On episode 130, Alexis Avila talks writing tutor Nived Ravikumar, AKA the Statement Guru. Nived took a pretty unusual path to essay educator extraordinaire. Born and raised in Southern California, he became obsessed with movies at a young age. In high school, he became so preoccupied with writing screenplays that he went on to major in Film Studies from UCal Santa Barbara and obtain a Masters from Chapman University (M.F.A in Film Production). Today Nived uses his creative writing talents to help thousands of students all over the world learn to tell unique, engaging college admissions narratives. Nived’s admissions statement philosophy? Tell a great story! Involve readers! Get them to care! On today’s episode Nived will give you his best tips for writing amazing, unique college admissions essays.
Nived’s 4 tips for writing college essays: 1. Don’t cram everything in it. 2. Create a dynamic title to act as your anchor throughout 3. Do a force retype, instead of superficial edits 4. Focus on the “hero’s journey” so don’t be afraid to show your flaws and how you were able to persevere and learn from mistakes.
Nived’s no no’s for writing essays: Don’t be redundant and don’t play it so safe!
Nived’s advice for teens? It’s great to have an idea of your long term goals but don’t be afraid to change your mind while in college and explore other possibilities. Be adaptive!
For another related conversation, check out podcast Episode #72 with Elly Swartz: How to start, write, and revise the college admissions essay
Woman: Welcome to the Prepped and Polished podcast, the podcast that empowers you to take control of your education, featuring weekly interviews with influencers in the world of education as well as tutoring tips, lessons, and updates. And now, here’s your host, Alexis Avila.
Alexis: And welcome back to the Prepped and Polished podcast, this is episode 130. Make sure to join the Prepped and Polished community, find us on SoundCloud, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and YouTube. If you type Prepped and Polished, you’ll find us there. Also go to preppedandpolished.com for more info and sign up for our free ACT essay course on the front page of our site, preppedandpolished.com, you’ll see the free ACT essay course.
Have a question or a reaction during or after the podcast? Submit your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s get to today’s guest today on episode 130. I’m talking to Nived Ravikumar, the college statement guru. Nived took a pretty unique path to essay educator extraordinaire. Born and raised in Southern California, he became obsessed with movies which led him to get a undergraduate in Film Studies at UCal Santa Barbara, a masters from Chapman, Masters in Fine Arts and Film Production.
Today, Nived uses his creative writing talents to help thousands of students all over the world learn to tell their unique engaging college admissions narratives. Nived’s admission statement philosophy is basically to tell a great story, involve the readers, get them to care, and he does a brilliant job of doing that. On today’s episode, Nived will give you his best tips for writing an amazing unique college admissions essay. For another related conversation, check out our podcast, it was episode number 72, it was with Ellie Swartz, the essay advisor, on how to start right and revise a college admissions essay. Now, let’s get right to our guest. This is episode number 130 with Nived Ravikumar, the college statement guru. Nived, thanks for coming on the Prepped and Polished podcast. How are you today?
Nived: I’m good, how are you doing, Alexis?
Alexis: Great. Can you share with the audience a little of your background and focus on some moments that led you to where you are today as really a highly regarded writing coach for students who need help with their admissions essays?
Nived: Sure. First of all, thanks for having me on the podcast. So, I had my background in screenwriting and filmmaking, so I went to film school out here in the LA area and basically I had worked a series of…I guess you could call them content related jobs. I worked in a content role at Google for a few years, I was the newsletter editor for the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles for a couple of years. So, throughout this time, I was always involved with writing and the written word and people knew that I had the screenwriting background. So I would say the first pivotal moment was when I would have colleagues and friends of mine who were applying to graduate programs usually like medical school or masters programs say, “Hey, you’re a really good writer. Can you sit down with me and look at my essay, my personal statement?” And I had zero background in that kind of stuff at that point, but, you know, there was free meals involved.
Alexis: There you go.
