Eagle to Eagle: College Advice from SAS Alumni

Who better to give advice to 11th and 12th graders on their college application journeys than the Eagles who came before them? Last week 8 Puxi alumni came from around the world - Spain to Canada, NYU to USC, state universities and Ivies - to speak at a panel about their university experiences and the process that led them to where they are today.

Participants Ana Posada ’23, Irena Yin ’21, Jasmine Zhang ’23, Jerry Wu ’22, Kat Sun ’22, Maddie Lee ’23, Maggie Huang ’21, and Richard Xue ’23 shared a wide range of feedback on life after SAS from how to handle rejection to what university cafeteria food is like (spoiler alert: not good). Here are some highlights from that morning:

What advice would you give to current high school students regarding their high school experience?

Kat Sun: Do everything. There are so many opportunities that SAS offers. Engaging in your community is such a big, important part of the high school experience, so say yes to everything. Try everything out. If it's not for you, you can cut it out. But if you don't give it a shot, you'll never know.

Maggie Huang: Learn as much as you can at SAS because only when you learn things is when you discover what you really want to do in college.

Maddie Lee: Find a way that helps you study because college has a lot of work and if you don't have a system you're going to crash. While you're still here and you have the support system around you, develop a system for studying and making friends and joining clubs for when you go to college.

Did you have a dream school that didn’t work out? What advice do you have for current students dealing with a similar situation?

Richard Xue: Do your best to forget about early rounds, don’t let what happened in the past have an impact on stuff that hasn’t happened yet. I know it’s difficult but have an optimistic outlook - where you end up is honestly the best place for you and will be a community that you will really love.

Jerry Wu: I had a school I really wanted to get in to and it didn’t work out, but I think it just taught me to be more adaptable. It's good to have a target, it's good to have something you want to strive for, but I don’t think anyone should idolize a school they’ve never been to.

Is there anything challenging you’ve encountered in college that you feel comfortable sharing or advice you would give?

Ana Posada: For me it’s time management. Going to classes, meeting new friends, going out to parties, sports and school events. You have to learn to add all of that to your new workload and balance it all.

Irena Yin: Learning to take care of yourself, like doing laundry, dishes, making sure your sleep schedule is normal.

Jasmine Zhang: It’s important to explore in college and meet new people but it's also important to stay in contact with your network and community back in SAS and with your family. The first few months are really easy for you to forget about your family, but call them once in a while. Talk to them. Catch up. Talk to your high school friends. I think it means a lot to them, but also helps ground you.

Special thanks to Puxi College Counselor Tom Colt who organized the panel and all the alumni who participated and gave valuable insights to current students who are embarking on their own university application and selection processes.

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