Application Process Engineering Subject

Justin’s Application Process

What made you want to study abroad?

Studying abroad has always been my goal since I was an elementary student in a local school because I knew I won’t fit in the Taiwanese education system. By saying that, it doesn’t mean Taiwan’s education is inferior compared to the other. It’s a subjective opinion that I got from my previous experiences.

What’s the toughest part for you during the entire application process?

I’d say the most challenging part for me is writing the common app essay. Since I am a person who doesn’t really know how to express emotion or thoughts adequately out of my mind, this weakness of mine has made the complicated essay writing process even more troublesome. I’ve tried many different formats and contents for my drafts, but they were all not good enough to directly show who I am, said my counselor. For months I was in a cycle of thinking, writing, and getting my draft rejected. Due to time constraints, I ended up having an “average” application essay that I didn’t like. 

What do you think helped you the most?

I always have the hobby of keeping records of what I’ve done in the past, which helped me build my resume for college application. Instead of having trouble recalling what I’ve done in the past, I scrolled through albums in my phone and flipped over the folders that contained my certificates from various events. This continuous work for years saved me a ton of time to work on other time-consuming tasks like writing common app essays. What I’m trying to say is do not underestimate the effectiveness of taking photos for records. Memories don’t last for years, but your photos do. 

What are some things you think you did well during the app process?

I did well on writing the short supplemental essays that were required for various schools I applied to. Different from the common app essay, these essays provided specific directions for students to follow. So I spent a week writing and reviewing, and they all ended up really well. 

What’s the most regretful thing you’ve done during the process? What would you do differently?

Even though my common app essay writing process sounds more terrifying than it can possibly be, most of the troubles were caused by my own hands. I started writing until the beginning of my senior year, which is really late. I missed the entire summer, approximately two months, to brainstorm the contents and so on. If I used the time more appropriately, I indeed could have written a better essay than the one I ended up using. 

What do you think soph, junior, senior students should do right now?

For sophomore and junior students, there’s a lot you need to do. You should deal with your schoolwork seriously and prepare for tests you need to take for the application, such as SAT, TOEFL, AP, etc. Meanwhile, don’t forget to attend extracurricular activities. If you have more time to spare, try to think of a meaningful topic for your common app essays. Seniors, you’re at the final stage right now. You’ve done a great job developing the resume you need for the application. Take one more SAT test if you need, maintain your academic performance at school, and start dealing with the application as soon as possible. 

Justin Chuang,
Boston University ’23

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