The Waiting Game: No one wants to play it, but you should know the rules.

What to do while you wait....

What to do while you wait....

The Waitlist-What it is and the Strategies to Successfully get chosen off of it:


First: you must be realistic, it may not happen. Psychologically, you may want to start thinking strongly about the second choice and really start planning to be there. Logistically, you NEED to make a final choice for ONE school by MAY 1st and pay the deposit and complete any “Intent to Register” formalities.


Regardless of whether you stay on the waitlist at one or more schools, YOU MUST DECIDE ON ONE COLLEGE BY MAY 1ST AND PAY DEPOSIT TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT SOMEWHERE. If you end up getting off of the wait list, then you can choose to go to the “wait list” school by informing the other school that you deposited at that you are not coming. You will only loose the deposit.

What is a waitlist? The waitlist is a device used by schools to hedge their admissions results. Every program starts the admissions cycle with two critical projected numbers: applications and enrollments. These two "start and finish" numbers inform all of the key pieces of data for that program: acceptance rate, yield rate, financial aid metrics, and so on.

Even when those key numbers become solid (when the enrollment management committee sets an enrollment number and the application pool is finalized), there are still moving parts, because the admissions committee must project what the yield rate (the number of admitted students who ultimately enroll) will look like in order to ascertain how many students to accept. If the yield projection is too low, the school will over-enroll in the fall. On the other hand, if the yield projection is too high, the admissions office will be scrambling to fill the class.

This is where the waitlist comes into play. Obviously, if a program needs to add students at the late stages of the admissions process, they need to have "hot" leads. So when the committee makes decisions on students, they are always sure to keep a number of students in the mix, just in case they need to go and recruit from that pool anew. Therefore, the waitlist is - in its simplest form - a hedge against a bad yield projection.

The waitlist can also be a "soft deny" (a way to let people down easy), a built-in part of the process (winnowing down hundreds of second tier candidates to determine which fifty really want to get in), or even just the fulfillment of the status quo (after all, everyone has a waitlist), but the purest use is as a mechanism for the admissions office to course correct. It's as simple as that.

What is the timing like? Once you know how a waitlist works, the next step is understanding when it will work. At some schools, there may be internal, telltale signs early in the process that they aren't going to hit their enrollment numbers and an aggressive waitlist admissions campaign might begin early. Other programs will think they are golden until the last minute, when the big wave of enrollments never comes. Those are the schools that have to really scramble. Either way, you want to get on the record early and often, expressing your continued interest in the program. If and when the school starts to reach out to waitlisted students, you want to be at the top of the queue.

How can you tell if a school will be going to its waitlist? Sometimes you don't know right way (at least not until waitlisted candidates start chattering on message boards), but there are other times when you can forecast a school going deep into its waitlist. For starters, you can look at recent trends and see how schools have done yielding a class. In particular, look to the previous year and then make an educated guess based on the inverse of that prior year. Schools are very reactionary, so if they yielded tremendously well for the incoming fall 2008 class, you can bet that they were aggressive in building their yield projection for this current cycle. Could be a good waitlist bet. On the contrary, a school that hit the waitlist hard last year is not very likely to admit a lot of students off the waitlist this year, because their reaction is the complete opposite - to get conservative and shrink the projected rate.

What is the one thing the school wants to know most about me as a waitlist candidate? Pure and simple, they want to know if you will enroll should they accept you. It sounds a bit crude, but the time for high-level matchmaking is largely over - at this stage, the admissions committee simply wants to figure out whether you will be a "one-for-one" conversion. A "one-for-one" refers to the idea that each admitted student off the waitlist will enroll in the program. This is extremely important for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the impact it has on the admissions numbers that the school must report at the end of the process. Each additional acceptance letter raises the ever-important acceptance rate and each admitted student that does not enroll further drops the yield rate. Once a program goes to the waitlist (especially if it is unplanned), they are already fully engaged in damage mitigation. Therefore, their primary concern is identifying qualified students (again, this is the value of the waitlist - you can stock a pool of candidates who are all qualified) who will enroll if given the chance.



As mentioned, the most important thing is that the College wants to pick students who will actually come. Many students stay on the wait-list because they are “keeping score” (just want to see where all they get in). Some because they do it as a “knee-jerk” reaction, but then get into a school that they prefer and never take the effort to inform the school they want to go off of the wait-list. And then there is YOU, the kid who actually wants to GET IN! So we want to communicate to the school that you are in this third bucket!

