Friday, June 15, 2012


This morning we finally got to wake up "late" (eight) because we were leaving to tour MIT at 11:30 AM. With the extra time, Kelly, Tayler, and I explored a tiny bit of Downtown Providence to find a CVS for buying some last minute essentials and some snacks, and an adorable organic cafe for breakfast. This was our first time really having the chance to get out of the hotel, and I'm desperate to get back out there soon. 

The drive to MIT wasn't long, and I was glad to be able to see some of Boston. Nick is really enthusiastic about the city, so I really wanted to know what it was like. We actually didn't get to see a whole lot of it, because of the time constraints, but all of the buildings were very beautiful and old. 

A gorgeous Boston skyline
MIT's actual campus was a really interesting mix of traditional and modern architecture. Similarly, the energy of the school is a strange combination of easy-going and strict. People there take education very seriously, but they also have fun traditions, or 'hacks'. During the information session, we heard a lot about how everyone at MIT genuinely loves to learn, and to take their knowledge and apply it to the real world. Obviously, MIT is know for it's more "science-y" classes, but I found out today that there is a strong liberal arts program too. Though at the end of the day, I found myself thinking that perhaps MIT was not the best fit for me, both the campus and the area are so gorgeous that I can definitely imagine that everyone who goes there would have an amazing time.

The awesome dessert platter that our end
of the table could't quite finish
After fighting our way through traffic back to the hotel, we had less than 15 minutes to get changed. If you've ever been, or been around, a teen-aged girl, you know that's hardly any time at all. So, we met the guys on the elevator, than were on our way to the Capitol Grille for the Brown dinner. This dinner was one of my favorites, up there with the Yale dinner and the Dartmouth lunch. I sat next to Kisa Takesue, who's actually going to teach Brown Session II, and Joe Goodale, a rising senior majoring in Comparative Literature.  I was happy to chat with Kisa about the people who woud be attending her class in a couple weeks, as well as people who had taken the class in the past. She was so helpful and nice, listening to my stressed rant about all of my worries about the college process. Joe was super cool, telling me and Kelly what was up with student life. He gave advice on how to apply, which was echoed by admissions officer Mercedes Domenech, who is also a dean of a medical program. Unfortunately, I'm freaked out by blood, so I couldn't handle medical school in any capacity. However, Kelly had an awesome time talking to her, and I got to ask her questions about admissions.

Being on tours and in information sessions with a whole lot of people from all different areas has certainly been eye-opening. Some people are able to ask questions on things I've never even heard of, and some aren't familiar with the Common Application. There is a huge range of preparedness that school districts can offer students, and I feel that WCCUSD has a system that help and advice is always available if someone wants it. I know that at least, for El Cerrito High, there is a career center that can be accessed. However, I can also recognize that I'm not nearly on the same level of aware as some of the students who are competing to get into the same schools. I think that this is partly because I didn't grasp what exactly was expected of me as I visited these colleges.

If I had known more about the differences between majors and double majors, or about how different credit systems worked, I could have asked more astute questions, specifically about academics: "What is the faculty : student ratio for undergraduates?" would be a big one, because that would determine how much personal attention I could get. Asking how long "shopping period", or the time that you can add or drop any classes you like (as long as there's room), is would be another smart question for any rising senior to keep in mind. Also grill your admissions rep on how easy it is to switch majors, or even if you can. Most people change their mind while doing the college process, so having the freedom to alter your course of study could be very important.

There is so much information that sometimes feels inaccessible, due to over-worked counselors, and a lack of resources, even including the Career Center. When I apply to Ivy League Schools, I'll be competing with people who've gone to college prep school since they were ten. I've had a great time during all 12 years of my WCCUSD education, and I can honestly say that I would not trade it in for a private one, but I do sometimes feel that I'm falling behind in terms of being attractive to colleges. I am so grateful for this opportunity to recognize my weak spots, and have time to address them  in my personal statements. Coming to the East Coast and having this amazing tour of colleges that I would have never had a chance to visit has been almost surreal, and I can't wait to start taking the Macroeconomics course.

No comments:

Post a Comment