A productive gap year and Early Decision application helped him find his fit!

The first time Kunal applied to US colleges he was offered admission at many universities, but he couldn’t go because financial aid was essential and the universities he applied to did not offer need-based aid; so he decided to take a gap year.

Kunal refers to the gap year as a year of ‘enlightenment’ because he feels he grew intellectually, socially, and emotionally. He drew up a plan to utilize his gap year and improve his writing skills. He did an internship at USIEF to gain work-experience in an American work environment and an infrastructure company to gain hands on experience. He completed a research assistantship at IIT to enhance his practical knowledge in civil engineering and published a research paper.

The Red Pen helped Kunal identify the colleges that would fit his background, interests and financial aid requirements, including strategically applying to Vanderbilt University Early Decision II. Vanderbilt offered Kunal two things that were really important for him: music and civil engineering.

For Kunal, who enrolled at Vanderbilt on a full scholarship, the best part about attending his freshman year at Vanderbilt has been the diversity of his experiences. He has met people from all over the world making him feel like a global citizen. While academics and research play an important role, Kunal is trying different things – from learning German and Kung Fu to eating Jamaican and Mexican cuisine for the first time.

– Kunal Kaushik, Vanderbilt University

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