• Lisa Perkins

Julian Huang's Road to University of Texas - Austin

Updated: Jun 26, 2019

Over the last generation, college admittance has become exponentially more challenging. The process is difficult to navigate, the scores required are increasing, and the list of extra-curricular activities seems to be growing longer. Students must now not only have a GPA higher than the previously perfect 4.0, they must also have stellar SAT/ACT scores, and a hefty resume of non-academic experiences. It is from this that the idea of the well-rounded student developed. But, what happens when you lose air while trying to inflate to such roundness? The answer - you seek help. And that is why Avant Garde - College Prep Services is here.

Julian, with his mother, sister Iris, and father.

Julian Huang is just such a student. Now a class of 2019 graduate of College Station High School, Julian spent his high school years immersing himself in everything from cello to robotics. Already you can see the balance of left-brain and right-brain, the dance of musical education and intense STEM studies. This heavy extra-curricular schedule improved Julian as a well-rounded student, but left him with a graduation percentage of top 25%, instead of the 6% now required for automatic admission to his dream school of The University of Texas - Austin.

Julian with his Robotics team from College Station High School

Julian worked with Avant Garde - College Prep Services to elevate his ACT score to strengthen his application profile. And he was more than successful. Julian studied diligently, asked the right questions, and fought through difficult ACT passages. The result was a stellar 35 composite score out of 36.

Julian’s reward for this extra work (on top of his advanced academics at CSHS, and orchestra duties, and robotics competitions) was acceptance to UT - Austin through their review process. Only around 12% of review applications are accepted through this process. In addition to acceptance to UT - Austin, where he will study Biology, Julian was also awarded acceptance to the Freshman Research Initiative (FRI), where he will have a position upon enrollment. Before even beginning his official college career, Julian completed a six-week research opportunity through UT - Austin and was also been offered multiple research opportunities through Duke’s TIP program. The six-week program at UT, in the summer of 2018, was made possible through Julian’s previous TIP experiences, and according to Wave Lin Huang, Julian’s mother, was nurtured along by Avant Garde’s Robb Jenson. Mrs. Huang said that Robb walked Julian through the entire application process, and she believes it was Julian’s participation in this research experience that solidified his place at UT - Austin, once scores were in order.

Julian poses with a token of proof that his hard work paid off.

After completing his undergraduate work in Biology, Julian hopes to pursue a graduate degree and a career in genetic engineering, either in academia or the private sector. Julian says he is interested in genetic engineering because of how novel the science is. “Genetic engineering is so unexplored compared to other fields. There is so much opportunity for discovery!” He hopes to provide life-changing treatments for genetically linked diseases, such as diabetes, sickle cell anemia, or high blood pressure. “Right now, there are treatments for the symptoms of these issues, but genetic engineering can provide an actual cure.”

Recognized as National Merit Commended

Julian feels his biggest struggle in high school was focusing on the details. It is easier to focus on the big return-on-investment provided by major assignments. To compensate for this, he began looking at the smaller assignments as puzzles that had to be solved in order to conquer the larger assignments. Julian says he found working with tutors (both through Avant Garde and privately) helped him form personal connections that made the less-interesting work more fun.

When asked what he felt made learning easier, Julian cited his study of cello, and his love for reading. “Studying cello helps by giving a new perspective, because it stimulates so many facets of the brain.” Additionally, Julian said being a voracious reader allows him to make connections with new pieces he encounters, and helps him quickly and purposefully engage in new literature or educational text. “It allows me to process information more quickly,'' he says. Julian’s favorite books are science fiction and fantasy.

One day, we think Julian will be making some of peoples’ fantasies a reality through his work in genetic engineering. Avant Garde is proud to have helped Julian along his path toward college and his career.


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