Nived: And there was kind of small sums of money involved at a certain point, so it kind of took off from there. I started to build this track record of even though I didn’t know anything about this field or the subject matter, I was able to sit down with this draft and kind of talk them through some of the stuff and say, like, “Well, I like this, this is working, have you tried something like this?” And so it kind of took off from there. So I would say that was the first pivotal moment.
The second was actually kind of going from people I knew directly to people that I had never met before. A lot of times, that was through referrals. So I remember one person in particular who was living in the Bay Area who is a friend of a friend who still to this day, I’ve never met. And, you know, it’s like this friend of mine told her about me and it was like, “Hey, you should kind of work with this guy,” and I got on the phone and talked to her maybe three or four times and went over what I thought and gave my feedback and she got into this program that she wanted to get into and that was kind of a big moment for me of, you know, it’s one thing to work with somebody who’s gonna give you the benefit of the doubt because they’ve worked with you in some other capacity and, you know, you have some kind of like working knowledge of this person to kind of rely on to be like, “Hey, why don’t you talk about this interesting thing I know about you or something?” To go from that to somebody who you have absolutely…know nothing about and kind of make that work, so that was a big one for me.
And then the third one was similarly going from somebody who is U.S. based to international. In this case, it was India, and so that felt like there was kind of a learning curve there because there’s kind of like more of a cultural gap and I’d never done an engineering applicant before. And so that was tricky in the sense of, you know, I’m charging this person who doesn’t know anybody I know in the world who found me on the internet, who was like, “Hey, can you help me?” And so all of those experiences at the time felt very challenging and I felt a little in over my head but after kind of doing that a couple times, I sort of established that proficiency and, you know, now I feel like I can work with anybody anywhere helping them with any kind of essay related assignment basically.
Alexis: That’s awesome, you talk a lot about movies and you had a fascination at an early age, I understand. So I was wondering, what’s an example of a film that blew you away when you were younger, made an impression on you, where it was a story writing really that blew you away?
Nived: Yeah, let me think. So I feel like it’s very common when you go to movies and you don’t really seek out sort of more innovative storytelling or innovative kinds of movies to just think you know what movies are or what movies can be. And for me, one of the first filmmakers that sort of blew my mind in the sense of what was possible with movies was Martin Scorsese. And so I kind of went back and discovered all of these older films that he had done and, like, he has this track record of just doing these really incredible kind of risk-taking…I mean, he still does it. Like “Wolf of Wall Street” is a pretty risk-taking kind of movie, right?
Nived: But I think for me, probably my favorite, it’s definitely in my top five movies of all times still, is “Goodfellas,” and it’s…you know, there’s been a lot of gangster in mob movies but this one, like if it was on TV now, I would stop everything and…you know, I would stop this interview.
Alexis: You’d still watch it.
Nived: Yeah, I would watch the entire thing, and it’s a very violent and dark movie about psychopaths basically, and I think it’s a hilarious entertaining and just incredible movie and it does some really interesting things. Like it has the voice-over of the main character but then, you know, 30 minutes into the movie, his, you know, to be wife shows up in the movie and she gets her kind of a co-voiceover for the remainder of the movie, it’s like, you know, what movie does that kind of thing, right?
Nived: And it’s like a two and a half hour movie that to me goes by in 30 minutes, you know, it feels so perfectly told.
Alexis: Let’s talk about college admissions essays because obviously a lot of your background has been writing and story writing, and for film, you have a masters in film, but how do you help students write…approach a college admissions essay where you’re trying to help them write an amazing “Hollywood Blockbuster” where admissions officers would be so intrigued, they can’t keep their eyes off the paper. So?
Nived: Yeah. I mean, I don’t know if there’s a single magic way of doing that, but I try to think of it in terms of…you know, like sort of the hero’s journey. It’s like what is it about great movie characters that makes them so endearing? And I think it’s like a combination of they have great qualities yet they haven’t figured it all out yet, and I think that’s why, you know, you can overdo this obviously, but I am an advocate for college essays that are willing to kind of talk about failures or flaws or things that the applicant was having a problem with that they solve that problem or they achieved a resolution somewhere.
