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Helpful tips about college admissions, test preparation and just being a better student, leader and person from ILUMIN Education.

ILUMIN's Scholarship Student >>>>> Chu Hui Fu

Elton Lin

Every year ILUMIN works with a small handful of bright, amazing students who do not have access to educational coaching services. We provide, at no charge to them, essay editing assistance, college list formation guidance and coaching throughout the admissions process. We had the privilege of working with a really amazing student from San Francisco named Chu Hui Fu.

We were extremely impressed and encouraged by her story as a recent immigrant to the United States. We know her hard work and passion will lead her to great success! Watch the video above and read the interview below - I know you'll be inspired. Thanks Chu Hui and good luck at Haverford!


Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m ChuHui Fu, a senior at Galileo High School. I was matched with Haverford College (PA) through QuestBridge. I am planning to major in chemistry, biochemistry or some other science. I love the gratification of getting stuck, and stuck and more stuck, then finally coming to a solution. When free, I enjoy long walks. Some of my obsessions include chocolate, mint, music boxes and mystery novels.

What was your biggest challenge when moving to America?

I immigrated from China four years ago, with limited English skills. But that wasn’t the biggest challenge. I found it most difficult to adjust to the cultural diversity here, which was initially intimidating. But after time, I've learned to move beyond the stereotypes and be more social with people from different backgrounds.

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What’s your proudest moment during high school?

I was most proud when I was accepted into the lab internship iCLEM (Introductory College Level Experience in Microbiology) because it was the first time I would work in an actual lab and because of the low acceptance rate. 

How did you discover your passion in science?

When I took biology, I was fascinated by genetics and cell divisions. See, in middle school, biology was just about memorization. I was never exposed to actual concepts, and that class was eye opening. Then I took chemistry, which I considered to be the first class besides math that made perfect sense to me. The labs were well-developed and filled with what my chemistry teacher called the "critical thinking questions.” At one point, I realized that I secretly wanted to mess up a lab just so I could redo it. That was probably when I discovered that I had a passion for science.

What advice would you give high school students to thrive in high school?

Explore the opportunities around you—both academic and extracurricular ones. Ask questions now when you don't understand something. If you don’t ask now, you won’t understand it any time soon. Also, join a club; be a part of something.   

What advice would you give to seniors applying to college?

Don't procrastinate until the last minute; don't start on your UC App at 11 pm on Nov. 30. It's going to be extremely stressful if you procrastinate. Apply to the scholarships that are available to you; it won’t hurt to have money in your pocket. 

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What did you struggle with most in high school?

I struggled the most in my U.S. History class because I had difficulty memorizing dates, places and people's names. Unlike mathematical formula that can be derived, these facts couldn’t be deduced or rationalized, so I could not remember them very well. 

What’s the key to your success?

I take advantage of the opportunities around me. There are many free programs, and when one interests me, I apply. By doing so, I was able to go on a backpacking trip and a community service trip, conduct research in a laboratory, and try out creative writing. And from these experiences, I became more self-aware, fearless and confident.

What’s the hardest part about the college app process?

The personal statement was the hardest for me because my initial draft was over two thousand words and it had to be reduced to five hundred words. Also, as I revised my personal statement more and more, I started losing the passion I initially felt, and I started doubting if it really mattered to me. I once heard “I write to understand what I think"--and that was the case for me.

How did we (ILUMIN) help you?

ILUMIN encouraged me to start researching private schools early in the fall, which allowed me to learn about different schools and helped me discover what type of college I wanted. ILUMIN also proofread my college apps and personal statements, providing very practical and straightforward feedback.