Why Applying to College Is So Confusing

Great article from the New York Times on Why Applying to College is So Confusing.

Colleges themselves have widely diverging views on what makes an ideal applicant. It’s a widespread misconception that applicants have an automatic right to be admitted to the school of their choice if they have higher grades or test scores than other candidates. It’s not that grades and test scores don’t matter — they nearly always do — but colleges aren’t obligated to choose the students who are deemed most likely to earn high college grades or graduate. As the legal scholar Ronald Dworkin put it, there is “no combination of abilities and skills and traits that constitutes ‘merit’ in the abstract.”

Instead, what counts in admissions depends on the mission of the institution — and that can vary a great deal from school to school.

Worth reading the entire article!

 

10 Things: Getting Into Your Dream College

Very interesting article by the NY Times on 10 Things to Know About Getting Into Your Dream College.

Admissions decisions aren’t all about you.
When colleges choose applicants, they’re juggling competing goals, like increasing diversity and bringing in more revenue. Admissions officers aren’t looking for students who fit just one description — say, those who’ve earned all A’s or won the most awards. So don’t take rejection personally.

Grades and test scores still carry the most weight.
Colleges often say they want to get to know the real you, but that’s probably true only if your academic accomplishments (and the rigor of courses you’ve taken) pass muster.

You’re more than a number.
After colleges identify a big batch of students with outstanding credentials, differences among them become more important, admissions deans say. Among some of the attributes they tell me they would like to see evidence of (in essays, extracurricular activities, recommendations) are: leadership, risk taking, emotional intelligence, fire for learning, critical thinking, curiosity, empathy, optimism, grit, perseverance and the ability to overcome obstacles.

Express your authentic self.
Overwhelmed by slick, boastful essays, colleges are eager for what they call “authentic” glimpses of applicants — their experiences, passions and goals. Some deans believe they’ll get deeper insight through alternative formats like videos, pictures, audio files or documents (an Advanced Placement English paper, maybe). A handful of prestigious schools, including Yale, the University of Chicago, Pomona College, Reed College and the University of Rochester, recently introduced this option. As with essays, too much polish is no good, deans say, so you might think twice about hiring a professional videographer. At Yale, about 400 applicants (out of nearly 33,000) for this year’s freshman class sent in something in an alternative format. In at least one case, the submission — a video showing leadership and impact on others — was, the dean told me, a “difference maker.”

Diversity counts.
Are you a first-generation or low-income student? Many colleges are trying to increase access, so it can help to emphasize your background — and how your personal story relates to your achievements — in essays and interviews.

But money does matter.
At many colleges, financial circumstances comes into play. Being able to pay all or some of the freight is a bonus. And some qualified students of limited means might get rejected for no reason other than lack of money.

Geography is (partly) destiny.
Many selective colleges want students from all over.

Legacies aren’t a shoo-in.
Legacy status certainly helps, but big-name colleges reject plenty of these applicants.

Do (real) good.
A new initiative called “Turning the Tide” urges admissions offices to reward applicants for sustained community service. And some colleges, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are taking a closer look at what applicants have done to help others, be they neighbors or family members. You don’t have to fly to Belize to do good (admissions officers are often skeptical of these fleeting trips). Showing up to tutor someone at the library each week might be even more impressive, and rewarding.

Colleges want to be your first choice.
About one in five colleges allot “considerable importance” to “demonstrated interest,” whereby applicants convey their willingness to attend the college they’re applying to. Open those emails. Connect with admissions officers. Let them know when you visit campus.

 

Six Myths About Choosing a College Major

Worth reading the NY Times article on Six Myths About Choosing a College Major. Below are the 6 myths and more is available in the full article.

Myth 1: For the big money, STEM always delivers.

Myth 2: Women want to have it all.

Myth 3: Choice of major matters more than choice of college.

Myth 4: Liberal arts majors are unemployable.

Myth 5: It’s important to choose a major early.

Myth 6: You need a major.