And a lot of times, I think students get into this tendency of boasting and saying like, “I’m like the greatest thing ever and I started this club and I’m the greatest student and I started this nonprofit in my spare time.” You know, I think you can have that in the essay and that can really sort of show…you know, the track record of success is great, but like nobody achieved anything of any value without some sense of struggle or difficulty or failure and risk-taking, and I think you see that a lot in movies where it’s like a movie in which everything goes right for the main character every step of the way would be an incredibly boring movie. And that goes a little…that logic applies with admissions essays as well. You want a little bit of trial and error, you want some challenges, you want some introspection, and I think if you can capture a bit of that and before the happy ending, before the aha moments, before the those great insights, it’ll really humanize the person, it’ll make the reader want to root for them, and it’ll really kind of get the admissions officers on their side basically.
Alexis: That’s awesome, makes a lot of sense, and that’s why there’s only so few great movies and a lot of mediocre ones.
Nived: Exactly. Yeah. The funny thing about movies is…like you don’t get an A for effort, it’s like these hundreds of people on any movie spent over a year of their life on this one project yet somebody can go to a movie and be like, “I hate this movie.” It can get dismissed outright, it’s just a waste of everybody’s time and a bad movie.
Alexis: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Now, can you just give us some juicy…just a few juicy tips for students when approaching a college admissions essay?
Nived: Yeah. I’ll give three ones that I do definitely use myself with my own writing and I really preach this stuff. So one is I don’t know if you’re a “Seinfeld” fan at all but, you know, there’s an episode about where they say yada, yada, yada to kind of gloss over a lot of information?
Nived: It’s like I was hanging out with this guy, yada, yada, yada, I woke up in jail or whatever. Well, you know, the yada, yada, yada, it actually contains a lot of important information and that’s the joke. I do feel like a lot of applicants, they’re trying to say so much and they’re trying to cover all their bases in their essays or in their Common App, for example. And the main Common App Essay is only 650 words and that’s not a lot of space. So I find that a lot of applicants, they will try to cover too much and then they’ll say, like, “Here’s five things that really helped me become a mature student and become a better test taker or whatever,” and then it’s like they cover five things like summer camp, my teacher who’s super inspirational and my flute teacher or whatever, and I actually use the term fast forwarding which is kind of like you’re taking a lot of pivotal stuff, like each one of those could be their own essay, yet in giving us all five of those things, you’re sort of giving us none of those things.
And I really find that taking a step back and saying, you know, what is the most relevant or what had the biggest impact on me and really delving into those one or two things allows the student to give the richness of that experience and really express that impact that it had on them. And I think it’s a much better approach because it’s gonna be more visual, it’s gonna really take us into their world better than trying to cover all their bases. So that’s the fast forwarding point.
A second one which I really don’t hear much about this but I think this really works for me, I’ve always used this for any kind of writing that I’ve done is creating a really interesting dynamic kind of name for your essay. And to me, it’s like the road map that’s always at the top of your essay. It’s like this is the essay that’s named this so it has to kind of play by the rules set forth or what is kind of evoked with that name. And so you don’t necessarily have to submit it with the title still there. A lot of it is just for your own mental kind of, how do you stay on track, how do you keep focused? I don’t necessarily want the title to lock you into a specific…like, I mean, you should still have the creative juices flowing and don’t feel locked into something. That’s why a title is so great because it’s only, you know, several words but it can still give you that road map.
And so, you know, feel free to delete that title at the end but just for your own reference, I do recommend trying to think of something that’s clever or something that’s, you know…puns are great for this kind of thing and I think I really like that. And a third thing I would say is it’s something I call force retype, force retype which is basically after you have a early draft or a rough draft, instead of going through and just adjusting things, start a new document because you don’t want to mess with your original document, right?
Alexis: Right. Save a new draft.
