Tagged: MIT

Curious About MIT?

Daan Mulder
Daan Mulder, studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Several things come to mind:

  • The professor you’ve just casually chatted with and asked about his/her research is actually a Nobel prize winner.
  • Everyone talks in code and it seems to make perfect sense: I’ll see you at E52; I’m taking 780 from course 15.
  • We complain that we should have gone to an easy college, like Harvard.
  • We constantly reference IHTFP (“I hate this f***ing place”) while secretly love every second here.
  • The institute is taken seriously by almost everyone. When we send emails from the MIT domain name (name@mit.edu) answer is almost always guaranteed.
  • You constantly feel inadequate by the level of the people around you (at orientation they even point out that it’s perfectly normal to have the “imposter syndrome”, i.e., feeling like you were admitted by mistake, as clearly you don’t feel like you deserve to be here with these people).
  • Sending an email to a wide distribution list saying “there is food left at [location]” and within seconds a swarm of hungry mouths descend, devour, and leave.
  • Playing with the beaver is totally not a sexual thing.

PS – sorry if this sounds like humblebrag. We’re really not full of ourselves here 🙂


ONE More comment from me: the most popular minor at MIT is music!

If MIT isn’t in your future, we can build a list of great colleges where you will thrive. stephanie@accessguidance.com pr 610-212-6679.

SAT Subject Tests: What You Need To Know

As the clock ticks down to the end of junior  year, students are scheduling and prepping for standardized tests.  Most will choose the SAT or the ACT and take the AP exams for the courses they complete this year.

As of March 2018 only 7 colleges require SAT Subject tests: Cornell (some departments), CalTech, Harvey Mudd, Harvard, MIT, svMcGill (or the ACT), and Webb Institute.

Fourteen more recommend subject tests: Georgetown wants to see 3 tests; the others, Brown, Carnegie Mellon, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Lafayette, Northwestern, Penn, Princeton, Rice and Yale, University of Delaware (strongly recommend for Honors), University of Georgia suggest 2. “Recommended” should be read as ‘required”

Check with each university for specifics on which ones are preferred.

SAT 2, or subject tests are aligned with the material covered in a high school curriculum.  Unless specified, colleges don’t care which tests are submitted.  Engineering programs are likely to expect to see  either Math 1 or Math 2 and Physics.

The tests offered are Math 1 (SAT math); Math 2 (pre-calc)

Biology with emphasis on Ecology or Molecular Biology; Chemistry and Physics

US or World History

Literature adds poetry and drama to the SAT literature questions

Languages.  Many native speakers take these tests; not being a native speaker doesn’t impact the scores significantly.  Test prep is suggested.

Each test is one hour and a max of 3 may be taken on the same day.  Register for one test to save your seat.  On the day of the exam you can choose which exams to take and in which order.  You may take fewer or more than you registered for.

Subject tests are offered on all test dates except March.  The Language with Listening is ONLY offered in November.  The multiple choice test is as highly valued as the test with  listening.

Scoring     Tests are scaled 200-800 and also by percentile.  Math exams have many testers score 800 so the highest percentile coordinated with the top score is around 80th percentile.  Good news is that you can miss 4-5 questions and still receive your 800; a 750 or better can be reached with 8-9 incorrect answers.

You will find 5 answer choices and there is a quarter point penalty for guessing.

Score Choice     You are permitted to take the same test more than once and can choose which scores to send unless a college requires all scores.

Accommodations that you have for the SAT apply to subject tests as well.

If you want to confer on which tests to take and when to take them, lets talk! stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679






Pet Friendly Colleges Attract Students

When considering which colleges you will apply to there are 4 criteria that usually define the search:

Can I get in?    Can I graduate in a reasonable amount of time?  Do they have programs or majors that I want to study?  Can I afford the costs?

Students also take a look at the “extras” a college has on offer.  Those who like to ski will want proximity to winter sports and/or an active ski club.  Astronomy-curious applicants will look at the astronomy offerings, observatory and planetarium.

