Did being a triplet create competition between Jimmy and his siblings? Did it influence how he approached the college process and the reason he aimed for Johns Hopkins?

Part 2 is here.

Transcription

Kamila
Hey, college kids, welcome back to my podcast, who cares about college? In today’s episode, I’ll be interviewing Jimmy. So Jimmy, could you please introduce yourself?

Jimmy
Sure. So my name is Jimmy Bangalow. I’m a junior at Johns Hopkins University, and I’m studying biomedical engineering, and I’m originally from northern New Jersey.

Kamila
Okay, so take me back to I don’t know when this was for you. But when did you start thinking about college or preparing for college? And like, who started the process? Was it like your family pushing you? Or did you realize oh, maybe I should start on this early if I want to have a good chance at more schools?

Jimmy
Sure. So I’m actually so I’m a triplet. So I have two siblings that are the same age as me. Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. So we kind of, you know, like college was like very eminent for my parents. And they knew that, you know, with three of us at one time, it was going to be a lot. So we I kind of like, had started thinking about college, I want to say maybe the end of my sophomore year, but hadn’t really put that much thought into it, until my parents had brought up like, you know, like, maybe you should, like, look into your applications and stuff. And I would say predominantly, though, it was like, led by us. Because you know, all of our guidance counselor’s were saying like, Oh, you guys should start looking at this stuff. And you know, with three of us that we were kind of bombarding them with the information. So I would say about sophomore years when the idea like, oh, I started applying to college that kind of popped into my head, or not applying, but you know, getting ready to apply. And then from that point on, it started, I would say it was mostly driven by me. Just, you know, like I said, Okay, I need to take this test. And my parents were like, All right, good luck. And they helped me out with anything I needed. But I would say pretty much. I think that a lot of it out.

Kamila
And you go to Johns Hopkins, which is like, I mean, the rankings aren’t like completely reliable, but it is up there. Everyone knows its name. So did you have the pressure, like from your friends or family to go to a top tier school? Um,

Jimmy
I don’t honestly know if it was pressure. So much is just, you know, like, hopes? You know, a lot of my friends did end up going to like pretty competitive schools. So we had all been looking at that. Not for, you know, rankings purpose, just like, Oh, let’s see what we can do. So I wouldn’t say it was a pressure so much is kind of just like, a little we kind of push each other to say like, oh, let’s, you know, let’s see how we can end up. So I would say was, it was, you know, maybe I guess pressure, but in a positive sense.

Kamila
And also, it’s very curious. So you have your triple it. So your are they all? Are they all? Brothers?

Jimmy
I have a brother and a sister the same. Okay, so.

Kamila
So do they was it kind of like a competition amongst you guys to see who could like get into the most schools or like, get the highest on the LSAT?

Jimmy
Let’s see, like, not at all, because we are just all we’re very different people, we want very different things out of our university. So my brother goes to Villanova. And my sister goes to Penn State, so the three of us very different schools, very different people. And, you know, I think that’s something about being a triplet, you kind of learned to just not compare yourselves like, it’s a bit like, honestly, like, after we ended up getting into colleges, people used to be like, Oh, Where you guys going? And we’d say where we’re going, and people would just say to us, like, Oh, so you’re the smart one. And we’d be like, what, like, that’s kind of hard to like, I don’t want to reduce the status of that. So we kind of, you know, we didn’t really want to compare each other. So it was really just about going where, you know, it fit us individually as people.

Kamila
Okay, so if you started kind of thinking about applying to college, and like the application processes coming during sophomore year, what exactly did you start doing? Was it like starting to look at your extracurriculars and say, Oh, maybe I should take up positions in these clubs, or was it LSAT preparation? So what was the first thing that you kind of did to prepare?

Jimmy
Um, I think the first thing is really just say like, I need to start thinking about this, I need to start understanding how the college application process works. Because so I have an older sister who also went to Penn State. And she her college application experience was super different from mine and my siblings, just because she wanted to go to Penn State since she was like five years old. So she knew where she wanted to go. She knew they’re rolling school. They’re not like as competitive in an academic sense. So like, from that side of things. It was just a very different application process. So for me kind of it was like starting new like, hey, I need to figure out like, like, what tests do I need to take I need to take Subject Tests. what schools are I even looking at for my for what I want to what I’m interested in because I I didn’t know pretty early on that I wanted to major in Biomedical Engineering. which surprisingly ended up sticking so far. I say so far, because you know, anything can happen in a year and a half. But yeah, I would say just like, pretty much just like learning how the process worked. I felt a little bit in the dark about, especially applying to like competitive schools.

