At the final dinner I had the pleasure of sitting next to both of Yohanna Pepa's dorm mates - Mariya and Samantha. After knowing Yohanna for a few years, I can quickly see why both these rising-sophomores are so great. Mr. Alex Richardson, the California representative for Yale admissions was also present, but because I was seated the most distant from him than Matt and Tom, I spoke mostly with Mariya and Samantha.
When it comes to learning about a potential college that I want to apply to, my approach is not traditional. I do not shower these students with questions about the school unless it was something I personally wanted to know or something that I think others may find interest in. With time, the accounts of current college students share nearly the same outline. They all enjoyed their experience; they wouldn't be so great at answering our questions and telling us about their school otherwise. Therefore, I like to get to know the students more through casual conversation, interjecting any curiosities I did have when I had them. I've always found that once I made my guests more comfortable to speak before pure strangers, they naturally start to expel, with more enthusiasm, their input and much more.
With Mariya, we shared immigrant origins. She was from Bulgaria, whereas I was from Hong Kong. The struggles our parents share to come to America for no greater prize than to secure the academic opportunities for their daughters reminded Mariya how much Yale meant for her and how happy I was to hear that.
I connected especially well with Samantha, whom I shared so many personality traits with. I know this not because I showered her with questions regarding only Yale, but because I also ask about her life and time as a high school student. That information is important to me because it gives me a better idea of what Yale is looking for in a student should I choose to apply. Some of the students tell me they had lower test scores but cannot help gushing how proud they are about their personal statements while others commend their collection of extracurricular. Samantha was the first and only present student that gave me the college student perspective from a female standpoint and I am glad to report to report that due to little dissimilarities between male and female students, college is honestly the place to start over. No college student goes out of their way to talk about high school. Everyone is the top of their class but many people bother to compete to extensively or compare one another anymore.
Towards the end, I spoke briefly with Mr. Richardson. He is a very friendly person who is very easy to talk to. I greatly admire his interest in the ILC, in addition to explaining to us more about the admissions process. I hope to keep in touch with him in the future - and everyone else I've met for that matter - with more questions I may come up with.
The Yale dinner was a great one to end our five nights of fancy dining. Swarthmore was a good that the admissions officer lead most of the conversation and spent much time to answer all of our questions in detail. The Princeton dinner was a chance to establish a new connection with a complete stranger - hearing of his successes as both a Princeton alum and progressing lawyer. The U. Penn dinner was the ultimate melting pot of all sorts of representation that it gave more insight from a variety of sources that we had yet to achieve. The dinner with Columbia was great that the alumni were great in convincing myself to be just like them and apply for Columbia. The Yale dinner was unique in its own that it was a surreal preview of what these next fifteen days will be somewhat like.
I thank the ILC for making these dinners happen; they convinced me more about U. Penn and Columbia, and gave me the opportunity to make a good impression on admissions officers. As Peter Chau commented: "This opportunity is such a luxury; legacy kids couldn't even get to meet admissions officers so intimately like this and they get everything!"