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Road to College

You don't journey alone on the road to college. Whether you are studying for college entrance exams, taking finals, or writing college essays, your community of classmates, teachers, and counselors walk with you as you prepare .

Concordia International School Shanghai Road to College

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.Winston Churchill

A Message from the Class of 2017 Senior Scholar

So You're Going to College

From entering high school as scared, baby freshmen, to leaving as strong, confident seniors, the past four years have been a journey; toughened by the late night study sessions, bubble tea runs, Aspen grade notification emails, we are finally ready to enter the next chapter of your lives– college. Leaving the shelter of Concordia may seem intimidating, but just remember, you are prepared.

There may be times when you doubt your successes, your decisions, your own abilities; you will make mistakes and feel hopeless at times. But don't let this faze you. It's all part of the journey. From these mistakes and experiences, you will grow and change and become stronger than you could ever have imagined.

The people around you will shape you, your experiences will toughen you, even your challenges will force you to rise to the occasion and show what you're made of.

So the next time you feel lost, remember how far you've come, and what you've done to get there; remember the weekend study sessions at school, the 12-hour long play rehearsals, early morning sports practices. Remember the teachers, parents, siblings, and friends that have supported you and shaped you. Remember, and trust in yourself. The best is still yet to come.Stephanie Fan

Concordia International School Shanghai Road to College
Stephanie Fan was awarded the Senior Scholar Award, the top honor bestowed on a Concordia graduate.

Concordia Graduate Features

Explore the stories of college bound seniors as they invite fellow students to follow them to their best fit universities and colleges from around the world. Adapted from the #RoadToCollege series on Concordia's Official Facebook.

CARLETON COLLEGE - Jennifer Liu (Class of 2017)

Concordia International School Shanghai Road to College
Jennifer Liu will study Biology at Carleton College.

What affected your choice to attend Carleton College?

I chose to attend Carleton because I really love their emphasis on collaborative yet intense education. Not only is their undergraduate teaching strong, they also focus on the importance of building community.

Was there a particular program that interested you? (If you have been accepted in multiple universities, please give us your top 2 choices)

I applied Early Decision to Carleton College and Early Action to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). I have many different interests but I know that I want to pursue a major in Biology. I had wanted to apply to schools that would give me a rigorous education in Biology but allowed me to explore other fields and apply my knowledge to the real world. Carleton College allowed me to fit my passions in Art, Drama, and Neuroscience into my schedule while giving me the best education in Biology. WPI had an opportunity for me to apply my knowledge of Biology to tackle global issues through their Global Projects Program.

In your time at Concordia which classes, programs helped support your interest in Biology?

After taking Honors Biology in Freshman Year of High School, I knew that I wanted to continue doing Biology in the future. That led me to take AP Biology, which furthered my passion for Life Sciences. What sold me and made me confident on my chosen major was taking Epidemiology and Independent Research this year. Epidemiology, the study of infectious diseases, pointed out to me how fascinating pathogens are and the way they infect their host. Independent Research gave me the opportunity to conduct my own experiments, showing me how hard research could be. My passion for this class was what led me to be so set on studying biology in college.

In your opinion, what made your application(s) stand out?

In my opinion, my essays made my application stand out. When I was writing, I made sure that my essays could never be considered boring. Whether it was the format or the humor or the style, one essay was written differently from any others, giving the reader a break from the fomulaic created essays.

What excites you most about going to Carleton University?

Firstly, I'm excited about the amazing liberal arts education I will be getting there. About how I will be able to learn so much, do research, and try out new fields of studies. But I'm honestly really excited about broom ball on their hockey rink, playing ultimate frisbee, acting on their stage, new arts facilities, their huge swimming pool, new school traditions and snowball fights in winter.

CLEMSON UNIVERSITY - Sylvia Wu (Class of 2017)

Concordia International School Shanghai Road to College
Sylvia Wu will be attending Clemson University under the National Scholars Program.

What affected your choice of university?

My main considerations were financial aid and whether the university would provide a strong sense of community. This is what led me to choose the National Scholars Program in Clemson University.

What course have you decided to major in?

I haven't really decided on what I want to major in. However, a few of my top choices reflect smaller class sizes and more personal relationships with the teachers. The nine-student Morality and Ethics class offered at Clemson University has led me to think that I may be interested in majoring in Philosophy.

In your opinion, what made your application(s) stand out?

Mostly, I think that my essays and teacher recommendations made my college applications stand out from others applying.

