Some of you may look at my last post and wonder, "what's happened to Mikey since last year's waitlist decisions were posted in May?!" Well, given that we're so busy during the school year giving presentations and reading/evaluating applications, the summer is the primary time during the year where we get to take vacation! So I did quite a bit of that - went to a few weddings, visited family and friends, and generally took time to rest and relax.
In addition, I attended one of the QuestBridge College Admissions Conferences that are hosted annually by QuestBridge - a non-profit organization that we partner with to help identify, recruit, and select talented low-income students who might not otherwise think of MIT as a place they could apply to, be admitted to, and afford to attend. Anyways, the conference I attended was being held at Yale, and there I ran into Louis Lamia '14, an MIT Quest Scholar whom I met when he was applying through QuestBridge not too long ago. He was volunteering at the conference, and afterward, wanted to write a guest post about his experiences - so here it is. Enjoy!
This place immediately brought back memories of two years ago. I remembered sitting in their shoes, feeling uncertain and intimidated. Most of all, I wished I was on the other side of this whole process. But that Saturday morning I was there to learn how to do it the right way, and to this day, every morning I wake up and look at the Boston skyline, I’m convinced it worked.
I’m speaking about the Questbridge College Admissions Conference at Yale. The idea in a nutshell is to gather up hundreds of low-income, high-achieving students from all over the country and show them that an education at a top tier school, is both within their reach and affordable. I was a student at this conference two years ago, and now as a Quest Scholar, I got to go back to this conference as a Group Leader in charge of getting my group of students around the conference and of course, answering lots and lots of questions.
At the MIT table chatting with Mikey, McGreggor, and Maura (MIT admissions officers) before the college fair
[Ed. note: Louis was a question-answering machine! (Not to be confused with a "question answering machine", which would likely be an unhelpful answering machine...do kids these days even know what answering machines are/were??) -Mikey]
Our experience there started the afternoon before the conference. After getting Indian food for lunch (all paid for by Questbridge), we set off to unload some stuff into the Yale Law School, learn our way around the campus, and get oriented to our jobs. Throughout the day, the first wonderful surprise of the weekend started to kick in. It was genuinely fun to meet the other Quest Scholars. MIT is a very diverse place, but every once in a while, it’s fun to meet people who aren’t predominantly engineering and science majors. It adds a nice bit of perspective to life, a reminder that some people go to other schools and are interested in other things and are still a lot of fun to hang out with.
Me (back row, third from the left) with the other Quest Scholar group leaders, volunteers, and staff at the conference.
The conference itself was very organized and informative, providing workshops on how to use every inch of the college application to communicate something, a presentation on why a school like MIT can be even more affordable than a state school, and of course a talk by Questbridge Co-founder Dr. Michael McCulloch (and if you’ve never heard him speak it’s a memorable treat indeed). I personally had a great time getting to know my group and the other students that I met during lunch, and I appreciated the chance to share the wisdom that I learned at my conference two years ago that helped make my MIT application successful.
The conference was short, and one long day later, we had one last night to explore New Haven with the other Quest Scholars before we headed our separate ways back to our homes or campuses. Nonetheless, that one long day gave me a newfound appreciation for the Questbridge program, the Quest Scholars Network, and what it’s done for me and other present and future Quest Scholars. It is true that today, low-income students have unprecedented opportunities at MIT and other great universities, and I’m very proud to be a part of that legacy.