written by
Julia Riew

Student Spotlight: Lochlan Z

3 min read

The following success story features recent Columbia University x Trinity College Dublin admit Lochlan Z, who was a member of CollegeAdvisor.com. For more information about our programming and personal guidance about the college application process, head to CollegeAdvisor.com and sign up to work with an admissions coach 1-on-1.


Born and raised in Beijing, China, Lochlan Z always dreamed of attending college in the United States, applying to law school, and following in the footsteps of former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, his greatest role model.

Today, his dreams are becoming a reality: Lochlan has been admitted into ten American universities, and he recently committed to the Dual Bachelor of Arts program between Columbia University and Trinity College Dublin. That means Lochlan will soon be traveling the world, spending two years in New York and two years in Ireland to complete his college education.

Throughout high school, Lochlan served as the founder and director of a regional nonprofit organization that reported on social justice cases. He also spearheaded a lawsuit fighting for LGBTQ+ rights in China, served as Vice President of the school debate club, and participated in several translation projects transcribing English sociological books into Chinese.

However, despite his impressive resume, Lochlan faced several concerns as he began the college application process.

"The first problem that I faced was the lack of diverse resources," he says. "In China, there's a ton of people applying to US colleges, and the resources here really lack diversity." Hoping to stand out from the other applicants in his area, Lochlan didn't want to enroll in the same services that his peers were using.

Additionally, Lochlan's GPA sat in the middle range of his class rather than at the top. So when Lochlan approached his school counselors hoping to apply to top US schools and Ivy League universities, they suggested that he not even bother. He says, "They told me… 'There's a lot of great people, obviously better than you, so you shouldn't waste your chance.'"

Still, Lochlan was determined to go for it.

Scouring the internet for resources, he came across a college admissions reaction video that linked to CollegeAdvisor.com (then Bullseye Admissions). Once Lochlan signed up, CollegeAdvisor's Advisor Matching team paired him up with his advisor Sophie.

He cites her as the person who helped him the most on his journey to college.

"Sophie really helped me a lot during the whole chaotic application process," he says. "She's professional and calm, so whenever I don't know something, I just reach out to her. She can always calm me with any problems."

In particular, Sophie helped Lochlan with his English fluency level in his essays. He adds, "I'm an international student, and English isn't my first language. Sophie guaranteed my essays' English levels, and that was really essential for me."

As an international student, Lochlan also anticipated that the time zone difference might become a barrier between him and his advisor. However, that wasn't the case.

"[The time zone difference] never deterred our working progress. Whenever I want, I can send Sophie an email and she can reply within 10 minutes," Lochlan reflects. "That's really amazing, and one thing that I found particularly impressive. I really appreciate her help."

It was around 10 PM when Lochlan learned that he had been admitted into the Columbia x Trinity program, sitting at his desk with his mother at his side. He was in disbelief. He says, "All of my mentors and counselors couldn't believe it. It still feels unreal to me, even though I have known this news for one month!"

Looking ahead, Lochlan is most excited about internship opportunities in college. He hopes to apply to professional internships that will help him create a competitive application for law school.

When asked what advice he would give to any current students applying to college, Lochlan says, "Just don't let anybody deter you from applying. [School counselors] are definitely experienced, but we shouldn't take their judgments and suggestions as to the only authority. We should believe in ourselves and make the greatest effort in our application: it's ours, not anybody else's."


This success story was based on an interview with CollegeAdvisor.com’s student Lochlan Z. If you want to get 1-on-1 help with your college applications from a CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Expert, register with CollegeAdvisor.com today.

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