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Video transcript
- So it's been about 20 years since I applied to college, but I think I remember it pretty well. That's obviously a very memorable time in your life. As you know from the other videos, I was pretty set on applying to MIT, so early on-- and this was back in the pre-Internet days-- as soon as it was available, I contacted them. They mailed me the actual packet that you used to fill out, and I got it from the other schools that I applied to. And obviously, you fill out all the forms, your data, your standardized test scores, you had to send copies from the college board to those schools. But then, when you're doing the application, at that point, one of the things that you have a lot of control over-- your grades and your standardized test scores are already there-- are your essays and your recommendations. I remember the first pass that I took on my essay, and it was, I think I wrote something that I thought that they wanted to read, and I had my sister review it, who was, at that point, an undergrad at Brown, and she said, "Sal, this is a lame essay. "You just look like another one of the thousands "of applications that they're gonna get. "I know you as a person. "You have a lot of personality. "You're sometimes a little eccentric. "Let that come out in the essay. "Don't go too far, but show who you are, "don't try to be someone that you're not "on either extreme." And so, she's like, "You're a singer in a heavy metal band. "Let 'em know about that, I mean, express yourself." And so I did. And once again, I didn't go too far, I didn't try to be something that I'm not. I tried my best to show what I am, and I guess it did work out at the end. The other piece, a very important piece, is recommendations, and for me, my three recommendations, one came from a Ms. Kennedy, who was our advisor for the school newspaper. I was the art editor, so I had worked a lot with her, so she knew a lot about how I work, my personality, my strengths and weaknesses. My other recommendation was Mr. Hernandez, who was a math teacher but was also the advisor for the math team, and I was the captain, so he could write a lot about-- We had gone on trips together and gone to competition, so he knew me really well. And then my third recommendation was Doctor Hira Santonia, professor at University of New Orleans. I had taken several classes with him and I'd also been a research assistant with him that previous summer. So yeah, I think it was really good to have people who really knew me well and, once again, could show who I am versus some, some, yeah. So I think it worked out well in the end.