In July’s Student Spotlight, we’re speaking with Jyoti Rani. Having grown up in Silicon Valley, Jyoti Rani gravitated towards STEM. She knew that she wanted to take her interests and passion for learning to the next level by attending a top college on the West Coast. She demonstrated her commitment to scholarship and to her community by always challenging herself in and out of the classroom. Throughout high school, Jyoti enrolled in several AP and community college courses, founded and led various organizations, and won awards for her volunteer work. As the first in her immediate family to attend college in the United States, she knew that she had a lot of work ahead. However, when the time came to prepare for college applications, she was excited to rise to the challenge.
Student Spotlight: Background
In the summer of 2020, Jyoti started preparing for application season by doing in-depth research on the American college application process. She made a preliminary list of schools, created a Common App account, and even wrote early drafts of her personal statements based on prompts from the previous year.
Though Jyoti had a plan for applying to college, she realized during her essay process that most of her questions could not be answered through a web search. She loved writing and self-reflection, but she often wondered how to maximize her writing’s imagery and impact. Since Jyoti attended a large public high school, she knew that she would receive little individualized guidance on her personal essays. After realizing that she needed more support, she began to research private advising companies.
Though she knew she wanted help, Jyoti was still a little hesitant to use a private advising service. She considered herself a self-sufficient person who could work out any problem that she faced. However, she knew that an advising company could give her invaluable information that she may not find elsewhere. After researching various companies, Jyoti came across CollegeAdvisor.com. Intrigued by CollegeAdvisor.com’s broad advisor network and commitment to affordability, she scheduled a free consultation with CollegeAdvisor.com founder Brian Mitchell to learn more about the service.
During their call, Jyoti learned about the resources that CollegeAdvisor.com offered its clients (including webinars and workshops), their ability to customize student packages to fit a family’s budget, and the flexibility that its advisors had to meet students’ needs. This flexibility made CollegeAdvisor.com particularly stand out to Jyoti.
CollegeAdvisor.com was not an essay editing service — it was a mentorship program that gave high school students the opportunity to work with high-achieving advisors and craft a compelling profile to tell the students’ personal stories to their dream schools. Impressed with the unique experience that CollegeAdvisor.com offered, she signed up.
Jyoti was matched with a former CollegeAdvisor.com Senior Advisor who had graduated from an Ivy League school and had years of advising experience. Jyoti’s advisor always told Jyoti to not be afraid of vulnerability in her essays. She told Jyoti that colleges want to learn about the person behind the application. Jyoti developed a strong relationship with her advisor, who made her comfortable sharing her story by walking her through her own personal essay. Her advisor’s patience and flexibility made the process less stressful. Throughout her admissions journey, Jyoti knew that that her advisor had expert knowledge and would support her at every turn.
Jyoti said that the best advice her advisor gave her was to help the reader “smell the samosas.” This expression referred to a personal essay in which Jyoti wrote about a South Asian food festival. Her advisor told her to use imagery to make her statement more vivid to the reader. By creating an engaging mental image, Jyoti would pull the reader into her world and show them her values as opposed to simply listing them on a page.
In addition to her advisor, Jyoti also worked with one of CollegeAdvisor.com’s Admissions Officers, Nicole Reynolds. As a former Admissions Officer, Nicole had even more expertise in the admissions process. She worked directly with Jyoti to shape her school-specific supplemental essays by helping Jyoti see herself from another perspective.
Throughout application season, Jyoti and her advisor worked tirelessly to complete her college applications, apply for scholarships, and prepare for alumni interviews. By the end of the fall, Jyoti felt that CollegeAdvisor.com provided the best value for its cost. She knew that regardless of what the decision letters said, she did her best.
Student Spotlight: Results
When decision day came, Jyoti warned herself to keep her expectations in check. She had already gotten into Stanford University through Early Action, but she wondered if she would receive other exciting news. Little did Jyoti know, she had lots of great news ahead of her. When her decision letters arrived, she learned that she had been accepted to every college to which she had applied. Her list included Stanford University, UC Berkeley, California Institute of Technology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, UC Irvine, and UC Riverside.
To say that Jyoti was surprised and grateful would be an understatement. Not only did she have a wide variety of options, but she had proven that she could tell her story to a group of strangers by invoking empathy and imagery. After receiving her acceptance letters, Jyoti remembers thinking to herself “We did it!”
Jyoti will attend UC Berkeley in the fall of 2021, pursuing its Business and EECS (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) dual degree program. She is excited to become a college student and to grow her non-profit, code4tomorrow.org. Inspired by her own experiences, Jyoti co-founded code4tomorrow.org, a STEM education empowerment nonprofit, to bridge the gap for under-resourced students interested in a career in computer science. Jyoti pointed out that working with her advisor fueled her to shape a more compelling pitch of her nonprofit to potential partners and the community in general, accelerating code4tomorrow.org’s international growth.
Jyoti recommends CollegeAdvisor.com because of its flexibility and the advisors’ willingness to go the extra mile. In her own words, “You only go to college once, and you really don't want to screw up the process.” She further states, why not turn this application process into an opportunity for self-reflection before starting the next phase of life?
Our July Student Spotlight offers the following advice to students: be the best versions of themselves, as passion and authenticity are their secret weapons. Applicants can control their own narratives, so they should be vulnerable and honest in order to leave an impact on admissions committees.
Working with CollegeAdvisor.com had such an impact on Jyoti that she says she cannot wait to return and become an advisor herself. We wish her luck at UC Berkeley and with her growing nonprofit!
This Student Spotlight was based on an interview with Jyoti Rani. Jyoti reached out to us to get one-on-one help with her personal essays. If you are also looking for assistance with this part of your applications and are interested in working with a CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Expert, register with CollegeAdvisor.com today.