Monday, July 22, 2013


Two years ago, I was determined to attend U.C. Berkeley. It wasn't just my number one choice, it was my only choice, and I scoffed at the idea of even considering other schools. Now I find myself having to choose between an immeasurable amount of institutions. Should I apply to Cornell University, with its radiant campus and rural location? Or maybe Columbia University, where I’m sure to enjoy endless excitement both in and outside the classroom? There’s also Northwestern and its top class journalism program. Perhaps all of this deliberation truly is futile, and I’ll default back to U.C. Berkeley.  Whatever school I may find myself apply to, I know who to thank for the inspiration and opportunity to do so—the wonderful facilitators and philanthropists of the Ivy League Connection. It is because of their support that I am no longer limited by my own inflexibility or my own ignorance.

During my time with the Ivy League Connection, I was able to live out the college experience, all within a short, three week period. Although I had attended Columbia University’s summer program the year previous, I was still able to experience college from a completely different perspective. This year I was able to learn of what it is like to live in a single dorm, whereas last year taught me of the communal lifestyle that comes with living in a suite dorm. Through Hotel Operations Management I learned of the difficulty and rigor of college level courses, as well as why the word “dead,” is compounded in the word deadline. In contrast, last year taught me about the freedom that comes with being a college student. Because of the knowledge I have gained through these excursions, I believe that I will able to more easily adjust and adapt to any college environment that I may find myself in.

I have come to realize that just applying to be a member of the Ivy League Connection was a pseudo-college experience in and of itself, as the selection process for the Ivy League Connection mirrors that of a conventional college application process. The two systems follow the same basic format; I was to be pit against a competitive set consisting of the best and brightest, with only my wit and my writing to set me apart from the rest of the rabble. My worth would be deduced from a select few documents showcasing my academic capabilities; my transcript, a personal statement, a supplemental essay, a teacher recommendation, and my PSAT scores. Through the Ivy League Connection’s interview process, I was able to learn the true meaning of the term “holistic.” A student’s capacity cannot be measured by solely by their academics. Rather, an applicant’s appeal is determined by their ethics, talents, pursuits, and ambitions in addition to their intelligence.  Because of my experience with the Ivy League Connection I now have the knowledge needed to proceed towards the upcoming college application season with confidence.

I earned quite a bit of life experience as well. Mark and Reneta taught me about not only the business world, but the real world as well. They taught me how to properly approach and manage interpersonal relationships so that they are effective and productive as possible. Throughout the course, Mark and Reneta stressed the importance of communication, arbitration, and unification. Whilst under their tutelage, I was able to learn the skills needed to facilitate and orchestrate a cohesive team, becoming more vocal and assertive in the process. For instance, I was able to learn firsthand that it is indeed better to work towards promoting group discourse than it is to prevent group discord, as conflict in an inevitable outcome for all interpersonal interactions.

Being Hotel Operations Management has helped to me to discover that I have an affinity for the machinations and happenstance of the business industry, and I believe that I may pursue a degree in both business and English. Although this major is nothing more than an inkling of an idea, I do think this decision is a step forward for myself, as before I was completely undecided as to what I wanted to study.  As for now, I am content with using the business skills that I learned from the course to advise my mother on her business. While I am by no means a business consultant, I believe that I’ve been very helpful to her and I hope to be continue assist her to the best of my ability.

I would like to wholeheartedly thank the Ivy League Connection for all it had done for not only me, but also for the host of students that it has sponsored and supported over the years. First, I would like to thank the Ivy League Connection’s founders, Charles Ramsey, Madeline Kronenberg, and Don Gosney for creating and sustaining such an astounding, life-changing program. Next, many thanks to the Ivy League Connection’s generous benefactors for their selfless contributions for which without the Ivy League Connection would not be able to exist. I would also like to thank Mr. Chan-Law for being a fantastic chaperone and taking such excellent care of the Cornell cohort. Finally, I would like to my cohort for being not great travel companions, but also great friends.

My time with the Ivy League Connection was certainly a summer well spent. How many high schoolers can say that they spent their vacation dining with esteemed alums at Les Nomades? Or that they spent the better half of the summer touring some of the country’s most famous sites and cities, such as Niagara Falls and Chicago? I’m sure that even a smaller population of students who can say that they attended an Ivy League institution at the ripe age of seventeen, living, studying, and fraternizing just as a real college student would.  It becomes even more astonishing when one takes into account the amount of adults who've yet to experience what I have. It is amazing just how many wondrous ­­­experiences I was able to partake in this summer, and it’s all thanks to the Ivy League Connection. 

I am incredibly honored to have been selected for this program not only once, but twice. In order to honor the purpose of the Ivy League Connection, I have resolved to spread its influence as far as possible. One of the graduations requirements for my school is a Senior Project, wherein seniors are expected to find a means to better themselves and the community. It’s up to a student’s creativity to devise an outlet for their cause, and I have decided to host a college readiness seminar for middle and high school students. I believe that due to budget constraints and the like, many public schools see insufficient guidance counseling. I know that before the Ivy League Connection I held many uncertainties and misconceptions I held about college application process, but felt as though I had no one to direct my question to. I hope to abridge the deficit by offering my assistance and guiding students who feel intimidated and or by the very prospect of college. Although I know that I may not be much help since I have yet to go through the official college application process myself and that I have a resources to do all that I aspire, I am still determined to help in whatever way I can, whether it be by holding information seminars on the universities, helping potential ILCers get into the program, or proofreading other’s personal statements. My overarching goal is to act as envoy of higher education and inspire students so that they are excited by the idea of college, bot exasperated—just as the Ivy League Connection did for me. 

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