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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

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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

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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

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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

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Economics King's College London Philosophy Political Science School Subject

King’s College London

Why did you choose this school?

King’s College London (KCL) is the school with the best social science department in London, and is ranked just behind Oxford and Cambridge University. It is located at the heart of London, and is filled with all varieties of internship opportunities. It is less theoretical than London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and the atmosphere in KCL is much more alive than any other prestigious Universities in London. 

What is your favorite thing about your school?

PPE is located at Strand Campus, the oldest and the most marvelous campus out of all four King’s campuses. It is reconstructed from a classical castle beside the well-known Thames River, so people can view the Big Ben and the London Eye clearly. The libraries open 24hrs and are equipped with new facilities. 

What is the best memory studying at your college?

During the winter, there will be an ice-skating field right next to the campus I’m studying at. My friends and I usually go skating every once in a while, and have hot chocolate (sometimes hot wine) afterwards.

Do you think it’s worth it?

For me personally, yes. Studying in KCL provides me with excellent learning experiences and an exciting social life. I enjoy the weekly discussions which have given me plenty of insights that I’ve never thought of before. The cultural diversity of KCL has also guided me to understand more cultures and to perceive issues from different perspectives. Moreover, since KCL is at the heart of central London, the night life, including bars and clubs, never ends. KCL even holds parties at nightclubs and cruises for students. Therefore, if you are seeking a college experience in which you can immerse yourself into an in depth learning process, and at the same time enjoy yourself to the utmost: KCL is your choice. 

Charlotte Lee, King’s College London ’23

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Biology School Stanford University Subject

Stanford University

Why did you choose this school?

Besides the obvious- prestige, gorgeous campus, and enviable climate- there’s also the welcoming, inclusive atmosphere, top-tier location, and passionate faculty. Although having rigorous academics, with the school being an hour drive from downtown San Francisco and near some renowned skiing paradise (Lake Tahoe, etc.), student life should not be boring at all! 

What is your favorite thing about your school?

From what I’ve been through, I’d definitely say the faculty and how much effort they put in to make the online learning experience the best they could. Their enthusiasm to eagerly share what they know is almost tangible. 

What is the best memory studying at your college?

Honestly, I haven’t experienced a lot besides Zoom classes and online meetings, but the one thing I look forward to experiencing is the football games and just the residential life in general (having roommates, etc.)! 

Do you think it’s worth it?

Even with online classes, I’d say definitely! With the “Stanford” title, the school often invites big name speakers and hosts events with them. The flexibility of the curriculum* is luxury to me, growing up with a standard curriculum fixed by the Education Bureau. The variety of classes grant clueless people like me an opportunity to explore interests. The (surprisingly) non-judgemental student body offers me, a non-native English speaker, an encouraging atmosphere to speak up. 

*I know people who literally designed their own major, including the courses requirements and everything! Flexible is an understatement.

Evie Chen, Stanford ’24

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Biology School Stanford University Subject

About Evie

Hello! I’m Evie Chen, a freshman at Stanford University and graduated from Taipei First Girls’ High School in June 2020. My interest (currently :D) lies in the field of cognitive science and aim to do research on babies’ behavior and addiction. Aside from academics, I am obsessed with music, ethical shopping, and anti-plastic movements. As cliché as it sounds, I aspire to make a difference in society– in what way I’m still uncertain, but aren’t we all here to figure this out? Feel free to reach out (eviechen91@gmail.com) to talk about college applications- ask away!

Evie Chen, Stanford ’24