College Essays

We’re supposed to start writing our essays for college applications, but I’m a little stuck. The issue is, I have an essay that I really like, that is probably the best thing I’ve ever written, but there’s a limit to how many words our essay is. The limit is 650 words. Want to guess how many my essay is? 1371 words. One thousand three hundred and seventy-one. That is over double the maximum amount of words allowed for an essay. This means I either have to start from scratch or somehow trim down the essay until it’s only 650 words, both of which would be very difficult. And of course, these essays are going to be really important to my applications because, for the UCs at least, colleges won’t look at my SAT score which was actually pretty good and which I will probably improve upon. They only look at GPA, extracurriculars, and essays, so my essays have to be good. Anyway wish me luck, I’m gonna need it.

How to Format a College Admissions Essay - Wordvice
photo cred- wordvice blog

Year III

This is my last year in high school where my grades need to be A’s, where my extra curricular activities matter. This is my last year where cramming in PSAT prep will benefit me, and the last year where SAT prep is a dreaded ritual.

After this year, the hours on hours of work, sleepless nights,  cramming for texts, student leadership applications, struggles I faced, fun memories I had, volunteer activities, extra curriculars, and sports achievements will all be put on to a single document… The last three years of my life will be put on a document; an application.

By the end of this year I’m supposed to have a general idea of my life plan, my career, and my identity.

By the end of the year I’m supposed to have perfect SAT scores, ACT scores, and 5’s on AP tests.

By the end of the year I’m supposed to be a person who will stand out amongst millions of other applicants.

This is my last year to become who colleges want me to be while still trying to stay true to the person I want to be.

In less than 365 days, I will need a paper explaining who I am, what I want to do, what I stand for, what sets me apart, and why I belong at the college receiving the paper. All of who I am, all of why I’m special, and all of why I belong in 650 words.

A transcript and 650 words which will determine my future, career and where I will be for the next four to eight years.

A lot to think about… a lot to do, a lot at stake. Welcome to junior year.

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As far as our college applications go, I’m pretty sure that everyone is now stressed out and curious about how the college counselors would review our apps. It reminds me of a great movie I watched this summer – “Admission.”

Admission” is a comedy directed by Academy Award nominee Paul Weitz, starring  Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.
Every spring, high school seniors anxiously await offers from college admissions. At Princeton University, admissions officer Portia Nathan is one of the counselors who evaluate thousands of applicants.

On her visit to New Quest, an alternative high school, she then meets with her former college classmate, idealistic teacher John Pressman – who has recently surmised that Jeremiah, a gifted yet very unconventional New Quest student, might well be the son that Portia secretly gave up for adoption years ago while at school. More importantly, Jeremiah is about to apply to Princeton.

Now Portia must re-evaluate her personal and professional existences, as she finds herself bending the admissions rules for Jeremiah. She recommends Jeremiah to all the officers who refuse to admit him. And the result does not change – he gets rejected. In the end, in order to get her son into Princeton, Portia steals Jeremiah’s folder and changes the decision into a “Yes.” Portia quits her job and starts a new life.

Even though the movie is mainly about love and family, I personal find it is also a fairly helpful movie for high school students to get more knowledge about the process of applying to college and more closely, about how the officers review our materials and make the final decisions.

If you haven’r watched it yet, I strongly recommend you to do so!
And also, good luck to all the seniors!

“There is no formula to get in. Just be yourself.”   – Portia

Waiting Game

I finally did it. I submitted my college applications to the Cal State schools and the UCs. It was totally stressful, considering how much I procrastinated – I literally met the deadline by one day.

I am so thankful that I have finished the application process. But I am just SO ANXIOUS to know if I will be accepted to one of the schools that I want to attend the most.

So now that I have finished my applications, all I can do is wait to hear back, and in the mean time, stress out. A lot. And wait.

And wait some more.

And as much as I can try to predict it and hope everything turns out well, I have no idea what the future holds.

All I can do now – besides MORE waiting – is cross my fingers and hope for the best.

Why Me?

October 20, 2011, Thursday morning.

The familiar buzz of my alarm shook me from my sleep. A heavy hand reached over, my drowsy fingers searching for the Dismiss button, rather than the usual Snooze.

I had woken up with one thing on my mind.

I sat up, my hands grabbing the computer and placing it on my lap. I refreshed the awaiting Collegeboard page that was already open on Google Chrome. I signed in again and…

I couldn’t believe it.

