September 28, 2021

How College Bound Academy helped me overcome self-doubt and realize my potential

Currently a senior at John F. Kennedy High School, 16-year Christian Seong has a lot on his plate – and he likes it that way. When he’s not spending his free time thrift shopping or drawing, Christian keeps himself active and involved at school, and currently serves as the Associated Student Body President. Christian is also the Program Choir President of the Kennedy Singers and the co-President/co-Founder of the Humanitarian Resource Association as well as the John F. Kennedy High School Humanitarian Resource Association Branch Club. This summer, Christian participated in TGR Foundation’s virtual College Bound Academy (CBA) program, where he received the college guidance and support he was looking for. Read more about his experience with CBA.

TGR Foundation: How would you describe your experience with College Bound Academy?

Christian Seong: My experience with College Bound Academy has, without a doubt, been so insightful and overall just an incredible opportunity that I am so grateful to have had the pleasure to be a part of.

Throughout the duration of CBA and beyond, the facilitators did a phenomenal job communicating to us when specific workshops were being held and informing us of when additional resources were inputted into the Google Classroom. On a personal level, the facilitators exhibited incredible kindness and patience, consistently providing us with opportunities to not only learn more about the preparation process for college but also to network and converse with actual college admissions officers.

TGRF: Do you have a memorable experience or something you learned during College Bound Academy?

CS: One memorable experience that stands out was when the facilitators introduced us to the Feeling and Needs activity on the fourth day of CBA, devoted to learning about the Personal Statement. As part of the activity, we created six boxes on a piece of paper where each box consisted of a task that was directly correlated with the previous box and went as followed:

  • List three positive/negative experiences.
  • What was the effect it had on you?
  • What were you feeling in those moments?
  • What did you need in that moment?
  • What did you do/should you have done during that experience to meet those needs?
  • What did you learn from it?
  • Would you have done something differently?

Upon first impression of this activity, I was mortified. Despite being aware that I had signed up for a college application preparatory workshop and the idea of practicing writing a personal statement was something that was nothing short of logical and useful in the context of the workshop, the idea of writing a personal statement filled me with fear.

Prior to this activity, I had not taken any tangible steps toward immersing myself in brainstorming personal statement ideas and had just jotted down any ideas that came up every now and then. The reality was I had become consumed by doubt and fear when even taking the slightest steps toward trying to write my personal statement.

These fears translated over to the moments before the CBA facilitators engaged us with the Feeling and Needs activity and truthfully, my fear did cause me to consider turning off my camera and not participate in the activity.

Ultimately, I pushed myself to engage in the activity and I am incredibly grateful that I did. The Feeling and Needs activity was more than just an activity with which I was able to brainstorm potential personal statement ideas; it helped me overcome the initial fears that came with the college application process as a whole and in a way, humanized the college application process.

For such a long time, I had felt as though none of my life experiences could amount to being “personal statement worthy” and constantly felt a pressure to go through an extremely life-shifting experience to get into ideal colleges. After working on the Feeling and Needs activity, I have come to realize that is not the case whatsoever and my experiences have immeasurable value and potential to create an amazing college personal statement.

TGRF: What are your college and career aspirations?

CS: While I do not have a dream college in mind nor a specific career in mind to pursue, I am interested in joining the social media/business fields and learning more about those industries in college.

TGRF: What would it mean to you and your family for you to attend and graduate from college?

CS: Attending and graduating college to me would mean being able to create invaluable memories and learn lifelong lessons that will help shape me into the person that I was meant to be. Coming from a family who has always believed in me and has provided me with unlimited support to pursue my passions, attending and graduating college would be honoring the faith and trust that my family has placed in me in pursuing my passions along with honoring the countless sacrifices that my family has undergone to provide for me.


TGRF: How has College Bound Academy helped you on your journey to college?

CS: College Bound Academy has helped me with my college application journey in a variety of different ways, with one main contribution being the countless resources and opportunities that I have been able to take advantage of. The CBA facilitators set up a Google Classroom consisting of a variety of different resources regarding all things college for us to use both during College Bound Academy as well as in the future. From a Google slide presentation filled with various links ranging from scholarship opportunities to fly-in programs to links to common application assistance workshops, the resources provided through CBA have proven to be invaluable to my college application process.

Building student success for 25 years.


College Bound Academy is supported through funding from our generous partners at Bank of America, the Anaheim Community Foundation, the Clyde W. and Joan A. Hampton Foundation, The Pacific Life Foundation, and The Boeing Company. Click here to learn more or visit TGR