This is a one part interview with Ethan from California who got into USC and is still thinking about where to attend this upcoming fall.

Transcript 

Kamila 

Hey college kids welcome. 

Kamila 

Back to my podcast. 

Kamila 

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

Phil 

Sure, heaven, and still I am from Washington. 

Phil 

I’m going to be taking psychology as major and I’m going to USC. 

Kamila 

Do you see our state? 

Phil 

Uh state? 

Kamila 

All right, all right. 

Kamila 

So number one. 

Kamila 

Can you give us your demographics? 

Kamila 

What did the college admissions officers see upon application? 

Phil 

I remember all. 

Phil 

The things but. 

Phil 

Uh, I am Korean American. 

Phil 

I identify as male heterosexual. 

Phil 

Are there any of these? 

Kamila 

Relative socioeconomic status. 

Kamila 

Like middle class middle class. 

Kamila 

Uhm, Upper middle middle class. 

Kamila 

Alright, so let’s get into. 

Kamila 

First, let’s talk about like how college is. 

Kamila 

Viewed in your. 

Kamila 

Family how you approach. 

Kamila 

Call it the. 

Kamila 

College process going into high school. 

Kamila 

So I’m just going to give you a bunch of questions, but you can like answer however you want. 

Kamila 

So what was that kind of a dynamic in your family? 

Kamila 

Did your parents expect you to go to college and USC is a very prestigious college? 

Kamila 

So did they expect you to go something prestigious? 

Kamila 

Did you have like siblings to look up to in terms of the college process? 

Kamila 

So yeah, let’s start with that and then we can get into high school. 

Phil 

I’m sure OK. 

Phil 

Uhm, so I do have three siblings all. 

Phil 

Older than me all who went to college and I guess I wanted. 

Phil 

To go to college as well. 

Phil 

My parents, it was, I would say it wasn’t really like an expectation. 

Phil 

They pushed onto me, but it was just more something I wanted to do and and so. 

Phil 

Like going into high school like I sort of. 

Phil 

Knew I would. 

Phil 

Be going to college after. 

Phil 

And I think it was a combination of just like what my family. 

Phil 

So they. 

Phil 

Were expecting what I wanted. 

Phil 

To do with what I understood growing up. 

Kamila 

And then we’ll have to get into this like in detail. 

Kamila 

But were your siblings? 

Kamila 

They were, they’re all older than you. 

Kamila 

Were they any? 

Kamila 

Like help in the college process were there your main source for like questions you had about it? 

Phil 

Yeah, one of them was, uhm I talked with. 

Phil 

Him a lot about. 

Phil 

I guess the stresses of college processes and sort of like navigating certain things and also how I should navigate like looking through college websites or things like that and talking about like essays and stuff. 

Phil 

Just sort of more. 

Phil 

I guess general questions I had before I even got to like writing essays. 

Phil 

We also just talked about like the college processes itself and like he gave me tips on how I could like go looking for pieces of information about colleges and that kind of stuff. 

Kamila 

All right, so let’s get into your approach to college, which you know more or less start at the beginning of high school. 

Kamila 

So coming into high school, what was your approach like? 

Kamila 

Were you very set like, OK? 

Kamila 

I don’t know exactly which college I want to go to. 

Kamila 

I don’t know what. 

Kamila 

I want to do but I really wanted to try my best to. 

Kamila 

Get into the best college possible. 

Kamila 

So were you like planning? 

Kamila 

You know, joining all these clubs, making sure you took really. 

Kamila 

Hard classes or. 

Kamila 

Were you more going through high school and then you know junior year comes like? 

Kamila 

The end of junior year and you’re like. 

Kamila 

Oh, it’s dawned upon me. 

Kamila 

I really need to. 

Kamila 

Start so which one were you? 

Phil 

I would say more stored planning, but not really like I spent my first two years is trying to adjust to high school doing the best that I could and obviously in my sophomore year. 

Phil 

We got coded. 

Phil 

Up so I spent that year trying to adjust to that. 

Phil 

But I guess. 

Phil 

I spent like I just can. 

Phil 

I tried to do the best that I could with the classes that I had. 

Phil 

I don’t really have a. 

Phil 

Game plan at this. 

Phil 

Like freshman or sophomore year, going into them at all I was more so they get like adjusting to being in high school and and doing all those kinds of things. 

Phil 

I did sign up for clubs and would be getting more sort of fun rather than like oh I want to do this. 

Phil 

For college, so for example. 

Phil 

I signed up for my school gaming club, which is like a board gaming club but just met for like 2 hours and then I also play trombone and I’ve been playing triple prolapse so I signed up for my schools concert bands, which are a lot of fun. 

Phil 

And then as I continued, I wrote for the. 

Phil 

School newspaper for a. 

Phil 

Bit I did high school debate for a few years and as I continued through I tried to find a few clubs that I wanted to commit to commit most of my time to and to this sort of stand out. 

Phil 

Are my schools jazz band. 

Phil 

My schools K pop club UM. 

Phil 

And so I guess for jazz bands, that jazz was always something that I really enjoyed listening to. 

Phil 

I actually listened to it a lot with my dad when I was little because he would drive me to elementary school and we would listen to it like on the radio, like a little USB that he had and. 

Phil 

And so he. 

Phil 

Also did. 

Phil 

For that, and so I got to spend more time playing trombone, and I was able to play jazz and it was a really fun experience. 

Phil 

And actually, the first time I had a jazz concert in high school, we played songs that I had listened to when I was like 5 or 6 and so I was really excited to like play those in front of my parents and from my school. 

Phil 

So it was. 

Phil 

It was really amazing time and as I continued to invest more time in it, I got to learn more about like improvisational skills and like having confidence in my playing. 

Phil 

And then like being able to help others who came into the program after meeting to the club. 

Phil 

And it was just really fun experience. 

Phil 

I got to also perform, I see here. 

Phil 

Project and like they lead leading up to graduation. 

Phil 

So that was really fun and. 

Kamila 

So I’m going to stop you there. 

Kamila 

I’m going to get a little bit more. 

Kamila 

Into trombone, so I. 

Kamila 

You just. 

Kamila 

Played the trombone right. 

Kamila 

It wasn’t like multiple instruments. 

Kamila 

You put that yeah, and so you were. 

Phil 

Know it. 

Phil 

Was digital bug. 

