Skip to content ↓
MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

A CPW Entry for Parents by Matt McGann '00

Students shouldn't have all the fun.

I know there are lots of parent blog readers out there lurking… this entry is for you, and is specifically about CPW (regardless of whether you’ll be there).

For the parents who will be attending CPW

We’re excited to have you as our guests! Here are some (hopefully) helpful hints for the weekend:

  • Parent events: Parents have been a part of Campus Preview Weekend since its beginnings, so over the years we’ve honed our parent event offerings based on feedback, requests, and questions. Some of the parent events over the weekend include:

    • The Welcome for Parents: Thursday night at 7:30, things get kicked off. The keynote speaker is Prof. Don Sadoway, who teaches MIT’s most popular freshman chemistry course. He’s great, you’ll love him.
    • Financial Aid and Student Financial Services Session for Parents: Friday afternoon at 1pm, Director of Student Financial Aid Daniel Barkowitz will answer questions and talk about the hows, whys and whens of financial aid at MIT — how we determined your financial aid award, when your supplemental forms are due, how to pay your balance, how to find on-campus student employment, and how your online student account will work.
    • Student Life and Learning Panel for Parents: Friday afternoon at 2pm, there will be a panel of the top student life administrators at MIT: Professor and Dean for Undergraduate Education Daniel Hastings, Director and Head of MIT Medical William Kettyle, Senior Associate Dean of Students Barbara Baker, and Director of Security and Campus Police Services John DiFava.
    • Parent Reception with Parent Connectors and Alumni Association: Friday evening, there is a nice reception with MIT alums and MIT parents.
    • “Insight for Parents by Parents”: First thing Saturday morning, a panel of current MIT parents will be on hand to share their insights and answer your questions.
    • Residential Living Advising Panel for Parents: Saturday morning, you can learn more about MIT’s unique (and very supportive) housing system. Faculty housemasters and residential life administrators will talk about the system and student experiences.

    And while there are no formal Boston/Cambridge tours planned, I’d suggest making some new friends and going out to explore the city yourself. There are lots of great historic sites, restaurants, and shopping — my parents love getting to visit me in Boston.

  • The Parent Lounge: I hope you’ll take advantage of the Parent Lounge. The Parent Lounge will be in the Coffeehouse, on the 3rd floor of the Student Center, one floor above CPW Headquarters/check-in. It’s a good place to relax, and to meet other parents. It will be staffed throughout the weekend by the MIT Parents Association who can answer many questions.

  • For those driving to campus: I’ve been living in Boston for 12 years now, and I don’t own a car, and for good reason. Getting around on foot or via public transportation in Boston/Cambridge is extremely easy and efficient. I use the subway, which is safe and cheap, every day.

    Driving, on the other hand, can be extremely trying. Lots of one-way streets, very little parking, traffic. Many parents I talk to at CPW Registration who aren’t used to driving in Boston (or a similar city, like San Francisco or New York) are quite frustrated. I write this to warn you a bit, and to encourage you to plan ahead.

    Parking on or near campus is very difficult. There are very few parking spaces available for visitors during the day on Thursday and Friday (evenings and weekends are usually somewhat better). We recommend that you park at your hotel and make your way to campus from there. Please note that we can’t provide transportation to or from your hotel — call them and figure out your best way to get to MIT on public transportation.

    Most of you will drive to MIT on the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90). To get to the drop-off point from “the Pike,” follow I-90 east to the Cambridge/Brighton exit (exit 18). After paying the toll, follow the signs to Cambridge. Proceed through the stoplights at the intersection. You will cross the Charles River via the River Street Bridge. Continue straight on River Street for about 7/10 mile to Central Square (the next major intersection). Turn right onto Massachusetts Avenue and follow Massachusetts Avenue for about 7/10 mile. After you cross the railroad tracks, you will be looking at MIT – the Great Dome and academic facilities are on the left, the dormitories and athletic facilities are on the right. Make a right at the third stoplight after the railroad tracks; the drop-off point is ahead on your right.

  • For those flying to campus: On Thursday from 8am until 9pm, we will be running a free shuttle bus from Boston Logan Airport Terminal E directly to MIT. There are free airport shuttle buses that can take you from the baggage claim at your terminal to Terminal E. The MIT airport shuttle is a green Peter Pan bus with an MIT sign on the front windshield. We will also run shuttles from MIT back to the airport on Sunday from 6am until 2pm.

