Education News – Oct 14, 2019

Education News – Oct 14, 2019

Full undergraduate scholarship “Simon And June Li” from the University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is offering two Simon and June Li Undergraduate Scholarships in the academic year of 2020 / 2021 for undergraduate students from selected countries, who demonstrate exceptional academic merit and are in financial need. Applicants can pursue any studies in any of the 3-year and 4-year bachelors degree courses, except for studies in medicine. The scholarship award will cover course fees and a grant towards living expenses for 3 or 4 years depending on the course’s length. Receipt of the award in subsequent years is subject to satisfactory academic progress.
Detail >>

“Reach Cambridge” scholarship program for High school students in 2020

Applications for the Reach Cambridge Scholarship Essay Competition 2020 are now open. The Reach Cambridge Scholarship Essay Competition is designed for high school students aged between 15 and 17 who would otherwise not be able to attend the Reach Cambridge programs. Winners will receive partial or full scholarships for one of their two-week programs in either Spring or Summer. The essay question for this year’s scholarship competition is: “What is the primary issue facing society today and what can we do to effect positive change in this area?”
Detail >>

ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarship from the National University of Singapore (NUS) 2020

The ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarship is a freshmen scholarship offered to support outstanding students from ASEAN member countries (excluding Singapore).  Candidates will be considered and shortlisted for the scholarship through their applications for undergraduate admission to NUS. Successful applicants will receive a waiver of full tuition fees (after MOE Tuition Grant Subsidy) and S$5,800 annual living allowance. The scholarship is offered to read an undergraduate course at NUS, and is tenable for the normal course duration. Scholarships offered can be transferred across courses, excluding Dentistry, Law, Medicine and Music.
Detail >>

The essay that got me into Harvard – Part 1: Academic experience

The essay that got me into Harvard – Part 1: Academic experience

The essays that got me into Harvard – written by Tony Ngo, an MBA graduate from Harvard Business School, Chairman and Co-founder of Everest Education.

Over the years, we’ve helped many students get into top universities and earn millions of scholarships.  A big part to achieve that is having a good essay. That’s why we always ask our students to share with us their writing.  We even ask them to share with each other.  

So to be fair, our founders of College Compass, Tony Ngo and Don Le, will do something deeply personal: we will do an essay review series where Don and Tony share their own essay that got them into Harvard and Stanford. 

In this series, Don and Tony will critique their essays live using the framework we use with our students today to give you a better sense of what we liked and what we could’ve done better. We hope that this detailed review will be useful and help you craft more compelling essays that stand out during the admissions process.

The first episode will review Tony’s essay for Harvard Business School on his undergraduate academic experiences. 

📮 If you want to get your essays reviewed by our professional experts, do not hesitate to send them to us via

📺 Subscribe our Youtube channel for more videos:

Read the full transcript

Don: Hi, my name is Don and I graduated from Stanford.

Tony: And my name is Tony, I graduated from Harvard and Stanford.

Don: We’re the co-founders of Everest Education.

Tony: Over the years, we’ve helped many students get into the college of their dreams.  A big part of that is writing your personal essay. And today we found we could do something deeply personal by sharing our own essays that got us into Harvard and Stanford.  

So Don and I have talked about this for quite some time, you know, if we should even be sharing our actual essays.  If you think about it, this is a super personal thing where we’re sharing our desires, our hopes, our fears, and our failures.  But we know that we ask the same of our students, we ask them to share with us what they bring.  We even ask them to share with each other. So, it’s just fair that we push ourselves and share our own work.

Don: So yeah, I actually haven’t looked at these essays since I was 18 and applying into school.  So it’s actually been a really long time. It’ll be interesting for me to see what I wrote at that age and how I thought about the world.

Don: Hope you guys enjoy!

Tony: Alright!  Let’s jump right into it.  So this is my essay for Harvard Business School on my undergraduate academic experiences.  I’ll read each paragraph out loud and then Don and I will have a discussion about it and then see if anything interesting pops up.  So the prompt is….. 