Kamila 

You said you were playing for quite a while. 

Kamila 

When did you start playing trombone? 

Phil 

I started playing trombone in elementary school of 5th grade. 

Kamila 

Oh wow. 

Phil 

We were able like as fifth graders. 

Phil 

We were able to like, take up an instrument for the first time. 

Kamila 

I remember those days. 

Kamila 

It starts in 3rd grade with the. 

Phil 

Recorder then you actually move off and like. 

Kamila 

They recorded like the platinum belt. 

Phil 

For the. 

Kamila 

Yeah, yeah. 

Phil 

Yes, yes. 

Phil 

I had like a little like plastic foam cleaner like you do. 

Phil 

Yeah, so that actually played piano when I was little alert, but I started grew out of it because I enjoyed playing Charlotte more, UM. 

Phil 

And so I started there when I went to middle school. 

Phil 

UM, which didn’t actually have a band program, so I spent my time taking. 

Phil 

Like lessons outside of. 

Phil 

It because I wanted to keep doing trombone. 

Phil 

And then once I got to high school, I was able to really continue that trombone I. 

Phil 

I guess like having more fun with it. 

Kamila 

Yeah, and I’m going. 

Kamila 

To have you, if you know to the best of your ability, explain like how a concert band works in like a high school. 

Kamila 

So I mean my I was in my husband’s like a music. It’s not a music high school, but there’s some pretty good musicians in my high school. 

Kamila 

And I know like. 

Kamila 

You have the whole band, but there are also different levels, like if you’re a better violin player, you’ll have, like, you know first or their second chair, third chair. 

Kamila 

So can you explain how concert band works and specifically for trombone water, like the different levels, you know the better players or just like that sounds bad, but like you know the more experienced. 

Phil 

Like the different levels of like Trump mode. 

Kamila 

Yeah, the particular. 

Phil 

In my high school OK? 

Kamila 

Levels and like how significant do they look on like a college application? 

Kamila 

Do you think like does it really impressive if you’re first chair for violin? 

Kamila 

I keep using Val and this only one. 

Kamila 

I know, but yeah. 

Phil 

You know, I understand and answer that question about like the significance. 

Phil 

I’m not really sure. 

Phil 

I’m sure it helps, but let me I guess. 

Phil 

Just go through the process. 

Phil 

So in in my high school as a trombone player. 

Phil 

Uhm, because every trouble play you could be playing in just concert fans or the orchestras. 

Phil 

And so I chose the concert bands. 

Phil 

So there are, I guess, three concert bands that I played at my high school. 

Phil 

The first one really once a week on. 

Phil 

I think it was Tuesday. 

Phil 

On Wednesdays. 

Phil 

For a set amount of times like an hour and a half, and then we would just play. 

Phil 

There would be like the first and second chair trombone and that and then the everyone had to do what was known as the Concert for Performance Band, which was on Thursdays and we met for, I think, a week, two hours where we just played songs together. 

Phil 

That had first, second and third chairs. 

Phil 

From bones and I started out in freshman year in the Trumbull and you know secretary trouble for the Gypsy bands and. 

Phil 

And so as I spent time in those bands, I progressively moved through the chairs. 

Phil 

But once I came to sophomore year, I moved from the Tuesday night to the Jazz band. 

Phil 

Which was on another day. 

Phil 

I think it was. 

Phil 

It doesn’t. 

Phil 

Matter it doesn’t. 

Phil 

Matter, which also had its own set of chairs, and it was first, second, third, and fourth chair in jazz bands and and I started in second chair. 

Phil 

Come to jazz by idea and then I I spent the next two years in first year and so I had a lot of fun with that. 

Phil 

But I I feel like. 

Phil 

In terms of how like, just like the college process, I feel like. 

Phil 

It helps but. 

Phil 

I think it’s more of the dedication. 

Phil 

You put into it. 

Phil 

Rather than just the position that you play right. 

Phil 

So if you’re like consistently there all the time, if you’re putting in. 

Phil 

The work if. 

Phil 

You’re like spending hours, and if you’re getting genuine enjoyment out of it, I think that’s more important than just like a chair, because you’re able to talk. 

Phil 

About it with. 

Phil 

More energy, you’re able to really engage with the material and that sort of really shows how when you bring it up. 

Phil 

When you talk about it. 

Kamila 

And I know that some of my friends who do play instruments they play for our school. 

Kamila 

Obviously they do like jazz band, Symphony Orchestra, but also they do stuff outside of school. 

Kamila 

So I’m in Maryland, so some of them play for the Baltimore Youth City Symphony Orchestra. 

Kamila 

So did you have anything like that where you played outside of? 

Kamila 

School, there’s just. 

Phil 

I did not. 

Phil 

I just played at school. 

Kamila 

OK, OK and one last thing, before we move on I’m going to need some jazz recommendations like seriously. 

Kamila 

Do you have any heart? 

Phil 

OK, UM Glenn Miller is a good trombonist player. 

Phil 

He made a lot of big band stuff, so I definitely recommend that in the moods. 

Phil 

A good one brown little jug so classic. 

Phil 

There’s also, well Benny Goodman sing, Sing, Sing always a great one. 

Phil 

I would take five. 

Phil 

It’s another great one, but. 

Phil 

I also like say. 

Phil 

There’s quite a few like combo stuff, so like UM. 

Phil 

There’s like a lot of like rock’n’roll jazz as well, or like bossa Nova jazz. When I played a lot and that. 

 Phil 

Was really fun. 

Phil 

So if we look into. 

Phil 

The over I can’t think of any specific songs from those categories off the top of my head. 

Kamila 

OK, I need that ’cause. 

Kamila 

Like I’ve always loved like. 

Kamila 

This sound of jazz I’ve. 

Kamila 

Just never gotten into it and now it’s like summer break and I’m like OK. 

Phil 

It’s the time. 

Kamila 

Let’s get into it all right. 

Kamila 

So I think we covered good amount of Jasmine. 

Kamila 

You’re playing trombone and you were dedicated for a really long time, which I’m sure you put on your college application. 

Kamila 

So another thing that you mentioned was. 

Kamila 

You said one of the big things. 

Kamila 

Is K pop? 

Kamila 

Groups so I want to leave that for like a little bit later you said board game club and then debate club. 

Kamila 

Do you want to just do a quick like? 

Kamila 

Should be on that like if you were in it for a long time and. 