    At other times, there are other ways to get to/from the airport. The cheapest way is by public transportation (MBTA), taking the Silver Line bus to the Red Line subway, exiting at Kendall/MIT (cost: $2). The fastest and most convenient way is by taxi (~$35, including tolls & tip).

  • Food: I hope you’ll get a chance to try out different food options on campus. We will be providing a meal voucher to have dinner in one of the residential dining halls, and there will also be a special brunch on Saturday provided in the dorms by the Faculty Housemasters.

  • Financial Aid Appointments: From 9am-5pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the very nice financial aid officers will be taking 20 minute one-on-one appointments to answer your questions and help with financial aid issues. We will try to meet with as many families as possible throughout the weekend, but availability is limited. Sign up at CPW Headquarters/check-in to make an appointment.

We’re looking forward to seeing you soon!

For the parents whose student (only) will be attending CPW

First of all, rest assured, we will take good care of your son or daughter while they are here. They have been paired with a quality MIT student host and have a place to stay in an MIT living group.

Here are a few (hopefully) helpful hints:

  • Being in touch: The students tend to have a lot of fun during CPW, and sometimes forget to call home and check in. We recommend talking to your son or daughter before they leave about being in touch. We do provide for free phone calls in CPW Headquarters.

  • Cell phones: If your student does not have a cell phone, but you do, you may want to consider loaning them the cell phone for the weekend. We have found that this makes it easier to coordinate and be in touch.

  • Medical release form: Please sign and fax in the Medical Release Form ASAP. The form came in the March mailing with the other CPW materials, and is also available on the CPW website as a PDF. You can fax it to 617-253-4076.

  • If you have questions about MIT: We’re sorry we can’t see you in person for CPW, but we’re happy to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to leave questions in the blog comments, or call our office directly, or email us, or send us a letter by carrier pigeon. We are here to help answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to ask.

…and keep an eye on the blogs, you may see a familiar face!

For parents who won’t be at CPW, nor their student

  • We still welcome a visit by your son or daughter, or you and your son or daughter, anytime. Between now and May 1, we’re happy to provide an MIT student host for an overnight visit (parent housing not included); have your son or daughter submit the Overnight Program registration on MyMIT.

  • If you have questions about MIT: We’re sorry we can’t see you in person for CPW, but we’re happy to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to leave questions in the blog comments, or call our office directly, or email us, or send us a letter by carrier pigeon. We are here to help answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to ask.

Let us know how we can help bring the campus to you!

There’s a lot more excitement between now and May 1, but for now, our attention is focused on CPW and the 1,000 members of the Class of 2012 who will be on campus.

In the meantime, any last minute CPW questions?

20 responses to “A CPW Entry for Parents”

  1. kayla '12 says:

    my parents aren’t going… =[

  2. Anonymous says:


    I’m finally ready to update you guys on the exact times of my flight, but the MyMIT Portal Registration is closed. How should I let you guys know?

  3. Davorama says:

    Alas, my parents shall not be attending and so I am very excited to be flying by myself.

    And thanks again for answering my emails!

  4. Paul says:

    Any parents who may be reading these, I would just like to throw in my own two cents, and the main thing I want to say is this.

    Please, please, please don’t be afraid to let your student explore MIT on his or her own. After all, CPW is designed primarily for MIT students, by MIT students. It’s not that parents aren’t wanted…but it would just make things awkward (for your child and for us students) to have you around all the time. There will be plenty of times for you to meet up – my dad came with me last year, so I know from experience – but most of the time, both you and your child will be better served by remaining apart.

    That being said, don’t hesitate to talk to current students if you have any questions – particularly about MIT’s housing system, since I think that is often an aspect of MIT that elicits more confusion than it should. And as always, you can still rely on us bloggers (via commenting or email) to answer your questions.

  5. mamacita says:

    Can we sit in classes? Even grey haired ladies like to have fun.

