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“How to CPW 2012”…a Guide for Parents by Kim Hunter '86

CPW can be overwheming...a parents' guide to making the most of it.

Much of Boston and certainly the ladies in the sorority house where I live are preparing to celebrate Marathon Monday tomorrow but for those of us in the Admissions Office the weekend is more about getting ready for Campus Preview Weekend (CPW). Next weekend will be a busy time for us all and this is our last chance to make certain that every detail is perfect so that you will have the most enjoyable and information experience we can provide. Since I am involved with many of the parent events during the weekend it makes sense for me to offer some tips about how you can get the most of your time on campus.

The first question I often hear from parents is, “what events should I attend with my child?” In truth, there won’t be very many of them if you are each doing what interests you the most. With hundreds of options over the few days, there are lots of things to choose from and parents will probably not want answers to the same questions that students will. That said, it’s important to check in occasionally so I’d suggest you pick an event where you can meet up with your student each day (perhaps the President’s Welcome on Friday and the Closing Variety Show on Saturday) but mostly I hope you will encourage them “do their own thing” and know that it’s good for you to do the same. It’s the best way for them to figure out if they are comfortable and at home on our campus and the best way for you to be comfortable with them being here.

I hope you’ll ask lots of questions. It’s the way our students learn and will work well for you too. Current students are great resources so don’t be afraid to ask them about their experiences. In addition we’ve enlisted the help of a great group of current students’ parents called Parent Connectors. They’ll be available throughout the weekend to address those issues that are most important to you, the parent, so don’t be afraid to ask for their opinions…they know exactly how you feel since they were asking those same questions just a year or so ago. They are also easy to locate in their red Parent Connector” polo shirts so keep a lookout for them. A great place to find a parent to talk to would be in the Parent’s Hospitality Lounge. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and chat with current MIT parents as well as other parents of MIT prefrosh. Also, learn about the MIT Parents Association and the Parent Connector Network from current volunteers and staff.

I hope you’ll be open-minded during your visit with us. I live with current students and their life at MIT is somewhat different than mine was when I was here. I’m sure you’ll feel the same way too, it’s inevitable, but it’s just not the way we remember it. I remember fondly my mother’s first comments in viewing my dorm when I was a student at MIT but for me it was the perfect choice for my four years at MIT.

Bring comfortable shoes and a jacket or sweater. Weather can change quickly in Boston so you should be prepared for anything. Boston is a great walking city and I hope you’ll take some time to see the environs around MIT as well the campus itself and the best way to do that is on foot. Even just a short walk along the river can be a nice break from all the events of the day.

Have questions regarding your student’s financial aid package or the financial aid process in general? This year there will be an open house Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Student Financial Services so you can stop in and get your questions answered. On Thursday and Friday there will be comprehensive presentations by Executive Director of Student Financial Services, Elizabeth Hicks. Parents and students are welcome to attend either of these programs on the hows, whys and whens of financial aid at MIT — how your financial aid award was determined, 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 and much more.

But that is just the beginning…

Events

Parent Welcome on Thursday night at 7:30 pm. Stu Schmill, Dean of Admissions, Chancellor Eric Grimson and Professor Alex Slocum will welcome the Class of 2016 parents to Campus Preview Weekend.

Parent Reception with Parent Connectors and Alumni on Friday night at 5:00 pm. Sponsored by the MIT Parents Association and the MIT Club of Boston, this reception is your chance to meet and mingle with Parent Connectors, Educational Counselors and other MIT Alumni. The presenter will be Columbus Leonard ’12 who will talk about some of the programs he’s been a part of while at MIT.

Insight for Parents by Parents is Saturday morning at 9:00 am. A panel of current MIT parents will be on hand to share their insights and answer your questions. Sponsored by the MIT Parents Association. There will be coffee provided, so please come and join us.

Parent Connector Saturday Night Drop-In After the closing variety show join us “Under the Great Dome” for an informal gathering hosted by the Chair of the MIT Parent Connectors at the Barker Engineering Library. It’s one of my favorite rooms on the campus.

Panels & Sessions

Residential Life and Dining at MIT Our on-campus residential community boasts residence halls, fraternities, sororities and independent living groups as well as a wide variety of dining services. There will be a discussion covering life in residences, residential support offerings, activities, dining options, roommate matching and more.

Come learn about all aspects of Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROP) at MIT, including how to participate, what type of research is appropriate, what to expect from the program, and more. Discussion will center on the experiences of the UROP student panel as moderated by UROP staff.

There are other panels on Campus Safety and various aspects of Student Life and Learning …certainly all great options for getting those important questions answered.
Open Houses

Multiple open houses will be held over the weekend. These include areas relating to Medical Services, Careers Development, Hillel, Global Education (study abroad and more), Pre-Professional Advising (Pre-Med and more), departments, and housing.

I’ve named just a handful of the events created with you in mind for CPW and it really is just the tip of the iceberg…to get a head start on your plans check out the schedule on our newly improved CPW site: http://mitcpw.org/schedule

See you soon!