Admission Tips from a Columbia Student: My Chinese Parents

November 29, 2013

This week, we asked some of our interns how their parents affected their admissions process. Here we feature one of those responses from QD (her initials), a Columbia student who grew up in China. We wanted to know whether the Tiger Mom stereotype holds water. Read her responses below and let us know what you think!

How involved were your parents in your application process?

My parents neither hurt nor helped. However, they encouraged me a lot, and helped me know myself better. 

How did they encourage/help you?

They are both Chinese and know little English, and therefore, I had to depend on myself researching the schools and courses that I was interested in. It was indeed a labor! I spent days and nights sitting before different computers (I was working as an intern then) and burying myself in all the requirements of various schools. Sometimes, I felt exhausted and unhappy. Then, here came my parents! They just sat beside me or cooked me a delicious meal, chatting with me, comforting me and helping me relax. After telling them my concerns and worries, they tried to give some suggestions based on their experience. I felt it was great!

Did they have a strong opinion about which school you should go to? 

When it came to decide which school to attend, I was in a dilemma. My parents, instead of giving me a cut-off announcement, they, together with me, analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of each graduate school. Combined with my career goal, I finally figured out the school without much anxiety or difficulty.

Any final thoughts?

Now, I’m in Columbia University alone, but I feel like I’m equipped with the skills and brave enough to make decisions on my own, whether it is about everyday life, or is about lifelong choices.



Browse Successful Application Files

Serena2020
Harvard ‘19


Accepted to Harvard, UChicago, Northwestern, Swarthmore, Emory, Oklahoma U, UKentucky, K College , OU, Alma

Premed on track to graduate a year early. But I love my school! National merit scholar, into surgery, arts & community…
cjjo96
Barnard ‘18


Accepted to Barnard

Barnard '18 | My passions lie in education, psychology, and human rights, all from the lens of an African Studies major. My transcript and application were far from conventional, but neither am I.
Ves_Nanov
Dartmouth ‘20


Accepted to Dartmouth, Vassar, Kenyon, UVA

I am an incoming freshman from Bulgaria. I have spent one year as an exchange student in Chicago and look forward to returning to the States this fall.
ltan98
Fordham ‘20


Accepted to American, Fordham, Skidmore, Syracuse, UC Irvine, UCSB

Hi there! I went to an American school in Hong Kong from K-12 and will be starting my freshman year at Fordham University at Lincoln Center in the fall. If you're interested in theater and come from overseas, I would be of particular help to you!

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