Top of the Class

#35 Special Guest! Celebrity, Allan Wu, on what college bound families can learn from the Amazing Race

February 22, 2021 Crimson Education Season 1 Episode 35
Top of the Class
#35 Special Guest! Celebrity, Allan Wu, on what college bound families can learn from the Amazing Race
Chapters
Top of the Class
#35 Special Guest! Celebrity, Allan Wu, on what college bound families can learn from the Amazing Race
Feb 22, 2021 Season 1 Episode 35
Crimson Education

What does the Amazing Race TV show and the college admissions process have in common? More than you might think!

In this special episode, actor and host of the Amazing Race, Allan Wu, reflects on his journey to UC Berkeley and how he is now guiding his daughter through the same process with the support of Crimson Education.

We chat about the similarities between the Amazing Race and college admissions as well as the all important partnership between student and parent through the final years of school.

Show Notes Transcript

What does the Amazing Race TV show and the college admissions process have in common? More than you might think!

In this special episode, actor and host of the Amazing Race, Allan Wu, reflects on his journey to UC Berkeley and how he is now guiding his daughter through the same process with the support of Crimson Education.

We chat about the similarities between the Amazing Race and college admissions as well as the all important partnership between student and parent through the final years of school.

Podcast Host  00:00

Hello, and welcome to the top of the class podcast. I'm your host, Alex Cork. And in today's episode, I chat with special guests, Allan Wu. Allan graduated from UC Berkeley and went on to have a successful TV and acting career, including hosting more than 10 seasons of The Amazing Race. He's now helping his daughter navigate the college admissions process, along with the support of Crimson Education. Let's chat with Allan Wu. Hi, Allan, welcome to the top of the class podcast. It's fantastic to have you on the show. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself?


Allan Wu  00:49

Yeah, sure. Basically, I live in Singapore. I've been living here for the past two decades now. While it's been nearly two decades, but before that, I was born and raised in the United States, and then grew up in a small suburban town in Los Angeles called San Marino. And I went through the very, very challenging process of applying to college. And then was decided to go to UC Berkeley, in 1990, and graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Integrative Biology in 1994. And after that worked for several years for a biotechnology company. During that time, I kind of realized that maybe I'm more of an interest, not in the laboratory, and maybe more in entertainment. And so I kind of like pivoted my way or segue my way into the entertainment industry, start taking acting classes, modeling and stuff, and then did that in San Fran at first. And then I ultimately ended up in Singapore, where I pretty much I think, base myself here, started acting and hosting an English and in Mandarin, met my wife at the time and then had two children, also along the way, was selected to be the host of this show called The Amazing Race Asia. And since then, I've also done two other versions of The Amazing Race called Amazing Race, China rush, and also an amazing race, China's celebrity edition called jitsu changing, but during that entire time, I've also host a lot of events, doors, a lot of products, a lot of TV commercials, acted in a lot of TV dramas, Chinese and English. So basically, just even though I have a college degree, I must confess, I haven't really utilized it to its fullest potential once I decided to kind of like embark on a career in entertainment and media, but still, even to this day, I'm forever grateful that I had the opportunity to apply to university, and also I think, have those skills, you know, in and outside of the classroom, back at Cal back at UC Berkeley that have enabled me I think, to have that edge and have that advantage. You know, I think if anything I do though, too. So here I am now in Singapore still, my daughter now is 16 will be 17 this year, and she has just embarked on her own journey with Crimson also to start applying to universities to herself. So it's an exciting time, stressful time for her. But for me, it's a exciting time to see how everything goes working with Crimson. But even more importantly, you see how different things are now than when I applied over 30 years ago? Wow. It's crazy. Yeah.


Podcast Host  03:05

What are some of the things that you're saying already in the differences between when you applied versus when your daughter's about to go through the application process? I'm going to guess Cal Berkeley has always been a great university. But even now, like the competitiveness of the college application processes have kind of skyrocketed mainly because the US colleges went requiring the SAT. So 1000s of more students were submitting their applications, it must be a pretty big difference to when you first applied in the 90s.


