"For the first time in my life so far, I was pushed to consider why I did things, as opposed to how I did things."
- D. S., 12th Grade Student, TJHSST
"From my very first meeting with Dr. Wu and her team, they pushed me to delve beneath the surface of my identity. For the first time in my life so far, I was pushed to consider why I did things, as opposed to how I did things. To be honest, I didn’t have a clear conception of my identity as an individual or what I wanted from a college education. I had a long way to go.
Most of our meetings were spent on visualizing our thoughts on the board. My advisor asked me about my extracurriculars, academic interests, and eventually pieced together a bubbled-tree of me. Then, she began asking more targeted questions about my activities: “what makes the sport you play appealing to you?” and “why do you think you used to behave that way?”. With time, she helped me find a common thread throughout all of my activities. An ability to empathize well with others and a love for connecting people. Through all this brainstorming, I could finally answer the why question and begin writing.
My first draft was not the best. My second draft was not much better. I was losing motivation and getting more frustrated, but my advisor urged me to keep going. We kept at it and refining my ideas and writing. Through this process, I learned that I have a tendency to get lost in the weeds and become easily entrenched in the smallest details. My advisor advised me to always “look beyond just the trees and see the entire forest”. With our weekly meetings, and consistent guidance from my advisor and the Veritas team, I answered the prompts with detail, genuineness, and clear indications of careful research.
Next came the interviewing process. I had only a couple interviews under my belt at this point, but had performed well in the past, so I thought I would be okay. After my first mock interview, it was obvious I was not. Once again, my answers were too scattered and needed a bigger theme. The Veritas Team even researched the background of my interviewer and created a mock interview scenario at the Veritas office while acting as my interviewer might have. My advisor incredible quick thinking and purposeful pushing of me outside my comfort zone allowed me to develop an ability to think on my feet.
I am so incredibly grateful for the Veritas team and their incredible dedication towards helping young people like myself find their way through the maze of the college application process. With years of experience and a patient nature, the team's approach allows you to explore who you are and what makes you unique. I would strongly recommend the Veritas Team's college application service to anyone applying for college with a desire to understand themselves better."
- Parent of 12th Grade Student, TJHSST
Accepted into Yale University
"I have a 2019 High School graduate. On April 15th 2018, I went to Marshall High School and attended the Veritas Team’s workshop: Path to Your Dream School. The presentation slides that the team prepared were very detailed and convinced me that my daughter should seek their professional guidance for the college application process.
Dr. Wu and her team are down to earth and so easy to talk to. The meetings were always in an environment that was comfortable and allowed us to speak our minds. They welcomed all questions that students or parents had and patiently listened and provided her professional opinions. The whole process took place so naturally and led the student to self-discovery on a deeper level."
- J. G., 12th Grade Student, McLean High School
"I think the most effective part about the essay brainstorming session we had was how you were able to draw my most redeeming qualities out and verbalize them for my understanding so I could figure out what I should write about in my essays. In particular, I was very impressed by how you were able to determine that one of my best characteristics is my ability to "observe" after I discussed my experience with Facebook and how annoyed I got with irrational people in the comments. The "observance" in me that you noticed was something that I was actually thinking about for a very long time but I never thought to include it in my essays.
From there on, you helped me effectively focus my essays on my tendency to rationalize everything to gain a greater understanding of people and make non-biased judgments, which is a trait that accurately represents me and demonstrates a strong characteristic to colleges. The essays that I wrote for my early action schools were just "ok," but I never considered them a strong part of my application, nor an accurate representation of myself. However, I thoroughly believe that with your help, I was able to craft essays that effectively presented my true character to colleges. Thanks to your essay revision and brainstorming process, I was able to submit essays that I could be proud of!
– J. S., 11th Grade Student, Mercersburg Academy
I began working with the Veritas team in my ninth grade year while applying to private high schools for tenth grade. As a freshman, the prospect of going through a process usually faced by high school seniors was extremely daunting, if not downright terrifying. Winter, the height of application season, brought a jumble of stress and nerves. But Dr. Wu and her team was there throughout the whole process to give me advice and guide me through the steps of the application process. As an introvert, I was most worried about interviews. They were a new concept for me, and I wasn’t sure how to begin opening myself up to strangers, but the constant training got me through.
Fast forward a year or so, and I’m once again beginning to work with the Veritas team—this time for college applications. As I am currently in my eleventh grade year, our work together has primarily centered more on self-discovery rather than on the more logistical parts of college applications, such as creating a list or preparing for interviews, although that is in the near future. The school readiness pyramid developed by Veritas has helped me delve into who I am, what I’m good at, and what I need to work on. The past few months, I’ve probably learned more new things about myself than I thought possible for a sixteen-year-old. We spoke about my values, talents, and passions; I’ve known for a while that I want my future education and career to involve the STEM field, but I only realized recently that what I truly want is to harness my interests to help other people. I may have never realized that with such clarity without the help from the team.
The length of time I’ve worked with the team has definitely helped them get a good grasp of who I am so that they can help me in my college search to the best of their ability. But really, Dr. Wu and her team know how to ask just the right questions. And when you answer, you might be unlocking some unknown part of yourself.
- A. Z., 12th Grade Student, McLean High School
Accepted into Yale University
"Through my conversations with Dr. Wu and The Veritas Team, I’ve learned more about myself – what makes me unique – than I had every realized.