Kamila
Yeah. And who helped you kind of navigate that process? Was it your older sister counselors friend or something?

Jimmy
I would say it was mostly my friends. Like I said, my sister didn’t like had a very different experience for me. So my parents had, like, really no idea what the like, super, like, competitive college application process was like, but I did have some friends who had older siblings, and you know, some teachers helped me out. So I would say, predominantly friends though.

Kamila
Okay, so let’s go on to the first part of your application, which would be your, I guess, we could say your grades, GPA and such. So can you tell us what was your GPA by the time you applied to college?

Jimmy
So yeah, I had a I had a, I was I had a pretty good GPA. So I was, I think it was like, we had a 4.5 scale. So it was a little weird. Because at classes you can get a you can get like, a 4.5 was an A plus. And then an AP class was an additional one point and then an honors classes, additional point five for weighted. So I think I ended up applying with like a 4.8, which was nice to have my resume.

Kamila
That’s interesting. I’ve never heard of a 4.5 system.

Jimmy
Yeah, that’s pretty weird. I’ve never heard of anyone else doing that other than us. Yeah.

Kamila
And who want to take you so where did that place you in terms of everyone else in your grade? Were you near the top of your class? Yeah. I’m competitive.

Jimmy
Yeah, I ended up being valedictorian. So i Whoa. Yeah. So that was pretty cool.

Kamila
That’s interesting. And can you tell us a little bit about being valedictorian? Because I’ve never, I mean, my school, we’ve got rid of ranking. So I don’t think we’re doing that anymore. Can you explain a little bit about that?

Jimmy
Yeah. So honestly, it was technically unofficial, because my school also didn’t rank but there was like, certain scholarships that were only offered to the valedictorian and salutatorian. So I didn’t know like, unofficially. And it was it was pretty normal. Like, like, I don’t know, I just like, I think people knew that I was like, competitive academically, but nothing too special. I have my friends tease me for it. But all in good fun. It’s honestly a lot of my friends now in college tease me about it, which is funny, because you wouldn’t think at Hopkins that people would make fun of you for it. But they’ll be like, Okay, Mr. valedictorian. So, you know, it’s like, it’s pretty funny thinking, thinking back now, just because it’s cool. Yeah, that is

Kamila
interesting. So and one more thing about your grades. So you had a 4.8 GPA? But did you have like straight A’s? Or did you have like straight A’s and like a B and a C. So because I’m looking at this, and I’m wondering, like, if I have straight A’s and then I have one grade? That’s like A, B, or C? Is that kind of like look weird to the college? Because I’m basically straight A’s students. So did you have anything like that?

Jimmy
Um, I think I for like, overall score for overall grades. I don’t think I ended up having any I think I ended up having a and b A’s and a minuses and A pluses. I think for like a cup for a semester or two I had to be, but I don’t think as far as I can tell, like, from my experience with like, just talking to my friends about it like they specifics like that is like it’s more I think it’s a little bit more holistic than that. Like if you blip up like in a couple of classes here and there. I think it’s more just about like, overall, like how you are as a student.

Kamila
Interesting. And can you tell us if your school did this, the kind of how many APS or Ibiza honors did you do by the end of high school?

Jimmy
So my school had a lot of APS offered, which is really cool. Um, I want to say I ended up doing like 11 or 12, maybe because like junior and senior junior and senior year, I pretty much only took AP classes. And I was really lucky, because we had, like they had we had, like a our science department was pretty strong. So I was able to take, like double sciences, my sophomore junior and senior years. So that could just lay let me take a lot of classes. So I would Yeah, I want to I want to say around 11 or 12.

Kamila
All right, that yeah, that is that is a lot that you’re seeing that is a lot of your school. And did you know that you wanted to go in like how early Did you know that you wanted to major in what you did like in that? Did that kind of lead you through high school? Like I’m going to take majority STEM classes?

Jimmy
Yeah. So I honestly it really started in my freshman bio class. That was like my first time ever taking biology and was just like, such an interesting class for me. And I just like learning about like the topic. Wow, this is like such a cool, such a cool subject field. Like I really want to go into that. And then my friend’s older brother, who is two years older than us, and he goes to he went to Cornell, how he’s doing, he’s graduate at Berkeley. He was like, you know, he was like, making fun of his little brother. He was like, do an engineer do engineering, like kinda like the toxic engineering culture, like engineering, like stem only kind of thing? And I was like, oh, maybe I’ll do bio and engineering and kind of just like, thought about that not as like a serious commitment, but then I guess I ended up sticking with it. So I just knew that I really liked biology. And my friends, older brothers have been to engineering. So that’s kind of how it stuck.

