College Admissions Info

Oxford University, ‘20
BA, Geography

Profile Overview

Profile contains
  • Test Scores
  • High School Performance
  • Extracurriculars & Awards
  • Personal statement
  • 13 supplemental essays
  • 7 advice topics

Student Background

Hook: Asian who doesn't play the piano
From: SINGAPORE , Singapore
Gender: Female
First Gen College Student: No
Race/Ethnicity: Asian
Accepted At: Wellesley, Illinois, UCLA, Duke, UC Berkeley, UCL, KCL
Denied At:
Waitlisted At:
Withdrew From:
Is English First Language: Yes
Other Language(s) Spoken: Mandarin, Japanese

Test Scores

Converted SAT Score: 1580
Other SAT Scores:
SAT Prep:
Other Standardized Tests:

High School Performance

(no specification of weighting)
Top 10%
High School Type: Public
AP / IB Classes and Scores:
College Classes In High School:
Academic Performance in High School: Low at first but improved
Explanation of Any Low Grades:

Extracurriculars & Awards

Sports: Track & Field
Extracurricular Activities: School Newspaper/Magazine/Journalism, Boy/Girl Scouts, Community Cleanup / Service, School Theater/Plays
Elaborate on Extracurriculars or Work:
Volunteer Experiences:
Awards Received:
Application Additional Materials:

College Application Essays

UCAS Statement My earliest forays into Geography consisted of reading about environmentalism and sociopolitics in the National Geographic. Initially attracted by the study of the intricate relationships between man-made and natural spaces, I have since grown to love Geography for its ability to interrogate complex issues troubling societies, while presenting a rich diorama of our world's complex sociopolitical and environmental dynamics. As an A Level Geography student, I have often appreciated the practical applications of geographical theory, particularly when I...

Personal Statement for Cornell, Wellesley, Duke, Brown: Movie or book that changed you, Role model/inspiration, Transition to adulthood
672 Words
The year I was born, 1998, Cowboy Bebop was released. It was a highly acclaimed show that won several creative awards, becoming widely hailed as a masterpiece among Japanese animations— and also a subtle, nuanced work that dealt with difficult questions about existentialism and human loneliness. I knew none of that, however, when I first sat down as an unsuspecting girl of eight to watch its first episode with my sister. The result: a simple show about a group of futuristic...

Personal Statement for Illinois: Career aspirations, Interest in other academic subject
391 Words
Where else could I find a discipline where I could dabble in environmentalism and human psychology in an entirely legitimate way? Or apply the knowledge of social sciences to understand the malaises of our age, like broken down relationships or socioeconomic polarisation? Even though I’ve never encountered urban studies in its specialised form in my educational experiences, I have gotten a taste of it through urban geography lessons and independent study opportunities at [redacted]. I’ve decided since that...

Supplemental Essay for Duke: “Why us” school essay
159 Words
Dearest Duke, how have you been? A little bird said your Nicholas School has been absolutely revolutionary lately. Your students’ groundbreaking research— advocating for sustainable transport, marine conservation— is ever inspiring. It’s clear they’re driven youths who push the envelope in their studies. And that interdisciplinarity! The comprehensiveness of your Environmental Science classes astounds me - it reflects a mature sensitivity to modern global issues that this international applicant appreciates. Ethics, philosophy, science all in Conservation and Development ...

Supplemental Essay for Brown: “Why us” school essay
155 Words
Upon hearing of Brown’s commitment to fostering acceptance and diversity, I knew I had to apply. With a tradition of open-mindedness and hallmark programmes like Minority Peer Counselling, I can thrive at Brown, free from arbitrary constraints and social discrimination. Under these precedents of institutional and social support, I will grow like I never have before. Brown’s open curriculum also means I can pursue my multifaceted interests without sacrificing any of them, like I often had to in...

Supplemental Essay for Wellesley: “Why us” school essay
505 Words
Did white men ever have to endure living in a perilous ocean of their own enemies? Did the European masters of the 19th century question their homogenous halls of haughtiness, or realise how conspicuously they must have excluded the women and men of racial minorities outside their realms of privilege? Large unanswerable questions these may be, but that is no matter; I have sought to answer them ever since I began wondering about the world around me. I want to...

Supplemental Essay for Duke: Diversity statement
242 Words
Kurt Vonnegut once said, “If you want to really hurt your parents and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, [you should] at least go into the arts.” He was right. I managed to do both, and look at me now: I’m clearly prizewinner of the Disappointment Olympics. Watch out, world! Jokes aside, being a lesbian in Singapore isn’t easy. 70% of the public deems homosexuality immoral, so coming out remains social suicide (being gossiped about if...

Supplemental Essay for Brown: Unique question posed by school
174 Words
Why are you drawn to the area(s) of study you indicated earlier in this application? The myriad of problems in cities unsettles me. I've seen how stressed my parents look after work, and noticed the rumbles of animosity between Singapore’s urban young and forgotten elderly. Although touted as the magic bullet of poverty reduction and human development, cities increasingly create and intersect with intractable crises, like Syria’s migration crisis and social alienation— crises we need to solve,...

