Student Spotlight: The Math Girl

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A highly accomplished student with outstanding grades at a high school which had limited US student outflow. In many ways, she was something of an academic prodigy: she took her first AP test when she was 14 and cleared the SAT with a 2250 when she was 15. That summer, she attended SUMac – a highly selective math camp at Stanford – and subsequently embarked on a major research project with an IIT professor, using Graph Theory to model traffic flow in Delhi for improved emergency response time, founded her school Math Club and started an independent math magazine. Additionally, she participated in a substantial internship with Barclays Bank, founded and led her own NGO “Leap of Faith” working with education and job training initiatives in a small village, and was a talented painter, flautist, and national-level badminton player. 

This student did many things right. She demonstrated a specialised academic passion while managing to participate an impressive array of verifiable extracurricular activities (exemplifying what it means to be a student-plus). but, mostly, she made her own structure to pursue her love of math at an increasingly high level. It is very difficult to do this well (particularly for academics). Most students would only have gotten excellent grades, taken AP tests, and crack the SAT. However, this student demonstrated curiosity and resourcefulness in having independent research options to continue following her love of mathematics.

The Math Girl was unique in that her academic strength and her social service strength were almost identically (very) strong – which is why, when we were helping her decide how to frame her Common App essay, we ended up feeling that her best bet would be to combine these two outstanding aspects of her profile into a coherent whole. Math and social service isn’t something that usually go together, and we found this duality fascinating. Evidently, so did Stanford – as she not only got in via ED, but received a handwritten note about her essays from the Dean of Admissions.