What does it take to get in to MIT?
At Thinking Feet, from time to time we invite students from some of the leading universities to talk to our parents and students about their journey into the school of their choice - one of the perks of being a Thinking Feet student. Most recently we had a bright young man John Smith (name changed for Privacy) join us, who has been admitted to MIT's Fall 2019 batch.
He had many insightful experiences to share and we have summarized some of them here:
Myth: If you are not a straight A student, you do not stand a chance to get into a prestigious university
JS quite candidly admitted that he was not a straight A student but he did mention that if you want to pursue a career in Engineering, you should strive to have A's in Math and Physics.
Should I over invest in extra-currics?
Short Answer: It varies by college but did not seem to matter so much for MIT. His advice: you should pursue your passion but from the perspective of admissions to colleges, community service as a component of your resume is important.
How important are interviews?
Interviews are usually short and according to JS, they are a means for colleges to filter 'out' candidates demonstrating extreme behavioral profiles rather than a selection criteria.
Most students applying to the top schools will have good GPA and SAT scores. Each individual has to demonstrate differentiation through other means, preferably related to the field of study you are applying for? JS had engaged in multiple Computer Science research projects while in high school which drove meaningful results.
At Thinking Feet we believe that coding experience early on will lead our students into an early exploration of Computer Science. We are one of the very few providers offering courses in Computer Science with college level content for experienced programmers and High School students. Click HERE for details on our AP Plus Computer Science, and Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning units.
Is Computer Science the same as Coding?
If you are good at coding and enjoy it, will you be good at Computer Science and love it?
The answer is a combination of 'Yes' and 'Maybe'.
Computer Science and Coding are not one and the same. They have common ground, yet differences are significant.
One of the comparisons we use to highlight the difference is with Carpentry. If you are really good at putting together packages you get from Ikea, will you be automatically good at designing the next table that relies on revolutionary materials and joining mechanisms that make it more sturdy and cheap than the leading brand? Possibly but not necessarily. And therein lies the difference between Coding and Computer Science. Coding is an integral part of Computer Science, but a small part. The latter involves so much more.
Computer Science involves an application of multiple Math concepts: Algebra, Probability, Calculus etc. These math concepts find applications in developing the next efficient algorithms or hardware processing capabilities - to name a few. Advancement in Computer Science is what drives organizations to develop the next fastest database system, it is at the core of the constantly improving Google Search algorithms, Facebook's efficient storage of a gazillion amounts of data.
Coding, on the other hand, is more towards using an existing package or programming language to code a banking application, building the next hottest game or a blockbuster app, etc.
The great news: Both are important skills that will have a growing number of jobs in the years to come.
Why is this question then important for your child?
An education in Computer Science is not just about learning coding, it involves a lot of advanced Math and Physics so if your child has a passion for those subjects - they will thrive in a Computer Science undergrad.
If your child, however, loves coding and is good at Math & Physics but not overly passionate about them - then they may be more successful pursuing an Information Technology / Information Systems career path than Computer Science.
Knowing and internalizing the distinction will position your child for success and avoid pigeonholing themselves into a degree that does not fit their passion. It could mean the difference between a happy, exciting, developing 4 years of college vs a struggling, unhappy and constant catching up.
We will end with this thought. Introduce your child to coding early (it's one of the hottest skills in demand) and later find at least one Computer Science course they can immerse in. It will be educational in itself for your child to discover which path would be most optimal for them to pursue in college.
Thinking Feet offers the widest variety of Coding and Computer Science courses for students in Grades 1 - 12. We started our AP Plus Computer Science unit in 2018 followed by a unique program in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
Thinking Feet’s main learning center is located in the South Charlotte/Ballantyne area in Mecklenburg county. We are just minutes away from nearby Blakeney, Weddington, Marvin, Waxhaw, Pineville, Wesley Chapel, Piper Glen and Fort Mill, SC. We also have locations on Providence Road near Arboretum and Indian Trail at the Cultural Arts Center..