This is a one part interview with Michael, a Michigan high school senior, who got into Vanderbilt through a diversity program. 

Transcript 

Kamila 

Hey college kids. 

Kamila 

Welcome back to my podcast. 

Kamila 

Who cares about College in today’s episode I’ll be interviewing Ethan, so if you could introduce yourself. 

Ethan 

Hi my name is Ethan Brielle. 

Ethan 

I’m I’m from the Bay Area in California. 

Ethan 

My major that I applied for is either pre pharm or pharmacology and drug development. 

Ethan 

If they didn’t have that, I applied for Biological Sciences

Ethan 

I’m a senior and I am entering our College in my next year. 

Ethan 

I don’t plan on taking a gap year. 

Ethan 

Some of the colleges. 

Ethan 

That I got into are Cal State, Long Beach, Chapman University, University of Pacific, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara. 

Ethan 

UC, Riverside UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley and University of Southern California. 

Kamila 

Did you get? 

Kamila 

Into all the UCS I’ve lost count. 

Ethan 

No, I got waitlisted to UC San Diego, Irvine in LA. 

Kamila 

OK, OK Oh yeah I forgot about UCLA all right. 

Kamila 

So let’s start from the very basics. 

Kamila 

So this is like just to get an idea of like what the expectations were for education and what resources you had going into the college process. 

Kamila 

So number one. 

Kamila 

Can you explain how education is in your family? 

Kamila 

Are you like a first Gen student or did your parents go to college here? 

Kamila 

Do you have any siblings to look up to? 

Kamila 

So can you and. 

Kamila 

You know what were your parents expectations for you going to college? 

Ethan 

And so my parents are from the Philippines. 

Ethan 

They did. 

Ethan 

They did College in the Philippines and others is here and they’re kind of lenient, but have always like encouraged that I do well in school and they haven’t been like really strict. 

Ethan 

Saying that, you have to like get all A’s, but they always like. Have the ideology that if you do well in school you can go to like. 

Ethan 

A good college and then have a successful life after I have an older sister that’s in college right now, she goes to UC Santa Cruz for psychology, so I kind of look up to her in that aspect that. 

Ethan 

You know I should pursue a higher education and I I also have a younger sister that I’m encouraging to do well in school as well so she can go to a good college. 

Kamila 

Alright, and one thing you mentioned you listened a lot of schools like Chapman. 

Kamila 

I’m not sure where that is, but like the majority of your schools are in California, was that like a choice by you? 

Kamila 

We can get into this later, but is this a choice by you to stay in California, or were your parents more like you can go where you want, just, you know, stay close to us. 

Ethan 

It was mostly my decision. 

Ethan 

I didn’t want to be too close to home, but I didn’t want to go like super far away like across the country I did apply to some schools out of state like Tufts and Upenn. 

Ethan 

I got waitlisted to Tufts and then I got rejected from Upenn, but it was just out of my own comfort. 

Ethan 

Like I wanted to experience a new environment, but I wanted to be able to visit my family a lot more often than I would if I had to go like in the East Coast. 

Kamila 

All right, so let’s get into the resources you had in terms of like which school you went to, and then we’ll get into the different parts of your application. 

Kamila 

So throughout high school, what kind of column school did you go to? 

Kamila 

Was it you know public school like one of those magnet schools or private school? 

Kamila 

And then? 

Kamila 

How would you? 

Kamila 

Say they like prepare or like help their students in the college. 

Kamila 

Process in terms of offering like advanced courses and offering like counsel guidance counselors. 

Kamila 

So can you tell us what resources you had going into college? 

Ethan 

Yeah, so I go to a public school and I wouldn’t say that I got like. 

Ethan 

A lot of help from my school, like in terms of helping me with my application, but but it’s also just me like doing things on my own rather than scheme. 

Ethan 

Uh, at most I would say that I’d ask like some of my closest teachers for some feedback on my essays, but I wouldn’t say that they had like any specific programs to help me like. 

Ethan 

Help provide feedback for like any of my college application processes. 

Kamila 

So mainly it was just like Googling. 

Kamila 

OK, and did your school have any AP or IB system? 

Ethan 

Ah yes, we have an EPI system. 

Ethan 

For reference, I took nine APS over my four years. 

Ethan 

Yeah, our school does offer a lot of AP’s and they pay for AP exams, which I’m grateful for. 

Ethan 

Yeah but yeah. 

Kamila 

Alright, so yeah, that was actually my next question. 

Kamila 

We’re gonna get into like GPA and like grades and stuff so you said you already took nine APS. 

Kamila 

If you don’t mind me asking, is there a reason that your school like pays for those AP exams like not even like they pay some of it and you pay something they just pay for everything. 

Ethan 

Yeah, so they pay for AP exams and they also pay far every year. 

Ethan 

They have like 1 S 8 exam at our school and they pay for that one. 

Ethan 

If you take outside of school, obviously you have to pay for. 

Ethan 

That one, but everything that all the tests that we take actually pay for. 

Ethan 

Sorry, I’ll sloas the question again, I’m sorry. 

Kamila 

Service OK, so I mean, that’s pretty much it. 

Kamila 

You took nine APS and your school pays for them, so let’s get onto your GPA. 

Kamila 

Can you tell us what your unweighted GPA was? The one out of 4.0 and then the weighted one and also give give the scale for the weighted one as well. 

Ethan 

Oh yes, so for non weighted out of four it’s 3.97 and then for weighted it’s 4.54. 

Kamila 

All right, and did your. 

Kamila 

School do like valedictorian stuff like that. 

Ethan 

They did in past years, but I know they removed rankings over. 

Ethan 

The recent years, so I’m not exactly sure if they’re still doing that. 

Ethan 

’cause that graduation was still virtual for us like the past year, so I’m unsure if they’re I’m still doing that. 

