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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Share the joy by Matt McGann '00

The selection process continues here, and there’s not much I can update you on at this point. We work towards solidifying our early action admits and mailing the early action decisions as soon as we can. I’ll keep you updated when there’s more to be said.

Maybe about this time you’re thinking, “Man, these applications are fun! I wish my friends who are juniors could share in the joy!” Well, now you can share the excitement! [I’ve been told that sarcasm isn’t funny this time of the year. I’m sorry about that.]

I hope you’ll find those really cool juniors (members of the high school Class of 2006) that you know and encourage them to expand their mind with a fun academic summer program. Many of the best summer programs’ deadlines are less than two months away, and often require more than just filling out an application the night before the deadline. Which programs might you want to encourage these juniors to consider?

First, the three summer programs which are hosted at MIT:

  • The Women’s Technology Program (WTP), which the website describes as “The four-week program includes classes in computer science, electrical engineering, and mathematics taught by women PhD candidates in the MIT EECS [Electrical Engineering & Computer Science] Department, and allows girls to explore through hands-on experiments and team-based projects.”
  • Minority Introduction to Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and Science (MITE2S), which the website describes as “a rigorous six-week residential, academic enrichment summer program for promising high school juniors who are interested in studying and exploring careers in science, engineering, and entrepreneurship.”
  • The Research Science Institute (RSI) — sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Education, MIT, and Caltech — which the website describes as “a rigorous academic program which emphasizes advanced theory and research in mathematics, the sciences, and engineering.”

Also, there are lots of other great, focused programs out there. There are science/engineering programs like SSP, SHARP, COSMOS, Simons / Garcia, Welch, HSHSP, YSP@FSU, Clark, Andrew’s Leap, CURIE, and Operation Catapult. Math programs include Ross, Mathcamp, PROMYS, HSMC, SUMaC, HCSSiM, and YSP. This by no means is a comprehensive list, but are a few that I’m familiar with and can think of as I’m sitting here writing this entry.

Summers are a great time to focus your energies on what is really important or enjoyable to you without the time constraints of school and homework. Most summers of high school, I worked to earn money to pay for my expenses and spent time with family and friends. The summer before I applied to college, though, I did a residential program, which was the first time I had ever lived away from home or immersed myself in a truly diverse environment. It was a truly life-changing experience.

It is a myth that you must do a summer program to get into college. There are lots of productive ways to utilize this gift of uninterupted free time, but we hope you’ll do more than just sit around playing Xbox and watching old Simpsons episodes. Working is a great option (this is what most everyone I knew did), and I hope you’ll spend quality time with the important people in your life. Mostly, we just hope that you see your time as a precious gift, and use it to its fullest extent.

I know many people who read this blog have participated in summer programs, including the ones listed above. Why would (or wouldn’t) you recommend that program to a high school junior? What was great (or not so great) about it?

Go out and talk to that junior today!

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