This awesome student is one step closer to pursuing her dreams of becoming a doctor and transforming the healthcare industry from the inside. While this student did not get into Brown, we think her essays are well worth sharing, and display a great fusion of personality and content. Getting rejected from a highly competitive school does not mean that you are not a highly competitive applicant and more importantly, does not mean you lack intelligence, passion, or motivation. This hyper-intelligent, talented, funny, and incredibly passionate student is going to make an impact on the world no matter where she is!

Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about an academic interest (or interests) that excites you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue it. (250 words)


When I was little, I wanted to be a doctor/president/singer. I no longer want to have that many slashes to express my profession, but I still have a myriad of interests. Although I want to major in economics and then pursue a medical degree, I have many passions outside of my intended career that Brown’s Open Curriculum will allow me to explore. 


I am interested in the effects of a wide-range of policies, but what intrigues me the most is the way they’re formulated. Although the term “policy” sounds mechanical, policies are created by people like you and I who are susceptible to human emotions and biases. As an active member of my school’s Model UN club, I often participate in simulated negotiations and the passing of bills and proposals; I look beyond the obvious implications of the issue at hand and dissect the thought processes that lead to the creation of new legislation.


At Brown, the Open Curriculum will allow me to further explore the psychology of politics. I can take Psychology of Business and Economics as well as Human Factors through the Psychology Department, while in the Political Science Department I can take Media and Democracy. While I no longer dream of being a singing doctor president, Brown provides an enriching environment that will allow me to become a well-rounded person who is capable of achieving an even wider range of ambitions.


At Brown, you will learn as much from your peers outside the classroom as in academic spaces. How will you contribute to the Brown community? (250 words)


From Mosaic Club to Model UN, I’ve participated in every activity under the sun, but I’ve learned the most from the one that literally happens under the sun: rowing. I have been rowing since I had my braces on, then off, then on again, and this sport is the bedrock of the person I am. 


Standing at 5” 1’ at best, I am a coxswain, also known as the small person who yells at the rowers. Being a cox requires me to take in a torrent of information and create a game plan that is continuously updated. Whether it be counting strokes, keeping the boat aligned, or deducing who is rowing out of sync and how to correct them, I am responsible for providing instantaneous feedback to my team. During regattas, along with staying focused and mentally agile, I must make sure my rowers are concentrated and motivated until the last stroke.


As agonizing as being scrunched in a small box for two hours may be, the physical discomforts of coxing are nothing compared to those of rowing. When my 8th grade crew was too small to even warrant a cox, I had to pick up the oars myself and strap into a future of callused hands and perpetual exhaustion; every time I sneezed or laughed, I was acutely aware of my abs, or lack thereof.


From quick thoughts to quick taps, rowing splashes me awake at the crack of dawn and rocks me to sleep every night. The mental fortitude I have gained from my time on the water has prepared me for any crab my oar catches; even if I flip over, I’m back on the boat without missing a stroke.


Tell us about a place or community you call home. How has it shaped your perspective? (250 words)


Throughout my life, I’ve been on the move. New Jersey, Australia, and Houston have all contributed to my character, but I wouldn’t say that any of those places are home. In 2014, I found my home at Canberra Girls Grammar School (CGGS) in Australia. Although I only attended this school for one year, that feeling of home is etched in my memory forever.


CGGS was different from the very first day. Instead of feeling excluded, as I had in my previous school, I was welcomed. My classmates wanted me to sit with them on the bus, eager to get to know me and stay friends with me. When I wasn’t allowed to go to the school dance, my friends signed a petition to convince my parents to let me go.This place taught me what a good friend is–someone supportive and who goes the extra mile without blinking. I strive to be that same kind of friend to others.


Even though I left the school five years ago, that community has shaped me into the person I am today. In addition to the close friendships I still maintain, this school introduced me to many of the passions and interests that I still have today.  My love for rowing and public speaking began at CGGS and continue to grow as I participate in Model UN and my local rowing club. Yes, I no longer attend the school, but I will always consider myself a Canberra Grammar Girl.


PLME Program Essays


Committing to a future career as a physician while in high school requires careful consideration and self-reflection. What values and experiences have led you to believe that becoming a doctor in medicine is the right fit for you? (250 words)


Two days after my mom left for India, my dad started complaining about his lower back. His pain quickly escalated from a dull hum to a piercing scream and I started to panic. As much as I thought I knew everything at 15 years old, my dad’s chronic kidney disease episode forced me to confront my ignorance not only about kidney function, but about basic skills like driving and cooking.