What would you like the MBA Admissions Board to know about your undergraduate academic experience? 

I thought this was relevant, not just for folks applying to graduate school, but anyone applying to undergrad.  You really want to showcase how you think as a student and talk about your academic achievements and your academic journey.  Whether or not it’s your college or your high school time, you want to find distinct stories, distinct examples that showcase it here.  we’ll go and comment paragraph by paragraph.  

“It was 6:00 AM on a brisk March morning in Hong Kong.   For the past quarter in “Global Project Coordination,” I   had been part of a team of eight industrial engineering  graduate students from Stanford University and Hong Kong University of  Science & Technology assessing the feasibility of a China-U.S.distribution network   for hospitality supplies in a company-sponsored project. Together, we   formulated theoretical optimization models, created distribution schematics, and tested  our assumptions through field interviews, all while collaborating across the Pacific. That March morning our team would work face-to-face for the first time preparing a presentation to update our sponsor company.  Having worked together to solve the combination of analytical, team management, and cultural challenges that arose over the past quarter, we had come to appreciate the value of fusing conceptual and experiential learning.  Applying academic lessons to real problems has always exhilarated me. Despite the early hour, I felt keenly alert as I eagerly prepared for our work session.”

Don: Tony, if I’m looking at this correctly.  What you’ve done here is allowed the reader to step into that first morning, right?  I think one of the things that we’ve seen, often times that works pretty well is starting your story, part-way into the story already.  Why did you decide that?

Tony: Yeah!  That’s a great point!  I think it’s much more effective to jump right into the action, where there’s the most extreme emotion that you might have during a specific experience.  I remember the feeling I had when we were working that 6AM morning when I woke up in Hong Kong and how I felt about this work project Most times we have this habit of starting the story right at the very beginning, but for a reader, especially an ad-com committee person who’s going to just jump right into it, that build up often takes too long.  If you think about a good movie, they often jump right into the middle of an action scene.  We want to do the same thing in some of our essays as well.  Although it’s not an action scene, I try to make it a bit more interesting by bringing the reader into that experience with me.  

Don: Got it! The other part I noticed is that after you talked about that particular morning, you provided some of the context, or basically the background of what you’re doing.  Can you talk a little bit about that?

Tony: Yeah, I think it’s super important that you make sure that you help the reader understand what you’re doing and why it’s important, like the overall context of any situation.  Even when I jumped right into the moment, I quickly stepped back and said, “Hey, this past quarter I was in this project coordination class, I was part of this team.” We’re working and doing different types of analyses.  It’s important to showcase what you did and how it fits into the overall project or problem.  At the end, I try to actually even transition out of the details of this context.  I bring it back to the moment with the last two sentences.  

Applying academic lessons to real problems has always exhilarated me.  Despite the early hour, I felt keenly alert as I eagerly prepared for our work session.

We tell our students often times to show, not tell.  So instead of saying, “I like to work hard on interesting problems and I’m really motivated.”  Actually show it through this experience and summarize it at the end. In this next paragraph here, I try to transition over.

I shaped the rest of my Stanford education in a similar fashion.  I sought to develop a well-rounded, rigorous foundation of theoretical and practical knowledge, while learning leadership through contributions to the university community.

Essentially, here is the summary of my overall positioning statement with regards to my academics.  I’m a well-rounded person who is combining theory with practical knowledge and is trying to apply leadership lessons into the community.  I’m basically putting my positioning statement right into the second paragraph here.  

Don: Can you explain exactly what our positioning statement is?

