Fitting In and Standing Out

The most selective schools and academic programs seem to set an impossible standard for applicants: be as perfect in all ways possible as everyone else but somehow also be even better in at least some ways. Amy and Mike asked educational consultant Linda Abraham to describe the delicate dance of fitting in and standing out.

What are five things you will learn in this episode?

  1. What is the paradox at the heart of admissions?
  2. How do you show you fit in at the school of your choice?
  3. What does authenticity mean in the context of admissions?
  4. How do you stand out from the rest of the applicant school?
  5. What roles do deeds, identity, and ideas play in this process?


Linda Abraham is the founder of Accepted and has over two decades experience helping clients get admitted to top medical, law, business and graduate schools. She is also the host of the top-rated Admissions Straight Talk podcast.

Linda began helping applicants develop successful admissions strategies and craft distinctive essays in 1994. In addition to advising clients and managing Accepted, she has written and presented extensively on admissions. She also was the co-founder and first president of the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants.

Accepted’s clients have been accepted to top professional schools throughout the country including, Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Kellogg, MIT, Darden, Stern, Michigan, Chicago, INSEAD, LBS and Anderson Business Schools; Harvard, Yale, Stanford, University of Chicago, Columbia, and Boalt Law Schools; and UCSF, UCLA, George Washington, Tulane, NYU, University of Wisconsin, and Tufts Medical Schools.

The Wall St. Journal, The New York Times, The Sunday Times of London, Bloomberg Businessweek, US News and CBS News are among the media outlets that have sought Linda’s expertise in admissions. Business Insider in March named Linda one of “9 MBA consultants, coaches, and admissions experts to know if you want to get into a top business school.”

Linda previously appeared on this podcast in episode 223 to discuss Getting Ready For Graduate School.

Find Linda at


Fitting In And Standing Out: The Paradox At The Heart Of Admissions
Standing Out By Showing You Have a Unique Perspective [Fitting in & Standing Out]
Admissions Straight Talk




Tests and the Rest is THE college admissions industry podcast. Explore all of our episodes on the show page.


Mike Bergin is the president of Chariot Learning and founder of TestBright. Amy Seeley is the president of Seeley Test Pros. If you’re interested in working with Mike and/or Amy for test preparation, training, or consulting, feel free to get in touch through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you!

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