College Admissions Info

University of Pennsylvania ‘20
BA, Information Technology

Profile Overview

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

Student Background

I'm your average bubble tea fanatic that somehow got into Penn...
From: Philadelphia , Pennsylvania
Gender: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Asian
Legacy: No
Admission: Early Decision
Applied To: 15+ schools
Accepted At: UPenn
Denied At:
Waitlisted At:
Withdrew From:
Is English First Language: No
Other Language(s) Spoken: English, Mandarin, Vietnamese

Test Scores

Highest ACT:
Other ACT Scores:
ACT Prep:

High School Performance

High School Type: Other Private
AP / IB Classes and Scores:
College Classes In High School:
Academic Performance in High School: Low one semester/year
Explanation of Any Low Grades:

Extracurriculars & Awards

Extracurricular Activities: Chinese Club, Computer / Technology Volunteer, Nonprofit, NGO or Charitable Organization, Photography / Film, Yearbook, School Newspaper/Magazine/Journalism, Student Council / Government, Tutoring/Mentoring
How Spent Summers:
Awards Received:

College Application Essays

It was spring break of my junior year and I was waiting for a decision from the U.S. Department of State's National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) study abroad scholarship. My phone vibrated once. Glancing at the screen, I read the email that held my fate. As soon as I saw "Congratulations," I knew that these last few grueling months of the application process and anticipation were finally worth it. I had won a full scholarship to live...

Supplemental Essay: “Why us” school essay
462 Words
(Why Babson?) Self-starter. Service-oriented. Independent thinker. Innovator. GameChanger. These are all adjectives I would use to define myself. As I got on stage to give a TED-style talk (as part of the 2015 XXXXXX conference) about how technology has redefined community service and service learning at my high school, I began to realize how much service has impacted my life. Ever since I was young, I have always been eager to help others whether it be holding the door or just...

Supplemental Essay: “Why us” school essay
494 Words
(Why Penn?) I looked down at the shiny red and blue hologram-covered plastic card in my hand – "Visiting Student" it read. It was the summer after my sophomore year, and I was invited to take part in an inaugural summer program through XXXX XXXX. The program was titled the XXX XXX XXX and was to be held in conjunction with the XXX XX XXX XXX XXX XXX on Penn's campus. Living in Southwest Philadelphia, I had inevitably found myself on...

Supplemental Essay: “Why us” school essay
503 Words
(Penn Huntsman) Recently, President Obama signed an agreement with Chinese President Xi to curb China's industrial espionage attacks on U.S. entities. Not only are these attacks potentially harming U.S. business interests at home and abroad, but they could symbolize deteriorating bilateral relations. However, the heart of the problem lies deep below the surface. Many of today's leaders in politics and business were born in 1970 or earlier, in the midst of the Red Scare. China became a communist nation...

Supplemental Essay: “Why us” school essay
95 Words
(Tufts) My interest in Tufts peaked when I met admissions counselor, XXX XXX, at the Westtown School College Fair. My enthusiasm increased due to Tufts' renowned academic reputation, proximity to Boston, abundant study-abroad programs, and diverse opportunities in my intended majors of Computer Science and Chinese. I am excited to enroll in Tufts' Cloud Computing courses as well as continuing my study of Mandarin Chinese, supplemented with studying abroad in China. Being close to Boston would also allow me to...

Supplemental Essay: Unique question posed by school
246 Words
(Community Service Prompt) I walked into the high ceilinged auditorium of the Soviet-architecture headquarters of The School District of Philadelphia during the spring of my junior year. I was presenting my "XXXXXXXX" film to the School District's board of directors, commonly referred to as the School Reform Commission (SRC). When I started the project a year before, I never imagined I would be able to present my film at a SRC meeting. My original intention was to create an 8-minute...

Supplemental Essay: “Why us” school essay
260 Words
(Why Wooster?) My interest in The College of Wooster first began when I met current Wooster freshman, XXXX XXXXX, over the summer when we both studied abroad in Hangzhou, China for six weeks. I began to research Wooster's unique Independent Study program, the recognized Computer Science department, and the acclaimed Chinese department, all of which appeal to my interests. Having already completed high school independent study projects in computer science, I feel ready for Wooster's Independent Study project and envision...

Supplemental Essay: “Why us” school essay
193 Words
(Why Lafayette?) The renowned academic reputation, opportunity to earn a dual degree in Engineering and International Studies, and the myriad of study-abroad opportunities attracts me to Lafayette. At Lafayette, I would like to pursue a double major in Electrical and Computer Engineering and International Studies with a foreign language concentration in Mandarin Chinese. I got my first computer when I was five years old, and as they say, the rest is history. Growing up, I had always been intrigued by...