See the chart below for projected earnings of different career fields. If interested read the full article: Six Myths About Choosing a College Major

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MIT: Know more from the experts

Want to know more about MIT? The experts who were at Band wrote a text with lots of juicy details! The introduction is below and the full document is on Moodle.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

por Dra. Elaine Lizeo & Fernando Carvalho*

No último dia 09 de outubro, estivemos no Colégio Bandeirantes para uma palestra sobre o renomado MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Estavam presentes alunos do ensino médio e fundamental. Na palestra, abordamos diversos temas sobre o Instituto de um modo geral, e mais particularmente sobre sua história,  atmosfera, as 5 escolas que constituem o Instituto, a estrutura do programa de graduação e as inúmeras oportunidades educacionais disponíveis no MIT, além da natureza e especificidades de seu processo de seleção.

O evento foi bastante enriquecido com a participação de dois novos membros do time de entrevistadores do MIT aqui no Brasil, Clarissa Crego Forneris, formada no MIT em 2013 com um Bacharelado, BS, em Química, e Marco Antonio Lopes Pedroso, formado no MIT em 2014 com um Bacharelado, BS, em Ciências da Computação e Engenharia, e em 2015 com um Mestrado em Engenharia Elétrica & Ciência da Computação.

O MIT é reconhecido mundialmente pela sua excelência e liderança nas mais diversas áreas do conhecimento: Engenharia, Ciências, Tecnologia, Linguística, Economia, entre outras.

Procuramos contextualizar historicamente a fundação do MIT. Diferentemente de outras universidades mais tradicionais como Harvard (1636), Yale (1701) e Princeton (1746) fundadas ainda sob a dominação britânica encerrada com a guerra de independência americana (1775-1783), o MIT foi fundado em 1861 em Boston, mas iniciou suas atividades em 1865, ao final da guerra civil americana, com o propósito de servir ao esforço de industrialização de uma nação independente em construção, vivendo sob uma atmosfera de grande liberdade.

O MIT tem como missão “promover o conhecimento e educar alunos em ciências, tecnologia e outras áreas que melhor servirão a nação e ao mundo no século XXI”. O Instituto está empenhado em gerar, disseminar e preservar o conhecimento e trabalhar com outros para aplicar esses conhecimentos aos grandes desafios do mundo.

Ao longo do tempo, o MIT se transformou de uma escola de engenharia propriamente dita para uma universidade baseada em ciências (Science-based University), cujo objetivo principal é criar a economia mais avançada do futuro estimulado por diversos centros de empreendedorismo em tecnologias de ponta (Entrepreneurship in High Technology). MIT Professor Ed Roberts,  fundador e presidente do Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management,  em um artigo publicado no Slice of MIT em janeiro de 2017, afirma que  estudos recentes mostram que ex-alunos do MIT em atividade criaram mais de 30.000 empresas em funcionamento, com 4,5 milhões de funcionários, o equivalente em receitas à 10º economia do mundo.

A pesquisa interdisciplinar e a cultura de cooperação entre alunos, professores e pesquisadores de diferentes áreas do conhecimento estão disseminadas nas 5 escolas que constituem o MIT: School of Engineering, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, School of Science, School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, e a Sloan School of Management. O departamento de Matemática do MIT funciona como uma espécie de centro de gravidade do Instituto. Lógica matemática, modelos matemáticos, matemática discreta e contínua são insumos presentes na grande maioria das pesquisas das mais diversas áreas do Instituto.

A atmosfera de grande liberdade, a política de portas abertas e a flexibilidade da estrutura acadêmica e de pesquisa existentes no MIT têm atraído alunos brilhantes e pesquisadores de renome mundial. Entre eles podemos citar: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, 2016 Turing Award (o prêmio Nobel da Ciência da Computação), considerado o inventor da world wide web; Eric Lander, MIT Biology Professor, o pai do projeto Genoma, fundador e presidente do Broad Institute, uma associação do MIT, Harvard University e hospitais da região de Boston; Noam Chomsky, MIT Institute Professor, pai da Linguística Moderna;   Ronald Rivest, Institute Professor  e criptógrafo;  Donald Sadoway, MIT Professor of Solid State Chemistry; Tom Leighton, MIT Professor of Applied Mathematics e CEO da Akamai.  Para citar um ex-aluno de grande reputação, Richard Feynman, MIT Class of 1939, SB – Bachelor Of Science, Course 8 – Physics e 1965 Physics Nobel Prize, um dos mais importantes Físicos do século XX e uma fonte de inspiração para jovens talentosos na área de ciências do mundo todo.

