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Superb IB Student to Continue Studies at UCLA

Bryan Jed Soh ’18 (Singapore) intends to pursue a major in the social sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), upon completing his two years of compulsory National Service for the Singaporean military. He selected the esteemed public research university over New York University and Boston University.

Fluent in both Chinese and English, Bryan finished his three-and-a-half years at TASIS as a Highest Honors student with a cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.80, was inducted to the inaugural TASIS chapter of the Cum Laude Society, and scored a very impressive 39 points on his IB Diploma assessment. He credits the IB Diploma Programme for preparing him well for the academic challenges that lie ahead.

“I feel as though the IB program has thoroughly prepared me for college, due to the depth of study in each subject,” he said. “Having to take six classes and proactively engage yourself in each class is no easy feat, and to write a college-level essay through the Extended Essay is also a challenge. And the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) class, though often overlooked, compels us to delve deeper into critical thinking and study the very act of thinking itself.”

Outside the classroom, Bryan played Varsity Badminton and Lacrosse, traveled to Cambodia with his Global Service Program group, and served on the crew for the High School Theater Program’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, an experience that he said “truly opened a door to a world I had never seen before and fostered a profound respect for the art of theater.” He also co-founded a student newspaper and wrote many articles for the TASIS Blog through his position as a Journalism Intern for the Communications Office, describing the latter experience as “the first real opportunity for me to explore my interest in journalism—and it really took off once I realized the possibilities it offered me in elaborating my personal thoughts and seeing them being published and read by people, whom I wanted to impact through writing on various topics.”

The college counselors told me it was possible to aim high without much hesitation when I first thought certain institutions were out of reach, and I appreciate that they helped me realize what opportunities were attainable for me.

Bryan is grateful for all the opportunities he had at TASIS, and he credits the College Counseling Office for pushing him to set lofty goals that were in line with his considerable academic potential.

“The college counselors told me it was possible to aim high without much hesitation when I first thought certain institutions were out of reach, and I appreciate that they helped me realize what opportunities were attainable for me,” he said. “This made me strive to put my best foot forward and aim for the very top in my college searches. If they hadn’t done this, I don’t think I would be where I am today. I would’ve underestimated what my abilities were and lowered my college expectations.”

Bryan and his two younger brothers are the first TASIS students who were born in Singapore.

Bryan also had quite a few kind words for the many TASIS teachers who inspired him and encouraged him to be his best. He singled out English Department Chair Dr. Christopher Love—“he never failed to keep inching us closer and closer to deciphering so many hidden meanings and lessons in texts that I never knew had all that”— English Teacher Peter Locke—“he is just simply a wonderful person, and I love his charismatic, happy-go-lucky personality”—Global Service Program Director Zach Mulert—“his calming presence is always felt in school, and I thank him for all the generosity he showed toward not just me but everyone”—Dean of Students and History Teacher KC McKee—“he made learning really enjoyable”—Photography Teacher Frank Long—“from the random conversations about anything under the sun to being a sage in guiding us through IB Visual Arts, he was more than a teacher; he was a literal father figure to our class, and I am so grateful for all his help and teaching”—and Science Teacher Gil Grimm—“he’s the unsung hero of chemistry, and he really did rekindle my love for chemistry and inspire me to develop my knowledge, probably without even knowing it.”

But above all else, Bryan was inspired by his peers. “My fellow students, especially the ones I was close to, caused me to realize just how bright people can really be, even if it’s not academically, and I am excited for their futures,” he said. “Just talking with them and spending time with them has inspired me deeply to become a better person myself because these people excel in so many different aspects, and I know they will be valuable assets anywhere they go.”

What will Bryan miss the most about his time at TASIS? “The people and the view,” he said. “It’s a melting pot of both cultures and personalities, and I will definitely miss the colorful personas around school and the unique community and camaraderie we share. Last but definitely not the least, I don’t think I will ever be anywhere that beats this location for studying. I will always appreciate this view.”

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