Could it be true? Was I too tired? Was I seeing things?

Again. My fingers tapped the refresh button. But the same score prevailed my cyber attack.

My SAT score had increased 240 point since the last test. My cumulative 5 months of straight studying had paid off! Immediately, I ran down the hall screaming for my roommate and Sungjin. Then, happy phone calls to my proud mother and father.

October 21, 2011, Friday evening.

With a heavy feeling in my heart, I checked my phone. The email accounts in my phone did not receive any mail but college junk mail.

It should’ve come by now. It should be here. Maybe…

Thousands of thoughts rushed into my head and I brushed them off. Worrying wouldn’t change anything.

Wishfully thinking, I double checked each email account I had on the internet browser. Nothing…

…until I checked my POP/junk mail folder on my hotmail account.

“National College Match Application Status” sent at 12:01 pm. Goodness, it was already halfway past seven, I should have checked earlier.

My fingers pressed the small icon before my heart was ready for the news.

My eyes couldn’t believe it and my heart beat at 9187431938471 miles an hour.

“Dear Serry,We are pleased to inform you that you have been chosen as a finalist for the 2011 QuestBridge National College Match! “

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHH I’M A FINALIST AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I screamed for joy! My track coach, probably scared out of his wits next to me in the Ojai Valley School Van, said, “No way!”

He had been helping me with these essays before I turned the applications in. Without his help, I don’t believe I would have gotten this far. (Thank you so much!)

Now, my next deadline is November 1. I need to submit all my applications by then and wait until December 1.

But until then, I can’t give up or slow my pace! I just need to try hard and pray even harder. Thank God for how far I’ve come. I can definitely see his hand working in my life, molding the paths I take. Although I know that this is just one step of the way, I am confident that God will lead me to the right direction.

College already?


Just hearing that word makes me cringe.

A few years ago, I didn’t even think I would be applying to colleges. I figured I would be attending a community college.

But now, college is so close, and all of my friends are stressing out about it. All I hear is “I’m working on my college essays” or “I had a college interview the other day.”

And I just think Umm, I don’t even know one single school that I’m applying to yet…

I have no idea what I want to study either. I really wish I was one of those people who knew what she wanted to do and went for it. It would make it so much easier!

I have confidence that I will be accepted into a good school, but the first step is figuring out where I am going to apply.

Bring it on, college apps. I will figure it out. It might take me a while, but I’ll figure it out.

What A Month.


And I’m already feeling the symptoms of senioritis.

A stress-packed conglomeration of college applications, standardized testing, school, cross country meets, and more college applications.

The first day of October commenced with a good early morning dosage of standardized testing. Yes, the SAT’s. However, I don’t remember ever sleeping so long (9 hours) during my five-year stay at Ojai Valley School.

I was also assigned four reading journals and an essay this week for AP Literature. How I am going to finish those assignments, I have yet to figure out but I will get it done.

My next big event is this upcoming Wednesday. At Thacher, I am running in a cross country meet. As well as on the Wednesday after that and (surprise surprise) the Wednesday after that. This is my first time running cross country and I am nervous. I don’t know what to expect. All I know is that the course will be three miles but I guess I will find out in three days exactly how it will be.

On October 22, I will be taking the ACT…in Oxnard. Which means that I will be waking up at five o’ clock, getting breakfast somehow, driving down to make it by 7:45 a.m. to register and take the test.

Two days before that, I will have figured out my SAT score from the test I took yesterday.

One day before, October 21, I would have found out whether or not I have become a finalist in the Questbridge National College Match program. This is my most important deadline and I expect myself to be checking every moment of the day for a notification from the program telling me whether or not I have made it. If I do make the program, I will be able to be offered a four-year full scholarship at the schools of my dreams, Williams College and Amherst College. I am anxious. I had been working on my essay for months. With the help of my mentor, Fred Alvarez, and my college counselor, Dave Edwards, I turned in my final product. Hopefully, my work has paid off.

The last weekend of October is also Parent’s Weekend here at OVS. I will be very busy having conferences with my teachers and having a seminar on that Sunday.

The UC Application is also up online as of yesterday. I need to get started on that soon because I will not have the time to work on them on the upcoming weekends.

As overwhelming as this month seems to me, I know that I need to take things one step at a time. If I bombard myself with all of these events at once, I know the quality of my work will be compromised. I just need to pray to the man up above for a break, big or small, so that my college stresses could be relieved soon. My senioritis isn’t helping either. 249 days until graduation!