing courses for next year is around the corner and almost all AOs will tell you that the transcript is the foundation of a college application. Where you go to school, the classes you take, and how you performed speak volumes. 

❌Common Mistake: AOs fully understand how widely the rigor of courses and grading can vary. Don't assume that the level of class and grade you've earned directly correlates with their perception of your ability to excel in college.

⚡Admissions Insight: With SAT Subject tests gone, AP and IB exams will take on more importance. However, context matters. Earning a 5 on an APUSH exam while attending a school where most students got a 5 is excellent, but earning a 5 while attending a school where most students got a 3 can be even more impressive. 

🔥Bold Move: Make it known to the teacher of your favorite AP class that, while you want to do well on the standardized AP exam, you're interested in learning about the subject in as much depth as possible. Ask, "what do you think is important, but had to be left off the syllabus since it's outside the scope of the exam?"

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✈️Business Class Admissions 


In the previous Savvy Applicant, I explained how "The Genius Zone" Admissions Strategy is based on modern psychology. It is equally rooted in principles entrepreneurship. 

We live in a culture defined by the marketplace. As consumers, brands vie for our attention and trust in a crowded competitive world. It’s not enough to distinguish themselves with a good product, they must also differentiate themselves in the market.

Therefore, to attract colleges’ attention, think like an entrepreneur and use elements of brand strategy to tell a compelling story.  This encompasses asking questions like “What do you do”, “How do you do it”, and most importantly “Why do you do it.” You can also think of it as an articulation of your personal Mission, Vision, and Values. 

In his book, Zero to One, the well known venture capitalist Peter Thiel asserts that there are two kinds of entrepreneurs (think college applicants)—competitors and monopolists. Competitors try to beat their peers in an existing game, while monopolists seek to create a new playing field without competition. Another metaphor is that in a crowded sea of red, to stand out, look for the wide-open “blue ocean”. 

Most college applicants are not going to avoid the competitive sea of applicants  altogether, but they can swim away from their peers. Your "Genius Zone" is created by deepening, combining, and integrating existing interests— authentically cultivating who you are and connecting the dots. 


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A few more things...


  • 🌿Waiting On Princeton: Highly selective colleges use waitlists to protect their yield and the number of students accepted off waitlists from year to year can be highly unstable. For example, in 2017 Princeton accepted 101 students from its waitlist. In 2018 they accepted none. Here's the data on 8 of the most selective colleges out there.
  • 💰Rankings Reimagined: US News college rankings can be informative yet savvy applicants understand their limitations. For any ranking system to be meaningful, it's important to understand what is being taken into account. A new system has been designed that is primarily interested in measuring ROI and economic mobility. Interestingly, Stanford doesn't fair well

  • 📲Digital Divide: Students who aren't using social media as part of their college admissions strategy are missing an opportunity to compliment their application. Snaps disappear, but you can interact with colleges and invite them to learn who you are on so many other platforms. Read about Kaplan's latest survey on social media in admissions. 

And I'll leave you with a Shakespeare quote that's as relevant for success in the college admissions process as it is in life, and a photo from my all time favorite college library.  

🗣️Quote: "To thine own self be true " - Polonius (Hamlet Act I, Scene III)


📸Photo: It's hard not to feel studious walking across the Columbia campus. 

columbia library