Kamila 

OK, alright, so let’s get onto SAT or AC T based on which one you took. So which exam did you take and then tell us about the preparations that you had for the exam. How many times you took the exam and then what your super score was. 

Ethan 

Yes, I took the SAT exam. 

Ethan 

Uhm, twice I took the city over the ACT just ’cause our school paid for the city so I didn’t want to learn a completely new test. 

Ethan 

The first one I took outside of school actually and I it was in March, March last year I think March 13th and. 

Ethan 

I prepared two months in advance, the only. 

Ethan 

The only study materials I did prior to that two months studying period was the PSAT during my sophomore year, so I didn’t really prepare for. 

Ethan 

That one that. 

Ethan 

Much and then the way I went about it was I actually had a tutor for like the first three weeks and. 

Ethan 

I I didn’t have the best experience. 

Ethan 

I don’t think that was for me. 

Ethan 

Just because, like he had like a very like strict plan that I went to in a ton of work on top of my school work. 

Ethan 

So I decided to stop that tutoring thing and then self study on my own and I thought it was a lot more effective because I already knew what I had to study. 

Ethan 

Uhm, I bought some prep books online, so for math I used college Panda, which I would highly recommend, but I didn’t buy any books for the English portion. 

Ethan 

I just use Khan Academy for that. 

Ethan 

The first Test I scored a. 

Ethan 

I think it was a 1440. 

Ethan 

But I wanted a score around the 1500s, so I took it again 2 weeks later for my school and I ended up getting a 1520 on that. 

Speaker 1 

Wow, how did? 

Kamila 

You do that. 

Ethan 

I think I was. 

Ethan 

I was just really lucky on the English section like I was very surprised I got a 760 split on the on that city so I got a 760 on the English section and a 760 on my Mac. 

Ethan 

My super score. Unfortunately it was also a 1520 ’cause I scored the exact same on my math that second time around, but I did like. 

Ethan 

Extremely well. 

Ethan 

Compared to my last one on my English section, but yeah. 

Kamila 

Alright, so I have some questions here. 

Kamila 

2 weeks like so. 

Kamila 

This was like entirely luck with the I know the English section tends to be the more annoying section so like but two weeks it’s like so are you saying it’s like purely luck that you got such an improvement? 

Ethan 

I wouldn’t say that just because that first time I had a lot of nerves, so I didn’t. 

Ethan 

I had like 2 minutes left on the English section and. 

Ethan 

And I had like about like 10 questions to answer, so I was kind of just bubbling in whatever I didn’t have, so that’s why I didn’t really do that that well that first time that second time I was kind of feeling it, like getting the pacing down so. 

Speaker 1 

Only 5. 

Ethan 

When you’re taking the S80, one thing I would recommend is taking a bunch of practice tests just so you can, you know, get used to. 

Ethan 

How would feel like being in the environment taking a test and also getting used to like your pacing and what you’re comfortable with. 

Ethan 

’cause that’s in my opinion, all that’s that it’s about. 

Ethan 

It’s nothing like super advanced or super complicated because it’s a standardized test. 

Ethan 

Everyone should be able to do it so. 

Ethan 

So yeah, the more times you take your practice test, the better you do, and that’s what I think. 

Kamila 

Alright, and I want to get quickly get back to your to the fact that you did tutoring to for three weeks to help with your first essay. 

Kamila 

T so you again you said you did tutoring it didn’t work out for you, so you went on doing individual studying. 

Kamila 

Can you tell us exactly because tutors aren’t cheap at all like and people are like should I? 

Kamila 

If you’re not like? 

Kamila 

You know, if you don’t have a lot of money, you’re like, should I invest? 

Kamila 

Should I not invest in a tutor? 

Kamila 

So like what exactly does a tutor do that is different? 

Kamila 

If you were to do it yourself like what, what? 

Kamila 

What work do they actually give you? 

Ethan 

So with those practice books I got, sometimes they wouldn’t like explain it in the best way that I. 

Ethan 

Could understand it. 

Ethan 

So the tutor they would just like try and break it down for you so that you could understand it and like give you some tips and strategies. 

Ethan 

Of the next time a question like that comes around, I wasn’t there long enough to like actually get the gist of like what he did, ’cause I only met with him like three times, and then it would just mostly be like what types of questions that come. 

Ethan 

Any trends that pop up in the test and like what types of questions that would pop up in the test, and if those questions for it to pop up. 

Ethan 

What is the best way of approaching approaching it and like for the English section? 

Ethan 

For example, he broke down like the questions into like several categories. 

Ethan 

And if the question falls into a certain category, it would say oh usually when that question comes up, that answer can. 

Ethan 

Pop up like around here. 

Ethan 

Something like that. 

Speaker 1 

Yeah, yeah. 

Kamila 

Uh, OK, so who would you recommend a two to four versus not? 

Kamila 

Do you think that it just didn’t work for you or it’s that like you didn’t meet enough to understand? 

Kamila 

Like get the hang of actually tutoring. 

Kamila 

So who would you recommend it for? 

Kamila 

And then how long would you recommend it for? 

Ethan 

I would say that if you know how to study effectively, you wouldn’t really need a tutor ’cause. 

Ethan 

Like you would know, like what things you should work on. 

Ethan 

So basically, if you know your strengths and weaknesses, I wouldn’t get a tutor just because you could be studying on your own in that time rather than doing the homework that your tutor assigned you or just going to those sessions in general. 

Ethan 

Yeah, I I’d say that I’m I’m not. 

Ethan 

Like I, I’d prefer not having a tutor over having one. 

 Ethan 

It was just something my mom offered. 

Ethan 

Just yeah, it was just something my mom offered, so I decided to try it out to see if it was like anything different but. 

Ethan 

But I I don’t think it’s not worth. 

Ethan 

It in my opinion. 

Kamila 

All right, so let’s get onto. 

