Categories
Uncategorized

About Stephanie

Hello everyone! I’m Stephanie Cheng, currently a rising sophomore at University of Southern California. I graduated from Taipei First Girls High School in 2020 so I totally understand the struggles of applying to colleges abroad with limited resources. I major in Business of Cinematic, which is basically business administration + entertainment industry studies. My goal is to work in the business and/or creative department within the entertainment industry. I love watching movies, tv shows, sports (tennis & soccer) in my free time. I also enjoy traveling and photography a lot. Please feel free to reach out to me to talk about anything!!

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanie-cheng-usc2024/

Instagram: stephanie.cheng 

Blog/ Photography Instagram: stephotographiexx

Stephanie Cheng
University of Southern California ’24

Categories
Application Process Engineering Subject

Stephanie’s Application Process

What made you want to study abroad?

I don’t really like the Asian education system that only cares about grades. While preparing for the high school entrance exam in my junior high, I made up my mind that I wanted to study abroad and pursue the education that allows me to find my own worth beyond exams. 

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

Preparing for all the college applications while maintaining a good GPA. During my senior year, midterms and finals were all dedicated to help the majority of students prepare for GSAT (college entrance exam in Taiwan). Therefore, I had to cram the content across three high school years in weeks while writing essays and going through college apps. 

What do you think helped you the most?

Definitely doing some self-care routines! For me, jogging after school every day helped me clear my head and be able to focus on the things I needed to do. During the college application process, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Having your own self-care routines will help you immensely. Some of the examples are: taking a walk outside, chatting with a friend, watching movies, etc. 

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

I think my extracurricular activities very successfully helped me stand out as an applicant. I have always been interested in the entertainment industry and business (by the process of elimination). Across my high school years, besides partaking in MUN and taking on leadership positions,  I attended a filmmaking summer session at UCLA. I was also the videographer and photographer during my volunteer trip to Nepal. I was the lead editor of a class journal partly because I was somewhat interested in the book publishing industry as well. All of these experiences showed a lot towards my interests in both business and entertainment. 

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

Choose whether you’re gonna take the SAT or ACT carefully!!!

I was convinced that my math and science were pretty good so I would perform better on the ACT (fyi, I don’t think ACT’s reading is easier than SAT). I didn’t even take any SAT practice tests until I hit a wall preparing for the ACT. I tried taking an SAT practice test, and it turned out it was easier for me to get a higher score on the SAT. 

What do you think sophomores, juniors, seniors students should do right now?

For sophomore and junior students: plan out your whole college app timeline as soon as possible. (when you’re gonna take TOEFL, SAT/ACT, write essays, make a school list, etc.) Attend all the extracurricular activities that you think will be helpful to build your resume. Keep your GPA up at school. And don’t forget to enjoy your high school life! 

For seniors, you’re almost there! Just keep working hard on those essays, grades and even SATs. Most importantly, don’t forget to take breaks and be true to yourself. In the end, what colleges you get into are not what matter most. It is how much you grow during the process that will benefit your whole life. 

Stephanie Cheng,
University of Southern California ’24

Categories
Columbia Universtiy School

University of Southern California

Why did you choose this school?

USC is no doubt my dream school so it was an obvious choice for me. Located in the city of Los Angeles, USC is the top school for entertainment / film in the US. The Marshall School of Business is also one of the best business schools for undergrad. I have also absolutely loved the weather and atmosphere of LA since I was little. 

What is your favorite thing about your school?

The resources USC provides are absolutely the best! As a Business of Cinematic Arts student, I have both access to The Marshall School of Business and School of Cinematic Arts. Both departments offer numerous career resources and host all kinds of events. In the past year, I was in the same zoom session with Jude Law, writer of The Queen’s Gambit, and also actress and filmmakers from To All The Boys franchise. 

What is the best memory studying at your college?

Even though my freshman year was purely online, classes were still very interesting. For my Learning About International Commerce class, we were helping two real companies from Ecuador on their global business strategies. My professor and the company owners wanted us to get the best experience we could have so they sent a coffee testing kit and chocolate samples to every student! They spent $3000 NTD shipping fee sending a package from the US to Taiwan alone. So there I was, drinking coffee and tasting chocolate like a pro at 2 am in my room. 

Do you think it’s worth it?

I understand that USC is one of the most expensive institutes in the US, but USC also provides a lot of benefits to its students that’s very rarely seen in other schools. Plus, USC is a very academically renowned school in the US. The alumni relations are very closely knit. I have also heard great things about campus life and experiences (can’t wait to go to football games!!). So all in all, I would definitely say USC is worth it!

