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MIT WTP - 10 Reasons Why It's a Great Experience

Participation in STEM pre-college programs offers high schoolers several advantages for their college applications and future careers. Firstly, it showcases a strong commitment to their chosen field, demonstrating their genuine interest and passion. Admissions officers often look for applicants who have gone above and beyond the standard curriculum, and these programs provide that opportunity. Additionally, students gain hands-on experience, develop critical thinking skills, and build a network of peers and mentors in the STEM community, all of which can boost their competitiveness when applying to colleges and pursuing STEM careers.

If you’re a female student passionate about STEM, MIT WTP is a solid opportunity that you can consider!

What is MIT WTP?

Since 2002, the MIT Women's Technology Program (WTP) has served as a valuable educational initiative offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) aimed at high school girls interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The program was designed to encourage and inspire young women to pursue careers in STEM by providing them with hands-on experience, mentorship, and exposure to engineering and CS.

The program is divided into two tracks: Mechanical Engineering (ME) and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). No decision has been made yet on whether there will be a fee to attend WTP, as there was in the pre-pandemic years. If a fee is charged, financial aid will be offered to accepted students who would not otherwise be able to attend.

Where is MIT WTP held?

The Women's Technology Program in Mechanical Engineering (WTP-ME) is a four-week residential, on-campus summer program within MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering. The EECS track of WTP will not be offered in summer 2024.

Dates and Deadlines

January 15: Deadline to submit WTP SlideRoom Application

January 22: Submission date for Teacher References

Late April: Admissions notifications will be sent to applicants' email addresses

Early May: Admitted applicants must confirm participation

June 29-30: WTP summer session begins with weekend Orientation activities at MIT

July 26: Final day of WTP

Is WTP prestigious?

Yes, MIT's Women's Technology Program (WTP) is considered prestigious. The program is a highly competitive and selective summer program specifically designed to encourage young women's interest in these fields. The program received 380-650 applications each year (10% and 6% acceptance rates respectively) they offered both tracks of WTP as a residential (2019 and before) or virtual (2021 and 2022) program. In 2023 we received 188 applications for the 20 WTP-ME spots (10% acceptance rate).

What does a typical day at WTP look like?

WTP classes and hands-on activities will occur Monday-Friday from approximately 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM. Students will also have evening assignments, primarily watching videos and answering concept questions designed to introduce them to the topics for the next day. Students will be busy with WTP activities, both academic and social, most of the four weeks WTP is in session, including some evenings and weekends.

How does WTP influence my college admissions?

Participating in the MIT Women's Technology Program (WTP) can significantly bolster your college admissions profile. This well-established program not only demonstrates your interest in STEM but also provides tangible evidence of your ability to excel in rigorous academic settings. Admissions committees value applicants who have engaged in challenging coursework, and WTP's intensive curriculum showcases your academic prowess.

Additionally, the program fosters mentorship relationships and collaborative experiences, resulting in strong letters of recommendation that can attest to your dedication and potential. Moreover, WTP's emphasis on diversity and inclusion aligns with the priorities of many colleges and universities, making your participation even more compelling, especially if you come from an underrepresented background in STEM. Ultimately, your involvement in MIT WTP showcases your commitment to academic excellence, your passion for STEM, and your potential to contribute meaningfully to the college community.

What is the Mechanical Engineering track like?

The Women's Technology Program in Mechanical Engineering (WTP-ME) is a four-week residential summer program within MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering. Its primary goal is to introduce high school students to the fundamental principles and concepts of mechanical engineering during the summer following their 11th-grade year. Established in the summer of 2006, WTP-ME serves as the second curriculum track of the larger WTP initiative, drawing inspiration from the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science program initiated in 2002. For additional information regarding WTP, please refer to the WTP Home Page.

The program offers classes taught by graduate students from MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering, providing a comprehensive exploration of core mechanical engineering topics. These topics encompass fluid mechanics, materials science, statics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, and engineering design. The curriculum seamlessly integrates hands-on practical work with analytical calculations and the utilization of computer codes for numerical modeling and computer-aided design.

Each year, WTP-ME admits 20 participants who are selected from a nationwide pool of 11th-grade applicants. Successful applicants are distinguished by their outstanding academic aptitude in mathematics and science. While prior experience in physics or engineering is not obligatory, students are expected to grasp college-level material at an accelerated pace.

What is the EECS track like?

Note that the EECS track of WTP will not be offered in the summer of 2024.

The MIT Women's Technology Program in EECS (WTP-EECS) offers an intensive and fast-paced educational experience lasting four weeks. This program is designed for high school students, typically during the summer after their 11th-grade year, and it delves into the fields of electrical engineering, computer science, and related topics. WTP-EECS achieves this through a dynamic curriculum that combines hands-on classes, laboratory work, and collaborative team-based projects.

WTP-EECS instructors are either current MIT or Wellesley students or recent graduates. For a detailed overview of the WTP-EECS coursework, please refer to their Curriculum page. Each year, WTP-EECS accepts a cohort of 20-40 participants, selected from a national applicant pool. Successful applicants are distinguished by their exceptional academic prowess in mathematics and science. While previous exposure to physics or engineering is not mandatory, students should be able to effectively engage with college-level material at an accelerated pace.