Steps to follow:

While this is a delicate process of walking the razors edge of showing persistence without annoying them, you do want to show them through your efforts and things that you send in that you are willing to work to get in. The kids in the first two buckets above will not bother to do this. So, below are steps that you can send lots of things that will not be gimmicky or annoying.

Send in the response that you want to stay on the waitlist as soon as possible.

Compose a longer letter to remind the school of your strengths and inform them of any recent accomplishments, awards, honors and work that you have done since you applied. If you will have any grades for Finals completed you can have your high school fax those to the school. Or if you have good grades from any Mock Exams, have those sent.

Let the admissions office know—again—why you make a great fit with this school in particular. It can’t hurt to visit the school if possible, call occasionally, or offer to interview.

Get another recommendation or reference letter if you can. This is especially helpful if the person writing the letter can provide reasons why you make a good candidate for this particular school. This is particularly effective now because it is connecting to just one school as opposed to all of your schools as it was initially

Ask the college what you can do to bolster your chances for acceptance. You may not get any useful information out of this, but it can’t hurt to ask. This approach works successfully for many applicants each year and is another reason to reach out to the college, hence showing them how much you want them.

I have had students in the past who have created short videos of why they should get in, compose songs or small video games. Anything creative will show how much you want it!

Send in something separate that again highlights the GREATEST achievement in your personal brand, just to remind them of this super KEY achievement.

Review the Common Data Sets for the colleges that you are waitlisted at. This will give you and idea of how possible it is for you to get in. You can google: particular college + common data set + waitlist and get it. For instance, here is the common data set for Stanford:

Not a very promising example in that Stanford accepted 0 people from Wait List, but helpful in that it shows that this would not likely be a college to hold your breath for:

Total first-time, first-year (freshman) men who applied: 20,464
Total first-time, first-year (freshman) women who applied: 18,364
Total first-time, first-year (freshman) men who were admitted: 1,147
Total first-time, first-year (freshman) women who were admitted: 1,061

Total full-time, first-time, first-year (freshman) men who enrolled: 904
Total part-time, first-time, first-year (freshman) men who enrolled:
Total full-time, first-time, first-year (freshman) women who enrolled: 773
Total part-time, first-time, first-year (freshman) women who enrolled:

C2. Freshman wait-listed students (students who met admission requirements but whose final admission was contingent on space availability)
Do you have a policy of placing students on a waiting list? Yes

Number of qualified applicants offered a place on waiting list: 814

Number of wait-listed students who accepted a place on the list: 576

Number of wait-listed students admitted: 0

Is your waiting list ranked? No


But most importantly, start thinking about your “birds in hand”, colleges that you got into. There is no point in holding out hopes for a Wait List school. Work hard to convince them and then move on with your life until that decision is available.


Choosing the schools you will apply to...

Choosing Your College List!!

So this is the time of year that 12th Graders should really have chosen all of their schools they will be applying to in the Fall.  Many students have a hard time deciding on their final choices.  I want to address this in this edition of the CollegeSource Blog.

I think that one of the biggest problems is that students like to do this backwards.  That is, they question whether they will get into a college, based on it’s popularity, it’s average SAT scores, it’s Aura!!  I think that the best place to start is with your own preferences.

As we remind our students at CollegeSource over and over, this is a great opportunity for self exploration.  You will feel so much more empowered if you “own” this process and choose your schools based on what you want.  Some of the larger categories to think about in terms of preferences would be:

Academic Life:  What are your academic interests? Not necessarily your “Major”, that may change and is one of the great things about the flexibility of the US Undergrad program, just think about what areas are you interested in.  What is your academic ability? We often think that getting into the most selective college, whether we are academically capable of dealing with it or not, is the best thing.  But just ask an overwhelmed student mid way through the semester what he thinks of this logic.  Sometimes it might be better to be the BIG fish in a Smaller pond.

Size. If you thrive at a small school where there is a lot of individual attention, you may not be happy at a large university. Larger schools may be very exciting, have amazing sports and a huge choice of great majors and professors, but if you prefer smaller classes and getting to know your faculty, a smaller college might be a better fit.

Location and Setting. This includes geographical area as well as setting: rural, suburban, urban.  Try to imagine what it will be like in those environments and weather.  Remember, you will be there for 4 years!!  if you like to be near theater, museums, and nightlife, you may want to reconsider a rural college that has little access to the cultural offerings of a city-based school.

