D. Sen currently attends UNC-Chapel Hill as a student of the Kenan-Flagler Business School ('24). She was a National Merit Scholar, the president of DECA and Spanish Club in high school, received a 36 on the ACT, won international and state DECA awards, and received 4s and 5s on all 13 of her AP courses.
This is the third part in a 3-part series featuring D. Sen's advice and experience.
Important things D. Sen shares:
"Generally speaking though, I maintained balance whenever possible by planning ahead and making sure to clearly communicate with anyone who was expecting me (teachers, coaches, teammates) to make things work."
"The one thing I tried not to sacrifice was spending time with family and friends and taking the time to be a teenager. All of these other things are important, but in the goal of making a life for yourself, it’s important that you don’t forget to live."
Q: You ranked in the top 3%. How were you able to balance such a huge course load? In other words, what did you have to sacrifice?
A: Mostly, I sacrificed a lot of sleep. I also didn’t have the time to be able to have a part-time job, which a lot of my peers did, because of the combination of course load and extracurriculars. Sometimes various extracurriculars conflicted with each other, and I had to choose which was more important to me. Generally speaking though, I maintained balance whenever possible by planning ahead and making sure to clearly communicate with anyone who was expecting me (teachers, coaches, teammates) to make things work. The one thing I tried not to sacrifice was spending time with family and friends and taking the time to be a teenager. All of these other things are important, but in the goal of making a life for yourself, it’s important that you don’t forget to live.
Q: How did you handle teachers that weren’t putting effort into their job or didn’t have the knowledge to teach a course?
A: This is an interesting question because it’s so different between high school and college. In high school, when a teacher was less knowledgeable about a subject, I did what I could within my own scope to participate in the class, turn in assignments, do well on tests, etc. but did not concern myself with doing everything perfectly or to my full capability. In college, when I’ve been let down by a teaching experience, I’ve had to take more responsibility for the issue and made sure to learn the content in whatever way I could, even if the teacher was not providing what I was looking for.
Q: Which AP classes did you choose? Why?
A: I took AP Psychology, World History, Computer Science Principles, Environmental Science, Macroeconomics, English Language and Composition, Comparative Government and Politics, US History, Biology, English Literature, Spanish Language and Culture, US Government and Politics, and Calculus AB and BC. Most of these were chosen simply because of what my school happened to offer, but others were things I was genuinely interested in. Taking AP Spanish allowed me to receive college foreign language credit, AP Bio gave me a science lab credit, and Calculus was helpful directly towards my major. Economics and Government essentially became my major and minor, so these classes helped me explore what I loved.
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