B.S., Operations Research
A math-loving girl from an average public high school, Princeton ORFE '19. I'm here to give you the advice that helped me get into all the schools I applied to!
Features Included


Hometown Williamsburg, Virginia
AdmissionEarly Action
Class of2019
First Gen College StudentNo
English First Language Yes
Other Language(s) Spoken Mandarin

Results, Essays, and Advice

Waitlisted or Withdrew
  • Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
  • University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
  • Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Yale University (New Haven, CT)
  • Columbia University (New York, NY)
Tap/click a school logo above to view essays and advice specific to that school.

Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)

Applied for a B.S. in Operations Research

Accepted and Enrolled Legacy: Parent + 1 more

School Specific Essays

School Specific Advice

More Essays

These essays haven't been tagged by school. Click school logos above to see tagged essays.

Common App Prompt 5: Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family. “…but that still leaves an awful lot depending upon the ‘skill and experience’ with which they manage to sail on ‘the stream of Time.’” I closed this book, titled The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, the ending words echoing. Indeed, I had begun an adventure on my own stream of Time during that...
Supplemental Essay Diversity statement
179 Words
Princeton: “Culture is what presents us with the kinds of valuable things that can fill a life. And insofar as we can recognize the value in those things and make them part of our lives, our lives are meaningful.” Description: I wrote about a Venn Diagram of my family culture and community culture. My family has a long history of producing famous engineers and scientists, so they motivated me to be involved in STEM. On the other hand, my community...
Supplemental Essay “Why us” school essay
551 Words
Princeton: "If you are interested in pursuing a B.S.E. (Bachelor of Science in Engineering) degree, please write a 300-500 word essay describing why you are interested in studying engineering, any experiences in or exposure to engineering you have had, and how you think the programs in engineering offered at Princeton suit your particular interests." Many years ago, my mother bought me a toy consisting of doughnut-like objects of different sizes stacked on poles. When I joked about eating...
Supplemental Essay Diversity statement
120 Words
MIT: "Please tell us more about your cultural background and identity in the space below (100 word limit)." I like to say that I am Aminese or Chinerican - something a bit more one-of-a-kind and verbally balanced than Chinese-American. My name exemplifies this quality. Although most American-born Chinese have both an American and Chinese name, I have one that combines the two languages. When said out loud, my name means "jade flower" although not written in traditional Chinese pinyin. Instead, the...
Supplemental Essay Unique question posed by school
131 Words
MIT: "We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do simply for the pleasure of it." When my friends see me lethargic, they say, "Go and enjoy some of your K-pop" (hint: think Gangnam Style). I love listening to catchy, Engrish-laden Korean pop music, analyzing each melody and learning the complex choreographies to vibrant music videos. I watch funny shows and interviews of my favorite groups,...
Supplemental Essay “Why us” school essay
126 Words
MIT: "Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why?" At the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Professor Shafi Goldwasser from MIT spoke about cryptography, explaining how zero-knowledge interactive proofs protect data in cloud computing. I sat in the audience, amazed at how this brilliant, theoretical concept, in which one can convince another of a claim without proof, could be utilized in current topics....
Supplemental Essay Unique question posed by school
294 Words
MIT: "What attribute of your personality are you most proud of, and how has it impacted your life so far? This could be your creativity, effective leadership, sense of humor, integrity, or anything else you’d like to tell us about." I love my creativity. It is responsible for my “wow” moments – when I stand up smiling, share my new idea with the nearest person, perhaps ponder its feasibility, and work ardently on implementing this idea. My loudest “wow” occurred...
Supplemental Essay Issue of personal significance
272 Words
MIT: "Tell us about the most significant challenge you’ve faced or something important that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation?" In my office at home, probability textbooks line my desk. Ink bleeds through worn practice notebooks. Sheets of geometric formulas and Diophantine equations are scattered everywhere. In this room, math comes to life. But it hibernated everywhere else. At school, people cringed at the thought of trapezoids and gawked when I declared math...
Supplemental Essay Unique question posed by school
261 Words
Stanford: "Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development." I rode through Hyrule Field, slaying Bokoblins with my arrows. I survived the scorching heat of Death Mountain and dove into the depths of Lake Hylia. Finally, I used the Master Sword to vanquish all evil. The real me stood up in victory after hours of smashing the A and B buttons. Although The Legend of Zelda seems like...
Supplemental Essay Unique question posed by school
286 Words
Stanford: "Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate—and us—know you better." Hello roommate! As I currently shuffle through the suitcase I am bringing, I want to show you some objects I packed. (Wow! How did all of this fit?) In the front pocket is my binary clock. Its glowing 0s and 1s allow me to sleep and wake up...

