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  Blogging - ILC Blog Sites  


Blogging is a vital and integral part of The Ivy League Connection and should not be thought of us anything other than a key component of the program.

WHY BLOG?
Keeping in mind what we try to impress upon everyone in that everything we have our ILCers do is for a reason, there are several reasons why we have our participants blog. It’s why blogging is mandatory.

From the first moment our ILC applicants start their journey with us we try to impress upon them that everything we have them do is for a reason— everything. Keeping that in mind, it’s helpful to understand why we make blogging such an important part of the ILC experience.

BlogWhen we listen to almost any college admissions officer they might tell us that their number one problem with incoming freshmen is that they cannot write at a college level. Our public schools rarely provide our schools with the resources necessary to teach our high schoolers the necessary skills to write at the level they need in order to be competitive once they matriculate to college. If we want our ILCers to rise to the top, we need to provide them with the resources they need.

Even when incoming freshmen are required to take a summer course to teach them these skills, the vast majority still can’t write at the requisite level to be competitive.

One of the best ways to advance those skills is to actually require students to write more frequently, make them think about what they’re writing and to think about how they’re communicating their ideas.

In theory, the more we write, the better we get at it.

It’s not just the technical writing skills that need refinement—it’s the thought process behind what’s being written.

And that’s where the ILC blogs come in.

If you take a look at the blogs written by our ILCers in April and compare them to the blogs written by the same students in August, it’s almost as if they weren’t written by the same people.

For many of our ILCers, in just a few months after they return from their Ivy League school they have to write that all important Personal Essay as a part of their college applications. When competing against thousands of class valedictorians for those coveted few spots at the more selective universities, being able to write a better essay can have advantages.

THE ILC BLOGS
Everyone is encouraged to use the links below to check out any of the more than 1600 blogs posted by our ILCers last season.

We had more than 80,000 hits and the blogs were read in 39 different countries. Many of the blogs are read by college admissions officers, deans, chancellors and professors. We know this because they tell us they read them. When these people know something about an applicant they’re no longer just a name on a piece of paper—they’re a person and that can be a plus when the time comes.

Parents, sponsors, members of the community and a wide variety of others read these blogs and everyone is encouraged to comment on them.

THE BLOG SITES
At the beginning of each season we set up a blank template for each school (see the 2014 links below) and assign the blank site to each cohort of students for a particular school.

This cohort then works as a team to personalize each site to make it their own. They’re provided with guidance and advice but before long what we’ve found is that the students surpass anything that we can offer them.

We even pit one school against each other as if they’re competing against each other to come up with the best looking site.

BlogBUT I DON’T KNOW HOW TO BLOG!
None of us was born knowing how to do anything—we all had to be taught everything we know. This is the same with the blogging. At the mandatory tutorials we will teach each of our ILCers how to use these sites and the tools provided.

One of the reasons for blogging after each of the milestone events is just to practice blogging and become familiar with the sites. When our ILCers arrive back east, we want them to be fully versed in how to blog so their attention will be on their trip and the course they’re taking—not learning how to blog.

We want our ILCers to think abut what they’ve experienced and find a way to tell the rest of the world about what they’ve seen, who they’ve met, how it all has affected them and how they can pass it all along to those they left behind here at home.

Whether it’s an ILCer’s parents, their friends, teachers and even the ILC administrators, everything we know about what our ILCers and their adventure we know from reading the blogs.

PHOTOS
Words are nice but words with photos are nicer.

A general rule in journalism is that you never have a double paged spread without some sort of illustration because it’s the illustration that grabs the attention of the viewer.

Here in the US people learn more from reading the captions under photographs than they do from reading the articles. By posting photos in the blogs, it grabs the attention of the viewers and they end up reading the text as well. Peruse the blog sites and test yourself to see how much time you spend on the blogs with just words as opposed to the blogs with words and photos.

Blog

We will help teach our ILCers how to take better photos and then how to make them even better on their computers. We will then teach them some tricks so they can post them to their advantage in their blogs.

BUT WHAT DO I WRITE ABOUT?
Part of what’s written is travelogue type musings. Yes, we want to know about the trip, the flight, the hotel, the buildings and such. We even want to see photos of the fancy dinners you’ll be attending.

We want our ILCers to take their blogs to the next level by demonstrating their critical thinking. If an instructor tells one of our students that Strawberry is the best ice cream flavor and anyone who disagrees is stupid, we want to know what our ILCer thinks about that statement. We want to know what they’re thinking and why they’re thinking it.

We also want each of our bloggers to think about how they express their thoughts. If the dorm food sucks, we want to know that but we also want to know why it sucks. We want each of our ILC authors to write in such a way that when we’re reading about that bad food, we can taste in our own mouths just how bad it is.

Like reading Hemingway, when we read about that pear you’re biting into, through your words we want to taste the sweetness and feel the juice running down our chin.

And, just as with all of your writing from a grocery list to that Personal Essay, we want all of our ILCers to proof, proof and then proof their work again so before the SUBMIT button is depressed, there are no mistakes, no errors and the prose has been polished until it can’t be made better.

Mastering these blogs will make our ILCers better writers. We will work with our authors but, just as with any other advice, unless our ILCers approach this with an open mind, it’s all wasted effort.


Blogging is mandatory when you’re a part of the ILC.

Blogging after each of the milestone events (tutorials, dinners, school board meetings, city council meetings and orientation) is mandatory.

From the day before they board the airport shuttle to the day after they return, ILCers will be required to blog daily.

Shortly after returning from back east, a Reflective Blog will also be required.


Please visit any of the blog sites used by our ILCers. Links to blogs from earlier years can be found on our main site: http://ivyleagueconnection.blogspot.com/

Read what some of our ILC parents had to say: Parent Testimonials

Read what some of our ILC alums had to say: Student Feedback

2013 ILC BLOG SITES

2014 ILC BLOG SITES

       
Madeline Kronenberg
(510) 527-9446    mkronen@aol.com
Don Gosney
(510) 233-2060    dongosney@comcast.net
       
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