I think I knew that Columbia was the school for me after I took the PSAT sophomore year and started getting recruitment letters from Colleges. I got a Blue Guide from Columbia and it was love at first sight, but you know, love at first sight doesn't mean anything until you talk to the guy and make sure he can hold an intelligent conversation :-D! So thanks to the Ivy League Connection I got to go on a three-week date with Columbia and I decided it was time to make a commitment to the relationship :-P. Early Decision is really big decision but I've never looked back because as soon as I stepped on their campus (soon to be my campus!!) I knew it was the place for me. Columbia has everything I'm looking for academically--equally strong Jazz, Creative Writing, and Political Science programs--as well as the diversity I'm looking for socially.
I think the balance in my application is probably what helped put me above the cut (whatever the cut was). I had high SAT scores, but my transcript was also very strong, my essay was BEAST, I had diverse extra-curriculars but I showed dedication to each one, and my extra-curriculars showed a clear commitment to community service and an interest politics like I said on my application. I worked extremely hard starting in middle school so that I could have an application I would be very proud of and it paid off.
Here is the online version of my acceptance letter:
My amazing High School prepared me for Columbia but The Ivy League Connection is what really gave me a taste of College Life and what my workload would be like so I would know if I was making the right choice. The ILC gave me the chance of a lifetime to experience NYC and Columbia right and without them, there is no guarantee I would be going where I'm going. The Ivy League Connection is what allowed me to make a very necessary connection with actual Columbia staff which could have been a deciding factor in my application.
Having the assistance of Ms. Kim definitely made a difference as did my HS counselor Ms. Hart. Having a great counselor on your side is absolutely vital to the admissions process.