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Teenager Therapy Episode: "How We Got Into USC, UCLA, UC Berkeley, and UCI/Getting Rejected From Your Dream School" Is Out Now

Teen Podcasters Reveal Their Unconventional Approach To Top College Acceptances


April 20, 2021

Left to right: Thomas Pham, Kayla Suarez, Isaac Hurtado, Gael Aitor, Mark Hugo

Teenager Therapy, one of the most influential teen-run podcasts in the world, just released an episode about the most gut-wrenching moment in a high schooler's life -- receiving the news about which colleges they have been accepted to. Over the course of the hour-long episode, which debuted this past weekend, Teenager Therapy's five high school senior hosts from Anaheim, California -- Gael Aitor, Mark Hugo, Thomas Pham, Kayla Suarez and Isaac Hurtado -- reveal how they got into some of the country's top universities, including USC, UCLA and UC Berkeley and why some of them are opting to start out in community college programs. The episode can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube.

In addition to discussing class rank, GPA, extracurricular activities, and which AP classes they took, Gael and friends detail their differing approaches to high school. Gael made a conscious decision to focus on outside activities, like the podcast, during his years in high school. He avoided some of the more challenging honors and AP classes to allow himself more time for self-education and to focus on real world applications of his skills. Whereas, Kayla loaded up her schedule with AP classes, held leadership positions in school clubs and did internships throughout high school. All of the hosts agreed that discipline and hard work -- whether in studying or pursuing outside interests -- was key to their college application successes.

"College admissions frustrate me because too many students take on a robotic and overly-stressful curriculum that does little to develop their own interests. All for the sake of pleasing top schools," says Gael.

In a portion of the conversation that will resonate with many high school seniors right now, the Teenager Therapy hosts share the elation that comes with getting into their first choice schools, while discussing the sting of rejection they felt when their top prospects did not pan out. Only one of the hosts was accepted to all ten schools they applied to.

"This is such a stressful time for high school seniors," says Gael. "It's good to keep things in perspective. In 20 to 30 years, will anyone really care that you didn't get into USC?"

Gael started Teenager Therapy as a summer project he assigned himself in 2018. He was inspired by Casey and Candice Neistat's podcast called Couples Therapy. He liked the idea of listening in on a conversation between regular teenagers and getting to hear their struggles, joys and secrets. Nothing like that existed, unfortunately, so he decided to make it himself. He gathered four friends and began recording in Thomas' bedroom that summer. Their first episode debuted in September 2018 as they began their sophomore year of high school. They have since done more than 130 episodes on a wide range of topics including letting go of toxic friendships, acne insecurities and feeling alone. Teenager Therapy made headlines last year with an exclusive interview about mental wellness with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, around World Mental Health Day.


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