Sunday, January 23, 2011

How these Testimonials Help a High School Senior

I would like to begin by saying that I cannot thank you enough for the emails you forward from previous ILC scholars. Each time I see that I have received an email about a particular student's college experience, I am extremely anxious to read about how they have adapted to their new lives and what kind of challenges they have encountered. Most importantly though, I am anxious to see how they overcame those challenges. I feel that learning about the strategies these Ivy League scholars have used in their coursework and to their lives overall is extremely beneficial to me because I am getting a better glimpse at a successful way to approach college, which I will be able to employ in just a couple of years when I make the transition from high school to college. I can even apply some of the lessons I learn from these emails to my studies right now and begin to better myself in preparation for college.

Another reason these emails are so helpful to me is because it gives me a more accurate look at college life. Whenever I hear a representative or an alumnus of a certain college speak about their experience(s) at a college fair or presentation, they always emphasize the positive aspects about their respective schools and I don't feel like I am not getting the full story. Sure, I am learning about all of the excellent opportunities colleges offer, but there is never any discussion about the different obstacles I will have to face when I'm actually there. However, when I have had the opportunity to actually speak with undergrads or when I read these emails from previous ILC scholars, I get a more accurate depiction of what I can expect when I am ready to go to college. Instead of hearing the positive speeches made by alumni and representatives of these schools, I am able to receive information, both of good experiences and challenging ones, from the perspective of a student who is currently going through this process.

Although I was able to experience life in a college environment for three weeks, college is still somewhat foreign to me. However, every time I am forwarded an email about the experiences of a former WCCUSD student, I feel like I am being given a better inside look at college life and I am a bit less stressed about my transition to an institution of higher learning. So far, I have learned about the advantages of smaller and larger class sizes, making use of the little free time that will be available, as well as the importance of taking advantage of extra help and extra-curricular activities. I think the most important thing I have learned about college, from both my own experience and from these emails, is the significance of independence and time management. In nearly every forwarded email, there is a mention of how you have to plan your own schedule and make sure you prioritize because no one will be there to push you. With each email I receive, I am able to add to my knowledge of what my college experience might be like, thanks to these relatable experiences.

So, thank you Mr. Ramsey for passing along the experiences of these Ivy League undergrads so that I may expand my knowledge of the college realm. I have even been able to apply the lessons I've learned from previous emails to my AP classes this year, and they have been extremely helpful. Thank you again.

Happy Holidays,

Alex Elms
Pinole Valley High School
Class of '12

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