The Admissionary was inspired by the advice of my favorite English teacher at The Lawrenceville School, dispensed to a dramatic 15-year old having a pre-mature existential crisis.

“Grow up to be that person you needed when you were younger, the person you need now ,” he said.

IMG_8667That was the moment I understood that “success” is defined not by recognition or compensation, but the impact we leave on others.

After graduating from Lawrenceville, I went onto Harvard, then built a solid marketing career before attending Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. While my classmates were striving to become the next Elon Musk, my mind was incubating a far more modest the entrepreneurial venture.

As an immigrant and full-need financial aid applicant, my experience of navigating the maze of opaque, complex (and sometimes arbitrary) admissions criteria was both terrifying and confusing. Like most students,  I was told that going to a top college determined the direction of my life. Yet no one–from my parents to guidance counselors–could even define that nebulous “excellence.”

As a veteran applicant who happens to be just young enough to earn the trust of teenagers, I draw from my lived experience to conspire with today’s high-schoolers on how optimize their candidacy–without sacrificing their sanity and sleep.

More about Nan Ni:
Lawrenceville News
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