My Journey as a Standard Admit to Kelley

By: Saanchi Dham

When I learned that I was admitted to Indiana University — Bloomington, but not the Kelley School of Business, I’d be lying if I said that I was okay with it. But, this made me even more determined to get into this prestigious school, a school I left my country and family for. As an international student, I had a lot riding on getting in because I didn’t know if a transfer would have been possible with my limited resources.

Today, I proudly look back to the day I got my acceptance from Kelley. I cannot tell you why I was uncontrollably hysterical, but you would understand if you knew my freshman year story.

Below is my advice about how to get into Kelley from someone who almost didn’t make it into the school of her dreams.

Watch Your Grades from Day 1

Yes, freshman year is all about figuring life out and it is totally okay to get lost along the way. However, keeping a tab on your grades from day one and understanding how you are going to be graded (actually read the syllabus) is very important in mentally planning out your semester.

Get Organized with Planner/Agenda

Keeping a planner with all of the exam dates listed will do you wonders in getting organized during the craziness of freshman year. I remember doing badly on my first college exam because I did not see it coming as I was too busy getting over-whelmed by other things. Organizing your week and having a to-do list is key!

Letters of Recommendation Make a Difference

Yes, having a good rapport with your professors helps a lot. I am not saying that you should go to office hours every day; however, a professor can tell when a student is sincere. Asking a few of your favorite professors for letters of recommendations will improve your Kelley Application in a big way because that letter will serve as a unique insight into your personality for the admissions committee.

Prep Those Application Essays

Start writing your applications essays early. They are important. Why? Because they are the only way of letting the admissions committee know you, your story, and what you have been through. Make sure your personality shines in your essays, and that it is evident that you want to get in more than anything else. Also, write that optional essay.


You will have to make tough choices during college. Friends will sometimes go one way and you will have to go the other way to be true to yourself. Don’t fret. It’s all for the greater good and good friends will understand your goals. I was very lucky to have made friends who inspired me every day. Since getting into Kelley, I’ve also found an incredible community in Phi Gamma Nu, a professional business fraternity. From standard admits to to those who were seemingly born in suits, I’ve found a true family in PGN.

Perseverance is Key

You will face hurdles, make wrong decisions, and face the unexpected because this is a new chapter in your life. Remember that eventually all experiences will only make you stronger. Fight ‘till the end, and I can tell you from experience that the rewards from getting back up in those hardest moments is more than worth it.

Be Kind to Yourself

As I mentioned before, you will make mistakes, regret decisions, and eventually go off track. Yes, being aware of your mistakes is important, but cutting yourself some slack is important too. Be understanding towards yourself and forgive yourself for messing up. If you don’t, no one can help you move forward. Trust and believe in your own capabilities enough to know that you’ll do what’s best for you in the end.

All the people aspiring to be in Kelley, be proud because you made it, but also be proud because you are a fighter.

Me (on the right) with Haley Webster recruiting other standard and direct admits for Phi Gamma Nu