Discussing about my college application allowed me to distinguish my “spike” as a communicator, as someone who can connect with others to build strong relationships. We discussed both my extracurricular activities, which were composed mostly of activities that required in-person collaboration with others (e.g. tutoring underclassmen at my high school in math and chemistry, collaborating with other science enthusiasts in Science Olympiad challenges, etc.), and my day-to-day interactions with my family, friends, and peers. And because of the increasing importance of standing out in applicant pools of several thousands nowadays, identifying my spike was absolutely essential for building a strong, centralized application.
My new understanding of what makes me unique extends beyond college applications, though. There seems to be an assumption among people that because you are you, you should already know everything there is to know about yourself. However, as I have learned over the course of initially struggling to put my ability to connect with others – something that I felt was just came “naturally” – into words to explain why I have a strength in this particular aspect, this assumption couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, understanding yourself can be one of the most challenging yet enlightening aspects of life, which is why I found my experiences talking with my advisor about my essay revisions, interview training, and my application as a whole particularly valuable to my self-discovery."
- C. S., 12th Grade Student, McLean High School
Accepted into Georgetown University
"Dr. Wu and The Veritas Team's program helped me discover my own voice while writing college application essays. While in the beginning, I couldn’t think of a coherent story to write for the common app essay, after brainstorming together with my advisor, I discovered themes that were prominent throughout my high school experience. In our subsequent lessons, I learned to connect those themes of my life - club activities, cultural experiences, and personal growths - in a logical manner, and present them as a story. After writing the story, I felt as if I gained a much more clearer picture of myself, which I believe is the most important takeaway.
For my other essays that I had even less ideas for, My advisor assisted me as well. I wasn’t confident at first because I thought I ran out of good ideas, but discussions with my advisor reassured me that there are lots of things I could write about. My advisor tried to understand me as a person, and when I thought my ideas were not good enough, we developed them into great essays. I’m very grateful that I found Veritas. Beside revising my essay for grammatical errors and simpler language, my advisor put a significant emphasis on advising me. She spent a lot of time understanding my experiences, and her understanding helped me discover essay ideas that I was excited to write about. As a result, I wrote every single one of my essays with authentic emotion and reflection."
- E. S., 12th Grade Student, TJHSST
Accepted into Duke, CMU-CS, UC-Berkeley
"Dr. Wu and her team were crucial mentors for me during the college admissions process. They guided me to acquire the most important skill in college admissions: self-reflection. Self-reflection sounded simple at first, but as I began to write essays I found it to be a dramatically foreign concept. Given my loyalties in STEM, I’d grown to become fixated on the technical. I was walking down the path of presenting myself as a boring applicant, despite the complexities of my high school experience.
My advisor led me onto the right track, pushing me to free my thinking and broaden my perspectives: I became highly reflective.
Brainstorming was an intricate journey through my life experiences. My advisor asked me countless purposeful questions about myself to construct the significant components of my identity. She used whiteboard visualizations to help me discover connections between these components to strengthen my story. Without my meetings with my advisor, I’d have glossed over and likely missed important qualitative details about my own self. With the strong personal foundation we built while brainstorming, my advisor helped me stand out as a truly unique applicant by deriving the best presentation of my experiences and achievements.
Through the process, I was directed to explore the fundamental purposes of my pursuits, asking the simple but difficult question of “why”? My advisor engaged me to adopt a creative and introspective mindset while writing essays, which taught me to consider the impact of my high school experiences, as well as how they best applied to each college I applied to. The Veritas team was incredibly dedicated experts: bringing new ideas to each meeting, tirelessly seeking essay improvements, and even texting tips through the day. Working with them was both enjoyable and productive, and thanks to their help, I was able to paint a comprehensive portrait of who I am through my college application.
One thing I worried about a lot was the college interview. I’m an introvert with strangers, and I didn’t have much hope for my interviews: as expected, my first practice interview was a disaster. My advisor immediately took steps to address my weaknesses. She taught me to think as an interviewer to anticipate questions and prepare the most engaging responses. Session after session, I was pushed out of my comfort zone by her creative mix of interview questions to tackle the tricky questions I dreaded. Through the process, I learned valuable communication strategies, enabling me to transform a catch-you-off-guard question like “Do you like barbecues?” into a conversation about my extracurricular passions. My real interview was a success I previously couldn’t have imagined – these skills I’ve learned will benefit me in the years to come.
I am extremely thankful to have had the mentorship of my advisor and the Veritas team in navigating the college admissions process. Their guidance and support helped me garner a better understanding of myself and drove me to craft the best application I could. I strongly recommend their services to every student seeking to learn deeper about themselves to present the absolute best of themselves to colleges."
- Parent of a 12th grade student, McLean High School
"Dr. Wu, I know my son already told you while we were still abroad that he is admitted to Yale University. I want to personally write you to express my appreciation for all the advice you gave him. Specifically, the multicultural STEM tutoring engagement in the summer helped build his sense of social responsibility and leadership skill besides the tangible effect they made on bringing out those disadvantaged students' interest in STEM. I can't say enough about the importance of that effort from every aspect, from its larger societal good to the specific benefit to the tutors and tutees. Your vision, heart felt passion and unparalleled ability in the program execution made all of it possible. That experience shaped my son's character and the inclusion of the experience played an important role in his college application. Thank you!
You are definitely well suited for the job, caring, loving, knowledgeable, highly qualified. As a parent, I sincerely appreciate what you did with my children. Thank you."
Hear what students are saying about our Enrichment Courses!