Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jessica Tran - Penn Presentation Feedback

Hello Mr. Ramsey,

I must say that the PENN presentation was very beneficial to me. It really helped me clarify some of the questions I had in terms of the different colleges to what is required on the essay. Also, I will admit that I was slightly nervous in meeting with the actual admissions officer, but after getting to meet Joel Hart in person it truly helped me to relax more. Being in a smaller session and getting to talk one on one with Mr. Hart gave me the chance to ask the kinds of questions that I would not have found online. Also, one key feature that I learned directly from Mr. Hart was the fact that the essay is most likely the bigger factor of the application process. Hearing this advice really tells me what I need to focus on, and I know that it will then push me to to work harder in getting everything organized and completed.

Being able to visit PENN during the summer was VERY impacting to me. When I saw the video from the presentation, I smiled and thought to myself, "I have seen that and been right there." I also realized how much I miss being there. It was like replying my own experiences in my head, and it was great. I know that this session has re-motivated me and it gets me excited to work on the applications!

Thank you for the opportunity and thank you Ms. Pepa for the ride there!

-Jessica Tran

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Eduardo Melendez -- Feedback on Penn Info Nite


I apologize for the delayed response but these past few days have been crazy with the SATs Penn presentation and the visit to Santa Clara between other stuff...

But I would definitely like to comment on Penn's presentation, I would say that the presentation gave me that motivation not just to apply, but to include Penn as one of my favorite colleges. This informational session restated the known facts about the college -- but what really caught my attention was the video showing the student's college experiences. The school spirit at Penn is indescribable. I can really see myself as one of those students in the future.

Joel Hart explained a variety of great tips about the application process that might improve your chances to be accepted and to make sure your entire application is at its best. For those who desire to be interviewed by Penn, it is recommended to apply as early as possible to ensure a spot for the interview.

There was such great and valuable information given all throughout the presentation that basically included all of the applicants' concerns such as financial aid, acceptance rate, and supplemental essays. It was definitely a great opportunity to get a closer look at Penn right before the college application process. Jocy and I are extremely glad we attended the session.

I would like to thank the Ivy League Connection for giving me and many other students the opportunity to reach out to different new colleges that might be the perfect fit for us. Thank you all.


Jeannie Wu -- Penn Visit Feedback


Thank you so much to you and Ms. Kaplan for arranging Joel Hart to come to Pinole to answer any questions about Penn admissions. All my questions were answered and I received further insight into the academic and social life at Penn and its admission requirements/recommendations. Having Joel Hart come to Pinole and listening to his presentation further convinced me that Penn would be the perfect university for me to attend. I'm definitely going to apply Early Decision for Penn and hopefully I'll be accepted! Thank you again for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Have a great weekend.

- Jeannie

Jocelyn Barragan -- Penn Info Nite Feedback

Dear Mr. Ramsey,

Although I was very sick on Thursday, I was able to manage to attend PENN's informational session. Even though this was not part of the presentation, what completely convinced me to apply to PENN was talking to Mr. Vilar about the great Architecture program UPENN has to offer. I got to ask Joel Hart questions I had and overall the presentation impressed me. I am extremely glad I had the opportunity to go.

Thank you.


Julie Liang -- Penn Presentation Feedback

Hello Mr. Ramsey,

I just wanted to say what a great night this was. The presentation by Joel Hart was very personal and much better than going to one of the really big college information nights that have five colleges presenting with only about 10 minutes on each school. I got a good sense of what Penn is about and it has reinforced my yearning to apply there. Also, since the presentation was small, Mr. Hart was able to answer everyone's questions and also stayed behind to answer our questions individually.

I personally was able to get many of my questions answered about the Society of Women Engineers at Penn and also learned the name of the professor sponsor of the program. All in all, I am very glad to have been able to go. (Also, the location was very convenient, about 2 blocks from BART)


Jessica Ong -- Yale Workshop Feedback

Dear Mr. Ramsey,

Thank you for everything you have done for our District, especially for setting up this Yale Workshop. Putting this workshop together for us was just amazing and very helpful. I now know what not to do when writing my personal statement, and it was shocking to see what my peers thought about the essays as well. I want to thank Alex Richardson for coming all the way to ECHS to personally speak with us about the application process. It was a pleasure having him at our school, and he not only told us but also showed us that EVERYTHING in the application is important.

