Episode Notes | Transcript | AskTheGuest
Priya Chandrasekaran is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh or “Pitt” for short, with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Psychology.
Priya’s story is one of exploration - in terms of academic courses, campus extracurricular activities, internships which took her to a couple of continents. She smartly took advantage of all the available opportunities and resources.
Hi-Fives from the Podcast are:
Episode Title: Priya Chandrasekaran tailored her college experience at University of Pittsburgh.
Episode summary introduction: Priya wasn’t ready to commit to a major before college, and University of Pittsburgh (“Pitt”) gave her lots of options to try on, before she made a decision.
Priya Chandrasekaran is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Psychology and a minor in Sociology.
In particular, we discuss the following with her:
Topics discussed in this episode:
Our Guest: Priya Chandrasekaran is a graduate of University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Psychology, and a minor in Sociology. Priya currently works in Business Development at a startup.
Memorable Quote: Priya to applicants “Apply to different types of schools.”
Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.
Transcript of the episode’s audio.
Hi! Welcome to this episode of College Matters. Alma Matters.
Priya Chandrasekaran is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh or “Pitt” for short, with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Psychology.
Priya wasn’t ready to commit to a major before college, and Pitt gave her lots of options to try on, before she made a decision.
Priya joins us on our podcast today to talk about her years at Pitt.
Before we jump into the podcast, here are Five Highlights (we call them “High-Fives”):
[Overall “Pitt” Experience]
One of the nicest things about Pitt was that, you know, it was big enough that you could really easily find your own group and find your niche. The undergraduate body was about 18,000 students. And so you could argue that, you know, it's true that a lot, a lot of large colleges, you know, you can really jump into new organizations, really beyond your first month of freshman year, you know, there wasn't this clicky vibe. And it was great, because every year for me, it just kept getting better.
[What] I really liked about Pitt was that, it was a school that really allowed a lot of different programs, in terms of the majors and the courses of study. And the programs are really structured in a way where you could really get a feel for different classes and courses, without feeling stuck in a single major.
[High School to Pitt]
In high school, I took a couple college classes, so that transition itself was manageable. But what I really found was the thing that I needed to learn the most was getting ready to do a lot of self-pacing. I mean, I think the biggest thing that coming from high school to college that no one really warns you about, is that no one's going to hold your hand anymore, right? So, you really have to be proactive in how you manage your time or how you ask for help. It's very common, as with a lot of large schools to be in lectures with 300 other people. That’s pretty common. So, you know, professors are there to help you TAs are there to help you. But you have to be proactive in asking for that. And I think that's always a step that's a bit harder for first year students, especially to wrap their heads around.
I tried to do a lot of things that I hadn't previously done in high school. So I was quite involved in the Innovation Institute. I really liked debate and Model United Nations, which is something I actually do in high school. So I kind of continued that throughout college. Something else that I tried to do was get involved in, like Hall Councils and my dorms. And so that was really interesting.
[Advice to Applicants]
Try to apply to a broader range of schools. And that doesn't necessarily mean you have to apply to dozens of schools, but just different types of schools and really evaluate that based on the, the programs. For me, I didn't know what I wanted to major in, but I had a general idea. And so when I was looking into Pitt and other schools, I really, I went online, I did my research, I tried to see what kinds of labs they had, what kinds of majors they offer, you know how hard or easy it was to double major and things or how hard or easy it was to switch out of one major and go into another. And I found that at Pitt, specifically, it was actually pretty easy, at least in the College of Arts and Sciences, which I was in to get an all rounded education.
Now, I'm sure you want to hear the entire podcast. So without further delay, let's go straight to our conversation with Priya.
Hi, Venkat How are you?
Great! Welcome to our podcast. College Matters. Alma Matters. Welcome and thank you for taking the time.
Absolutely. Excited to be here today.
Fabulous. So you get to go down memory lane and tell us about your experiences at the University of Pittsburgh.
And, you know, our audience is mainly international students, I should say aspiring international students. And you know, anything that you can share from your personal experience I think would be extremely beneficial to this crowd. So look forward to the conversation.
