A Letter from a Reader



Updated June 8, 2022

You’re reading an excerpt of Admitted by Soundarya Balasubramani. Written by an Ivy League graduate from India, this is the proven guide for students worldwide looking to pursue undergraduate or graduate study abroad in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. Purchase for instant access to the guide and other exclusive resources—including sample SOPs, sample resumes, scholarship lists, and a private community with other readers.

Since the first edition was published in August 2020, Admitted has been read by thousands of students, and I have received hundreds of personal notes from passionate readers who connected deeply with the book.

Among all the notes, there was one that really stood out. It came from someone named Sumanth Reddy.

storyHi Soundarya,

In May 2018, I had a CGPA of 5.2 on 10. I failed in six classes. I had no internship experience, nor had I worked on any projects or published papers. My friend circle was filled with people who were toxic. And mentally, I was exhausted.

Yet, today, on January 26, 2021, I received my first admit from Temple University to pursue my master’s in engineering management.

This would not have happened without Admitted.

I hit the lowest point in my life towards the end of my second year in college, around May 2018. It got to the point where the head of my department met with my parents to inform them that I needed to repeat my second year given my poor grades and attendance. Through some stroke of grace, I was able to plead with him to give me a second chance.

Since then, I managed to turn my life around: I began taking online courses, built go-karts to take part in Baja events, became the head of the volleyball team, organized and conducted workshops, and learned to believe more in myself.

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While I had a story to tell by the time I graduated, I didn’t know how to do it. I needed help in writing my SOP, crafting my resume, and getting recommendation letters. The help I needed came in the form of your book.

Aside from helping me build my application, Admitted told me the things no one else did. I learned about scholarships I can apply to, learned how to choose the right location for my university, and really understood how the admissions committee thinks. On top of this, I got to meet so many aspirants like me through the Slack community.

Thank you so, so much. I sincerely hope more people read your book and get into their dream universities.

— Sumanth Reddy

Sumanth eventually ended up getting admits from three more universities: the University of Massachusetts Amherst, George Washington University, and Stevens Institute of Technology.

His story stuck with me because it was a story of incredible transformation. It gives hope to the thousands of students out there who have a dream to study abroad but don’t yet fully believe in themselves, either because of poor grades or bad outcomes. Or something else entirely.

While grades and scores are important, what is more important is to share an honest and compelling story.

Whether you have a CGPA of 10 out of 10 or 5 out of 10, whether you are from a famous school or one that no one has heard of, whether you have published papers or not: it comes down to first accepting where you stand, believing in yourself, and telling your true story in a compelling way through your application.

And my aim with Admitted is to help you do just that.

Introduction to the Holloway Edition

Admitted began as a one-week project in January 2020 when I wanted to create a short guide to help students who wanted to study abroad.

I approached Saikishore, one of the collaborators on the book, and we began working together. Soon enough, though, it became clear that there was a need for a comprehensive guide on this topic. There were no guides in the market that covered the end-to-end process in sufficient detail to help students make an informed decision. So after eight months of working with a small team of collaborators, designers, editors, and marketers for over 2,000 hours, Admitted’s first edition was published in August 2020 in India.

I first came across Holloway in the same month I began working on Admitted: January 2020. I loved the idea behind Holloway and the way it was executed with a beautiful, native web-reader. It wasn’t until the end of 2020 that I got a chance to have a call with Josh, the CEO and founder. We connected quickly on the call and by the end, we both had a vision of publishing Admitted on Holloway. I cannot overstate how thrilled I am to finally see this vision come true.

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