XLIS 2019 IBDP Graduate Shares Her Experiences

Miji Kim

2019 XLIS IBDP Graduate

She has received offers from:

New York University   
Queensland University  
University of Sydney 
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science

University of Indiana Bloomington

She moved to China in the year 2016. Her favorite food is Chinese Hot Pot, Chinese BBQ and everything Korean. 

I will be studying at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) located at Boston, MA. This university has amazing internship opportunities, study abroad programs and connections with different medical institutions located in the Longwood Medical Area in Boston. After graduation I will be following the 4+3 pathway provided by this university, which combines 4 years of undergraduate in both public health and pre-med that will prepare me to matriculate at St. George’s University Medical School.

——Miji Kim

Miji and XLIS

The past three years at XLIS has been such an eye-opening experience for me. I met so many people who provided meaning for my existence and allowed me to understand who I really am. I still remember the first day at XLIS for me. The first class that I had at XLIS was the Design Class. As soon as I entered, Mr. Glynn asked me what I wanted to make. Without much hesitation, I answered “a picture frame.” I didn’t know that was going to be my weeks-long project. I sometimes wish I had said something a bit simpler.

The most memorable memory I had at XLIS was definitely my service trip to Cambodia. At that time, I was extremely exhausted from the heavy load of academic work. My choice to go on the Week Without Walls Cambodia trip changed my life completely. There, I had the opportunity to reach out to a local primary school and work with other colleagues to improve the learning environment of the students. Although that was all the work we had to complete, their sanitary condition really worried me. They were drinking soda as if it were water. These issues that I noticed really made me want to major in Public Health so that I could identify the underlying health-related issues in a more professional manner with a more developed expertise.

Many teachers helped me get through my senioritis and the anxiety of final exams. Even when I felt like I was going to fall apart, I had teachers there to guide me. I am really going to miss many teachers whom I made emotional and personal connections with. At XLIS, I learned a lot of lessons – not only about academics but also life. With the wisdom shared, I am not scared to embark onto the next challenge that life has prepared for me. Surely, I won’t always be fully prepared but I will know how to persevere through thick and thin.

Miji's University Application Experience

The most important part about applying for university is knowing exactly what you want. 

This may sound very difficult, as some of you may not have decided on a specific career path. Some large universities have hundreds of majors to choose from, whereas some may have less. Yes, allocating time to understand what the university has to provide for you is extremely important. But I personally think the utmost important step in university application is understanding what interests you and what you want to study in preparation for your future. Use your secondary education as an opportunity for you to try different areas of study and discover what kinds of fields of study may be a good fit for you. University is an educational institution that helps you with your transition to the profession that you would like to pursue in the future.

Use the given resources wisely! 

We have amazing university counselors and BridgeU to help you with your admission. Of course, the counselors are busy! But keep sending them emails, schedule meetings, talk to them during university classes and reach out for help. You are not alone. Do not postpone your research. But do bear in mind that you have to do your research. Before reaching out for help, do know what you are looking for in a university.

When you choose universities, choose 2 top-notch options, 2 slight-reach options and 2 safety options. 

My personal take at university application is that 6 universities should be more than enough. Whereas applying to many universities to see whether you get accepted or not can act as a measure to evaluate your level, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of personal statements you have to write up and different examination requirements. If you are applying to more than necessary, that may just simply mean that you have not done your university research very well.

Standardized Tests to Prove Language Proficiency

With that being said, your application process will greatly differ depending on which country you are targeting. But as for international students whose first language is not English, standardized tests to prove the language proficiency is likely to be a MUST. As far as I know, most universities in the United States accept TOEFL scores and I used my TOEFL score for Australian University application as well. In contrast, many colleagues that applied to universities in UK took IELTS. Depending on the university you are applying to, the requirements may differ even further. Some may even require you to take SAT II subject tests and SAT Essay section. Therefore, try to fulfil these requirements well in advance so that you don’t have to be chased by standardized testing in your senior year.

IB Predicted Grades

Yes, this is what you apply to university with unless you are matriculating at a university as a domestic student to Australia. Therefore, maintaining a great performance in class is really important, as the teachers base your predicted grade on how you perform in different unit tests, exams, attitude, etc. By this, I am not telling you to be a teacher’s pet. They are objective people. They do not base your PG on how nice you are to the teachers. I mean that you need to show that you care about your academic success by submitting assignments on time and demonstrating attentive listening in class. But predicted grades is not the end of the story. If you received conditional offers, there will be a certain grade requirement that you need to meet in order to get the unconditional offer.

What makes you different from everyone else? 

Don’t forget to distinguish yourself from other candidates who are applying to the same university as you are. What makes you different from everyone else? Put yourself in the shoes of the university admissions officer. Imagine how many applications with the same grades and same activities list they receive: Orchestra, MUN, sports team, and everything else that everyone does. What makes you stand out in the pool of others with the same statistics? Think about what makes you special and the kinds of attributes that triggers the admissions team’s urge to offer admission to you. 

Miji's Perception of IBDP Curriculum

The load of work during the IB Diploma Programme can seem quite heavy. And yes, it indeed is. But if you don’t procrastinate and continue to persevere, you can do it. I am not going to say it is easy, but you can do it. Even I did it, now who can’t? Don’t be afraid to ask questions and continue to try until you make it.

Miji's Message

Never stop challenging yourselves against the enormously many uncertainties and ambiguities in life, for they allow you to push beyond the predestined capacity of human beings. Sometimes, life can be harder than you expect, and you may so desperately want to give up. Trust me, that has happened to me before. If the past Miji gave up at that time, I wouldn’t be who I am now. Have confidence in yourself and work hard. Don’t ask for luck, when you are not prepared. That is not called ‘confidence’. That is called ‘false hope’. It may sound harsh, but that is the truth. If the truth hurts, fix yourself so that it no longer hurts. We can all do this.