Kamila
Okay, so let’s go back to the APS. What did you get on the test that you took? Like, what was the average grades that you got on those tests? I got fives on all my exams on all those 11 and 12 exams? Yeah,

Jimmy
yeah. But so I would say like I because I definitely, like all the ones I took were like, ones that I was, like, interested in. Again, that’s why I think it was really lucky that we had a lot of STEM photos, because I knew that that was like, kind of where my interest in aptitude was. Um, so I would say like, taking like, taking them was more like, oh, like, I like this class. This is have you done good in, like, I want to take this AP exam. And then that’s kind of how I was, I would say, shaped my academic experience.

Kamila
And with these exams, like, yeah, you need to like like the subject and understand it. But also, it’s knowing how to take the specific kind of test. So how did you prepare for taking those AP tests? I mean, you got fives on all of them. So you didn’t know.

Jimmy
My school, I would say like a lot of my classes in a lot of like the actual courses in school were like very geared towards AP prep. I would say the most I was my BC calc class, my junior year, we stopped learning in the second week of March. And the exam is like the second week of May. So we had two straight months of just pure review built into the calendar. So like, basically, all my classes had something similar to that effect, where by April, we were done learning content. And it was all AP exam review. And I would consider myself a pretty good test taker. So like, I think that like, doing specific, like standardized tests review was like very beneficial for me because that like, I think, like learning how to take the exam kind of really did help me with that, because I was really just like, at for a month straight, I was able to be held accountable to my studying, so I didn’t really have to force myself to do it. Because it was my homework. So I think having it built in it was pretty useful for me. Oh, that

Kamila
is amazing that your school did that for you. Yeah,

Jimmy
it was stressful getting everything done by April. I will say though, because the classes were like squish it together paid off.

Kamila
It’s good. So okay, let’s move on to another part of your application, which is sa t and AC t so which one did you take?

Jimmy
I did AC T.

Kamila
You have a New Jersey, right? I thought all like the northern states did. LSAT?

Jimmy
Yeah. I like consider taking the LSAT and I just said I ended up doing really well on the AC t and I just decided I was like, Alright, I’m glad I don’t have to take that again. Like any more standardized testing. So I stuck with AC T.

Kamila
Interesting. Okay, so how did you prepare for the AC T? And just tell us the whole process? How did you prepare? How many times did you take it? And what was your score in the end?

Jimmy
So I took it twice. Um, I so again, like my parents like for, for like competitive I think like standardized testing is really different depending on like the level of academic rigor the school you’re applying to is. So my parents didn’t really understand like, like, oh, AP, like you have to be starting standardized testing, like, beget, basically, you don’t have to, but they kind of run the impression that like end of junior year, beginning of senior year is when you should be taking it. And I just, I think that now, especially for competitive schools, that’s definitely not how it works. So yeah, so I think that I kind of was the one to say like, Hey, I think I need to start like registering for these exams now. Like, all my friends are starting to take them. So then I ended up just being like, like, like, I ended up doing pretty much self studying, like practice tests at home. And I ended up doing really well I got a 35 and then 36 Oh, that was pretty nice.

Kamila
I thought your scores are so perfect. Yeah, so

Jimmy
it was it was very nice to like, like, because like I didn’t really want to, I think that like especially with three kids applying to college, like I didn’t really want to, like make my parents have to pay for standardized testing tutors, because it’s super expensive. Like I just like with the three of us. I was like I like I’ll just self study, it didn’t working out for me. So I would say like, I would say, I started thinking about that, like summer before junior year. And then I think I took it maybe October and December like October, January. So those were the two times I took it.

Kamila
That’s interesting. I mean, like, It’s good that you’re naturally good at standardized tests. So in your school, did you have any friends? Or maybe your siblings who obviously are not dumb, but they just struggle with standardized tests? Like did you see the kind of like effect it had on their application overall?

Jimmy
Um, I think like so I have a couple friends like that. Yeah, I would say we all had like pretty different levels of standardized testing. And again, like the one thing that I’ve like, I think specifically more from like, my experience talking to my friends at college, is that like, pee like people have like a huge range of scores here like you know, you think it like Hopkins everyone’s gonna be like, like, possibly ever like perfect everything but it’s like at the end of the day, it’s like, you know, I think for lighting numbers only show like half of the story because a lot of my friends have done like some fantastic things extracurricular li are just like very interesting people. And you know, obviously they’re all very, like intelligent. But you know, I think that like standardized testing, surprisingly, was not as you know, not as like, you know, it’s not like a, you know, it’s not like Yo, you if you don’t have this score, you’re not going to get in like, I think very much looks a lot more like you as a whole person rather than you at a set of numbers.