Nived: So above the old draft, I will switch to a new font and I’ll usually make it a bigger and a fun font, and then I will literally retype everything from the original essay but I’ll also make edits as I’m doing it. So as you’re going through it and you’re typing it, it kind of forces you to rethink everything that you wrote the first time around. And so it’s called force retype for that reason and you basically you’re typing, you’re typing, and you’re like, “All right, do I need that sentence? I kind of said something similar back there.” Instead of doing a surface edit where you’re basically saying, “Oh, yeah, that looks pretty good, that paragraph looks pretty good,” it makes you rethink everything and it makes you sort of be economical because you have to confront it in a unique way basically.
Alexis: So, you probably have people who might counter and say, “Well, are you making me rewrite this whole essay?” But that’s not exactly the point here, it’s…I mean, there’s gonna be stuff that you keep.
Nived: Yeah, there’s some things that you will type again verbatim, yeah, but the process does, I think, help you think about like, is this really the best way to say this? It’s like, “Oh, maybe I can combine these two sentences,” or, “Actually, now that I look at it again, this paragraph is not so important.” You know, it gives you a lot of editorial control and it gives you a different perspective and it’s sort of like a very…you know, it’s very intuitive in its own way but it’s something that I feel like I’ve sort of invented, I think.
Alexis: No, that’s really cool. Actually, I kind of see how it’s done, that’s innovative. I haven’t thought of that, but it will force you to create ultimate better essay.
Nived: Yeah. And so what I’ll do is after I’ve kind of completed a certain section, I will delete the old version or that old paragraph. So as you work your way through that essay, you have these little quick wins, sort of like, “Oh, I finished that paragraph, so let me delete that from…” That’s why you need to resave it basically. So I’ll delete that paragraph. And so at the end, you have this brand-new version of the essay in a new font, then you can change the font or whatever.
Alexis: Awesome. So just to quickly recap the three tips for students when approached in the essay, one is to fast forward.
Nived: Or not to fast forward.
Alexis: I mean, it says not to fast forward but to help the reader visualize his story.
Nived: Yeah, just to basically take their time to develop the very important concepts and the important experiences versus trying to cram a lot in there.
Alexis: Yeah, and two is, you know, create a dynamic name for your essay, kind of like just a title, a rally, just something that you can rally around. You don’t have to keep it at the end but just…is that what you’re…?
Nived: Yeah. It’s almost like if you were to start a band, I feel like coming up with that awesome perfect band name will give you some musical direction as well, it’s a little like that where, you know, your sound informs the name but then the name can also inform the sound. So titling the essay, I think, is a good way to create like a focal point of like this is what this essay is gonna be about, this is kind of what I have in mind in terms of the scope of the essay, and once I put this up here, it’s gonna keep me in check a little bit better.
Alexis: Awesome. And then again, a force retype. Awesome idea about just keeping the draft below you so you can kind of constantly look at it and just kind of go through it and retype each line, some stuff you’ll keep, but it will force you to kind of rethink things, better ideas.
Nived: Yeah, it’s basically forcing yourself to be more objective, I think, and it’s taking yourself out of the writer’s mindset and more into the editorial mindset.
Alexis: That’s sweet. What are some couple things that come to your mind for like students when they approach the essay wrong?
Nived: Yeah. I notice this a lot with undergrad applicants where a lot of times, this college will make them write several essays for the same college. And I notice a lot of redundancies where there’s, you know, their favorite hobby or activity or extracurricular, they kind of…that’s their go-to thing. So they might repeat themselves in different essays to that same university. And so I feel like that’s a missed opportunity to talk about something totally different and random and interesting whereas they kind of tend to just default to, “Oh, I like this, I like to do this which I already talked about.” So I think, you know, use every inch of space you can to reveal some other dimension or some other aspect of your personality or your education or your upbringing or whatever. So I think that’s definitely a trap I see a lot of people fall into.
