Arm Yourself with Knowledge in the Academic Battle

“Where do I want to go to university? Well let’s see. I want to go to Harvard, Princeton, Yale, MIT, Columbia, John Hopkins, or University of Chicago! Yeah, Cornell is not ideal but yeah I’d go.

“What?! I have to be in the top 1% of my graduating class to have a good chance for entrance to those schools? Uh, well. OK. Fine. Then what about Stanford? Yikes! The acceptance rate is only 5.7%! You mean that for every 100 undergraduate students who apply, only about six students get into the school? What the BLEEEEP!

“OK, OK, fine.”

(Taking a deep calming breath….whoosh.)

“I’m good with UCLA then. Huh?! The average admission GPA is a 4.2!?

(cough, choke, cough.)

“Wait, wait a minute. I have about a 3.2 and I’m going to be a senior. What do you mean, MERCED?!?? Where’s that?”

The shock and horror of a student sitting in my office hearing the raw facts for the first time is NOT what I like to witness. It deeply saddens me because often times these students have the talent and intelligence to make it. What they lack is the knowledge of how to achieve their goals. Students need to be empowered with the facts. I want students to be ARMED with knowledge in the academic battle so they have a chance to reach their potential.

Yes, it is a battle.

For decades, I have always had to explain to my Asian students about how the freshmen admission statistics are averages. Then I ask them, “Are you average?” Often I get confused looks. I can read their faces as they’re thinking: What is she talking about?

To alleviate their confusion, I tell them, “No, you are not average. You are Asian. So the average statistics don’t apply to you.” Yes, fair or not, because of diversity goals at many universities, often Asian students have to score hundreds of points higher for the same entrance opportunities as others. Yet, still we prevail by setting goals, securing knowledge, and working hard to garner a solid portion of university admissions. Now, another road block: SCA5 is thrown at us.

Arm yourself with knowledge so you can win the competitive admissions fight. Do you think that the students portrayed here are all natural geniuses? Yes, they are bright, just like you. But the real edge they had is that they ALL had a game plan before entering high school. The one trait that all successful students have is being PROACTIVE.

Every year, I have a meeting with my 8th graders and give them the tools and knowledge on how to create a strategic four year high school road map. Each map is different depending on the high school one attends and classes that are offered. During that meeting, I am within a short period of time able to identify which students will likely be successful based upon which ones ask questions seeking further insight. That demonstrates to me which students are proactive about their future. All parents want the best for their children, BUT the student has to be the one with the central drive.

I empathize with students because it is very difficult on one’s own to gather this knowledge. How can you fight the admission battle if no one tells you how to do it? I am a lucky woman because I have been allowed to be part of many students’ journeys to success. I am proud to see my students reach their academic, social and personal potential. Please take the steps necessary to secure a seasoned academic counselor to guide you to your success. We at ACI have over 25 years of expertise assisting students reach their dreams. Make sure you have someone on your team with the tools, knowledge and skills to educate, support and believe in you.

Written by Ms. Chan, ACI Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights Director

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