Kamila
That is true. Okay, so we’ve done kind of the statistics, stuff like the grading stuff. So let’s move on to the exciting stuff. extracurriculars. This is I’m pretty sure. Like, I think it’s kind of well known now like for these top tier schools, you need like good grades, but what really separates you from the other applicants who also have good grades is your extracurriculars. So can you tell us about the extracurriculars that you had in high school?

Jimmy
Sure. So I swim on like the swim team, all four years of high school, I used to swim like I’ve been swimming since I was like very young. So I, my sister was my older sister was also on the swim team. So like, that was something I always wanted to do. And all three of my siblings were involved with the swim team, so me and my sister swam. And then my brother was a manager. So those were like, really, like, that was like something I really enjoyed doing. And I ended up being a captain, my senior year, which I think was pretty good. Luckily, it was because there’s not that many guys on the swim team, or got tenure guys, that like, was nice people to put down my resume, right. And then I also did theater in high school. So I, I, like did the three, four plays on in three musicals. So I really enjoyed doing that too, because it was a very different crowd than like, like the AP students and the swim team. So you know, I got to meet a lot of different people. And then I was also involved in student government for all four years as well.

Kamila
That’s interesting. So those three, those three,

Jimmy
I would say, the big ones, and then I also forgot that, so junior and senior year, I got to, I got, like, chosen to be on the serve as a student liaison to our Board of Education. So that was probably my favorite extracurricular that I got to do, because I would just go to my board of education meetings, every I think it was every two weeks, maybe. And I would just give a little report for about, like, you know, what was going on in the high school with the student body. And then, you know, I got to, like, sit in at these board meetings, and it felt very adult at the time. And, you know, it was pretty cool getting to, like, hear the behind the scenes of how my board of education functions. So that was like a really cool, like, professional experience, I would say, I see.

Kamila
Okay, let’s go a little bit deeper into each of your extracurricular. So number one is swim team, and I’m becoming a captain. So you said you did that all four years? Do you think that looks like one of the how do I phrase this? Because, you know, you have people who do a bunch of extracurriculars, but are just the kind of members but then you have those people who do a few better, like, leaders in what they do and stuff. So did you kind of have that intention while doing your extracurriculars? Or did you just happen to get like be really invested in it and get to like a leadership position?

Jimmy
Um, I think for most of my like, clubs, it was more just like I was interested and wanted to, and like ended up just like saying, hey, like, maybe I should try to do a leadership position. I, it’s funny that you remind me, so I’m an Eagle Scout. And that was something I would say I really did for the resume, even though I definitely learned a lot of great things. But that was something that I think definitely was much more of a strategic plan for me. Like, it’s like a college move, I guess. Whereas, like, clubs and stuff is more just like, Oh, I really like doing this. I like being a part of this. I’m going to try to you know, I think as I mean, as a captain, it’s really more like a fun position. It’s not really like a leadership thing. I mean, it is leadership, but it’s a more of a fun type of leadership thing. It’s not like it’s very difficult. So I would say like, mostly it was just like, hey, this is like something I really like doing. I’m gonna step up in this organization, especially as I became like a junior and senior leadership position. You know, we’re much more available. Yeah. And

Kamila
can you tell me a little bit about student government at your school because I, I didn’t even know that many high schools had the student government. I thought it was more of a college thing.

Jimmy
Yeah. So basically, we use it like, for the first years, we were pretty much I would say, like, you know, spirit events like school spirit events. Prom fundraisings. That was something that we were involved in fundraising for the prom for all for for, like three years. For all four years. We were fundraising for our senior prom. So that was something just like planning different events, pep rallies. That was like the big thing that I went to the first three years and then I was on the executive board my senior year. And that was much more like managing student council. So it was more like, oh, like, what are we doing on a macro scale? Like, what is student council doing to get involved? There’s some events that student government student council as a whole holds like we have student fundraisers and things. So executive board was much more like how the actual organization functions, whereas being on like a class council was much more like, Oh, here’s what we’re doing for our class. Spirit events and stuff like that.

Kamila
See? And then the last, like, major one that you mentioned was theater. So can you tell us a little bit about what you did in theater?