Allan Wu  03:32

It was definitely right now, like you said, it's just a lot more competitive. Now. I think back then I think as an American applied to US universities, it was primarily from my vantage point, mainly, if we were Americans, we would just apply to schools in the US. But I think you know, I think everyone I think know that the US I mean, personally, I still believe the United States has the top I think universities in the world, a lot of the very, very best are right there. Of course there's some in Australia in the UK. But I mean, when you think about the very top universities, you think of a lot of the ivy League's or, you know, different locations in the US. So now in this day and age, I think it's become so competitive, it's like another hole. It's not just about getting, it's all about trying to get into these universities, not just trying to get out of them. I think so too. So that in itself has made it really challenging, I think for the students and made it very, very stressful. So I think it's important for these kids to understand that it's not just about the grades, but it's also about developing the right profile and the right i think resume the right background, in order to I think really, really attract like the top universities too. But I think for me at that time, it was more Okay, we knew what the top schools were, we would apply to him from the US into the US. But now I think because I think with the advent of technology and the internet, it's become more of a global thing where people from Africa, from Europe, from Australia, from Asia can all apply to schools all around the world. That's why, as you said we've seen a stark increase in the number of applications when it comes to students that want to apply to university to on top of it like you said with the global pandemic also, you know, I think si t is what required so Even Google Now that maybe thought maybe I don't want to apply to one of these top tier schools, my dream school, but, but I'll do it now just because they don't need my SAP score. So it was even less of a criteria. So you have even more applicants applying to schools around the world, I got a dramatic 2025 30% increase. So as an admissions officer, you have even more I think students applying to your school, and it makes it even more competitive. So it's completely changed, the entire landscape has changed, I think for students these days. And it is very stressful, I think for a lot of these kids and the parents of these children. But even more importantly, there's a lot I think a lot of I would say, a lot of minefields, but a lot of information that we as parents, and also children can I think try and have access to I think with experts in the field to help them along the way in terms of trying to figure out what is the right school for them? And why would it be the right school? Do they have the major they're looking for, but on top of it even more important before they even decide on that school? How good or how appropriate? Or how aligned? Are they in terms of their grades, their background, their interests? Their I think, you know, resume into getting that school, I think, though, too, so it's a huge challenge. I think boxing was already challenging, I think now just because it's much like an American, I think playing field now the global playing field, too. So you're competing with students from all around the world. On top of it, there are a lot of these different there's a business like like with Crimson Education to the business of getting your children into school. Also, that's because people realize how valuable how important it is to get into a university to especially a top name brand considered University, the competition, there is cutthroat, right? Like, I mean, you could score a perfect score on the LSAT. And that would obviously let you be seen. But then is it enough? You know, when there's a lot of other kids that are also, you know, scoring 1515 or 16 $100, satps? Is that still going to be enough? If there's a lot of things that are scoring there, too. So there's a lot of different factors now in playing that we probably didn't really think about back then. But now, I would say it's now broken down more into a science to have not just you know, I think graduating but just trying to get into the right University. So it's completely changed. And I'm just glad honestly, that I'm not applying to university now, because it's pretty stressful. Now, it's actually, for me, as a parent, it's, you know, I would say it's stressful. It's exciting. But I can take solace. And I'm happy to know, I'm not the one that asked to actually apply myself not to. Yeah, I


Podcast Host  07:18

think that's probably a shared sentiment from a lot of parents. They're like, Oh, geez, I'm glad I'm not going through this process now. Because it really has ratcheted up a lot in terms of the pressure and and that there's just not as much margin for error. Because there are so many more applicants, and just so many more kids doing like that extra check that can pick up that spelling error, that might be the difference. And it's so unfair in some respects. But that's just the nature of the base, unfortunately. But in terms of your approach to the application, from a parent's perspective, are you trying to be more hands on more hands off? Like what do you try and see is your role? And how do you understand your role with your daughter? You like discussing with her being like, Hey, what do you want me to do for you in this kind of situation? I know it's high stress and high pressure, you know, I'm sure there's parents out there who are like nagging or trying to be ever present, or there's a whole range of different strategies, parents might have to kind of help their teenager through this time. What have you tried? And what have you seen work for you?