Como funciona o curso de graduação do MIT  

Os alunos iniciam o curso de graduação no MIT com uma área de concentração não declarada. Durante o primeiro ano, o Instituto oferece feiras acadêmicas, palestras, seminários e outros programas para ajudar os alunos a decidirem quais áreas melhor se adequam aos seus interesses e objetivos de estudos e carreira, opção essa que deverá ser feita até o inicio do segundo ano. O MIT oferece um leque de opções de estudos em mais de 70 áreas do conhecimento.

Independentemente da área a ser escolhida, se Física ou Linguística, Matemática ou Ciências Políticas, todos os alunos da graduação, sem exceção, têm que cumprir um currículo básico requerido pelo MIT, conhecido como GIRs (General Instituto Requirements). Devem ser cursadas 6 matérias na área de ciências (Matemática, Física, Química e Biologia), 8 matérias na área de humanas, 2 matérias eletivas restritas à ciências e tecnologia e 1 laboratório. Esses requerimentos são considerados a base acadêmica do MIT.

Para aliviar a pressão e garantir a exploração de áreas que de início o aluno não consideraria, seja por achar muito demandante ou por não ter nenhuma base a respeito, o Instituto segue o sistema de pass/no record para o primeiro semestre e ABC/no record para o segundo semestre. Nesse sistema, as reprovações não são registradas no histórico escolar do aluno no primeiro ano da graduação. No primeiro semestre os alunos recebem um “pass”  nas matérias em que forem aprovados e no segundo semestre recebem as devidas notas A, B ou C nas matérias em que forem aprovados, sem registros das reprovações.

Aqueles alunos que demonstrarem um aproveitamento muito abaixo do esperado no primeiro ano podem ser convidados a voltar para casa, para se prepararem melhor e eventualmente retornarem ao MIT para continuar seus estudos.

O MIT disponibiliza para os alunos da graduação o UROP – Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, um programa único entre as universidades americanas, onde os alunos têm a oportunidade de participar desde o início da graduação de projetos de pesquisa liderados por professores de renome do Instituto.

Também único do MIT é o IAP, Independent Activities Period, um termo, que compreende o mês de janeiro, quando não há aulas regulares, e oferece a alunos, professores, ex-alunos e funcionários a oportunidade de organizarem e participarem de uma enorme gama de atividades e cursos. Durante o IAP, os alunos regularmente matriculados nos diferentes programas podem cursar matérias e participar de seminários e workshops que contam créditos.

Para maiores informações acesse o link:

http://mitadmissions.org/discover/academics

Keep reading this on Moodle!

 

* Dra. Elaine Lizeo, Brazilian Chair – MIT Educational Council, é desde 2008 coordenadora do time brasileiro de entrevistadores de candidatos ao programa de graduação do MIT. No período de 2003 a 2006, trabalhou no MIT Admissions Office, em Cambridge, como application reader do pool americano e internacional.

Fernando Carvalho, tem uma história relacionada ao MIT iniciada no ano de 1995, quando, em conjunto com Elaine Lizeo, desenvolveu um trabalho muito bem sucedido de ampliação da representatividade brasileira no programa de MBA da MIT Sloan School of Management, situado no topo do ranking dos programas de MBA dos Estados Unidos naquele ano.

Desde 2007, Elaine e Fernando, autorizados pelo MIT Dean of Admissions, Stu Schmill, têm desenvolvido no Brasil um trabalho sustentável de divulgação de oportunidades educacionais no ultra competitivo programa de graduação do MIT, e em Cambridge junto ao Admissions Office, visando uma maior visibilidade dos brasileiros que gozam de excelente reputação dentro da comunidade de graduação do Instituto.

 

Should You Apply Early Action vs Early Decision?

Today is the deadline for Early applications and several of our seniors are submitting applications today. Below is a text from Princeton Review on Early Action vs Early Decision and important things to consider.

Many colleges allow applicants to submit their materials for an early deadline (sometime in the fall) that falls before the regular deadline (usually sometime in January or February). Here’s what you need to know.

Advantages of applying early
Show You’re Serious
Applying early lets your favorite school (or schools) know that you are serious about attending. Schools track how many applicants accept their offers of admission and release those numbers to the public. A school looks good when a high percentage of accepted applicants chose to attend. So if they think you’re likely to accept their offer of admission, it may give your application a leg up.

