The class of 2022 shares their college application experience

Jake Xie (12)

What school are you planning to attend and why?

“I am planning on going to the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) for Mechanical Engineering because it is the most suitable college for me. I love the small campus, and the environment fits my personality extremely well. In comparison to my other school options like Cornell University and UC Berkeley, UCLA is the most “active” school in terms of school spirit and sports teams. Aside from academics, the atmosphere and location are the most important aspects for me when considering my college, and UCLA best fits my needs.”

What excites you the most about going to college?

“What excites me the most about college is all the opportunities that will be accessible to me. It will be a brand new world that I cannot wait to explore. I am looking forward to meeting new people and making connections with the students and staff that make UCLA special.”

Which do you prefer: moving out or staying with your parents? Why?

“I prefer moving out because I want to experience living on my own. I have always looked forward to it, and it is very exciting.”

What advice would you give to other college applicants?

“The advice that I would give college applicants is to keep an open mind because the college admission system is a lottery, and nothing is guaranteed. Just try your best and know that your best is enough. Do not judge yourself or others based on what college they are going to because college is only what you make of it.”

Sebastian Rock (12)

What school are you planning to attend and why?

“I plan to attend community college at Mt. Sac first, then transfer. I am interested in sociology or political science, so Harvard or maybe USC.”

How would you describe the college application experience?

“It was simple for me. For the most part, the hardest part was just trying to figure out a brand new portal. That transition from knowing something for years to knowing nothing was a shift in change that I was not quite used to. But other than that, it was pretty cool and simple.”

Who would you say helped you the most with your application process?

“Honestly, my parents. I was part of the Step 4 program, which was helpful and all, but my mom and dad helped me a lot with getting me situated and showing me tips and tricks of the portal and other stuff. [And] essentially what the Step 4 program is is you register with an Mt. Sac counselor, and if you follow all their steps, you get priority registration, which is a plus. Those steps include getting your info, putting in an application [to Mt. Sac] itself, putting in information for class recommendations, etc.”

What are some of your expectations going into college?

“Straight A’s, continue that goal that I have had for a couple of years now. Actually, get involved which is something I did not do here, and transfer into a UC or Ivy League school.”

Cynthia Wen (12)

What school are you planning to attend and why?

“I am planning on attending the University of California, Berkeley! I chose Berkeley specifically because they have a dual degree program between their biology department and business school. This was perfect for me since I know I want to go into a career combining the two fields in the tech industry. Also, Berkeley is in the Bay Area, which is a prime location for job opportunities, especially in technology. It is one of the best schools in the world for practically everything and a place of new ideas with lots of innovation and activism going on, and that is something I really enjoy.”

What will you miss most about high school?

“I will miss my friends the most. Many of them will be staying in Southern California while I will be moving up north, so I will not get the chance to see them as often in college.”

What was the most challenging part of your college application process?

“The most challenging part of the application process for me was the essays. So many college applicants have amazing stats, so it is your essay that can make you stand out and turn a waitlist or rejection into an acceptance. I started working on my college essays over the summer and spent hours on them to make sure they could paint a good image of me to the admissions officers.”

What is something you wish you knew before applying to college?

“Mentorship and connections give you a huge advantage in the college application process. If you message people who are attending your dream college or who have your dream opportunity and ask them for advice, most of them would be willing to help. I did not realize it at the time, but reaching out to people has definitely helped me get into a selective school like Berkeley. For example, some older students helped me ultimately choose which schools to apply for, and a Columbia student informed me of an opportunity at Stanford I am now really involved in. Looking back, I am super grateful for all the kind people who have helped me along this process!”

Orvill Huang (12)

What school are you planning to attend and why?

“Cal Poly Pomona; it is the quickest way for me to get my degree and get out.”

What are some of the efforts you have put toward getting to college throughout high school?

“Focusing in class and developing a productive mindset.”

What would you say is most important about applying to college?

“Having enough funds and flexibility.”

What are your primary concerns about going to college?

“How small the dorms are going to be, and if they are going to be soundproof.”


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