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Man you sound like me 15 years ago :) I am Chinese American, got almost perfect SAT scores, top of my class, etc. I got rejected from all the schools Asian parents like (Harvard, MIT, I think Yale, etc.)

I ended up going to Cornell (I think my other choices were UPenn and CMU). Anyway, it ended up great. There were tons of things that interested me in school; I got very high grades but didn't concentrate on them. I played in bands and partied. I developed a reputation for being the guy who stayed out all night and still got 100 on all the tests people were cramming for. There is freedom in not trying to compete with others.

Like everyone, I had some rough years after college, but with a decade of hindsight it all turned out great. I also did better on the Asian parent metric of making more money than peers who went to Harvard, etc. I think it was mainly by valuing honest work (i.e. problems people actually have) rather than working on things that are supposed to be hard or prestigious. If you follow the advice of a lot of Asian parents, you'll end up working hard and not smart.

It sounds like you have a great head on your shoulders, and a great outlook on the situation, so good luck to you!




Cornell is a great school. There are certainly easy majors and easy courses available, but I was able to find courses that would kick my ass, and made lifelong friends with people who were hard working and incredibly bright.

Getting into college is only the starting point; the key is to find a place where you have room to grow and that will challenge you, and where there is an overall good work ethic. Those are the things that will really determine your trajectory later in life.


Yeah, I also meant to say that one of the things I appreciated most about Cornell is that, unlike almost all prestigious schools, it is outside the normal "east coast metro area" mentality (i.e. Boston - NY - DC).

Alan Kay (who I previously bashed here) has said "perspective is worth 80 IQ points" and that definitely applies to your education.


LOL only in asianparentland does cornell count as some kind of consolation prize.




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