college application: Ryan Li

Overview: Client Success Stories 

We’re back with another chapter in our Client Success Stories. In this series, we feature CollegeAdvisor students who used our expert college application help to successfully navigate the college admissions journey and achieve their college dreams. 

In our Client Success Stories, we interview our past clients to learn more about how CollegeAdvisor helped them throughout their college application journey. We talk about how our advisors helped them build their college lists, prepared their personal statements for college, and apply for financial aid

We’ll also share the advice that helped them the most as they completed their college applications. 

Our CollegeAdvisor Client Success Stories and the positive feedback we receive remind us of the importance of our work. Our mission is to empower students of all backgrounds to achieve their college dreams. We hope that our CollegeAdvisor Client Success Stories inspire you as you start your college lists, write your personal essays, and more. 

Introducing Ryan Li

For this article, we spoke to an exceptional student: Ryan Li. Ryan was accepted into the CollegeAdvisor Scholars Program. He received one-on-one college help as he went through his college application journey. 

This article focuses on what attracted Ryan to CollegeAdvisor and how he was matched with the perfect advisor to help him navigate the college application process. It highlights Ryan’s background, academic interests, and the guidance his advisor gave him that helped him the most. 

This article also focuses on Ryan’s admission results, summer internship, and advice for other high school students starting college application season. 

Before we jump in to learn more about his experience with CollegeAdvisor, let’s get to know Ryan! 

Getting to know Ryan 

Like many students, Ryan carefully balanced his academics and extracurricular involvements in high school. He was particularly interested in math, which helped inform his choice of major in college. In terms of extracurricular activities, Ryan participated in athletics as well as student clubs and national organizations. 

“I was pretty good at math,” Ryan told us. “And for extracurriculars, I did cross country, wrestling, swimming, and a couple clubs like key club and National Honor Society.” 

Why was Ryan attracted to CollegeAdvisor? 

Even though Ryan could manage his academics and involvements, he realized that he needed some extra help as college application season drew near. As he was searching for college application help and essay editing services, he came across CollegeAdvisor

“I was looking for some help on my college essay,” Ryan remembered, “I think I was just doing some research online and I came across you guys.”

Ryan was intrigued by the personalized college admissions advising that CollegeAdvisor offers. In addition to college application help, CollegeAdvisor’s network of 300+ admissions experts and former admissions officers are well-versed in helping students brainstorm and edit their college essays, build their college lists, and apply for financial aid

Ryan joined CollegeAdvisor and was soon matched with an advisor who complimented his unique background, interests, and college goals. 

Matching with an Advisor 

Before starting the college application process, Ryan needed to be matched with a college advisor. We asked Ryan to describe the matching process. 

“They had us do a little form to see our preferences and our family situation,” Ryan recalled. “My family speaks Chinese, and I put that in and they matched me with an advisor who speaks Chinese too,” Ryan said. 

Our form asks students to provide information about their background and interests, so that they can be matched with the perfect advisor to suit their individual needs and goals. 

Once Ryan was matched with his advisor, they began working together on each piece of the college admissions process. Ryan and his advisor met often and worked on everything from college essays to figuring out some best-fit colleges.

What was the hardest part of applying to college? 

The college application process can be overwhelming for students. Now that Ryan is on the other side, we asked him to describe the hardest part of applying to college. 

“Definitely the waiting part,” Ryan said. Ryan’s right – waiting to receive your college acceptance letter can feel nerve-wracking!

Most colleges will notify students of their admissions decisions based on when they applied. If you applied through the Early Action or Early Decision cycles, you could expect your college acceptance letter to come early, often by December. If you applied under Regular Decision, you will receive your admissions decision in late-March or early-April. 

Additionally, Ryan also identified the college essay writing process as another hard part of applying to college. “I’d say just continuously doing revisions on your essays…that gets pretty…tedious,” Ryan shared. 

How did Ryan’s advisor help him overcome the challenges? 

Working closely with his advisor throughout the college application process helped Ryan overcome these challenges. Ryan and his advisor spent most of their time together working to perfect Ryan’s college essays.  

While Ryan crafted his personal statement for college, Ryan’s advisor shared what admissions officers are looking for as they read applicants’ essays.  “He told me a lot about what the admissions people wanted,” Ryan told us. 

“They want an essay that’s more unique. I first started off [my] essays talking about just mindset. But from what I was told, a majority of people also [write about] that, so I had to write about something else,” Ryan said. 

Besides giving insight into what college admissions officers are looking for, Ryan’s advisor also helped him craft and edit his college essays. “He helped me with my essays, did some revisions, and I learned how to write better essays,” Ryan shared.

