union hall Results

student success
Union Hall advisors have helped their students gain admission to every one of the nation’s top colleges and universities at a much higher rate than the rest of the general public. This includes Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, UChicago, Northwestern, Amherst, UC Berkeley, Columbia, Penn and so many more. But this is really only part of the story. Great results can only be achieved when you know what you want in the first place. Some students know this when they come to us - others don’t and we help them figure it out. Different families have different goals which is why we measure success based on an individual’s college wants and needs.
No student is exactly the same, but there are a few types of students that we frequently see. Here are some success stories from last year based on each type.
is your student one of these?
the high flyer
Students with pristine academic records, an extremely rigorous course load and outstanding test scores. They are students that have the traditional credentials to win admission to the nation’s most elite colleges.
It’s counterintuitive, but students who fit this profile sometimes have a hard-time matching the rest of their application to the greatness they’ve achieved in their core academic areas. We help high-flyers make sure their essays match their level of achievement, since not doing so can cause admissions officers to question the legitimacy of their academic success. We also highlight those areas that are unique and interesting to the student - that show them as more than an academic grind.
recent example: Matt
Matt had top grades in all Honors and AP courses, and high 1500’s on the SAT. But his initial essays were uninspired and he had somewhat pedestrian extracurriculars. Through extensive interviewing we found some of Matt’s unique traits, and even though he came to us as a senior, we suggested a few high-value steps he could take to enhance and solidify those traits.
Matt’s Choice: Yale
the high potential
Students with very good academic records who want to attend top schools, but have one or more elements that might normally keep them out. Maybe it’s medium course-rigor or a test score that doesn’t match their GPA. To make it to the top they need to take maximum advantage of a compelling personal narrative. 
There needs to be a strong reason “why” for every school on the list and a story that makes admissions officers gladly forgo a kid with higher grades and scores. This is especially true for STEM majors applying to highly competitive programs. Success here is about well-written, engaging essays and strong packaging of the extracurriculars. These are some of the most rewarding students to work with and are becoming more common as colleges move away from standardized test scores.
recent example: allison
Alison had very high grades but low to modest course rigor, including the decision not to take math as a senior, stopping at pre-calculus (not something we recommend!). We helped her build a narrative that framed her course decisions as part of a broader strategy to achieve different academic goals related to her future. She also wrote a beautiful essay about why she belonged at the school.  
allison’s Choice: Pomona college
the maximizer
Not everyone we work with at Union Hall is working towards a top 25 college. Many are seeking to maximize their admissions chances at schools in the top 100 to 200. These are students who have had modest GPAs, course rigor and test scores. Students in this group are often surprised at just how many incredible, high-ranking schools they can crack if they strategize their list and make a smart early decision choice.
For these students it is about presenting a story of consistent growth and improvement. A show of maturity and self-awareness is what makes good schools want to admit these students, which is why we help them present that way.
recent example: raya
Raya had a spotty transcript with a few low grades her junior year and a test score to match. Despite this, she put together a personal narrative that stood out by showing her as a leader outside of the classroom. Her essays were authentic and hopeful, ultimately landing her admittances at a number of colleges she didn’t think she’d get into. It was a reminder to everyone in our office that anyone has a shot at a top 100 school with the right application.
raya’s Choice: UMass at Amherst
the merit seeker
We work with many families that prioritize gaining the maximum amount of free money for college. With so many of the nation’s top schools eliminating merit aid in order to award full-demonstrated need to lower income students, it’s a matter of finding academically appealing colleges, but also those that are generous with merit aid.
Maximizing merit aid requires careful college list building and the ability to leverage financial aid amounts when offers have arrived. We’ve helped families save an extra $10K a year in tuition relative to their initial scholarship offers by advising them on what to say to colleges to get that extra boost.
recent example: jonathan
.Jonathan had high grades and scores but sought a mix of prestige and merit aid. His family did not qualify for need-based aid but also didn’t want to pay full tuition. We helped build a college list that worked the tradeoff between high rankings and generous aid. Jonathan received full-ride scholarships to two high-quality colleges, but ultimately chose to take only a bit less free money to a more prestigious university.
jonathan’s Choice: University of Michigan
the specialist
There are some students that know exactly what they want to do as professionals and are applying to either specialist colleges or particular programs within a broader university. These run the range from those seeking acceptance to a BS/MD program to those studying music or the arts.
For these students it's all about artfully presenting what they’ve done to prove competency in their desired specialty. When there are gaps we advise students on how to fill them prior to applying. There is often a lot of presentation review and interview prep with students seeking specialist acceptances.
recent example: Marianne
Marianne knew she wanted to study music in college. She just wasn’t sure if she wanted to do it at a music-first school or as part of a traditional university. We worked with Marianne to navigate the many requirements that specialist schools put forth and stay on track throughout it all.  
Marianne’s Choice: Berklee College of Music
We’re not sure if you recognize your student in these archetypes. But regardless of where your student sits now, we can help them get to where they want to go. Our results speak for themselves!
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