Tony: Yeah, I think it’s very important that all students have a clear idea.  It’s important that all applicants have a clear idea of what you want to convey to anyone who’s reading your application.  You’re only going to have a few minutes to grab their attention.  It needs to be super obvious what you are compared to everyone else in the pool.  So, the next paragraph…

I studied economic theory to understand how incentives and systems influence societal development. Beyond  micro- and macro-economics, I explored a variety of topics, including the economics of health care, developmental   economics, and venture capital investment. Meanwhile, my graduate studies in industrial engineering equipped   me with practical, analytical frameworks. In classes like “Strategy in Technology-Based Companies,” I reviewed numerous case studies.  Examining actual business dilemmas appealed to my results-driven personality, and I eagerly seized each opportunity to discuss with classmates various decisions protagonists should consider.   Together, these economic and industrial engineering courses sowed in me the seeds of a vision to effect large-scale, social change through business. 

Don: Can you help me explain the purpose of this paragraph?  So you’ve introduced your overall philosophy around who you are as a student, but what does this paragraph serve to do?

Tony: So, in this paragraph here, I wrote a little bit of details on what I studied, but more importantly, I tried to connect it back to why that’s relevant for me as a student.  Why was I curious about this thing or how did I take this knowledge and apply it? Especially for business schools, it’s important to be practitioner, to take theoretical knowledge and apply it.  So I highlight that point here, but then I showcase here how I think I’m a good fit for the Harvard Business School environment which really emphasizes discussing case studies and how I’m already very familiar discussing with classmates these types of situations. 

Don: That’s actually pretty interesting.  I think for many students, especially at the undergraduate level, you’re applying to many different number of programs.  You end up writing, a lot of times, general essays that you can use across different schools. Do you find that strategy to be effective? I think here, in this case, you clearly tailored this essay to fit specifically for Harvard.  Obviously, that takes more time, can you talk a little bit about that?

Tony: Yeah, that’s actually a great point.  I think, although you have your general essays that you may use with multiple schools, wherever applicable, you should try and customize it.  What is that school really known for or what is that program really known for?  Specifically for Harvard Business School, it’s famous for its case study methodology.  There’s very little lecturing, it’s all about students talking to one another and arguing with one another.  I highlight some of those skill sets that I already developed in my other studies at Stanford. Lastly, I would say, this final sentence here….

Together, these economic and industrial engineering courses sowed in me the seeds of a vision to effect large-scale, social change through business. 

Here, I’m again taking the academic knowledge that I’ve already worked through and tied it back to my positioning statement.  Again, I’m someone who’s trying to take the theoretical and make it practical, then apply it to the communities that I’m in. I’m expanding on that a little bit here to talk about how I’m actually a very ambitious person, I actually want to effect large scale social change through business.  That also happens to align with the Harvard Business School mission, to educate leaders who are going to make a difference. Again, when you’re trying to do your school research, you want to make sure and understand the mission, and what makes each program or each school special. So, second to last paragraph…

I complemented academics with practical and leadership experiences.   As a sophomore selected to join Stanford Consulting, a not-for-profit student group, I applied classroom theory to advise Silicon Valley companies in solving strategic marketing problems.   In serving as president of Lambda Phi Epsilon, I drew from classroom lessons in organizational behavior to build consensus as we organized charity auctions and bone marrow typing drives.

Don: Okay, can you walk me through a little bit, it looks like your paragraph above is really about academics, and here you’re talking more about your extracurricular activities.  

Tony: It was a little bit of a tricky balance for me here, how do I talk about enough of my experiences in a meaningful way?  Not just listing it out like the extracurricular list of activities, which is already in the application itself and on my resume.  Again, I think the key is tying it to the context of why it’s important to my overall position. So here, the first sentence talks about why it is…

I complemented academics with practical and leadership experiences.   