Jimmy
Yeah. So I was just like a member of the cast for we have we have some fallen spring shows, so you fall plays and spring musicals. And I did, I think pretty every except my freshman spring, I was a part of all the shows. And yeah, that’s pretty much just like just being in the cast for that. So those were all really, that was like, really fun. I think that you know, especially as like stem kids, you don’t really get a chance to be like, artistic and have fun. And, yeah, so I did really enjoy that. It was like a very nice break from, like, the rigor of school

Kamila
a lot of the times. Yeah, and I have a couple of questions to ask overall about your like, like actual school life, you know, academic stuff and extracurricular. So number one, going into high school, I know you didn’t think about college preparation, like seriously until sophomore year. But going in, did you know that to get into a top school? It’s obviously not an exact formula, but there is a strategy that you kind of need to follow, there are some requirements that you need to meet. So did you go into high school very analytically? And strategically? Or, again, did you just like kind of happen upon, like, taking a bunch of APs and having a bunch of like, good extracurriculars?

Jimmy
Yeah. So I would say that, like, the reason I got involved in like, a lot of different news was because that was kind of just like life advice that I’ve gotten from a lot of like my family, and my, like, older friends, and my, my sister as well was like, get involved, like, be a part of as many things as possible, and like, find something that you’d like to do. So I don’t think it was like, big for college, but I think it is the same mindset. Like get involved, try things like find things that you like, find things that you’re passionate about. So I would say that’s kind of how I decided to get involved in those things. But then also, like, my, um, so as my, like, high school career, kind of, like went on, I would say the biggest thing that was like, super helpful for me was in our guidance department, one of the secretaries she was very, very, like attuned to like competitive college admissions, and she knew a lot about it. And I think I was in her office, like, a couple times a week, especially by junior and senior year, just because she was just so on top of everything she was involved with, you know, the scholarships, the testing scores, like the PSAT, all that stuff. And she so I would say, like, she like helped me kind of realize, like, the more strategic side of things, which just so happened to be like, I guess, a little easy for me, because, you know, my parents, like people had told me to get involved in this from the start. So it wasn’t like, I had to really, like intentionally do that. It was more just like, oh, like now that you’ve done that, what can you do to kind of like refine? And, you know, be smart about what you want to do?

Kamila
Yeah. And overall, with your academics, because I mean, if you took most of your APs in junior senior year, that must have been a lot to begin with. And then you have these extracurriculars, which you have a leadership position in. So how did you manage your time? Was it like with high school, like, absolutely just stressful for you was Hill, can you? Can you just describe the scenario there?

Jimmy
Yeah, I mean, honestly, it’s really funny looking back at high school, because like, I don’t really feel like I like the like, my days now. Or definitely, you know, like, school is definitely harder. And, like college is a very different type of difficult but like, looking back into high school, I think about the days where I would get back at like, 8pm and start my homework that was due the next day. Like, I don’t know, like, it was very stressful, but somehow, well, I guess, it’s kind of Yeah, I guess it is kind of weird. Because in college, like, you know, most of your homework is like on a weekly basis, and you don’t have classes every day and your curriculars are a lot less like everyday after school or like everything so yeah, I guess like I kind of I definitely don’t think I could have I could do it now. Like it just with the time commitments. Just because I just remember like, specifically like when first swim team and like the shows, I would say it’s more than like, biggest things of time crunch. Just like getting home super late after school after the after school and then like going home to do work. Definitely very stressful. But you know, I think I’m the type of person where like, I’d rather be like too involved, like sag got something out of it, then. Oh, my gosh, I wish I did more. I wish I could have pushed myself a little harder.

Kamila
In a Johns Hopkins with the people that you’ve met, or were they all kind of like that in high school where they would like work really hard come home. 8pm is not late but to start your homework only at 8pm is something else right? So what do they all kind of like that? Or do you find different students?

Jimmy
I mean, I definitely like it’s a huge spectrum. Like there’s not like one size fits all categorization. But definitely everyone like was involved in like very like cool different things that were like pretty pretty busy like my roommate. From my he was in Like Catarman, which is I think it’s some like, classics club, like competitive club, but not really sure. But then he was also on the cross country team. And you know, so just like, kind of like the very, like, different involvements. And you know, I guess like, like broad spectrum of like, I guess felt like areas, like not just focusing on one thing was definitely like something I was surprised because, you know, it’s like I thought I don’t know it being involved. Yeah, I’d say most people are pretty involved, from what I can tell, because also, I think a lot of my friends here are involved now. So it’s reflective of who they were in high school.

