My Path to Boston University — A Real Student’s Story
This article is a first-person account from Yesh Datar, a Boston University student and CollegeVine livestreamer/contributor/mentor. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
- Where I Went to High School
- Where My Interest in STEM Originated
- My Extracurriculars
- My AP Course Load and GPA
In this post, Yesh Datar, a medical student at Boston University’s School of Medicine, discusses his path to university. He talks about where he went to high school, how he became interested in STEM, and the kinds of extracurriculars and AP courses that helped him hone his interests and become a stronger college applicant.
Where I Went to High School
Although I am currently a second-year medical student at Boston University, and I completed my undergraduate degree at the same university, I graduated from a public high school in central New Jersey. How I approached academics in high school was the start of my journey toward Boston University and laid the foundation for some of the lifelong academic and social skills that I gained during my time there.
I lived in the same school district from kindergarten to graduation. There were about 400 students in my grade, and most of the kids at my high school—maybe 70%—were of white backgrounds, with 30% being non-white. I myself am a first-generation Indian American.
It was a relatively competitive school with a fair number of high achievers, a category I entered during my sophomore and junior years of high school.
Where My Interest in STEM Originated
I’ve been inclined toward the sciences since a young age. As a child, I would get chemistry or circuit-building kits as gifts. Science was always something that I found fun and interesting to explore. My uncle is a doctor—something that always fascinated me—so I decided to apply to Boston University’s medical program early on, as I thought that I might want to pursue the same profession.
Much of my high school experience centered around exploring medicine. Very selective schools care about how focused your application is toward your major of interest. Aiming to keep elements of your application all focused around one topic will help you seem dedicated and accomplished. By focusing on math and science, I was able to create this picture of myself.
Entering high school is a huge step academically because the expectations are so much higher. There’s also more freedom to join clubs, both inside and outside of school. I tried to echo what other successful students would do, like get summer internships or complete personal projects.
I pursued many volunteer opportunities during this time, particularly related to medicine. I used to volunteer as an EMT and with the American Red Cross, for example. In addition to other science clubs, I played ultimate frisbee and was a part of the marching band.
My AP Course Load and GPA
During my freshman year, I only took honors courses. Beginning my sophomore year, I began enrolling in STEM-focused AP classes, specifically AP Physics, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, and AP Calculus BC, as well as multivariate calculus, which was a non-AP college-level course.
I also took the end-of-year exams for AP Psychology and AP Human Geography after self-studying, though I did not take the full courses.
My freshman year GPA was fairly low, at about 3.7, but I increased it over time. When I graduated, my GPA was 4.3 weighted. This likely helped me during the college admissions process because I showed continuous improvement over time. A low initial GPA isn’t a dealbreaker for colleges, as long as they can see that you have improved.