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The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

Living the Dream: Malena Galletto ’24 Was Accepted Into All Eight Ivy League Schools

Malena Galletto ’24 is a first-generation low income student at Bronx Science who was accepted to every college to which she applied. Here is her story and her advice on the college application process.
Ayshi Sen
When asked about her best advice for the college application process, Malena Galletto ’24 said, “Your peers are important. Your friends are not your competition; instead, they are your allies.”

It is 7 p.m. on March 28th, 2024. Malena Galletto ’24 sat in her dad’s car on their way to a family friend’s house for a long weekend. In the back seat, Galletto sat with her laptop opened to the eight college portals that released their decisions. Dartmouth, Brown, Cornell, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and University of Pennsylvania. 

Having received an encouraging letter from Columbia a few weeks prior, Galletto opened the Columbia decision first. She rejoiced at her first acceptance of the day. She then opened Dartmouth, followed by Brown and Cornell, and eventually Harvard, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton. By the end of the night, Malena had gotten into all eight ivies.  

In total, Galletto applied to 28 colleges in the United States, hopeful that she would get into at least one of them. She was accepted to all 28 universities that she applied to. Galletto is an Argentinian-American who grew up in Washington Heights, and she embraces her Latin culture. Growing up, she was strongly immersed in the Tango community. 

Galletto: My mom loves dancing. I spent so much time watching her and her friends Tango, that dancing is just a part of me. I think that I probably learned to Tango before I learned to walk.” 

Galletto’s culture is one of the most important things for her. Galletto believes that preserving Argentinian culture through celebrating the traditional dance of Tango is crucial for keeping it alive and thriving. Growing up in Washington Heights in Manhattan, Galletto had a first hand account of how the pandemic negatively impacted the Tango community. Due to social distancing, cultural activities and showcases were canceled, giving a devastating blow to the whole community.  

Galletto: “Despite these challenges, over the past couple of years, we have been focused on ensuring that Argentinian cultural heritage remains active. Efforts to keep the community engaged have been paramount, as we are continuing to find innovative ways to connect and celebrate our traditions, despite the restrictions. This includes everything from increasing our outreach to hosting virtual concerts. As I was preparing for college applications, this commitment to cultural preservation was a significant part of my application, since it is such a big part of who I am and my story.”

Throughout her fight for preserving her culture and maintaining her passions for education, Galletto recognizes her mom as her biggest cheerleader and motivation. 

Galletto: My mom was the valedictorian of her high school, and she has always emphasized the importance of education. She believes that education opens up a world of opportunities, and she has always pushed me to prioritize my education. This has been crucial for me, as I have been looking to strike the perfect balance for maintaining my grades and also to continue fighting for what I believe in.”

Despite being the valedictorian of her high school, Galletto’s mother did not get the opportunity to attend college. 

Malena Galletto’s mom (at left) is her biggest inspiration. She dedicates her hard work and passion for learning to her mom. (Pritika Patel)

Galletto: “My mom’s tenacity and unwavering support has given me the motivation to keep going even when things become difficult. My mom always tells me how she is living vicariously through my academic journey. I’m so grateful for the opportunities that I have, knowing that they are a result of her sacrifices and dedication. Her commitment to my education has inspired me to strive for excellence and make the most of every opportunity. Having all these great options for college means so much to me, because it feels like honoring her dreams and aspirations.”

For Galletto, college is not just about education, but about decades of sacrifice — of turning the hard work into success. 

Galletto: “Being first-generation and of low-income, navigating the complexities of college was daunting. I did not have the generational wisdom passed down by parents who attended college, so not understanding the process felt a little like stumbling in the dark. However, the process was made a lot less challenging thanks to the generosity of the Bronx Science Foundation. Their abundance of resources helped me decipher the intricacies of the applications, financial aid, and campus life. For someone like me, the first person in my family to attend college, those resources were not just helpful — they were transformative. They empowered me to chase my dreams despite the odds stacked against me.”

Of the 28 colleges from which Galletto could choose to attend, her top choices were Harvard, Yale and Princeton. In order to make the difficult commitment decision, Galletto visited the universities she was accepted into. For instance, at Yale University, Galletto participated in a three-day program — Bulldog Days — to give accepted students an idea of what being a student at Yale University would be like. During the three day event, Galletto stayed at a Yale dorm for two nights. During this time, Galletto explored different dining halls, an extracurricular fair and academic fair, and also attended a masterclass taught by Yale professors. 

