display at oak ridge h.s.

Display at Oak Ridge High School for my college admission talk, Aug 2015

For the past two years, I have spoken at my old high school (Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, CA) on college applications. When I was applying to college for the first time, I had a lot of help as I navigated the college application and recruiting process (cross country, track). Thanks to the incredible people who helped and supported me, I was able to find myself at an academic institution I could thrive at and call home. Now, I want to do my best to return the favor and demystify the college application process so students can submit an application that truly reflects their personality, ambitions, and accomplishments.

The big takeaway is ensure your application truly reflects you, the applicant, and shows how you apply your interests. Admissions readers have read every inspirational quote and “work hard and succeed (or fail) but the journey was the best part” story; they have yet to read YOUR story. Here’s a Quora article I wrote on how to what I mean when I say you must be passionate enough to take action on your interests.

Here are resources from these talks:

  • Handout (Talk Summary): What high school talk wouldn’t be complete without a handout?! This is a one page summary of my talk in bullet point format. The last page is a talk I did with the computer science classes in particular.
  • “High School” resume: This is what I wish my high school resume looked like. I made it recently but it contains information at the time of my high school graduation. The big idea is to keep resumes focused on the highlights; they should not include everything you have ever done. This resume includes my test scores (SAT, ACT, AP). I would NOT recommend including that in your resume, regardless of what your scores actually are. Template from
  • Presentation (annotated): The slides are pretty basic so do read the annotations.
    Bonus: There is a fantastic picture of my high school coach and me after I received my diploma on the Sacramento City College track. I had to miss my high school graduation for a state qualification race.

Maybe the actual big takeaway is that everything always works out in the end and high school students should remember to breathe…

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