B.S., Computer Science
James studies computer science/IEOR at Columbia University. His Why Columbia essays share the resources Columbia offers for research and its intellectual diversity.
Features Included


Hometown San Jose, California
Class of2022
First Gen College StudentNo

Results, Essays, and Advice

Waitlisted or Withdrew
  • Columbia University (New York, NY)
  • University of California - Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
  • University of California - Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (Needham, MA)
Tap/click a school logo above to view essays and advice specific to that school.

Columbia University (New York, NY)

Applied for a B.S. in Computer Science

Accepted and Enrolled Legacy: No

School Specific Essays

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
A row of worn-down cement shacks populated one side, and straw houses sparsely filled the other with green rice paddies. I was playing games on my dad’s new iPhone 4. I didn’t want to get out of the van, but I had no choice. Before my uncle even stopped the engine, all my father’s relatives flooded around the car welcoming our arrival, knee-deep in mud, even those I had never seen before. My relatives saw this visit as...
Personal Statement
360 Words
Leadership experience
Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.
When I entered high school, all freshmen were mandated to partake in a daily twenty-minute seminar called the Freshman Mentor Program (FMP), where upperclassmen led us in social and academic activities to smoothen the transition from middle school. This was one of the most enriching experiences of my freshman year, as my mentors shaped my academic endeavors. Seeing how much FMP had shaped me, I wanted to do the same for others. On the first day of junior year, I,...
Personal Statement
346 Words
Creative personal story
Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.
Capturing the glimmering stars under the Mars-like American southwest or San Francisco’s skyline silhouette, landscape photography has allowed me to see the eloquence in nature. Mindfully capturing nature’s bounties, mountains and rivers come to life dancing in their raw forms. Even everyday experiences become wonders as they highlight the small things we often take for granted or overlook. But what I love the most about landscape photography is the artistic memorabilia they create for me; hanging around my...
Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
After having taken Principles of Engineering, a Project Lead the Way engineering and computer science course at my high school in sophomore year, I became captivated by the fields of electrical engineering and computer science. Seeing the following summer as an opportunity to enrich my understanding of these fields, I participated in Carnegie Mellon’s Pre-College Program, where I took two intensive courses: Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and Principles of Computing. Introduction to ECE offered me a...
Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom.
“It’s lit! The microprocessor’s light is blinking! But why? Microprocessors are pieces of metal and clearly can’t understand English!”. Though a minor comical celebration, this sparked my curiosity in computer science. I soon became entangled with code to understand why these chips worked the way they did, and how we tricked semiconductors into machines. My interests quickly ravaged from hardware components to applets to machine learning, where I became faced with a new challenge: understanding the mathematical...
Supplemental Essay: “Why us” school essay
301 Words
Please tell us what you value most about Columbia and why. (300 words or less)
The synergy Columbia promotes amongst different schools cultivates a rich inclusive learning environment that would allow me to ensure my work will directly impact science, technology, and society. At Columbia, I know I won’t be surrounded just by those like me, but also philosophers, policymakers, and entrepreneurs. It is Columbia’s intellectual diversity that manifests a place to spark creativity and ignite innovation. Growing up in the bane of a STEM-oriented environment - Silicon Valley - I often feel...
Supplemental Essay: Unique question posed by school
59 Words
List a few words or phrases that describe your ideal college community. (150 words)
Spontaneous Urban Accessible Antiquity and modernity Humanities and STEM Interdisciplinary liberal arts education Research opportunities directly impacting science, technology, and society State-of-the-art research laboratories Variety of dining options Leisure opportunities Balance between social and academic life Orchestra and theater Networking Entrepreneurship Diversity Opportunities
Supplemental Essay: “Why us” school essay
291 Words
For applicants to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section. (300 words or less)
From spending countless nights building a robust healthcare monitoring and diagnosis system to spending weekends helping fictional cows organize themselves in labyrinth pastures (USA Computing Olympiad), to now using machine learning to enhance existing diagnosis tools, I hope my works one day will have a lasting impact on our society. It all started freshman year when I visited my grandparents and saw blood drip from their pricked finger three times a day on top of spending an hour measuring other...

School Specific Advice

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General Admissions Advice

Did you take a gap year? Tell us about your experience.
2 Words
How I made up for low grades in high school
2 Words
How I narrowed down my essay topics
2 Words

High School Performance

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AP / IB Classes and Scores

Details8 classes and scores




ActivitiesFuture Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Robotics, Tutoring/Mentoring, Boy/Girl Scouts, Community Cleanup / Service, Model Congress / Model UN

Experience & Awards

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