Absolutely. I'm happy to kind of give you a bit of an intro a bit of a peek into my favorite parts at the University of Pittsburgh. What I really liked about Pitt just starting with the city itself.
Pittsburgh is a really pretty city, it's actually the city with the most number of bridges worldwide, it has like, something like 446 or 450, bridges or so. And so, and it actually has this really beautiful building on campus called the Cathedral of Learning, people actually call it Cathy for short. It's actually the tallest academic building on the western hemisphere. But more importantly, beyond all this, the boring stats, it's actually a building that looks so much like Hogwarts from Harry Potter. So it's super gorgeous!
But the one of the nicest things about Pitt was that, you know, it was big enough that you could really easily find your own group and find your niche. The undergraduate body was about 18,000 students. And so you could argue that, you know, it's true that a lot, a lot of large colleges, you know, you can really jump into new organizations, really beyond your first month of freshman year, you know, there wasn't this clicky vibe.
And it was great, because every year for me, it just kept getting better. You know, I started with the friends that I met on my floor in my freshman dorm, and I didn't really stop for me till the last couple weeks of senior year, so it was nice in the sense that if you had a new interest that you wanted to explore whether that was like learning about a new culture or dabbling in student government or pitching a startup idea, or, you know, getting involved in research, it had so many options.
So that was something that was really nice.
So let's start a little bit at the beginning, then. How did you end up at Pitt? What, what decisions did you make, And how did you end up going that college?
Yeah, absolutely. So I applied to quite a few colleges when I was in my senior year of college, and, sorry, senior year of high school, I should say.
And what I really liked about it was that it was kind of the best of both worlds sort of situation where, you know, it wasn't necessarily a college town. Pitt campus isn't in downtown Pittsburgh, it's its own campus. So it's has an urban feel. But you didn't feel like you were in the middle of nowhere. And you didn't also feel like you were smack in the middle of a super busy city.
So that's what I really liked about and having grew up growing up in more of the suburbs, more residential area, this was a really nice step into what living in a city might be like. And so that was awesome.
And in terms of applying to the school, what I really liked about Pitt was that it was a school that really allowed a lot of different programs, in terms of the majors and the courses of study. And the programs are really structured in a way where you could really get a feel for different classes and courses, without feeling stuck in a single major.
And so I was in the College of Arts and Sciences. And so, you know, I had to fulfill a lot of Gen Eds, and I knew that coming in. And so one of the reasons I picked it was because I knew that, you know, there, there were easy ways for me to maybe major in a couple things, or, you know, add a minor and really expand what that college experience looked like, this was really important to me, because coming into college, I really had no idea what I wanted to do, beyond college.
And so it was important for me to be in an environment that allowed that kind of exposure.
So, great. So you end up at Pitt. How, How was that sort of transition from high school to college? How was the first semester, the first year, academically at least, let's get from there.
Yeah, so Pitt students, I mean, generally held to pretty high academic standards, but the range of classes and programs really varies. So you can really give yourself an easier college experience or a much tougher one. Again, it really all depends on how you plan it.
So in high school, I took a couple college classes. So the transition itself was manageable. But what I really found was the thing that I needed to learn the most was getting ready to do a lot of self-pacing. I mean, I think the biggest thing that coming from high school to college that no one really warns you about is that no one's going to hold your hand anymore. You really have to be proactive in how you manage your time or how you ask for help. It's very common, as with a lot of large schools to be in lectures, with 300 other people - that’s pretty common.
So, you know, professors are there to help you TAs are there to help you. But you have to be proactive in asking for that. And I think that's always a step that's a bit harder for first year students especially to wrap their heads around. And I think in high school, it's easy to fall into a trap of okay, well, you know, if I'm not doing so well, the teachers will call us out or make it mandatory for me to, you know, stay after school for help or do some additional assignments.
But in college, you, you kind of have to do more of that yourself. But if you're willing to take that additional step and be a bit more proactive about it, you have so many resources to you, available, for free.
And so that I think is the biggest thing that I had to learn when I first entered college.
How were your classmates, your peers, how did, how did all the vibes go?
