Sunday, April 18, 2010

Greetings from Philadelphia

Hello everyone,

My name is Cristina Pelayo and I am currently a senior at Pinole Valley High School.

Last year, I was part of the Ivy League Connection and I took Columbia University's Intensive Seminars in Modern Chemistry. During one of the weekends we were there, we took the train to Philadelphia and visited the University of Pennsylvania. I found the school appealing, and decided to apply. I filled out the Common Application, did my supplemental essays, and interviewed with an alumna.

Along with Penn, I decided to apply to another school about 30 minutes away from Philadelphia. I interviewed with the northern California admissions officer from Haverford College after Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kim gave me the offer. Thanks to the generosity of the Ivy League Connection, I have the opportunity to visit Haverford College and the University of Pennsylvania. I am contributing to this blog because there is not a Penn blog for this year.

Today, I attended Haverford College's Open Campus Day. It was a nice drive getting to Haverford, Pennsylvania, and the streets were definitely more confusing than California's. Upon arrival to Haverford, I noticed that it was full of grass and trees, with a duck pond. We checked in at Founder's Hall, Haverford College's first building that housed the 18 boys and professors that attended when it was first opened. Inside was a fair that had representatives (professors and current 'Fords). I browsed around and got information from the biology department's Immunology professor (which I am most interested in). I also talked to a current student who changed her major from biology to biochemistry, and she said it was easy to do so because the pre-requisites were the same, which relieved me in case I was to do the same. Inside, I met the admission officer that interviewed me, Mr. Matt Essman, who was wearing a pair of brightly colored Haverford pants. Then, they welcomed us and the men's acapella choir performed.

Next, we went on a tour of the Campus. The tour guide was very energetic. She showed us different buildings, and told us about the Honor Code, athletic requirements, and class sizes. There are no graduate students, so research opportunities go to all the undergraduates. Then, we went on a tour to see what a freshman dorm looked like. I saw a triple room in a hall.

Overall, I was happy to visit Haverford College. I'm glad Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kim told me about the school because I had never heard of it before then. Tomorrow, I'm off to visit the University of Pennsylvania, and I think it's going to be interesting to compare the small liberal arts college with a bigger research university.


Don Gosney said...


Being the photographer that I am I kept hoping to see a nice photo of your admissions officer with his colorful pants. Oh well.

From your descriptions Haverford seems like a great place for a science student to learn. Without a grad school the professors won't have to worry about doing their research projects with grad students while giving the undergrads only as much time as the Dean demands. It sounds as though you would have the full attention of your instructors. Having attended a school where we might have more than a thousand students in a lecture, there was never a chance that we would ever meet our professor and he would never meet us either. This sounds better.

I'm looking forward to reading about your visit to Penn. If you can, see if you can tell us of the similarities as well as the differences.

Remember, Cristina, words are nice but words with photos are even nicer. Take lots of photos and post them by the dozens.

Charles Ramsey said...

Thanks Cristina,

I agree with Mr. Gosney that posting pictures provides a vivid image of what you are seeing. It enables the reader to get insight into what is taking place around you.

What is encouraging to hear is that you will have an opportunity to compare and contrast Penn and Haverford. I am glad that you understand and can comprehend that the two campuses are incredibly different. However both schools are highly selective.

You are enpowered and you get to decide. It is a wonderful feeling knowing that you have options. Most people do not get into both Haverford and Penn, so the fact that you did means that you are free to really choose a University that fits your personality and interests. For that I say congratulations and Bravo!

Something missing from the post is how your father is doing. I would love to find out what he thinks about the trip and how he is handling the driving in and around Philadelphia. I would strongly recommend that next time you are in Philadelphia to use the train. It makes it a lot easier to get around town.

As always, a wonderful post and I look forward to reading how your day at Penn went. Remember to speak to June Chu. She said that she would take a minute to answer any questions that you may have about services at the campus.

Hope that you have a great day.

Take care.

Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
School Board Member
West Contra Costa
Unified School District