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20 Questions with Maya Yates




Maya Yates attends Rancho Compana, a project-based academy west of Los Angeles. She is currently a senior and is in the midst of applying to Stanford, Brown, UC Berkeley, NYU and Rochester. Maya started working with Strategic Test Prep on the SATs after discovering our founder, Laura Whitmore, on YouTube.


We asked Maya 20 questions to learn more about what makes her so motivated and driven to succeed. We hope her answers will help inspire other students to be their best as well!


1. What is an accomplishment you are most proud of?

The accomplishment that I am most proud of is creating a book! I am an author of a book called Inspirational Cancer Journeys, where I interviewed 50 patients about their journey with cancer, to give inspiration to other patients going through the same thing! Through my 501C3 nonprofit, I have raised $10,000, put towards free copies for patients.


2. What activity do you do that makes you feel most like yourself?

I am on the District Board of my Key Club. I am the Awards and Recognition Chair, where I award and help create resources for members and officers. I love to meet new people all across the state, with the same passion for service as I do. It is a lot of hard work, but it has been an organization I have been apart of for all 4 years of high school.


3. What do you plan on majoring in and why?

I plan on majoring in Cognitive Science or Public Health. I absolutely want to be premed, and go into medicine, so a major that suits this is ideal for me!


4. Where are you applying to school?

I am from California, so I am interested in UCs and Stanford. I also am applying to some ivy leagues! They are definitely super difficult schools to get into, but I am putting my all in trying!


5. What is your first choice on that list?

My first choice is probably Brown University! I love their open curriculum and the programs they offer.


6. What is or was your best subject in school?

My best subject is definitely math. Math is something that with hard work, you can get bad. I love this idea that with repetition, you can solve different types of problems by applying your knowledge!


7. What is a study skill that you use that helps you be successful in school?

I think that creating a schedule on my google calendar truly helps. By staying organized and creating enough time for everything, it helps me not feel overwhelmed.


8. What motivates you to do well in school?

I am so excited for college, and giving myself the best possibility to get into a dream school really motivates me. I also just love learning new concepts and improving my skills.


9. What’s the best thing that ever happened to you?

I think that being able to partake in my projects and leadership has been the best thing ever. It has allowed me to figure out what I want to (which is helping others as a Physician), which is the best gift ever.


10. What superpower would you most like to have?

I would love to have a photographic memory. I feel like it would make learning so much easier, and grasping concepts would be a piece of cake!


11. What superpower do you actually have?

Leadership! I think my ability to communicate and talk to others is a great skill I have. I have truly learned how to talk to others and work with others due to my experiences in high school.


12. What are you grateful for?

I am so grateful for my friends and family. Without them, life would be so difficult to navigate.


13. Whom do you admire the most?

I admire my parents the most. They both came from low income families, and worked so hard to become doctors. There drive and passion is inspiration.


14. Which day would you gladly re-live?

I would love to re-live The Neighbourhood concert. That is my favorite band, and seeing them live (actually today last year) was the best day of my life.


15. What is your biggest fear?

I think failure is my biggest fear, I really want to succeed in life and in my relationships.


16. Describe one way your parent(s) have influenced you.

My mom immigrated from India and was super poor. She is now a hard working Physician and worked so hard at everything she has done.


17. If you were guaranteed the answer to one question, what would it be?

What will my life look like in 20 years?


18. What’s something you hope to improve in?

I hope I can improve on my ability to better manage my social life! I am good at it when it comes to school and work, but it is harder to keep up with my friends sometimes.


19. What’s your favorite class you are taking this year?

Mind Matters! It is a Psychology course and i am super interested in how the brain works, so I absolutely love it.


20. How do you feel about graduating soon?

It is crazy! I still feel like a Freshman, and due to the pandemic, my inner calendar definitely feels off! I am so excited to be an adult and start a new chapter in my life!





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