Social Life/Extracurricular Activities. Making friends and meeting new people is a vital part of college life, so you will want to consider whether a school is coeducational or single sex; the ratio of males to females; or the general student-body atmosphere. If sports and clubs are important to you, be sure that that school has a variety of extracurricular activities.

After you have made a list of things that constitute your “preferences”, you may want to look into your constraints:

Admission Standards. After you've completed your personal evaluation-taking into consideration your course-work, test scores, class ranking, general academic strengths, as well as your outside interests-you must honestly decide whether you are eligible for admission to a particular school.  Again, I would urge you to really question schools that are a major stretch for you academically.  If you do get in, will it be worth it to have to work like a dog just to be in the bottom third of class?

Cost. For International students, financial aid is limited.  If cost is an issue, definitely understand the institutional aid offered at the school.  You may also want to look into public schools in the mid-west region of the US, they tend to be less expensive.  I would like to de-mystify one myth I have heard in India many time, “it is easy to get into the Top schools if you can pay for it”.  This is not true, they have plenty of applications in the “no-need” category.  However, it is true that it may be more difficult in many schools to get admission if you cannot pay for it.  The reason is that they may not have enough money to offer you and would then think that you would not be able to come.  Therefore, they would rather say no to you than you say no to them.

So, where do you find all of this information?

Many students get frustrated when looking at the college websites and throw up their arms stating, “They all look the GREAT!”  Well, yeah!  They spend loads of money trying to impress you.

Here are some sites that have Student Reviews of schools:

Here you can see many College Videos:

Here is a great survey form based on the preferences described above:

To understand more about average SAT scores and grades of the students getting into various schools, I like to look at US News or The College Board’s site.

US News:


When you see SAT scores listed as 25-75 percentile.  One can generally estimate that if you are in the middle 50%, you have a decent shot.  If you are above the 75th percentile, well, that is pretty likely admit.  Below the 25th percentile, you better have some other amazing hook if you want to get in, and you should consider how it will be to go to school there, given 75% of the students are likely stronger than you academically.

Here is another exploration site that I like:

University of Chicago's new 2013 Essay Questions

"Provocative." "Comical." "Engaging." "Fun!"

These are all words that students have used to describe our uniquely UChicago essay questions. (Yes, this is our attempt to make applying to college “fun.” Or at least a little less stressful.)

Rolling out the maroon carpet to grant you an exclusive sneak peek at this year’s essay questions. This should give you plenty of time to ponder, play, and procrastinate before the application process commences this fall.

The complete UChicago supplement and financial aid details will be available when the Common Application goes live on August 1.

“A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.” –Oscar Wilde.

Othello and Iago. Dorothy and the Wicked Witch. Autobots and Decepticons. History and art are full of heroes and their enemies. Tell us about the relationship between you and your arch-nemesis (either real or imagined).

Inspired by Martin Krzywy, admitted student Class of 2016.

Heisenberg claims that you cannot know both the position and momentum of an electron with total certainty. Choose two other concepts that cannot be known simultaneously and discuss the implications. (Do not consider yourself limited to the field of Physics).

Inspired by Doran Bennett, AB’07.

Susan Sontag, AB’51, wrote that “Silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech.” Write about an issue or a situation when you remained silent, and explain how silence may speak in ways that you did or did not intend.  The Aesthetics of Silence, 1967.

Anonymous submission.

“...I [was] eager to escape backward again, to be off to invent a past for the present." –The Rose Rabbi by Daniel Stern

Present: pres·ent

1. Something that is offered, presented, or given as a gift.

Let’s stick with this definition. Unusual presents, accidental presents, metaphorical presents, re-gifted presents, etc. — pick any present you have ever received and invent a past for it.

Inspired by Jennifer Qin, AB’16

In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, pose a question of your own. If your prompt is original and thoughtful, then you should have little trouble writing a great essay. Draw on your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, sage, citizen of the world, or future citizen of the University of Chicago; take a little risk, and have fun.

So where is Waldo, really?

Inspired by Robin Ye, AB’16.


Thinking about Brown University for Engineering?

Student Brown University in Engineering/Physics Spring 2012:

Brown University Engineering!