So, the activity we did.  Actually, you did Stanford consulting too, right?  We both had fun doing that for several years. But the reason that’s important is, it’s taking theory in the classroom and then applying to work with a real company and do real consulting projects for them.  So it’s the application, which is highly aligned with my positioning statement. Even my extracurriculars in a fraternity here, I was president of my fraternity. It’s not just about the fun stuff that the fraternity does, but actually, the lessons in organizational behavior, the leadership management that I applied to the various activities that we were doing.  Notice, I don’t go into a ton of detail to either of these activities. One, because we have a word-count limit, but also, it’s not necessarily crucial to the overall essay prompt. In this context, it’s not asking about all the extra-curriculars, it’s just asking about my academics. So I really only mention it as a quick supporting point back to the overall academic experience.  

At the very end, it’s a pretty standard conclusion, I would say.  It basically talks about how I’ve tried to take advantage of all the opportunities that I’ve had and contributing to the overall community.  I try to make one phrase to tie it back to the overall theme of me waking up at 6AM in Hong Kong. Not by saying it explicitly, but using the last sentence…

Fusing theory and application, I approached each problem, case, and project like the dawn of a new day – eagerly.

This kind of echoes the waking up that I had in the very beginning at 6AM there.

Don: So you’ve chosen to highlight a different number of attributes about your academic experience.  For some people, they might focus on maybe a couple of key experiences and go deeper, do you have a perspective on which strategy works better on which circumstances?

Tony: I think it’s really dependent on each person and what you’re trying to accomplish out of the positioning statement.  I think it’s perfectly fine to take either approach provided you have enough meat to it. In this case, I think for Harvard Business School, which is a general management program. I think it was better for me to organize my thoughts and show that I can talk about a number of different experiences in a coherent fashion and tie it together.  If this was an application for a liberal arts undergraduate experience, or something where I want to show that I’m really geeking out, getting really nerdy about one specific concept, I think that’s totally fine. It’s really more of a personal choice than something you have to do one way or the other.  

Don: Looking at this essay now, obviously it’s been a number of years and you applied into business school in 2005-2006, right Tony? 

Tony: Yeah.  

Don: Reading this now, obviously having gone through a lot of different work with students.  Is there anything about this you would change or tweak, or generally, do you feel like, “this was pretty good?”  

Tony: I tweaked this so many times throughout the process.  I had two or three people give me detailed feedback on multiple drafts who were very experienced.  They helped me change a lot of this to be much more organized and clearly communicating this. I don’t think I realized how important it was, things like positioning statement in my early drafts.  So, some of the feedback I got then was, “hey, I’m hearing about this project that you’re doing, but I’m not understanding how it relates to who you are as a person?” In terms of the actual phrasing of the examples, I don’t think I would do much differently.  I did probably 20-30 drafts of this essay through a 6-month period, so I feel pretty good about it. 

Don: Okay, great!

Tony: Thanks for watching all the way to the end.  We hope that you guys find that detailed review useful for yourselves.  If you like the content, please help us out by liking, sharing, and subscribing to our content.  We’ll post a bunch of additional content below. And if you guys have any questions, comments or other topics you like us to address, please let us know.

Don: So one of the things that we want to do, we want to do this for you as well.  If you are open to having your essay reviewed publicly, let us know! Send a copy of your essay to the email in the link below and we’ll be happy to do a similar session for you.

Tony: Thanks guys!

📮 Send us your essay via

Education News – Oct 7, 2019

Education News – Oct 7, 2019

Presidential Scholarship from Boston University, U.S. ($25,000/ Year)

Each year, Boston University (BU) offers the Presidential Scholarship to incoming first-year students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement.  In addition to being among our most academically talented students, Presidential Scholars demonstrate excellence beyond the classroom and are leaders in their schools and communities.  This $25,000 tuition scholarship is renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study at BU. The program is open to international students who want to enroll in an undergraduate degree course at BU in the U.S. Boston University is a private research university based in Boston, Massachusetts.  It offers the chance to explore more than 300 programs of study, and the opportunity to build a successful career. This university provides an excellent learning environment and career services for all the students and alumni.
Detail >>

Undergraduate scholarships of Science from Singapore Management University 2020 ($7,500/Year)

