For this week’s Road to College, we hear from a student whose passion for the written word has been a mainstay throughout her high school career and the driving force behind her best-fit college choice.
Henie Zhang, Concordia student since 2016
University of Chicago
Intended field of study
How did you feel when you got the news that you were accepted?
I was ecstatic!! I let out a rather unbecoming squeal and immediately texted my family.
Do you know already which school you will attend, and can you tell us what makes it a good fit for you?
I will be attending the University of Chicago. I think it's a good fit for me primarily because I'm very curious about a lot of different disciplines, and I like how UChicago's Core curriculum strongly encourages students to branch out from the subjects they typically enjoy and sample niche interests they never thought they'd study (you can take a ventriloquism course for English credit!).
Another thing that struck me was the strong sense of community that seems to tie the student body together—particularly with traditions that are just peculiar enough to be extremely entertaining, such as the U.S.' largest scavenger hunt, a Humans vs. Zombies tag game, and the annual Latke vs. Hamantash debate. Also, as someone who spent her whole life in cities, a vibrant urban setting was virtually a non-negotiable for me, and Chicago seemed like a great place to be.
In your opinion, what made your college application(s) stand out?
I would say it was probably my curiosity for a wide range of subjects—which I think UChicago highly values—and my dedication to creative writing. I started the high school's creative writing club in 10th grade, co-founded the high school's literary Open Mic, and in my junior year became the co-editor-in-chief of the Zeitgeist Literary Magazine. I've also applied to and attended creative writing summer programs in the U.S. every summer in high school. So, I think I've done quite a lot for my love for writing and that showed through in my activities list and essays.
Additionally, I'm not sure how much this helped, but I'm quite proud of the essay I wrote for UChicago's infamous Uncommon prompt and hope that the admissions officer found the paradoxical shape of donuts (I would immensely enjoy talking about this more to anyone who wants to explore this idea further) as thought-provoking as I did.
Is there a particular program or field of study you want to pursue at the school(s)?
Right now, I am planning to study Creative Writing, though that can certainly change. I'm excited to explore a wide variety of courses and subjects before I declare my major.
Which classes, programs, and/or faculty at Concordia helped support your interest in your planned field of study?
I enjoyed Concordia's English courses, particularly AP Literature. Sometimes I did feel like I was going to get carpel tunnel from blitzing through those 8-paragraph essays, but the class has been a blast. Mrs. Lavender is an extremely inspirational conversation starter and never fails to make me think more deeply about the questions lurking behind each text.
I also want to shout out all of my AP lit classmates for flooring me again and again with their depth of thought and leaving me with the biggest and most fascinating inquiries on my mind.
Are there any other activities (clubs, teams, projects) that stand out to you as having a significant impact on you during your time at Concordia?
Ahh!! There are too many! The activity closest to my heart, however, is probably the Ficticity Creative Writing Club, which I started with a friend in 10th grade and which has been a significant part of my high school life since then. Ficticity was my first high school leadership role and it taught me a lot about how to manage personal relationships as a leader and as a writer. Writing is typically a very solitary creative pursuit, but with Ficticity, I found a place where people's thoughts can feed and inspire each other's creations, and I can't say how much I appreciate that.