35-Year-Old Cuban American, First-Generation Woman Accepted to Harvard Graduate School of Education and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Growing up working class in Miami as the daughter of a single immigrant mother, Liz found her passion for education’s ability to change people’s lives. Liz began her career in education teaching English in Brazil, and later working in Dubai at a women’s college. Throughout her career, she noticed how often educational institutions implemented technology solutions that catered to most students, but left behind students with special needs. During the 2020 Pandemic, Liz decided that it was time to learn how to bring 21st century technology and skills to more students by pursuing a master’s degree from her dream school, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Teaching high school and first year undergraduate students, Liz knew more than the average person about the higher education admissions processes. However, she wanted more insider knowledge about applying to Harvard’s prestigious Technology, Innovation, and Education Program.
Liz shared with Kaneisha, “I knew applying to a school like Harvard was a totally different animal. I felt confident in being able to put together a good application, but I just felt like there was so much I didn’t know, not necessarily just about the application process, but also about what doing a master’s at Harvard is like… You’ve inspired me and countless others to dream big and apply for these very competitive universities.”
Having known Kaneisha for years and with only two weeks until her application deadline, Liz reached out to The Art of Applying® for Hourly Coaching to get help with her application from a consultant who was an alum of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. One of Liz’s favorite parts of working with The Art of Applying® was how supportive her consultant was in helping her tell her story in the most compelling way possible.
Liz shared about working with her consultant, “[My consultant’s] extremely supportive. Even though I feel like I would have been able to go through the application process, I just felt as a first generation college student, woman of color from a working class background, you know you have that imposter syndrome. I just kept thinking, ‘I need to cut down my story because it’s not that interesting…’ She read it and was like, ‘This is amazing! This is exactly what people on the admissions committee want to read…’ People want to hear your story.”
While many clients enroll in the Application Accelerator® program, Liz’s chose to invest in Hourly Coaching instead. Hourly Coaching was a better fit for her because she had a clear plan for applying, a short timeline, and a need for highly focused, expert coaching on her resume, essays, and application strategy.
If you want to apply for a highly competitive school and pursue your dreams, but a voice in your head is telling you you’re not good enough, Liz has some advice for you:
“Just tell that voice to shut up! Shut that voice down… There’s always that little voice in the back of your head that’s just like, ‘No, I can’t do it. I’m not good enough.’ Everyone that applies to Harvard has this story [of feeling imposter syndrome]. Your story is so unique and so powerful, so please don’t forget that you have a unique and powerful story. What I really enjoyed about working with The Art of Applying® is you let me believe that.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Congratulations Liz, we can’t wait to see what you accomplish.
Start Date: June 30, 2020 | End Date: July 13, 2020
- Age: 35
- GPA: 3.49
- Work Experience: 12 years in education
- Undergraduate School: Pomona College
- Major: Sociology
- Master’s Degree School: Concordia University Chicago
- Master’s Degree: Master of Arts, Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language Instructor
- Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Technology, Innovation, and Education Program
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Education Policy, Organization & Leadership Program
On her decision to apply during the 2020 Pandemic and how Liz worked with The Art of Applying® to get her applications ready to go:
“Because of the pandemic, the Harvard Graduate School of Education decided to do another round of applications. So by chance, I was looking into getting a master’s or a doctorate in education technology… I checked the [Harvard] website at the very beginning of June, and literally two days prior, they decided to offer their master’s for one time online only. So, I was like, ‘Maybe this is a sign…’ It’s a great time to upskill.“
On being able to learn about her dream school from her The Art of Applying® consultant:
“I was interested in these [The Art of Applying®] consultants because they got their masters’ from the school I’m applying to. That was definitely one thing I was looking for. My consultant got her Master’s from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and within the first call, I was able to ask what her experience was like because I didn’t know anyone who went to the Graduate School of Education. So, I think that was extremely helpful.”
On her decision to find programs without a GRE requirement:
“This is something I’m hoping to study in my master’s program. We as a society are really pushing towards 21st century skills in terms of creativity, collaborative work, critical thinking, etc. A test like a GRE doesn’t really test those skills. I would hope that undergraduate and graduate institutions moving forward look more holistically at applications.”
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