Ever since Tanya got into High School, she has been talking about Ivy League Connection (ILC) program. Fortunately, her good friends were prior ILC participants, who turned out to be great ambassadors for ILC. They instilled the aspiration in Tanya to participate in the ILC program.
She had prepared herself very well for the rigorous selection process. We remember the day of interview in March; we were nervously waiting outside El Cerrito High School and as every student was coming out, we thought that Tanya’s probability of acceptance increased. At one point, we could not bear the suspense anymore, so we approached a parent who had just walked out of the school and asked if they saw Tanya. She mentioned that the only people inside were the finalists which meant that Tanya made the cut and we could not hold our excitement.
Tanya walked out with three other students, her cohort for the “Grand Strategies” program in Yale. Our joy knew no bounds; we shared this news immediately with all of our friends and family.
The events that took place after the selection process were all coordinated impeccably due to the energetic and thorough ILC coordinators Mr. Gosney, Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg. They had an action plan for every step of the program from selection through the actual travel and the summer course. Don Gosney conducted the initial tutorial session giving us, the parents and the students a walkthrough of the program and a list of things that they would need to survive the travel and the stay in the dorms. On May 17, we enjoyed an exceptional dinner in RN74, an elegant restaurant in downtown San Francisco amongst the Yale alumni and the ILC sponsors. Both Tanya and I had great conversations with our tablemates during the dinner and learned a lot about the curriculum and the student life in Yale. Tanya walked out even more excited about going to New Haven, CT and started counting down the days. I, as the parent, was convinced that this would be the best summer of her life.
Before we knew, the travel date to Yale arrived on July 22, 2012. We woke up at 1:30 AM to drop Tanya off at El Cerrito High School. Here was another opportunity to witness Don’s exemplary organizational skills. He had the talking points ready to prep not only the cohort traveling but also the parents who were left behind. He handed us the contact information of all the travelers and the itinerary to keep us informed at all times of the travelers’ whereabouts.
During the next week, we received a call every evening from Tanya, giving us the report of her day filled with excitement from visiting the campuses to the exclusive dinners with the administrators and/or alumni. She also shared her experience through the blogs, which provided the visual treats to the reader. They (the cohort) had travelled to numerous campuses including Georgetown, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, and Wesleyan to name a few. The calls diminished as they went to Yale explaining the rigorous schedule of the course. During one of the few calls that she made, Tanya mentioned about the Marshall Brief and the measures that they took to prepare for it as a group. It sounded both exciting and exhausting based on the number of hours that they put in for the preparation and presentation. We heard many good things about the exposure that the kids got through this process.
We could not wait to see Tanya on August 12. However, we were disappointed to hear that her flight was cancelled and that she could not get back to San Francisco until the next afternoon. When they finally arrived at SFO, the cohorts were visibly fatigued but glad to be back at home.
Tanya came back with a positive outlook about the “outside world”, away from her comfort zone (both home and school). She managed to handle everything independently and bravely. She is confident about her public speaking skills, which was the biggest achievement from the course. She learned a lot about the Yale culture, administration, campus and the life in New Haven. She met some amazing people from around the globe and bonded with few of them.
At the end of the day, this was all possible only because of the Ivy League Connection and we need to thank the organization profusely for giving Tanya this once in a lifetime opportunity to preview the college atmosphere prior to her actual admission to college. She is now well equipped to be a proud ambassador of the ILC and is looking forward to recruit future candidates for the program.
At home front, she seems to be more matured and determined to get an admission in one of the Ivy League Colleges, which previously seemed out of reach to us.
Bharathi Iver and Kris Ramamurti