Each year I learn about another college that combats homesickness and caters to love of animals by opening housing units to beloved pets.  Lyon College in Arkansas is my latest find.  There are restrictions on size but not on genus of the incoming pet.  Dogs, cats and even non-venomous snakes are welcome.

Bringing your four-legged BFF to college implies a commitment to care for the animal.  On most campuses you will have to walk the dog and scoop the poop before the rush to morning classes.  Your dorm-mates will be very unhappy if they step in you-know-what on their way to breakfast.  Consider also, that cat food isn’t one of the snack items available in the bookstore so planning for pet shopping  must be on your to-so list.

Lyon, a small private, liberal arts college, is just one of many that permit students accompanied by pets to live in specified dorms.  MIT (cats), Sweet Briar (horses), Johnson& Wales , Providence (dogs and cats).  Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia hires students to walk the college president’s dogs who spend days in his office; this is a work-study position.

As you make your list of colleges, take time to have a conversation with the admissions rep about bringing Fido or Tweety Bird with you.  Learn the ropes of applying to a pet friendly residence and know the restrictions and responsibilities.  If you want to live with a pet but don’t have one, ask the rep to find a suitable roommate with companion.

For a list of pet friendly colleges use this link: https://lendedu.com/blog/pet-friendly-colleges/

I know some of you are reading this out of curiosity, not because you hope to have an animal with you but are hoping to find colleges that can meet another need.  Please get in touch so we can talk, in person or via Zoom.   stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679




A Free Year Of College: Here’s How To Get It

My dad used to give motivational speeches to young entrepreneurs and businessmen.  In one of his most popular, he put two walnuts in a quart jar and filled 3/4 of the jar with kidney beans.  Dad would shake the jar and, amazingly, the walnuts would come to the top.  He would repeat the procedure a few times while explaining that the walnuts represented the Big Ones, those who worked harder and smarter than the others.  The Big Ones always rose to the top.  So it is with college students.

From time to time, I write about ways to make college more affordable, choices to make that reduce the potential debt load on students and their families.  Frequently, these options are less traditional, requiring a smarter choice.  Here’s another for the Big Ones.


The Modern States Alliance, a group of investors, colleges and universities, have created an online platform to offer a selection of college courses that covers what is required of freshmen at most institutions of higher education.   Courses are absolutely free.

Courses are provided by a variety of colleges including Davidson University, Arizona State University, New York University, Columbia University and MIT.  Students select courses that will be accepted by the universities where they plan to matriculate.

Classes are online and accessible on demand like movies on TV and are completed by the students in their own time frame.  Credit for the class is Credit By Exam.  When the class material has been covered, the student takes an exam from College Board for which there is a fee: $92 for AP credit and $85 for College Level Examination Placement (CLEP).  There is no credit without taking the exam.

In addition to the online lectures, books, materials, tutoring and mentoring is online and free.

Is there a downside to completing your first year of college online and for free?  Online courses have a high drop out rate, partially because those who self-select for online courses tend to have many distractions: jobs, family, financial burdens, that take away from their time to study.  Learning online frequently lacks peer motivation that comes from meeting in a live classroom, bonding with students, comparing and sharing assignments.   Classwork on line can be isolating.

Back to my dad’s speech.  Students who succeed in programs like Modern States bring with them their own motivation and persistence, the same characteristics that define a successful entrepreneur or businessperson.   If this describes you, consider signing up for college classes that can save you thousands of dollars.  This is the link to an article about the Modern States Alliance free college year:


If you are thinking about using Modern States or another online resource for you first college year, talk to me about the courses you will need to transfer o a 4-year school for you second college year.  You won’t be well served if the courses you take don’t complete those required to take year two at a brick and mortar college.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.



What do Admissions Officers Tell Their Own Children?

