My Opus College Prep helped guide me to getting into The Cooper Union, the university of my dreams.
Up until my junior year in high school, I hadn’t given college admissions much thought because my family wanted me to go to school in my country. That changed with time and suddenly I was far behind in the process to apply to a college in the United States. My high school experience until then involved writing for school publications, Model United Nations, and debating activities.
It was towards the start of my second semester in junior year when my journey with Opus College Prep started.
I hadn’t thought a lot about my major but I knew I wanted to study architecture and/or engineering at a rigorous and selective institution. My parents felt engineering would offer a safe career choice, but I was torn and considered architecture as my future career.
My Opus College Prep Admissions Coach became the most invaluable person without whom I would not have been able to make it to an institution that was once a dream. She spent time getting to know me, my interests and what makes me unique. Her guidance helped me solidify my thoughts about who I was, what I wanted to study, and, thereafter, which colleges would be a good fit for me.
At the same time, she suggested I look into one of the top architecture schools in the country-The Cooper Union. I had never heard of it before, but researching it on Niche and other college websites like Youvisit and the Fiske Guide to Colleges, I realized that getting into Cooper Union was going to take work. The Cooper Union, I realized, is one of the most respected, rigorous, highly selective, and financially affordable schools that focuses on engineering, art and architecture. It would offer me an exceptional education in architecture and engineering. We added the college to my list but marked it “Super Reach/Dream” on the spreadsheet where we shared information about schools. I knew that getting into The Cooper Union wasn’t going to be a cakewalk and began working toward it.
Throughout the year, she sent me useful information and offered guidance on how I could craft a strong application. We spent hours brainstorming together to craft a selective range of experiences for my school year that would put me at level with other applicants, considering my late start. I applied to summer programs at US colleges to broaden my scope, registered for AP exams outside of my regular school curriculum, and competed in prestigious Olympiads.
My counselor was one of my biggest cheerleaders during this process, and it was only with her support and guidance that I became a regional qualifier for the International Math Olympiad and placed among the top 200 people in the world at University of Waterloo’s Sir Isaac Newton Physics Competition, a competition I hadn’t been aware of at that point.
My grades were above average and none of my activities remotely resembled my choice of major. That being said, my involvement in school clubs and leadership positions added some weight to my application.
The summer before senior year was really busy. We were in a lockdown due to the pandemic and I was attending 3 different summer programs online throughout the summer. At the same time, I was working had to develop a portfolio of art work for my application to architecture schools. My counselor helped me brainstorm ideas for my portfolio, reviewed and critiqued my art work and helped me curate a portfolio with a selection of my best pieces.
By then, I felt that she really knew me and trusted her opinion on things. Post my summer school experiences, I was more confident in my application and knew exactly what to do moving forward. I spent a great amount of hours on my essay drafts and my counselor spent time reviewing and discussing each one of them in detail. She was always willing to meet with me and discuss any concerns / offer her feedback on things. I love to write but it was my first time writing a personal essay and my counselor understood that. She offered suggestions that helped me tie my academic and extracurricular achievements to my personal life and future aspirations.
My counselor also assisted me by molding my professional personality. She taught me how to write professional emails, network with individuals and reach out to university professors. With the help of Opus College Prep, I was able to turn the game in my favor in less than a year, something that I never thought I could do. I became more confident, started to realize what drives me and the things I value. Opus helped me find the most financially viable solutions for my college search including scholarship applications and aid. My counselor’s excitement with each achievement, big or small, showed how invested she was in my success. On the other hand, her consolation and faith in me despite several roadblocks kept me motivated. By the end of the process, I was happy with every application I submitted and the choice of my college.
My counselor stuck with me until the very end and was perhaps more thrilled than I was when I told her I got accepted to The Cooper Union, my “Reach/Dream.”I am really grateful to have been an Opus College Prep student as my counselor not only had an impact on my college admissions but also my personality, attitude, and personal life. She helped me find a college where I fit so seamlessly, something that I would not have been able to find for myself alone.