WISE Program Provides Applicants with Immersive Campus Experience

Latasha Boyd, Admissions Counselor for Diversity

In September and October, the Undergraduate Office of Admissions invited 99 talented high school seniors from around the country to attend the Weekend Immersion in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program.

Students who attended WISE became members of the MIT community for 2 ½  days, from a Sunday to a Tuesday. They attended Monday morning classes, lived in a residential hall with a student host, and learned about MISTI, UROP, and other campus opportunities through panels and Q&A sessions with current students.

MIT Admissions WISE program“The WISE program ensures the doors of opportunity at MIT remain open for all students, particularly underrepresented students of color, first generation, and low income students,” says Quinton McArthur, Associate Director of Admissions and Director of the Diversity Team.

Three sponsored events held special meaning for the attendees. During lunch on Monday they met DUE faculty and staff from the Office of Minority Education, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Global Languages and Literatures, Student Support Services, UAAP, Civil Engineering, and Chemical Engineering. For many students, it was their first interaction with college administrators, and they appreciated the willingness of the staff members to share advice and information about MIT academic and support programs.

“WISE showed me the other side of MIT that you just can't find on college advice forums online,” said one student.

The weekend also included lab tours offered by Courses 5, 6, 7, and 16. Through the tours, the students were inspired to see how much they could accomplish as MIT students. In a survey response about the Course 7 tour, one student commented, “We had the opportunity to meet so many amazing researchers. The tour solidified my interest in MIT.”

A special highlight for students was their participation in hands-on activities with the Edgerton Center. Led by instructors Ed Moriarty and Alban Colbi, students created soda bottle rockets and “Aurora Beaveralis”—Tim the Beaver nightlights that the students soldered themselves and took home as souvenirs.

As a result of their interactions with MIT faculty, staff, and students, all 70 of the students who returned the online survey declared their intent to apply to MIT.