Jennifer Wallace and Lisa Heffernan

bloch-school-of-management-181093_640While most parents find the college process stressful and bewildering, we interviewed some who have a unique perspective: admissions officers who are also the parents of teenagers and college students themselves. They know that while parents can’t control where their child is admitted, they can influence whether their teenager views the college process as stressful and frustrating or as an exciting time filled with opportunity.

These admissions officers tell their own children that high school is far more than just a pathway to college — it’s a time for maturation, self-discovery, learning and fun. They encourage their teens to embrace activities and courses that reflect who they genuinely are, not who they think colleges want them to be.

We interviewed admissions officers at Allegheny College, Georgia Tech, Kenyon College, M.I.T., Penn State, Vanderbilt, U.C.L.A., U.N.C.-Chapel Hill and the University of Richmond. Every one of them emphasized the importance of their child finding a college that fits, not the other way around.

With throngs of high school juniors about to embark on college visits over their spring breaks, here is their advice. (Interviews have been edited and condensed.)

Diane Anci, vice president for enrollment management and dean of admissions and financial aid, Kenyon College

“Before the college brochures make their way into our house, I plan to ask my son a series of questions that I hope will help him define the type of collegiate environment in which he will be most happy and do his best work. Knowing who you are provides a protective armor in a process that can be overwhelming. Not only are you inundated with communication from the colleges, everyone you know has an opinion of what is a good college and what is not, and they feel very free to express it. It’s empowering for a teen to be able to say, ‘I’m the kind of person who…’ ”

Here are some of the questions she plans to ask her own kid:

Do you like the idea of being the smartest student in your class or surrounded by really smart kids?
Is it important to find a specific course of study or to have a wide range of options?
Do you like the idea of meeting five new people a day or finding five people who will be your friends for life?
Are you drawn to familiar people and places or are you excited by a new region, meeting students from across the nation and around the world?
Do you prefer to work in a highly collaborative environment or are you energized by competition?

Clark Brigger, executive director for undergraduate admissions, Penn State University

“I tell my kids, ‘Do not wait for the deadline to submit your applications.’ There’s a rule in our house that I pay for the applications completed before Labor Day, but after that, my children are responsible for the fees. Getting those applications in early is the best way to reduce stress senior year. I want them to do well in their academic courses and extracurricular activities and to enjoy that last year of high school. Why spend it struggling with applications?”

“As an admissions officer, when that deadline comes around, I see a huge spike in applications. That’s when the procrastinators send them in. It’s advantageous to get ahead of the bubble. Think about it strategically: there are thousands of applications and essays to get through. If you get yours in early, the reader may be more relaxed and in a better mood at that point in the process.”

Doug Christiansen, vice provost for university enrollment affairs, dean of admissions and financial aid, Vanderbilt University

An essential lesson of the college process is learning to make and manage big life decisions and weather setbacks, says Mr. Christiansen. “As parents we know that our kids may not get accepted everywhere they apply. I advise students to complete all of their applications ahead of the early decision news [when] they are in a positive frame of mind. It is far easier to rebound from disappointment and proceed when you have a game plan already in place.”

“When a rejection letter arrives, I see parents who can’t even move on because they are so mad at the school. But that is not letting the child move on. Then it is almost like the next school they get admitted to and may attend is a disappointment. Instead, tell your child: ‘It didn’t work, it is their loss, you’re wonderful, now what do we need to do to go forward?’”

Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, associate vice chancellor, enrollment management, University of California, Los Angeles

“Community service is an expectation in our household. We raised our kids to understand

Campus Walk
Campus Walk

that they have a responsibility to make their community better and to give back. My job was to make sure intellectually that they understood the value of community service and why it was important. I think community service should come from the heart. It’s important that students don’t engage in community service because somebody else wants them to. Find something you are passionate about, or you are interested in if you are too young to know what your passions are.”

“We would talk a lot with our sons about leadership opportunities, and I think that’s the area where we had to give them more guidance. We would say to our sons: Where do you think you can be of greater help? What’s going on at your school, what are the issues? What are the things you like to do where you could provide leadership? With the church there’s a youth group: You’ve been a part of this group for a long time; do you think it is time for you to step up and do something different? This matters in your college application.”