I already talked about the trying to cram too much into one essay. You know, I feel like there’s not that much risk-taking and the best essays have some element of, “I’m gonna do something different, you know, just do something creative.” Again, you have to do what you’re comfortable with and if you’re really not comfortable as a writer, it’s gonna be harder to write a letter to your future self or something, you know? It’s like there are these great examples of these essays that are really out of the box and you’re really innovative but like if you don’t really feel comfortable with your writing skills, I’m not asking for you to go totally off the wall here, but go a little out of your comfort zone and try some things and worst-case scenario is you throw it out and do something else. It’s like at least allow yourself the space to experiment and have a little fun with it and that is one of my sort of rules. It’s like if you can find a way to have fun writing it, it’s going to be fun and engaging for people to read. But a lot of times, people never get to that flow state where, you know, it never crosses over from being a chore to being like, “Wow, I really enjoy expressing myself and I enjoy exploring these things and being introspective in a way that I normally am not able to or don’t think about.” And like really to get to that state requires a little bit of discipline and a little bit of I have to kind of make time for this to make it something that I care about.
Alexis: Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. So, Tufts University and some other colleges across the U.S. allow YouTube video, many YouTube video documentaries where you can, you know, add to your supplemental. You can film a YouTube video of your life. If that’s an available option, would you take it?
Nived: Back to my previous responses, you have to play to your strengths. And for somebody like me who’s very comfortable with a written word, I would choose the essay 10 times out of 10. But, you know, there’s people…like YouTube, there’s a lot of these very YouTube savvy people out there.
Alexis: I thought that was you because you are a screenwriter, so I guess I automatically assumed you’d be all over that, but now that I think about it, [crosstalk 00:24:21] screenwriting.
Nived: I’ve created two YouTube videos. For what it’s worth, I’ve created two YouTube videos for my site and 50 blog posts.
Alexis: One way to go.
Nived: So I would say different people are gonna have different strengths and weaknesses and things that they’re more comfortable with, and some people are gonna be scared to death of appearing on camera for their admissions essay. Some people are gonna be like, “Sign me up.” Right? And a lot of those people that are comfortable speaking on camera are also going to not be so comfortable writing it out. So I would say you have to really evaluate what your strengths and weaknesses are and know yourself and kind of act accordingly but, you know, if you really feel like you’re kind of equal on both fronts, the visual can really engage somebody and get them excited about you in a way that writing maybe can’t, to be honest.
Alexis: Right. Give us a success story and how like maybe a student came to you with a…you know, like something out of like Ace Ventura pet detective, you know, and then you basically turned it around and made it Fargo.
Nived: That’s funny. The one that comes to mind which is a relatively recent one is the student was interested in law, like going to law school. And she had this background as she was Afghani-American and she, in the sort of the aftermath of the September 11th and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, I had no idea that the military was doing this kind of stuff, but they actually create simulated Afghan villages in some parts of America like on these military bases and they needed basically people who looked Afghani and stuff to inhabit these totally constructed villages. And then it’s like they would do these sort of military exercises where it’s like we’re going to basically recreate this village where we think Bin Laden is hanging out and we needed to look as accurate as possible. And then they’ll have these tanks rolling through the village and then if they get shot or “shot,” they have to sort of play dead for the rest of the simulation kind of a thing.
I get this draft which is like I’ve never heard anything like it and I was just really blown away that, you know, there’s somebody who was this young person in college who kind of gets this. You know, usually, when you have a college job, it’s like working at the local convenience store or working at a video store or whatever, she’s like in this military base basically getting like mowed down by a tank or something.
Alexis: This is not gonna be a boring essay.
Nived: No, and the thing is as a essay tutor, when you read something like that, you’re just like, “Oh my gosh, this is…has the potential to be an all-time great essay,” but the thing is you also have to tie it to the larger point. You can’t just say, “I had this awesome experience. It’s one of a kind, and let me tell you about it.” You have to be like, “I had this awesome experience that’s one of a kind and this is the aspect of it that makes me want to become a lawyer or something.” I mean, she had come up with all of this stuff herself in terms of the story of this village and how she got recruited for it and how, you know, people at her community felt like she was kind of going against her culture and all this, like, all sorts of stuff, like really complex nuanced interesting stuff.