Stephanie Cheng, University of Southern California ’24

Categories
Columbia Universtiy School

University of Toronto

Why did you choose this school?

The first reason why I chose this university is because of its prestige. I won’t lie, rankings are still very important in my choosing college process. Without prestige there is a possibility that I won’t be able to get well paid jobs back in Taiwan or have less choice in what I want to do. However, while doing more research about the university, I realized that I really liked that they had a co-op program. Co-op program is a working opportunity during the school year. My school has 2 co-op terms during second year and third year. I am always a more hands on learner so having a co-op program would allow me to get real life experience. As a business student, it is also important to use the concepts we learned in class into the real world. In addition, the program I applied to, management and international business, we are required to study abroad and work abroad for one semester each. This would allow me to travel and understand cultures around the world. Because of UofT’s prestige, they are able to connect to well known universities and companies all over the world. In addition, UofT takes care of its international students after graduation. A common concern for international students is that they aren’t able to work after graduation. However with the help of the Canadian government, students are able to apply for working permits after graduation. Lastly, it was the price. Compared to American universities, UofT is cheaper.

What is your favorite thing about your school?

I haven’t been on campus but for my stay at an online university, my favorite thing is my fellow students. They truly push me to become better. In UofT, you have to work hard. People around you are all working hard. That is a really motivating place to be. Although at times overwhelming, it is admirable and important that I keep myself in this competitive world.

What is the best memory studying at your college?

Like the question before, I haven’t been on campus yet. From what I have experienced, my favorite thing is working with new friends on projects. Though some projects are so time consuming and annoying, it allowed me to befriend people all over the world. I got to know more about the cultures around me. It was really wholesome for people in my group chat to send good luck messages before an exam or talk about what courses to pick. I think again the people are the best part of UofT.

Do you think it’s worth it?

There are definitely things that are challenging and I often joke I want to retire and go live on the beach but I don’t regret choosing this school. I think it’s a new challenge. There are multiple times where I wanted to grab my hair and yell but I think in the long run it’ll benefit me. The courses are intense but I think that my foundation would set well in the future. There are many hardships that I can only see now but I understand that in the future I will not regret it. Writing this during finals is more pessimistic but I swear UofT is a good choice [see question 1]!

Jenny Lee, University of Toronto ’24

Categories
Application Process Engineering Subject

Jenny’s Application Process

What made you want to study abroad?

For me, I knew at a very young age that I don’t fit well into the Taiwanese education system. I am simply someone who likes working with her hands more than studying for tests. I also know that I want to try different things during college. I am unsure of my career goals thus universities abroad would allow me to explore more. 

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

I think the hardest part of the entire application is the mental challenge. It is really hard to go through the process. You are under pressure for such a long time. Other than that the more specific part is writing. Writing so much about yourself and what you went through is a very difficult situation. It’s also very challenging to “decide” your path when you’re so young. You have to make so many big decisions and write your life like a bibliography.

What do you think helped you the most?

For me, talking about it helped. I seeked help from therapists and psychiatrists along the way. Of course this isn’t the only solution, but don’t be afraid to seek help. There is nothing wrong with seeking help. In addition, support from friends and family helped a lot. I think before the process, understand who you are. Like stated above, it is hard to know exactly who you are. You can ask people around you for help. In addition, jotting things along the way. Jotting down big events or challenges along the way can help you write college essays later on. 

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

My extracurriculars are the strongest thing about my application. I really like doing different things and trying different things out so it was fun for me. I think on my common application I filled 9 out of the 10 spots. I don’t suggest doing that because colleges might think you’re faking it but I think you can see by now how much I love doing little things and not studying.

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

The most regretful thing is essays for me. I think I wasn’t able to differentiate myself clearly from others which was a shame. It didn’t allow the colleges to get to know me more. Other than the college application process, I think it was a shame that I let go some of my hobbies during the process. It is important to still do what you love to let go of stress. 

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

I think for high schoolers you should find your own self. This seems very vague and abstract but it is crucial to know what image you want to put out. You can use things such as online career tests, asking friends and family, and asking yourself big picture questions to slowly understand yourself. During this process, also, explore different hobbies. I see so many people not sure of what they want to do. Use this time to explore what you truly want to do. Don’t simply go into something because it is what is expected of you to do or what your parents want you to do, do it because you like it. 