Stephen Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

“When my son was applying to schools, I never read his essay. Parents can sometimes do more harm than good with the essay. My advice to students is to first show your essay to a friend and ask, ‘Can you hear my voice in this? Could you pick my essay from a stack of 200?’ The essay doesn’t have to be about something life-changing or confessional. Smaller topics, written well, almost always work best.”

“My wife and I have tried to give our kids some air and room to breathe growing up. We never checked their homework or felt like their schooling was a family project. It was their life and their work — we provided guidance. In the end, our kids need our love more than they need our direction about college. If that direction gets in the way of the love, it’s not helpful and it’s not worth it.”

Cornell B. LeSane II, vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions, Allegheny College

“My daughter, now a high school senior, has been the driver of the process. Sure, there have been times when I’ve been the backseat driver: Are you sure, and have you thought about this or that? As a parent, it’s impossible not to do that. But you need to allow them to find their way.”

“As an admissions officer, I’ve had parents tell me, ‘Oh, we missed a deadline — that’s my fault.’ At that point I’m thinking — just how interested is the student in our school? I’m not a fan of parents taking over the process. Let the students be the drivers, let them take ownership. Parents should be a great sounding board, but they should not be the ones filling out the applications.”

Stuart Schmill, dean of admissions, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“What I tell students, and my own kids, is that you don’t have to take every advanced class.

Do What You Love
Do What You Love

My high school daughter, for example, is taking advanced math and science courses but chose not to take advanced English and history. You should challenge yourself. For some students this might mean taking the most advanced classes, but it also might mean taking the most advanced classes appropriate for that student, and not spreading themselves too thin.”

Applicants do not need to tick off a laundry list of engagement in every field, like art, music, sports, Mr. Schmill explains. “M.I.T., and other highly selective colleges, want students who prioritize quality over quantity.” Mr. Schmill offers high school students this litmus test when choosing extracurricular activities: “If you couldn’t write about this on your college application, would you still do it?’ If the answer is ‘no,’ then you shouldn’t be doing it.”

Laura Simmons, assistant director, undergraduate admissions, Georgia Institute of Technology

“For our children, it’s important to earn some money in the summer, so they can do things like put gas in the car. As an admissions officer, that plays right into what I am looking for in the admission process: I’m not looking for students to have done any particular activity in the summer; but instead, I’m looking to see how students grew from whatever they undertook. I do see students who are doing magnificent research and that is a great thing. And I see students, like my daughter, who are working as a lifeguard at the pool all summer, and they are both learning from those experiences.”

“There are some majors here where, if students don’t have any connection to that major, it’s hard for us to predict if they will be successful in it. But in some cases that experience can also come from something they did during the school year. My daughter, for example, is interested in journalism and communications, and she writes during the school year. Over the summer, we don’t feel she needs to do more.”

Gil Villanueva, associate vice president and dean of admission, University of Richmond

“As my son prepares his college list, I’m going to hand him a spreadsheet. Across the top will be the schools, and down the side will be the list of things he feels are most important to him in a college. When he visits these schools and does his research, he’ll fill in the spreadsheet, and it will be a nice road map for him. At some point, once you visit two or three schools in a day or five schools a week, they begin to blend, and you definitely want some bread crumbs to remind you of where you’ve been.”

“On the same spreadsheet, I’ll have him track what I call the ‘three rates’ for each college. The first is the retention rate: Are students returning as sophomores? Because if they are, then I make the argument that they have had a very good experience, their needs are met. Next is the graduation rate. A fifth year or a sixth year in a college represents forgone income or time that you are not in graduate school — and you are not going to get that back. The last rate is the placement rate or ‘student outcomes.’ What are students doing six months, a year or five years after graduation? Are they employed, are they in graduate school, what type of companies or organizations do they work for? The three rates gives parents and students peace of mind that they’ve done their research.”

