Wabsono Bao ’21, originally from Hangzhou, China, was recently accepted early decision to New York University to study Sports Management. Wabsono credits College Counseling at George School and his counselor, Beth Ann Burkmar, with preparing him for the arduous process and guiding him through each step of the way to getting an acceptance at his top choice school.
In reflecting on his experience, Wabsono said, “As a freshman and sophomore, I was intimidated by the college application process, so I just tried to ignore it as a coping mechanism. At the beginning of my junior year, I started meeting with Beth Ann multiple times a week and she encouraged me to work hard to improve my GPA and raise my test scores. She connected me with seniors who I was able to talk with, and they gave me some great advice. Her guidance helped me focus my efforts, improve my grades, study harder for the SAT, and get into my top choice school.”
Wabsono started by first identifying what major he wanted to study and then looked at the top schools that offered that major. “I always knew throughout my time at George School that I wanted to major in Sports Management,” said Wabsono. “I researched schools that offered competitive programs that would help me find good internships and jobs in that field. I also focused on schools with great sports culture and sports teams.” Wabsono’s parents wholeheartedly supported his choice in a major. “My mom is a huge sports fan and my dad works in the sports industry for Surfing China,” he said. “My dad introduced surfing as a sport to China after he learned about it through doing business with people in Australia in the early 2000s. I love to surf when I get the chance, but I was not able to surf much at George School.”
When asked what the college search and application process was like for his parents, Wabsono said, “My parents were very anxious during the process. I would talk to them two or three times a week. It was especially difficult for them since they were not able to talk to me face-to-face as they live in China. They have a lot of respect for Beth Ann. She communicated with them frequently, making them a part of the process and it put my mind at ease to have them involved.”
“Beth Ann’s help meant a lot to me and was significant because she helped me make the transition from sophomore to junior year, especially in regards to my attitude towards the college search,” continued Wabsono. “She guided me through each step of the process. I do not have older siblings, so my family and I had no [prior] experience with the college application process. Beth Ann’s expertise, and her experience helping former students who were also interested in sports management, helped me narrow down my list. She also recommended essay topics that would make me a stronger applicant. I wrote about my experience playing football at George School—how it felt to make the varsity team and how I even got some tackles to contribute to the team.”
Wabsono described how it felt to get the acceptance to NYU. He said, “December 15 of last year (2020) I received an email entitled ‘Update on Application Status.’ I logged into the portal and saw the congratulations message and it felt amazing. I called my family immediately to let them know the good news even though it was 3:00 a.m. or 4:00 a.m. in China. I think it was the only time they were not angry that I woke them up at such an odd hour. I don’t think they were able to go back to sleep because they were so excited. After I talked with them, I texted Beth Ann and let her know. She was very happy for me.”
Wabsono is excited to start college. “I am looking forward to learning more about Sports Management and making great use of the resources that exist in New York City. They have two teams in each professional sports league, a lot of league offices, and all kinds of sports agencies. I think NYU will offer me a lot of internship opportunities and most of the professors are professionals who have worked in the industry. Thanks to my experience living abroad at George School, I am ready for my move to New York City. My family will miss me, but they can’t wait to visit.”