Kamila
Okay, so let’s finish up with your college application. And then we can talk about the colleges and then like Johns Hopkins specifically. So last kind of component is recommendation letter. So how did you approach those? Was it there? Was this part of your application strategic or, again, was it kind of like you happened upon getting good recommendation letters,

Jimmy
um, I would say like, I strategic and who I chose, just because, like, yeah, I would say like, I just wanted, like, I wanted to make sure I could get a good recommendation letter. But I had to, I ended up getting three recommendation letters. One was for my AP Chem teacher, one was for my BC calc teacher, and one was for my English teacher who was also involved in like the theater department. So because some of them I needed to do like one, stem, one non stem, some of them I needed to stem so that just kind of ended up being how it worked out for me. So I kind of mixed a match for different applications. And I would say I was like, pretty strategic in choosing them. Because I knew that, like, for example, I was in NHS in high school like, and like we just had to do like tutoring for, I think we had to do like a certain number of tutoring hours. And my AP Chem teacher was the one who she was, oh, I have a student that needs tutoring, can you help her out? And I had, like, worked a lot with a student. And she ended up like improving her grades, like pretty significantly. And I knew that like, that was an angle that I think is pretty important to it’s like, kind of like unique from a college perspective, like, oh, like, because, you know, I think the numbers and the extracurriculars can say a lot. But saying like, Oh, he really helped this person, study for their exams and improve as a student, like, I’m sure she, I mean, honestly, I don’t know what they wrote, obviously, but just kind of knowing like that, oh, this, this professor, this like, teacher has a different angle that they could provide, like, kind of show me more as a person, and less as like a student. I think that’s like, the biggest thing that I was trying to do, especially with my English teacher, just because I actually still talked to her. We like, we’ve caught up for lunch a couple times since graduating, and we call every now and then. So I think just like I chose my teacher kind of, you know, paint me as a person and not just as like, you know, tell me tell me more than what was already in my application.

Kamila
Yeah, and I have one question. So with teachers, obviously, teachers like those students who like constantly raise their hand and participate in such. So I don’t know if you were more of an introvert extrovert in high school. But do you think being a little bit more on the shy side puts you at a disadvantage for recommendation letters?

Jimmy
Um, I would say it doesn’t necessarily, because I think there are different ways that you can, like different ways that you can show your your strengths to a teacher. Like, for example, I think that like, you know, if like, like with my chem professor who had a teacher who I ended up getting a recommendation letter for with the tutoring, I think that her I don’t think her letter would have talked much about my performance in her class at all, because I kind of when I was talking to her about a recommendation letter I told I said, I was like, Can you kind of just talk about me more as a person? Like, more about, like, some things that I you know, like, how I yeah, I guess like, it was more just about, like, who I am to colleges, and not just as like this as like a high achieving student because I think that there’s like, that’s like the more interesting story to tell. Anyway. So I think that, you know, Shire Students can also can, like, take advantage of that. Because unfortunately, I do think our school system does, you know, select for it kind of like it’s a little bit unfair against shy students, and that they kind of sometimes get like, swept under the rug and ignored. So I think that like they can, they can definitely play their strengths. Their advantages, though, if they’re able to, yeah.

Kamila
Okay. And I lied. This is not the last part of your college application. It’s actually your essays. So let’s talk about your essays again, was it a strategic approach? Did you you know, ask your counselors on how to write it. Did you have any help with it?

Jimmy
Yes. So I had, um, a family friend, she did college essays. So she was really the, she helped me more like ideating and coming up with what I wanted to write about. And then when I was writing it, I it was pretty much just my English teacher from my junior year and then also my, the one who I got the letter of recommendation from. So we did a lot of like the, like stylistic and like poring over it and fixing like verbiage and stuff like that. So I would say It was mostly like coming up with the idea was like helpful to have that, like, you know, like say like, oh, what can I write about, but then the actual writing process was pretty much like me coming up with drafts and like having my teacher read it over

Kamila
and say, Can you if you don’t mind sharing? Can you tell us what your, I believe would be your common app essay what your common app essay was about?

Jimmy
Sure. Yeah. So my, my, my essay was just my experience as a triplet. Um, because, you know, I think that so basically, the premise of it was that, you know, people do kind of link us all together. And, you know, I think that a lot of times, that takes away from our individuality, like, people view you as like the triplets, and like the particular triplets instead of like, us as three different people. So I talked a lot about that, and how that kind of shaped like, my goals, my passions for, like, what I wanted to do in college, and I kind of talked about how that had kind of pressure on me to, like, always succeed, and like always do like, like, just kind of, like, always be driving forward, I guess. And so then I talked about how when I got there was like a program, my junior summer that I got rejected from and kind of like, that was one of the first times that honestly, like, had the got hard rejection like that. And, you know, like, that sounds kind of like silly, but I was like, oh, like, you know, this is like life, I need to get used to that. And I ended up talking about my experience as a swim coach that summer. So think Junior summer, a lot of people think you have to do research in a lab or have some sort of like program that you’re doing or like, like, the program was like, I was called Governor’s School, which was a really good like research program. out of college in New Jersey, I don’t remember. And I ended up being a swim coach. And that ended up being like a fantastic experience for me, like literally one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had. And I ended up writing about how, you know, I didn’t really have to be, I like, especially as a coach, I wasn’t like one of the triplets just Coach Jimmy. And then I was like, you know, like, maybe, I guess, like, maybe it’s more, you know, life is more than just like having to be, except like always pushing yourself to succeed and be less at play at everything you can kind of use for yourself and to explore who you are, I would say.

