DB students get a head start

Seven DBHS seniors have been accepted to prestigious universities through early action.


Calvin Ru

Seniors (clockwise from top) Cathy Chang, Brandon Lee, Eric Han, Benjamin Chen, Derrick Li and Rebecca Kimn, with Morgan Pak at left, have already been accepted at various top universities across the country.

Michelle Ki, Editor-in-Chief

In two months, most high school seniors will find out whether or not they’ve made it into the college of their dreams. However, every year, there are a batch of students who are granted the privilege of finding out early.

This year, among the students at Diamond Bar High School who have already been accepted are Benjamin Chen, Derrick Li, Morgan Pak, Rebecca Kimn, Eric Han, Cathy Chang and Brandon Lee. Lee was accepted through early action, while Pak, Kimn, Han and Chang were accepted through early decision. Chen and Li applied through restrictive early action, which prohibits applicants from applying to other private universities early.

Chen was accepted to Harvard University, and although he applied as an “undecided” major, Chen has been heavily involved in STEM-related organizations throughout high school, such as Science Olympiad and Science Bowl.

He has even competed in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, for which he submitted his individual math project. While many students would most likely say “yes” in a heartbeat, Chen is not sure if he will commit to Harvard just yet.

“Though Harvard possesses arguably the strongest, most well-rounded undergraduate student body across the top schools in the nation, I still have to consider other schools, as well as financial aid,” Chen said.

Li, on the other hand, has already made up his mind and will be attending Stanford this fall. He plans to major in biology but is also open to majoring in computer science or bioengineering.

“I believe a biology major is more versatile than a biomedical engineering major because I can still enter the [medical] field or the engineering field, should I want to do that and change my path a bit. Under my current plan, I want to enter [medical] school and become a physician,” he said.

Pak will be attending Dartmouth, pursuing a double major in comparative literature and neuroscience. Pak grew up with parents who work in the humanities field and thought she couldn’t prosper in the STEM field, but experienced a change of heart after taking AP Chemistry her junior year.

“Learning has that ability to empower you. Realizing that I’m good at STEM was really eye-opening because I realized I can do so many different things if I want to,” Pak said.

Joining Pak on the East Coast will be Kimn, who will be attending Cornell University. She plans to pursue the biological sciences, in hopes of attending dental school after the completion of her undergraduate studies.

“With all of my cousins and my brother having attended Ivy League schools, I felt motivated to stay on a similar path at a college that would be a perfect fit for me,” she said.

Baltimore will be Han’s new home in the fall, as he will attend Johns Hopkins University. Han will be majoring in biomedical engineering, a separate program that one must apply to in addition to JHU. The school offers the best program for his intended field in the nation, admitting only 3 percent of its applicants.

“I took classes there last summer and fell in love with the school. I felt like a good fit,” Han said.

Remaining in Southern California is Chang, who will be attending Harvey Mudd University. She plans to major in electrical engineering, after “being entranced by the field” through her involvement with the DBHS robotics team. Yet, to even have been accepted meant many sacrifices throughout high school.

“If I want[ed] to go out and have fun with my friends, or do whatever I want, I need[ed] to fulfill my parents’ requests of doing well in school; I had to earn the right to my freedom,” she said.

Lastly, Lee, who was accepted to Boston College as an economics major, views the school as just an option and looks “forward to hearing back from other colleges soon.”