Monday, April 26, 2010

Northwestern University: Wildcat Days!

Good evening, everyone!

I suppose I will also begin my entry with an introduction. My name is Stephanie Ny, and I am a senior at Hercules High School. Last summer, the Ivy League Connection sponsored my two-week stay at Yale University for the Yale Ivy Scholars Program.

Without the Ivy League Connection, I would not be where I am today: Evanston, Illinois, visiting one of the nation's top universities (and my personal favorite!), Northwestern University. I arrived here Sunday afternoon for today's Wildcat Days event for prospective students.

For those who don't know me very well, I applied to Northwestern University under the ED option and was accepted in mid-December. However, financial circumstances almost prevented me from attending the school. With the help of Mr. Ramsey and an admissions officer at the college--Aaron Zdawczyk--I was given more aid and can now attend my dream college (although I will have to take out some loans... but it's genuinely worth it)! Mr. Ramsey and the ILC graciously offered to send my mother and me back to Evanston to visit NU for Wildcat Days... and now I am here, in Evanston, staying at the Best Western hotel. My mother and I appreciate the offer; we would like to thank each and every ILC member and supporter for allowing us to come.

In the early morning, my mother and I headed out to Norris University Center, the main facility used for Wildcat Days. I registered myself and was given a lanyard with a name card, a beautiful purple folder with "NORTHWESTERN" in silver lettering, and a Northwestern t-shirt. Given these simple entities, I already knew my day was going to be fantastic.

We entered the Louis Room, where continental breakfast was served and all Wildcat Days participants congregated. Fifteen minutes upon my arrival, prospective students were divided into several groups--one for each undergraduate college--for information sessions. I, of course, went to the WCAS session, as I will be attending that school in the fall.

We were led into the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, where we were met with a large, purple, congratulatory banner that read, "Congratulations Class of 2014!" (I think that's what it said). Three or so deans spoke about the school, emphasizing the intimacy level of the school through not just smaller classes, but freshman advisers. Freshman advisers meet with their students two or three times a week because they teach their clients' freshman seminars. These create bonds that last pretty much throughout students' entire undergraduate experiences. Additionally, freshman seminars are capped at about 15 or 16 students, compared to the normal 20-25 students, once again indicating intimacy and just overall GREATNESS! This school is amazing.

After the deans, five current NU students recounted their decision-making experiences and explained why they chose Northwestern. I noticed in them what I noticed in every other student I encountered or heard from: they love being at Northwestern. That pleases me to no end: knowing I will be attending Northwestern with others who actually want to be there.

Next, my mother bought me another Northwestern hoodie! Hooray. Then we went back to Louis Room for complimentary lunch. I met a prospective student named John, who lives near Evanston. He, like myself, also applied to Northwestern with an undeclared major. He told me he really loves Northwestern because it's beautiful, has great academics, and has a great sense of community. Of course, I couldn't and cannot agree more!

My mother and I took a walk along the windy, spectacular lakefront before attending the "Living on Campus" presentation at the McCormick Auditorium. There, I learned more about residential college life and roommates. There are 11 residential colleges on campus, each with their own theme (i.e. communications, business, etc.). These are designed to have students with common interests--though not necessarily common majors--live under the same roof. Those who live in residential colleges establish and build relationships with the students in their building, sometimes having weekly firesides or luncheons with their fellow residential college mates. This, again, stresses the level of closeness NU students share with each other.

Afterward, I had an hour break on my schedule, so I headed over to the undergraduate admissions office to visit Mr. Zdawczyk and personally thank him for what he'd done for me. Unfortunately, he was not there (he was out of office and working with financial aid-related things for Wildcat Days, I think), so I left a message for him at the front desk.

My mother and I headed back to Norris to see various student organizations on campus. The marching band came in and played some music; they were brilliant! I stood on the sidelines watching and listening to them. They sounded perfect! I browsed the aisles of groups and associations and took interest in a few of them. I spoke with some enthusiastic students and gave them my name and e-mail address so their organizations could contact me again.