So I think with Pitt, it was an interesting campus, because I think we know Pitt itself is a public school in the state of Pennsylvania. And so, you know, culturally, I don't think it was super diverse. That said, though, like I said, I mean, Pitt has so many different organizations, especially cultural ones, that if you wanted to find your group, you wanted to find your niche, and those were the kinds of relationships that you were looking to foster, it was very easy to look for that.
But speaking more about the larger student body, something that really stood out to me is that, you know, if you, if you look at the state of Pennsylvania, politically, or socially, economically, mainly politically, it's a swing state. And so that means on campus, you're bound to meet students with varying political views. And I think this was really important. And it's important for me to call this out, because college campuses, you can sometimes be, I think, almost siloed, to certain, like, thinking or schools of thought.
And so I feel like at Pitt, I really met enough, all along that spectrum, from really different walks of life different, you know, types of beliefs that really challenged me to educate myself, educate others. And it really taught me that, you know, everyone has a unique perspective. It teaches you that maybe there's not always a right or wrong, but sometimes you just have to kind of engage in those harder conversations.
So that was super cool for me to just be in an environment that, you know, lent itself to so many different political views, so many different, you know, had students from so many different socio-economic backgrounds, and had, I think, decent international student population as well. I mean. Some of my best friends in college, were international students. And the school itself had a pretty sizable community of international students from China, some from India as well. And so I am speaking with my friends who were part of those communities, I feel like they really had the opportunity to, you know, get immersed in American culture, meet people that they may not meet in their home countries, but also have that element of home within those international student communities.
So all in all, I think it was a very interesting experience that even someone like me who grew up in the US didn't really have that level of diversity, and not just cultural but into those other realms. You know, that I didn't have that growing up or going through high school.
Now, was the school politically very active?
I think so, I don't think it's it's super politically charged, or anything like that. But I was in college during an interesting time. And we had a very controversial election in 2016, in the US.
And so, you know, it was interesting to kind of see the lead up to that election, how students, you know, argued their own points. And while you know, it's a college campus, so many people are on that liberal spectrum. But it's interesting to kind of see all the different viewpoints.
Because there's definitely people on both sides of it. And so that I remember, like the College Republicans and the college Democrats and all the different political organizations really did a lot in terms of getting people to vote and getting people to get their voice out there. And I thought that it was, it was done in a respectful way. But also in a way that said that, hey, they know this is important. And there's multiple views out here. So that's important to keep in mind as well.
And it was interesting, because Hillary Clinton actually came to campus the day before the election.
And so you know, it was quite interesting to see all of that unfold.
So, moving to sort of the teaching and the professors from there, how did you find General Instruction over the four years?
So I think with most public colleges, you're always gonna get a mixed bag when it comes to professors. I mean, certainly, I think I had many professors who completely changed my perspective on things, you know, inspired me to do so many things.
And on the other hand, there were some that, you know, I wasn't going to really have much of a relationship or memory of beyond that semester. But I think what, some thing that struck me about the, the professors at Pitt were that their, their backgrounds, or their lives before they started teaching or before they started teaching at Pitt was very research driven.
And so Pitt is definitely a huge research school. And I think this is absolutely reflected in the professor's there. They're always, you know, involved in some sort of lab or, you know, applying for some grant. And I don't think this was, I don't think this was consolidated in a specific school or a specific college or specific major at the University. But I think this really ran true for all across the institution. So that was important.
I think it was cool, because in my, in my classes, I think it was nice to get from my professors, that experiential or real world take on some of the things that we were learning. Having professors who had done research in the field, or maybe worked in the field, also, you know, allows you to see that new perspective. And so that was really cool to be reflected in classes as well.
No, that's, that's great, because I think a lot of public colleges are research institutions as well, that's true in the California system as well.
Um, you ended up majoring in Econ[onomics] and Psych[ology], right? And how did you, How'd you end up there, over the, How did that sort of decision come about over the course of your undergraduate study?
So going into college, and really, I mean, for the first year, year and a half, I was largely undecided as to what I wanted to study in college, and then also do beyond college. And so for me, I was really dabbling in a lot of different classes, I knew I wanted to be in the social sciences realm of things, maybe go into the business world, but even that's quite vague, right.
