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March! Onward to the Ivy Leagues

When are you going to start applying for college? How many Advanced Placement (AP) classes have you taken? Does taking more AP classes make it easier to be accepted into college? How do you establish good relationships with your teachers so they will write recommendation letters for you? Where do you intern during the summers? What volunteer work have you done? What kind of support do you wish to get from your parents? All these reflect the questions and concerns that come to the minds of many high school students as they are getting ready to transition from high school to college.

CCACC CAPA student panel group photo

 On May 26th, nearly 150 parents and students attended the “Applying to Ivies: Student Panel” seminar at the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (CCACC) to better understand and prepare themselves for the college application process. This event was the second seminar of its kind organized by both the Chinese American Parents Association in Montgomery County (CAPA-MC) and CCACC.

CCACC CAPA student panelists
from left: Mason Zhang, Garyk Brixi, Jessica Pan, and Jerry Shan

The four panelists Garyk Brixi from Harvard University, Mason Zhang from Brown University, as well as Jessica Pan and Jerry Shan from Yale University self-hosted the seminar and presented the facts: getting into an Ivy League school is no easy feat. From taking AP classes and excelling in extracurricular activities to volunteering in places as far as Africa, each day was packed with different activities with little time for sleep. Even their summers were dedicated to internships in organizations such as NIH. Hearing all this led one parent to ask, “Do you regret any of this?” The audience erupted into laughter.

parents and students who attended the CCACC CAPA event

The panelists shared their hope that parents will not overburden the students with stress. The relationship between parents and students is important during the college application process. For example, if a student is more passive, parents can consider creating a schedule to remind students while being careful not become overbearing. The four panelists unanimously encouraged students to work on time management skills, find their passions, and strive to do the best they can while not letting themselves get overwhelmed. The key thing to remember is this: What college you enter is not the most important goal in life.