Allan Wu  08:12

I think for me, honestly, a lot of it really depends on on the child and their personality and how they want to approach it. I mean, personally, if I had a choice, I would be that Tiger Daddy, the one that's hovering, you know, like a helicopter, Daddy is hovering the entire time and trying to be a part of the process the entire way. But I realize like with my daughter, you know, she's a very independent, very proactive and very organized. So like, I would like to be in on all the calls, you know, with the Crimson team, and also with her, you know, college counselor at school, but she would just like to be a lot more autonomous and a lot more, I think, independent in her approach. So I'll respect that if you and I see her her results, and she's doing well. So if you prefer to be like that, then that's fine. But I think personally, I would much rather be a lot more I think hands on, and get right there and then get right there in the mix of it all. But I also know my daughter is someone that prefers to just do it by herself. So I will respect her decision and let her go about it herself too, with Crimson and also through the entire process. And I even told her, like, I want you to just write down a list of the universities that you really want to apply to this figure out how we want to, you know, I think map out your course in the next two years, you know, as you apply to school, but I think, you know, for her, she really has a good idea of what she wants to do and, and you know, in terms of planning out where she wants to go to school, and I think from there creating her own narrative, and how is she going to stand out for herself, but that's just her personality. I think for a lot of other children, someone who might not be as proactive, you have to be a little bit more naggy and have to you know, pester them a little bit more. But a lot of it just depends one. First of all, I think it's important to just kind of identify the child and their personality, how motivated they are, how organized they are. And then from there, I think it's easy, it's easy for the parents to deduce what type of a potion do they need to take. If they're a parent that you know is pretty much I would say apathetic but doesn't really care about how well the child does. And of course, I think a very hands off approach, but some parents you know, maybe some Asian parents in general are very, very good. concerned and very, very passionate, over the exuberant about their kids getting into a specific school. So they're gonna be a lot more I think enthusiastic, but that can also backfire if you don't realize that their kid can do it all by themselves very, very well too. So there is always a fine line. But I think the most important thing is just to listen and acknowledge and understand their own children and that type of personality have their attitude, their own, I think, motivation, and how they're going about accomplishing their own goals. And if they seem like they're doing pretty well, they just kind of let them do it. Unless, you know, I think they are asking for more help more support from Crimson or from the parents. And that's great. But if they can go about doing themselves, and then I'm all for it, though, too, because they're on the cusp of being a legal adult right there, too. So this would be their first opportunity if they so choose to, to just try and give it a whirl themselves and see how things go through the whole college application process. But I mean, for me, personally, I would love to be a lot more I think, in the loop, and you know, in on the calls, but I realized with my daughter, she prefers to just kind of go about herself. So I'm like, Okay, if you want to go that way, then that's fine. You know, but you don't get into your, your, you know, dream school, then then I'm gonna give you a fat I told you so to not Yeah,


Podcast Host  11:10

but yeah, there is a certain challenge, I think from your side where it's like, Okay, my role is as dad, and I need to try and kind of stay in that role for my daughter and not move into the college admissions experts space, you know, say, in that space, leave that space to them, I'm going to stay dead and do all the things I can do from this role. And from that emotional support role. And then, you know, they've got a lot of advice already going through their head from their college counselor or their Crimson advisor at this stage. So it's probably that moment where you can be like, Hey, I'm here to talk things that aren't college related, kind of take a bit of the pressure away sometimes. So it can really I mean, it's such a tricky thing. And I think that communication between parent and student is super important. And I've always heard from when we're talking to success stories of students getting in a large part of it is like, my parents knew what role I wanted them to play. And that's really critical. And sometimes your child will say it out loud, and be like, Hey, this is the role I want you to play. And sometimes it's just understanding each other and knowing what that child needs at this particular time. I will challenge you, though, to see if you can continue to kind of back off as the application dates approach. I'm sure that's gonna be pretty tricky. Yes,