So how I ended up going into economics and psychology, I really thought these were interesting subjects to me personally, because they shape and inform so much of how the world works. And they really shape our everyday lives. And, you know, at the end of the day, especially with the course like psychology, it's all about the people you meet and the relationships you forge. So you know, having a more academic approach to study, a field of study like that allows you to just kind of navigate these relationships better.
And so, ultimately, I knew I enjoyed, enjoyed these subjects, but I also chose to major in them because they were quite extensible in terms of career options. I mean, eventually, I think everyone realizes that what you major in during college doesn't really matter beyond maybe your first one or two jobs or maybe beyond grad school.
But econ and psych was an interesting combination, because they can really lend themselves to the business world or to counseling or maybe slightly more of a medical field or the government or law school or, you know, statistics, finance sales. Like there's so many things that you can do with those majors that as someone who really didn't know what I wanted to do, I wanted to go with majors that gave me a pretty broad set of options to leave doors open for as well.
That makes sense.
That’s how I came to do these. I like the subjects but I also knew that they would keep a lot of doors open for me.
So let's segue to the campus life.
Maybe we can start with the dorms and the food. How was, was all that?
Yeah, so dorms were, were some of my best memories, Were where some of my best memories in college happened. I lived in dorms my freshman and sophomore year.
My freshman year actually lived in a building. One of the biggest, sorry dorms in on Pitts campus. It was like 19 storeys high. The first 10 floors were guys and the second 10 floors were girls. And so I had a floor with 40 other girls and I made some of my best friends in college there. Met a lot of different people.
And my second year of college, I was actually an RA, which is a resident, resident assistant, you can think of it as like a dorm advisor for students. And I said I was a second year student then. And I was an RA for a bunch of freshmen. But interestingly in what's called a Living Learning Community, which, you know, some colleges have you basically live based on groups, based on your interest. So it could be academic interest, like you know, maybe you are pre-med and so you live with a bunch of people who are also inclined that way. Or maybe you really like the environment. So you live with people who are, you know, have a green thumb, right?
For me, I was the RA for the floor of students in the innovation and entrepreneurship living community. So that was super cool. Because I got to meet people who were like minded in that sense. And like minded, I don't mean, in the sense of, you know, everybody there is going to start their own business, or have their own initiative, but have more of a, you know, more of an appetite for risk, more of an entrepreneurial mindset, which was really interesting.
So, coming back to dorms, I think, the nice part about Pitt was that you could really, you know, have that completely random, I went, my freshman year, I went for a random roommate and worked out really well. But you could also kind of tailor your living experience a bit more, which I tried to do during my sophomore year.
And then the second two years of college, I lived off campus with friends, which is, you know, normally pretty common, and your second two years of college, move off campus, and you live with the closer friends that you have.
So that was really cool. But, But I think Pitt does a pretty good job of, you know, trying to give you a lot of options in terms of your, you know, the types of people that you might be able to live with.
What about the food?
So unfortunately, the food was not my favorite part of the campus dining halls. And I'm not alone, when I say this is just not didn't leave the best options.
And I think there were enough restaurants off campus or on campus, but that weren't University sponsored, or just a bit off campus that, you know, it was still fine, you're not going to get too bored of the food. But I'm a vegetarian, too. So that was something that was harder for me, because the options were just like, the, they weren't too many options.
And so I think I mean, at the end of the day, it's college, you can't have everything. Yeah, everybody has to go through that, you know, less than ideal living situation food situation, but wouldn't rank Pitt as number one for food.
That's okay, I guess.
So what does that cultural social scene like?
So I think with Pitt, there were really a lot of different activities, and really a lot of different student groups that you could be involved in. I mean, that's what I really liked about it is that you didn't have to have your cookie cutter college experience where you go to class and you hang out with your friends. And maybe you join like one student organization, and you do your research. And that's it.
What I really liked was that there were so many different types of organizations, whether there was our cultural organizations or sports or, you know, different types of student government or debate, or even things like there was an Institute at Pitt called the Innovation Institute. And they basically, they were an institute that really challenged students to think outside the box, but also tried to foster creativity in an, in an environment that was almost more experiential than academic.
