Lakshay Sharma, who is from Lucknow, has gotten a 100% scholarship to attend the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League research university. While he had been earlier preparing to apply to one of the Indian Institutes of Technology in Kota, he changed tracks midway and decided to try to the best universities globally. Having studied in City Montessori School in Gomti Nagar, Lakshay ended up walking away with the Gold medal at IJSO in 2015.
1.How does it feel to achieve such a big scholarship that is rare to achieve?
It is an overwhelming feeling to win a scholarship and that too from a coveted university like Pennsylvania. I have worked hard for years to achieve this scholarship.
2.How were your scores in the SAT Exam?
I secured a perfect 800 score in three SAT subject tests (physics, chemistry and mathematics II), an ACT composite score of 35 out of 36, TOEFL score of 115 out of 120.
3.How did you begin for your engineering exam initially?
I took admission into a training institute in Rajasthan’s Kota to get into the coveted Indian Institutes of Technology. But I soon shifted my goal post and decided to compete for admission to universities across the world and not just in India.
4. What are your feelings about astrology as this is the subject you will be pursuing further?
I enjoy the beautiful sights of galaxies and nebulae in the eyepiece of my telescope, especially the Orion Nebula with its gossamer tendrils and vivid colours.
5.After having a clear view of your goal how did you change your preparation process?
I had to complete my application to the US universities while simultaneously preparing for class 11 and 12, studying for the JEE and other competitive exams and participating in international Olympiads such as International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO) 2015, and the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA) 2016. However, I have been preparing for the process since I was in class 10.
6.What are the other achievements along with this major achievement?
Consequently, I won a gold medal in the IJSO 2015, a bronze medal in the IOAA 2015, achieved All India Rank 13 in the Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) and also got full scores in the standardized tests like ACT, all three SAT subject tests, and all three AP exams.
7.How did you overcome the stress and pressure that you feel as and when?
Playing the synthesizer helps me relax and refresh my mind whenever I get exhausted after studying, and I particularly enjoy playing Bollywood songs on the keyboard. Quizzing is a way for me to sharpen my scientific instincts and speed, and it becomes particularly enjoyable when the competition is tough.
8.Who has been your mentor in this journey of yours?
When I was in grade 10, I had the good fortune of coming into contact with Sanjeev Sir, who advised me on applying to US universities. He became my mentor and guided me in my preparation for the standardized tests needed for admission to the most selective universities. He gave me especially rigorous training for the ACT.