Concordia Shanghai May 31 2023

Road to College: Tips from the Class of 2023

Today’s students have so much to consider when choosing a college or university. Not only have acceptances become increasingly competitive over the years, but each individual’s choice must be weighed against their own desires, aspirations, and practical considerations.

To give the underclassmen who are just beginning to think about college a better understanding of the process, some of our graduating seniors have shared their application journey in this week’s “Road to College”.

Identifying an ideal school

Choosing which colleges to apply to is the first step in the application process. It’s not about colleges choosing you, as our high school counselors emphasize, but actually, the other way around. For students, while gauging whether a particular school is right for them, it is crucial to take into account the university or college’s location, the surrounding community, and the program’s qualities. Therefore, researching schools is a crucial step.

Andrew S., who hopes to study Computer Science/Computational Biology in college, looked for a school that fits his academic interests and ambitions. He set Duke University as his dream school early on in high school because of this.


Duke University is a perfect fit for me due to its outstanding academic reputation and emphasis on research and innovation. Furthermore, its focus on interdisciplinary learning aligns perfectly with my goals and interests. Finally, Duke's vibrant community and extracurricular opportunities will contribute to the well-rounded growth that I seek.  —Andrew S.

As a person who is passionate about seeing collective change happen through empowering individuals, Natasha S. prioritized looking for a university that she could thrive at as her most authentic self. Drawn to the “Spirit of Georgetown”, she aspires to pursue her values of service, social justice, and global citizenship.


Georgetown is the “changemaker school” I was looking for and I knew unwaveringly that it was the perfect fit for me. Not to mention, Georgetown has the perfect medium-sized school size I was looking for. Lastly, as someone who is considering a career in the nonprofit sector, Washington D.C. is a nonprofit hub, full of opportunities for me to explore this career interest.  —Natasha S.

It is also worth noting that prior to going to Georgetown, Natasha will take a gap year to attend a leadership training program at Impact 360 Institute.

Another senior Ellie W. has been passionate about leadership and service, and serving as Co-President of Student Council this year has allowed her to develop that passion into a valuable skill set. She plans to major in Political Science in college and hopes to be a future change-maker in the field. For her, selecting a school meant choosing one that not only fit her career golas but also offered the right campus environment—an important consideration; and UC San Diego met all her expectations!


I really wanted to spend the next four years of my life somewhere that had a diverse, multi-cultural community, exciting new locales to discover, and of course, beautiful weather. La Jolla, San Diego in sunny SoCal has all of these traits and more! —Ellie W.

A well-presented application

Emphasizing one’s strengths and unique point of view in a college application essay is a crucial component of the application process. And these seniors know a thing or two about putting together applications that stand out.

In preparation for college, building connections with professors can be a valuable asset. It can also be helpful to mention in your essay specific college professors or their research that aligns with your academic interests, which might give you a leg up in front of the admissions officers.  


What probably made my college application stand out was the fact that I wrote a research paper with the guidance of an NYU professor in the field of Media studies. We had a lot of good conversations about NYU and that ultimately was one of the factors that led me to apply. —Timmy Z.

Interested in Asian culture and art history, Tyler L. discovered his skills and meticulously prepared his essay and art portfolio after deciding on his application to Occidental College (OXY). In his essay, he also discussed how Concordia’s holistic education influenced him, as well as his experience teaching a CCA class.


After deciding to ED to OXY, I focused on packaging my application around my strengths, which included submitting an art portfolio that showcased my unique passion for fusing traditional Chinese art with more modernistic approaches. I also spent a lot of time making sure my essays spoke to my fit with Occidental and its unique programs and liberal arts focus. —Tyler L.

As a member of Concordia's mock trial team, Alex T. won multiple tournaments throughout Shanghai. These experiences reinforced his passion for law and strategic thinking, fueling his interest to pursue a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE).


(For essay writing) I structured around a central theme, with each essay being different but still building on my desire to enter immigration law. Furthermore, I got my peers and Concordia faculty to look over my essays to gain valuable constructive criticism on how I could improve each iteration of my essays. —Alex T.

Stay tuned for more highlights from the Class of ’23 as we continue to share their journey on the road to college.