Students Speak…

An illustration of student scenes

Welcome to “Students Speak.” Here, through a series of student interviews, we provide you with a unique look at the lives of many of our former students now studying in the US or abroad. We hope to enrich and inform all of our student visitors, and their parents, as they consider plans for their future education.

Our student participants graciously shared their own experiences about life in their high school or college with us. Through our student interviews, we created a fun way for them to answer questions, speak about interesting subject matter, and discuss topics on living and learning in their new environment—the things that matter most to you!

Inside, you’ll find answers to such questions as:

  • How to choose a major or program of study?
  • What is most important to consider in choosing your ideal school?
  • What is the international community like?
  • Where are the best places to eat?
  • How to benefit most from your education consultant?
  • And more.

As education consultants, it’s wonderful to keep in touch with our students and hear that they’ve made a successful transition to their new school, and that they’re happy and doing well! So by sharing their experiences, we hope you’ll benefit from their unique perspectives about how to best prepare for your own future journey.

Student Interviews

Simply click on the links below to visit each student’s interview page. Visit this space often as we’ll continue to add more student feedback for you to enjoy!

  • Student: Scott Xu
  • College: Stanford University, Junior
  • “Stanford is a diverse and energetic place where you can see people from so many backgrounds pursuing their academic and extracurricular…” >> Read more
  • Student: Alex Ng
  • College: Emory University, Junior
  • “I’m really impressed with some reports saying that Emory is among the highest in student satisfaction. I know people have spent some…” >> Read more
  • Student: Kevin Yu
  • College: Wake Forest University, Freshman
  • “College really allows one to have a lot of ‘alone time’. Not having 8+ hours of classes like high school forces students to manage their time…” >> Read more
  • Student: Katherine Zheng
  • College: UCLA, Freshman
  • “My first 3 months in UCLA were excellent. My classmates and professors are nice and helpful, and campus is safe and beautiful…” >> Read more
  • Student: Kayla Zhang
  • College: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sophomore
  • “When I got here, I gradually realized how amazing the campus is and how many resources are being presented in front of me…” >> Read more
  • Student: Johnson Mou
  • College: UC San Diego, Sophomore
  • “I have been in UCSD for two years and it is a wonderful experience. I made a great number of friends in my first year…” >> Read more
  • Student: Mike Shao
  • College: Harvard University, Sophomore
  • “There’s a diverse group of students ranging from aspiring archaeologists, scientists, and artists, to those focused on pre-professional…” >> Read more
  • Student: Lucy Liu
  • College: Vanderbilt University, Junior
  • “I was pretty nervous at first and wasn’t really confident in English at that time … I took a first year writing class; the workload was a lot…” >> Read more
  • Student: Jacky Zhou
  • College: Carnegie Mellon University, Junior
  • “I attended various activities… I visited the new Google office in Pittsburgh, and had an inspiring talk with some of the software engineers…” >> Read more
  • Student: Minyu Zhang
  • College: Boston University, Junior
  • “I just want to say, do not feel like you are bound to the major you were admitted to. College is about exploring…” >> Read more

Student Success Stories

JinJin’s Story: JinJin was pursuing a BS in Economics and approaching her senior year when she enrolled in our Premium College Placement program. She ranked at the top of her class, had a TOEFL score of 109 and a GMAT of 740. We helped her create cohesion in her extracurricular profile, craft a professional resume, and encouraged her to pursue an internship for direct exposure to her preferred field of graduate study. As graduate school admissions is fairly different from undergraduate, we placed greater emphasis on professional attributes to help her stand out and that would strategically align with school selection and their most suitable programs. In her own words: “Vinnie’s team offered me great help through the entire process. His revisions of my CV and essays were excellent. He inspired me to dive into my inner thoughts and produce something that I had never thought about before. With respect to the application and interview, they replied to my questions and solved my problems quickly and effectively. They gave me confidence during the whole process.”

JinJin enrolled in the MPA program at Columbia University’s SIPA.

Katherine’s Story: Katherine joined our team as a rising senior during a transition period where she sought a new start with a new consulting team. Her fundamentals were strong, including a GPA approaching 4.0, an SAT score of 1500, a TOEFL of 108, and 4s on AP Calculus and Physics. She possessed a broad extracurricular profile but required greater focus as a future STEM student. We helped create more “depth” to her profile and redoubled her effort toward a future major. She then transitioned a substantive but one-off activity into a multifaceted research project that demonstrated her individual capacity. We refashioned her “story” to capitalize on her acquired expertise within her chosen field and highlighted the advantages present in her varied life experience. In her own words: “My new team helped me establish my direction and plan my college life. During my application process, I received guidance that also improved my academic skills. I learnt little by little how to write a complete personal statement, but also, how to understand and improve my whole self through our monthly meetings and discussions.”

Katherine was admitted to several highly regarded universities but chose UCLA.

William’s Story: Joining us during 10th grade for our Comprehensive College Placement program, William benefited from our Long-Term Student Development Strategy. He already possessed strong academic credentials, which continued to improve over time. He was motivated and self-driven, involved in various activities within the STEM field, but required guidance in creating more substantive opportunities to stand out in this competitive space. We helped William focus on goal setting and time management principles that allowed for his participation in key research projects and events aimed at solidifying his scientific background. We leveraged his interest not only in physics but the betterment of society to “pay it forward” by sharing lessons-learned and thus enhancing his personal story, which he then transitioned into a tremendous applicant profile. In his own words: “Vinnie played an important role in my growth as a well-rounded person. He inspired me to be a critical thinker, trained me to be a better writer, and introduced me to the essence of American culture. I consider him a mentor and friend rather than an education consultant.”

