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"Mistakes are only a bruise, not a tattoo."| A MIT Student's Advice on High School Courses

We had the fortunate opportunity of interviewing Cami, a student at MIT, via email about: High School Courses

Cami is:

  • majoring in computer science, comparative media studies, and business management,

  • an MIT admissions blogger, admissions panelist, associate advisor,

  • the MIT 2023 Class Council vice president,

  • and a plethora of other things!

Q: Did you only take the courses offered at your school or did you also take online/summer courses?

A: I only took courses offered at my high school.

Q: If you scored in the top 5% how did you manage to balance all the coursework and load?

A: I spent a lot of time after school working with friends and my teachers! It was really nice, kind of like office hours, but in high school. So I would usually get to school around 7am (I was in 0 period Academic Decathlon) and would stay anywhere from 5-8PM, usually in a teacher’s classroom with friends doing work. So it never really felt like work, but it was a good way to get the coursework out of the way.

Q: If you had to choose between two classes that you both wanted, how did you decide?

A: Whichever peaked my interest more, honestly.

Q: How do you prepare for tests?

A: Depends on the class! I’m a big advocate for adjusting your study methods depending on the class. Some days it would be vocabulary review, other times it’s just practice problems, other times it’s reviewing notes.

Q: How did you keep track of your work and assignments?

A: A physical agenda and color coding my classes, making a task list every day. I have a system where I write the assignment the day it is due, rather than writing it the day it is assigned. This makes work feel less cluttered.

Q: Which AP classes did you choose? Why?

A: I did 12 APs in high school. The number in parentheses indicates the year I took it. I took AP Human Geography (1st), AP Psychology (2nd), AP Chemistry (2nd), AP Calculus BC (2nd), AP English Language and Composition (3rd), AP Biology (3rd), AP Computer Science A (3rd), AP Spanish (3rd), AP US History (3rd), AP English Literature and Composition (4th), AP Government (4th), and AP Physics C: Mechanics (4th). I really just chose what I was interested in and what made sense for my high school. I opted to take more chemistry than physics because I liked chemistry more. I didn’t take world history because I didn’t really like the teacher for world and I heard it was hard. Stuff like that.

Q: Did you set a limit for the number of AP classes you would take?

A: Not really.

Q: Which one would you say was the easiest and which one was the hardest?

A: AP Psychology was a lot just vocabulary memorization. I did not take the AP Physics exam because it was so challenging and I just wanted to relax my senior year, so I’d say that one was the hardest one.

Q: What is one thing you wish you knew while you were in high school?

A: I struggled a lot socially during high school, so I would say that the mistakes you make in high school are simply temporary mistakes, and don’t actually hold a lot of weight.

Think you know someone or are someone that can give some advice? We would love to hear! Fill out this form here.

Have more questions based on what you’ve read? Submit them here!

Learn more about Cami and her experience on her LinkedIn account.

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