You’ve met Sin Seanne from the core committee. Now it’s time to meet, Adelyn! Like Sin Seanne, she, too attends Mount Holyoke College. Previously she was a facilitator for the 2011 workshop in Penang and a participant for the 2010 workshop in Klang Valley. Get to know her from the interview below!
I’m Adelyn and I’m a born and bred Penangite! I am a rising sophomore at Mount Holyoke College where I intend to pursue a double major in International Relations and Mathematics. Previously, I was at St. Andrew’s Junior College, Singapore where I did the Singapore-Cambridge A levels and prior to that I was a student in Methodist Girls’ School, Penang. This is my third year being involved with USAPPS.
What do you like to do for fun, outside USAPPS?
I read, write, blog and hunt for good music.
What did you do in high school?
While in Penang, I played the violin in various orchestras. When I got to Singapore however, I joined the field hockey team- probably one of the craziest things I decided to do to date!
Do you remember much about your college application experience? Tell us a little about it!
I guess I had always known that I wanted to go to the US, even before attending USAPPS. I was fortunate that I have had lots of guidance from my family members when it came to education. But when it came to the crunch, I still found it pretty overwhelming. It is easy to tell people to start early but sometimes there are things that we can’t control, things that happen at the very last minute. For me it was an academic crash during my final year of school, which made me feel jittery and nervous about applications in general.
Why did you choose to apply to the US?
I’ve always wanted to go to the US. I’ve always liked the idea of being able to try out a few disciplines before firmly deciding on something.
What colleges did you apply to?
Bates, Bowdoin, Colgate, Reed, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Oberlin, Hamilton, Whitman, Brown, Yale, Columbia.
Give three areas you feel you’ll be able to give advice on:
Liberal arts education, essays, arts supplement.
Tell us about your favourite application essay:
Personally, my favourite application essay is sort of weird. I wrote about my decision to leave debate to join field hockey. When I was in Singapore, the school I was at was a sports powerhouse. This meant that more attention was given to the sports and not to academic clubs like debate. I couldn’t help but feel the apparent ‘neglect’, if you could call it that while I was there. I’m used to being very active and it was just really difficult for me to work at something and feel like results were not being reaped. So I decided to join something that my school cared about – field hockey. I think one thing that I underestimated was what joining a competitive sport did to your body. Considering that I joined the team only in my final year of school and I have never done a rigorous sport, it was quite risky because I didn’t really know how to handle the effect of intensive training while studying. In short, I felt completely burnt out and it was heavily reflected in my grades. For the first time in my life, I was failing classes. Bottom 5% of the cohort, I’m not even kidding. To be really honest, this was a story that I was advised not to write because it would have potentially sounded quite whine-y. But I could not help but write it anyway because it felt like it put a lot of context to my academics. This essay, however, was written for a school supplement. I got accepted at that very school.
How did you feel when you received your application results?
I felt relief more than anything else, to be really honest. I really, really, really wanted to get out of Singapore. I didn’t like the system and, in fact, I dreaded the idea of being in a place where I feel like a misfit. Note that I am not trying to be disparaging towards the Singapore system – for what it’s worth, I think the quality of education in Singapore is very high – but the problem is me!!! (Haha lame cliché) I just don’t fit in!
Did you submit an arts supplement/ sports etc.?
Yes, I submitted an arts supplement. I play the violin and made a recording for this.
Why do you think USAPPS2012 is special?
Well besides the obvious fact that we try to give a more personal touch towards the application process, the 2012 series of workshops is different from the previous workshops because we are trying to increase facilitator-participant interaction, particularly during the two-day workshop (which is on the 28 and 29 of July). During my time as a participant, I think the biggest thing that I got out of it wasn’t really information. To be really honest, I think the thing that really set USAPPS apart is the connections you make with current students and alumni. Being able to talk to a wide range of people from various backgrounds really helps you understand what US education and the application process like. But the thing is, I realize that sometimes people are shy to approach facilitators. So this year, we are really trying to make it a point to increase that interaction. Let the facilitators play a more active role in getting to know participants.