Allan Wu  12:21

it will be I think, right now, it's still we're still kind of early in the game. She's like, yeah, she's still getting ready to SATs and ACTs. And next year, like you said to when it's time to actually really, really hunker down and start applying deciding which school to go to, then that will be more interesting. Also, you know, I think I'm actually like, you know, which schools do you want to go to? And would you want to apply to, you know, because right now, it's still quite early in the game and looking at what she wants to do. But like you said, yeah, that will become more of a bigger challenge for me, too. So we'll see. Yeah, before to it. Hopefully, I can maintain a hands off approach that she prefers that instead of I just trying to get my face all in there to the whole time.


Podcast Host  12:54

Yeah, exactly. That's the real challenge. Now, one of the things that I think is always fascinating is the analogies that people might have for the college admissions process, I was chatting to one of our admissions experts. Just recently, Steve, who runs our tic toc channel was a former US Chicago admission officer. And he compared it to a board game that someone's mom had lost the instruction manual to, and no one really knows how to play the game of admissions or applications, and everyone's kind of just guessing. And his role in that instance, is to try and help people understand the game and try and be the instruction manual in the absence of the actual instruction manual. But one of the games that you are very familiar with is The Amazing Race. When I see the show, I tend to say there's a lot of do's and don'ts in terms of mentorships, partnerships, communication, teamwork, all these bits and pieces that are so relevant to other areas of life. And I think that's what's made the show a success in many ways. But are there any things that you learned from being the host of The Amazing Race that you can kind of identify and say, yes, these are the kind of pairs or these are the kind of groupings that really are successful for a number of reasons. And a lot of the things that they do can also be applied to other areas of life like college admissions.


Allan Wu  13:36

I think that's a very good analogy that we'd have there, too. I think the reason I love the show so much is because it's it's really, really a I wouldn't say it's really merit based. It's also based on relationships, right? Obviously, The Amazing Race is based on teams of two people. Yeah, and those teams of two can be I think, from a different perspective can be, we can say it's maybe the student and the parent, you know, I think maybe it's a father and a son or a mother and a daughter. And it's about their relationship. I think the key to doing well, let's say in a show like that, or when it comes to applying to university, or trying to accomplish one of these tasks, or, you know, finding these clues and being able to, you know, complete as quickly as they can, is communication. I think being able to communicate, you know, I think conveying their feelings, how they're feeling that time, you know, when they're under all that duress, under all that stress when you know when there's other teams that are catching up to them and they're falling behind. It's two main components. One is communicating between, let's say, the two teammates or between I think the child and the parents. Another is also, you know, not getting over stressed out, though to the reason this show does so well not because we go to all these beautiful locations or, you know, we, you know, or I think the reason does so well is because we love to see the human element of it, though, to how people I think, interact with each other how their relationship changes, you know, under stress how they're doing, I think you know, how people like, you know, start arguing, you know, if they're, if they're, you know, I think a little bit overwhelmed, or how they've been able to stay cool the entire time, too. So I think for me, as a host, it's really