MIT, Harvard & Wellesley Visit + Highly Selective Admissions & Resources

As I begin my time at the National Association for College Admission Counseling conference in Boston, MA, there will be sooo much more information to come. So to save time typing and for the sake of providing quick, but valuable resources, take a look below. Read it all or find a section that you like and click on the links for more information!

Colleges Visited: MIT, Harvard, Wellesley (we didn’t get a chance to tour Wellesley, but we were able to have a discussion with the Dean and an overview of admissions) 

The College Planner: A downloadable guide put together by Wellesley College

  • Wellesley has put together an incredible guide to navigating the college admissions process. It’s a helpful resource for all students regardless of where you’re applying, with a sprinkling of Wellesley information throughout. Page 24 has a calendar guiding you from March/April of your Junior year through April/May of Senior year. There’s also an incredibly in-depth and handy college comparison worksheet if you’re starting your search or narrowing down your college list. Download the guide here: The College Planner

Myintuition: A tool to help you determine financial aid at participating colleges (also courtesy of Wellesley) 

  • Have you heard of the Net Price Calculator? If not, the Net Price Calculator is a tool on an individual college’s website where a prospective student/family can complete to get a rough estimate of what the financial aid package from that college. Helpful for determining your Net Cost (what you would actually pay) instead of the Sticker Price on the website. 
  • MyinTuition is similar to that, but more accurate. Currently 15 schools participate on the site, more are expected to be added. A good tool to be aware of! Access it here: MyinTution

Highly Selective College Admissions 

  • Yesterday included admission and programming information from the admissions teams at MIT, Harvard and Wellesley College. Check out this post on Highly Selective College Admissions to gain perspective and see what qualities selective admissions look for in their applicants.
  • Considerations from Harvard:
    • If Harvard were to accept all of the qualified students who applied, they would have to expand the campus by 14 times
    • 80-90% of the applicants are academically competitive for admission standards (take a look at the blog post above for more context)

Quotes from admission representatives

  • “When we admit a class of students to MIT, it’s as if we’re choosing a 1,100 person team to climb a very interesting and fairly rugged mountain together” (MIT Admissions).
  • “By not thinking about what colleges want, you’ll be better in your application” (MIT Admissions).
  • “Much of what is valued on campus is not just academics, it’s your outside experience” (Harvard Admissions). What type of dorm roommate will you’ll be, what kind of clubs will you join or start, what will your impact be within the school community? 

Fun facts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Campus houses an active nuclear reactor right on campus
  • Every student must take a set of courses that include Calculus, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, lab science electives. MIT offers majors in the Humanities and Social Sciences, but if you’re a Philosophy major for example, you’ll continue to study and approach Philosophy from a very STEM perspective and you’ll still need to complete the math/science courses.
  • Students that embody MIT
    • Students who are exceptionally strong and deeply passionate (sometimes about one or three things, not always “well-rounded” think pointy)
    • Creators, innovators and doers
    • Students who think globally, want to see change and aren’t afraid of challenge
  • The first year students are graded on a pass/no record to encourage students in trying something new without concern for the grade
  • Visit website:

Fun facts from Wellesley College

  • All women’s college
  • Notable alumni include, Hillary Clinton, Diane Sawyer, Pamela Melroy, Erna Schneider
  • Wellesley graduates receive more advanced science degrees than any other college
  • Students that embody Wellesley
    • Women of integrity and smarts who are willing and wanting to define themselves
  • New career model approach:
  • No application fee
  • Joint programs with a number of campuses to allow students to take more classes, dual degrees, etc. (Babson, Olin, MIT, Brandeis and more)
  • Think Hogwarts meets Downton Abbey to envision what campus might look like
  • Visit website:


  • Visit website:
  • Admission factors
    • Academics (grades, rigor of coursework within the context of what’s available to you, test scores) Would much rather see strong grades and coursework and a slightly lower test score than the opposite 
    • Character (essay, Letters of Recommendation, interview, personal qualities)
    • Who you are outside the classroom (extracurricular involvement)

Getting around in Boston

  • I very easily navigated the train subway system and managed to take the Red Line from Harvard Square back to downtown in a breeze. Really all by following signs. So if you’re a new student or considering living in an urban environment, this really makes things easy to get around!

Published by Casey Barneson

Author of The College Wellness Guide. Beverly Hills High School College Counselor.

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