Ryan’s admission results and the road ahead

Once Ryan’s college essays were complete, he focused on submitting all his college applications. In total, Ryan applied to nine colleges and universities. 

“I applied to UCLA, UC Berkeley, West Point, Air Force Academy, Naval AcademyUC Irvine and UC San Diego. And for my safeties, I applied to California State University Fullerton and Cal Poly Pomona,” Ryan told us. 

As for his admissions decisions, Ryan was accepted into two colleges and waitlisted at one. “I got into my two safeties, and I got waitlisted for [UC] San Diego,” Ryan shared. “I didn’t get into any of my target schools or goal schools…but this year was pretty tough,” Ryan said. 

Ryan weighed his admissions decisions in order to choose where to enroll. Ultimately, Ryan decided to attend Cal Poly Pomona in the fall. “I’m going to Cal Poly Pomona!” 

Congratulations, Ryan! 

What will Ryan major in at Cal Poly Pomona? 

Before we jump into what Ryan will major in at Cal Poly Pomona, let’s learn more about the university. It is ranked #14 in U.S. News’ 2022 edition of Best Colleges of Regional Universities West. College rankings are decided based on a variety of factors, including academics, campus culture, graduation statistics, etc. 

Cal Poly Pomona is one of only seven polytechnic universities in the nation. Students that attend can engage in hands-on projects, collaborate on research, and participate in internships and service-learning programs. 

All these factors helped Ryan decide that Cal Poly Pomona was the place for him. We asked Ryan what he plans to major in once he gets to Cal Poly Pomona in the fall. “I’m majoring [in] mechanical engineering,” Ryan told us. “I actually got an internship for mechanical engineering too, so I’m doing that right now.” 

Ryan chose his major when he applied for an ROTC scholarship. “They had me require a major, so I chose mechanical engineering cause I was pretty good at math.”

He hopes that his degree will help him achieve his career goals to “[be] an engineer officer for the army and later on, probably create a few businesses”. 

If you are also interested in pursuing an engineering major in college, check out our guide to discover the top engineering colleges

Ryan’s summer internship & advice for others 

Summer opportunities and internships are a great option to help you determine your interests and passions or gain experience in your future career field. Summer internships can also give you insight into different career paths, which can help you prepare for life after college. Ryan’s summer internship is related to his academic major in mechanical engineering. 

“I intern in downtown LA right now for a company called Orbit Industries,” Ryan told us. “It’s an electronic manufacturing company. I learned a lot of hands-on stuff [already].” 

Ryan went on to describe a typical day at his summer internship. “So basically, I just go there during work,” Ryan told us. “I take the public bus, it’s over an hour away from home…I get there at ten, I leave at four. And it’s been pretty cool.” 

We asked Ryan what advice he had for other students interested in finding a summer internship opportunity. “Definitely just put yourself out there,” Ryan said. “Create a LinkedIn. If there’s any public events, or if there’s anything you’re invited to like banquets… just go [and] put yourself out there.” 

Ryan landed his summer internship by attending a sponsored banquet. “That’s how I got the internship,” Ryan told us.

Ryan has another piece of advice for students interested in summer opportunities: focus on connecting with like-minded individuals within your chosen field. 

“Make connections,” Ryan advised, “that’s how you grow your network.” 

Advice for future college applicants

Now that Ryan is on the other side of the college application process, we asked him to tell us about his personal advice for future college applicants. 

“Definitely do your research,” Ryan said. “Beforehand, I thought I already knew what colleges I wanted to apply to, but [then] I learned about Cal State Long Beach. I didn’t even know that was a college [option] until after…so definitely just do some more research about colleges.” 

Additionally, Ryan advises future college applicants to work closely with and listen to their college advisor, particularly through the essay editing process. 

“Your advisor is really knowledgeable,” Ryan mentioned, “so make sure you listen to them and work on those corrections. They may seem repetitive or boring, but it’s gonna help you in the end.”

Why CollegeAdvisor? 

“So, if you’re debating on whether or not CollegeAdvisor is good for you – the best case scenario [is] you get into your dream school. Worst case scenario – you come out as a better writer,” Ryan shared. 

If you are wondering how to get into Cal Poly Pomona or any other top school, we’ve got you covered. When you register with, you will receive personalized college admission advice on every aspect of the college application process. This includes access to our essay guides, webinars, and so much more! 

Wondering if is right for you? Our reviews speak for themselves. As our reviews show, our students benefit from our college application help and are regularly accepted to Ivy League and Top 50 colleges and universities.

college admission advice

This Client Success Story was written by Claire Babbs and based on an interview with Ryan Li. Ryan connected to us for help with his college applications. If you are also looking for assistance with your college applications and are interested in working with a Admissions Expert, register with today.