Jenny Lee,
University of Toronto ’24

Categories
Uncategorized

About Jenny

Hi guys! My name is Jenny Lee. I’m a current rising sophomore at the University of Toronto Scarborough. I’m studying co-op management and international business. I like playing with my dog and cat and watering my plants (I tend to overwater them because I get too excited). My big goal someday is to change the world one step at a time but that’s long term. Right now, I just want to pass. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

LinkedIn / ig: jennwee

Jenny Lee
University of Toronto ’24

Categories
Columbia Universtiy School

Boston University

Why did you choose this school?

Honestly, I didn’t have a choice to choose which school I wanted to go among the list since I applied to BU with an early decision. However, I won’t change my decision if I had the opportunity to choose to go to other schools since BU has always been my personal “top school” for its location, majors offered, and the overall environment. 

What is your favorite thing about your school?

My favorite thing about BU is the accessibility of staff members for students when they need help of any kind. Staff members at BU are all passionate about being supportive and providing assistance and suggestions to students. As a BU student, I will not hesitate to ask for help from one of them since they’re reliable, and I can really get what I need out of the process. Honestly, you can ask for help on anything, whether it is about academic, career planning, or personal stuff that you want to talk about, they all can handle it. All you need to do is write an email, make a call, or just walk up and talk. 

What is the best memory studying at your college?

It’s gonna be the night of a rivalry battle between BU and BC’s hockey teams. It’s an annual tradition that the school will even start promoting while the match is still a month away. I was there as an audience to support my own school on that day. What made it so memorable for me is my personal excitement towards ice hockey and the unexpected bond between every BU student inside the stadium. The random guy sitting right next to you won’t feel like a stranger for you anymore because the game brings you all together. You belong to the BU community regardless of gender, identity, ethnicity, and race. Believe it or not, this ended up as one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. 

Do you think it’s worth it?

BU has done a great job presenting its strength and benefits to its students. However, that doesn’t make BU the perfect school with no weakness and things that irritate students. In general, Boston University is a well-rounded private institution that is great in many ways. In other words, BU doesn’t have a specific field of study that’s best known for among the colleges in the US. I personally do think BU is worth attending. Still, you might get a different response from other BU students that are totally unlike who I am. 

Justin Chuang, Boston University ’23

Categories
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

Categories
Uncategorized

About Justin

Hello, I’m Justin Chuang. I graduated from American School in Taichung in 2019, then proceeded to Boston University as a student majoring in advertising. Besides my major, I also wish to have the opportunities to expand my field of studies to other branches such as business administration and digital art through taking various minors. School stuff aside, I enjoy many activities that you could have imagined. Sometimes I would go for some sports activities like swimming, skateboarding, and a lot more. If these aren’t my choice at the moment, I will stay at home and do some easy sketchings. I hope you guys can learn something new from my experiences. If you ever need help, feel free to reach out. I’ll put my contact info right below. 

Email: justinblabla01@gmail.com

IG: just._in_case

Justin Chuang
Boston University ’23

Categories
Columbia Universtiy School

Columbia University

Why did you choose this school?

Columbia, being part of the Ivy League, has a huge network. The people you get to meet just by being part of this network are incredible. Columbia’s location in New York city is also an obvious plus. New York has all the famous restaurants you can think of, plus tons of museums and concert halls. Most of them even give discounts to Columbia students! But above all, I chose Columbia for its liberal arts education. Even as an engineering student, I am required to take arts/music humanities, contemporary civilization, and other core classes. It may sound super boring at first glance, but once you take it you’ll understand why it should be mandatory for every student. These classes really teach students how to read, write, think, and form opinions. Even though I am a CS major, these classes have been some of my favorite classes so far. 

What is your favorite thing about your school?

As a first year student taking online classes, I can’t say I’ve experienced even the tip of student life at Columbia. But so far, I’d say the professors who teach the core are amazing. I’ve enjoyed almost every one of the core courses. They may be quite tough, but it is absolutely worth it. 

What is the best memory studying at your college?

Again, I can’t say much with my limited experience, but what I do look forward to is exploring New York City, trying out its foods and taking advantage of its museums. (Columbia students have free access to all of them!!)

Do you think it’s worth it?

This depends on what you are giving up to attend this school and what you are seeking for. If you’re looking to work at the top of the finance industry, or you are a student who loves science/engineering and humanities, or you just love New York, it is absolutely worth it. However, if you want engineering and you only want engineering, then this may not be the best school for you.

Alice Chen, Columbia University ’24