Kamila 

Like how much time you put into it? 

Phil 

Sure, UM gaming club. 

Phil 

Was just something something I’ve been at since freshman year and and I ended up being on like the club board for the last two years I. 

Phil 

I didn’t say I put. 

Phil 

A lot of effort into it during my sophomore. 

Phil 

And junior years. 

Phil 

But as we got for my senior year to a lot of people with club and I was able to show people the ropes and then transition the leadership off to them for that club. 

Phil 

But I spent it mainly as sort of like. 

Phil 

Uhm, one of the clubs I used to as a time to relax from my academic stuff. 

Phil 

It was just us yelling at each other in like. 

Phil 

Uhm, for like 2 hours or so, playing board games playing I guess like betrayal games we played mafia, what? 

Phil 

And it was just a really I. 

Phil 

Guess like time to. 

Phil 

Build community around those kinds of games and. 

Phil 

Then ask for debate. 

Phil 

I did debate for three years, freshman sophomore, junior and I spent. 

Phil 

I didn’t say I spent a substantial amount of time in them when I participated in tournaments. 

Phil 

I, I will say I have not. 

Phil 

I never had a losing record at a debate. 

Phil 

20 months. 

Phil 

But I’ve never had a winning one either. 

Phil 

’cause I’m tired. 

Phil 

I’ve gone like I’ve got I’ve got. 

Phil 

Like 4/4. 

Phil 

For like all the tournaments I wanted I had. 

Phil 

Like an even amount of wins and losses for every single one of them. 

Kamila 

So you came out neutral. 

Phil 

Yes, yes I did. 

Phil 

But it was really fun I. 

Phil 

Got to do with different people and. 

Phil 

I I was able. 

Phil 

To really like, understand how like debate process is working, like preparation for debate tournaments works so. 

Phil 

Like the amount of time needed, like I would spend a few hours like finding articles about like the topic we were discussing and then I would like put them into sort of like organizational like formats. 

Phil 

So for example, like things, I could say things I could use to talk about my opponents and other that kind of stuff, and I would have to prepare for like a whole bunch of different. 

Phil 

Moments I would have to discuss or talk about and so like through those. 

Phil 

I was able to like see. 

Phil 

Uhm, so just like how discussing a certain topic like could work and sort of like the arguments 1 needs to sort of like. 

Phil 

Think about and work their. 

Phil 

Way around, like thinking on. 

Phil 

The spot, like those kinds of skills. 

Kamila 

And with Debbie, I know that like I mean with a lot of things in high school you can like go you know regionals like I don’t know if it’s regional or states for whatever like county like their states, regional conditionals. 

Phil 

Yeah, yeah. 

Kamila 

So did you progress up to, like, you know, read whatever counties, states, regionals? 

Phil 

Not really, no. 

Phil 

This is a club that I also took for front. 

Phil 

And more so learning. 

Phil 

The skills of how to debate, how to format arguments, how to create counter arguments, how to defend your own ideas and stuff like. 

Phil 

That I didn’t really have any interest in taking debate to the next level. 

Phil 

I know it was a very competitive atmosphere and it was a cool, but I wasn’t. 

Phil 

Like all that fully invested in so for me, I wanted to sort of invest in clubs that I found a lot more interesting and some some calls that I had a bigger, bigger connection to. 

Phil 

So yeah. 

Kamila 

And with clubs like debate like you can choose whether you want to like move on to compete. 

Kamila 

’cause I know like not everyone is going to want to so they like ask you right but like who wants to actually? 

Kamila 

TRA go to nationals and stuff. 

Phil 

Yeah, they like they gave us options. 

Phil 

It was more like an opt in if you want to do this let us know and I chose not to. 

Phil 

OK. 

Kamila 

All right, so you mentioned. 

Kamila 

Another big thing was K pop group. 

Kamila 

I just gotta let you take it from here. 

Kamila 

It started. 

Kamila 

What is it? 

Kamila 

What was your role? 

Phil 

Sure, so so the story how I started in freshman year. 

Phil 

I took bio and I had a. 

 Kamila 

Biota capable right. 

Phil 

Yeah, I found this. 

Phil 

It makes sense. 

Phil 

And I had a just like a senior. 

Phil 

Friend who would help me? 

Phil 

Study bio and then this was like I think the went near the end of winter of my freshman year. 

Phil 

One day we were studying. 

Phil 

We finished early and so he said, OK, we’re. 

Phil 

Done, you’re coming with me to. 

Phil 

K Pop club and there was like as. 

Phil 

A fresh I was like. 

Phil 

OK, sure and then we went to the club meeting and I’ve met all the K pop. 

Phil 

But people it was actually really fun time. 

Phil 

And so when the spring rolled around, I went back to the club and I started doing a dance performances with them. 

Phil 

And so I actually. 

Phil 

Uhm, data performance with them. 

Phil 

My first performance for high school gave. 

Phil 

Up on that. 

Phil 

During and and after that summer, I started to listen to more Kpop. 

Phil 

I hadn’t listened to it a little bit before. 

Phil 

Maybe like when I was 1011, but that was more so in passing and not like something I actively wanted to listen to. But after Joey became Pope club and dancing for the first time 

Phil 

I was inspired. 

Phil 

I would say to go back and I continue to talk with this person and and so I would listen to more music. 

Phil 

Trying to just like find certain songs that I liked. 

Phil 

I chose to do it more so for the music and I continue to delve deeper into it. 

Phil 

Because I am trained and I think it’s something really cool to see. 

Phil 

So listening to music and create it and then like that. 

Phil 

Sort of like perform. 

Phil 

I found like it’s firing at my collar to do more of it, and so when sophomore year came around, I continued to be a part of the club. 

Phil 

Although I wanted to focus a bit more on academics at that point, so I acted more as like a sort of tech person helping the dancers in the background, like practicing food performances. 

Phil 

And like getting the songs in order and all that kind of stuff. 

Phil 

Helping the brainstorm like ideas come. 

Phil 

But this was fall and then in the winter I continued to dance again. 

Phil 

I actually performed with them for our schools we just like. 

Phil 

Bipap athlete conference. 

Phil 

That my school is hosting how we performed for that. 

Phil 

We also performed for a talent. 

Phil 

Show that’s us. 

Phil 

In turn, is really fun and it was my first taste of like actual like prepping and performing for like a full on performance and so I really sort of enjoyed that and. 