Established in 2007, the Ng Kai Wa Scholarship is aimed at encouraging full-time needy undergraduates at the School of Information Systems to achieve academic excellence in their studies and at providing them with financial support towards their costs of education.  The scholarship is valued at $7,500 per annum and is tenable for up to 4 years of the recipient’s academic studies, subject to achieving continued good academic results and complying with other terms and conditions of award. The Ng Kai Wa Scholarship, donated by Mr. Ng Kai Wa, aims to inspire Information Systems students in SMU to pursue academic excellence.  Mr. Ng is the Chairman, CEO & Co-Founder of InnoMedia Pte Ltd (Singapore).  
Detail >>

Vice-Chancellor scholarship program from York University, Canada (Up To £15,000)

York University is having a Vice-Chancellor scholarship program for international students to recognize their academic excellence by applying a tuition fee discount. There are ten prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s scholarships are available for the highest achieving students, who is pursuing undergraduate programme in Canada. The scholarship will vary from £2,500 – £15,000 depending on students’ academic standing and financial need.  York University is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is Canada’s third-largest university. York University has approximately 53,000 students, 7,000 faculties and staff, and 295,000 alumni worldwide.
Detail >>

How I got into Stanford?

How I got into Stanford?

One of our students, Linda Tong, has been admitted to Stanford University, Class of 2020 and several other elite schools, including Columbia, Berkeley, Wellesley, Georgetown and Barnard.

We had a great conversation with her where she shared many interesting tips on the college application process, drawing from her own experience.

This video will dissect Linda’s strategy, including how to succeed as a well-rounded (giỏi toàn diện) student, what really attracted her to “The Farm” (the nickname for Stanford), and how she applied our SOAR technique to conquer the dreaded interview.

Scroll down to see the transcript below.


See full transcript

Tony: Oh hi everybody, I’m here with Linda.

Linda: Hi!

Tony: And I’m super excited today to have this conversation with you.

Linda: I’m really excited to be with you as well.  [Shakes hand]

Tony: [laughs] Linda is here to talk about her experience.

Linda: Mm-hmmm!

Tony: Getting into Stanford.  And I’m super super excited; she’s got the right gear on.

Linda: [laughs]

Tony: I wish I brought my Stanford shirt in today too!  So can I ask, what got you excited about applying to Stanford in the first place?

Linda: I think for me it was definitely the interdisciplinary focus that Stanford.  So in high school, I was a very well-rounded student. I never had one single spike or defining interest, but what I did really enjoy doing was exploring a lot of things.  So I was really into coding, but at the same time, I also liked classics a lot. So I’ve been taking Latin and Greek.  

Linda: I love the language, I love the culture, and I love the history. I think Stanford really encouraged that and they have a huge focus on finding intersections between different fields and finding the connection between them.  So, I think that’s what stood out to me the most about Stanford. 

Tony: Hmmmm………Does Stanford talk about a specific program that ties coding and classics together?

Linda: I think Stanford still has a lot of different majors that combine different subjects.  For instance, if you’re doing Symbolic Systems.

Tony: Yeah!

Linda: That’s Computer Science with Linguistics, Psychology, and just a lot of different things.  Or if we’re doing MCS, that’s Math and Computer Science. Or even a Human Biology major.

Tony: Mm-hmmm!

Linda: That’s very unique to Stanford, we cannot find that anywhere else.

Tony: Oh really? I did not know that.

Linda: Well, you can fact check if you’d like. [laughs]

Tony: [laughs] Well, when I was there, they had the element of the BioX department, which was a huge deal, combining Biology and Engineering fields together.  

Linda: Right.

Tony: And I think they were one of the first.

Linda: Yeah.

Tony: You’ve mentioned that you’ve had a variety of interests in high school, but I feel like when students apply, they have a big challenge.  You are generally given this advice, “Hey, being a well-rounded student doesn’t actually help you in this application.”