What should you keep in mind before applying to MIT WTP?

1. Your answers in an online application, including multiple-choice questions, short answer responses, and three personal essays.

2. High school academic performance, with a particular emphasis on achieving predominantly A grades, especially in mathematics and science courses. Applicants are expected to enroll in the most advanced science and math classes with their grade level at their schools.

3. Teacher recommendations completed by both a mathematics and a science teacher.

4. Standardized test scores are optional components of the application.

How selective is MIT WTP?

In 2024, up to twenty participants will be selected for WTP-ME. 11th-grade students who are proficient in math and science and can attend the program on the MIT campus are eligible to apply.

Historically, WTP has received a substantial number of applications, ranging from 380 to 650, in years when both the residential format (up to 2019) and virtual format (2021 and 2022) of WTP were offered. However, in 2023, they received a total of 188 applications for the 20 available spots in WTP-ME.

Please note that all WTP applicants are required to have year-round residency in the United States, with their permanent family home address located within the country.

The primary criteria for acceptance into the program are a genuine interest in engineering and/or computer science, as well as a proven ability to excel in mathematics and science. Students should be capable of handling college-level coursework at an accelerated pace, although prior completion of coursework or summer programs related to the WTP curriculum is discouraged.

10 Reasons Why You Should Participate

1. You will receive specialized STEM exposure at an early stage: MIT WTP offers students a unique opportunity to delve deep into specific STEM fields, providing exposure to niche areas they might not encounter in their regular high school curriculum. For instance, students interested in computer science can immerse themselves in coding projects using languages like Python, while those passionate about electrical engineering may design and build electronic circuits. This specialized exposure allows participants to explore their interests in a hands-on and comprehensive manner.

2. There are tangible project outcomes associated with MIT WTP: In addition to theoretical knowledge, MIT WTP places a strong emphasis on practical application. Participants have the chance to work on real-world projects that showcase their skills and creativity. For example, they might create a functional mobile app in the computer science track or design and construct a mini-robot in the mechanical engineering track. These tangible project outcomes not only enhance their technical abilities but also serve as impressive additions to their portfolios.

3. You will have access to MIT's world-renowned cutting-edge labs: MIT is renowned for its state-of-the-art research facilities and laboratories. WTP participants gain access to these advanced resources, enabling them to conduct experiments and research in settings typically reserved for top-tier college students. They might use MIT's Materials Science and Engineering Lab to explore material properties, perform experiments related to cutting-edge technologies in the Plasma Science and Fusion Center, or conduct groundbreaking research in other specialized facilities.

4. You will receive personalized mentorship and make invaluable connections: MIT undergraduate mentors play a crucial role in guiding and supporting WTP participants throughout their program. These mentors provide individualized assistance and insights into the world of STEM. For instance, a student interested in artificial intelligence may receive mentorship from a current MIT student who is actively researching AI applications. This one-on-one mentorship fosters a supportive and enriching learning environment.

5. WTP will provide you with substantial support in overcoming challenges: WTP is not just about academic learning; it also addresses the challenges that women often encounter in STEM fields. Participants engage in discussions and workshops focused on strategies to overcome gender bias and other common obstacles in STEM workplaces. This exposure equips them with valuable skills and resilience to navigate future challenges.

6. This program will give your college applications a strong edge: WTP's college readiness guidance goes beyond academics. It includes tips and strategies for crafting impressive personal statements and showcasing their WTP experiences on college applications. This can significantly enhance their chances of being admitted to competitive STEM programs, as it demonstrates a deep commitment to and passion for their chosen field.

7. WTP is a great opportunity to embody leadership in action: Through collaborative team-based projects, students have the opportunity to gain practical leadership experience. For example, they might lead a group project focused on designing a renewable energy system, honing their leadership skills, project management abilities, and teamwork dynamics. This hands-on experience prepares them for leadership roles in future academic and professional settings.

8. You will be immersed in a diverse collaborative environment: MIT WTP brings together a diverse group of students from various backgrounds and regions. This diversity fosters a rich and inclusive learning environment where students can exchange ideas, perspectives, and experiences. For example, a student from a rural school may collaborate with peers from urban areas, providing a wide range of insights and approaches to solving STEM challenges.

9. You will develop complex problem-solving skills: The projects undertaken during WTP are designed to tackle complex and multifaceted issues. For instance, a project focused on sustainable urban planning might require students to consider not only technical aspects but also ethical, environmental, and social considerations. This experience equips participants with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to address real-world challenges.

10. Many of the people that you will meet will serve as inspirational role models: Interactions with MIT professors, researchers, and students can be truly transformative. Students have the opportunity to meet accomplished individuals who have made significant contributions to STEM fields. For example, they might encounter an MIT alumna who has played a pivotal role in renewable energy research, serving as an inspiring role model for their own career aspirations. Such interactions can ignite a lifelong passion for STEM and provide valuable insights into potential career paths.

One other option - Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you would like to further explore mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or computer science, you should also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Jessica attends Harvard University where she studies Neuroscience and Computer Science as a Coca-Cola, Elks, and Albert Shankar Scholar. She is passionate about educational equity and hopes to one day combine this with her academic interests via social entrepreneurship. Outside of academics, she enjoys taking walks, listening to music, and running her jewelry business!

Image Source: WTP logo

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