Wan Chen

Three words that describe me:

  • Creative/Free Spirit – Ideas just flow out of me. And there is more, just waiting to be unleashed.
  • Dedicated – Between going out to dinner at the Boiling Crab and reading a student’s college essay, I often choose the latter.
  • Lucky – I consider myself the luckiest person in the world. I had the best mentors at every stage of my life. Without them, I would not be the person I am today. I studied English in college and at graduate school. My loving parents supported me to pursue English when everyone else was against it, fearing that I would not be able to make a living with a foreign language.

Favorite college:

University of Chicago. I heard so much about this great institution when I was at Stanford University. When I finally visited UChi in the summer of 2011, it was love at first sight—rigorous, quintessential, caffeinated, and delicious.

Special moment in my career:

When George Shultz, former Secretary of State, saw me walk toward him in the Dean’s Office at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, he stood up and reached out to me.

If you were 16 years old again, what would you do differently?

I’d be less aggressive, and more supportive. Even today, some of my college classmates at Hubei University do not speak to me. I “stole their shows” at a young age.

Describe your ideal student:

One of the biggest challenges all high school students face in college applications is the transition from writing about Shakespeare to writing about themselves. It takes a proactive, willing, and determined student to make that giant leap.

My ideal student is one who did not rely on me to “write” for him; rather, it was clear he was toiling away (happily) on his own, was taking risks with his prose and structure, making tough choices on his own before he brought anything to me. He took my advice and my suggestions, but he also forged into new territories on his own.

Wan Chen

Wan Chen, Founder

Wan brings insight, knowledge, and enthusiasm to the admissions process. She gained first-hand admissions experience from Stanford Business School and Santa Clara Engineering School. With a BA and MA in English, and an admissions certificate from Harvard Admissions Institute, she enjoys using her knowledge and experience to help students succeed.

Admissions Training

  • Harvard Admissions Summer Institute
  • Stanford University on-the-job training 

University Work Experiences

  • 10 years at Stanford University, overseeing Ph.D. admissions in business
  • 4 years at Santa Clara University, overseeing Ph.D. and Master’s admissions in engineering

Wan served as a staff director in both of these capacities. At Stanford, she read about 400-900 applicant files each admissions season. She attended every single admission committee meeting made up of faculty from many different academic disciplines (such as economics, finance, political economy, organizational behavior, and operations, information, and technology). It was in those meetings that admit, reject, and waitlist decisions were made.

Wan knows from personal experience what differentiates an average applicant from an outstanding applicant. She knows from participation what credentials admitted students have that others don’t. More importantly, she knows what admission committees are looking for in an applicant at the most selective level.

Professional Award at Stanford

  • Wan was an inaugural recipient of the prestigious Staff Excellence Award named after A. Michael Spence, a Nobel Prize Laureate in economics, for her many contributions to the Stanford Graduate School of Business.