So they hosted free events like startup pitch competitions, and student accelerators. And they simply just challenged you to go beyond that typical college experience, and fostered in students an entrepreneurial mindset, which I think is super relevant today. Whether or not you're trying to start your own business.
So there were so many organizations and, and entities like this at the university that tailored to so many different interests that I feel like, if you just looked beyond the standard set, you could really find your own group your own unique activities. And I felt like I met a lot of unique people through these experiences, where I never felt limited in terms of exposure, or in terms of the friends I made. So that was, that was interesting.
So what, which ones or what kind of activities or clubs did you do over your four years?
So I tried to do a lot of things that I hadn't previously done in high school. So I was quite involved in the Innovation Institute.
I really liked debate and Model United Nations, which is something I actually do in high school. So I kind of continued that throughout college.
Something else that I tried to do was get involved in, like Hall councils and my dorms. And so that was really interesting. I think something I tried to stay away from, just me personally was joining cultural organization because I felt like my background and my upbringing, you know, really had a good emphasis on South Asian cultural roots.
But that said, I had a lot of friends who, you know, were in so many dance organizations focused on different cultural groups at Pitt and so many different singing clubs and, you know, religious organizations where, you know, if you wanted to go that route and make friendships in that realm, it was so easy to do that.
Um, let's sort of talk about your summers. The various summers through the college years. What kind of summer pursuits did you engage in?
So, I think with, with the college experience, I mean, it's pretty common that you might do an internship one or two of those summers and try to maybe land a return offer to have a job setup for your post-college endeavors. I was the type of person who didn't really know what I wanted to do beyond college.
As I went through school, I realized, okay, I maybe wanted to work in the business world, and either a marketing focused role or a business development focus role. So what I tried to do during school was tried to, and I was also really interested in working at startups.
So I tried to find internships during my semesters, and during my summers at local Pittsburgh startups that were off campus. And I came across these opportunities by going to like networking events at Pitt. But also just by writing cold emails, messaging, random people on LinkedIn, going to campus career fairs, there's a lot of ways that you can really carve out a unique experience for yourself. And so I tried to do a lot of that.
And sometimes I even worked for free, I tried to almost force myself to do a lot of different things in college, so that I could maybe weed out, you know, what I liked, what I didn't like, when I graduated.
In terms of my summers, I remember my summer after my second year of college, I spent in a student accelerator at Pitt sponsored by the innovation, Innovation Institute, I was working on a startup idea, it wasn't super serious, but it was just something that was different. And it allowed me to gain exposure in different ways.
I also interned at some startups globally, in Singapore, in Dubai, and those were experiences that I came across through things outside of the university. But those were still important, because it allowed me to kind of reflect back on Okay, you know, I could see myself working at, in a marketing focus role or in a partnerships focus role, or maybe Oh, you know, I don't really like this so much.
So it allowed me to, to get that exposure, which was important. And I think that the biggest thing was, that was important to me was to prioritize the learning over anything else at this at this stage?
What? So tell me a little bit more about your gigs with, in Dubai and Singapore? Did you actually go live there? Or did you was this remote? or How did you do this?
Yeah, so I had, I worked at a company called Grab in Singapore. And they are rideshare for the Southeast Asian market. And so I actually lived in Singapore for a couple months, on the marketing team there, and then I continued to intern with them on my own time, during my third year of college, because I just wanted to get more exposure, and it was the kind of thing where it was more experiential, and they weren't able to compensate me so much. But I still wanted to work for them. And just kind of, you know, keep learning what I liked, or didn't like, sure.
And then similarly, in Dubai, I worked for Emirates. And there, they're an airline, I worked on the partnership side there. And it was a similarly, an interesting experience where I got to live there about to be part of a huge digital transformation project.
And it was interesting coming back to campus after that, because I really felt like I had learned so much from working in these more corporate style environments. And it got me really excited towards my senior year of college to say, hey, look, I think I'm really ready to go out into the world of work and, and, you know, figure out what it is that I want to do. And having those experiences helped me kind of figure out what I liked and what I like
Those sound awesome, I mean, just being able to, you know, experience it in two different continents, so to speak.