Kamila
That’s the I mean, that’s, I mean, you do have a unique experience, like being a triplet. So that’s interesting to write about. And on the overall looking at your overall application. Which part of your application do you think made you stand out? Like, obviously, they’re all going to have their like moments to shine, but which one do you think really did it for you? Was it your essay, your letters of rec, your extracurriculars?

Jimmy
Um, I think the way I like to think of like college applications now is that the numbers don’t get you so far, they kind of give you a chance to be considered. But then everything past that is like, everything, in addition to the numbers is really what gives what gets you into the school. So I think that like I was able to really play my application as a whole to kind of really show who I was as a person. Between like the letter of recommendation, the letters of recommendation, like my extracurriculars. And then the essay, I really wanted to show that hey, like, I’m more than, like a student, like I am passionate about things like I like doing things for me, and I love pushing myself. But I think that like I kind of that I think, like, I don’t really know if I could choose one section. But I think that that was like, really complimented my like, statistics more. So is that, hey, like, there’s a person that wants to contribute to this world? I guess like that was kind of my goal is I was like, I hope that they see that I’m not just like, the person that’s trying to like, game the system, you know, like, I’m doing this because I want to, I guess,

Kamila
okay, and so now we can go on to the colleges that you apply to, and we’re thinking about So earlier, you mentioned, the top tier schools, it was not like, you need to get in or pressure. It’s more like kind of like, Oh, let’s see if I can get in and such. So did you actually have the intention? Like if I get into this top school, I’m like, seriously considering going or, you know, some people just apply to Harvard to see if you know, they’ll get in and such. So it wasn’t more like that at first, or did you seriously think, Oh, I may actually consider going to one of these schools.

Jimmy
Yeah, so it’s funny. So the first time I’d ever considered so I applied early decision to Hopkins. So that was like really nice, because I got to stop stressing before. Before the years over my seat were like before, I guess like the my senior year graduating year, so that was nice. But I would like it’s funny, because I think like when I first started thinking about schools, I had known what Johns Hopkins was. And I knew that I was interested in BME. And I was I knew that I had a pretty good reputation for that. So I was like, oh, like maybe I want to go to Hopkins. And then I ended up like, it’s kind of funny. Like I said, I wanted to go to Hopkins before I actually wanted to go to Hopkins. But then I definitely wanted to I end up looking at a lot of different like top tier schools. Like I like I ended up and I was going to apply to all of them. And luckily I didn’t end up having to submit most of my applications because which was good because I didn’t write a lot of the essays. So that would have been a really, really tough winter break. But yeah, I would say it was like very geared towards like, I had my, like, competitive schools where it was a toss up. And, you know, I thought, you know, I thought like, my numbers gave me a chance. So I was like, hey, like, I’m going to apply to all these, but I know that it’s college applications is a gamble. I’m going to have high schools that like, I think I have a really good chance that and then my schools that are a safety. So I definitely like thought of like, I definitely didn’t want to like only apply the top schools, because I knew that they’re obviously a game of chance at the end of the day. Yeah. And yeah, so I would say that’s kind of like that was my strategy for like, which was I applied to?

Kamila
So you apply to Johns Hopkins, you get in and then basically just discarded everything else. It’s like, oh, I’m going to Hopkins now.