Kamila 

We’ve done grades and, like standardized testing, let’s get onto extracurriculars now. 

Kamila 

So you did say that you were looking into pharmacology in college. 

Kamila 

So number one, when did that interest like you know, pop up like when did you start like think seriously thinking like oh this is what I want to pursue. 

Kamila 

And then did it influence the extracurriculars that you had, or or your extracurriculars? 

Kamila 

Kind of completely out of line with what you actually want to do in college. 

Ethan 

Yeah, so I’d say generally my extracurriculars. 

Ethan 

Or I’d say it’s like half and half like some of it does deal with this. 

Ethan 

And it doesn’t come. 

Ethan 

So I didn’t start thinking about pharmacology until. 

Ethan 

Uh, I’d say sophomore or junior year Ish. 

Ethan 

It’s I’d say that’s like pretty like compared to some students that I met. 

Ethan 

I’ve always just I. 

Ethan 

Generally I’ve always had like an interest in the stem field, both my parents being nurses, so I thought I’d pursue a similar field, but I didn’t know exactly what, and it wasn’t until like chemistry. 

Ethan 

Honors Slash AP Chemistry where I thought. 

Ethan 

Yeah, I really do enjoy chemistry so I I tried to find like a a job somewhere there, but one of the projects that I did in the latter half of junior year. 

Ethan 

My AP Chem teacher wanted everyone to like teach the class or something so he would like give us a week. 

Ethan 

Or two to come up with like a a class lesson or whatever, just to present to the class and. 

Ethan 

I don’t want to be lazy, ’cause I I’d say I was kind of close to my AP chem teacher, so I didn’t really want to disappoint him. 

Ethan 

So my class lesson was on like drug delivery with supramolecular chemistry. 

Ethan 

Something like that. 

Ethan 

And then I ended up teaching the class. 

Ethan 

But that was like a general introduction in the applications. 

Ethan 

Supramolecular chemistry could give to like the medical industry, and I had a lot more fun with that project than I. 

Ethan 

Thought I did. 

Ethan 

So then after that I was kind of like set. 

Ethan 

Yeah, I really do want to get to like a Hospice. 

Ethan 

Setting and it probably just be making medicine. 

Kamila 

All right, so we can actually get into your list of extracurriculars now, so I know like throughout high school you’re going to have extracurriculars that you did like here and there. 

Kamila 

That didn’t really matter, but can you give me like the list of the main extracurriculars that you did throughout high school, and then we can do, like, uh, dive into each one like where you got started? 

Kamila 

You know your time. 

Kamila 

Commitment and stuff like that. 

Ethan 

I have my common. 

Ethan 

App pulled up. 

Ethan 

Do you want me to just straight off those 10? 

Kamila 

That’s great you booked. 

Ethan 

OK. 

Kamila 

You filled out all 10. 

Ethan 

Yeah, but I wouldn’t say like. 

Ethan 

All of them are like what do you call it? 

Ethan 

Has substance. 

Kamila 

OK. 

Ethan 

Or maybe I could be wrong. 

Ethan 

I’ll just feed it anyways, just not the. 

Ethan 

The one I put at the top was a program I’ve been in for six years. It’s called the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute. 

Ethan 

So do you just want me to list it and then we’ll go into each one after? 

Ethan 

Or do you want me? 

Ethan 

To explain after. 

Kamila 

Yeah, I think because it’s important to know what you actually wrote on your college app, ’cause that’s what the colleges so and that’s what they based their decision off of. 

Kamila 

But you can go into it and. 

Kamila 

Like because some people as they’re listening right now, they may find interest in what you’re talking about, ’cause they’ve never heard of it before. 

Kamila 

So if you could like elaborate on the main ones and then we can just like go through and see what you wrote for colleges. 

Ethan 

Yeah, so first one being the 49ers team Leadership institute. 

Ethan 

They start recruiting in the middle of 6th grade and then basically this program was sponsored by the 49ers team for our district and you would be selected for a cohort of 59 other students and it it would go through like stemming. 

Ethan 

Richmond training or training or UM. 

Ethan 

Learn about like different fields in like the stem. 

Ethan 

This time area, I guess the best way to describe it for me is they kind of teach you how to be a take initiative and like be independent with like starting up projects. 

Ethan 

And it’s also like a sampler plate so like it’s not like. 

Ethan 

Geared towards like 1 field where you where everyone just like goes into robotics and learns coding. 

Ethan 

They kind of give like introductory stuff to like the medical field or engineering stuff like that so you can know what you want to do in college. I’d say that because of the 49ers stepping leadership institute I I was able to. 

Ethan 

I was able to like. 

Ethan 

Realized I wanted to go into the hospital setting. 

Ethan 

Every year we have competitions that we would enter, so that would be like a middle school floor. 

Ethan 

First Lego League, which is robotics competition and then that would be in the first semester. 

Ethan 

2nd semester would be makers fair which is a local like Creators Fair or creator space where like everyone can show off their cool creations. 

Ethan 

And then that was one track and then we have a second track called Explore Vision which is. 

Ethan 

Like they give you a prompt and then you come up with like a research paper and then try to solve that problem with your paper and any implications for the future and then the latter half of that track is called tech champ. 

Ethan 

The tech challenge and I’d say it’s like similar to the first Little League. 

Ethan 

In that they give you like a problem and then you have to build something in order to solve that problem and then you get points based on how. 

Ethan 

Many like our. 

Ethan 

Points like by meeting certain criteria that would generally be our middle school thing. 

Ethan 

And it’s an extracurricular, so it’s not. 

Ethan 

Uhm, really like embedded into school so we would have to meet like every Wednesday and then every other Saturday. 

Ethan 

Just to work on those projects, but just being in the in the SL I program. 

Ethan 

They do tell you that yeah, they do make you take certain courses so. 

Ethan 

There’s stemming in middle school. 