What excites you most about going to Clemson University?

I'm incredibly excited to repatriate and attend a school where everyone is so blatantly proud of being a Tiger.

DUKE UNIVERSITY - Alan Su (Class of 2017)

Concordia International School Shanghai Road to College
Alan Su was accepted to Duke University as a pre-med student.

What affected your choice to attend Duke University?

What really stood out to me was the diversity of people, ideas, and opportunities at Duke. It was the school that seemed to fulfill everything I was looking for in a university. Other than strong academics and a great pre-med program, they also have an amazing sports program, a beautiful campus, and stellar service opportunities. Duke is a place where I am able to meet an array of talented and unique individuals that are pursuing a diverse range of interests and passions.

Was there a particular program that interested you?

As I am going to college a premedical student and hope to tightly pursue a career in medicine, I was naturally looking for strong premed and life science programs. However, at the same time, I was also looking for a university that could offer me a strong liberal arts education. There wasn’t really one program that completely won me over, but the fact that Duke had a great combination of a strong, focused pre-med program and a comprehensive liberal arts education that made it my number one choice.

In your time at Concordia which classes, programs or school related activities helped support your interest in your major?

I am hoping to major in Biology in college and I feel the one class that really helped support and nurture my interest in biology was independent research. This class allows you to choose a topic you are interested in and investigate that topic, something vastly different from the traditional classroom experience. Independent research helped me foster and explore my scientific curiosity and interest in science, doing a great deal to lead me to pursue the path I am now.

In your opinion, what made your application stand out?

Although a strong GPA and high entrance test scores definitely don’t hurt you in the admissions process, the one aspect of my application that I felt helped me stand out the most was my college essays. Admissions officers see applicants as more than just numbers on a page and college essays are really the only place you can truly express yourself and what you are all about. I felt really confident about my essays because I wrote about topics that I was passionate about and truly believed in, something that I feel definitely helped the admissions officer understand me better.

What excites you most about going to Duke University?

What excites me most about going off to college in the Fall is independence. As a college student, I will have the resources and freedom to truly pursue my interests. I look forward to being more active in my pursuits, participating in research and engaging in meaningful service projects that can greatly benefit others. All in all, what excites me the most about going off the college is the idea that as college students, we have the ability to make an impact on the world around us.

EMBRY-RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIVERSITY - Luke English (Class of 2017)

Concordia International School Shanghai Road to College
Luke English will attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University under the Air Force ROTC Program.

He’s got a heart of gold, determination of an Olympic athlete and is the most humble athlete I’ve worked with. becki bishop (varsity track & field coach)

Luke was the APAC Cross Country Champion this year and repeated his success on the track by becoming an APAC Champion in the 3000m, 1500m and Distance Medley Relay where he was the lead off leg. He also placed 4th in the 800m race. He also served as a team captain for both Cross Country and Track & Field.

What affected your choice to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University?

I earned an Air Force ROTC Scholarship at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University this fall where I will study Aerospace Engineering. For a long time (freshman through junior year) I thought I wanted to be a mechanical engineer and work on cars, but with the advent of SpaceX and their huge goals for the future, I realized that aerospace engineering was the best way to make an impact on people.

Was there a particular program that interested you?


Aerospace Engineering, specifically the Air Force ROTC program (a program that prepares students to be leaders in the U.S Air Force)

This year, you served as team captain for Concordia's Cross Country and Track & Field teams, and was APAC Champion in both sports, are you looking forward to joining Embry Riddle's sports teams?

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's (ERAU) cross country team is part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), which is exciting because I have been invited by the coach to join their pre-season training before my classes start in the Fall. I hope to be able to make it onto their team by the end of August.

IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON - Aron Teh (Class of 2017)

Concordia International School Shanghai Road to College
Aron Teh will be studying Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College London.

What affected your university of choice?

Until my final year, I was always in doubt over whether I preferred U.K or U.S universities. When I ultimately decided that the U.K was the place for me, I searched for a friendly yet competitive university that could satisfy my curiosity in the engineering field, and that led me straight to Imperial College London.

Was there a particular program that interested you?

Imperial College London appealed so greatly to me because it offered my most desired major, Aeronautical Engineering, at a level of focus and quality unmatched by that of other U.K universities, allowing me to graduate with a master’s degree in just four years. I also received offers from University of Manchester, University of Glasgow and University of Southampton for the same major.

