Student S NYU Stern
1. What is your biggest challenge and growth during the past two years?
Finding my passion as well as opportunities that would allow me to build strong extracurriculars. It’s hard to gain an advantage against people who have already spent years preparing and competing in academic decathlons. I found an organization that would assist me in doing so. However, it was quite tough to find one that fit my interests particularly, so under the inspiration of a Columbia summer program, I decided to co-found my own personal finance NGO. During the process, I encountered many challenges including providing interesting and useful materials for the participants, promoting and attracting students to attend my programs, convincing other volunteers to teach the courses, coordinating every participant’s times, and ensuring the quality of every lesson. It was a very challenging process, but I have learnt so much from it, and I strongly believe that this will become an invaluable experience for me going into Stern.
2. What is the most memorable moment with us, and where did you receive the most help on?
My most memorable moment was definitely the essay process, from essay brainstorming to essay writing and to essay editing. There were so many things I want to highlight in my application, e.g. business, photography, school leaderships, and others, and there were so few characters especially in the activity lists. Thus, I found TSAF team particular helpful as they helped me formulate all my different ideas into compelling and coherent stories for different essays. I built my essays of a particular idea or metaphor I wanted to communicate to the admissions reader. And every draft I submitted to the team, I received feedback very promptly with a lot of specific comments for me to improve on. Eventually, my essay was emotional yet practical, the team has really done a great job in finding the key points of the stories and putting all the highlights together for conciseness or right wording.
3. How did you plan your extracurricular activity and essay?
I wanted to plan my extracurricular activity in such a way that showed to admission committees my passion, especially to the top business programs in the most competitive schools. Given the skills I already had, what could I do given the short amount of time I had to develop something stellar? Thus, TSAF was quick in helping me identifying areas to improve on. Firstly, I had a lot of relevant business experiences, but lacked proper research experiences and influences of the NGO. So the team helped me land a research opportunity in relevant fields, and even invited me as a speaker to share my stories on a virtual NGO summit where I shared my stories with a lot of families in China. Additionally, the team encouraged me to explore the more artistic side of me, and to create a photography portfolio to highlight the education inequality in California. In the end, my story is one of bridging the gap between education inequality and financial illiteracy.
4. Advice for future students?
Don’t just participate in clubs. Find your passion and pursue it outside of a school setting. Put in the effort, enjoy yourself, and try to stand out. Write from the heart and believe in yourself.