IvyWise Scholars Spotlight: Erica

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Erica ZhangIvyWise Scholar Erica Shares Her Top Tips for Students Applying to College

It’s so important to have perspective when going through the college admissions journey, which is why we’ve reached out to one of our own students, Erica, to share some advice for future applicants.

As part of our IvyWise Gives Back initiative, IvyWise Scholars is our pro bono college admissions counseling program for high-achieving, low-income students. We caught up with IvyWise Scholar Erica, a gifted student from New York, to learn more about her college admissions journey, what it’s like to work with IvyWise during this process, and get some of her college prep advice for other students.

Tell us about your background and interests.

Hi, I’m Erica, a senior attending Brooklyn Technical High School. To speak a little more about myself, I have been a part of my school’s Key Club since freshman year: I first started as a member before progressing to Events Coordinator, then to Vice President. Now, I serve as my division’s Executive Assistant, overseeing six Brooklyn Key Clubs. For the last couple of years, I have coordinated 200+ service events annually for 500+ members, as well as co-planned fundraisers that raised more than $10K.

I am also Project Lead for Financial Literacy for Youth, which created a financial literacy curriculum for elementary school students and incarcerated individuals, organized a career speaker series, and is currently planning a fundraiser for the underprivileged.

I also interned at Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence and participated in their Asian Youth in Action program during the summer of my freshman year, which allowed me to launch a magazine dedicated to emphasizing the importance of Asian American history and was later published in World Journal.

I have also done a few competitions dedicated to my career path, including Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurship Competition. I placed 2nd with Project Apollo, an app dedicated to bringing education-based social media platforms for students to network and share educational resources to provide academic support and increase academic performance. A more recent competition would be the Tiger Global Entrepreneurship Competition, in which I stepped into the shoes of a consultant and tried tackling a real-world business challenge.

I was part of my school’s Stunt Club and PSAL Team, which were competitions that involved executing skill-based routines: partner stunts, jumps and tumbling, pyramids and tosses, and team routines.

Some of my favorite courses include:

  • AP Economics
  • Accounting
  • AP English Language

My favorite teacher was my AP English Language Teacher because we discussed current events and important topics, such as women’s rights and racism. In Economics and Accounting, it was interesting to learn more about the stock market and basic finance skills – as well as debunk finance myths.

What aspect of the college admissions process are you nervous about? What are you most excited about?

The most nerve-wracking aspect of the college admissions process is waiting for admissions decisions. Apart from that, the journey has been long and exhausting. However, what has made it a ton easier and less stressful is IvyWise, as I get to work with a dedicated counselor in a program that is personalized to my needs and goals. I also get to have the support of the rest of the IvyWise team, who are amazing and have been nothing but kind and supportive during this process. And while I am nervous regarding admissions outcomes, I am also most excited about the acceptances and how I have been able to learn more about myself.

Regarding my college list, my top-choice schools are Princeton, Harvard, and MIT. I am looking for a university with a strong business program because I want to major in business.

I’ve learnt that a great way to find out more about a university is by going on YouTube and looking up, “A day in my life as a [insert university name] student.” This way, I learn more about the daily lifestyle and what the campus environment is like. I also like attending panels with students: though sometimes they can be a bit lengthy and sugarcoated, it is a great way to find out more in-depth details about a particular college.

I’m not too sure yet about what exactly I want to do after university, but I see myself working somewhere as a business major and implementing my core values of` helping my community through financial literacy and education.

What are your top college prep tips for other students?

My advice for freshmen and sophomores is to start participating in extracurriculars early in high school and not slack off on your academics. Also, avoid procrastinating – take advantage of all the opportunities you have! There are so many resources available to students in high school. The most important thing, however, is to remember to have fun and enjoy your high school experience because time flies by really quickly!

Learn more about Erica by watching the video below.

For more information on families’ experience with IvyWise, check out our testimonials page, and meet some of our other IvyWise Scholars. Want to learn more about what you can be doing now to prepare for the college admissions process? Tune in to our Just Admit It! podcast for top tips from admissions experts!


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