Ethan 

It wasn’t that big of a difference, they would just make you go like one math level higher than you would normally take, and then in high school. 

Ethan 

Uhm, the tracks are like very, very similar, so the first one was FTC. 

Ethan 

So rather than building like robots out of Legos, you would start using like metal pieces and stuff like that and then. 

Ethan 

Maker Faire was still the same and then the second track was also the same, but something that they’re implementing this year was called. 

Ethan 

Tinker, track soum 

Ethan 

Being in slic, you do have the privilege of using the lab spaces so we call them the call it the fab lab at the high school. 

Ethan 

So just some like machines that we use is the 3D printer, the sewing machine, the shopbot, which is like this huge like wood carving machine. I could carve wood on like a. 

Ethan 

On a 3D plane and then we also have a laser cutter. So Tinker Track allows us to understand. 

Ethan 

I guess it’s the opportunity to complete some projects while also understanding how to use the machines in the lab. 

Kamila 

So it seems like you guys have quite a number of projects like you do over the years and then competitions that you. 

Kamila 

Enter into. 

Kamila 

So when you’re like applying to college. 

Kamila 

Are you like? 

Kamila 

Joining national competitions not specifically for this program, but they’re preparing you for competitions that are done nationwide. 

 Kamila 

Or like within your district or within your state. 

Ethan 

Yeah, so I I felt like for example, FLL’s uh, national competition, but it starts off like regional. And then if you do super well you keep stepping up. 

Kamila 

And how far did your team get with that? 

Kamila 

Well, well, mainly in high school. 

Kamila 

Let’s keep it to high school. 

Ethan 

In high school my team specifically, we made it past regionals but we didn’t get past that. 

Ethan 

But I know some of my friends and at a different team in the same program actually like made it to state. 

Kamila 

OK. 

Kamila 

What bothers me? It’s 49ers, but there are 59 students, yeah? 

Kamila 

All right, so that seems like a really big commitment. 

Kamila 

And did you have? 

Kamila 

Did your parents have to pay for the. 

Kamila 

Program or was it funds? 

Ethan 

No, it was. It was funded by the 49ers, so like everything there. 

Ethan 

Was was free. 

Kamila 

OK, that’s amazing. 

Kamila 

Alright, next extracurriculars. 

Speaker 1 

Right? 

Kamila 

Let’s get into those. 

Ethan 

The the one I put second was a volunteer extracurricular, so I was a lead publicist for a cafe, a nonprofit cafe, which is why they let me get volunteer hours for that. 

Ethan 

So one of the main projects that I worked on I. 

Ethan 

Worked on. 

Ethan 

Was a campaign called Hashtag Coffee for Heroes and it was brought up in like the pandemic or or like a lot of first responders for like very busy and you know, tired with like having to deal with like a lot of cases, so they’re obviously being like overworked. 

Ethan 

So we decided that we would provide like local hospitals and clinics with free drinks and pastries so. 

Ethan 

During my time there I I was able to provide like 4 local hospitals and like 6 clinics with like $800.00 of $800 worth of free drinks and pastries and then aside from that I would create a lot of like promotional promotional materials. 

Ethan 

Like photos, videos, Flyers etc. 

Kamila 

How did you? 

Ethan 

And this I’m signed up. 

Kamila 

Get this position to begin with. 

Ethan 

So, so it was actually through stent, where the. 

Ethan 

The faculty was trying to like teach us how to try and find internships and they bought like a student over to talk about their experience with that. 

Ethan 

And then they looked through indeed. 

Ethan 

So, after seeing that I was like, hey, I really need to do more. 

Ethan 

So I looked on indeed. 

Ethan 

And then I eventually found this and I’ve been doing it since sophomore year and then stopped. 

Ethan 

Uhm this January. 

Kamila 

And then you kind of already told me what you did, but is that almost exactly what you wrote on the college app, like the amount of hospitals and clinics you provided with? 

Kamila 

All right, all right. 

Kamila 

And I forgot to ask for the STEM leadership program that you were in for six years. 

Kamila 

What position did you put for that? 

Kamila 

’cause it is it like a? 

Kamila 

Do they give you positions like you that you you would have in a club like President, Vice President? 

 Kamila 

Or was it just like you were a member? 

Kamila 

Everyone was member in it? 

Ethan 

Bring it up, yeah, on there I just called. 

Ethan 

I just put down student leader ’cause that’s what they would just call all of us so. 

Ethan 

I just put that down. 

Kamila 

You gotta do what you gotta do. 

Kamila 

All right, it’s OK anymore. 

Kamila 

Main extracurriculars that you did. 

Ethan 

Yeah, so I’m. 

Ethan 

I’m just going to read off the the clubs that I did in school ’cause I didn’t put that I didn’t. 

Ethan 

Say any of that in here. 

Ethan 

One one of the clubs I was pretty involved in was Red Cross Club. 

Ethan 

I was a publicist and then some projects that we did was deliver notes of support to 1st responders. 

Ethan 

I’m kind of similar to like my time at the cafe and then we also assembled care packages for homeless and farmers. 

Ethan 

And then arranged. 

Ethan 

Elementary school supply kits for local elementary schools. 

Kamila 

And you said you were a publicist for that. 

Ethan 

Yeah, so I would be in charge of making Flyers and getting that stuff out. 

Kamila 

Next time I’m waiting for you. 

Ethan 

Yeah, sorry. 

Ethan 

And then I did that from sophomore to senior year and then another one that I’m. 

Ethan 

Uh, involved in his film Makers Club and I’ve been involved in that for all four years so. 

Ethan 

So here we’ll like talk about films like Learn how to shoot films, learn how to use the camera, and then from time to time we do have do invite guest speakers so. 

Ethan 

One of which we last year we had two. 

Ethan 

We had one who helped with the animation for Coraline, if you know what that movie is and then another one who shot like a music video for Snoop Dogg. 

