Name: Saranya
High School: The Shri Ram School
College: University of Pennsylvania/The Wharton School
Major: Business and English
College Year: Sophomore

Q1: When did you decide that you wanted to study abroad?
A: Pretty much from the time I even really knew what college was (around 6th-7th grade)

Q2: Why did you want to study abroad?
A: I’ve studied in India, China and the US and I realised that I liked the American liberal arts system of education the best.

Q3: Who helped/guided you with the College process?
A: I had a counsellor whom I consulted every few months. My parents were also very helpful, they did a lot of research through the internet and also through other people. My SAT tutor also really helped me as most of her students were studying abroad so she had a lot of knowledge.

Q4: What was your proudest accomplishment(s) during your High School years (in or outside of school)?
A: I ran a non-profit organization and we managed to raise over $2500 through crowdfunding. We were also featured in the HuffingtonPost and Hindustan Times

Q5: Why do you think your College admitted you?
A: I have no idea. If I had to hazard a guess it would probably because I had a spiked profile (I applied for PPE and all my activities had something to do with Economics/Politics IR) so I could fit a niche in the incoming class, as well as having good academics and essays.

Q6: What has been the biggest surprise so far in college?
A: How exams don’t have to be the end all of having a life. When I was in India, I would do nothing except eat, sleep and study during exam season. However, now I manage to live a normal life even during exam season. Prioritizing and compartmentalizing is important!!

Q7: Something that you know now, that you wish you had known in High School?
A: None of this is going to matter in a year so take it seriously but don’t put so much pressure on yourself.

Q8: Are you happy with your College decision?
A: Yes (although I wish the weather was better)

Q9: How many students from India are in your batch in College?
A: Around 20

Q10: Your advice to College-bound aspirants? (2 or 3 things)
- Be spiked, not well rounded. Apart from your individual merit, colleges admit you based on how you fit into their incoming class. They’re trying to build a diverse class, not a class full of automatons. If you’re good at physics, go all out and do lots of things related to physics
- Your school academics are the most important. You could have perfect scores in everything else but might not get a second glance if your school academics aren’t up to the mark
- RELAX. Some way or the other, things will work out

Thank you Saranya, for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

High School Students and Parents, Saranya has generously agreed to answer any questions you might have.
Go ahead. Don’t be shy!