We were lucky enough to have him come all the way over from such a prestigious school to talk with us. Mr. Richardson even provided us with a flyer that included three personal statements that all had its own faults. We were all surprised to hear that one of the applicants is now a Yale student; but that reassurance has made me think about how I will write my essay. As Matt stated before, the essay was told in such a personal perspective that the reader was able to see what his/her personality was actually like (even with the poor grammar). It is with no doubt that I now can apply the writing techniques and questions to my essays and share my new knowledge with my peers.

I am very glad to be a part of the Ivy League Connection, and I know that I would not be as prepared as I am now without the help of the ILC. Once again, I thank you, Mrs. Kronenberg, Ms. O'Brian, the School Board, Ms. Larson, Mr. Richardson, and everyone else that has supported us, for spending the time to help us high school students thrive and succeed.

Jessica Ong

Yohanna Pepa -- Yale Workshop Feedback

Good evening,

I apologize for not replying earlier--I haven't been on the computer for the past few days due to music theory class, piano lessons, marching band practice, forensics, an orthodontic appointment, and a youth commission meeting. I am, however, glad to share my thoughts about Monday night right now.

The Yale writing workshop at ECHS provided me with a great deal of insight, which is especially useful to me because for the next few months, I am stuck in the intimidating and laborious realm of college applications. Mr. Richardson not only gave us students detailed tips of what to do and not to do when writing our personal statements, but also presented us with actual case studies. We analyzed three essays that focused on the same topic, science, but contained different scopes and writing styles. As we actively participated in discussing the essays, Mr. Richardson explained elements important to admission officers and why one essay made the cut but the other two didn't. These specific tips from a seasoned Yale admission officer have given me a clear sense of the direction I should take as I finish constructing the most important piece of writing of my high school career.

The writing workshop benefitted me greatly in other ways as well. Yale is at the top of my college list. My two weeks over the summer have confirmed this. On Monday night, I had the unbelievable opportunity of talking to Mr. Richardson, the man who reads the Northern California Yale applications, about applying to Yale. I asked him about applying early action, because I hadn't been sure if it would increase my chances of getting in. He told me that if Yale's my first choice I should go for it, and now, I'm definitely doing so.

I'm very thankful to Ms. Larson and Ivy League Connection for organizing this wonderful event. It made a huge difference for me, and I'm sure it impacted all of my other peers in attendance as well.

Best regards,

Yohanna Pepa

Matt Arciniega -- Yale Workshop Feedback

Hello All,

I learned an immense amount from the Yale Essay Workshop this past Monday. In fact, directly following the Yale Essay Workshop I found myself at home working on an almost complete revision of my Common Application Essay.

The most important thing I learned from the workshop was to be myself. I had heard this advice from almost all of the previous Essay Workshops I've attended, but this time it was different. We read three essays with Mr. Richardson. The first essay I, along with most people, thought was well written but did not give enough information about the student. The second essay, most people agreed, was not badly written but was not as good as the first. However, the third essay, most everyone I spoke with afterward agreed, was a tragedy. The grammar was awful, and the voice sounded unintelligent. The author sounded like he was talking to his BFF (Best Friend Forever), rather than to a Yale Admissions Officer. Needless to say Mr. Richardson got a few strange looks as he revealed that the author of the last essay was the one of those three that was accepted to Yale. He explained that this author was admitted because he wrote with in an extremely familiar tone that allowed to be identified as a real person, as opposed to a computer or a thesaurus. This helped me realize that I was trying to be much more intellectual than I needed to be while writing my essay. I have made some serious revisions since this realization.

This workshop turned me on to a serious mistake that I would have made were it not for Mr. Richardson's advice. I am extremely appreciative of all the work and commitment Mr. Richardson and all the involved WCCUSD administrators have demonstrated in making this event a reality and in helping all of us students with our on-going quest for college admission.

Thanks again,

Matt Arciniega