In your time at Concordia which classes, programs or school related activities helped support your interest in your major?

Concordia has a fantastic selection of STEM (Science, Technology, English, Mathematics) subjects and activities. Although all of them played some part in fuelling my interest in Aeronautical Engineering, I believe Aerospace Engineering and AP Physics were the key classes that brought me to pursue Aeronautical Engineering. These classes allowed me to explore my love for math and physics and in turn discover my fascination for engineering.

In your opinion, what made your application stand out?

Near perfect to perfect grades are plentiful in strong applications and are therefore not enough to enter competitive universities. Applicants differentiate themselves with high extracurricular achievements, and I believe my accomplishments in chess such as winning the National Chess Championship in 2013 really helped my application stand out from those of my peers.

What excites you most about going to Imperial College London?

I am most looking forward to meeting many likeminded ambitious students that share an interest with me in the pursuit of scientific excellence.

LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND POLITICS - Melissa Au (Class of 2017)

Concordia International School Shanghai Road to College
Melissa Au will major in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Politics.
When I was 8, I visited the UK and I fell in love with London and decided that I wanted to study there.
Melissa Au

What affected your choice of university?

I am planning on attending LSE (London School of Economics and Politics). When I was eight, I visited the UK and fell in love with London and decided that I wanted to study there. It also helped that London is a major city and as I would like to study International Relations, it would offer me access to many resources that most other cities are unable to offer. Studying in London is also cheaper than studying in the States. Finally, I will be graduating in three years instead of four and I won't need to take classes that aren't directly related to my major, making it a more streamlined education.

Which program are you interested in?

I have already chosen my major as International Relations.

Was there a teacher or student who inspired you to make your choice?

My social sciences teacher, Mr Paulson, definitely inspired me to go into international relations. He has challenged me to think for myself and to understand why other people may hold different opinions.

In your opinion, what made your application stand out?

In the U.K, universities tend to look for interest in specific subjects. In my junior and senior year, I took a total of ten Humanities credits, most of which were relevant to International Relations in some form. Participating in activities like MUN and debate for multiple years in high school also would have helped as it demonstrates that I have a deep interest in extracurricular activities outside of my regular classes.

What excites you most about the London School of Economics (LSE)?

I'm really excited to live in London! London is the city of my dreams and I'm excited by the opportunities that I'll have in London as well as Europe.

UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME - Nicolas Abouchedid (Class of 2017)

Concordia International School Shanghai Road to College
Nick Abouchedid will attend University of Notre Dame.

What affected your university choice?

The university's captivating sense of community, Catholic mission, commitment to service, exciting athletic culture, legendary history, incomparable alumni network, and academic seriousness made it a perfect fit for me.

Was there a particular program that interested you?

I was particularly interested in what is known as a "Great Books" program, where instead of studying a specific major through textbooks and lectures, students explore a variety of disciplines by engaging with texts that are considered foundational or key to the shaping of today's world. Whether the texts were written by Aristotle, Newton, Shakespeare, or Machiavelli, the goal is to learn from the works of the world's greatest thinkers with hopes of getting closer to answering the fundamental questions of life: What is Truth? Justice? Morality? Human Nature? Our Purpose? Who is God? Notre Dame is one of the few universities that provides such a program.

In your time in Concordia, which classes helped support your interest in this major?

My favorite high school class has been freshman year Humanities. From the interdisciplinary, reading-based curriculum to the frequent class discussions, the class helped me grow as a student, a critical reader, an effective writer and, most importantly, a deeper thinker. Its emphasis on synthesizing multiple disciplines through the lens of eternal questions was intellectually exciting, and made for an experience that played a major role in my choice of major.

What do you think made your application stand out?

I think my application stood out because I demonstrated that I involved in many aspects of my community - including athletics, music, Student Council - and that I have taken a leadership role in multiple endeavors.

What excites you most about the University of Notre Dame?

I'm excited to be part of a new, lively community of motivated people from across the world. I've heard that the community feel at Notre Dame is unmatched, so I can't wait!

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY - Matthew Shou (Class of 2017)

Concordia International School Shanghai Road to College
Matthew Shou will be starting a pre-med degree at Vanderbilt University.

What affected your choice of university?

I am planning on attending Vanderbilt University, but I was also accepted to UCSD ad UC Irvine. Ever since my dad mentioned Vanderbilt University to me in Freshman year it has been my dream school. Their focus on undergraduate studies is amazing and the quality of life at Vanderbilt is excellent. I know that if I attend, I will receive high quality education and be very happy on the Vanderbilt campus.