Phil 

When spring hit, we couldn’t really do anything ’cause it’s covered and and then in my junior year I was on the board. 

Phil 

But The thing is, most of the members in the club at the time had just graduated. 

Phil 

So at that point it was just me in this. 

Phil 

One Sr. And so for. 

Phil 

The fall winter. 

Phil 

We were just by ourselves. 

Phil 

We both spent a lot of time in our academic, so it wasn’t something we could like actively work on, but we did a duo performance for a talent show in the winter. 

Phil 

And because of that we got more interest in our club and so in the spring we got a lot of incoming. 

Phil 

We got a lot of freshmen who really, really wanted to do hip hop and and we were able to actually. 

Phil 

Uhm, practice and perform a K pop dance to introduce an incoming speaker at our school and we actually paid a music video. 

Phil 

On it to come. 

Phil 

And so it was like we spent maybe like two to three weeks practicing with like eight people this performance. 

Phil 

And then we. 

Phil 

Spent like an entire Saturday afternoon like going to places and recording for a video and and it was like a really. 

Phil 

I was like one of the first. 

Phil 

Times I was able. 

Phil 

To sort of like, do and like really invest in. 

Phil 

That, like in a club and. 

Phil 

It made me want to keep on doing it and so over the next summer. 

Phil 

At that point. 

Phil 

I was the head of the club as the year before. 

Phil 

I was also the I guess like Vice tries to the senior who was there. 

Phil 

And so I gathered the software freshmen who are now sophomores we made together this performance over the summer and we performed for. 

Phil 

Our fall talent show. 

Kamila 

Which was. 

Phil 

Really fun and then we can. 

Phil 

We got a. 

Phil 

Lot of popularity from that. 

Phil 

And we were actually. 

Phil 

We’re getting more people involved with the club. 

Phil 

We hosted club meetings where we taught dances where we talked about KPOP, where we made pot. 

Phil 

We made a playlist for people to listen to music we. 

Phil 

Got started on social media that kind of stuff. 

Phil 

And then in the winter we had another performance. 

Phil 

Uhm, which was one I choreographed for the first time with the sophomore. 

Phil 

Yeah, we choreographed for I think maybe 2 weeks and then we spent another two to three weeks teaching the group of seven. 

Phil 

Of us, the total the bands. 

Phil 

And that was the first time I spends a lot of time choreographing a dance, really like sitting down, writing, like writing all the different formations that we had to do, and then like timing it to the music, spending like a few hours just sitting down, listening to the music, figuring out like how would it like how would it? 

Phil 

Sounded like we had. 

Phil 

So people do. 

Phil 

This and how would it look and like how would the flow of the piece go and just sort of working through that for the first time? 

Phil 

There’s sort of a step up for me and like saying, OK, I’m like this is what I want to be doing. 

Phil 

I really like doing this and I think exploring this part of Kpop club was dumb. 

Phil 

Like another level of leadership for me that I. 

Phil 

Really enjoy it. 

Phil 

’cause in the past I had written out like formation diets for certain songs that we’re covering to help new people coming into Kpop club. 

Phil 

How to like find their places and like how to move through like between different people and so. 

Phil 

I think giving that guy sort of. 

Phil 

Inspired me to like OK, why don’t I make this guy for something I? 

Phil 

Made and sort. 

 Phil 

Of running with that and keeping it going. 

Phil 

And so I did that. 

Phil 

And then in the spring I I. 

Phil 

Did it again. 

Phil 

But this time it was for a dance that. 

Phil 

Was for all seniors. 

Phil 

So I spent like a few weeks making the whole thing and then we spent maybe a month working on a 4 minute long song. 

Phil 

Uhm, just like with eight of us, and I also learned like how to adjust if people get injured. 

Phil 

People get sick, scheduling doesn’t work out, people can’t make it to every single meeting. 

Phil 

Learning how to sort of work with the people you have in the moment and like keeping it going and. 

Phil 

As a leader, being able to maintain energy and excitement for other people to bounce that off, bounce energy off of. 

Phil 

And I saw a lot of time doing that. 

Phil 

Uhm, especially in like weeks where we had a lot of academic work where people could make it, and so I would like add extra try to like add extra energy into the situation ’cause I knew people weren’t going to be there and like I made it light it up, make jokes about it and then I like continue to like make jokes until like. 

Phil 

Uh, when people came back or people had like the time, and by then those jokes have allowed me to create a very sort of like a very focused but very laid back kind of group, where, like we sort of understood what was going on like we really like, laugh about it, and flat laugh at something with each other over time. 

Phil 

Very lightheartedly, but we were able to really get it down and get it focused and get it performance running, and so yeah. 

Kamila 

The vibes in that club must’ve been like. 

Kamila 

Just like stuff. 

Phil 

They were. 

Kamila 

Yeah alright so. 

Kamila 

Would you say we covered like your main extracurriculars? 

Kamila 

Or do you want? 

Kamila 

Are there a couple more? 

Kamila 

That you want to talk about. 

Phil 

Uhm, I guess. 

Phil 

One more I did, uh Korean martial art. 

Phil 

I did create sword martial arts for. 

Kamila 

I did. 

Kamila 

Not have birds. 

 Phil 

Yeah, I so I did a consulting martial arts for about five years, six years. 

Kamila 

With this during high school. 

Phil 

This started in middle. 

Phil 

School, but it I did do it through. 

Phil 

A bit of high school and. 

Phil 

I actually got my black belt. 

Phil 

I think freshman year or sophomore year it was another one of those things where I took it to learn more about my culture, but. 

Phil 

Also just for. 

Phil 

Fun like it was something that I. 

Phil 

Mean one of my older brothers. 

Phil 

I would. 

Phil 

And and like the community, there was like a. 

Phil 

Few towns over. 

Phil 

From my group and it was really. 

Phil 

It was really like good time especially. 

Phil 

When I could. 

Phil 

Learning, I guess skills and how to do that. 

Phil 

But also like how it connects with my culture, how I personally feel about it and like the private, I feel like talking about and thinking on like my experiences there and like being able to both like lead in that area in that sort of environment but also just. 

Phil 

Like having fun with it. 

Kamila 

Hold up so I’ve never heard of this because I do martial arts as well and I’m not like obviously the most knowledgeable on the different martial arts, but like Korean sword martial arts like that’s like just sword fighting like once you. 