Cut Down on Admission Stress
If you are accepted to your dream school, you won’t have to bother with the time and expense of applying elsewhere. You can put your focus back on right now instead of one year from now.

Some students and high school counselors believe that applying early decision gives them better odds of acceptance, but the truth is early acceptance rates and admissions standards vary from school to school. You can find early decision application numbers and acceptance rates for many schools in our Best Colleges book, and don’t be afraid to ask an admission counselor at your dream school directly about their early admission practices.

There is a (potential) disadvantage to applying early, however. You may not have the opportunity to compare financial aid packages offered by other schools.

Early Action vs Early Decision
Most schools allow you to apply early in one of two ways: early decision or early action.

Early decision
Early decision is binding. This means if you are accepted through early decision, you are committed to attending that school, and will withdraw any applications you may have submitted for the regular deadlines at other schools. You may not apply to more than one college under early decision. If you are not accepted, you will either be rejected or deferred. Rejected applicants may not apply again that year. Deferred applicants will be reconsidered during the regular admission period, and are free to apply to other schools.

Early decision deadlines are often in November, and students are typically notified of the decision in December.

Early action
Early action is non–binding. This means you are not bound to attend if you are accepted. You may also apply early action to multiple colleges. Early action deadlines usually fall at the same time as early decision.

The obvious advantage of early action over early decision is the opportunity it gives you to apply to, and ultimately compare financial aid packages from several schools. If you are accepted early decision, you risk missing the admission deadlines of other schools while you wait for your award package to arrive. If that award is lackluster, your options are fewer.

Our Advice
If you’re sure that you’ve found your best-fit school, you know it’s one you want to attend, you’re a strong candidate for admission, and you know that you can afford the tuition, go ahead and apply early decision.

That is a whole lot of research and comparison to have done by fall of your senior year, though, and if you’re uncertain about any of those factors, you’re not alone! Keep your options open by applying early action, or by the regular deadline.

College Advice I Wish I’d Taken

Great article by the NY Times that’s definitely worth reading. Some highlights are below. Full article available here.

Here’s what I wish I’d known and done differently:

A’S ARE COOL AND COME WITH PERKS – As a student, I saw myself as anti-establishment, and I hated tests; I barely maintained a B average. I thought only nerds spent weekends in the library studying. I was retroactively envious to learn that a 3.5 G.P.A. or higher at many schools qualifies you for free trips, scholarships, grants, awards, private parties and top internships.

SHOW UP AND SPEAK UP  If a class was boring or it snowed, I’d skip. My rationale was that nobody in the 300-person lecture hall would notice and I could get notes later. Attendance barely counted. When I went, I’d sit quietly in back. Yet as a teacher, I see that the students who come weekly, sit in front, and ask and answer questions get higher grades and frankly, preferential treatment. I reward those who try harder with recommendations, references, professional contacts and encouragement.

CLASS CONNECTIONS CAN LAUNCH YOUR CAREER – As an undergrad, I rarely visited my professors during office hours. I didn’t want to annoy teachers with what I considered triviality. Besides, I thought I knew everything already. But it’s not just your professors who will help your life trajectory. Several classmates of mine from graduate school wound up working as editors at other publications, and they have since hired me for freelance work.

PROFESSORS ARE PEOPLE, TOO – As a teacher, I’ve kept all the letters, cards and poems of gratitude I’ve been sent. It’s nice to be appreciated, and it makes a lasting impression. After one of my intro sessions, a freshman from Idaho blurted out: “Awesome class! It’s like you stuck my fingers in a light socket.” I laughed and invited her to speed walk with me around the local park — an activity I take part in nightly as a sort of active office hours — and we workshopped ideas that led to her first book. And when a student confided she was dying to take another class with me but had lost her financial aid, I let her audit. In retrospect, I should have been more open with the instructors I admired.

FIND YOUR PROFESSORS ON SOCIAL MEDIA – I answer all emails, and while I may not accept all friend requests, I respond to students who follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. More important, social media is where I post about panels, job openings and freelance work. Checking out students’ social media feeds also allows me to see new sides of their personalities.

YOU’RE NOT STUCK – Don’t be afraid to ask for emotional support. It was a graduate school professor who recommended my first therapist to me: She was a fantastic listener who charged on a sliding scale. Therapy can be cheap, fun and easily available — not to mention lifesaving. And if it turns out you’re in the wrong school, don’t worry. A third of college students transfer before graduating.

