Expert SoFlo Tutor Dhruv Alladi is a Rodman Scholar at UVA, which is an honors program that accepts only the top 5% of incoming Engineering students. In this feature, he talks about how his decision to go to UVA was influenced by his medical goals, the steps he took to prepare for the SAT, and a crucial piece of advice to writing successful college application essays.

Dhruv Alladi, UVA ’26

How did you approach your college applications?

I knew I wanted to be a doctor after my undergraduate years When I first applied for college, so I decided to apply to several schools which offered guaranteed medical programs (GMED) after my undergrad. These schools included Rutgers, VCU, Penn State, and Rice. When choosing schools, I applied for schools with a strong focus on undergrad research/best medical schools, so I also applied to several Ivy League Schools (Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth) as well as UVA, Georgetown, and UNC, among other schools. I applied to most of my schools RD, except for the schools with guaranteed medical programs, where I applied EA.

Why did you choose UVA?

I chose UVA because of its location (it was in-state for me and about a 2 hour drive from where I live) and because of its programs which help undergraduate students connect to research opportunities and medical positions on campus. I also considered factors such as the campus itself (gives a college-town vibe, which is something I like about UVA) and the several connections which I have in the UVA area.

What was your testing journey like?

To prepare for the SAT, I first did a practice test to see which sections I need to improve on. I bought a couple SAT prep books to help me fix some errors I was making in the reading/writing sections and this helped me immensely. I took the SAT once and I was aiming to get a 1500+ when I took it (ended with a 1540).

Do you have any advice for students applying to colleges right now? Any advice for students taking the SAT?

I would say to start writing essays for colleges as soon as possible. I would write the common app essay draft during the summer and have your English teachers review them in school because they can give you the best feedback. This will also give you ample time to write the supplemental essays during the school year (DON’T PROCRASTINATE). For students taking the SAT, I would say do as much practice for the reading/writing sections. These are the sections where you can get better as long as you do more problems and get a feel for the type of passages given. Furthermore, I would also say just take a deep breath before the test to help calm yourself.

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