fascinating to see human nature, like right there under the microscope, as we're traveling to all these different exotic locations around the world. You know, we have a variety, a wide, huge, I've, you know, I think hosted 12, or 13 different seasons of The Amazing Race with three different versions of franchises. So, I've dealt with, you know, people from all around Asia, you know, from all around the world, from China everywhere to so it's interesting to see, you know, doesn't really matter where we all come from, in the end, if we like pretty much distill it and break it down to its basic elemental form. In the end, it's all about relationships, and about when we are faced with a task or a challenge, how are we going to go about completing it with my so called, you know, teammate here, though, too, and what's the most effective way to get to do how do we communicate? Who's going to do who's gonna be responsible for what? And how can we get this done as soon and as quickly as possible? So I think for me, what I've always enjoyed about the show, of course, it's traveling is amazing, you know, and I love being able to travel around the world. But I think it's also really gracious to see, you know, people that maybe people I think, didn't consider more of an underdog maybe they'd be a strong team, but because they have really, really good chemistry, they're really cool under pressure, they're very resourceful, you know, then they end up doing very, very well. So we all love the surprises if I wanted, you know, I think relate that let's say to, to colleges up though to definitely, there's a lot going on there too, because like the race itself is also pretty much like a board game, though it is an actual game, it's a race, right? That we never know, you know, we're gonna go next, you never know what your next challenge your next clue is going to be. So I wonder relate that, let's say back to college applications. It's also about not getting overwhelmed. You know, I think staying positive, you know, and pacing yourself. But most importantly, I think also communicating with your parents, with your college counselors, even with your students and your fellow classmates, or, of course, with your Crimson strategists and everything, too. I was recently talking to another friend of mine, whose daughter is currently right now applying to various universities to and one thing that I want to share with you to Alex's, when you asked me earlier about how is it different now than when I applied to school, we would share with our friends, our classmates, where we were applying to school where we got in where we didn't. Now it's gotten to a point now here at SAS, like a Singapore American school where the students will not divulge where they're applying to school at all become so competitive. You and I, let's say you and I are good friends, but I'm not going to share with you where I'm applying to school, I will only tell you where I got into school. So that just kind of gives you an idea of how competitive it is now, though, too. You know, I think it's just crazy where you and I felt like we're enemies. We're actually good friends. But I think it's about like, I don't want you to know, I'm applying to school in case you apply there. Or in case I don't get into that school. So it's become so cutthroat competitive. I'm like, wow, this is crazy. And I think these kids, for them this 11th grade, you know, his junior year in school is, you know, probably one of the most, I think defining years in their life, in terms of how they go about it, because of how well they do on their standardized tests. In terms of what they decided to do during this year in terms of trying to propagate trying to I think, strengthen their own, I think profile, their own narrative making themselves look good. And so it's a lot of stress, when you get to a point where I don't even want to share with you, my good friend, we're gonna apply to school, then you're like, wow, this is, this is some serious business. This is no joke.