Ethan 

So that was pretty cool. 

Ethan 

Uhm, yeah. 

Ethan 

So it was kind of a small club, but it was like really nice just so everyone can learn. 

Ethan 

I wouldn’t have to like go everywhere and like teach everyone how to use a camera. 

Ethan 

But yeah, yeah filmmaking and photography are like one of my favorite things to do in my free time so. 

Ethan 

I was pretty involved in that club. 

Kamila 

And what was your position like that you put on your college app? 

Ethan 

I was President this year. 

Ethan 

I was Vice president last year. 

Kamila 

All right, all right. 

Ethan 

And then. 

Ethan 

That’s actually kind of those are my 2 main clubs, but just going back to volunteering this year at the beginning of the year since I was interested with, uh. 

Ethan 

The medical field I volunteer at a clinic. 

Ethan 

Uhm, I would have started earlier like way earlier, but obviously COVID happen and then, especially if you’re volunteering in a medical setting, they’re pretty strict about COVID COVID guidelines, so I couldn’t actually like start volunteering until it started this year and it. 

Ethan 

It was at a pediatric clinic, so. 

Ethan 

I couldn’t really do like too much other than like welcome patients and then show them to their room. 

Ethan 

But I also organize patient files and then made sure that they were like signed correctly and built so I had to collaborate with like the nurses and the secretaries to make sure everything was in order. 

Ethan 

And then from time to time, if the doctor like asked permission from the parents, he would let me in the room and see or shadow them to see what it was like to have an appointment. 

Ethan 

So I got to see like, uhm, him trying to comfort children like crying all the time. 

Ethan 

Uhm, but yeah, it was pretty interesting. 

Kamila 

Did you realize Pediatrics is not for you? 

Ethan 

Yeah, I don’t know if I could. 

Ethan 

He seemed really comfortable doing like baby voices and then I can’t. 

Ethan 

That’s not, that’s not. 

Kamila 

But you’re like you said it was volunteer. 

Kamila 

So like I assume you didn’t get paid, but would you call yourself like an unpaid unpaid intern there? 

Ethan 

Uhm, not really. 

Ethan 

I wouldn’t say that. 

Ethan 

I contributed like. 

Ethan 

Uhm, I know some people are getting paid for like research. 

Ethan 

I definitely did not do that so I don’t know if I should be getting paid for like what I did there. 

Ethan 

Yeah yeah, I also have to meet the required volunteer requirements for school. 

Ethan 

So that’s also a reason why I wanted volunteer hours rather than getting paid. 

Kamila 

All right, so if those are your like main extracurriculars, you can just quickly. 

Kamila 

Also, why did you like, did you? 

Kamila 

I don’t know here somewhere that you needed to fill out. 

Kamila 

Like all 10 spaces on the common app in terms of extracurriculars. 

Kamila 

Like was there a reason that you put you filled out all 10 spaces? 

Ethan 

I just thought yeah, actually I take back what I said about like maybe some stuff wasn’t like a so since I just thought like some stuff like important to me. 

Ethan 

And then I also heard that like on the common app that having a trend on on your on your application really helps just so. 

Ethan 

The tip is like if an admission officer was to read your application, they should be able to find out like what major you’re applying for without having to actually see it on your application. 

Ethan 

So I just added the stuff that I thought might help. 

Ethan 

Help them like gather the idea of like what I wanted to go to so it just so happened that I filled out 10/10 spaces for that. 

Kamila 

Yeah, right, and I should have asked this at the beginning, but matters will ask it now. 

Kamila 

So you said that you weren’t set on pharmacology until that kind of like the end of junior year when you had to give a presentation in your chemistry class. 

Kamila 

Just kind of me right now. 

Kamila 

I think I’m gonna have to. 

Kamila 

Do that once AP exams are. 

Kamila 

Over but you said you. 

Kamila 

Weren’t sure until then so. 

Kamila 

When you came into high school and you said you were like interested in stem but beyond that, did you really not have much direction in what exact extracurriculars you wanted to do? 

Kamila 

You just kind of like, saw opportunities. 

Kamila 

It sounded interesting, and you grabbed up them. 

 Ethan 

Yeah, so it was mostly just me trying to explore and it was also opportunities like giving through stand as well like. 

Ethan 

The faculty would like send a lot of emails saying, hey, this thing’s open or this student is trying to send this student trying to start. 

Ethan 

Yeah, the students trying to start like a program and wants to know if you guys are interested. 

Ethan 

Uhm, so I learn about all of those opportunities through there and also just searching online and. 

Ethan 

But because of like the competitions that I did in my earlier year system, I thought I would go into like robotics, robotics or like mechanical engineering, but I didn’t find myself like very, very passionate with that. 

Ethan 

But yeah, it wasn’t until like Ken Klotz that I. 

Ethan 

Thought I would go into like pharmacology. 

Kamila 

All right, so like I’m kind of in the exact same position as you. 

Kamila 

I’ve really loved chemistry, and I know pharmacology is like one way you could like actually apply chemistry in your life. 

Kamila 

So like how much of chemistry actually used in pharmacology. 

Kamila 

Like if you know just just wondering. 

Ethan 

Uh, my. 

Ethan 

I don’t think I know like too much, but I have talked actually talked to a student yesterday that goes to. 

Ethan 

Chapman about their pharmacy program and they do a lot of labs. 

Ethan 

Uhm, so I’d say that in itself is using a lot of chemistry for that. 

Ethan 

So yeah, I don’t know like 2 too much about that, but just based on like student experiences from their uni. 

Ethan 

Uhm, it seems like they do deal with a a lot of chemistry and light. 

Kamila 

And so it’s like more more so the development of pharmacist pharmacology like medicines. 

Kamila 

And stuff all right, all right. 