Linda: Exactly.

Tony: So can you talk about that conflict?  Were you a well-rounded applicant, or were you a “pointy” applicant?

Linda: So, I think for me, it was a combination of both.  I think it’s really good that you bring up that point because it was definitely one of my insecurities in the college admission cycle.  I was very scared that if I did not have one defining interest, I would not stand out in such a competitive applicant pool.

Tony: Uh-huh.

Linda: Especially, I think this year Stanford had…………well, last year, Stanford’s acceptance rate was around 4.3% and they stopped publishing it. [laughs] 

Tony: [laughs] I’m sure it’s not higher than 4%.

Linda: Exactly, so, I actually thought a lot about that. At boarding school, you’re encouraged to pursue a lot of interests and you’re given the opportunity and resources to do just that.  So, I definitely took advantage of a lot of the resources at my boarding school, advice that you gave me that Stanford is actually intellectual vitality-focused.

Tony: Mm-hmmm!

Linda: So, for me, I’ve always considered myself a very intellectually curious person.  I love learning. I really enjoy exploring the subjects and because I think I had well-rounded interests, that was what Stanford was looking for. 

Tony: I see, so step me back, when you look at the application, I often tell students to try to make sure that their position as an applicant is very clear.

Linda: Right!

Tony: So we actually form, what we call, a positioning statement.  

Linda: Sure.

Tony: We didn’t talk about this, but when you submitted your application, could you try to summarize, “Who is Linda?”

Linda: Right, I think for me, it was my diversity of experiences and my diversity of interests.  But also with the classics bent. [Laughs] So, for my main essay, I wrote about how I grew up exploring languages.  So, I came to the U.S. as a second language English learner. So, for me, that was really difficult process, but it taught me perseverance and it made me love the language learning process.

Tony: Mm-hmmm!

Linda: In middle school, I started taking Latin and French.  Now, I’m doing ancient Greek and Python. [Laughs]

Tony: [laughs] All sorts of languages.

Linda: Exactly, and I also started Vietnamese this summer.

Tony: Nice!

Linda: Yeah!  So, I love learning languages.  But at the same time, I think that because I enjoy navigating different situations, that was another big part of my upbringing.  So I’ve been to public school, private school, boarding school, international school, in the U.S. and in China. So, for me, getting to meet people who come from a really wide variety of backgrounds and learning how to connect with them was a huge part of my experience as well.

Tony: Mm-hmmm!  I see, so if I can try to summarize.  It sounds like, it’s not only that you had all these different experiences, I’m sure there are other students out there that have learned 2, 3 or 4 different languages.

Linda: Right sure, absolutely!

Tony: But it sounds like you were able to tie it with a very clear theme about navigating different new environment and cultures.

Linda: And I think, for me, the main essay, I put it in there because I’m a classics nerd, I’m not going to lie. [Laughs]

Tony: [laughs]

Linda: But the theme that I chose was about wandering.  So in Latin, the word for wander is erraverunt, which is where we get the English word, “error” from.  

Tony: Hmmm!

Linda: So usually, in English, when we would talk about error, it does have a negative connotation because you’re failing and making a mistake.  But for me, I learned to love that process. I learned to love wandering, to love failing and to learn how to cope. 

Tony: That is fantastic!  So, I also feel like so many students feel this pressure. 

Linda: Sure.

Tony: That you have to talk about these huge achievements in order to get into Stanford. 

Linda: [chuckles]

Tony: But the reality is, as an interviewer myself or advising other students.  I know it’s not about having that, “I won the Olympics” or “I won first place in this competition.”

Linda: Right.

Tony: But it’s about the learning process. 

Linda: Absolutely!  I think that in such a competitive applicant pool, I think so many kids are qualified.

Tony: Mm-hmmm!

Linda: For me, I also won National AP Scholar, where I got summa cum laude on the National Latin Exam and the National Greek Exam.

