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Student X JHU

1What is the greatest challenges and growth for you during the application process?

Finding my place and a direction that suits me is the greatest challenge I faced throughout the application process.


I had decent grades and activities, but I didn’t have a so-called dream school. Thus, it was a mental struggle for me to decide on which schools to apply for. In addition, being someone who plays safe, I initially wanted to apply to a school that is “easier” to get in for Early Decisions.


However, after repeatedly analyzing and discussing about it with my family and TSAF team, everyone has been encouraging me to stand up to the challenges and to not be afraid of failures, and that I also have the abilities to reach for schools that are ranked higher; I, then, decided to choose John’s Hopkins University. This experience made me realize that we shouldn’t be scared to walk out of our comfort zone, it is important for everyone to make the right decisions!


2The Planning and Execution of Extracurriculars and Essays?

I was deeply into politics, mental wellness, and music. Thus, we made yearly activity plan around these three interests, and knitted them into a coherent narrative. I believe that, rather than investing in a wide spectrum of activities, it is more effective to hold onto two or three activities and personality traits that could fully showcase you as a dynamic being, and then dive into deeper and more meaningful activities from there. Due to my interests in politics, I participated in YYGS politics session in Grade 11. At the same time, I co-organized Glimmer, a benefit concert with several other students from TSAF. All these activities were planned based on my interests and I believe that was the reason I was so motivated for them.


My essays were essentially developed from my activity list.  After reviewing and digging into all the activities that I have been involved in for the past four years, with TSAF I was able to successfully find the key theme and overall tone of my essays. Even the regularly scheduled chats with my consultants have helped me discover potential topics to cover in my essays and have offered many new inspirations. These have all played fundamental roles in my essay process.


3Your advice for future applicants?

1) Attitude: your application still depends on your own strength, thus besides essays and activities, a decent GPA and standardized test scores are almost a must, which all depend on your efforts. The application is like a marathon —  it is necessary to distribute your time and energy in a reasonable way to be able to receive a well-deserved triumph.


2) Essay: communicate immediately when encountering any issue, since more experienced people could provide you with more professional help and advice — parents, friends, consultants, classmates and alums, they might all be able to help you get to know yourself better, and provide you with critical advice and inspirations for your essays, actives and school choices.