1) US news rankings are complete BS. Everyone who goes to college will tell you the same. These rankings tend to rate universities and departments based on the "quality of research" and the amount of money spent on research. This leads to two potential problems: firstly, it is very difficult to judge quality of research. After all you are working on something no one has ever done before so one can't say beforehand whether or not the research will lead to something useful. Secondly, the amount of money spent on research highly depends on the size of the college: the bigger the college the more money spent.

In my unbiased opinion, Brown is very very good. The engineering department is close knit and there is a lot of one on one attention and a lot of freedom for one to pursue what one wants. A fair way to rank a department would be to see the success of their graduates. We have a ~100% acceptance rates for graduates to one of their top three choices for business school. That means you will definitely get in to Harvard, Wharton or Stanford for business if you want after graduation. As for engineering, we send a LOT of people every year to Stanford, MIT and Columbia and at least a few to CalTech.

2) All engineering classes are taught by professors with graduate and undergraduate TAs. On the whole, the classes are well taught. I've never had a problem but some times you may have a less engaging professor and that could change things, but that's a problem at all universities. In terms of resources, Brown has a single building for physics and engineering with 7 floors of labs. Considering that engineering has ~75 students a year, there are lots of people to work with and a lot of resources that undergrads have access to. At Brown 6000/8000 students are undergraduates so we get a lot of attention.

3) I've been doing research for over 2 years now. I think every Brown student will tell you that getting involved with research is super easy. We have something called the UTRA program which funds research for undergraduates. And the way I got involved with research was a simple email! There are so many labs to chose from and ALL of them are looking for undergrads. I have really enjoyed my time as a research assistant. I mean it's strange because you basically work in a lab with all these grad students and they all treat you like a grad student because you work on similar stuff. 

My research is based on light. We're trying to create an "optical guitar" type thing. When you play a guitar, you press the string down at some point along the frets and you pluck the string to hear a note. If you move your fingers to a different position and pluck the string you hear a different sound. I'm working on doing something similar, but with light. Our "string" is light emitting molecules and we change distances of mirrors from these emitters to produce different frequencies of light.

4) Apart from research you can get involved with projects with other students through student groups. Or you can work on projects with professors and build stuff. For example one of my friends decided to make a boat that could navigate itself. There is a car building team called Brown FSAE, you can look them up. I mean if you think of something you want to do, you just have to drop by a professors’ office and talk to them and they'll help you get the stuff you need. And I'm talking about personal projects!

5) Brown's ME department is actually the best engineering department at Brown and is highly respected in the country. (Also I'm no longer an ME. My concentration is Engineering/Physics but I took loads of ME classes). So ME is divided in to several sub categories: fluids mechanics, solid mechanics etc. Our solid mechanics group is really really top notch. Our professors in ME are all almost exclusively from CalTech, Cambridge, MIT and Harvard. But all that apart, the ME classes are taught extremely well and all include design projects so you actually build stuff too. In your freshman year alone you'll build an exercise machine, a solar car and simulate the launch of a satellite to the moon!!!

6) Doing engineering with economics isn't difficult, but it does take away from the freedom of your education at Brown because both combined have a lot of requirements. I really really enjoy economics and would have done the classes as my elective even if I wasn't a concentrator and so I have had a great time. But as advice, I'd say start off doing engineering and explore the other departments and then pick another concentration. Don't jump for engineering/economics (if you were planning to) straight away. We have awesome departments in Applied Math, CS, geology, Egyptology, and international relations.

7) Excellent question. Let me start of by saying that I don't have a job as yet! But my case is an exception because I started applying very late because I wanted to go to grad school first but then decided to get a job. I might stay on at Brown and finish my Masters in engineering.

Me aside, all the big names come to hire at Brown. To be very honest, your major plays almost no role in what jobs you get unless you are in a specialized field. So you couldn't be a history major and then hope to get a job as an engineer in any company. But if you're looking at consulting, finance it really really really doesn't matter what you study. What they care about is the way you think and of course you need some basic math skills. The people who interviewed me for various consulting and finance jobs had majored in stuff like death studies, anthropology, political science, engineering and Egyptology. And no I'm not making this up!

7) If you do engineering and Econ, yes you take away your freedom. There are around 5-8 classes that you have as electives but compared to the average Brown student that is a lot less.

Now for what I think and some general advice:

Brown is a great place. Everyone that I've met here is very happy. We are one of the happiest colleges in America! What I really like about Brown is that people here are really passionate about what they do. No one is doing stuff to build a good resume/CV, they're doing it because they're actually interested.