Podcast Host  18:14

Particularly when you talk about in the context that communication is so important. And you know, these people are feeling like that stress of they need to keep secrets. And it just makes it even harder to kind of share stories and share, Hey, what did you do for this? or What did you do for that kind of communal learning that a lot of people do normally, from day to day, that kind of shuts down around the college admissions time. Like, I've definitely noticed that too, you know, people become very secretive, like, no one's sharing notes, or those kinds of things. Like it's very, this is my journey and my journey alone, and you're all on your own as well. Really, it should be a learning process for no matter what the outcomes are. But yeah, I really think that when you say communication and performance under stress is one of the two big indicators of a successful team that you saw in The Amazing Race. It's something that I see all the time in Crimson as well. When we say stories of successful admissions. It's like the communication between either strategist and student or strategist, parents, students like that kind of triangle of communication is so key to making this work. But I'm interested in your thoughts on how to best communicate under stress, and how to get to know someone under stress because we rarely see people from day to day under stress or in that stressful situation that they might be coming into that last year of high school. It might be the first time that your child is really experiencing that level of stress. They might start taking on kind of like a different personality altogether. So how do you kind of navigate that as a parent and trying to get to understand your child better under the microscope of stress?


Allan Wu  20:10

Very, very good question. I think right now, it's come to a point. And I think a lot of it comes with observation, kind of observing how they're coming on, and how they're doing in school, how they're interacting with their friends with me, too. But I think more importantly, I think, it's kind of like, you know, just being in any relationship with a boyfriend or a girlfriend, you know, you can kind of tell when they're in a bad mood, you know, sometimes the more you want to try and ask them, the more irritated they get, though, too. So sometimes it's important to to give them some distance, you know, but I think the greatest trait I think a child or a parent can have is just kind of understanding who they're contending or just dealing with. They're at that point, though, too. So let's say I know, my daughter's under a lot of stress, if I know she's under loss, and I'm causing more of that stress, then it's up to me to be able to identify that and kind of take a step back and say, I know I'm a part of this process. So I need to probably take a step back and allow you to kind of, you know, do your own thing, though, too. But I think a lot of it also is up to the child to sometimes it's also very self created. Also, let's say a child has a deadline coming up, but they have homework or they have applications or essays, and they procrastinate and wait to the last minute, it's up to them to kind of learn like, Okay, I need to get this stuff done sooner. I can't wait until the last minute, because that is unnecessary stress. You know, I think if it's an organized child, a child that's very focused, data driven, very ambitious, very motivated, and very clear about what they want to do, then they usually have a very good game plan, they have a nice trajectory, a smooth trajectory, in terms of trying to attain and reaching their goals. But I think for me, as a parent, a lot of is as much as I would love, you know, to, you know, be more in the thick of things and being involved with it, I also understand me being there could be I think, detrimental, and it could cause her more stress, though, too. So So sometimes I'm like, Okay, I'll just let you go about doing your own thing. And hopefully, that will give you the freedom, you know, the creativity, the room to kind of grow, develop. And I mean, honestly, it's, it's not a it's not a do or die situation, if you don't get into your dream school, I'm I told her, it's fine. But at least you lay it all out there, and you kind of did it on your terms, you did it your way, you know, use all the resources that we have provided for you. And I think what I have to provide what comes in what you've learned in your college counselor, obviously apologizes damage information from your classmates, because everyone's on their own path of their own journey. But you have all the pieces are there, all the resources are there, you have to be able to navigate and be able to understand which parts and pieces and and, and aspects Do you want to I think apply and utilize and implement, and be able to really, really, I think, parlay into something really great for you to create this nice storyline with nice narrative, or to create a nice profile. So when it's time to apply to school, you'll look as shiny and as gleaming and as attractive as you can to a prospective school you want to get into too. But I think a lot of is also just being able to identify and observe and understand each child because they're all different in their own way, though, too. But I think when we're talking about let's say, these kids getting into the top schools like Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, you know, I think these kids in themselves the reason they're, they're able, I think, to you know, get a gauge interest in these schools, because they already probably are very, very self motivated, you know, the top of the class, so, you will not get there. If you're slacker, you're lazy, you know, you're not working hard. These kids are, in general, probably more or less overachievers. So they probably need less words than some kid that, you know, is probably more interested in gaming or in sports or other things, though, to do those kind of kids. Maybe, at that point, it becomes kind of a fine line, like, how much do I push this kid before they start pushing me away? But then at that parent, it's like, how hard do I push this kid without pushing him away, but then pushing him enough where he realizes, like, if he really wants to be able to achieve his goals, and get what he wants to do, or realign his goals, you know that for something he really, really wants to do, then it's up to us as a parent to kind of understand the amount of pressure that we want to put on them, the amount of time we want to put on them. And I think the amount of I think, encouragement, I think or support, you know, sometimes some kids really, really value that support others just just wanting to go about themselves, though, too. So a lot of it's just kind of a, it's kind of a look and feel. And it's kind of like it changes, I think, you know, from from time to time quite depends on the child. So it could be one week, they're more stressed out, they want time alone, maybe after they've you know, completed some testing, or they finished applications, they want some more, I think support them, then that's when we come in. So it's very fluid. It's very dynamic. And it also is just the parent, you know, having the understanding that hey, we have we know this is not absolute. This is always changing. And we have to kind of figure out what is the best way to support our child without being too overly pushy there too.


Podcast Host  24:33

Yeah, yeah. Now, this might be a silly question. But why do you love this so much? You know, you're giving up your time for this podcast. And you also were on Instagram Live with Quinn as well, one of the academic advisors in Singapore. What is your driving motivation and passion for this particular topic? Like coming onto these podcasts and sharing these messages for parents and students?