Kamila 

See movies like. 

Phil 

I mean, it’s not really like that’s. 

Phil 

More like a very flashy kind of stuff. Martial art I did was more about like self-defense and and I guess like this is played with a blade so you would start with like a like a very heavy like wooden blazes. 

Kamila 

Did you use a real one ever? 

Phil 

Uhm, no I did not. 

Phil 

I did not get. 

Phil 

To the level. 

Phil 

Where I could like have a blade. 

Phil 

Like a full on metal blade my brother. 

Phil 

No, but you know, I stepped it with like. 

Phil 

Uh, a I guess like fake metal sword. 

Phil 

It was just like a very dull. 

Phil 

Blade, but it was made of. 

Phil 

Metal and and so I did that. 

Phil 

I started with like a very heavy. 

Phil 

Wood sword with. 

Phil 

Like a bamboo sword along with it to practice more. 

Phil 

Like faster moving self. 

Phil 

Defense is then after a while I got a wooden like another writer riddled with the scabbard like a sheep, and then when I got to my black belt I was given like. 

Phil 

The dull metal sword. 

Phil 

You practice with. 

Kamila 

That’s so cool, well, but they’re like they’re like no strikes in this right? 

Kamila 

It’s purely just learning how to defend yourself with the sword like no punching or thinking. 

Kamila 

Nothing like that. 

Phil 

No country, no kicking. 

Phil 

All any like offensive self-defense moves were done. 

Phil 

With the sword it’s all that is so. 

Kamila 

Cool my God. 

Kamila 

I’ve met people who’ve done martial arts like like I do you. 

Kamila 

Know with strikes. 

Kamila 

And stuff never never stored this amazing. 

Kamila 

All right, so let’s get into your grade and one thing before we start with that is. 

Kamila 

The kind of. 

Kamila 

High school you went to, so just give us like. 

 Kamila 

A quick you. 

Kamila 

Know description of your high. 

Kamila 

School number was like private public. 

Kamila 

Was it a public school that had? 

Kamila 

A lot of. 

Kamila 

I guess high achieving students who were all like competing to get into top schools. 

Kamila 

So was the like the air competitive? 

Kamila 

Did you have the resources to you know, prepare for like the 80 take AP classes? 

Kamila 

And make sure you were like on top of your. 

Phil 

Yeah, so I went to a. 

Phil 

Private high school and I would. 

Phil 

Say I definitely have the resources to prepare for standardized testing and the college process and. 

Phil 

Stuff like that so. 

Phil 

So should I go into like my like? 

Kamila 

Well yeah, I’m gonna I’m gonna start asking about. 

Phil 

OK, OK. 

Kamila 

Anything so so? 

Kamila 

Did you have Epi’s or was it? 

Kamila 

An IB school. 

Phil 

I had a case. 

Kamila 

AP’s OK so coming in that we don’t have to do the specific APS, but by the time you did apply to college, including senior. 

Kamila 

Year how many? 

Kamila 

APS are on your application. 

Phil 

If you courses or AP tests. 

Kamila 

Courses and then you can say how many of the tests you took. 

Phil 

Again, I had five AP courses. 

Kamila 

And then. 

Kamila 

Leave it, oh, you weren’t COVID year weren’t sure. 

Phil 

Yeah, I mean junior year. 

Phil 

My sophomore junior year were covered, but summer was still covered less so or like we like the world understood how to handle it better. 

Kamila 

By that point. 

Kamila 

That’s true, so understanding. 

Kamila 

OK, and did you take any of the AP tests? 

Phil 

I took a. 

Phil 

I took three, it took bio calc in Spanish. 

Kamila 

Alright, and then what was your GPA by the end of? 

Kamila 

Well, by the time college absolutely round. 

Kamila 

So number one your unweighted, which is the one out of four point. 

Kamila 

Oh, and then waited and can you give? 

Kamila 

The scale for your. 

Kamila 

School or is it like out of 4.55? 

Kamila 

5.5. 

Phil 

I don’t remember. 

Kamila 

You’re still in school, buddy. 

 Phil 

I’m not, I’m I’m done, I’m done. 

Kamila 

Right, that’s that’s true. 

Phil 

All that’s gone. 

Kamila 

Out there and. 

Phil 

I’m enjoying my summer, UM. 

Phil 

But it was, I don’t know, sorry, I got consistent errors with a few pluses here and there, but I was. 

Kamila 

OK. 

Kamila 

Alright, so you were like really close to 4.0. Alright yeah yeah, I think people can get the idea with like mostly straight days right? So and then we’re going to get into SATACT. 

Kamila 

Well before that I want to know. 

Kamila 

So you said your intent, your intended. 

Kamila 

Major is psych. 

Kamila 

Right? 

Kamila 

OK, how did you? 

Kamila 

’cause that’s not like a math. 

Kamila 

It’s not like you know. 

Kamila 

Something like that’s easily picked up in school. 

Phil 

Right? 

Kamila 

You’re like I have a passion for it. 

Kamila 

So how did you did any of your classes like Spark an interest in psych? 

Kamila 

Was it something else? 

Phil 

I would say my history class instead of art and combining it with like biology courses. 

Phil 

Uhm, so it’s like a lot of like this request is. 

Phil 

I took some sort of with the arguments that I ended up making for like essays I have spray were more about like. 

Phil 

How people think why people do? 

Phil 

Things you know if we have to like do a certain thing, why should we do a certain thing versus the other thing that could have been? 

Phil 

Done and stuff like that. 

Kamila 

All right, so it was just like naturally just this like soon you just naturally had the brain for it. 

Kamila 

Think about it. 

Phil 

Yeah, yeah and. 

Kamila 

I think like. 

Phil 

Because I liked history and bio at the time, like my. 

Phil 

YouTube search history. 

Phil 

Also pushed me in that direction ’cause. 

Kamila 

We can’t forget the listening ears of our laptops and iPhones. 

Phil 

Yeah, I mean also. 

Phil 

Just like ’cause I would listen to sort of like like online channels on YouTube about. 

Phil 

Like simplifying history or like talking about biology, or like the weird parts of nature and like making like making comedy out of it. 

Phil 

Or for example talking about like how you can insert. 

Phil 

Uhm, like certain ideas into major concepts that like some people like my overlook and I sort of wondered, why do people do certain things? 

