I have been back from my fall travel rounds for almost a week now. This year, I travelled to sunny Southern California. I visited high schools, met with students and parents, and just spread the good word about MIT. I spent eight days travelling as far north as Malibu and as far south as San Diego all the while attempting to hit as many points in between.
My trip was a lot of fun!
I saw the Pacific Ocean……
….got lost on my way to Hollywood, but found Christopher Columbus, who pointed me in the right direction…..
……eventually found the Hollywood Walk of Fame and saw the stars of some of my favorite actors…..
He graduated from my alma mater Morehouse College.
FYI – That is my shoe on the right
….and even ate some strange fruit (Do you know what this is? No, it is not a lime. However, it does taste like an orange!)
I had a blast in California, but it is good to be back home in Cambridge. I got a warm welcome at the MIT Book Fair from an old friend.
Nevertheless, while I was on the road, there were a number of really interesting questions that I thought could be helpful to my nervous prospective student friends on the blogs. So with no further ado….the questions!
Q: I am really nervous about applying to MIT. Do you have any last minute suggestions for me?
A: I know that the application process can be really nerve racking. So here is the best that I have to offer
1. Take a DEEP BREATH…..In fact, take a few
This year you will have to multitask like never before. You have Honors & AP courses to manage, extracurricular activities to lead, jobs to work, family responsibilities to juggle, prom preperations, and on top of ALL of THAT, you are applying to college. Whewww….That makes me tired just THINKING about that list. In order to not go absolutely crazy, you will want to make sure that you have a solid plan in place to get everything done on time. But even before you begin to devise your plan, you need to take a DEEP BREATH and know that you CAN and WILL be okay. So breathe deep and have full confidence that your senior year will be challenging, but oh so worthwhile and enjoyable once you are accepted to colleges and have the opportunity to select which school you would like to attend in a couple of months.
2. Schedule your MIT interview!!!
With everything going on, don’t forget to schedule your MIT interview! The interview is a great opportunity to connect with an MIT alum (Who we call Educational Counselors or ECs for short), share more information about who you really are as a person, and learn some new information about MIT from someone who has actually graduated from the school that you would love to attend. Our ECs are the BEST ever (and I’m not just saying that because they buy me delicious dinners every now and then). Our ECs come from all over the world, have had really interesting and diverse careers, and are (most importantly) really nice people who want to talk to students just like YOU!!! In sum, help me to help you, make sure to schedule your interview!!!
3. Pay attention to your grades
Don’t forget the reason for the season. This is the college application season, and academics are the primary reason that you will be attending college. With that said, you’ve GOT to keep your grades up senior year. Sometimes seniors think that they can slack off since thee college applications are already submitted and in the evaluation process…… NEWSFLASH —-THIS JUST IN —– Sometimes MIT will call your guidance counselors, teachers, or other references you have submitted to ask further questions about academic progress. You don’t necessarily have to be getting straight As in all of your classes (but if you ARE, that is great!), but you ABSOLUTELY should be giving your very best effort and working hard to do your best in school.
4. Take time to enjoy your senior year (I know that you have a lot to do this year, but you have to stop to smell the roses).
Go to the homecoming game (or parade). Audition for a role in the school play. Tell your favorite teacher “thanks” for being such a great instructor. Take a friend to one of the school dances. And don’t forget to make it to prom. Take lots of pictures, smile, and know that your future will open a whole new set of opportunities for you.
5. My last piece of advice comes from the wise folks at Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach, California. Shout out to all of the students, administrators, ECs, and fun people who I met out there. These are indeed, words to live by.