General Admissions Advice

What I’d change about my application process
223 Words
Although my obsession over completing college apps was worth it in the end, I wish I also devoted more time to the usual schoolwork and extracurricular activities. I found myself making excuses for not doing homework until the day it was due because I was too busy writing essays. As a result, my grades dropped an average of 3 points per subject – not a big deal, but I...
List of schools I interviewed with and my interview experience
438 Words
I interviewed with Princeton, MIT, and Stanford. I was not offered an interview at the other four schools I applied to. For Princeton, my interview went well. I received an email in November, I promptly replied (with a link to my resume), and we set up a meeting that lasted for 1 hour and 10 minutes. My interviewer spent a large portion of the time talking about his great experience at Princeton, so I listened along and tried to find ways to connect what he did and his interests back to me, from Fortran to Looney Tunes music. At the time, I...
Recommended summer activities during high school and college
241 Words
I can’t say much about summer activities during college yet, but almost anything that indicates that you’ve been productive is an acceptable high school summer activity. For example, try to apply to some selective summer programs. They offer a great experience of living on a college campus and provide opportunities for you to enhance your knowledge of a subject or to learn something new. In fact, the four summer programs...
What set me apart from other applicants
189 Words
On the surface: good SAT, SAT IIs, GPA, transcript, and AP scores. No red flags so far, but nothing special. Upon second glance, however, one will find that the contents of my application summed up to an overabundance of math in almost every aspect: math competitions, math-based volunteering, math research, math puns… I could add(“math” + everything)...
Why I declined other schools
234 Words
Declining another school hurts. It’s like breaking up with the guy or girl you asked out first. That being said, I turned down UVA since too many people from my school were planning on attending. I declined CMU because although it has one of the best computer science departments, I wasn’t completely sure I would go into computer science. I turned down Columbia and Yale since both were...
Post-college plans
84 Words
I am planning to go to graduate school, perhaps to obtain a doctorate in Business or Computer Science depending on what my undergraduate major is....
Why I ultimately chose my school
172 Words
For over fifteen years, Princeton was just “the dream school.” But when it became a reality along with six other offers, my decision boiled down to the departments, professors, and undergraduate focus. I was particularly interested in Princeton’s ORFE (Operations Research and Financial Engineering) department, something which other schools did not...
How I chose schools to apply to
94 Words
(This was one of the questions during my Stanford interview by the way) I only applied to schools that I had already visited. I looked at each school...
What I like about my school’s location and culture
122 Words
Princeton has a very safe campus known as the “Orange Bubble.” It’s around an hour or so away from New York, and there’s a small train station right on campus so that one can travel...
How to increase chances at my school
101 Words
Admissions are a mystery to everyone, and there’s no general formula to move you up from that 6.99% to a 100%, or even 50% (if you have certain hooks, this is different)....
What might make for a good “Why Us” essay topic at my school
126 Words
If I remember correctly, the closest thing to a “Why Us” essay for Princeton is its engineering essay, so you might not have to write about this topic (but still be prepared to have an answer during interviews)....
My advice about getting recommenders
254 Words
First, check the requirements for each school. With that in mind, choose teachers that know you the most and are preferably affiliated with the subjects and extracurricular activities you are interested in. Also, check to see how involved you were in the teacher’s class. For me, I chose my 10th grade AP Calculus teacher and my 9th grade foreign language teacher. Usually this would be discouraged, but I kept in contact with them later on –...

High School Performance

Weighted GPA
Top 1%
High School TypePublic
College Classes In High School
Academic Performance in High School Steady

Test Scores

Highest SAT
SAT Score Details
Converted SAT Score1580
Other SAT Scores
SAT Prep
PSAT Scores

AP / IB Classes and Scores

Details15 classes and scores



ActivitiesJunior Classical League / Latin Club, Local Orchestra / Symphony / Band, Math Team, National Honor Society, Quiz Bowl/Academic Bowl, Science Club/Team
Elaborate on Extracurriculars or Work

Experience & Awards

How Spent Summers
Volunteer Experiences
Awards Received
Application Additional Materials

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