Being named a 2017 Presidential Scholar is just icing on the cake for graduating first-classman Troy Shen (Chicago). Shen was recently notified that he was selected as one of just 161 Presidential Scholars for 2017. He is also just the second Culver student to receive the honor since Andy Parchman ’07.
This most recent honor comes on top of his scoring a perfect 36 on the ACT and being accepted at Stanford University.
And, Shen said, he owes a lot of his good fortune to his Culver experience.
The Presidential Scholar application involves writing five separate essays, he explained, and his time at Culver was especially useful when it came to writing about his intellectual ideals and leadership moments. Most of what he wrote about could only happen at Culver.
Culver has helped shape me into the person I am. The Culver experience sets us apart.
“Culver has helped shape me into the person I am,” Shen added. “The Culver experience sets us apart. I owe a lot to my instructors, coaches, and peers for helping me every step of the journey.”
Part of that Culver experience includes a pretty good story about the ACT. Shen explained he was planning to use his first test as practice. He would go back, look it over, see where he could improve, then take it again. It turns out, he saved himself a lot of time.
“I thought I did a pretty good job” after he finished taking it, he said, but he didn’t expect that result. “I never really studied. I was pretty fortunate.”
He also matched his sister Joy ’13, now a senior at Dartmouth, who also scored 36. Joy has also been his standard bearer and a big supporter of her younger brother when it came to his first-class year and wading through the college admissions process.
“I think she knows me better than I know myself,” Shen said. When it came time to write college and scholarship essays, he said Joy told him to be “your genuine self. Be your best-self, but be genuine.”
And she told him to keep in mind that if you are not accepted by a college, it doesn’t mean you are not worthy. It simply means you are not a good fit for the school at this particular time.
Shen believes he has found the right fit at Stanford University. He is happy with the school’s “intellectual vitality and innovate ways.” He likes that the professors approach learning a little differently and that he will have opportunities to help others through his classes.
He is going in without a specific major in mind, not planning to make a decision until sometime late in his sophomore year. He is looking forward to taking a variety of classes covering the humanities, history, and philosophy, plus mixing in some business and economics courses “and see where that takes me.”
A staple of the Culver fencing program, Shen isn’t sure how it will fit into his college plans. He may try to walk on at the varsity level and there is also a club team. That is a decision he will make later.