June 10, 2024

My application journey from Italy to Emerson College in the USA with Honors program

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Rebecca from Italy 🇮🇹

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My application journey from Italy to Emerson College in the USA with Honors program

Hi, my name is Rebecca, and I'm from Italy. I was accepted into Emerson College through the Regular Recision process for the Creative Writing department with the Honors program. I applied on my own without any assistance from paid college counselors or prior knowledge of the application process, so it is definitely possible!

My background

I attended an Italian high school for three years and then transferred to an international school. So, I actually completed five years of high school compared to the typical four-year educational path in the US. In Italy, it's common to have a five-year high school curriculum. However, the system didn't suit me as I didn't feel academically challenged, so I switched to the IB program towards the end of my junior year. I wasn't familiar with the IB program, but I knew studying abroad was an important opportunity for me to learn.

I applied to college through CommonApp with a predicted IB score of 41 out of 45. My higher level subjects were Spanish B, Italian Literature, and English Language and Literature. For my standard level subjects, I took Math Analysis and Approaches, Physics, and History. While my Italian high school was a linguistics school, we took many mandatory subjects for all students, including languages. So, I also know French, Spanish, Italian, English, as well as some Philosophy and History.

In my Italian high school, I had an almost perfect GPA of 9.5/10. I scored 150 on the DET, but since I wasn't satisfied with my SAT scores, I decided to apply test-optional.

My extracurriculars

When I first joined my new international school, I started a volunteering club called the No One Behind Club. In the IB program, students are required to engage in CAS (Creativity, Activity, and Service) activities, which include pursuits that fulfill each category. For example, in Creativity, you could paint; for Activity, you could participate in sports; and for Service, you must complete actions that help the community and the world around you. With my volunteering club, my classmates and I would visit foster homes and spend time with children, providing them with food, clothes, or any other necessities they needed, and also organize school-based events.

In the same year, I was also the vice president of the school's debate club, which greatly helped me step out of my comfort zone with my new classmates. I remember that initially, some new students and I struggled with improvising speeches. However, over time, I believe that experience made me more self-assured and helped me realize that people aren't there to judge me as I feared.

Throughout the year, I also participated in other school-based clubs, such as the Eco-Council club, to name one. Exploring different fields and interests is fundamental at this age because it not only helps us understand our passions but also provides us with useful information that can be applied in multiple aspects of our lives.

As you can see, my new school was a much better environment for me, as it offered many opportunities for students. My previous Italian school didn't provide the opportunity to create clubs or have any extracurriculars on your resume unless students pursued something outside of school on their own.

Following up on leadership roles, I also managed to become one of the school prefects, even though I was a new student. Five students from their junior year are chosen each year to represent the school values and lead their peers. It was certainly a challenging role, but it was very worthwhile.

Additionally, I also did volunteering outside of school since my father has a non-profit organization, and he introduced me to community service. So, I organized some events for the local community, including a concert for people in need associated with the Vatican and the Pope, as well as assisting my father in larger projects such as organizing the lunch with Pope Francis on the International Day of the Poor in November 2023.

Also, in the summer of 2023, I participated in the Harvard 7-week SSP summer program for high school students. I submitted an early action application in December 2022 and received the acceptance letter in February. I took two classes ("Big Ideas, Great Thinkers" and "The Essay"), each worth 4 credits. Fun fact, "The Essay" class helped me understand what I wanted to write for my college essay, but you'll read about that in a moment. The Harvard program was the best experience of my entire life, so I highly encourage every high school student to apply.


I won essay writing competitions and also received an honorable mention for IMUN (Italian Model United Nations) when I was in my third year, which is a debate organization here in Italy. I received some awards from my school, such as Student of the Term and special recognitions in Italian, History, and Spanish. I was also included in the Principal's List for exemplary conduct, effort, and a great predicted score.

My Common App essay

My summer class at Harvard hugely helped me learn how to structure a personal essay, and without even thinking about it, the last essay I wrote for that class became my college essay. I wrote about a phobia I've been aware of since I was three years old, which is a phobia of anatomy. I know it might sound weird, but apparently, it exists. So every time someone explained anatomy concepts in depth, I fainted. Now, I've developed a lot of skills over time and partially overcame it. I talked about my journey in this development because it was a huge part of my high school life. I couldn't attend biology classes and didn't know how to listen to the teacher's explanations. So, this phobia was a constant presence in my life and made me realize a lot of things. At first, I didn't feel understood by people since they never took me seriously with this situation. But thanks to that, I started volunteering so that I could listen to other people's stories and make others feel understood in a way that I couldn't at the time because I felt that everyone has a right to be understood. Currently, this phobia still exists within me; I've simply learned how to be stronger and stay calm when exposed to the trigger. As I explained in my college essay, this journey is still ongoing, but I got through the first phase.

Why Emerson?

I mainly applied to Emerson College because of their special program in the Arts and Creative Writing. I loved their department and also the location of the university itself. I had already visited Boston, and I literally fell in love with the city. So I thought it would also be an amazing opportunity to be in such a vibrant city and step out of my comfort zone. I'm from Rome, so I desperately need a city environment, and Boston seemed like the perfect place for me. At Emerson, I plan on pursuing Creative Writing in the Honors program. I think it will be a perfect fit for me since I dream of becoming an author and maybe also a university professor.

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from Italy 🇮🇹

Duration of Study

Sep 2024 — May 2028


Creative Writing

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Emerson College

Emerson College

Boston, US🇺🇸


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Patryk from Poland 🇵🇱

UWC Dilijan student & politics passionate

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