How To: The Road Signs to America – Yi-Jet (University of Massachusetts Amherst ’16)

Yi-Jet (University of Massachusetts Amherst ’16) lends a little levity to the college application process, reminding us all that they’re just applications.



The Road Signs to America

*Fires up the monitor and goes to <insert university of choice> page. Clicks on “Admissions”. Be overwhelmed by the entire process.*

You know nothing college kids. *read this with Jon Snow’s GoT accent*


Don’t worry if that happens to you because it certainly DID happen to ME! Information and deadlines come flooding through your brain, you’re like “what the *%#%!^$ is going on here?!”. So here is a quick How-To-Apply-To-My-University-Ah process.

File Your Documents Appropriately. This gets overlooked most of the time, or rather ALMOST EVERY SINGLE TIME. Gather your necessary certificates and/or transcripts from secondary school onwards, make several photocopies, and arrange them in a folder. Why, you would ask? This concludes almost half of the application battle. It also saves time and eases your mind on the other aspects of application. Don’t be using the famous phrases like “Di, Mi! Where are all my certs and everything leh? I can’t find it leh”. Most of the time secondary school documents would suffice from Year 11 A.K.A. Form 5, but top schools would sometimes require documents from Year 9 A.K.A. Form 3 onwards.  

Conduct and Finalize University Choices. You’ve heard this from your friends, your parents, your classroom instructors, your advisors, your family, etc. This might sound like an old looping tape, but it is important. After you have found the schools you want to attend or are interested in, list them all down. Spend a couple of hours going through their admission processes and other items such as housing, meal plans, etc. Shoot them an email if you have any inquiries, although you might have to wait several days for a reply (few hours if you’re lucky). Just remember, there is no harm in applying to many schools even if any may seem WAY out of your league.

The “Talk” – *drum rolls* Here it comes, the moment of truth. The moment when you talk to your parents about obtaining an education in America. The usual responses are “aiya why so far la”, “hah?! U.S.?! Why not Australia or U.K.?”, and last but not least “U.S. not good wan”. It kind of feels like you’re stuck in a crashing plane. Sometimes your parents may not be on the same page as you on your perception towards American education, but they will support you nonetheless if you show strong determination and that you know what you are getting yourself into.

Common Application (CommonApp). It’s just a website, calm down. Over 500 Universities from 47 different states in America accept applications via the Common Application website, so go and create an account, ASAP! It’s easy to configure and may be cheaper than applying via the university’s own website application at times. All you have to do is write ONE essay. We’ve been writing countless essays throughout our life, it can’t be THAT bad.

Acceptance. I’m not talking about being accepted to your dream school(s) but accepting rejection. If you apply to your dream school(s) and received an acceptance letter, congratulations! But what if you don’t? Some of us are able take the rejection and move on without second thoughts. However, not everyone is the same. Some people might feel left out, like a let down, worthless, or that all their effort was a waste. We need to learn to accept that there are several things that we can’t control, and this is one of the few. I applied to over 100 internships in America but only received ONE call back, and it was a no. It was indeed tough to let go, but you need to learn how to do so or you’ll self-destruct (not like a grenade). Accept rejection and pick yourself up then move forward. You’re strong and your future still awaits!

That’s all from me. File your documents properly, do your research, have “The Talk”, create a CommonApp account, and lastly accept whatever comes your way. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors, and I hope to see whoever that’s reading this in the USAPPS workshop this coming August or if you ever plan to visit Amherst!

Take care,

Jet 🙂