I told her like, “You should write an actual book about this.” So the trick for an admissions essay is like how do you take that and spin it into, “And this is why I want to be a lawyer?” And so, you know, we spent some time like really talking about it, like, “Whoa, how do we get from point A to point B here?” And then the way we cracked it was basically it was about feeling empathetic for people who didn’t have rights or have their rights taken away. And by basically role-playing in this way, she was able to connect to these people. Like talk about no rights, like a woman in Afghanistan. It’s really among the least rights anybody could have in the world, and like for her to come from this very privileged kind of westernized background in the United States to sort of play this role, it kind of gave her this empathy to, in a way, like to sort of empathize.
Nived: Yes, like to sort of walk in this person’s shoes or these people’s shoes and to kind of appreciate the inequality that exists and to sort of feel inspired to be an advocate.
Alexis: There’s a bridge.
Nived: Yeah, exactly. So once we kind of crack that, you know, I knew I had such great material to work with but it was really a matter of, like you said, making that bridge to…how does that connect to what she wants to do for her career?
Alexis: Perfect. Wow, that’s huge, that was a great turnaround, but she came to you with, you know, some good stuff.
Nived: Yeah, she had a lot of the things in place because I think she knew that she was working with a lot of great material. It was just a matter of finding that missing link there.
Alexis: Definitely, all right.
Nived: Sorry, and to me, that’s the most satisfying. Like I don’t want to sort of impose some kind of structure or vision onto the essay, I want to help students kind of have those breakthroughs and have those moments of, “Oh, I see how all of this links to what I want to do or…” A lot of it is like, “I was sort of in secret or like latently thinking of this, I just didn’t know how to articulate it or I didn’t understand why I wanted to do certain things, but now that it’s articulated sort of in this way, I have a lot of clarity about what I’m all about.”
Alexis: Yes, that’s awesome, it’s the best way to do it. Are supplemental essays like as important or are those just like appetizers, you know?
Nived: So, you only have limited a time especially these busy high schoolers these days with all their activities and whatnot. So I do recommend prioritizing Common App Essay, the Common App Essay or the ones that you know you can be reused in different ways. I would say really think about those essays that you can use a version of for a dozen different schools and really putting your best foot forward in that way but also think about what schools do you really want to go to and you should definitely prioritize those. So, secondary essays, a lot of times, they’ll be, “Why do you want to go to this school?” So, you know, if it’s your dream school, you know, I definitely advocate for spending a ton of time on that one but if it’s your safety school, maybe you want to take that why you want to essay for your dream school and change some words around or something.
Alexis: All right, perfect.
Nived: I’ve had clients who they would write why I want to go to whatever school and they’d never visited the school but they would watch some videos about it, like kind of act like, “Oh, yeah, I really had a great time on the campus tour and I was wandering around this library.” It’s like you can sort of try to sell some of the…I’m not advocating for [crosstalk 00:32:38]…
Alexis: Right, right.
Nived: …but you can really try to sell people on how you want to really go to whatever university but it almost helps if you really meant it in the first place if you write that about your dream school first. So, a lot of it is just prioritization and it’s just natural to want to and to go forward with kind of taking the one that’s going to have the most exposure and really putting everything into that initially.
Alexis: Yeah, good call. And now, you know, what do you love best about what you do?
Nived: You know, it’s really comes back to those human interactions and, you know, really connecting with people that I would have normally never interacted with. So I do get emails and phone calls from around the world, I do have a pretty good presence in South Asia like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan. And so there’s nothing to be more interesting or exciting than getting this email from some far-flung part of the world, sometimes I have to look it up on a map like I’ve never heard of it kind of a thing. Like, one of my clients, she’s come to me for half a dozen different things, is from Azerbaijan and I…
Alexis: Yeah, that’s a small country.
Nived: I’ve never interacted with anybody from Azerbaijan but it’s awesome. Last time she hired me for something, we spent an hour and a half off-topic talking about different geopolitical issues and all these things and to get that perspective is very valuable and I really value those interactions and I’m pretty informal about the way I do things. So, you know, I really like to connect with my clients and to kind of build a rapport. So I do end up being friends with the vast majority of them, so it’s kind of cool to build your social network and your circle of friends through being able to kind of…basically, I get paid to make friends in a way, I feel.
