Harvard Bound Student Gives Advice on College Admissions Process

Harvard Bound Student Gives Advice on College Admissions Process

Stephanie Zhao a harvard bound kumon program student

Less than six percent.

That’s the overall acceptance rate into Harvard University each year. And it’s not just Harvard. In fact, all eight Ivy League schools have an acceptance rate below 15 percent.

So what’s the key to helping your child not only get into their dream school, but one of the most prestigious in the country?

Let us introduce you to Kumon Alum Stephanie Zhao. She is among the six percent of accepted applicants that will attend Harvard University this fall.

Stephanie enrolled in Kumon in the second grade and completed both the math and reading programs in three short years by the age of 10 years-old. Her academic success didn’t stop there. She received perfect scores on the ACT, PSAT, SAT and SAT subject tests of math and chemistry.

With the highly competitive admissions process, parents and students alike are always looking for tips and who better to provide them then Harvard bound Stephanie.

Why did you choose Harvard?

Harvard was always my dream school and first choice. In fact, I didn’t even apply to any other Ivy League schools. I spent two summers taking general chemistry and organic chemistry classes at Harvard and absolutely fell in love with the campus, the history and the city of Boston. I always knew that’s where I wanted to go.

What advice do you have for other Kumon students with aspirations of going to an Ivy League school?

First of all, don’t go to an Ivy League school just for the sake of going to an Ivy League school. Find the school that is best suited for you and your dreams. I want to become a doctor one day and fell in love with the biochemistry and sociology programs at Harvard. Once you have a list of schools you are interested in, focus on your extracurricular activities along with excelling in the classroom. Try to get involved in things you actually care about. In addition to building up your resume, it gives you an opportunity to discover more about your passions.

How did Kumon help prepare you for the college admissions process?

I personally feel that Kumon is a big reason for my success. It laid a strong foundation for me in math and reading and cultivated a love for learning that I still carry with me today. And outside of the classroom, Kumon helped with my moral development and competitiveness. Because Kumon made my school work easier, I was able to devote more time to extracurricular activities and really build a strong application.

Do you think Kumon played a role in your standardized testing success and what advice do you have for other Kumon students?

Kumon definitely contributed to my success with the standardized tests. The precision, responsibility, motivation and work ethic I developed while completing the Kumon program definitely carried over as I prepared for the standardized tests. My biggest piece of advice is to stick with Kumon even when it gets more difficult. Don’t see it as a chore, but as an opportunity. Take the work ethic that you develop and apply that to the practice and studying for the tests.

Stephanie’s extracurricular activities:

President of Amnesty International Club; Vice President of Green Club; Vice President of French Club; Student Council Treasurer; Volunteer at the Rockefeller Cancer Institute at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; Volunteer at Local Domestic Violence Shelter; Pianist; Math Tutor.