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MIT staff blogger Kim Hunter '86

The Parent’s Guide to CPW by Kim Hunter '86's not just for Prefrosh!!

At this point, the admission website must appear to be “all about CPW, all the time” and to a large extent our office is that way too. We’re getting ready to welcome the prefrosh and their parents to four days of events on our campus and we’re thrilled that so many of you will be here to enjoy the weekend with us. Each one of us in the Admissions Office has a particular group of programs that we are involved with and mine is parent programs so I’m probably the most logical choice to talk about what the weekend has in store for that set of guests. But before I do that here are some thoughts on making this an enjoyable weekend.

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 nearly 700 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 Chancellor’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. 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. While my parents did understand why I wanted to attend MIT, I’ll never forget the look on my mother’s face when I told her I was moving into a co-ed dorm. I was, after all, her “little girl”. We both enjoyed our time in college, but the experiences we had could not have been more different. I so appreciated the fact that she quickly realized that those differences were inevitable and that my MIT experience was the right one for me.

Bring comfortable shoes and a jacket or sweater. Boston is a great walking city and I hope you’ll take some time to experience it. I was struck anew this morning when I noticed all the flowering trees in bloom in my neighborhood. 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. Evenings can be cool here this time of year and it will even occasionally rain…it is, after all, spring in New England which means just about anything could happen when it comes to weather.

Have questions regarding your financial aid package or the financial aid process in general?
Either get your questions answered immediately by the Financial Aid Counselor on-hand in the Student Center or schedule a 20-minute appointment to speak one-on-one with a Student Financial Services representative. On Friday there will be a Financial Aid Presentation. Parents and students are welcome to attend this program 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. Executive Director of Student Financial Services, Elizabeth Hicks, will address these issues and more, as well as answer your questions.

But that is just the beginning…


Parent Welcome on Thursday night at 7:30 pm. Stu Schmill, Dean of Admissions and Donald Sadoway, John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry, will welcome the Class of 2014 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 Kim Vandiver ’75, Dean for Undergraduate Research.

Insight for Parents by Parents is Saturday morning at 8:30 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.

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.

Panels & Sessions

Residential Life 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. Karen Nilsson, Senior Associate Dean for Residential Life, will lead a discussion covering life in residences, residential support offerings, activities, dining options, roommate matching and more.

Come learn about all aspects of 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.

Three Panels for Parents Learn about the many kinds of interactions that occur between students and faculty at MIT, and the wonderful collaborative environment in which they work and study together. Find out about the many ways students get involved in and lead campus activities and athletics that help to enhance areas of intellectual, personal and social development. From MIT Medical to Student Support Services and safety, MIT’s campus features a widespread and multi-layered care system for the mind, body and spirit.

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 our nifty new CPW search feature

See you soon!

7 responses to “The Parent’s Guide to CPW”

  1. anonymous says:

    First maybe? Great post for parents!

  2. Anon '14 says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I am printing it out and giving it to my parents immediately. wink

  3. genius ('18) says:

    So much to do, so little time…
    Great post for Parents! A must-read!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Are all MIT dorms co-ed?

  5. Kim '86 says:

    @Anonymous No they are not all coed. There is a womens dorm and areas of certain dorms will be all women or all men. The fraternities and sororities are single sex as is the Womens Independent Living Group (WILG)but the other independent living groups are coed. That’s why it is important for students to consider all their options and decide what is the best fit for them.

  6. anonymous says:

    what grade level students do you recommmend attend CPW?

  7. ananymous says:

    never mind….i was confusing cpw with something else…sorry