Alexis: That’s a good job. And what kinds of cool stuff are you up to now and in the near future?
Nived: Yeah. I mean part of my challenge is there’s only one of me but I do feel like I have a lot of wisdom and a lot of experience that I have to give to applicants. So I’ve really tried to focus on kind of finding different ways where I can connect with people. So a little over a year ago, like I self-published a book, 50 questions for your admissions essay draft which is available on Amazon and Paperback and Kindle. So, like that was my first kind of way to create a product and sort of see if somebody, maybe they can’t…I’m too busy in terms of for them to book me at that moment or they maybe can’t afford my quote, you know, they can spend 10 bucks or whatever it is to at least get some version of my knowledge and hopefully that helps them. You know, I’ve had people who buy my book and then they still hire me because they like the process of going through the book but they still want to get their essay to the next level. So, like, that was really my first introduction into that world of writing books for sale or…you know. And I’m working on another eBook now, so I hope to finish that in a couple months. So that’ll kind of be my next thing. I do have a video course in mind but I’ve had it in mind for a while. So I’ve gotten as far as buying the domain for it.
Alexis: There you go, that’s an important one.
Nived: Yeah, that is an important step but, you know?
Alexis: Perfect, and how do we get in touch with you, Nived, work with you?
Nived: Yeah. So my email address is email@example.com and you can connect with me through that or you can go to my website which is statementguru.com, statement guru, and there was a contact form that you can find through that site.
Alexis: Perfect. And we got a lot of teenage listeners, they’re listening because they’re off to college, they’re off to an exciting time, young adulthood, and they’re looking up to you. So I was wondering if you can give us any words of wisdom.
Nived: Yeah, sure. I think that a lot of people, you know, have this very strong idea of what they want to do but it’s still…you know, before going to college, a lot of that is subject to change, a lot of my friends and myself who had this very strong idea of what we wanted to do career-wise had that changed throughout in the process of going to college or even after college. Like, you know, one of my close friends did…went to school for English and then he did a masters in English and then he ended up doing a post-back and going into medical school.
You know, it’s hard to predict where…college is such a huge learning experience and you learn so much about yourself in the world. So I would say it’s great to kind of have an idea of what you want to do or what your long-term goals are, but don’t be afraid of rethinking some of those things and being adaptive and sort of being open to the world and what the world has to offer because I do think a lot of people are coming from a high school that you only interact with the people that are from that area before and then to go to a university that might be in a bigger city or in another part of the country or in another country altogether, it’s gonna open your eyes to how big and vast and complex the world is. And so you don’t want to have blinders on to that by saying like, “Well, I had this epiphany when I was 14 years old to do whatever and I have to stick to that because I told everybody and I wrote an essay about it.” And so, you know, be receptive but also you have to be anchored to something. So, I think, you know, you have to have a distinction between identity and activities and don’t change who you are in a fundamental level but also, you know, you can explore different careers or different types of things without changing your core beliefs and core values.
Alexis: That’s awesome. Well, Nived, thanks for coming on the Prepped and Polished podcast and we’d love to have you come back, appreciate your time.
Nived: Thank you, I really enjoyed coming on here. Talk to you soon, Alexis.
Alexis: And this wraps up our show today, this was episode number 130 with Nived Ravikumar, the college statement guru. To connect with Nived and to work with him, check out his site, collegestatementguru.com. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. For another related conversation, make sure to rewind and check out episode number 72 with the essay advisors, Ellie Swartz, on how to start, write, and revise the college admissions essay and tune in soon to hear our next podcast episode number 131 which will be our tutoring tips episode. But to access today’s episode which was number 130 and all of our podcast episodes, just go to preppedandpolished.com/podcast. Thank you for joining us on the Prepped and Polished podcast. Now, go out there and take control of your education.
Woman: You’ve been listening to the Prepped and Polished podcast. For more information, check out preppedandpolished.com. Also, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for listening, class dismissed.
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