Allan Wu  24:56

I think you know what separates me I think from a lot of I think people in entertainment and just the fact that I that I have been blessed enough to have that experience going to a top university to the United States to those four years back at UC Berkeley, where some of my happiest moments of my most cherished memories, and I think that is where it all started, I think, you know, going through the whole college application process, honestly, that wasn't a very fun aspect, because it was so stressful, it was a lot of work, you know, and, and, you know, kids are not sure where they're going to be going into this so much. I think, you know, reputation or face at stake, you know, like, and what is my value worth, because a lot of times, at that time, when we don't understand things as well, we just think like, Okay, my worth, you know, I think and what I have achieved or haven't achieved is a lot of it's based on where I go to university. And so for me, that whole college application process was stressful as it is for any child now back then, no to, but I think also, being able to go to a university, a top university, I think having that experience, both in the classroom and also that college life, you know, on campus, as a parent, now, you know, I had such an amazing experience back in school, that helped my child, my daughter stage, is able to have that experience too, because it was just such a wonderful experience, you know, the things I learned in class, the friends that I made that, you know, had these bonds with these friends, for over 30 years. Now to also going a step further, I just have realized, even though that I think it's kind of ironic that even though I don't really need, I think a college degree for what I do now, I think going to college has definitely more helped me in so many ways, and being able to convey what I want to say. But even more importantly, helping me with breaking down a script or you know, anything presenting myself properly in front of the camera, how to go about it, I think in a very, very, I think logical, a very, I think, effective way of you know, I think being able to achieve my own personal goals in entertainment as a host as an actor or backend as a model as we go to. So it has made me realize just how important education is, namely higher education. And I think any child, I think if they work hard enough, they can definitely achieve their dreams. But in this day and age, we definitely can use all the advantages all the edge, all the resources that are available to us, though to if our goal is to get into one of the very, very top universities in the world is going to be cutthroat, super, super competitive. And I realized that if we're going to spend all this money on a college education, we might as well you know, just aim for the stars and try and get into the top university. Because that in itself will set you apart from other students, you know, that maybe don't go to a top university, if you have two applicants, one went to let's say, Harvard, or Stanford, or one went to some local, you know, I think State University who's going to shine brighter, definitely someone that went to a name brand top university, I think people realize the value of an education at a top university. And I realize just the value of an education. So for me, I'm very passionate about I think people being educated, I think, being in a new environment where they're in an uncomfortable zone where they have to kind of like, you know, find their own way, leaving their home for the first time, like I did, going into the dormitories, you know, and dealing with people from all walks of life, different united financial backgrounds, ethnic backgrounds, religious backgrounds, and trying to find your own way navigating and understanding what makes us similar. And what makes us different. For me, that in itself has been a lifelong journey to it just those four years in college were an amazing education. But I think we're all on a lifelong journey to be educated. And I think those four years at a top university, definitely, I think catapult me I think gave me a lot of advantages. And I hope to be able to help my daughter get into a top university too. And I think parents always said for their children, too. Yeah. But I think when you've been to university, and you've had the opportunity to go to a good university, and you're like, Okay, I've been there, I've done that. And I would love for my children to be able to have the same experience. But just a natural pathway, natural, I think trajectory, I think for any parent is if they have children is their thinking, Okay, my cousin went to elementary school, primary school, secondary school, maybe JC were in high school, and then they're going to apply to college. So I think, yeah, I think for me, it's multi multifaceted, where for myself, when it comes to education, I myself have gone through the entire process and have gone to university so I understand what it meant to my life and how it changed my life and how I benefited from it, but for many, many different aspects, also, now as a parent, I think, you know, I would like to be able to impart above the share that hopefully my daughter can have that same experience to and on top of that, I think just understanding just the inherent intrinsic value of higher learning at the collegiate level is just yeah, it's just definitely something that I'm very passionate about and I think people should I think people definitely do know about it, but But yeah, it definitely is something that can only help you in life. You know, I think many many different aspects of life. Yeah, absolutely.


Podcast Host  29:33

Well, is there any one other piece of advice that you would share from all of your experiences with both students and parents?