Kamila 

So we did your extracurriculars. Recommendation letters are kind of like self-explanatory at this point, and they’re not like too important with, you know, over the years they’re getting less and less important. So let’s get onto your. 

Kamila 

Essays and then we can talk about the colleges that you applied to, which ones you got accepted, deferred and rejected from so. 

Kamila 

Tell me how which the common app essay prompt did you choose? 

Kamila 

How did you approach the common app essay and you don’t have to give like a word by word thing? 

Kamila 

And if you’re not comfortable with sharing your topic, you don’t have to. 

Kamila 

But if you can, can you give us like the general topic that you did choose to write about in your common app? 

Ethan 

Yes, so the prompt that I chose was discuss an accomplishment, event or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. 

Ethan 

So in this prompt I basically talked about. 

Ethan 

My passion for cameras and photography and how it’s like very shy, a shy and reserved person. 

Ethan 

In my earlier years of high school and apparently that my CHEM honors teacher had like a similar passion for that. 

Ethan 

So we connected over that and then. 

Ethan 

Started talking a lot and it’s basically how my passion for cameras transitioned into my passion for chemistry and learning how to interact with others. 

Ethan 

Yeah, so basically if I had to like. 

Ethan 

Take out extract like themes. 

Ethan 

From here it would be like from arts to sciences and then from being reserved to. 

Ethan 

Being engaging. 

Kamila 

So is it like I guess I don’t know how the exact word for it, but it was like the medium that like transitioned you from art to chemistry. 

Kamila 

Was it your chemistry teacher? 

Kamila 

Is that like what all right? 

Kamila 

All right, all right and? 

Kamila 

Let’s talk about the let’s talk about the colleges that you apply to. 

Kamila 

Then we could talk about like. 

Kamila 

The little how would you say the little essays that you did at? 

Kamila 

Least for. 

Kamila 

Like some of the colleges. 

Kamila 

So you did say you applied to a bunch of UC schools and I am still to this day very confused about how the UC system works. 

Kamila 

So can you give us like an explanation of what? 

Kamila 

The UC system is how it works. 

Kamila 

There’s like however many colleges like. 

Kamila 

Yeah, just explain the whole thing, I don’t. 

Kamila 

Know what to ask? 

Ethan 

Yeah, so yeah, the UC system is just a public school system just in California. 

Ethan 

They have an entirely different. 

Ethan 

App which I am not too much of like I’m not that big of a fan of their application. I like the common app better so in in their app you have to write 4 essays and then you have a maximum of 350 words for all of. 

Ethan 

Them and they do this because they want to see like all the different sides of you. 

Ethan 

But personally, I don’t think that they can. 

Ethan 

Really get anything out of 350 words. 

Ethan 

And then they have ECS and awards section like. 

Ethan 

Together and you have 20 spaces for that, and then what else? 

Ethan 

They don’t accept letters of recommendation, which I really wanted because I feel like my teachers could come, you know, write a lot of stuff. 

Ethan 

About me. 

Ethan 

I I think they do accept like other wars. 

Ethan 

For specific programs, or if you get into like a specific state stage in the in the process, but I haven’t heard anything about that, and then they’re also test optional. 

Ethan 

But yeah, that’s kind of the main difference between the common app and then. 

Kamila 

We so they don’t have a big essay. 

Ethan 

Then you see is. 

Ethan 

No, the F4 you have four 350 award, they don’t. They don’t have supplementals for individual schools either, so your your 4 essays are going to go to like all the UC schools you applied to. Yeah, so yeah, it’s a weird application. 

Kamila 

Oh my God. 

Kamila 

And as I understand it, when you’re applying you at the end of it, you just check off which UC schools you want to apply to. 

Kamila 

So you’re not applying to all of them. 

Ethan 

Yeah, so they have a section where you. 

Ethan 

You like say which you season, then which majors like. 

Ethan 

In the same page. 

Kamila 

Wait, can they see which other UC’s you applied to? 

Ethan 

No, each the decision process for HTC is independent, so they don’t know if you got into like Irvine. Yeah, if you got into LA, they don’t know if you got rejected from Irvine, so yeah. 

Kamila 

That that sounds awful. 

Kamila 

OK, tell us about how you approach the UC system. 

Kamila 

What first of all, what are the prompts and like? 

Kamila 

What are the what are the problems? 

Ethan 

I’d say they were kind of similar in most parts that coming up from the top of my head. 

Ethan 

I know there’s one like how have you helped your community and then another one on. 

Ethan 

Honestly, that’s the only thing I can remember. 

Ethan 

It’s been a long time since I looked at my obligation. 

Kamila 

But they. 

Kamila 

They don’t even have like individual like why UCLA, why USC? 

Ethan 

Yeah, no, that’s that’s what. 

Ethan 

I wanted ’cause I thought. 

Ethan 

That was kind of my niche. 

Ethan 

Yeah no, those same 4 essays are going to be submitted to all of the colleges to apply to in this system. 

Kamila 

You know colleges are all like we want to have someone. 

Kamila 

That’s the best fit for us when it’s like. 

Ethan 

You think right, yeah. 

Kamila 

Reversal diesel all right. 

Kamila 

So tell us which UC did you click apply for? 

Ethan 

OK, I applied to all of them except UC Merced, so if you’re not familiar with the other UC schools, that’s Davis Riverside Santa Cruz. 

Ethan 

Irvine, San Diego, LA Berkeley, and I think Merced being the last one, so that’s like 7 UC’s I I got accepted into four being Davis Santa Cruz. 

Ethan 

Uhm, said oh, Santa Barbara is when I figure out, yeah David. 

Kamila 

Yeah, I was like I’m. 

Kamila 

Pretty sure that’s like one of the UC’s. 

Ethan 

Santa Cruz. 

Ethan 

Yeah, this is a lot I forgot. 

Ethan 

OK, yeah Davis, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara and then. 

Ethan 

Uhm, Riverside and then. 

