December 3, 2022

Incoming Harvard College freshman Albert Choi will get congratulated by the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea in Washington D.C. (Courtesy of Albert Choi/South Korean Embassy)

Albert Choi at the Korea Times headquarters in Los Angeles (Angelina Widener/Korea Times)

Albert Choi on the Korea Instances headquarters in Los Angeles (Angelina Widener/Korea Instances)

By Brian Han

Incoming Harvard College freshman Albert Choi developed an odd every day routine that he says could have helped him excel in highschool.

“In the course of my junior yr I developed this bizarre schedule the place I used to be so drained from soccer follow that I’d get residence, bathe, sleep after which get up at 3 a.m. each morning and simply do all my homework,” he stated. “Nobody else is awake then so there have been by no means any distractions.”

Who is aware of? Possibly that’s the key to unlocking one’s tutorial potential.

Effectively. In all probability not.

Nevertheless it does reveal one thing very important about Choi’s success. He’s not afraid to attempt issues otherwise — one thing that applies to a number of facets of his life.

Even so, he did fall into sure Asian American stereotypes.

Choi considered school admissions as early because the seventh grade. He was taught to carry take a look at scores paramount and excelled in each math and science. He turned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

These qualities should not disadvantageous by any means, however within the school admissions course of, it could actually get an applicant misplaced in a sea of very comparable people.

“Rising up, there was this joke that I match that Asian stereotype completely,” Choi recalled. “And despite the fact that it was a joke, it actually bought me fascinated by who I used to be.”

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It was then that he determined to reinvent himself.

His first try was attempting out for the soccer group in center faculty — an unusual sport of alternative for Asian People.

“I by no means would have thought I used to be going to be a soccer participant, however I simply figured why not?” he stated.

The game turned a therapeutic escape from the every day stresses of a teenage scholar with ideas of school continually looming.

It additionally put him in contact with different college students of various socioeconomic backgrounds with whom he would have by no means socialized in any other case.

“I met one among my greatest buddies, Desmond, who lives in Inglewood,” Choi recollects referring to a extra urbanized a part of Los Angeles. “I had by no means met anybody from Inglewood earlier than and I began visiting him each weekend. It opened me as much as this complete new world that I had by no means seen earlier than.”

The expertise knowledgeable a brand new philosophy that he believes helped him develop into an individual that elite faculties have been very happy to confess.

“My largest factor is to thrust myself into uncomfortable conditions so I can study and develop from them,” he stated.

What resulted was a domino impact.

Choi determined to start out writing poetry and took a philosophy course that may grow to be his most gratifying tutorial expertise but.

He now had the boldness to run for scholar council and by his senior yr he was each captain of the soccer group and a part of the prefect council.

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“I’m not essentially the most athletic individual by any means, however I actually devoted myself to the game and my teammates responded properly to that,” he stated.

Choi believes that too many college students focus a lot on crafting a picture of themselves that they consider elite faculties need to see, however fail to understand what is correct in entrance of them.

“I feel the problem with a whole lot of college students is that every one their effort is directed in the direction of stepping into school, however the thought of spending all 4 years of highschool for the only objective of stepping into school is a little bit absurd to me,” he stated. “You’ve set to work onerous, however attempt to get pleasure from your self alongside the best way.”

It’s not as if Choi distanced himself from his roots although.

He nonetheless takes each alternative to have fun his heritage and offers credit score for his 4.41 GPA and ideal SAT rating to the work ethic instilled in him when he was youthful.

He was additionally accepted to Stanford College, however finally selected Harvard the place he plans to main in both philosophy or english whereas additionally fulfilling his premed necessities.

He most not too long ago traveled to Washington D.C. to be inducted into the Presidential Students program sponsored by the U.S. Division of Training. Roughly 100 college students have been chosen from across the nation to attend the occasion.