However, Galletto, who intends to study Political Science and Physics, has committed to Harvard University, where she will enroll in the fall of 2024, believing that it will be the college option that is a perfect fit for her.

Galletto: “I think that I always had a gut feeling it would be Harvard. When I visited during their accepted students event, everyone was so excited to be there, and the professors were so engaging. I did have a similar experience at Yale, which made the final decision much harder. The decision took a lot of deliberating and late night conversations — but eventually, Harvard felt like home. I could not imagine myself anywhere else.”

Galletto hopes to use her experiences as a way of creating her version of a ‘pay it forward’ chain. As someone who had to figure things out by herself, Galletto wants to alleviate some of that confusion for others. 

Galletto: “Don’t stress too much about the individual components of your application. It’s the collective picture you paint that truly matters. Each essay, recommendation, and activity contributes to the narrative of who you are. Remember, if you find yourself not resonating with the supplemental materials that a school requires, it might be a sign that it’s not the right fit for you. Trust your instincts in this process; they often guide you to where you belong. And don’t forget to utilize net price calculators — understanding the financial aspect is crucial in making informed decisions about your future. The only thing worse than not getting into a college is getting into a college and then not being able to afford it. Stay true to yourself, craft your story authentically, and let it shine through every aspect of your application.”

Galletto also emphasizes the importance of strong friendships during this process. College applications are difficult, especially when most of your peers are going through the same emotional and mental turmoil. Galletto recommends that you be kind to both yourself and your peers. 

Galletto: It’s okay if you can’t do everything perfectly, or if you need to take a step back and evaluate. You want to get things done on time, but don’t do it at the expense of your mental and physical well-being. For your friends, listen to what they have to say, and provide a kind shoulder whenever possible. You are all on the same boat!”

Throughout her four years at Bronx Science, Galletto has been an irreplaceable force. Her involvement with the Gender Equity Board (GEB), The Student Diversity Committee, and the Speech and Debate team has made Bronx Science a much more healthy space for younger students. In college, Galletto hopes to continue working on similar projects and reducing misogyny in STEM spaces. 

Galletto: “I’m so grateful and lucky to be in the position that I’m in right now. It is still so hard to believe that I will be attending Harvard this fall. It is like a dream come true, but I’m most excited for what’s to come. I cannot wait to use this as an opportunity to create changes in the communities that I belong to, and change it, so that someone else in a similar position as me has an easier time achieving the same thing.”

My mom loves dancing. I spent so much time watching her and her friends Tango, that dancing is just a part of me. I think I probably learned to Tango before I learned to walk,” said Malena Galletto ’24. 

About the Contributors
Ayshi Sen, Staff Reporter
Ayshi Sen is an Editor-in-Chief for ‘The Science Survey.' Ayshi loves writing journalistic articles because they allow her to write in a way that is both creative and informative. Ayshi particularly enjoys writing editorials and spotlight articles because she believes there is a story to tell about everyone and everything. Ayshi hopes to use her writing to shed light on stories that are often overlooked and as a way to amplify minority voices. Ayshi believes good photography is essential for journalistic writing because it enriches the piece by providing a face to the subject. Outside of journalism, Ayshi enjoys conducting stem cell research and organizing events with the Student Diversity Committee. In college, Ayshi plans to study medicine, conduct scientific research, and explore scientific journalism.
Pritika Patel, Staff Reporter
Pritika Patel is an Editor-in-Chief for ‘The Science Survey.’ She believes that journalism serves as the vital connection between people and the world around them. The vastness of the journalistic world is something that she is fascinated by and cannot wait to continue exploring. Pritika believes that journalism provides her and others the opportunity to explore various perspectives, opinions, and stories on a plethora of subjects. This multifaceted view is what makes journalism appeal to her the most. She is also interested in studying the tangible impacts that news sources have upon our society. With the rise of fake news, she believes that ethical newspapers such as ‘The Science Survey’ have become all the more essential. Outside of school, Pritika enjoys exploring new ideas through reading and traveling. In the future, she plans to pursue a career in either the legal field or political journalism. With interests in political science, international relations, and public policy, Pritika is sure that journalism will always play a vital role in her life and will be closely connected with whatever direction she decides to pursue.