And so how was the Dubai experience when you know, more on the working side on the business side, interactions etc. How did you, did that feel different? Or was it pretty natural, and you kind of just fit in?
I think it was interesting because I was one of the few interns there. So you're really, you know, it, you're really going from a more structured in a school environment where you're around a lot of people your own age, or maybe your own level of experience to a situation where you're probably one of the least experienced people there.
And so that was interesting for me, because it just showed me like, wow, there's so many different types of roles at the larger organizations. And so just by talking to people, and just by, I worked in a partnerships context, so I got to work with a lot of different teams, whether that was more on the tech and engineering and product side, or whether that was on the UX side, or there was on the marketing side, I got to come into contact with a lot of different types of people. And that really showed me that, hey, there's so many options out there.
In the in terms of how it was compared to a school environment, I really liked that I was able to apply my, my work rather than just being in a more bookish environment. Sure. And I think that's true of, you know, many, many jobs out there. So it was nothing different in that sense.
But it really got me excited to kind of graduate from school and move into a more corporate environment.
Before we kind of move on, I did notice that you did a thesis as part of your undergraduate program, and it sounded pretty interesting. So I'd like to hear a little bit more about what you did.
And if this was common practice, I mean, do all undergrad programs require a thesis?
Yeah, yeah, good point. So, um, Thesis, Capstone, you know, there's a few different words for it. Sure. Um, but it's basically like a summation of what you might have learned in college, it wasn't necessarily a mandatory thing that everyone had to do.
However, in one of my upper level economics classes, that was more writing focused, we were asked to write a, you know, a detailed research paper about a topic that we were personally interested in. And obviously, we have to relate that back to economic theories and principles. And so I was really interested, I mean, after having done an internship at Grab, in there in the rideshare world, I was really interested in the sharing economy, and the gig economy.
And so I decided to try to take my experiences and things that I learned from my internships, and then also blend it in with theories that I learned in my economics courses and write about the sharing economy, and talk about the labor market. And so I think what it really challenged me to do was pick apart this, this idea of the sharing economy, that for consumers is a very cool thing, you know, we get so many options, you get your ride share, you get, there's micro mobility, there's, you know, service sharing, there's all these all so many different apps, right?
But when you look at it from a labor standpoint about the people who are actually providing the services, there's so many, the odds are stacked in so many ways against those individuals.
And so it was interesting, kind of looking at it with a more critical lens set, learning, you know, things and applying, applying this general concept. And looking at it through an, a more academic viewpoint, to see how sometimes just what benefits the consumer doesn't necessarily benefit the labor market as well.
And so it was an interesting exercise for me, because it really allowed me to write about something that I was interested in that passion that I developed outside of school, and then still relate it back to what I was studying within school.
So was it like a survey? Or did you reach any conclusion? Or was there any sort of takeaway from that?
It was more just providing a balanced view of you know, how gig economy workers are and what kinds of labor policies they, they have and what kinds of income they have, and how sometimes to consumers, it's a very, you know, it, the the services are all you know, fine, and they're all, really nice to us and from a labor standpoint, and it's not exactly that hunky dory for lack of a better phrase.
And so it was just more it was just more, providing a more balanced view about that. There was not really a conclusion or a study that I had to write about or conduct, but it was more just around providing that view, viewpoint.
So that's, that's fantastic. The reason I ask is that it's such a topical thing right now. Especially with, you know, Uber and all the, you know, the Door Dashes of the world and all that. I mean, so it is, it's something front and center. So so I just...
Exactly, exactly, I mean, there's so many. There's so much with Prop 22 [Proposition 22 in California, Election 2020]. Right now, relevant in the news.
That that's interesting. I mean, this, this was something I wrote two years ago. But clearly these concepts are going to remain relevant for, for a long time.
Okay, so I don't want to let you go without sort of giving your insights or advice to students who are looking to apply, especially to Pitt. What would you tell them? As part of the application? And b, what to expect? Other than what you mentioned here, obviously?
