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Students provide tips on applying to high profile colleges

February 2017
Students provide tips on applying to high profile colleges


Organizer Anish Bikmal; Mrs. Laura Wilson, principal of SFHS, keynote speaker; and some panel members.

Motivate and Inspire Inc., a nonprofit organization started by high school students in Cumming, Georgia, hosted an event for high school students to educate them on the application process to high profile colleges. Current President and cofounder Anish Bikmal welcomed the audience while briefly talking about the organization. More than 350 registrants attended the event at South Forsyth High School on January 2, 2017. Mrs. Laura Wilson, principal of SFHS and the keynote speaker, spoke about her own experience with her children who currently attend Stanford and Georgia Tech. Mrs. Wilson urged the audience to make use of the opportunity provided by Motivate and Inspire Inc to network and make connections with students who made their entry to pinnacle schools.

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Parents and students prepare to listen to speaker and panelists.

Mrs. Laura Wilson, principal of SFHS, was keynote speaker.

"Visit universities and spend time among the students there to make sure that university is the right place for you," was one of Mrs. Wilson’s recommendations.

The informational event had 10 outstanding panelists who are currently undergraduate students at Harvard, Princeton, MIT, UPenn, Dartmouth, Duke, Johns Hopkins, GaTech, and UGA with the Foundation Fellowship Scholarship. The bulk of the program consisted of each panelist sharing their personal story on the various things they did in high school in order for them to receive admissions into their respective schools. Each panelist shared information on high school courses, extra-curricular activities, summer camps and AP subjects they took in high school in addition to sharing information on colleges they are currently attending. They also spoke specifically on what they think got them admission into the top schools—really useful information for current high school students.



Seven of the 10 panelists.

"Try every club in high school during your first year and decide which one you will stick to, while making sure to balance your time," said Lily, a current freshman at Harvard. "My Harvard interview was more like a story in which I highlighted interesting life stories," she said—and she felt that this may have been one of the major factors for her admission.

“My summer internships helped me to tie my application together,” said Jeny Zhao, a current sophomore at Princeton, while mentioning the importance of summer programs.

Many panelists suggested, “Do not procrastinate,” but work on essays as soon as the prompts are out. “Everyone aspiring to top colleges will have top scores and many extracurricular and a good GPA, but what sets you apart is your essays and your teacher recommendations,” said Anirudh Bikmal, a freshman at University of Pennsylvania.

Another perspective to the application was put forth by Lilian Jin, a freshman at Dartmouth, who said, “My application highlighted what I had been involved in and what I will contribute to the college.”

“Do what you are passionate about, not what you think colleges will like,” said Pranav Rekapalli, a freshman at Princeton. Nirav Illango, a sophomore and Foundation Fellow at UGA, concurred and elaborated, “Do what you’re passionate about and communicate that passion throughout your application.”

Regarding understanding your fit for college, Raja Selvakumar, a current senior at MIT, said, “Read student blogs for colleges, understand how you fit into the school,” while stressing on “enjoying the high school journey.”

“Be organized at work and start early” are the wisdom words shared by Avery Yang, a current honors freshman student at GaTech.

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The appreciative audience of more than 350 registrants.

Ramya Prabhakar, a sophomore at Johns Hopkins, said, “Don’t try to be a good fit for the college, but choose a college that’s a good fit for you."

Raahina Mallik, a freshman at Duke, added, “Apply to numerous scholarships; spend time on essays with honesty, resilience, and passion."

The presentation was then followed by a question and answer session with parents and students from the audience. The event was well received by the audience with most of them requesting more such sessions.

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Anish Bikmal, a sophomore at South Forsyth, was organizer and emcee.

Anish Bikmal, a sophomore at South Forsyth, spent his break during Christmas organizing this event. His main goal was to help students in Georgia make informed decisions while applying to colleges. Anish said, “It is hard to find information about top colleges in one place, and hearing from current students in top colleges all in one place is next to impossible. My brother Anirudh Bikmal talked to his friends and they immediately agreed to this program. Mrs. Wilson was very encouraging and helped us with organizing this event in SFHS. Standing to our academy’s mission, we are always thinking about creative ways to motivate and inspire students. In response to the astounding feedback from the audience, we are planning on hosting a similar session during the summer of 2017, and a “Transition to High School” seminar is planned for March. Visit us at www.mieduacademy.weebly.com or email mieacademy1@gmail.com to join our email list.”


Anish Bikmal (South Forsyth High School).


Anirudh Bikmal (UPenn).

Motivate and Inspire Inc., an NPO in the state of Georgia, was founded two and half years ago by Anirudh Bikmal and Anish Bikmal to “motivate and inspire students by providing quality academic help while raising funds to serve those in need.” They have raised $23,000 for beneficiaries such as Food for Life Vrindavan, Bhaktivedanta Hospital Mumbai, and Govardhan Eco Village Mumbai. High school students with good academic standing can volunteer with this NPO and receive community service hours. Tutoring is provided to all grades in all subjects. Competitive math and science tutoring is also available.

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The welcome desk.

Website Bonus Feature

[The article above contains additional material not in the print and digital issues.]

"South Forsyth High sophomore helping students prepare for college," By Isabel Hughes

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