I closed my day with NU Revue, a show put on by student groups of the campus. There were three a capella groups, a tap dancing group, a music video, and a short video. The host, whose name I have forgotten, was absolutely hilarious and lively--yet another reason I love Northwestern. My favorite performance was by an a capella group called Treble Makers. They sang AND incorporated dancing into Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance." That was definitely the highlight of the evening.

Overall, this trip reminded me about how much I love Northwestern. Everything I learned today only added to my infatuation with the school; I know it is the right school for me. The only thing I have to worry about is surviving the brutal, seemingly endless winter! I'm so excited to be attending this fall, and I have the members, sponsors, and supporters of ILC, and Mr. Zdawczyk, to thank.

Thank you for reading! Oh, and I'll be sure to post some pictures when I return!

Stephanie Ny

Syracuse University


My name is Stacy Chan, a 2009 Ivy League Connection alumnus who traveled to Ithaca, NY last summer to attend the Hotel Management Program at Cornell University.

Since then, I have a lot on my plate, since college decision letters have all been mailed out. I only have a week to decide which school I want to be my alma mater, and I must admit, this is, by far, the most difficult decision I have ever made in my academic career and my life, in general. As of now, I have narrowed my choices down to two: Syracuse University and University of California, Berkeley.

What I appreciate most about ILC is its effort to provide the sufficient resources to me, even after I have completed my summer excursion. Thanks to Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, Mr. Gosney, Ms. Kim and others, I was able to travel to Syracuse with my dad over the weekend to take a glimpse of the college life and the Syracuse experience.

Coincidentally, there was a Spring Reception on Friday (the last one that Syracuse was holding); it was perfect, since I did not have to make any extra accommodations with the admission officers or make any other arrangements. It was all right there for me.

My day started out by going to the Goldstein Auditorium, where all admitted students and families gathered for a warm welcome. The Dean of Admissions spoke to the crowd and soon thereafter, everyone dispersed into different directions, based on which school they wanted to see. Since my main focus was journalism, I jumped right to the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

After walking to the building, Dean Lorraine Branham was standing on the podium, awaiting all the admitted students. She was ready to announce her opening remarks and of course, congratulate the class of 2014. After the speech, students and families separated and went into discussion groups based on the admitted student's interest. Some of the different majors included Advertising, Public Relations, Television-Radio-Film, Magazine, and even undeclared, for those who are still unsure of which path to pursue. For me, it was easy, since I knew Newspaper and Online Journalism was one of my definite goals.

Along with my dad, I headed to the appropriate classroom with a bunch of other students, led by Christen, a current student who double majors, one of which is in Magazine, and has a minor as well. Professor Steve Davis was on hand to answer any questions and to provide a glimpse of the journalism life at Newhouse. He told his personal experience and informed us that he had to travel to several places throughout his life to stay involved in the media realm. For example, he took some career offers and were also dropped from some. In addition, Christen was able to provide a better portrait to admitted students. She noted that although there was a huge database of graduates to reach out to, the students--the majority of the time--had to find time on their own for internships or any other work experience. Both the professor and the current students' experiences put journalism into perspective for me--it is not a field in which opportunities will be handed to you nor are they easily accessible.

Later on, the professor told the class that all Syracuse students are required to have a major and a minor. Students, however, are unable to pursue both studies at the same school. Therefore, despite my passion for both Newspaper and Online Journalism and Magazine Writing and my interest in Broadcast and Digital Journalism and Public Relations, I can only choose one field. Coming to Syracuse, I had no idea that this was the case. The professor did mention that all Newhouse students will have the same foundation, as they will all go back to the basics. I have always perceived the Newhouse school as a place where I can thrive and tap into all the different subfields within journalism. Thus, personally, I felt uneasy when I found out that I would be limited to learning the ins and the outs of only one particular field. Moreover, having learning about the requirement of having a major/minor, the concept of a dual degree, all of a sudden, did not seem as foreign or stand out unusually to me.