  6. Last year my husband went to CPW with our daughter, and he made full use of every opportunity to check out MIT. We had decided he should be the one to go, because he was initially opposed to her attending the school. (We did not qualify for financial aid and even schools like Yale were less expensive.) Like other parents on this thread, he said “goodbye” to our daughter Thursday night and saw her again on Sunday. During the intervening days he visited classes, sat in on panel discussions, spoke once more with Financial Aid (nothing changed as a result of that conversation), and learned a great deal about MIT. When they came home after having visited MIT and other places, they were BOTH in love with MIT. It’s important for everyone to understand that because the family makes the financial commitment, the entire family has to be on board with the decision. I think MIT does understand this, and I encourage other parents to take full advantage of CPW, both by letting your children experience the campus independently, and by investigating on your own.

  7. Oasis says:

    Erm, I wouldn’t necessarily qualify lectures as “fun,” but I’m sure you can go into most lectures (probably need to ask for the ultra-small ones), but most big lectures like 8.02, 7.013, 18.03…etc. you can just walk in if you are so inclined.

    You can think about checking out 8.02 (we meet in the basement of the Stata center) on Friday (there’s a class every hour from 9-5). Our professor(s) designed a special lecture for CPW, which he promises to be the “funnest lecture in the whole year.” We’ll see =p

  8. Someone '12 says:

    Matt, I have a quick question. I heard from MIT students that at CPW, we get TechCash cards. Can we use this at the Coop for merchandise? Thanks for answering.

  9. Last year I said good-bye to my prefrosh on Thursday and he showed up at my hotel on Sunday in time to fly home. We chatted by phone a few times so I knew he was still alive but other than that…I had to trust! I did some sight-seeing and rode the ‘T’ (subway) all over to explore. It was GREAT and I felt totally safe! Parents…this is where your child begins the realization of one of his/her dreams. Being in Cambridge to see what he would be experiencing made saying good-bye in August a bit easier! For those parents not able to attend CPW…I hope you can get to Cambridge at some point during the next four years…you’ll love it!

  10. abc123 says:

    the coop took my card

  11. Julia '12 says:

    So there are tons of blog entrys for students attending CPW and now one for parents even of students who can’t attend so how about an entry for those of us students who can’t attend. I am really wishing I could come but being a foreign exchange student in Austria for the year I am forbiden from entering the US. Any suggestions for those of us who for some reason are unable to attend even though we really want to. Thanks.

  12. Elaina '12 says:

    @Julia ’12

    I think they’re planning a huge blog with videos and pictures for CPW 2008. There was a blog a weeek or two ago asking for pre-frosh if they wanted to blog for CPW, and another blog asking pre-frosh if they wanted to live picture blog with their phones.

    Hope this helps.

  13. Paul says:

    Yes, Elaina hit it on the head. There will be tons of CPW blog coverage, both during and after CPW, and I hope that will help you get a little taste of what CPW would be like. Stay tuned!

  14. rko '11 says:

    someone, that’s trippy. Many prefrosh last year saved their $20-something in TechCash to use on MIT hoodies. The COOP didn’t accept it :(

  15. Elaina says:

    What Lauren said on the other blog. Except I’ve NEVER met another Elaina before (spelled that way). The first one I heard of was actually this past summer…smile

  16. Elaina '12 says:

    I am the Elaina from April 9, 3:21 pm.

    Ha ha, this is the second time I have met someone who has my name spelt like that as well. The most frustrating thing I have found is that I can’t find one of the rulers,mugs, keychains etc with my name on it. Its great to know that there’s someone
    else out there besides my grand-aunt(who I was named after, and is the second person) with the name ‘Elaina’.

    And one of those ‘Lauren”s from the other blog is my twin.^_^ (Go figure. One with a common name, the other with a name so uncommon, they don’t make mugs with the name on it.^_^)

    Hope to meet you.

  17. I know! When I was little, it used to bug me when people spelled my namd Elena. Now that’s far closer than most people can get – I’ve learned to roll with the punches.
    I kind of guessed you were probably Lauren’s twin. She commented on my name when we were at wtp together, and I didn’t think there were THREE ‘Elaina”s running around the blogs.

    See you at CPW!

  18. mohit says:

    Hi!! I’m not going to get in to the whole elaina discussion! But i do congratulate Elaina’12……
    Anyways I was wondering when are we going to get another entry on International admission….the last one was July 17th, 2006…….