Allan Wu  29:40

I do think I definitely do I think when I applied to school I think my I completely went about it myself though to my parents are first generation Chinese. Their English wasn't very good. So when it came time to apply for school and the required a lot of English, then I just went about it myself though, too, but I prefer to go about it like that too. But I think as a child, I think it's important that if they feel that their parents can help them are offering, they should definitely be mindful of it and respectful of it though, too, as I look back now, I realized, you know, I think we were young, we think we know everything we want to do everything ourselves, you know, and I, I do harbor some regret. You know, I think that I didn't include my parents, you know, in the process as much though too, even though it worked out well, for me, though, too. So I think I've always believed that communication is important. And if, if, let's say a child doesn't need any help from the parent, that's fine, but just, you know, be very, very respectful and just let the parents know, like, hey, I've come this far, and I appreciate everything you've done. And I think I think I can go about this myself, maybe I need to be like Crimson to help me maybe I don't, maybe I need your help. Maybe I don't. But I think just giving those few words, I think of encouragement of just conveying that to the parents will make the parents feel so happy, though, too. You're taking hardly anything, just say, Hey, you know, I know you really care for me, or you love me, and you want me to do well, my whole college application process. But at this point, I know, I think I'm doing okay, I have a good idea, get a handle on what I want to do, I'm getting good advice from Crimson or from my college counselors, or from whoever is helping me too, so I'm fine. But let's see, if a child's realizing like I actually need some help, I'm actually really, really stressed out here, then don't be afraid to ask your parents there too. Because I realized, you know, as a parent, and as a son, you know, I think go to the greatest teachers will ever have, will be our parents. It's not any professor. It's not any teacher, it's our parents, and they're always there. And we have to understand that they're there to teach us and, and to help us and guide us maybe not teach us, you know, I think astrophysics, but they are there to guide us. And they are our support group and stuff, though, too. If we don't need it, that's fine. But if we do, do not hesitate, you know, to ask them, and it definitely doesn't hurt, you know, just to thank them and be thankful and grateful for all that they have done for you though, too. So once you have established a very positive, nurturing, supportive, I think environment ecosystem there, though, to that it just makes the process a lot more, I think, smooth, and a lot more, I think encouraging for both parties. And then I think for me, obviously it took a while later along, I realized I'm so grateful to my parents now. But of course Back then, I was like, I just want you to stay away from what I'm doing right now. But I wish now looking back, I obviously Do you regret, you know that I didn't acknowledge all that they were willing to do back then too. So I think for me, like just during the race, a lot of it is communication. You don't have to write like a dissertation or a huge essay or something. Just a couple words that hey, you know, I'm doing well here. Thank you so much for your for asking me to help, you know, but I think I'm doing okay, here. If I do need help, I'll let you know. And I think from that point, the parent can understand, okay, they want to go by themselves. That's fine. You know, and I'm here for you if you need it, though, too. And I think little words like that just little bits definitely go a long way. From a parent's perspective.


Podcast Host  32:35

I think that's such a beautiful message that it really doesn't, you don't need a whole lot to keep your parents in the loop. And I know some parents will want to ask 1000 questions. And sometimes it's parents knowing when to back off from, you know, asking those 1000 questions, and just be like, Okay, well, they're going through, you know, a stressful time, but they know, the child will come to them, if needed. And I think that understanding is, you know, one of those things that we'll be talking about and communication and relationships. And, you know, you've seen some teams absolutely smash it out on The Amazing Race. And I'm going to guess it's that kind of understanding that and trust as well that if something needs to be said, it will be said, and if something has been said, that's where it stays, you know, that's nothing more needs to be said about, you know, if a child says, Hey, I'm doing fine, I'll let you know if I need help. That's the end of the story at that point. And if anything else comes about it will. So yeah, I think that's a really key message. I love that the importance of just that few words, it can make everyone's life so much easier. Well, Allan, thank you so much for coming on at the top of the class. It's been fantastic to chat. 


Allan Wu  33:37

Great. Thank you so much, Alex, what a pleasure, you know, all the best to you and the entire team over at Crimson.


Outro  33:43

Thanks for listening to top of the class. subscribe for future episodes for show notes and to plan your best future head to Crimsoneducation.org