Ethan 

The top one out of like all the schools in the UC system that I got applied that I applied to Berkeley, which was kind of surprised about because that came out like last from all the. 

Ethan 

And then I got waitlisted to San Diego, Irvine and UCLA and I’m just going to Add all three of those came out on the same day and that was a very humbling experience because I opened send you a first like a prior to like applying, I thought out of anywhere like San Diego would have been like my target school. 

Ethan 

Because I kind of like I. 

Ethan 

Thought I would end up going there. 

Kamila 

But you got it to USC too, right? 

Ethan 

And I saw that. 

Ethan 

Yeah, so I’m I’m I’m not I I’m not mad about that. 

Ethan 

I’m definitely not mad about that. 

Ethan 

So it was. 

Ethan 

It was just a little surprising to. 

Ethan 

So waitlisted at San Diego, we listed Irvine and I opened my L A1 last I was like please and I got waitlisted there so it is what it is. I’m fine with that though. 

Kamila 

It’s kind of like it just shows how BS it is though. 

Kamila 

Like you got into Berkeley, but you didn’t get into like and those are not bad schools like they’re not bad school, but like Berkeley is the most like prestigious one. 

Ethan 

Yeah, I know. 

Ethan 

Yeah definitely yeah. 

Kamila 

I guess you could say or UCLA and Berkeley like OK? 

Kamila 

So you got into those and then can you tell us the other schools that you apply to? 

Ethan 

Yeah, so the ones. 

Ethan 

I put on my common app, UM. 

Ethan 

Tufts Upenn USC. 

Kamila 

Uhm, USC comment. 

Kamila 

Oh my God. 

Kamila 

It’s like you see it’s. 

Ethan 

Yeah, it’s a private so. 

Kamila 

Oh my God. 

Kamila 

Oh my God yeah OK. 

Ethan 

And then San Francisco and Chapman. 

Ethan 

So right off the bat. 

Ethan 

Yeah, Upenn was my last decision. 

Ethan 

It came out on Thursday. 

Ethan 

I got rejected from there and then parts that was tough. 

Ethan 

I got wait listed there and then I got into. 

Ethan 

University of San Francisco. 

Ethan 

Uhm for nursing. 

Ethan 

I wasn’t into nursing by my parents. 

Ethan 

Kind of pushed for that, and that was kind of my only nursing school so I don’t see myself going. 

Ethan 

There and then. 

 Ethan 

I’ve gone into, oh, I forgot University of Pacific. 

Ethan 

I applied there but it was just for like Biological Sciences as a safety school and then Chapman I got in through their pre pharm program so. 

Ethan 

Sort of like. 

Ethan 

Five years and then four years of undergrad and four years of grad school. 

Ethan 

It’s kind of just. 

Ethan 

Put into five and then. 

Kamila 

Where is Chapman located? 

Ethan 

It’s in orange, CA, so basically SoCal. It’s like right next to Irvine and then. 

Kamila 

Oh, OK. 

Ethan 

Very close to Disneyland. 

Ethan 

And then for USC I got in for pharmacology and drug development and I got my decision earlier actually than most people. 

Ethan 

So you see, specifically they have two deadlines, so if you submit before December 1st, you can be considered. 

Ethan 

For like a merit merit scholarship, scholarship and then. 

Ethan 

After that it would just be like a regular decision and you would know by like April 1st so. 

Ethan 

The different types of merits are like yeah, the full tuition, your trustee, and then your presidential, which is your half and then the Deans, which is your quarter and some smaller ones. 

Ethan 

The way I found. 

Ethan 

Out about my decision. 

Ethan 

Uhm, my friend didn’t like my friend like knew that there is a deadline coming up for the scholarships. 

Ethan 

And then he told me that like you see, you see scholarship notifications are actually coming out today and I didn’t know that and and then after school. 

Kamila 

Did you get one? 

Ethan 

But just school I was at the gym with my friends and then I saw an e-mail from USC saying your polo has been updated. 

Ethan 

So also yeah so all my friends were working out I I just opened my e-mail and then. 

Ethan 

It said view your application status, opened it and I see a bunch of like peace signs like going through like just falling from like the top of the browser. 

Ethan 

It’s like congratulations, you’ve been even admitted to like USC or whatever, and then at the bottom it said. 

Ethan 

You’ve been selected as a finalist for like the Merit Scholarship or whatever. 

Kamila 

Which one, huh? 

Ethan 

You don’t know you don’t know yet and they said please check your portal to like learn how to. 

Ethan 

Uhm, signed up for your interview. 

Ethan 

So then I sent it from an interview and the way it works is that you get interviewed by the department you got accepted into. 

Ethan 

So for me it’s a school of pharmacy and then. 

Ethan 

I spent like a good month trying to prepare for that and and I’d say I thought like, OK, I was pretty satisfied with my own responses, but I didn’t end up getting like the the top award like the full scholarship that I have. I ended up getting like 1/4 amount of like yeah. 

Kamila 

No, that’s good. 

Ethan 

Which I’m still like. 

Ethan 

Grateful for actually. 

Ethan 

I’m glad that I made it this far. 

Ethan 

Sure, yeah. 

Ethan 

Humble, I guess. 

Ethan 

Humble right I I think. 

Ethan 

3% of the first round students are considered finalists, so I was like very surprised. Definitely ego boost, but yeah, so they got back to me. 

Ethan 

And then I got the quarter and it’s renewable for four years. 

Ethan 

So essentially that kind of adds up to like one full year of tuition. 

Ethan 

Uhm, but yeah. 

Kamila 

All right so. 

Kamila 

Oh, there’s quite a bit of questions I have to ask, so first talking about the USCU or not USC. 

Kamila 

But like I guess, broadly, financial aid in general is financial aid a problem for your family or your parents? 

Kamila 

Or like, just get into the schools and we’ll like, make it work out. 