Was there a particular program that interested you?

I have always known that I need to be a doctor. And so, to reach this goal, I chose a lot of the universities I applied to base on the strength of their pre-med programs. Vanderbilt has a very strong pre-med program and that’s one of the reasons why it was one of my top choice schools.

Are there any classes at Concordia that prepared you for your college applications?

The main thing at Concordia that has helped me is the course rigor. Of course the science courses and research opportunities such as the Independent Research class have all furthered my interest in science and health, but the course rigor at Concordia is giving me a taste of what its like to be a pre-med student. I’m sure that the course load in college will be even tougher, but getting a taste of a tough course load here at Concordia will definitely prepare me for those late nights of studying.

In your opinion, what made your application(s) stand out?

I think my application stood out because of the different mix of academics, athletics, and independent projects I was involved with. I had four honor societies and a diverse range of APs, but also three varsity athletic teams and involvement with a student-run social entrepreneurship project, and so I think the range of activities I was involved in made my application stand out.

What excites you most about going to Vanderbilt University?

I'm excited to enter a new environment and experience a new school! I can't wait for the freedom that college allows students to exercise. I'm ready to schedule my own classes and take the subjects I'm truly interested in. Of course, I'm also exited to meet new people and to enjoy the tastes of the food in Vanderbilt's famous cafeteria.

WELLESLEY COLLEGE - Stephanie Fan (Class of 2017)

Sportswoman of the Year 2017
Concordia International School Shanghai Road to College
Concordia's four-year multi-sport athlete was Captain and MVP of the varsity badminton team. This year, she won her fourth consecutive singles title in badminton.
Steph is selfless, hard-working, determined, coachable, and relentlessly positive!
BEN COMPTON (HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELOR and varsity basketball coacH)

Stephanie F. , has spent her full 12 years of school in Concordia from First Grade to Grade Twelve and is the only student in our school's history to win both the "Senior Scholar Award" and "Athlete of the Year Award" In her high school career, she was on three Varsity Sports Teams: Badminton, Basketball, and Cross Country. A four-time individual champion in badminton, she has never lost a single set in an APAC competition. Due to her outstanding performance in sports and competitive grades, she was admitted to Barnard, Northwestern, Pitzer and Wellesley! Her dedication to Sports will continue to inspire athletes at Concordia, as well as her future teammates as she takes her abilities to Wellesley next year.

What affected your choice of university?

I've been playing badminton since I was 8 and its been a huge part of my life, throughout middle and high school, so I really wanted to be somewhere where I could still have that and continue in my badminton career.

What affected my choice was not only the academics, but also the accessibility to resources at that school and how willing Wellesley would be to support me academically. What ultimately made me choose Wellesley is how future-oriented their education as a whole is, and how there is a focus on entrepreneurship and learning to do. Wellesley is also one of the best liberal arts colleges in the United States and a small private institution which is what I feel would suit me better than the larger universities I got into.


Was there a particular program that interested you?

What led me to choose Wellesley is the fact that I've been playing badminton since I was 8 and its been a huge part of my life, throughout middle and high school, so I really wanted to be somewhere where I could still have that and continue in my badminton career.

Was there a teacher or a student who inspired you to make your choice?

She is the only student in our school's history to win both "Student of the Year" and "Athlete of the Year", and because she kept working and kept getting A's at a time when many of our Seniors mail it in and stop caring...Steph is selfless, hard-working, determined, coachable, and relentless positive!Ben Compton


The reassurance of all of my teachers really helped me when I was deciding what school to go to because its hard choosing where to spend the next four years of your life, but their advice was super helpful. A lot of my teachers said to not only consider the academic programs, but the environment of the school and the location as well.


In your opinion, what made your application(s) stand out?

I think what made my application stand out was the mix of academics, athletics, and independent projects I was involved with. I had 4 honor societies and a diverse range of APs, but also three varsity athletic teams and involvement with a student-run social entrepreneurship project, and so I think the range of activities I was involved in maybe made my application stand out.

What excites you about going to Wellesley College?

Going to Wellesley College is exciting because of the environment. I know that the students who go there are hardworking and ambitious, and I can't wait to be part of the driven group of students there. I'm also really excited about living in an entirely new city, one that I've always been fascinated, and I'm just excited to see where my education and time there will take me.