While many of our students have known for a quite some time that MIT is where they wanted to be, others were less certain. Some may even have thought that another institution was a better (gasp) match for them. That is of course, until they had the opportunity to experience all things MIT over the course of Campus Preview Weekend, better known simply as CPW.
As for CPW, I don’t think it goes according to plan for most prefrosh, because I don’t think it is possible to grasp the sheer enormity of it, without having experienced CPW previously. How many campus visit programs have had their own App developed by a participant, just to keep track of everything that was going on? (Since this was such a great idea, we are planning to have a platform-independent mobile site that should work for everyone, up and running by CPW)
But I digress. As I am sure that if you are planning to come to CPW, you have reflected on what you would like to get out of the experience, have a preliminary idea of specific things that you would like to do, and have already made all the necessary arrangements to attend, and are not waiting, in typical MIT fashion until the very last minute of the April 5 deadline to get registered.
Regardless, what I really wanted to talk about is finding the perfect match. I should mention that I am not specifically referring to MIT, although you may find that MIT is the perfect match for you as well. I am referring to finding a perfect match to serve as your anchor or guide during CPW. I have heard from a number of current students that getting connected with the right guide or community was crucial to their experience. CPW offers a lot of choices, and navigating those choices is much easier if you get connected with the right undergrad host.
In the same way that we are concerned about who we offer admission to, we are concerned about having the best possible match between the prefrosh (get used to it, you will be hearing it a lot) and hosts. We ask the same questions of prefrosh registering for CPW as we do of the volunteer hosts. Our goal is to use all of that information, to make the best matches possible. Keep in mind that we have already admitted you. We already know that you are awesome. You don’t need to tell us that research and academics are the most important things for you to learn about from your host, if in fact you are most concerned about finding a group to play ultimate frisbee with.
If, for example, you are African-American (like me) and are interested in connecting with other African-Americans or learning about the community here, you should identy your cultural affinty, select that it is very important, and at the end of the survey indicate that Cultural Affinity is most important to you. The same principle applies whether connecting with a religious or faith community is tantamount, or you just want to make sure that you get to eat while at MIT by hanging out with people who have the same dietary restrictions as you.
One other note on ranking questions by importance, is the necessity of gradation. If you rank everything as equally important, (whether “Not”, “Somewhat”, or “Very”) you are effectively saying that nothing is important, or at least nothing is more important than anything else, which won’t help us in making a good match. Whether you have registered already or not, you still have some time to think it over, because you can complete or update your CPW registration up through the deadline on April 5.