Sam Learned the Art of Reflection and Leveled Up His Applicant Persona to Get Accepted at Caltech

Sam knew that his academic standing, varied STEM interests, and impressive extracurriculars list could help him get into the college of his dreams. After his school counselor suggested he reflect more on his choices and motivations for an enthralling application, he drew a blank. What kind of “reflection” do top schools expect?
Seeking the “why” and guidance, Sam contacted us for our complete end-to-end, 10-school application consulting package.

Applicant Persona












While Sam came to us with excellent academic standing and more, our first meeting centered on his fears about analyzing his experiences and motivations. Reflection can be challenging for many students; many high schoolers can move through grades knowing what they’re supposed to do, without much opportunity to look inward and reflect on why they’re doing it.

Even those with a solid career path or major mapped out for themselves can find it difficult to articulate the “why” or “how” to strategically position their applications to show their curiosity or drive.

How Did Quad Education Help?

We started with learning more about Sam; our team of former admissions committee members is dedicated to ensuring each student receives the attention and profile exploration they deserve. We learned Sam had research experience through the Penn Summer program and understood the scientific method well.

Identifying the “Why” and How for a More Competitive, Reflective Application

After discussing Sam’s fascination with robotics and advanced mathematics, the conversation moved to the scientific method. The scientific method heavily relies on analysis; we showed Sam that he was already capable of analyzing experiment results and helped him pivot to transmit the same strategy with his lived experiences.

While actively engaging and working with Sam, we helped him articulate his passion for STEM and showed him how his interests and experiences translate to valuable skills and career goals for the future.


Sam was accepted at nine schools, including Caltech, MIT, UPenn, and Georgia Tech. Although Sam had a tough time choosing between MIT and Caltech, he ultimately decided Caltech was the best choice for his goals and preferences.

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