Supplemental Essay: Unique question posed by school
329 Words
(Instance of Failure) The weather got colder outside and before I knew it, it was the second trimester of 8th grade. At this point, I knew I couldn’t run away from my fears. At my school, we have an infamous aquatics requirement of fourteen laps. Using four different strokes, one must complete the laps within 10 minutes, and the requirement must be fulfilled before graduation. And I, as somebody who had never been in a swimming pool before, was terrified. ...

Supplemental Essay: Issue of personal significance
386 Words
(My career goals) Throughout my childhood, people frequently asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” At the age of 5, the common answer I gave was, “I want to be a superhero.” After years of watching Spiderman, The Incredibles, and Power Rangers, it seemed that saving the world from incoming meteors or the menacing Doctor Octopus was the most respectable and glorious occupation a child could aspire for. By the time I turned 10, I wanted to...

Additional Essay Details:
95 Words
I always tried to visit a school before writing the Why Us? essay. Being able to picture myself on campus and what my routine would look like really helped me formulate an idea for each of my Why Us? essays. I went through many drafts and relied on my counselor, friends and the writing center at my school to help me. I also recycled many of the essays I wrote, tweaking them slightly from each school. Over the course of...

College Admissions Advice

What might make for a good “Why Us” essay topic at my school
53 Words
For Penn, move beyond the cliches of Benjamin Franklin and living in Philly. I used specific courses and day-to-day experiences common among Penn students to augment my essay and make it so that the reader can picture me on campus. I also included a very personalized metaphor that would resonate with the reader.

What I’d change about my application process
63 Words
I would have tried to get my essays done earlier. Senior year fall was a hectic time because of my 15+ applications and the fact that my high school is on a trimester schedule. First trimester grades are sent to colleges as the mid-year report. My advice is to start your essays spring of junior year, it will make your life...

Whether I used a private admissions counselor, and advice I received
40 Words
I did not use a private counselor. I relied on the Internet and my high school's college counselor primarily. I feel that using a private counselor is not that useful with the wealth of information available on the Internet nowadays.

Why I declined other schools
45 Words
I declined other schools because I applied Early Decision to Penn and was accepted. In the event that I was accepted Regular Decision, I would have declined other schools because Penn has always been my dream school and I would pick it in a heartbeat.

What set me apart from other applicants
51 Words
I come from an underrepresented background (Vietnamese) within an overrepresented race (Asian) on college campuses. My parents never attended college and my family comes from an immigrant background. For Penn specifically, I was a Philadelphia resident and had a unique story to share about my past experience taking classes at Penn.

List of schools I interviewed with and my interview experience
44 Words
I interviewed with many schools but my favorite interview experience was Penn. My Penn interviewer scared me initially when he asked me, "What is your favorite Supreme Court case?". Turns out, he was a lawyer and uses that question as a good conversation opener.

Recommended summer activities during high school and college
49 Words
I would not recommend doing expensive summer programs to boost your college apps. I would recommend pursuing merit-based programs and scholarships such as MITES, TASP, TASS, RPI, CBYX, NSLI-Y, YES. The vast majority of my friends from NSLI-Y are currently students at the best colleges in the U.S.

Why I ultimately chose my school
36 Words
Penn was my dream school for as long as I can remember. The city life, beautiful campus and "work hard play hard" atmosphere made a winning combination that made me fall in love with the school.

Whether I took out loans or applied for scholarships, and my advice
30 Words
Penn has a no loans policy so I did not take out loans. I applied for dozens of scholarships and received a number of them to help finance my education.

Reaching out to professors and coaches at schools I applied to
19 Words
I did not do any reaching out to professors or coaches at any of the schools I applied to.

Post-college plans
33 Words
I hope to get a job combining my interests of technology and Mandarin Chinese. I am also looking at potentially getting an MBA. My post-college plans are still up in the air though.

How to increase chances at my school
17 Words
Apply ED. Penn loves kids that apply ED. Also, make sure your Why Penn? essay is stellar.

My advice about getting recommenders
70 Words
Ask teachers that have known you the best/longest. I asked my Physics teacher who has known me since 6th grade and my Mandarin teacher who has known me since 9th grade. Also, if you have one class where your grade is lower than the other classes, you should consider asking that teacher. It would be a good opportunity for...

What I like about my school’s location and culture
53 Words
Growing up as a city boy, I knew I wanted to try and stay in a city for college. Growing up only 15 minutes from Penn, I know the area around Penn very well and feel more comfortable with it. Some people say West Philly is dangerous but in my opinion, it's quite safe.

Additional material sent in after waitlisted or deferred
35 Words
I was not wait-listed or deferred but in the event you are, I would recommend sending in a letter of interest explaining new academic and extracurricular updates as well as acknowledging the deferral or waitlist.

How I chose schools to apply to
18 Words
I looked for schools in city environments as well as schools that meet 100% of need with no loans.