Class of 2020 passes on their college wisdom


Joseph Chung (12)

What school and major did you choose?

“I will be attending UC Berkeley in the fall, majoring in chemical engineering in the College of Chemistry.”

How was your experience with the college application process?

“It is obviously stressful and it seems like a lot of work, but I think in my experience, I was able to find a way to make it less burdening.”

As a senior, how do you think the coronavirus will affect your college experience?

“I feel like it will definitely affect my freshman year in college negatively. At this point, I do not think I will have a true ‘freshman’ experience due to many of the precautions we have to take for our safety.”

What are your plans for the future?

“I am looking at a few options right now, but I am hoping to go into the work industry or continue on to graduate school. Pharmacy is an option for me as well”

What advice would you give freshman, sophomores, and juniors about college apps?

“Start as early as you can and always try to be true to yourself when doing your essays.”

Scott Lai (12)

What school are you planning to attend in the fall of 2020?


How did you decide on your major?

  “I am going in as a biology major. Biology has been a subject that I have been interested in since elementary, so it is something I want to pursue in the future. I am thinking of finding a career in dentistry, but it is not set in stone yet.”

What stood out about the school that made you want to apply?

“UCLA has been my dream school since first grade. [At first], their sports programs were what got me interested in the school, and after I found out that they also excelled in academics, it has been [my goal to attend there]. Once UCLA accepted me, it did not really matter what other [school accepted me].” 

If you could go back in time to your freshman year, what would you tell yourself?

“I do not have any regrets from my high school experience, so I would probably tell [myself] to keep doing what [I am] doing and to enjoy high school while it lasts.”

What tips would you give your underclassmen about the college application process?

“I would tell them to start thinking about apps early. The UC system and a lot of other schools release their essay questions early, so once you know what they are you should start thinking about how to approach it.”

Sydney Ly (12)

What school and major did you decide on?

“I chose to study psychology at UC Berkeley.”

Why did you choose this school? 

“There are several reasons why I chose Berkeley, which includes the large campus size, active student body, and reputations of the school and professors. I think [the biggest reason] why I chose this school is that the student body is full of people that work hard and want to improve the world.”

What was your experience like with the college application process?

“Personally, it was not too bad. I did not apply to a lot of private schools so the essay workload was not unbearable, but I do have to admit that I procrastinated on a few apps that could have possibly changed some decisions I received. The most difficult part was probably the writer’s block I experienced for the UC Personal Insight Questions.” 

Throughout your four years in high school, what moment would you want to revisit?

“I would probably want to revisit last year’s Battle of the Classes. Since we could not have one this year, I would want to be able to experience that school spirit one last time and scream my class chant. Also, beating the sophomores at the last second was fun.”

If your junior friend asks you for advice about the college apps, what would you say?

“Do not procrastinate! I know everyone says it, but it is better to get the work done and not regret it later. Also, try to sound as genuine as possible. Admissions officers read tons of applications so you want to differentiate yourself from the masses. Be creative, and try not to sound too [basic or generic]. Lastly, do not lie in your essays! Not only because it is not worth it, but if you are caught, you will have no chance of admission.”

Kristin Sung (12)

What college do you plan to attend and how did you come to the decision?

“I am going to UCLA because I wanted to study business economics at their Anderson School of Management.” 

What do you look forward to in college?

“I look forward to meeting new people and possibly join an acapella group.”

Where do you see yourself in five years?

“In 5 years I see myself going to graduate school while interning.”

What passions would you still pursue after graduation? 

“After I graduate, I will continue to pursue my passion for music in piano or singing.”

Any tips for future college applicants?

“I encourage future applicants to pursue your interests and truly dedicate your time and effort to doing the things you love. Continue to work hard and know that it will be worth it in the end.”

Yolanda Chen (12)

What college will you be attending this fall?

“Northwestern University.”

How did you decide on what college you would want to attend? 

“I wanted to go somewhere fun but worth the cost of tuition and the time. I found it interesting that Northwestern students were not completely infatuated with the school and were aware of the faults of the university. In addition, Northwestern also has its own beach along Lake Michigan that is super pretty and feels like home. I did not want to stay in California forever, which is why I loved the fact that NU is so far away, but still close to the big city of Chicago.” 

While quarantining, how do you plan on preparing for college?

“I plan to prepare by selling everything that I own in order to afford tuition. I also plan to Facetime people from NU to find friends and roommates!”

Do you believe in senioritis? Why?

“Yes, because currently, my grades are not very pretty. Seniors usually have a lot on their plate like jobs and family, which makes a slip in academic performance justifiable.”

What tips would you give to underclassmen about senior year and college apps?

“I would tell underclassmen to just do the things that they love rather than something for the college apps. Write about something you are passionate about and do not be afraid to take risks on your essays, for instance, I wrote my common app essay on stick-and-poke tattoos. Most importantly, I hope underclassmen know that there is no shame in not getting into the schools they want and going into community college. In the end, your hard work is not meant for your teachers or parents, but for yourself.”

Joshua Susanto (12)

What school did you choose?

“I chose UCLA.”

What about your school makes you excited to attend?

“I am really excited to live and study at such a nice and large campus in an amazing city.”

How has the college application process changed your mind about college?

“The college application process did not really change any of my views on college.”

What does high school mean to you now that you are so close to graduation?

“High school means a lot to me since it allowed me to experience many new things and meet many amazing people.”

What advice would you give to underclassmen about applying to college?

“Write about what you are really passionate about and strive to give colleges an understanding of what kind of person you are.” 

Mireya Castillo (12)

What school did you choose? Why?

“I chose to attend Cal State Fullerton because they have an amazing program for what I would like to do in the future.”

What is the most challenging part of the college application process?

“I believe that the most challenging part of the application process was filling in all the FAFSA information.”

Do you plan to continue any hobbies in college? 

“I plan on continuing to serve the community with Kiwanis and join Circle K.”

What is your opinion on the coronavirus happening in between your graduation and going to college? 

“I am a little [disappointed] and sad that this had to happen right before graduation, but I believe that everything happens for a reason. It will not be long until we [go to school] again.”

What advice would you give to future college applicants about senior year?

“Some advice would be to make sure you have all your activities and achievements from [high school] ready for applications. [Also], try to apply to as many scholarships as you can!”

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