More posts you might like:

Planning Campus Visits   http://accessguidanceblog.com/2016/06/campus-visit-planning/

How Many Ways Is A Small College Bigger Than Your High School http://accessguidanceblog.com/2016/04/how-many-ways-is…your-high-school/

Three Things To Do After you Hit Submit http://accessguidanceblog.com/2014/11/three-things-to-…you-click-submit/


What Distinguishes The 5 Types of Colleges?

There are 5 distinctive types of institutions of higher education, each with advantages and disadvantages. When you begin looking at colleges or choose those to which you will apply, its useful to understand the distinctions of purpose and execution.

Florida Southern University
Florida Southern University

Universities have graduate schools in a variety subjects. Until recently colleges educated only undergraduates. However, with the increase in the need for higher degrees has led colleges to add limited graduate options. No longer is there an undergraduate degree in physical therapy; a PhD is now required making this discipline a 6 year program in which students do 3 years of undergraduate study and 3 at the graduate level, often at the same college.

States mandate or encourage teachers to obtain a masters degree. Colleges have responded by offering a 5-year BA and MAT or M.ED to undergraduates.

Here are the 5 types of higher educational institutions:

Large Research Universities
The main focus is teaching graduate students who work with professors on research.
Advantages: large catalog of course offerings; lower cost; proximity to research and well known professors; lots of sports, clubs and activities; large alumni networks for internships and jobs (but more competition for them, too)

Disadvantage: graduate students teach lots of courses; research positions go to grad students; undergrads may not get into courses taught by top professors; a large number of students take 5 or more years to graduate; large classes in first 2 years.

Liberal Arts colleges
LACs concentrate on educating undergraduate students . Liberal arts students study a core curriculum or take general education courses across a variety of subjects plus those in their major. The strength of LACs is that they teach critical thinking and communication, skills that are in high demand in the workforce.

Advantages: access to professors; many undergrads will do research with professors and be published before graduation; strong affiliated alumni networks for internships and jobs; lots of opportunities to study abroad; strong community among students and faculty; some offer more merit aid and fewer loans in the financial aid package.  There may be fewer course offerings but there are enough sections of each course to accommodate all who want to register.  High 4-year graduation rate.

Disadvantages: cost can be higher (but may be offset by grants and scholarships);  narrower range of athletic opportunities.

Single Gender
There are fewer men’s colleges than women’s colleges. Students who attend them enjoy being taught in the way that men or women learn best: Men tend to prefer a competitive atmosphere and women tend to learn best collaboratively.

Advantages: access to top scholars and to all professors; dorms that close to the opposite gender overnight giving more privacy; the opposite gender often attend classes but live elsewhere; abundant internships; student body focused on education; smaller classes;

Disadvantages: Need to take the initiative in finding someone to date; may need to access the dating pool at another college.

Single Focus
Examples of colleges with a single focus are MIT (all students must follow the engineering curriculum regardless of major), Embry-Riddle (aeronautics), University of the Arts (visual and performing arts), St. John’s (great books curriculum).

Advantages: all students have similar academic interests; tend to attract top professors and those who want to teach their subject; lots of internships and high employment rate at graduation.

Disadvantages: competition to get in and there may be a strong competitive spirit within the college; cost; lack of diversity of interests and background among students.

Small university/large college (4000-1000 students)
These are hybrids with many advantages of each type.

Indiana Wesleyan University
Indiana Wesleyan University

Advantages: moderately large course catalog; diversity of student body; more likely to have Division I athletics and athletic scholarships than a liberal arts college; less research and fewer graduate students than at a large research institution; more professor contact than at a large university.

Disadvantage: cost should be higher with fewer institutional resources for grants; fewer research opportunities for undergrads; less cohesive community than at a liberal arts college.

Want help choosing a list of colleges to apply to?  Give me a call or text 610-212-6679; stephanie@accessguidance.com.

