Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Our Journey to Pennsylvania

Waking up early in the morning was a bit of a struggle; however, we were able to arrive at the Penn Station on time for our train ride. We took the Amtrak to Philadelphia. It was about a one hour long ride. This was the first time I rode a train. However, it felt similar to a  BART ride.

We had to take two cabs to the hotel. Chiamaka and I were in one cab; it was a good learning experience: this was the first time I rode a cab on my own. We arrived at Sheraton hotel, but we were not able to check in our rooms. We had breakfast at the hotel's restaurant. I ate the Belgian Waffle along with hot chocolate.
This is where we had breakfast.
After we finished breakfast, we walked to University of Pennsylvania.  We started with the tour. (It was extremely hot outside.) I was able to learn that the University has four colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Nursing, the Wharton School, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The Engineering College invented very interesting devices. I was very amazed that an engineer from UPenn created a laser that could scan the color of M&M's. Another engineer created the Toast Zamboni which could clean toast from the football field. The University also has an interesting history. It was invented by Benjamin Franklin. It was "invented" because it was the first university.
This is us reading with Benjamin Franklin.
I noticed that UPenn shared some similarities with Columbia. Both are liberal arts colleges and both have great support networks. UPenn has peer advisers (upper classmen) who advise the freshmen. UPenn also has great librarians that help the students write their essays. After the tour, we went to the information session. An admissions officer named Alex introduced us to the academic side of UPenn. She emphasized that tests are not the most important factor in determining a student's ability. She also emphasized the idea of a "holistic view"- colleges took at all aspects of the application.
Later on we had lunch at The White Dog Cafe with Alex and a group of Columbia students. I was seated next to Alex and a Columbia student- Chris. We had a great time together. Alex helped clarify some questions I had. I learned that a student's high school rank is not as important as many students make it seem. Alex seems to have a great job. She has the chance to travel to different states, track different high schools, and chose applicants. She even visited my school- De Anza. Chris also has a job in the admissions office- he receives all the phone calls. I learned that Alex chose UPenn because she wanted to go to a medium-sized college that was in a big city. She didn't have an opportunity to visit different colleges; at that moment, I realized how grateful I was to be a part of the Ivy League Connection and have the opportunity to visit different colleges. On the other hand, Chris chose UPenn because he didn't want to travel far from his family. I realized that location can have a significant impact on which college you decide to go to.

The last place we went to was HipCityVeg to eat dinner. Overall, I had a great time in Philadelphia. I truly enjoyed the college tour as well as the lunch. Now we have one more stop before we reach Vanderbilt.

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