First Year Experience News - All Years

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  • The Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming held its first ever “Trick or Treat for Advice Week” October 28-November 1. The purpose of the week was to raise student awareness of UAAP programs and resources during what can be a stressful point in the fall term. Event highlights included a faculty lunch discussion on building a relationship with your academic advisor, a workshop on recovering from a fifth week flag, a drop-in quiz on academic in

  • The Admissions Office is testing out a new pilot outreach mailing to be sent to low-income prospective students. 

    Several admissions officers and members of the admissions communication team, along with Boston-based Moth Design, developed a small booklet based on the themes of affordability, culture and value at MIT. The booklet and a personalized notecard signed by a current MIT student will be sent out this fall to a small cohort of 314 prospective students.

  • Orientation leaders Erik Pearson ’15 and Jian Barazi ’16 star in the “Back to the Future” kickoff video.Beginning on Sunday August 25th, MIT welcomed 1,116 members of the Class of 2017 to campus. Under the theme of “Back to the Future,” orientation began with a kickoff event featuring wacky games and a video produced by coordinator Natzem Lima ’16. The film showcased a time traveling adventure, referencing moments in MIT history and scenes from the Back to the Future movies, complete with a DeLorean “time machine.”

    Before orientation officially began, 620 students arrived to campus early to participate in one of 25 Freshman Pre-Orientation Programs where they explored academic disciplines as well as topics such as community service, the outdoors and the arts. Over 1,000 parents and family members attended Parent Orientation, which included panels on topics such as health and safety, academics, and housing as well as an evening jazz reception.

  • Cold and rainy weather didn’t deter the 1,085 prospective freshman, or “prefrosh” and more than 800 parents who arrived for MIT’s signature yield weekend for admitted students. Campus Preview Weekend (CPW) was held this year over four days on April 11-14.  In true MIT collaborative fashion, volunteers from all over campus came together to welcome the newly admitted students and their families starting with a bustling check–in on Thursday morning on the second floor of the student center.

    CPW prefrosh with Tim the Beaver

    “This year, we wanted to give the students some easy ways to break the ice and mingle with their future classmates right away,” said Katie Kelley, Assistant Director of Admissions and CPW Coordinator.  Students arriving for check- in were given a puzzle piece tucked inside the neck wallets that housed their key cards and other information and were told to add it to a large-scale jigsaw puzzle in the center of the room. [Watch time-lapsed video of puzzle being putted together]  “It proved to be a great way to start the weekend,” she said.   Students could also pick up colorful and whimsical pins at the check-in table and find other students wearing matching pins throughout the weekend. “We encouraged them to take pictures of themselves with others they found wearing their matching pins and to upload them to the CPW photo tumblr. We got some great photos,” Kelley said.

  • On January 31 and February 1, 2013, the Freshman/Alumni Summer Internship Program (F/ASIP), run by Global Education and Career Development (GECD),  held a full-day symposium to provide participants with a large portion of the program’s career development curriculum before the start of the spring semester.

    F/ASIP allows MIT freshmen to develop competencies in career exploration, communication, professional etiquette, and internship search skills. This graded course teaches students how to acquire internships for the summer after their freshman year and to complete them successfully. F/ASIP seminars begin during IAP and continue throughout the spring semester, with internships in the summer between freshman and sophomore year.

    Students at Symposium

    A total of 75 freshmen, eleven GECD staff, seven MIT alumni and MIT librarian Howard Silver participated in the F/ASIP IAP Symposium. Overall feedback from staff and students was positive.

  • Concourse: A Community

    As one of the four freshman learning communities at MIT, Concourse provides a guiding environment for first year students: highly sought after one-on-one guidance, small classroom sizes, and a strong sense of community. It is often referred to as a “school within a school,” built on a foundation of peers, advisors, and professors.

    The 40-year old program focuses on the integration of humanities into MIT’s traditional science- and technology-based curriculum, teaching students that most technical courses have a mutually beneficial interaction with the humanities and social sciences. While still fulfilling their MIT core requirements, students have the opportunity to reflect and search for deeper meanings as they shape their futures. Anne McCants, Director of Concourse, emphasizes the importance of this approach, “I think that to be truly educated, and to fulfill our real potential as scholars, it is not enough to know many things, or to be able to do many things, valuable as that may be.  We actually have to know what those things are good for (how they nourish life and well-being), and it is the humanistic disciplines that school us for those questions.”

    Why do students choose Concourse?

    Concourse Friday SeminarEach year, Concourse selects 40-50 students to participate in the program. “With limited space it is important to select freshman who will thrive in the learning community’s environment,” says Concourse advisor Paula Cogliano. Students are incoming freshman with an interest in incorporating a humanities framework to their MIT education. They are also students who prefer the benefits of smaller class sizes and building relationships with others in the Concourse community.

  • Editor's note: Bennett Cyphers is a freshman from Plattsburgh, N.Y. who has taken two Terrascope classes, 12.000 and 1.016. He is majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and enjoys ruminating on the problems of the world.

    Sixty people sit in a room. They come from a variety of backgrounds, and few of them know each other. As they watch in silence, a professor in the front of the room lays out their task for the next three months: it will require intense research, a myriad of disciplines, creativity, effective teamwork — and if they are to be successful — a staggering amount of effort. This is no strategic meeting of industry experts, nor is it a graduate or post-graduate seminar. This is 12.000, Solving Complex Problems, and every student seated in the auditorium is a first-semester freshman at MIT.

  • It is no secret that entering MIT students need to learn to juggle competing priorities, manage their time effectively, and navigate an unfamiliar environment. For students with chronic illnesses, the adjustment to this high-pressure environment involves an added layer of complexity. In addition to all of the demands that typical students must handle, students with chronic illnesses face the daunting task of managing their illness while managing college life. For many students, this is the first time they have had to orchestrate all of this independently.

  • As a group, the entire class of 2015 is impressive. However, within their first year at MIT, seven freshmen distinguished themselves through their level of commitment and contribution to MIT’s living and learning community. Upon entry to MIT, these new students made a commitment to not only participate in clubs, athletics, research, service and other dimensions of this campus, but they engaged in deep, sustained and influential ways. Their performance has been exceptional and they have quickly made an impact on our campus.

    • Bruno Faviero - Distinguished Achievement in Leadership Award
    • Adrian Jimenez-Galindo – Distinguished Achievement in the Arts
    • Mari Kordell - Distinguished Achievement in Athletics
    • Margo Dawes - Distinguished Achievement in Diversity and Culture
    • Joel Schneider - Distinguished Achievement in Academics and Research
    • Jeffrey Sperling - Distinguished Achievement in Entrepreneurship
    • Maryam Zekavat - Commitment to Service on Behalf of Others

    On May 17, we acknowledged the outstanding accomplishments of these students at the Freshman Awards Ceremony. Senior Associate Dean and Director of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming Julie Norman presented the awards. President Hockfield and Chancellor Grimson were also present and congratulated the students for their significant contributions.  There individual contributions and accomplishments are described below:

  • Students move into the dorms during Orientation

    To ensure that first-year students form lasting connections and transition successfully to the undergraduate experience at MIT, Orientation should be an ongoing process that intentionally extends throughout the first year, not simply a week-long event in August, according to the recently released report by the Review Committee on Orientation (RCO). The report also recommends that Residential Exploration (REX) should continue, but needs a renewed focus that better integrates with Orientation.