With my mom gone, I was the only able body in the house. I wouldn’t let my lack of driver’s license or medical training stop me from doing everything I could to alleviate my father’s pain. I Googled “kidney home remedies” and was forced to rely on Web MD and Dr. Paul’s “six superfoods to alleviate kidney pain in 24 hours.” My dad had to hobble to the car and drive to the store so we could bulk up on celery, pineapple, and nettle juice. While I knew that medications like Tylenol might make the pain more bearable, I was worried about exacerbating his condition.


Thankfully, after a week of putting 40 drops of nettle juice into warm water three times a day, my dad’s illness subsided. I knew my relief was only temporary and I was determined to be better equipped the next time around. Taking care of my father imbued me with a renewed sense of purpose. I realized that being a doctor wasn’t just an option; it was the only option.


Most people describe a career as a physician/doctor as a “profession”, beyond a job. Describe for us what “professionalism” and “the profession of a physician/doctor” mean to you. (250 words) 


In 5th grade, my parents dubbed me a “Doctor Without a Degree,” and I’ve held that title proudly ever since. I got a taste of what it takes to be a “Doctor With a Degree” during the summer of 2019, when I interned at MD Anderson. From punching in early Saturday morning to late nights scrolling through NCBI, the researchers’ diligence was omnipresent and gave me insight into the rigor of the medical profession.


I decided to commit myself to that same level of professionalism. Between 11-hour shifts, cutting countless tissue cross-sections to be exactly 10 micrometers, and dissecting mice to extract their lymph nodes, I upheld the standards that had been set by my mentors. I learned that the core of professionalism is something beyond neat hair and shined shoes; it is the willingness to go the extra mile.


In addition, professionalism in the medical field means providing care for the patient, rather than just treatment. It’s explaining why the patient needs to pump their ankles, not just telling them to do it. It’s spending however long it takes to understand the patient’s issues and using that information to formulate the best treatment plan. It’s treating all patients like they’re your mother or father because they often are someone else’s. Professionalism in the medical field stems from the harmony of compassion and logic, a delicate balance that I will strive to cultivate, even after I become a Doctor with a Degree. 


How do you envision the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) helping you to meet your academic personal and professional goals as a person and as a physician of the future? (500 words)


It was two days before the Model UN conference. As I – well, “Venustiano Carranza” – dug into Mexico’s preventative measures against the Spanish Flu, I realized that politics and the private sector held almost as much power as scientific findings when it came to controlling infection. While a pandemic simulated by high school students might not be perfectly indicative of the real world, medicine and politics go hand in hand on the subject of healthcare.


As a second grader, I learned that we have a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Healthcare is the foundation upon which those human rights stand. Without access to life-sustaining resources, we lack the freedom to think beyond the bare necessities, let alone explore our dreams and passions. Healthcare facilitates the distribution of such resources and enables the realization of the core values that America was built on, yet it is not accessible to all Americans.


My main concern is the efficiency of the healthcare system. The US spends around $3.5 trillion per year on healthcare, money that could be better allocated if issues like misdiagnoses and the health insurance oligarchy were resolved through better training for doctors and price ceilings for insurance companies. The industry is a vast yet intricate part of our society that encompasses multiple disciplines. From overpriced, highly addictive narcotics to financially-crippling medical bills, every scenario involves both politics and economics. For this reason, I plan to major in economics and take political science courses before pursuing a medical degree. By following this course of study, I will obtain the perspectives of the government, private sector, healthcare provider, and most importantly, the consumer.


The unorthodox path I plan to take can only be met by Brown’s unconventional approach to education. As part of the PLME program at Brown, I will be given the freedom to develop wide-ranging perspectives on healthcare, delving into the rigors of medicine while receiving a top-tier liberal arts education. I am eager to take courses like Health Economics with Professor Lancaster and Ethics and Public Policy with Professor Cheit and to attend seminars like Health, Hunger, and Household throughout my undergraduate career. While learning how to handle a scalpel and perform a running stitch, I will also understand the weight of the caduceus emblazoned on my lab coat. Furthermore, the PLME program takes away the added pressures of the MCAT, which will allow me to focus on learning as opposed to studying. This will allow me to dedicate myself to experiential learning opportunities like lab work and volunteering in a health clinic. 


While Venustiano Carranza may not have had the resources to effectively manage the infrastructure of the healthcare system, armed with a Liberal Medical Education, I certainly will.

Wendy Y.
Below is my son's review. He was accepted to his dream Ivy League school!

From an admitted student's perspective, I am incredibly grateful to have met Sasha - he has been instrumental in helping me achieve my educational dreams (Ivy League), all while being an absolute joy (he's a walking encyclopedia, only funnier!) to work with.