Yeah, absolutely. I think just generally, when you're looking at schools to apply to, and I'll get into Pitt specifics as well, yeah. But really try to apply to a broader range of schools that that doesn't necessarily mean you have to apply to dozens of schools, but just different types of schools and really evaluate that based on the the programs.
For me, I didn't know what I wanted to major in, but I had a general idea. And so when I was looking into Pitt and other schools, I really, I went online, I did my research, I tried to see what kinds of labs they had, what kinds of majors they offer, you know how hard or easy it was to double major and things or how hard or easy it was to switch out of one major and go into another.
And I found that at Pitt, specifically, it was actually pretty easy, at least in the College of Arts and Sciences, which I was in to get an all rounded education. I mean, I majored in economics and psychology, I actually also minor in sociology. And I, I feel like I was able to do this without overloading my schedule with tons of extra credits, or, you know, having to take summer classes or anything like that. It was just about being a bit more smart and how I planned it out.
And so in terms of coming to the actual application for Pitt, I actually found that of the schools that I applied to which were largely public and a couple private institutions on the east coast of the US. I, I found that Pitts application was a bit easier than some of the other ones that I had.
If I remember correctly, it was a one, one personal statement or essay, and then a few short prompts about why that campus. But when I say short, I literally mean like one paragraph long type responses. And so and the nice part about Pitt was that they do rolling admission. So I applied in December, of my senior year of high school, and found out about the decision within a month that I had been accepted to the school.
And so after that, I decided to still go ahead and continue applying to other schools. But ultimately, you know, this is the school that I chose. And so it's nice, just in terms of giving yourself an option earlier to just go with rolling admission programs. Because it just lets you know if this is your top choice school, yeah, you don't really have to apply anywhere else.
Yeah, and I think the the last thing I'd say is both for Pitt, And for, for schools in general, look into the types of the resources, the types of professors at that university. You know, if you're interested in a certain domain, can the people who work at that university help you dive deeper into that? Or can the city help you dive deeper into that? Or, you know, is that something that you're going to have to do a lot of on your own?
Because, you know, the, some of the most important things for me were getting involved in research at Pitt, and really learning from a couple of my professors.
So now, before we wrap up here, I just want to give you a chance to talk about something that we may not have covered or do you want to talk more of, are there some fond memories or stories that you want to share?
Anything, anything that you'd like to talk about?
Yeah, I think with Pitt, that some of my best memories, there were, like I said, just meeting so many different kinds of people. And so I really felt like I got to expand my horizons in that realm.
I really enjoyed being an RA. During my time at college, I mean, I think I made so many good friends during that year, not only who were a bit more like minded, but just, you know, who made my time at college, you know, a more fun experience.
I think another thing that I really appreciated about Pitt was the, the fact that, you know, because it was in, it was an urban campus. And so you were able to have a college experience.
And now one thing I will call out is if you're looking, you know, if your idea of a college campus has to have, you know, lots of sprawling green spaces and lots of nice lawns, it's not exactly the campus that you're going to get too much of that. I mean, it'll create its own way. Yeah. But But beyond that, I think with Yeah, you could really go and do a lot of things that the city had to offer.
I mean, Pittsburgh itself has so many different unique neighborhoods, you could really have a life beyond what existed on campus pretty easily. And, and so that was really cool. And I think that that helped me see and get more out of a typical college experience that I might have had on, you know, just in a college town, in a more, maybe rural area.
Fantastic. Okay, so Priya, this has been excellent. A really thank you for taking the time providing your insights and experiences and I believe it would be extremely beneficial to all the aspiring students.
So, thank you again for taking the time.
And thanks Venkat, for having me. This was great.
Sure thing, take care, and be safe. I'll talk to you soon.
Take care. Bye.
Hope you enjoyed our podcast with Priya Chandrasekaran.
Priya’s story is a story of exploration - in terms of academic courses, campus extracurricular activities, internships which took her to a couple of continents. She smartly took advantage of all the available opportunities and resources.
I hope this motivates you to check Pitt out further.
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