Phil 

Why do we talk about certain things and why do we? 

Phil 

Not talk about. 

Phil 

Other things, and I guess like the pandemic added to this. 

Phil 

Uhm, I also was like. 

Phil 

Uhm, and as an Asian American in America, it was a complicated time. 

Phil 

For it’s complicated for everyone. 

Phil 

Uhm, but I think. 

Phil 

Like sitting in my room, sophomore spring. 

Phil 

Thinking about what I wanted to do with my last two years of high school, what I. 

Phil 

Want to do in my life I I. 

Phil 

Sort of wondered why people do. 

Phil 

Uhm, why people do things the way they do it and like why people choose to do or say certain things and how we believe in certain concepts but not others. 

Phil 

Why we’re swayed by opinion. 

Phil 

That sort of got me interested in like psychology and like how, why, why? 

Phil 

People do what? 

Phil 

They do so yeah. 

Kamila 

Alright, so I just I was just curious there ’cause you know psych? 

Kamila 

Is not something you just like Oh yeah. 

Kamila 

This is a pass. 

Phil 

Yeah, yeah. 

Kamila 

So OK, so let’s get into SATT. So again, I’m going to let you take it from here. 

Kamila 

Which one did you take? 

Kamila 

What preparations? 

Kamila 

Did you do and how many times you took? 

Kamila 

It and then. 

Kamila 

What was your super score in the end? 

Phil 

Sure, uhm so I. 

Phil 

Took both because I wanted to see which will work better for me. 

Phil 

They were about the same so I just like took them both to see just just ’cause up. 

Phil 

But also I guess just like they were different styles so I wanted to definitely see. 

Phil 

Uhm, which wants you to do better and maybe cut out the just cause for it? 

Phil 

So in terms of like my. 

Phil 

Prep for standardized testing I used. 

Phil 

A lot of. 

Phil 

Like free online material. 

Phil 

So like I think College Board had. 

Phil 

Like free exams that I would. 

Phil 

Use and stuff like that. 

Kamila 

So you chose the S80. 

Phil 

I chose the city and then I also like. 

Phil 

Fabric asked exams that I could do online. 

Phil 

And and like ones that you could download and print. 

Phil 

So I did both of those and I. 

Phil 

Just like got. 

Phil 

Books for both the city and the city and and I just spent my time studying both of them up. I took the S80. 

Phil 

Once and I think I. 

Phil 

Took up the AC twice. 

Phil 

I’m gonna ask for like my scores. 

Phil 

Uhm SA T mid 15. 

Phil 

Hundreds AC T high 30s. 

Kamila 

OK, so you. 

Kamila 

Were like top percentile for basically any school you wanted to get into. 

Kamila 

That that is that is good. 

Kamila 

Misty hundreds in high 30s. 

Kamila 

Yeah that’s good alright. 

Kamila 

So yeah, that’s pretty standard preparations. 

Kamila 

Who would you recommend like for you was the same, but like I’m sure there were differences and I’ve taken both as. 

Kamila 

Well, so I’ve heard like esmel, I’ve heard I also know, but SFC is more like English. 

Kamila 

Heavy like it’s not that the math is bad, but like it’s pretty standard math and English is more like dense, but then the ECT. 

Kamila 

It’s more spread out. 

Kamila 

English is not that emphasized. 

Kamila 

And then you also have that like weird as science section so. 

Kamila 

Who would you recommend this 84 in? 

Kamila 

The 84 

Phil 

I said, uhm. 

Phil 

OK, for me the difference between the AC T and the city is more so on how you how I approached it, because for me the AC T felt a lot faster. 

Phil 

You have less time to think you how to. 

Phil 

Some sort of pick an answer and sort of move on and sort of spend a lot less time thinking over the answers where they see you had more time to think over the answers and it was really needed for the English sections. 

Phil 

And so, like I would say, if you like if your strengths lie. 

Phil 

In sort of thinking through certain problems, thinking through questions. 

Phil 

And you are not the strongest with fast-paced answering questions. I would say definitely take the S80. It may be a bit English heavy but I found it more comfortable to sort of. Sit down and think about my answers and some of them like I didn’t necessarily need to. 

Phil 

Think on but just having that extra time to go back. 

Phil 

Double check and be confident in that was really helpful and I personally preferred the S. 

Phil 

80 But if you enjoy fast-paced questions, you’re not really looking for like a lengthy section. You’re looking more for. I want to do this. I want to do this answer. I want to go through. 

Phil 

And you’re OK with sort of glancing through passages, picking out different key types of information you prefer doing that rather than just like reading through the information to get like the big picture ideas, then I would. 

Phil 

Recommend the AC2. 

Kamila 

Same same that science section caught me by surprise that was. 

Kamila 

That was so bad. 

Kamila 

Right? 

Kamila 

So we’ve got through the main things. 

Kamila 

One last thing before we do college process like your application and stuff. 

Kamila 

And that’s what you were looking for. 

Kamila 

In school, let’s talk about. 

Kamila 

Your common app essay or you know? 

Kamila 

Do you know? 

Kamila 

USC is not in the UC system, so alright, so you did comment. 

Kamila 

After that. 

Kamila 

All right, so can you tell us which prompt did you choose and what did you generally generally write about and what message were you trying to get across to the admissions officers from that essay? 

Phil 

I think it shows. 

Phil 

The first option, UM and I, chose to talk. 

Phil 

About my name 

Phil 

My full name including my creative name and and so. 

Kamila 

What’s the first option then with the identity? 

Phil 

I’ll start with. 

Phil 

Yeah I think was the identity one. 

Phil 

And I talked about my name. 

Phil 

Missile is also like when like the pandemic and like. 

Phil 

Things like the invasion here on my mind and I sort of reflected on what my identity meant to me and so reflecting on it, I realized and. 

Phil 

And I realized that. 

Phil 

It was something I wanted to take. 

Phil 

Pride in but I. 

Phil 

Didn’t want to sort of hide it. 

Phil 

And instantly I wanted to sort of say like this used to say like this is me. This is who I am and I’m proud of that ’cause it represents. My family represents, MyHeritage represents. 

Phil 

But I believe in what I want to do moving forward and so, uhm. 

Phil 

I wanted to show them that like the three different aspects of my name, my first name and last name and my trainer name. 

Phil 

And so I I sort of. 