Tony: But you don’t need to write an essay about it!

Linda: Exactly!  I don’ t think those metrics are what set you apart, I think  growing up in Asia and living in a very Asian environment , we do put a lot of emphasis on numbers.  

Tony: Yep!

Linda: We talk about SAT scores, GPA and exam scores.  That’s what we’re heavily focused on because we value those metrics so much.  But again, having the boarding school experience and talking to you as well, I learned that there are things that schools look for that we cannot reflect through those metrics.

Tony: Right.  So, is it fair to say though, that to be considered, you do need to have the exceptional metrics like GPA and SAT scores.  

Linda: Right.

Tony: But to differentiate yourself, you need all those credits.

Linda: Right, I think it’s absolutely helpful to have them, but it’s not enough.

Tony: Fantastic.  So again, lots of kids with perfect scores don’t get in; it’s all about that extra step.  

Linda: Right.

Tony: So, on the interview process itself, you and I spoke about how to communicate your story clearly and persuasively, especially in this interview format.  What was it like to interview at Stanford? 

Linda: I actually really enjoyed my experience, so my interviewer, he did his undergrad at Stanford, he studied Chemistry.  So for me, I was applying as a Classics and Computer Science major, but I think the techniques that you taught me helped me connect more with my interviewer.  

Tony: Mm-hmmm!

Linda: Being a reflective listener, asking the right questions, and if I’m talking about something, my experience, how does that relate to you?  So you would ask them about their experience and find the common ground.

Tony: So sorry, just to summarize that.

Linda: Okay!  [Laughs]

Tony: Being a good listener and reflecting back to what you’re hearing in terms of the feedback, right? 

Linda: Yes!

Tony: Okay.

Linda: And something else, the storytelling technique that you taught me,  S.O.A.R. Situation, Obstacles, Actions, and Results.

Tony: Mm-hmmm!

Linda: So for me, it’s really important to have a story because again, as an applicant, you want to appear as a whole person and really humanize yourself by having a story.  I think that’s why it’s so important to be a good storyteller.

Tony: Totally!  So, we work with a ton of students and we find that they have a tendency to either have a very bland list, they list out all the accomplishments they’ve done, resume style.  And that’s what the rest of the application is for.  

Linda: Sure.

Tony: Or they may want to tell a story, but it’s just not clear where it’s going.

Linda: Mm-hmmm.

Tony: So, we have a framework, S.O.A.R, that you and I discussed.

Linda: Mm-hmmm.

Tony: “Situation,” to describe what the environment is like, that you’re in.  And then, what’s the conflict? What’s the conflict and “Obstacle” that you had to deal with in order to succeed and overcome this challenge? 

Linda: Right. Mm-hmmm.

Tony: “A” is the Action.  So what “actions” did you take in order to resolve that obstacle or that conflict?  

Linda: Mm-hmmm.

Tony: Sometimes students make the mistake of identifying stories that are too passive.  Things happen to them and they just think about it. But I think that it’s critical to actually have something where they take thought and describe that process.

Linda: Mm-hmmm.

Tony: And then finally, the Result, “R.”  The result here, again, does not have to be that superstar championship, but actually the key learning.  What the insight? How did you grow as a person? Why was that a meaningful experience to you, right?  

Linda: Mm-hmmm. 

Tony: What was one story that you talked about, either in the essays or in the interview if you don’t mind sharing?

Linda: Sure, actually one story that I talked about was teaching a seminar at my school for Martin Luther King Day.  So, for me, I really like ancient history, but I’m also passionate about the way it relates back to social justice issues.

Tony: Hmmm!

Linda: So I think, it’s really interesting to be seeing classics in the 21st century because it feels so distant, but it’s also so relevant.  

Tony: Totally.

Linda: In my classes, we were discussing Ovid and how the men in these stories relate to the modern Me Too movement.

Tony: Wow! That is deep, in the essay?