For Computer Geeks, Experience May Trump the Degree


Sometimes the path to college isn’t a straight line. If you plan to study computer engineering in college, maybe you should consider putting off matriculation in favor of some hands on experience.   

Experience can be a valuable detour in many fields but the example I have is about an engineering student.



Masa Bando’s parents were not excited.

Their son had made it into MIT, but wasn’t planning to attend. At least not right away.

Bando was planning to take a year off to immerse himself in a more practical form of learning computer science than a textbook could teach. After graduating from high school, Bando attended a summer program at Make School, and then became a member of its founding class in September 2014. He figured that MIT’s generous deferral policy (which allows students to postpone admission for up to two years) could act as a safety net in case he wasn’t satisfied with the learning experience at the San Francisco-based alternative school.

One month shy of officially finishing Make School’s course—which included iOS, Ruby on Rails, and web development—Bando’s preliminary job hunt yielded an offer for a software engineering position at Papaly, a social bookmarking startup, at a salary just north of $90,000.

MIT will have to wait. And Bando’s parents? They are now “very supportive” of their son’s leap into the real world.

The other 10 students in the founding class (two of whom are women) just finished the program at the end of February. A couple had earned degrees already, while others left the likes of Bowdoin, Cal Poly, and the University of Maryland to come to Make School. Now, a few are headed to internships and the others are jumping into full-time jobs. All of which helps pay for their Make School course. But more on that in a bit.

For Ashu Desai, a cofounder of Make School, Bando’s story validates a long-held belief that computer-science degrees from traditional universities may not be the best path into a highly competitive job market in this sector.

The unemployment rate in the IT sector is about half the national average, at just 3%.
Desai himself was just 15 years old when he built an app that sold 50,000 copies on the App Store. “This was the coolest educational experience I ever had,” Desai tells Fast Company. He was able to see computer science as a really creative field that was about much more than getting grades. “It opened doors to internships and job opportunities,” he says.

Though he’d already built and shipped a product, Desai decamped to UCLA to earn a degree in computer science. It wasn’t long before he was frustrated by relearning some of the concepts he’d already put into practice and others that were not related to building products.

He dropped out after a year and teamed up with a high school buddy, Jeremy Rossmann, who was frustrated by the college experience, and left MIT. Though Desai admits he was lucky to have sold a successful app before even being eligible to vote, he and Rossmann believed there had to be a way to offer more students the same experience.

In 2012, they founded MakeGamesWithUs. Backed by Y Combinator, the summer intensive program focused on building games for the iPhone that high school and college students could then sell on the App Store and tweak, as needed, when customers report bugs or ask for additional features.

“The idea was if you can build a simple self-contained game, then you could build apps and more complicated products,” says Desai. This past summer, 120 students in New York, San Francisco, and Palo Alto took part in the program. The curriculum they developed is also being used at Carnegie Mellon and MIT. The expansion beyond games led to the name change to Make School.

Desai and Rossmann soon realized that supplementing traditional education with a short summer program on practical product development was not enough. Make School’s next class will be a full two-year program with a six-month internship sandwiched between two eight-month semesters. It’s longer and more intensive than a hack school, which Desai says often aims to take those with no previous knowledge of coding and turn them into ninja developers in eight to ten weeks (while still promising six-figure salaries upon completion).

Make School’s 50 open slots aren’t easy to snag and require that prospective students have some programming experience. Yet even with a two-year program—which Desai points out also includes theory and communication courses, as well as coding and developing practice—Make School isn’t accredited (yet) to give an associate’s degree. That sort of bridge diploma is offered by many technical colleges that focus on teaching students practical skills needed to get jobs in health care or manufacturing, for example, or to go on to complete a bachelor’s degree.

But why invest the money in higher education if there is no guarantee a company will hire you? College tuition is rising faster than inflation, according to a Bloomberg report. The total amount borrowed by all students currently tops $106 billion, and the average student debt for the class of 2013 was over $28,000.