Many people are dissuaded from seeking a college counselor because they think they can get into their desired college(s) either way. Honestly, going that route is a bit short-sighted and can jeopardize your odds of acceptances after years of hard work. The sad truth is, the American education system (even if you attend a fancy private school and ESPECIALLY if you go to a public school) doesn't really tell students how to write a compelling and authentic application. Going into the admissions process alone, without speaking with an advisor, is like going to court without a lawyer - you put yourself at a significant disadvantage because you don't have all the facts in front of you, or the help you need to negotiate the system.

That said, you need a good lawyer just like you need a good college counselor. And that's where Sasha distinguishes himself from the crowd of people claiming they'll get you into Harvard. I came to Sasha worried about and frankly dumbfounded by the college admissions process. I was unsure what to write about and how to go about drafting the essay that perfectly captured my passion, interests, and self. And I was highly skeptical that anyone could really help me. But, damn, did Sasha prove me wrong. From the beginning, Sasha amazed me with his understanding of the process, and ability to lend clarity and direction to me when I desperate needed it. After interviewing me about my background, experiences, activities, outlook, and vision, he helped me see qualities about myself I had not previously considered 'unique' or 'stand-out.' This process of understanding myself was so incredibly important in laying the groundwork for the essays I eventually wrote, and I'm certain I would've drafted boring, inauthentic essays without it.

Looking back, Sasha's talent is that he can see where your strengths lie, even when you don't see them. The truth is, although we don't always realize it, everyone has a unique story to tell. Sasha helped me see mine, and with his big-picture insight I was able to write the application that truly encapsulated my life and vision. He inspired me to dig deeper and write better, challenging me to revise and revise until my essays were the most passionate and authentic work I had ever written. As clichéd as that sounds, that's really what universities are looking for. In retrospect, it makes sense - in the real world passionate (not simply intelligent) individuals are the ones who make a difference in the world, and those are the individuals colleges would like to have associated with their brand.

In the end, I was accepted to the college of my dreams, a feat I could not have achieved without the direction Sasha lent to me. Essays (and the personal narrative you develop through your application) matter so much, and can literally make or break your application. I have seen so many of my 'qualified' friends receive rejections because they wrote contrived essays that didn't truly represent who they were; conversely, I have also seen so many friends with shorter resumes accepted because they were able to articulate their story in a genuinely passionate and authentic way - I fall into the latter category.

As a former admissions officer at Johns Hopkins, Sasha knows what types of essays jibe well with universities, an invaluable asset to have in the admissions process. He is responsive, flexible, creative, positive, and witty. For anyone who is serious about going into the college admissions process informed and prepared, I highly recommend Sasha.
Arda E.
I used Ivy Scholars to mainly help me with college applications. Within weeks of using this service, Sasha was able to simplify the already complex process. When it came to writing the Common App essay, Sasha didn’t just help with grammar and syntax, he brought my essays to life. Sasha also worked tirelessly to help solidify my extracurricular activities, including research and internship opportunities. Without his help, I would have never had an impressive resume.

Sasha is not only an extremely knowledgeable tutor, but also a genuine brother figure. His guidance, throughout my last two years of high school, was everything I needed to get me an acceptance letter from my dream schools (UC Berkeley, Tufts, Emory).

When it came to testing, Ivy Scholars worked like a charm. Sasha offered a very comprehensive plan when it came to completely acing my standardized tests. Without his test taking strategies I would have never gotten straight 5s on my AP tests and a 35 on the ACT.

Working with Sasha, I didn’t just become a good student, I became a genuine scholar.
Samson S.
We worked with Ivy Scholars during my son's senior year. I was concerned that we may be too late to take advantage of college advising but the Ivy Scholars team quickly and confidently directed us through the steps to ensure no deadlines were missed. Sasha's knowledge about schools, what they looked for in candidates, and how to maneuver the application process was invaluable. Mateo and Ryan worked with my son to help him create an essay that would get noticed and I am so appreciative he had their guidance.

Prior to securing Ivy Scholars, we tried using a less-expensive online service which was a terrible experience. As a parent, Ivy Scholars brought peace of mind to an area that was frankly overwhelming. This service was invaluable in the knowledge that we gained throughout the process. He has also met with my freshman daughter to provide guidance for her high school courses, career paths, extracurricular activities, and more.

Prior to signing with Ivy Scholars, I tried a less expensive online service and was very disappointed.

As a result of our work with Ivy Scholars, I am pleased to say that my son will be attending Stern Business School at New York University this fall! I highly recommend Ivy Scholars. Highly recommend!