Heading to a bright future

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A culmination of their efforts throughout high school, several Diamond Bar High School seniors have been invited to pursue their dreams at some of the most storied schools in America.

Throughout high school, Han Lee was a member of the tennis team while also dedicating time to practicing kendo, a modern Japanese martial art, and volunteer work. Despite receiving acceptance into UC Berkeley, Lee ultimately decided on majoring in business while attending Carnegie Mellon due to obstacles presented by the UC system.

“Carnegie is the perfect fit for me because of its really good engineering and business programs,” Lee said via Instagram. “And UCs make it difficult to transfer between majors while privates are much more lax.”

Having been accepted to various prestigious locations, some of these seniors are still undecided on where to attend. These include: Allen Wang and Jaden Zhang to Brown; Kevin Yang and Brady Xie to the University of Pennsylvania; Kate Li to Cornell; Namky Eun to Carnegie Mellon and Serena Shi to Johns Hopkins. 

Xie plans on majoring in biology in pursuit of a medical career in the future. Having made it into the University of Pennsylvania and Yale, he is currently comparing the opportunities he might be provided regarding research and volunteer outreach. Though hard work paid off as the senior ultimately secured ‘yes’s’ from two prestigious schools, Xie noted how taxing the application process was for him. 

“It was stressful for me because when I was writing my personal statement, I had a clear idea of what I wanted to write about,” he said. “My mistake was that I asked a lot of other people for critique and this resulted in me changing my personal statement completely around like five times.”

Choosing to commit to Brown University, Bobby Zhu also plans on majoring in biology or biomedical engineering. Despite not making it into his dream school, Yale, he believes that being offered a place at Brown was a blessing in disguise. 

“I’m glad I wasn’t accepted [into Yale] because the school I got into seems to be a better choice for me than what I initially thought was my dream school,” Zhu said via Messenger. “I think it’s the best choice for me because of its open curriculum and its collaborative environment.”

Throughout his high school career, Zhu participated in the USA Biology Olympiad, the American Mathematics Competitions, the Science Olympiad Student Center and Robotics. He was also the vice president for the Youth & Government and the math clubs. Additionally, he interned with City of Hope’s Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Academy for two years and was the captain of his cross country and track and field teams. 

Having applied to numerous schools, Zhu’s main issue with the application process was the volume of essays he had to write, having to keep the content diverse throughout most of them. “My advice would be don’t worry about how your essay sounds in comparison to others. Colleges want to hear about you and not how you view yourself in light of specific criteria. So take the risk to have your voice be heard and it’ll show the colleges who you are as a person and whether they think you’ll be a good fit at their institution.”