Ethan 

Actually, yesterday I had a four hour conversation with my parents last night about financing. 

Ethan 

I’m with like a middle class family, but my sister is in college right now and then I’m going to be going into college and then after that in like 2 years. 

Ethan 

My younger sister is also going to be in college. 

Ethan 

So we’re still trying to figure everything out, uhm? 

Ethan 

Like I’ve talked to mainly, it’s between like 2 schools, USC and Chapman. 

Ethan 

Just ’cause Chapman has like to be accelerated and then. 

Ethan 

If I want like I have to like, be sure that I want to be in a pharmacist and then. 

Ethan 

But you see, like it gives me like time to explore other fields for pharmacology and then also the student life. 

Ethan 

There is. 

Ethan 

Like unmatched like, I don’t think Chapman student life can compare to at USC, so it’s also that. 

Ethan 

Yeah, but yeah, we’re really considering the finances and stuff before I choose and we’re actually going to the admitted student days on the 9th and 10th for Chapman and USC respectively, just to like get a gist of what it’s like being on the campus and. 

Ethan 

Uhm, well-being there like really make me happy and stuff like that. 

Kamila 

Alright, so one one thing I should have asked again like before, but I want to get out of the way before you start talking about your colleges. 

Kamila 

So when you said that like you wanted to stay in California, so that’s one California. 

 Kamila 

So that’s one thing that influenced the colleges you applied for. 

Kamila 

And obviously a good pharmacology program as well. 

Kamila 

Were there other main like factors that you know? 

Kamila 

I guess. 

Kamila 

Made you like. 

Kamila 

Choose some schools over others or was that like the main two like staying in California and having a good pharmacology program. 

Ethan 

Those are the main other than like student life. 

Ethan 

I’d say location was a pretty big thing. 

Ethan 

’cause I I knew that I wanted to be in Socal mostly. 

Ethan 

Uhm yeah. 

Ethan 

Those those are kind of the main things. 

Kamila 

And is Chapman a private or public university? 

Ethan 

It’s a public university. 

Kamila 

OK yeah and then. Also, if you could tell us ’cause I’m not 100% sure on this, but the UC’s are public schools so you would be paying in state tuition for any of them, right? 

Kamila 

Well, I hope you the best of luck in figuring out your finances. 

Kamila 

Like I know if you have a sibling in college then your financial aid package is greater ’cause your parents have to like where the burden of like 2 kids in college. 

Ethan 

Yeah, I’m hoping for the best. 

Kamila 

But middle class struggles you. 

Kamila 

Yeah, much financial aid there. 

Kamila 

Well, that’s great. 

Kamila 

So you say you’re picking between Chapman and USC. 

Ethan 

Yeah, mainly those two, but they’re also trying to push for Berkeley. 

Kamila 

Of course they want. 

Ethan 

I I know. 

Kamila 

To push for birth me Oh my God, if I were you I just dumb pharmacology and go to Berkeley that is doing that. 

Ethan 

Oh my gosh. 

Kamila 

Like yeah for sure. 

Ethan 

No, it’s just so scary. 

Ethan 

’cause OK, I got it for chemical biology and then the e-mail I got. 

Ethan 

It’s like congratulations for getting the College of Chemistry. 

Ethan 

As you may know, one of our esteemed faculty. 

Ethan 

Ended up making CRISPR CAS nine and. 

Ethan 

Like can I? 

Ethan 

Can I actually go there like actually got even? 

Ethan 

Yeah, I don’t know. 

Ethan 

It’s just so daunting to see someone like great just go to the college. 

Ethan 

I would go to but. 

Kamila 

Listen, I’ve interviewed enough students to know that regardless of the procedure of the school, you’re going to have impostor syndrome anyway, so you might as well have impostor. 

Kamila 

Syndrome at one of the schools. 

Kamila 

All right, so I guess we’re wrapping up here ’cause you aren’t in college yet. 

Kamila 

We can’t really talk about your college experience, but can you give us any last advice? 

Kamila 

And this could be anything for high schoolers. 

Kamila 

You can give general life advice that maybe you wish you had followed or someone told you and you followed and you’re grateful for it. 

Kamila 

Or it can be something specific to the college process. 

Kamila 

Whichever one you want or both. 

Ethan 

I’d say that if an opportunity comes up and you’re unsure of like whether or not to take it, I’d say just take it anyways just so you can actually like know for sure if it’s something that you don’t want to do, or you do want to do so. 

Ethan 

Yeah, just seize the moment and just like do it anyways. 

Ethan 

And if you’re feeling like. 

Ethan 

A little lost. 

Ethan 

In the college application process like trust me everyone. 

Ethan 

‘s been there. 

Ethan 

Uhm, no one actually like knows like what the secret formula is to get into a college. 

Ethan 

But what they can tell is if you’re being yourself and like putting down stuff that’s like really important to you and impacted you. 

Ethan 

So yeah, staying genuine is the best way to fill out your college. 

Ethan 

Application and just know that everyone’s like there with you like everyone. 

Ethan 

No one has it set so. 

Ethan 

Don’t be worried if you have to explore like a bunch of different things just to fill out your application because you got it. 

Kamila 

Alright, thank you very much Ethan for coming. 

Kamila 

It’s not even like noon is it in California? 

Ethan 

Yeah, it’s it’s 1151 right now. 

Kamila 

Well have a good rest of your day. 

Ethan 

Yeah, thank you you too, thanks for. 

Kamila 

Having me bye bye bye. 

Kamila 

Thank you so much for listening to my episode with Ethan. 

Kamila 

I hope you subscribe so you know when new episodes are released next week, I’ll be releasing an episode with Michael who will be attending Vanderbilt this upcoming fall. 

Kamila 

Make sure to check out my blog called Reality Check dot COM For more college related content, but other than that I hope to see you next week.