Phil 

Talked about some sort. 

Phil 

Of like how people came to me through my first name. 

Phil 

So the one I. 

Phil 

Used about being Phillip. 

Phil 

I talked about like. 

Phil 

The things I. 

Phil 

Didn’t like what I did at school. 

Phil 

What I did outside of school and like how people came slowly into that name and I talked about how. 

Phil 

Like because of the world. 

Phil 

In 2020 and 2021. 

Phil 

Uhm, I started to see my last name in a sort of a different way and. 

Phil 

And sort of just. 

Phil 

Like talking again, going back to like what I was talking about psychology. 

Phil 

People did certain things and. 

Phil 

Why I chose to do certain things as well when I was around my friends versus when I was at home and how they might have been different and then? 

Phil 

I reflected on. 

Phil 

The fact that I can’t change that, but I can’t change my last name. 

Phil 

Well, I can, but I can’t change what I can’t change who I am. 

Phil 

I can’t change what I represent physically and how I talk and like my family, sister. 

Phil 

I can’t change that and so I talked about coming to terms with who I am and owning my identity. 

Phil 

And and I talked about how, in a sophomore history presentation I did on Seoul, South Korea. 

Phil 

Uhm, I remember putting my full name for the first time in any presentation I had. 

Phil 

Ever done? 

Phil 

And I reflect on that as something that I’m. 

Phil 

Carlos now. 

Phil 

That’s that one slide sort of started for me. 

Phil 

A desire to explore Korean culture. 

Phil 

And being proud to write that out fully. 

Phil 

And so I talked about that and I talked about how I. 

Phil 

Forced myself, I didn’t force myself. 

Phil 

I chose to learn more about Korean. 

Phil 

I took an online creating class. 

Phil 

I started speaking it with my parents more. 

Phil 

I started writing sentences out because I’ve gone to create school in the past, but I chose to step away from it because. 

Phil 

It wasn’t meant for me it. 

Phil 

Wasn’t for me at that time. 

Phil 

Uhm, so I could read and write poetry and I didn’t understand the words that the characters formed though, and so. 

Phil 

I took time to sort of learn from the ground up how to speak Korean, and more than just like your hellos and goodbyes and you think useful like complex senses. 

Phil 

Saying what I liked, what I didn’t like, pointing things out and that kind of stuff when I got to the point where I was able to have like a conversation with my grandmother. 

Phil 

Who speaks only Korean? 

Phil 

Like 95. 

Phil 

I will make sure so I was able to talk with her like basic Korean and like they were saying is all your crew has gotten so well. 

Phil 

This is in Korean. 

Phil 

By the way, but you know your train is gone. 

Phil 

So well and. 

Phil 

It was just something that I was very excited to hear and inspiring to me to keep going. 

Phil 

To sort of embrace the tenacity and the energy of my Korean American identity. 

Kamila 

Alright, and this is a personal question, something I wonder. 

Kamila 

So like my name is not from my culture, it’s it’s like a pretty universal name Camilla. 

Kamila 

Like you, multiple cultures use it and you know my parents named it. 

Kamila 

It’s the name is prevalent in my country. 

Kamila 

You know it’s it’s there, so do you ever wish that like you had gone by your Korean name? 

Kamila 

Instead of getting like a like an Americanized name, do you ever wish that you had just started? 

Kamila 

And that’s how people knew you. 

Kamila 

’cause I do have friends who like have a Korean name, but they go by their English name like someone who I. 

Kamila 

Don’t even know their Korean name. 

Phil 

I mean, I don’t regret it. 

Phil 

I don’t regret going by my English name of my training, uhm? 

Phil 

I think. 

Phil 

I am proud of both names. 

Phil 

Uhm, I have had thoughts about like oh maybe. 

Phil 

I should ask. 

Phil 

Like my friends to call me my Korean name or like friends I have in creative communities to call me by my Korean name. 

Phil 

Uhm, but even then, like. 

Phil 

Having both names is something. 

Phil 

Like I think they’re fondly. 

Phil 

It isn’t something that like I wish I could replace. 

Kamila 

Right, alright, so let’s get into one. 

Kamila 

Less thing is what you were looking for in colleges. 

Kamila 

And then we’ll talk about why USC had all those. 

Kamila 

And then we’ll. 

Kamila 

Wrap up alright. 

Kamila 

So obviously you were like college is on your mind. 

Kamila 

It wasn’t something that just like came to you suddenly at the end of junior year. 

Kamila 

So when you did start looking at different colleges and you know realizing like oh, I need to make a college. 

Kamila 

Just now, what were the different characteristics you were looking for? 

Phil 

Also first thing I wanted a school in the city I grew up in. 

Phil 

A pretty like. 

Phil 

Rural suburban environments and I wanted something very different. 

Kamila 

Run the city. 

Kamila 

Suburbs forever yeah. 

Phil 

Yeah, and so I wanted that I I didn’t want a very small school either. 

Phil 

I wanted the opportunity to have like a big school so. 

Phil 

Honestly, I don’t think. 

Phil 

Pop like size itself wasn’t necessarily like a. 

Phil 

Big big thing for me. 

Phil 

One thing I did want was. 

Phil 

A very diverse community. 

Phil 

And and like having like multiple perspectives through, that was something I really wanted in a college I I also wanted something with a lot of academic rigor. 

Phil 

A very 

Phil 

A strong academic support system so advisors, career advisors and like stuff that would help me understand how to move forward in college and beyond college when it came to like finding. 

Phil 

A job or. 

Phil 

Learning how to like do internships and that kind of stuff. 

Phil 

And I also wanted like. 

Phil 

I I also in my college process, looked for colleges that had a K pop. 

Phil 

Dance group already there. 

Kamila 

That’s a must. 

Kamila 

Have my God. 

Kamila 

What are you saying? 

Phil 

Yes, of course. 

Phil 

I also looked for if schools had jazz bands, musical programs, that kind of stuff. 

Phil 

I also looked to see if they had psychology as a major, how their social science program was, you know, it was small. 

Phil 

It was big. 

Phil 

Are certain majors prioritized over others, or is there more of just like a Jewish model here? 

Phil 

Or support you kind of feel? 

Phil 

And as like a very step non STEMI person, I sort of like stepped away from I guess like those kinds of students where like they were known for their substandard math or compsci those types of colleges, didn’t interest me that much. 