 

To Post or Not to Post? How Social Media Influences College Admissions

Very relevant article by the Huffington Post. Highlights are below. Full article here.

More and more, what teens post online influences the college admissions process. Some 35% of college admissions officers now check applicants’ social media pages, compared to just 10% of officers in 2008, according to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2017 survey of 365 college admissions officers.

So, what’s a prospective college student to do? Below are three tips to ensure your social media footprint works for you, not against you.

Determine your ‘it’ factor
Before jumping into the tactics, let’s think big picture: What passions, expertise, achievements, and skills can you showcase? What value can you bring to your college community? In short: What’s your personal brand?
“Pay attention to the image that you’re projecting,” stresses Hans Hanson, CEO and Founder of CollegeLogic. “Create the image you desire and build your brand. Work hard to develop it and protect it with every ounce of responsible intention.”

Develop your digital portfolio
Now that you have audited your online presence and reflected on your strengths, it’s time to create a captivating online portfolio.
Start with a clean-up. Remove social media profiles that are dormant, off-brand, or inappropriate. No references to alcohol or drug usage, no profanity, no defamatory comments.

Next, construct the right profiles. Make every word, photo, and video count. Spend time crafting a LinkedIn presence, and showcase your experience, achievements, and aspirations. Secure testimonials and endorsements from teachers, employers, athletic coaches, and club presidents.
Lastly, remember: less is more. Rather than using every social media platform, select just a few that are in sync with your career aspirations. For example: Those interested in the creative arts should leverage YouTube or Instagram.

Make some noise
You have your portfolio complete. Now what? It’s important to deliver the experience of you in a meaningful and deliberate way. Avoid posting “in the moment” — instead, take time to craft content that showcases your character, expertise, and passion. Hone the art of storytelling through blogging; tell your story through a series of thoughtful essays. And consider doing so on your own website. (If you’re not up to that just yet, still snag the vanity URL. Otherwise, someone else may come along and scoop up yourname.com.)
Invest in networking both online and offline. College-bound students can use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to communicate with other prospective students, or to seek out alumni events. Also make sure to connect via LinkedIn with college advisors and department heads at desired colleges and universities.

MIT at Band – October 9

Do you want to know more about MIT? Come to the event next Monday, October 9th from 1-3pm in room A11.

You will learn strategies to become part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a top university in areas such as Science, Technology and Engineering. You will learn more about undergraduate admissions at MIT and hear some inspirational stories about notable professors and young Brazilians who attend MIT.

The event will be hosted by Dr. Elaine Lizeo, in her role as Brazilian Chair – MIT Educational Council and coordinator of the Brazilian team of interviewers as well as Mr. Fernando Carvalho who has been working for over a decade at promoting MIT’s educational opportunities in Brazil. From 1997 to 2006, Dr. Elaine Lizeo concluded her Masters Degree at MIT and conducted research for her Masters, Doctorate and Post-Doctorate theses at MIT.

MIT logo

 

10 Universities Where International Students Receive Aid

According to data submitted to U.S. News in an annual survey, among the 419 ranked schools where at least 50 international students were awarded aid during 2016-2017, the average amounted to $20,470. But the average was significantly higher among the 10 schools where those students were given the most aid, at $60,576.

Topping the list is the University of Chicago, ranked in a tie at No. 3 among National Universities. Also on the list: the Ivy League Harvard University and Yale University, along with Williams College, the No. 1 ranked National Liberal Arts College. Columbia University, which is second on the list after the University of Chicago, is also the private school with the highest tuition and fees – $57,208 – for the 2017-2018 school year.

Other schools on the list include: Skidmore College, Trinity College, Stanford University, Amherst College, Wesleyan University.

To see the table with details from the 10 universities go to: US News 10 Universities Where International Students Receive Aid

 

Browsing a College Course Catalog

When thinking about what university you may want to apply to or even thinking about a potential major, one tool that can be very helpful is to browse through some course catalogs.

Most universities now have their course catalogs online and you can see classes offered, pre-requisites by major, etc.

Some examples include:

University of Chicago The College Catalog

Boston University Courses Search

UCLA Catalog

So start browsing and learn more about what your day-to-day classes at these universities would actually be like!

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