Meet Annabelle!

With our 2 Day workshop just around the corner, let’s meet some of the awesome facilitators who will be at the workshop ready to answer your questions! To start things off, let’s get to know more about Annabelle:

Introduce yourself!

Volunteering for SPARTFEST

Hello dreamers! I am Annabelle, a rising freshman at Mount Holyoke College. It seems that I have run out of creative introductions so I will just start by listing a few of the many things I love and see if they resonate with your interests : BBC period dramas (namely film adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels), Korean sageuks, sashimi, ice cream, weird conversations. One last random fact : I am really terrified of butterflies.

What did you do in high school?

I was the secretary of the librarian board (geeks unite!). On weekends, I practiced yoga alongside people at least 30 years my senior and traveled to Sentul to volunteer in a weekly reading program for socially-disadvantaged kids. I played the classical guitar ( <3 Andy McKee!). I doodled pointlessly. I wrote extensively on my blog (oh, the good old teen-angsty period.). I also took a gap year after completing A-Levels in TCSJ in June 2012. I spent half of my gap year working in the randomest of places : a printing company where I had to learn to use Adobe Photoshop to design name cards, Kumon (‘nuff said.), an advertising  company where I spent days convincing people to sign up for Unifi in front of a Maybank branch and a real-estate diploma school. As for the remaining months of my gap year, I joined a research internship in the Brain Research Institute of Monash Sunway, learned to cook Asian food at home (while trying to NOT

Interning in the Brain Research Institute of Monash Sunway

burn down my kitchen), volunteered in occasional events like SPARTFEST, etc.

Do you remember much about your college application experience? Tell us a little about it!

The most memorable part of my college applications is probably the (really unexpected) free trips I was bestowed with. One of the liberal arts colleges I applied, Rollins College, shortlisted me as a finalist for its full merit scholarship and flew me all the way to Florida (all expenses paid!) over a weekend in February. Over that weekend, I had the hugest culture shock ever when I noticed how different a class was conducted in the States, in comparison to that of in Malaysia. In stark contrast, every student practically jumped at the opportunity to express their opinions rather than frantically taking down notes. In the same month, I was also shortlisted as one of the final candidates for admission for NYU Abu Dhabi. NYUAD flew me to its Abu Dhabi campus for its Candidate’s Weekend (all expenses paid as well!) and that was when I realized climbing up a sand dune is MUCH harder than it seems.

From the top of a sand dune in Abu Dhabi

In early April, I was admitted to NYU Shanghai and got flown to Shanghai (I guess, at this point, it goes without saying that it is, too, an all-expense-paid trip.) for its admitted students’ weekend. To call these trips life-changing isn’t an exaggeration at all – I was no longer this sheltered kid who has never been anywhere outside the Southeast Asia; I formed life-long friendships with truly exceptional people from Nepal, Hungary and the States; I started doing things outside my comfort zone like talking to random people in the airports and being blunter than usual in my admissions interviews; and the list goes on.

Why did you choose to apply to the US?

Because (a) it’s the only awesome country that has a liberal arts and sciences education system which allows me to major in academically-disparate combinations, like neuroscience and economics, and (b) the generous financial aid policy enables me to study in the States while paying what my parents would have paid had I studied in a private local institution.

Dorm in Rollins College

Why did you decide to be a part of USAPPS?

I learnt about terms like ED and CSS PROFILE when I attended my first USAPPS workshop in TCSJ in 2009 when I was 16 and clueless. I applied to American universities twice in a row (after failing to secure financial aid the first time) and I believe I couldn’t have done it without the support of one of the USAPPS facilitators. USAPPS has played a crucial role in my application(s) to the US and I hope, by volunteering as a facilitator, USAPPS continues to be of help to any prospective Malaysian applicants. Any financial aid applicants who have questions about minimizing your application costs, feel free to talk to me!