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Beatriz Valdez

  • Admissions Counselor
  • bvaldez [at] mit [dot] edu


If somebody would have told me, “Beatriz, you are going to get the chance to work at MIT as an admissions counselor,” say, four…no, ONE year ago, I definitely would have har-harred. You see, my line of thinking in the not too distant past was, “MIT is a place for science, math, and money….and I ain’t got none of it.”

December, 2005: while most of my class mates were finishing up college applications, I was graduating high school early and frantically searching for full time work in my small, rural hometown located in eastern Colorado. My parents were struggling with bills on a catastrophic level, and I couldn’t bear sitting by watching them struggle to feed the family. I landed a full time job as a secretary in an immigrant clinic and was making 11 bucks an hour. Not too shabby for a seventeen-year old, but at the same time, it wasn’t enough for me. My supervisor sensed this, and urged me to at least go to the local community college before I settled into my comfortable bubble that had become my life.

May 2008: Turns out I was actually good at being a student, so I became the first person in my family to graduate from college, and to celebrate, we went to the local McDonald’s. Many people recognized me at the restaurant (I gave the graduating speech), and wished me luck at my future school, which was a nearby public university.

May 2010: I actually graduated from the public university I transferred to; you see, I struggled tremendously at this institution upon arriving. I didn’t know anybody like me, I couldn’t figure out which major to choose, and worse (in my mind), much worse was the fact that my parents had no idea how to help. So, the fact that I actually graduated on time and had been accepted into a Master’s program at Harvard (DISCLAIMER HERE: I wanted to apply to MIT, I really did, but I did not meet the language requirements for that particular program) was pretty incredible (even to my dog, and he can’t speak).

Summer 2011: Throughout the summer, I applied to higher educational institutions. But, I never really considered MIT because, well…it was intimidating! How could I possibly survive in a place where science, math, and money are the only things that matter? Upon further inspection, however, I realized that MIT valued many of the things I did: they expended a tremendous amount of resources to get students like me to consider their school. They knew talented people existed in nearly every part of the socio-economic spectrum. They knew the importance of diversity and what that provides for higher educational institutions.

Now: Well, here I am. I told you my story, and I want to hear yours.