Tuesday, August 20, 2013

From the Mother of Thomas Johnston

My son, Thomas Johnston, went to Vanderbilt University with the ILC. This was an amazing experience for him! He got to travel, he learned a lot of math, he now has a much better sense of what he wants in a college, and became more confident and independent.

First of all, Thomas got to travel for a week prior to starting classes. How many students have a chance to spend the Fourth of July in Washington, D.C.? He also visited New York City, and Philadelphia. They had a chance to tour Columbia University, Georgetown University, and the University of Pennsylvania. What an amazing trip!

Secondly, Thomas learned a lot of math while at Vanderbilt University. This was the first time ever that Thomas was challenged in math. I could tell from reading his daily blogs that he was enjoying this challenge enormously. He said he learned more math there in a day, than in an entire semester in high school. His instructor, Dawson Gray, was phenomenal!

Thirdly, Thomas has a much better sense now of what he is looking for in a college. He got to visit four different colleges. He had a chance to talk with several alumni and found out it is possible to double major in engineering and music performance. Thomas now also has a much better understanding of the admissions process. He had a chance to listen to and speak with several admissions officers, and he participated in a mock admissions panel where he got to look at mock applications and decide who to accept or wait list.

Lastly, I feel that Thomas has become much more confident and independent. He took the initiative to talk with admissions officers one-on-one to get answers to his questions about double majoring. I don't think he would have had the courage to do that six months ago. Moreover, he learned how to get along with a roommate, how to do laundry, how to manage his time so he could squeeze in early morning work-outs before breakfast, and get his daily blog done before lights out. Above all, he came back with a real focus on what he wants out of his education, and seems very confident that he will achieve the high goals he has set for himself.

I want to thank Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg for their time and efforts in finding sponsors for the amazing ILC program. I want to thank Don Gosney for the endless hours he spent planning and organizing the logistics of the program, and for teaching the students how to blog (our family absolutely loved being able to read the blog of each day's adventures!) I want to thank Mr. Mannix for being a great chaperone for the Vanderbilt cohort, and for making healthy care packages for the students when there wasn't enough time for sit-down meals.

Catherine Johnston

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