Supplemental Essay for Brown: Diversity statement
137 Words
Tell us where you have lived - and for how long - since you were born; whether you've always lived in the same place, or perhaps in a variety of places. Life as the daughter of two immigrants is inevitably emotionally nomadic. In my childhood, I flitted between Singapore, Hangzhou, and even Switzerland. But despite my crosscultural background (or even because of it), I identify with Singapore wholeheartedly, especially with the people who pump Singapore’s fundamental lifeblood. From our...

Supplemental Essay for Brown: Diversity statement
138 Words
We all exist within communities or groups of various sizes, origins, and purposes; pick one and tell us why it is important to you, and how it has shaped you. When I come out of the closet, the first thing I’ll do is thank Singapore’s local community of LGBTQIA artists. Despite being a lesbian in a conservative Chinese immigrant family, in a country that largely deems homosexuality immoral, I accepted myself early on thanks to their presence and...

Supplemental Essay for Cornell: “Why us” school essay
701 Words
Describe two or three of your intellectual interests and why you are excited to pursue them within your chosen major in AAP. What personal experiences, background, or future goals will you bring to your scholarly and artistic pursuits at Cornell? Being an optimistic realist puts one in a strange position. Growing up, I’ve seen so much within my city, despite living on a dingy island in the Southeast Asian region, which unsettles me and made me pessimistic about ever...

Supplemental Essay for Brown: Unique question posed by school
163 Words
"Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences." What I value most about about working at a hawker centre, or kopitiam, isn’t necessarily tangible things like job titles or earning spare change. Rather, it’s interacting with a different side of Singapore, a side my education unintentionally blinds me to. At work, I strip off my pretensions from school and become simply another staff member at [redacted]. Contrary to perceptions that kopitiam work is degrading,...

Supplemental Essay for UCLA, UC Berkeley: Issue of personal significance
378 Words
"Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?" When my friend died, I joined in the historical struggle of writers to describe the taste of bereavement. I learned from Elizabeth Browning's grace in crafting elegant elegies, connected with WH. Auden's plaintive vulnerability in "Funeral Blues", and laughed, despite myself, at Sylvia Plath's bleak humour and tragicomic honesty. And after many nights of...

Supplemental Essay for UCLA, UC Berkeley: Unique question posed by school
369 Words
"Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you." Even if I've gotten used to living under bureaucratic constraints (hello, Singaporean examinations and education system), I savour freedom where I can get it. Its scarcity is precisely what makes me treasure it. So when I discovered Geography, the discipline dedicated to studying every worldly phenomena imaginable, I saw what a goldmine that was, even if there were (justified) murmurs that it was an ill-defined and sprawling course. ...

Supplemental Essay for UCLA, UC Berkeley: Diversity statement
375 Words
"What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the University of California?" Three words: my cultural schizophrenia. For a while, I thought I misplaced my racial roots! I probably inherited ones resembling a ginseng plant from my Mainland Chinese parents, but I wouldn't know; they might've been denuded by the wave of Westernisation. In the past, I had no clear concept of where my cultural 'homeland' was. Officially, it was my ancestral...

Supplemental Essay for UCLA, UC Berkeley: Unique question posed by school
376 Words
"What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?" Indubitably, Holly Golightly is the role model I wish I'd had when I was young. She would have been the fresh spot of independence I needed, to counter the naivete of giggling Disney princesses. But where I celebrate Holly's pluck and self-possession, I see where Breakfast at Tiffany's has failed in allowing yellowface and feminine conformity into its sublime world....

College Admissions Advice

Whether I used a private admissions counselor, and advice I received
60 Words
I didn't use a private consultant. My high school consultant was unhelpful, emphasising that I wouldn't make...

My advice about getting recommenders
85 Words
Just in my country in particular - the gossip mill in my school did churn out sensational rumours about how even the ethnicity of your...

What I’d change about my application process
106 Words
(GENUINELY) START EARLIER. Pre-college me would have mocked me for believing in that advice now but I regretted it when I was slaving away in December for the January deadlines. I distinguish...

How I made up for low grades in high school
180 Words
I had what might have been considered a valid reason for my failing grade in Economics in 11th grade: I had lost a close friend to suicide three months before. In short I wasn't really in the best emotional state to do exams. I knew my grade would catch officers'...

Whether I took out loans or applied for scholarships, and my advice
282 Words
Attending Oxford right now with self-funding. I tried applying to a few scholarships but got rejected (my course isn't exactly popular or perceived as 'useful', apparently). I remember deliberating about whether it was worth it to fork out S$200,000 to go to the UK or stay in Singapore and spend a comparatively S$40,000. The stakes were complicated due to my identity and sexual orientation, slightly. Singapore felt stuffy and homophobic, I wanted to get out and go to a more...

How I narrowed down my essay topics
263 Words
general advice about writing the essays - someone once told me these things and it's been the best advice i got. try to think of your essay as a way to tell the officers something completely new they wouldn't have expected from you. your formal achievements are for the many other sections; the essay isn't for repeating what other sections could propound already. the Essay is about You As A Person and living, breathing,...

Did you take a gap year? Tell us about your experience.
157 Words
did not intentionally take a gap 'yah' but as an international student coming from a different school calendar there were 10 months between the end of my exams and the start of college. best moments of my gap year: - developing my new skincare...