As part of the 2011 Early Action Telethon, today I had the opportunity to talk to some of the prospective members of the Class of 2011. That’s right, if you don’t ask me questions on my blog, I will call your house and suck them out of you. No, really. I fully acknowledge that it’s awkward to get a call during dinner from someone you don’t know. But, we’re just trying to help! I am really glad to have been able to answer some of your questions (which I have copied below) and learn some new things as well (congrats to the 2007 Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalists!)
Question: What is the transition from high school to MIT like?
Academically, the transition depends greatly on the rigor of your high school curriculum. I went to a math and science Magnet program, so I came into MIT with AP credits in Biology, Physics, and Calculus. This is by no means the norm. Keep in mind that first semester freshman year is on pass/ no-record. It is meant to level the playing field, so that you will succeed at MIT regardless of your high school preparation. You can also make life easier or much harder on yourself, depending on the level of the intro class that you choose to take. For example, to fulfill one of your physics requirements, you can take 8.02 (Electricity and Magnetism) or 8.022 (Electricity and Magnetism with calculus…must harder.) I chose to take 8.02, not because I was lazy, but because I wasn’t interested enough in the subject to want to dive into the deep end…I was fine with wadding in the shallow waters. I would rather labor over advanced biology or mechanics, it’s all just a matter of personal preferences, as long as you finish your requirements!
Socially, making the transition to college will be challenging no matter what school you attend. It is difficult to adjust to living away from home, where all of a sudden you are faced with a whole new set of responsibilities. You might get the Freshman 15 (I did…) from eating at all the free barbeques around campus during the first few weeks of school, or from late-night snacking while pseting. It might take you some time to adjust to living with a roommate or being so far away from your family and high school friends. But, your newfound freedom and independence will be something you will learn to love and appreciate. Eventually, you will find yourself learning to use a planner, cooking, cleaning, paying your bills, and even (*gasp*) doing your own laundry. (On another note, I would highly recommend participating in a pre-orientation program. I did the Freshman Leadership Program, and it gave me an opportunity to meet many freshmen before even stepping foot on campus.)
Question: What is the social life like?
Hopefully, by reading these blogs you realize that MIT students are normal people! We are not socially inept beings who lock ourselves in our rooms, refusing to see the light of day until all of our problem sets are complete. In fact, if you come to Campus Preview Weekend, you will see the broad spectrum of activities on campus and realize that while everyone is a nerd at heart, they know how to have fun (whether it is by dropping pumpkins off of roofs or salsa dancing at a club in Central Square.) Basically, there is something for everyone. Don’t worry about not finding friends…you’ll find a group of people where you’ll feel like you belong. If you can’t find that group in the dorms, you will surely find them in the independent living groups, 27 fraternities, or 5 sororities.
Qusetion: How easy is it to cross-register with Harvard?
From what I hear, it’s very easy and just requires you to fill out a form and talk with your advisor. I have friends who have taken language classes at Harvard, art classes at the Museum of Fine Arts, and humanities classes at Wellesley. Harvard is only 2 stops away on the T and less than thirty minutes by bus. Wellesley and the Museum of Fine Arts are also pretty close by.
See, that wasn’t so painful, was it? Any other questions?