For Andi Zhou ’09, Yale Dream Comes True

With one click, Andi Zhou ’09 saw four years of opportunity open for him. Zhou received his acceptance into Yale University’s class of 2013 by accessing a link to his online decision at home on December 15. “I was clicking the page where the link would be, and suddenly it went live, right after my grandma handed me a bowl of grapes. It took me to a page that said ‘Congrats Yale Class of 2013,’ and it was playing some Yale fight song or something,” Zhou said. “‘How’d I do that?’ was my first thought,” said Zhou on his acceptance. “You know, in a good way.” Zhou later received a more formal package in the mail that included additional information and a felt pennant. The news came while Zhou’s mother, grandmother and sister were all home. After telling them, Zhou called his father at work. Zhou said his family was “ecstatic” after hearing the news. According to Zhou, his dad was nervous about the application being perfect. “He checked through everything, and found things that I wouldn’t necessarily have picked up on,” Zhou said. “If he felt strongly about something in there, I went with him on it. He had the final say.” In addition to his close friends and family, Zhou quickly told his advisor, Dr. Vincent Avery, Instructor in Religion and Philosophy Studies, college counselor, Karina Hernandez-Guarniz, and the teachers who wrote recommendations for him about his acceptance. Although Zhou said he did not want to keep his acceptance secret, he said he was less forthcoming than his father. “He told anyone who would listen that I got in to Yale,” he said. Zhou is still planning to apply to two other schools, Harvard College and Stanford University. Zhou said, “I know the most about Yale and Harvard. If it comes to it, I’m going to have to learn more about Stanford before I make the final decision.” Zhou has toured Yale and Harvard and gone to informational sessions for both, but he has not yet been to Stanford. All three schools offer the majors and classes he is hoping to take. In Zhou’s last interview, he expressed an interest in pursuing a double major in music and “something like international relations.” Zhou’s parents went to school in China, and Zhou is the oldest child in his family; this was their first time through the American college application process. He said earlier in the year that although his parents “would like me to go to an esteemed university like Yale, they understand that they are learning about the [college] process along with me.” “It’s the best possible outcome that could have happened so far, so they couldn’t be happier,” said Zhou. Zhou, as many others did, chose to communicate his acceptance via Facebook. While other peoples’ methods ranged from a simple “2013” in their status to a screenshot of the webpage showing their acceptance, Zhou’s status read “I got into college” in Chinese. “A few people picked up on it, and it just trickled down from there,” Zhou said of the method. Zhou does not think he will succumb to “senioritis,” even after being accepted to a top school. “It’s not in my nature to slack off, I’ll definitely keep up my grades, and I’ll certainly be practicing [piano] as much as ever. That’s not something you can do halfway.” Zhou said he who hopes to continue playing and studying piano and music throughout college. On the road ahead, Zhou said, “Well, I got in to college, so now all I have to do is graduate.”