William received a number of admission offers and opted to attend University of Chicago.

Mike’s Story: Mike boasted terrific academic credentials and a plethora of extracurricular activities; he was a strong college candidate by all accounts when he sought our counsel mid-way through his sophomore year of high school. We preached out “doorway” analogy to help fasten quantitative achievements into qualitative merit and thus push through the door. Our pivotal moment came through coaching Mike during our Interview Prep training and then advancing through the multi-step process for the acclaimed TASP summer program, where he took full advantage of its opportunities. We helped tie up loose ends to bolster his applicant profile and with greater confidence, he produced superior college applications. In his own words: “Vinnie is an excellent and experienced instructor and consultant. He is very patient and careful in communicating with students and willing to address their doubts. He grasps every detail of the application process. More importantly, he is good at discovering the shining points of a student’s personality, encouraging them to find their own unique characteristics, and gain personal growth during the application process.”

Mike received offers from both Yale and Harvard, and ultimately decided to attend Harvard.

Linda’s Story: Linda sought our assistance after struggling with a different consulting firm. She felt the level and quality of support weren’t up to par and her early choice admission results reflected as much. Linda lacked direction and seemed largely left to her own devices. We worked closely with her, assessing her existing materials and then starting over from the beginning. Our goal was to give her a fighting chance to succeed as we approached the regular decision deadline for several schools, specifically, her first choice, NYU. We focused on boosting her profile, rebuilding her resume, and helping create compelling personal statements that allowed her true ability and talent to rise to the surface. In her own words: “I’m so thankful for all of your help. I can’t believe what a difference you made.”

Linda was subsequently wait-listed by NYU but received offers from various UC schools; in the meantime, we encouraged her to be proactive, stay positive, and prepare a heartfelt Letter of Continued Interest. Later that spring, she received a welcome letter from NYU—she got in.

Scott’s Story: On paper, Scott was a brilliant student, far more accomplished than many sophomores we’ve met with. He enrolled in our Comprehensive College Placement program where we employed our Long-Term Student Development Strategy. As a talented STEM student firmly fixed on mathematics, the competition from within his own country was fiercer than many others combined. We assisted him to extend the capacity of his interests into more impactful experiences that drew on his existing skills and ambitious nature. Our goal was to help him stand out from the crowd by emphasizing those often unnoticed “intangible” qualities. Under our tutelage, Scott embarked on self-driven projects and leadership initiatives that became natural to him once he ventured out of his comfort zone. In his own words: “I am lucky to have had Vinnie’s authentic advice during my college application period to help me evaluate what I wanted to gain out of the college experience.”

Scott received offers from several top universities and decided to choose Stanford.

Kevin’s Story: Kevin was a freshman at Tsinghua International School when he joined us. As a 9th-grader with limited college “credentials” just yet, Kevin was ideally suited for our Long-Term Student Development Plan. Amidst our monthly meetings, we discovered him to be an ambitious student, personable, and a great communicator—there was plenty of potential. We helped him build his extracurricular experience through various “breadth” and “depth” projects to exemplify his interest and commitment. He was a jack-of-all-trades type with above-average grades, but struggled with exams, eventually settling for an ACT of 22. We proposed options for a Capstone Project, which he took full advantage of and capitalized on his interest in economics and computing. In the end, well-roundedness served him well, and by the time of applying, his stories were both rewarding and unique, carrying him through college essays and interviews. Kevin was a prime example of a holistic admission process where school fit plays such an important role. In his own words: “Vinnie and his team pushed me to take my interests further and not just settle for simple things. This led me to apply for campus jobs and do more with my travel experiences. Vinnie’s counseling helped me nail my college interviews.”

Statistically, Kevin’s best-fit schools ranked from 50 to 80. His admission results were exceedingly strong and he accepted an offer from Wake Forest.

Alex’s Story: Alex joined us in 10th grade and during our time together, there are fewer students who made such great strides. Over time, he managed to turn doubt and uncertainty into personal strengths and sense of purpose while flourishing into a high-achieving young adult. As an IB student, Alex worked hard to improve his grades and became a clear example of how positive trends can positively impact results. Each successive year revealed stronger work ethic, advancing scores, and improved confidence as he developed into a superior scholar heading into senior year. We helped him make the most of his extracurricular pursuits, refocus him toward economics and finance, and more specifically, capitalize on his leadership qualities. Under our guidance, Alex built a solid resume of character-based, purpose-driven activities that furthered his qualification as a legitimate candidate to many of the competitive university business programs. In his own words: “Throughout the three years of collaboration, Vinnie and his team’s positive outlook, recommendations, and encouragement to go beyond laid some of the key cornerstones for my success.”

Alex was admitted ED to Emory University’s College of Arts & Sciences and Oxford College

We welcome you to learn more about our comprehensive counseling services, and then contact us for a free consultation to see how we can help improve your chances for admission success!