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The Ivy League+ Fest Provided More Practical Insight About Ivy League Universities and the Importance of Having a ‘Big Dream’

The Ivy League+ Fest Provided More Practical Insight About Ivy League Universities and the Importance of Having a 'Big Dream'
The Ivy League+ Fest Provided More Practical Insight About Ivy League Universities and the Importance of Having a 'Big Dream'

On the day of the event, Indonesia Expat had a chat with the organiser as well as some of the featured speakers.

The Ivy League+ Fest (read: The Ivy League Plus Fest) was held on Saturday, the 20th of April, 2024, to a glowing success. Hosted and organised by the higher-education consultancy agency Crimson Education, the one-day-only event took place at the renowned Gelora Bung Karno’s Wisma Serbaguna as it provided a much detailed insight into how to develop a high school student’s prospects and potential for entering an Ivy League university in the United States. There are eight universities that make up the Ivy League, namely  Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University.

In a conversation with Indonesia Expat on the day of the event, Bow Rojsuwanichakorn, currently serving as the Crimson Regional Manager for Thailand, Taiwan, and Indonesia branches, summarised that The Ivy League+ Fest aimed to “provide the knowledge of the admissions and the secrets of entering the Ivy League universities to the public as much as possible.”

Moreover, Rojsuwanichakorn specified the meaning of the plus (+) symbol included in the name of the event, The Ivy League+ Fest.

She continued, “Crimson does not only support the students in entering the top universities but, in this event, we also have the students who are already accepted as well as their parents so that they can share their experiences in how they supported their children during their journey of education.”

Notable Speakers at The Ivy League+ Fest: Daniel Chung (left) and Benito Nishizawa Rodriguez (right)
Notable Speakers at The Ivy League+ Fest: Daniel Chung (left) and Benito Nishizawa Rodriguez (right)

Some of the notable speakers featured in The Ivy League+ Fest were Daniel Chung and Benito Nishizawa Rodriguez, both of whom shared some of the insights as well as considerable tips and advice on how students should prepare their resume and overall qualifications before deciding to apply for one of the Ivy League universities.

Being the former assistant director of admissions at Stanford University, Chung acknowledged that the current socio-political climate in the United States might turn into a source of concern for the students’ parents — recurring racially-charged hate crimes and the upcoming Presidential Election in the United States are some of the things that might come to the parents’ mind.

Regardless, Chung believed that such concerns should not be overblown.

“I don’t think the parents should be nervous because the schools are a fairly and exceptionally safe space in the United States and the administration always helps the students understand how to safely and appropriately navigate whatever environment they are in — be it either a rural school, which is generally quite safe, or even an urban school,” Chung explained. “But of course, the students should take normal precautions when they’re in any kind of foreign country.”

Another food for thought that parents could consider is how universities outside the Ivy League group have grown more prominent in recent years. Looking at this phenomenon, Chung also advised the students and their parents to widen their horizons. He has also observed how more companies in the United States are more “fluid” and no longer focused on accepting Ivy League graduates only.

The ‘return on investment’ of enrolling abroad

“Because the United States has a more fluid understanding of where your degrees are from and what your degree might be useful for, there is no such thing as a concept of a ‘tier system’ which is still common in Asia and other regions of the world,” Chung continued. “So where you go to school is more likely to determine the occupation that is most easily available to you through your network or in a location in which the school is kind of housed in a particular region. But after your first job, you have a lot more flexibility to do different professions, and occupations, as well as move to different regions in the United States.”

In addition, Chung advised the parents to keep in mind the possible return on investment by having their children enrol at universities abroad.

“For example, if the students want to do something that is statistically not going to be so lucrative like arts, then they might want to target schools where they would be more likely to get scholarships,” he remarked.

Having had experience as an Admissions Interviewer and Former Coordinator at Harvard University, Rodriguez believed that events such as The Ivy League+ Fest were imperative now that the world is out of the pandemic woods.

“I think this is a good opportunity for everybody curious about studying in the United States or abroad and you get to meet somebody who has enrolled at that particular school. You can ask questions directly and I think a lot about life is asking the right questions at the right time,” Rodriguez observed.

The Ivy League+ Fest
The Ivy League+ Fest
A stronger ‘Why?’

Regarding whether the parents should feel apprehensive about sending their children to the United States safely, Rodriguez shared a similar sentiment as Chung’s. Furthermore, he pointed out that the need to build independence should trump any intangible worries.

“I think uncertainty and danger can be found anywhere on the planet. Right?” Rodriguez quipped. “I think, as parents, you would want to raise your children to possess good instincts and know how to navigate dangerous situations and make good decisions. A lot of it is making decisions that keep you away from dangerous perils. It’s tragic that the United States has become a place that is associated with these kinds of dangers, but I think a part of it depends on the city and the environment where people find themselves.”

In a world where mental health is no longer a dismissable subject, potential issues such as fear of missing out and homesickness might lead to a more distinguished, delicate anxiety for teenage students. Rodriguez, however, believed that the wisdom from challenging oneself by leaving one’s comfort zone would be worth all the necessary sacrifices.

“We all miss out on everything. Life is about trade-offs; you can’t be in two places at one time,” Rodriguez continued. “Every decision you make is a trade-off, but I think teaching kids how to make trade-offs that they won’t regret is important. It takes ‘something’ to leave your country and your family and everything that is familiar. I think it’s important for students to have a big dream and a stronger ‘Why?’.”

When all’s said and done, Rojsuwanichakorn wished for this particular point to be the main takeaway for both the students and their parents once they returned to their respective homes:

“Many parents really have good intentions in supporting their children, but sometimes they don’t have much information on what they can do to support their children. So this is a good event for the parents so that they can open up their perspectives about what they can do as well as gain information in terms of the admission processes.”

All photos are courtesy of Felix Martua of Indonesia Expat.

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