[In 金榜題名, Don Chen (71) shares the experience how his son brought up in LA applied to top U.S.Universities. Here, Jason’s experience is able to offer more insight on this topic. Jason, son of Terence Leung (71), was brought up in Hong Kong and is now a lawyer in Hong Kong.]
“We are native speakers of Cantonese who have not lived in any English-speaking country for more than 14 days. Our son, Jason, went to Yew Chung International School (耀中國際學校) for his primary education up to P.5 and thereafter studied for a term at Kowloon Junior School and was then promoted to Shatin College (沙田書院) on a through-train basis since these latter two belong to the English Schools Foundation (ESF) system.
At the age of 17 and all through high school, Jason remained a top student, but not one of those star pupils, and it was kind of odd that he wanted to go to college in America because ESF schools, by tradition, have no or very little affiliation with American universities.
Jason applied to 8 American universities and liberal arts colleges circa the end of 2004 and early 2005. His SAT score is 1520/1600 and got 4A*s and 4As in IGCSE in the previous year. Other than these, he didn’t have an attractive CV to accompany his application since he couldn’t play any musical instruments nor did any sports, and only did whatever community services that were assigned by school. As for awards, he once won a prize in a poem competition in junior forms and that was all. Jason had always been a very quiet student and seldom took part in school activities. He only enjoyed writing and surprised us with his writing assignments from time to time.
In 2005, he was accepted by Pomona College, Amherst College, Reed College, Middlebury College, Wesleyan University, Ohio Wesleyan University (with an offer of scholarship) and The University of Chicago straight, no interviews required. The only school that rejected him was Swarthmore.
We think it was a matter of luck that Jason’s essays hit the right key when college counselors peruse them.”