The students are friendly and there's a lot of collaboration and less competition. By that I mean that we all study for exams ourselves, then spend a good amount of time discussing the material with each other, teaching each other. The same applies for homework. And the professors here are (for the most part) very warm. They are informal and at the same time great mentors. I've had professors who have waited for me to finish my classes and teach me one on one for an exam the next day. I've had professors who've taken me out for meals, and some even invite you to their houses. That means a lot to me. Having a personal relationship with professors has greatly shaped me as a person because there's no barrier between you and them. They advise you, judge your work and at the same time call you for a soccer game on Sunday!

Most Brown students are dual concentrators. So if you have a range of interests, this is the place for you. The Open Curriculum lets you seriously explore different departments and then if you like more than one, you don't have to jump any "hurdles" or get permission to dual concentrate. You just fill in a form. And the ease of getting involved with research is another thing that I think is special. I'm not sure undergraduates can do research so easily at other colleges, or may be given a small part of a graduate students project. But here I have my own project and the grad students help me!

Academics apart, Brown had a great nightlife and party scene. Providence is a small city with quite a few good restaurants. Boston is 1 hr away and NYC is 3 hours away. Unlike big city colleges Brown actually has a campus with fields and greens. The nice part of Providence is where Brown's campus is located, so you never have to walk more than 5-10 minutes from your dorm to get anything.

I hope this helps. If you have other questions, just write back to me.



Why I chose University of Virginia- over Stanford, Duke, Cornell....

I will be posting several student letters that I have collected over the years from students that I have worked with who have written to current students:

Past student here attended UVa for Physics and is currently in Medical School at George Washington University:

I am glad to hear you are working with Prab – definitely a smart move.  He helped me out during my college search and application process and only great things resulted, so if I may offer you a general piece of advice, it is to listen closely to Prab.
As for why I chose UVa over Stanford, Duke, Cornell and some University of California schools –
In terms of quality of education, I should mention that I was actually advised to make UVa my choice by pretty much every single university professor in physics or a related field (at schools other than UVa I might add), and industry scientist that I spoke to prior to making my choice:

-          I met a University of California graduate school recruiter during my internship at Sandia National Laboratories who was a Stanford graduate.  He explained to me that Stanford is a place you want to go for graduate school, and that I need a real education during undergrad.  I said I was also thinking about UVa, and he says “now that would be the choice to make!”

-          I visited the University of Arizona during one summer and met a physics professor there.  He was the lead for a study to find out which top 10 or so universities had the best undergraduate physics programs in terms of how well the university actually teaches the students.  In no particular order, UVa was on that list.
And so it went on.  I came to understand that there is a big difference between quality of teaching and “top 10 schools according to US News”, in a search for a good program.  As a side note though, UVa is ranked 2nd in US News’ top public schools.  Though UVa may not strike the typical high school student in India as a dream school, it is very well sought after, and highly respected as a world-class institution in the United States.  I have numerous, numerous friends who have turned down schools like Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and pretty much every Ivy League school in the United States to accept a place at UVa.  Both for financial reasons, and otherwise, which I will get to.
In general, UVa is known to be very strong in a wide array of departments, which I feel is especially important in the American education system.  As you may have learned, undergraduates have various basic area requirements that are independent of your major within a college.  That is, in general, you will have writing requirements, humanities requirements, science requirements, language requirements etc. whether you are a politics major or a physics major, so you had better hope science isn’t the only thing the school is good at teaching.  How good do you think a technical school will be at teaching history?  Furthermore, the American college system allows for you to change your mind easily (which happens A LOT), or even double major in a completely different field.   My roommate is an Economics major who discovered a love for Art History here.  He will be double majoring, with Art History as his ‘hobby major’.
One very important reason I chose UVa was the offer I received to join the Echols Scholars Program, which exempts me from all area requirements and gives me priority registration over all other students.  That is a crazy good deal, let me tell you.  In fact, this was a huge factor in my choosing UVa.  I never have to worry about not getting a place in a class, and have been given the privilege to entirely design my education (with my advisors of course) outside of the physics and math majors.
One thing I greatly, greatly appreciate here, is the Honor System, which a huge part of UVa culture.  Basically, all students are bound to not lie, cheat, or steal – a system that was created and run entirely by the student body itself.  Take home exams are commonplace; professors leave the room during exams (and no one speaks!); your word is trusted.  I could go on, but I greatly appreciate the privileges the Honor System gives us.  Student governance is huge here.  Even the University Judicial System is student run.
This e-mail is getting to be some pretty lengthy reading material, so I’ll go easy on you and jot down a few more points and would be more than happy to elaborate on anything that particularly strikes you anywhere in this e-mail, just let me know.

