The early decision letters started to arrive in December 2021. Anvita kept an eye on her Common App® notifications, and she knew that Rice’s decisions would arrive at 5 p.m. She spent the day pacing the house, trying to decide how to handle opening the letter.
Her family was there, and they were just as excited as she was. For months, her parents and grandparents had prayed for this moment. Rice has been the family’s top choice for four years. It was everything they hoped for: academic reputation, inclusive environment, small student body, and only a few hours from home.
At 5:01 p.m. the whole family gathered around the computer. She clicked on the “New Status Update” notification and confetti burst across the screen. Her dad and grandpa cheered. Her mom and grandma were in tears. She took a deep breath of relief as she waited for it all to sink in.
“Opening it, I was in disbelief. I knew that the deferred letter also said ‘Congratulations’ at the top, so I printed it out and stared at it for a bit. I still hadn’t processed it. To be honest, it still hasn’t sunk in… I just had so much riding on this,” Anvita says.
Anvita is a recent graduate of Ursuline Academy in Dallas, and she has lived by the school’s motto “Servium”, which translates to “I will serve.” When she’s not hitting the books, Anvita spends her time giving back, whether that be volunteering at an assisted living facility or making blankets for premature babies.
Anvita will soon move to Houston, the healthcare capital of the world, to study at Rice University this fall.
“One of the things I do in that club is promote more STEM opportunities for women at our school. We need to uncover that barrier of difficulty when it comes to math because, truly, once you find your love for math, it’s so fun,” Anvita says.
In addition, Anvita played violin for Ursuline Jesuit Cistercian Orchestra, an orchestra made up of her classmates and students from Ursuline’s brother schools. She’s also a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society.
“I’ve been able to grow with these girls and guys for a really long time. So it’s really nice to do something that I love with people that I love too,” Anvita says.
The Emotional Capacity of Medicine
Anvita lives by Ursuline Academy’s motto “Serviam” which translates to “I will serve” in Latin. She has demonstrated this through playing violin in the lobby at Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital or knitting for a club at her school called Blankets for Preemies. But what she describes as her most significant extracurricular is time spent serving residents at an assisted living facility.
She first became involved at the assisted living facility when she was 10 years old. Her mother is a doctor, and in her younger days, Anvita would follow her mom around when caring for elderly patients. Over time, Anvita grew closer to the residents and started looking for her own ways to care for them.
“I started playing piano with them and doing crafts and board games. And for the past couple years now, I’ve been going to the memory care unit on a more consistent basis. I’ve been helping in the mornings by feeding breakfast to the ones who aren’t able to move their hands. I’d say I’ve learnt so much through those years, specifically through the more recent ones. I want to become a future physician so being able to work with them truly showed me what my future will entail,” Anvita says.
Her involvement at the assisted living facility has shown Anvita a side to healthcare that not many high school students get the chance to experience. To many, med school may conjure up a mental picture of mountains of textbooks and medical journals, but Anvita knows there’s more to caring for human beings.
“Something that I’m really appreciative of is that I’ve been able to see the emotional capacity of medicine—past the textbooks, past [the knowledge] that I’m basically guaranteed to get in med school. I’m able to understand the true essence of experience,” Anvita says.
While Anvita looks forward to her STEM classes in college, she also wants to pursue opportunities to continue to develop her interpersonal skills. Anvita knows that bedside manner is an important skill for doctors, and she wants to be one who can show compassion for her future patients.
“I love science and math, but the reason I’m not going toward research is because I crave those interactions with people. I’m a really extroverted person—that’s just who I am. So being able to [explore] that now and understanding the emotional sense of it is really important,” Anvita says.
The Road to Rice
Anvita attended test prep activities for three years at KD College Prep. Early on, she knew her top choice was Rice, so she based her score goal off what was typically accepted for that school and started putting in the work.
“At first I didn’t see a lot of progress. And progress is what drives me. That was difficult at first, but later as I became more comfortable, I started seeing more progress, specifically in math, Anvita says.
Anvita’s math scores shot up quickly, but she wasn’t seeing as quick of an improvement with her verbal scores. She kept practicing, and over time, she made a realization that helped change her mindset about the reading and writing sections of the tests.
“I used to read for fun a lot but that just stopped because I was getting overwhelmed with my AP® reading for school. But I realized that I just needed to direct the interest that I have for reading and learning into those passages and that would help things stick. That’s where I could really apply what I had been reading into the questions. And when I understood that, that’s when I made my big leap,” Anvita says.
Anvita says the most beneficial part of the Complete Program for her was having various test prep activities at her fingertips.
“All the materials that end up being a big stack of paper—it’s all there for you. And a practice test can be given to you right away. [I also liked] getting the results back quickly,” Anvita says.
In addition to test prep, Anvita also worked with the college counseling team at KD College Prep to perfect her application essays. She wrote her first essay on her own, but after reviewing it with Chief of College Counseling Ashley McCarrick, she decided to take a different route.
“We started brainstorming and bringing [the essay] to life. And we talked about why I have a man cave. Then we started talking about basketball—how I’m 5’2 and that makes things difficult. And that’s how I became a fan. So then I started writing and brainstorming and then I eventually added my humor into the mix,” Anvita says.
Through her personal statement, she was able to show a side of herself that normally only those closest to her see. Anvita’s essay serves as an example that it’s okay to choose an unconventional essay topic that is about something you love—the goal is to find an interesting and charming way to show who you really are.
“I scream at the TV. I wear the jersey. I like to add my own play-by-play commentary. I have my favorite players. I love the beef! I love basketball, and that’s just a small example of my personality,” Anvita says.
Since 9th grade, Anvita has dreamed of being a Rice Owl. One of the most appealing aspects of Rice was its relatively small student body. Anvita grew up in schools with small class sizes—her high school consisted of only about 200 students. Other inviting aspects of Rice were its academic reputation, inclusive environment, and location.
“I don’t think I could jump to a public university from a private school, since that’s the type of environment I’ve been in since preschool. And Houston is known for having the largest medical center in the world, so I know that by going to Rice I will be able to get those opportunities to prepare me for medical school,” Anvita says.
Anvita said her advice to current KD students is to try and visit campuses during the college search process. Her visit to Rice only reinforced her desire to attend, but there were other colleges on her list that just didn’t feel like a great fit after she visited.
“When I visited Rice, I could tangibly feel the inclusiveness even though the campus was empty… I loved UNC. The idea of it was [great] but when I visited, I didn’t know if I was on campus or the highway. It just wasn’t for me,” Anvita says.
In August, Anvita heads to Rice to study business. She’s excited to continue her path to becoming a doctor and plans to pursue her dream of owning her own practice one day. Anvita can’t wait to join a residential college, visit all the student-run coffee shops on campus, and continue to develop the interpersonal skills that will make her a caring, compassionate physician one day.