2020 is a year for the history books. We went from spending whole nights dancing with strangers at clubs, to being afraid to even be in the same room as someone outside our nuclear families. Already, COVID has made history – and it’s well poised to continue to do so throughout 2021, as we struggle through the logistics of distributing – to almost eight billion people – a vaccine that may not even offer lasting protection from the disease.
If you’re in high school and looking to apply to college, there are countless things to consider. But a key one that worries a lot of students is the notion of “leadership”. Maybe your parents – or even your high school admissions consultants – have told you that, “Colleges want to see leaders. It’s not enough to be in a club. They want you to be president!”
If I could travel back in time to visit my young high school self (who would be studying, studying, studying, often all night long, to do well in her AP classes), I would tell her that college preparation requires more than studying. As important as understanding derivatives in calculus or the logic behind the periodic table of elements is, there is more to preparing for an American college than studying. In fact, at most top American schools, there are more applicants with very high SAT scores (say, above 1450) than there are spaces available for them.
Most people think there is a generic, fixed formula to get into UChicago. In reality, there is a framework but the details of the framework are to be determined by yourself. I’m here to tell you the building blocks I gathered which got me into UChicago which I like to think of as a three tiered pyramid.
Like many of you, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to major in when I was applying to universities. I was barely 18, and it was a lot of pressure to decide what I was going to be studying for the next four years. I grew up with a passion for the arts but I also enjoyed technical subjects such as maths. I knew I wanted to pursue a career that combined art, science, math and business. After researching more about college majors at the start of my senior year (later than my high school peers), I realized that architecture would be a good fit for me. Here are some myths about being an architecture major you’ve probably heard of. Find out if they’re true!
You got into your dream school and it’s now August. You pack your bags with all the essentials your university welcome package listed. Leaving home is hard, but it is also exciting. I remember landing at SFO and the immigration officer welcomed me to “some of the best years of my life”. Looking back, he wasn’t wrong and I’m excited for you to embark on the same journey. Here are a few moments from my first week in college that you will inevitably experience as well.