Thursday, June 20, 2013

Visiting Harvard and MIT

Today, we visited Harvard and MIT for private information sessions with the students and faculty at the schools. Departing the hotel at 6:20, we had an early start, which was a bit rough for some because of jet lag and lack of sleep the previous day. While walking to the Amtrak station, I got a chance to really look around and admire the architecture of Providence. I think the combination of fancy, classic brick buildings with modern-style buildings is a nice mix. We arrived in Harvard Square in Cambridge after a transfer to the T (the area's subway system). Similar to Providence, and possibly many other New England cities, Cambridge also had numerous brick buildings, something a Bay Area dweller as myself may initially seem unusual. 

Elizabeth Cary Agassiz House

Our private information session at Harvard took place in the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz House in the Radcliffe Institution. We had the exclusive opportunity to sit down with an admissions officer and an alum and talk about academics, campus life, and admissions process at Harvard. Both the alum and the admissions officer provided very detailed information about Harvard that would not usually be discussed in public presentations. We talked about everything from aspects of classes to the food service. The alum gave us a brief campus tour and had lunch with us in the Science Center. The visit to Harvard was a wonderful experience. It disabused my speculation of it being rumored to be somewhat elitist and overrated. Harvard actually seems to be very student-friendly and has a warm atmosphere.

MIT is actually much closer to Harvard than I thought. It 's also in Cambridge, and we only had to ride two stops on the T to get there. Even though MIT and Harvard are both in Cambridge, the two seem to have completely different environments.
The area around MIT seems to be much more modernized with its avant-garde architecture. The information session at MIT was hosted by an upcoming sophomore of the school. Although the presentation not as impressive as Harvard's, I learned a lot about MIT and gained a new perspective of the school. It's much more liberal and diverse than I thought, and the school also works to help its students feel more comfortable.

MIT

Since there wasn't a tour organized for us at MIT, we had a lot of extra time before boarding the Amtrak train back to Providence. Not wanting to waste our time, we tried a popular ice cream place in the area and visited Fenway Park. We covered a vast distance on foot, despite being tired and aching. The college visits were very special experiences and are certainly highlights of this trip. It was quite difficult to grasp the reality. I actually sat down and listened to presentations in two of the country's most prestigious universities 
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