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MAR 11, 2020 • 6 min read
At age 10, Yi Chen moved from Taiwan to Singapore with her family. She was already a multinational before she was even a teenager. Without knowing it yet, her passion for exploring the world had been ignited.
She had a typical Asian upbringing when it came to her education; her mother would encourage her to do as much as she could in and out of school hours, making her attend an array of classes and courses from chess to ice-skating - yet none of them really stuck.
Even though Yi Chen failed to uncover a clear passion, she always respected the value of a good education, a trait inherited from her mother. At age 15, she decided she wanted to study abroad at a US college. One problem: as an international student, Yi Chen had little knowledge about the US application process.
She was going to need some support to help her realise her dreams and gain admission amidst a hyper-competitive landscape into a university on the world stage.
Yi Chen connected with Crimson Education, who put her in touch with admissions strategist Nicole Teoh, a graduate of the University of Oxford (also admitted to Duke University and various other top US colleges). Nicole became a key member of a team of mentors supporting Yi Chen, aiming to give her the best chance of admission.
Yi Chen's Crimson team realised she needed to find ways to make her US application stand out due to her diverse repertoire and "disappointing" end of year Junior College (JC) results.
They helped her turn her pre-existing passion - advocating and campaigning for mental health awareness, as well as other healthcare issues such as childhood cancer - into an edge. Incorporating this into extracurricular activities under her strategist's direction, she became an outspoken advocate for reversing the stigma surrounding mental health in Singapore.
Additionally, her essay mentor, Francesca Billington, a Princeton senior studying Anthropology and journalism, helped Yi Chen communicate her passions and uniqueness through Common App and school specific essays.
Despite her average academic results in JC, at age 18, Yi Chen received offers to five US universities as an international student. Yi Chen accepted her offer to the University of Washington as part of the class of 2022. She'll be studying Anthropology, just like one of her Crimson mentors, Francesca Billington.
Her advice to students wanting to study in the US is to focus on the best-fit education and working on your strengths, not trying to be something you aren't. "Your intention is the most important first step in this path," she says.
Yi Chen has just started attending the University of Washington as part of the Class of 2022.