After this session, my dad and I split off. He was with the other parents and sat in on the Dean's presentation, while I, like other students, went to another room where current Syracuse students held a brief Q&A session.

Afterwards, all parents and students gathered under one roof (the stadium dome) for lunch. Encircling the dining tables were booths where students and some representatives acted as patrons for their clubs/programs.

To conclude my day, I decided to go on the dorm tour, and I was fascinated by the camaraderie that existed. The representative gave us a tour of co-ed floor, and I must say, of all the schools I had visited, the dorms there were the nicest. In addition, we took a brief tour of the facilities offered to students as well as the dining hall.

Overall, the trip to Syracuse prompted me to think about my future more closely, including my academic and career goals and whether I would like to pursue graduate school undoubtedly. In addition, it made me question what I look for in a classroom setting, think deeper about my preferences in terms of learning new concepts and material, and essentially, pay attention to the characteristics I possess as a scholar and what works for me.

Lastly, wherever I end up, I know for a fact that it is up to me to make the best of my education ultimately. With the existing help and support from the ILC family and Ms. Kim, I am reassured that the school I end up choosing will certainly be the best fit for me. Again, I want to thank all the ILC members for their continuous support.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Haverford and Penn Pictures

Haverford's Founder's Hall

Haverford's Library

Waiting for a tour of one of Haverford's dorms

Inside Penn's Irvine Auditorium

Eating at Penn's Hill Dining Hall

Outside of Hill at Penn

Monday, April 19, 2010

University of Pennsylvania

Today, I attended the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Preview Day. My dad took a drive through the highways anticipating traffic, and we were glad that we left the hotel early. We got to see more of Philadelphia, especially University City.

Unlike Haverford, Penn was in the middle of the city. After taking a short walk from the parking garage, we arrived at Irvine Auditorium. Then, we checked in and waited for 9:00 until we could file into the auditorium. At the auditorium, the Dean of Admission and Provost congratulated everyone. After the lovely greeting, parents and students were split up. While my dad attended "Becoming a Penn Parent" and a financial aid talk, I attended "Being a Penn Student" and got to meet my potential Penn classmates.

At "Being a Penn Student," a panel of students answering any and all academic and social questions that anyone had. The only things current students wanted to change was the one-ply toilet paper, and having too many things to do and not having enough time. After, we were split up into small groups, where we were taken to an area at Penn, asking our group leader more questions that we had. We also introduced ourselves, with many in my group coming from Massachusetts and some as far as South Korea.

After, everyone regrouped with their parents. I met my dad at Irvine Auditorium to hear more about the college I applied to, the College of Arts and Sciences. We listened to a panel of students and faculty members. I came away with the feeling that students really get to know their professors, and that there are classes that fit every interest every student has.

Then, we were split into smaller groups for lunch. My dad and I ate at Hill Dining Hall. The food had great selection and was delicious. After lunch, we split up into groups once again to take a tour of the dorms. We saw dorms at three buildings that house freshmen: Hill, King's Court, and the Quad. The rooms were not as cramped as I anticipated.

After our tour, we were free to roam around campus, so my dad and I went to visit Dr. June Chu at the Pan-Asian American Community House. She talked about Penn and offered me some things to think about if I were to attend Penn.

I talked with some current students at the Center and asked them "Why Penn?". Their answers were about the same as the students in the panels. They wanted a place that was both urban and enclosed, but more importantly had a sense of community.

Penn has a college campus feel in the sixth biggest city in the United States. If I do decide to attend Penn, I know that I'll be able to interact with some of the most talented and intelligent people in the world and also learn any subject of my choosing.

I would also like to apologize for my lack of pictures; I forgot to bring the cable to hook the camera to my laptop, so I will post pictures of Haverford and Penn when I get back home.

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.