What is Northwestern like? Describe it.

Northwestern has a beautiful campus located next to Lake Michigan. Although the academics are very competitive there, the students are always willing to help each other out. The fast-paced quarter system always puts pressure (midterms, assignments, projects) on students.

What is most misunderstood about the college you attend?

People tend to mistake Northwestern University with Northeastern and Northwest Universities. “Nerdwestern”: Northwestern University has a very rigorous undergraduate curriculum. However, the students there also know how to have fun. The greek system (sororities and fraternities) is very popular in Northwestern.

What kinds of students do you think Northwestern is looking for, and why?

Northwestern University is looking for students from a variety of backgrounds. You just need to be passionate and good at what you love to do (your majors, hobbies, interests…).

What has been one of the greatest challenges in college, and what do you think high school students can do to best prepare themselves?

The greatest challenge in college is time management and handling the pressure. If you think high school junior + SAT and senior+ college apps are stressful, be ready to get 5X more stressful at college. In college, the classes become more competitive as there are more contents being covered in a shorter period of time and all your classmates are just as smart and hardworking as you are. It really takes the extra effort for you to stand out.

What academic and non-academic extracurricular activities were you involved with in high school?

I was a track and cross-country runner at Cupertino High School and I was really good at it.

If you were to start high school all over again, what would you do differently?

If I were to start high school all over again, I’d take more AP classes in my junior year. They are really not that hard at all comparing to the 1st year college classes, and the AP classes make you look stronger as a candidate and you can save your parents $$$$$ because each AP credit is worth 1 class in college.

What advice would you give high school students to help them prepare for college?

Be active and start early.

Be active about everything. Don’t let your parents and your teachers decide what you are doing. Be active in researching colleges you are applying to and be active in choosing what classes to take and ECs and clubs to join. Take the classes and join the clubs only because you like them, not because your friends are doing it or your parents tell you to do it.

Start studying for SATs early (freshman year summer), start writing your college essays early (as soon as you can find out about the essay topics).

List web resources where high school students can learn more about your college. Refer to sites that are not commonly known, including recommended readings, blogs, and videos. This website is good for high school students to learn about the job-recruiting perspectives (especially in finance and professional services) of different colleges and universities.

What would you say about IvyClimbing?

At IvyClimbing, you reach higher.


High School

Cupertino High School


Northwestern University