College Acceptance: Advice and Tips
By Iris Lee
This month’s meeting started with President Kevin Su’s greetings, then Jiayu Fan welcoming the esteemed Mr. Jae Chung, who previously spoke in last year’s January meeting. Mr.Chung has many qualifications on this topic, having interviewed thousands of students for top schools.
Mr. Chung starts off by talking about how hard the decision of picking your school is. There are over 4000 universities and colleges across the country, so it is very important that you choose a school that you belong to.
Next, he outlined the differences between colleges and universities.
Colleges are smaller and primed towards undergrads, while universities are bigger, choosing to focus on graduates. Expanding further, he also talked about public versus private schools. Mr. Chung continued on other factors, such as weather, where the school is located, financial aid, and if the school actually interests you. These should all be taken into account when you make your choice.
After talking about the importance of choosing the right school, Mr. Chung gave advice on how many schools one should apply to. The ideal number is applying to two safe schools, (schools you are almost guaranteed to get into), three target schools (schools you think you belong in, but are harder to get into), and lastly, five reach schools. Reach schools are hard to get into but always worth the try, such as Stanford and Harvard.
Sure, now we know how to pick our schools. But how do we get into them? Don’t panic, because Mr. Chung also had advice there! The most important piece of information was that although grades are important, they aren’t sufficient to get into a good school. You have to stand out and be unique, such as being your state’s best trombone player.
Interviewers have to read through hundreds upon thousands of essays, and you must catch their attention. Once you have caught their attention, the trials are not over. Your essay must be consistent throughout. Don’t have a teacher say you’re super interested in science and space, but your personal notes say you’re interested in writing. Interviewers will not take the time to figure out which is more accurate.
The next step is the interview. The interviewer is probably as scared as you are, just be yourself and confident! It’s also important to actually express interest in the school you are applying to. Like the essay, try to stay consistent in your interview as well. For example, if they ask why you like their school and you answer it’s because you love the snow there — but the school is in Texas. This will show you aren’t interested enough to educate yourself about the school.
In summary, when you apply to schools you must look at many factors. Once you have chosen your schools, your application should be unique and consistent. Mr. Chung ended his presentation with a note, “You don’t have to do everything well, but do one thing VERY WELL!” A jack of all trades is only a master of nothing!
After the speaker, an activity was announced. YES members were separated into groups based on grade and asked to write questions for the older groups and advice for the younger grades about school. This resulted in a lot of laughter and some serious discussion, such as advice about APs and mental care. This activity helped us connect our own experiences with others and to discuss our thoughts together to gain more insight from those around us.
All in all, this meeting explored new events, an amazing speaker, and advice from the students themselves. We hope to see you at the YES October meeting!