Jimmy
Yeah. So I well, I think I so for the schools, I applied early to, I believe it was MIT, I applied early action and got deferred. And then I applied to Georgia Tech in a Michigan early Ruckers. early on. Yeah. So I think I want to say it was those four or five schools that I applied to early, because none of them were like restrictive. And I couldn’t find anything restricted because of my EDI agreement. So yeah, those were the ones I had already applied to by the time I got into Hopkins. So luckily, I was able to withdraw those. And then I planning on applying to a bunch more, which was it’s funny because my sister, my oldest sister only applied to three schools. Whereas from what like competitive college applications like or admissions like, that’s not, that’s not like, something you do these days. Like, if you want to get into those schools, you got to apply to a bunch, at least that’s what I was. That’s what I was told. So my mom was always firing me she’s like, like five or six schools. And I’d be like, 11 or 12 schools and like, I’m glad I didn’t end up having to apply to that Penny, because I think there’s definitely an amount that’s too many schools to apply to. But I ended up I think, I gotta find a pen, vendor bill. A couple of the Ivy’s definitely, with the upper levels, or like the competitive schools, I was thinking more like, these are all kind of a gamble. So you have to apply more of those to get in. But I definitely had my like, I think Georgia Tech and Michigan were like two that I really thought I had a good chance at. And then there was and then rockers in Rochester, I want to say were the two that I thought I had a better chance. And with

Kamila
these top schools, how did you determine like which ones you wanted to apply to? Like, how did you determine which IVs that you want to apply to Vanderbilt? Michigan?

Jimmy
Yes. So um, some of them I had the chance to wear which was really nice. So Columbia, actually, I started to mention another extracurricular I did was this program at Columbia called the Science Honors Program. And it wasn’t for credit. It wasn’t for like any site, any type of like actual tangible, like, benefits. They were just like, really interesting classes. And I got to get my mom to let me go into the city every weekend. So that was really fun. So I really liked Columbia, just because I had been there every weekend. I got the chance to tour Princeton and Penn. So I applied to I applied to both of those randomly. I was in Nashville the summer after my sophomore year. So I toured Vanderbilt, which is a beautiful campus.

Kamila
I know, right? It’s gorgeous. I’ve been there. Oh, it’s so beautiful. Like,

Jimmy
sometimes I look around Baltimore, and I’m like, I could be in Nashville right now. I do love Baltimore. But so I would say like, most of them, I like if I could tour them, I tried to tour them. But I think like Michigan, I didn’t tour it was more just like, kind of, I guess what I could find on paper. One thing that was like, really important to me as a school is I didn’t really want a school very restrictive curriculum. Because like in high school, I kind of always thought like, you know, I have all these different interests. I like theater I like, you know, like sports. I like, you know, stem, obviously. So I don’t want to like limit myself to, like small, right? Don’t take like one set of classes like I think, I think one like yeah, there’s a there’s a couple schools where I was like, I don’t really know how I feel about the curriculum. They’re like, I don’t want I want to be forced to take things I’m not interested in. And that’s what I really liked about Hopkins is that it we have like a distribution system. So basically, a lot of the core curriculums that was like a big like, yellow, I would say yellow flag for me, because I just I really liked not having that restrictive. Oh, Craig,

Kamila
are you talking about you Chicago?

Jimmy
I did think yeah, you Chicago is one of them. And I think there is I don’t know which school it’s either maybe Dartmouth or brown. If you want to do engineering, it’s like an additional year. Or maybe, I don’t know, I don’t know, it’s something like that. Or there’s another one where it’s like if you want to double major it was an additional year like whereas I know people at Hopkins that are like double majoring with a minor in graduating in three and a half years. So like just the ease of like, kind of the classes you’re interested in. Like that’s a big thing for me that I really liked about like that was what they look for my schools.

Kamila
Okay, interesting. And how did you feel when you open that Hopkins letter was just like, congratulations.

Jimmy
That was great. I remember I like I, my people, my friends were like, called me like, they’re like, Oh, you’re so dramatic because it was like, I was like, I don’t want to be in school for this because it was like, I think it came out at like three o’clock. So I like left school early, because I was like, I don’t want to be here. And I went to my mom’s work. And I was like, sitting in, and I’m already logged on, like, three minutes early. So it was like 257 or something. And I was like, oh my god, it’s there. And then my mom was like, Do you want me to click it? And I was like, Uh, and then I just clicked. And it was like congrats. And so it was like, it was like such a great day for me. You can also like, what they concern about is at Hopkins, BME is a little different enough to apply directly to the program. And you have to get into the program as well as like getting into Hopkins. So I was like a little that I was really stressed to that if I didn’t get into the like BME like Oh, does that I still want to go to Hopkins and like I didn’t really have the answer. So I’m very happy that I did because I didn’t have to make that decision. So that was like a really nice like weight off my chest like I got into the program that I wanted and like the school that I wanted so that was that was a very fun day.

Kamila
That is very dramatic. You left school to open your

Jimmy
eyes like I don’t want anyone to see me if I don’t get in.

Kamila
That’s it for part one of my interview with Jimmy make sure to subscribe so you know in part two comes out. Also check out my blog, a college kid.com on there I write articles about various college topics. But other than that, I hope to see you in the next one.