Phil 

I I wasn’t too too. 

Phil 

Concerned about prestige in any way I cared more for the vibe that I got and like how I felt like in that environment. 

Phil 

Like looking at their resources, listening to students, talk with that kind of stuff. 

Kamila 

And were you able to visit USC before you apply? 

Phil 

I was I did not on a college tour. I was in LA visiting family member and we just happened to be next to the USC campus and so we went. We stopped by I got the chance to look around and I fell in love with the campus. 

Kamila 

Alright, well it worked out. 

Kamila 

It’s great for you. 

Kamila 

So what’s your reaction upon getting into USC? 

Phil 

I I actually found out in my school’s library while I was working on an English project and so like I saw the e-mail come in through like my there. 

Phil 

Just like a little notification, the bottom right of my computer and I. 

Phil 

Was like froze I saw. 

Phil 

I realized it was coming out that day, but it like it sort of dawned on me. 

Phil 

Oh this is happening right now. 

Phil 

I sort of like. 

Phil 

Close all my other tabs and and I just opened the e-mail and then I opened the link. 

Phil 

I will like the congratulations you were accepted e-mail, it came out and I was. 

Kamila 

Like I. 

Phil 

Was still in my school. 

Phil 

Library so I had to. 

Phil 

Be very like calm. 

Phil 

About it, but like I got up and then just sort of like paced around, slightly shocked for a little bit. 

Phil 

And then I came. 

Phil 

Back to my computer. 

Phil 

I double checked that it was. 

Phil 

That I read what I. 

Phil 

Had read then I proceeded to coldly close my laptop walk out of. 

Phil 

The library and begin to celebrate. 

Phil 

I just like I walked off to just like a small part like a not as small but just. 

Phil 

Go part of my. 

Phil 

School where people. 

Phil 

Don’t usually go and I just like starting. 

Phil 

Some of it. 

Phil 

Yeah yeah, and I was just like static elated. 

Phil 

I was so happy I told my parents about it too. 

Phil 

They were there with me since the start of the process and like they had. 

Phil 

Understood like what getting into USC meant for me, and so they were happy for me as well. 

Phil 

And yeah. 

Kamila 

Well, that’s fantastic. 

Kamila 

OK so one last thing before, well, not one last thing, but second to last thing were finances in general or concern for you when you were applying to colleges. 

Kamila 

Or was 

Kamila 

It more. 

Kamila 

Like its final workout like were you looking specifically for like merit based schools or was it like? 

Kamila 

You weren’t that concerned about finances. 

Phil 

I was concerned about finances, yes, so I was looking for schools that would give me financial aid to go that definitely played into which schools I applied to for sure. 

Kamila 

Well, I hope it works out with USC. 

Kamila 

It’s not cheap school at. 

Kamila 

All alright, so one last thing I want you to do is give some advice. 

Kamila 

So this can be well. 

Kamila 

Let’s do this so. 

Kamila 

It is summer is coming right. 

Kamila 

Juniors who are now becoming seniors are going to apply to college so. 

Kamila 

Can you give one piece of advice for perhaps people who are going to come in as freshmen into high school? 

Kamila 

So, and this can be about anything, it can be about the college process. 

Kamila 

It can be general life advice, high school advice, whatever you want it to be, and then a second piece of advice for. 

Kamila 

Me juniors who. 

Kamila 

Are becoming for years. 

Kamila 

What did I do? 

Phil 

I see. 

Phil 

OK. 

Phil 

Alright, so one piece of advice I would give to freshmen entering high school would definitely be to come. 

Phil 

Use like freshman and sophomore you to explore to enjoy high school and like learn how to navigate high school. 

Phil 

I wouldn’t focus on like trying to or I need to do this course this course. 

Phil 

This course to get. 

Phil 

Into this college because. 

Phil 

A lot can change in high school. 

Phil 

You could have different preferences by the time you’re in junior year. 

Phil 

Or like you find this one course that you really like that didn’t fit with that plan and you haven’t entering high school. 

Phil 

I would take the time to. 

Phil 

Really explore different clubs, different opportunities and to do it for yourself and to do it for fun, not to do it necessarily. 

Phil 

For college always plays a role in that, but finding the things that you really enjoy and investing in those that is the advice that are. 

Phil 

Good and then for. 

Phil 

Juniors or into rising seniors like yourself I would. 

Phil 

Uhm, don’t be afraid to like use many different sort of like online resources and and learn when to say I don’t like this and I think for me like it’s it’s very easy to say what you don’t like versus what you like and so like if you’re having a hard time deciding what you want to do. 

Phil 

Figure out. 

Phil 

What you don’t want to do first? 

Phil 

And then like what you have left, I think will allow you just guide yourself one way or another. 

Phil 

Right, so for example, I didn’t really know how certain college campuses felt, and so because I couldn’t go to the room because of COVID. 

Phil 

What I ended up doing was searching YouTube and looking at like the day in the life videos and you know, they’re always a little bit sometimes on the cringey side, but. 

Phil 

I was able to use that to sort of get a sense and get a feel of like what school life is actually like for them, or whether it be a bit more chaotic or. 

Phil 

A bit more calm. 

Phil 

And sort of. 

Phil 

The feeling I got from those we can actually just give one more piece of words. 

Phil 

Another thing is. 

Phil 

Try to find the school that you find like then you have genuine excitement over, UM, not just for its prestige, for it’s one specific program, like if you find yourself like excited to go to that school, like if you could just go to the campus and without like a guy say I want to go here, that is. 

Phil 

Very valuable you don’t have to find that either right? 

Phil 

But I think just like being able to. 

Phil 

To find like a school that you really like depends on whether you can sustain liking that overview over like a week or so. 

Phil 

’cause if like you look at one school like it, look at another school and you don’t. 

Phil 

When you go back to the person you don’t really like it anymore. 

Phil 

Then I would say you should consider that in applying to. 

Phil 

That school or not? 

Phil 

But if you like swag, go to school or like look at school, be back to school and still. 

Phil 

Like it that says. 

Phil 

That you really like, that’s cool. 

Kamila 

All right, thank you. 

Phil 

So for. 

Kamila 

You’re on the. 

Kamila 

That coast right? 

Kamila 

You’re on the West Coast. 

Kamila 

Yes, yeah, alright, so you’re still still early, for you have a good rest of your day. 

Phil 

You too.