In contrast, students at Make School pay tuition through their internship earnings and 25% of their earnings in the first two years on the job. If the employer pays a placement fee, that percentage is reduced. There is no official dorm, but Make School is working with a housing partner to place students who don’t live in the Bay Area with peer roommates. This isn’t free, but part-time contract work is available in the second term to cover part of those expenses. Teaching a Summer Academy class can also be used toward payment of living expenses.

Besides teaching coding and product development, Make School’s emphasis is on filling the skills gap and helping students find jobs.

The unemployment rate in the IT sector is about half the national average, at just 3%; and in the first half of last year, over 400,000 professionals voluntarily quit, signaling a confidence that it’s a candidate’s market.

Desai’s experience talking to friends in the startup world bears this out. They say it is hard to hire good talent and they were not finding candidates with the skills they were looking for even among students who had earned four-year computer science degrees.

When Jacob Rosenberg, the CTO of LendUp, found out that Desai and Rossmann were looking to place candidates with partner companies, he wanted to get his startup involved. “My goal when building a technology team is to hire people that are both smart and effective, and (in my experience) actually building something is the only way you learn to be effective,” he says.

The program is so new that Rosenberg has yet to hire a Make School graduate yet and admits that some hiring managers may not feel confident about a candidate who’s got only a handful of apps instead of a degree from a traditional university.

“It’s my experience that hiring managers still do favor candidates who have top-tier schools on their résumés,” says Rosenberg, adding that that only gets a candidate past the résumé stage. “Once you are participating in an interview or work-sample project, actually having relevant skills and knowledge and understanding how to apply them is what will matter,” he contends. “As a manager, I give special attention to entry-level candidates who attended a school with a work/co-op program, e.g. Waterloo, for the same reasons.”

What if we were the world’s first product university?
On the flip side, students like Bando were eagerly lapping up everything Make School offers. Bando says, “Right after the day technically ended around 5 p.m., I would not mind spending another seven hours on my current project,” sharing apps with the other students.

“Once you realize working and building can be so fulfilling, like when someone cares enough to report a bug, I don’t understand why more schools aren’t going into this direction,” Desai says.

Upending the current higher education model, in which professors teach the same thing every year, Make School would iterate just as the products its students build: through feedback. “How can we teach better?” he muses.

Desai points out that most universities focusing on research often don’t see the fruits of their work for a decade. “What if we were the world’s first product university?” he posits. In other words, he’s envisioning designing the entire Make School experience with teachers (currently a group of individuals with real-world, as opposed to academic, credentials) working with students on open-source projects. “They could be building really cool products that help people’s lives now.”


Music and Your Future Career

Music is a great teacher. Learning to play an instrument, including voice, requires a musician to develop persistence and resilience, two qualities that successful people in all walks of life practice abundantly.

To play with others, musicians understand how all the parts work together; this is a form of convergent thinking. Teamwork benefits from bringing different viewpoints or sounds together to create a whole.  Cognitively, analysis and synthesis are enhanced by membership in a musical group.

But can you earn a living based on a music background?

Take MIT for example.  Every student, regardless of major, must complete the engineering curriculum.  40% of the students minor in music!   MIT graduates are highly employable.

Consider Levy Lorenzo who started playing piano at age 5.  He says he’s still learning to play and he certainly practices.  Lorenzo graduated from  Cornell where he earned  bachelors and masters degrees in electrical and computer engineering then entered Stony Brook to earn a Master of Musical Arts (Percussion Performance) and Doctorate of Musical Arts.  Below are 2 links to Lorenzo’s work:  The Pringles marimba took him 80 hours to construct.  The hamster project was his thesis work (He earned an A);  the blue lines are tempo and the yellow lines are melody.  All pets belong to Lorenzo and none were harmed in the production of this piece of equipment.

Lorenzo is in demand worldwide and travels almost constantly.  BTW, he’s a Millennial.

► 1:43

www.last.fm/music/Levy Lorenzo‘s Hamsters