Tony: Actually, I have some students go through it and it becomes too mechanical.  “This happened, then I did this and that was the result.” But actually, they want to see those insights of where you were in the moment, what you were thinking, and what you were feeling.

Tony: Any last words of advice for someone who wants to apply to have the best chance to get into Stanford?

Linda: I think a really important aspect is to know why you’re applying.  So, almost every school has an essay and their supplement. It might be, “What are you looking forward to the most when you’re here?” or “Why are you applying to X school?” I think at the same time, you should know why you want to go here.  I think as an Asian applicant, part of it was getting wrapped up in the peer pressure of going to a name-brand school.

Tony: Totally.

Linda: Also doing it for the prestige.  I have a lot of friends who took a shotgun approach to the college process, where they applied to all the top schools, even though they’re so different from each other.  So I think, it’s about really knowing what you want and also knowing what you want to get out of your experience.

Tony: Yeah, Stanford and Harvard were totally different! 

Linda: Right.

Tony: In terms of the day to day experience for me.  I feel like, certainly, when I was in high school, I had no idea that there are these huge differences.  So we work very closely with students to make sure they do their research.

Linda: Absolutely!

Tony: Not just on numbers, but what is it like to live there?

Linda: Exactly!

Tony: What kind of environment are you looking for?  What are the activities you hope to be involved in when you hope to be involved in when you’re there?  Can you imagine yourself in that environment?

Linda: Absolutely, I think, even when I was going through the process my senior self, I wasn’t asking myself the right questions.

Tony: Mmmm!

Linda: It’s only after having gone through the college process.

Tony: Yeah!

Linda: Something started clicking and this is what I realized, this is why I wish I knew the right questions.

Tony: [laughs] Hugely valuable, well thank you so much for your time!

Linda: Thank you so much! [Hugs]

Tony: [hugs] Thank you for coming by!

Linda: But I’m really grateful Tony, for all of your help and for your support.  I don’t think I could’ve done it without you.

Tony: I’m super excited to see how your academic and professional career unfolds and I really hope you stay in touch.

Linda: Absolutely!

Tony: Let us know if we can help anymore!

Linda: Thank you! [High-five]

Education News – Sep 23, 2019

Education News – Sep 23, 2019

Undergraduate scholarships from the University of Arizona 2020/21 ($4,000-$10,000)

The University of Arizona is presenting the Freshman International tuition grant program in the United States for incoming freshmen and transfer students.  The educational award is available for high achieving international students who are going to start their undergraduate degree program in the spring semester at the University of Arizona.  The University of Arizona was the first university in the Arizona Territory. It is a public research university which was founded in 1885, and governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. Overseas participants with a 3.25 (or higher) unweighted GPA in core courses can receive an award of $4,000-$10,000.
Detail >>

#Youarewelcomehere Scholarship from the University of Minnesota 2020/21 ($16,000/Year)

The University of Minnesota is having the #YouAreWelcomeHere Scholarship to recognize international students who have a vision for enhancing intercultural understanding and have demonstrated leadership skills.  The University of Minnesota will award two annual, renewable scholarships covering $16,000 per year for four years. The scholarship is open to freshmen undergraduate international students of all academic majors and fields of study, and it is applied to tuition costs.  The University of Minnesota is one of America’s public lvy universities, which refers to top public universities in the US. It is a public research university which has the sixth-largest main campus student body in the United States.
Detail >>

Trustee scholarship for undergraduates from Boston University 2020

Each year, Boston University offers 20 scholarships for the U.S. and international students. A Trustee program covers full undergraduate tuition plus the University orientation and mandatory undergraduate student fees and is renewable for four years if certain criteria are met. Boston University’s most prestigious merit-based award recognizes students who show outstanding academic and leadership abilities. At BU, Trustee Scholars become part of a unique campus community that offers many intellectual, cultural, and social opportunities.
Detail >>