UVa is ranked #1 for fitness (facilities included) in the nation; UVa has an immensely wide array of student clubs and organizations opportunities.  I think of how I wish I had more time to go to this event, and join that club too on a daily basis; UVa has a fantastically well developed system for studying abroad (which you would already be doing I guess) and for just traveling and doing service abroad; UVa has an incredibly rich history – there is so much tradition here and so many amazing benefits to this.
Anyway, just let me know if there is anything above that you would like me to explain further, I would be happy to tell you more (as I have much more to say).  Just let me close my stressing how important it is to find the best fit for you in terms of student life and quality of teaching.  I am sure Prab has talked to you about this, but think about it – you are in college for 4 years and it would definitely nice to be happy during that time.  I have friends who picked the school they thought would be the best choice based on which school they felt had the “best reputation”.  My friend at Johns Hopkins for pre-med is unhappy, my friend at Cambridge (even though it’s in the UK, it still illustrates the same point) is unhappy.  Unhappiness is bad for college, as you may guess.

Advice- SAT Retake? Researcing College List?

This is a letter to a student considering retaking her SAT and also talks about how to go about researching her target list of schools:


Nice improvement! Would still like to see writing higher, but CR and Math more important anyways. Yes, for all schools except the University of California, they take your highest scores from multiple sittings and furthermore could care less about any lower scores. So you can count on your "super score" with the higher math from January!

Whether to take again or not entirely depends on you and whether you think that you would score significantly higher in any of the sections. Looking back on your latest practice tests, these scores seem to be pretty indicative of your practice tests, and therefore, I would say that with the sufficient preparation that you have done (more than 10 practice tests and hours of individual practice!), you hit your expected target range. While further extensive practice may bring the score a bit higher, it is unlikely that it will go that much higher and therefore not really make much of a difference in admissions.

Given your current list though, it does make the upper categories a bit of a stretch, but then they are a bit of a stretch for anyone, regardless of the SAT scores. Remember that the sun does not rise and set on the SAT's alone. It may be time to put this to rest and focus on other elements that strengthen your profile.

Regarding researching universities: it is tough, no doubt about it. The goal is to try to find as many specific things that will align you, your interests and your achievements with the goals of the school. The more unique and uniquely personal, the better. College Prowler is good, but keep in mind that it is using bigger categories, so not likely to have enough particulars. I like College Confidential a lot (Oh, the hours that pass with Prab reading endless threads on College Confidential), but also keep in mind that it is user generated, so often has more negative (since people are more likely to take effort to post for negative than positive reasons) but that can balance the positive that is ubiquitous on the colleges own websites. These resources are good to generally narrow your list, but for research to convince the school, i.e., to address the "Why this school essay", you will need to dig deeper into the school. I find admissions people's blogs useful, department sites, research that interests you, clubs and organizations, school newspapers, all to be good hunting grounds.

I will be sending some resources for thinking about your overall message (Personal Brand) and for the Common App Main Essay very soon. The goal will be to work on some of these essays that we know will be there next year and not change during June and July. For now, I would stay focussed on narrowing the list to 10-12 schools.

Regarding the Journal, I can see your notes if I go and look, but Journal is generally there as your own reservoir of notes to help you when you begin researching for your "why" essays, and also to be a good log of your process of researching schools. I recommend talking to everyone who will listen to you and practice explaining your reasons for liking various schools. This kind of practice in articulating your reasons will really help you hone in on the things that most genuinely reflect your personal reasons for liking the school and will also help you recognize those things that do not resonate as authentic or seem too general or common among schools. That latter bit is not bad, in fact, it is good that there is a common thread that connects your various schools (shows that you have chosen all schools that are a good "fit") but if you are going to tell the school why you love them, you need to dig into their specific qualities that make them unique for you. For instance, you would not describe the reasons that you like your best friend as general things like, s/he has hair on her/his head! You will point out the qualities that you really care about that make him or her unique for you.

Love the questions, keep them flowing and can't wait to also see some of your own generated answers!!

Best, Prab