During a recent campus visit to MIT, I had the chance to learn from an admissions officer about the application, admissions and first-year process, and I am happy to share those notes with any student who would like them. But I think I learned more about MIT just by walking around the campus and taking note of what was posted on the walls.

MIT says it values diversity of thought, of nationality, of expression and of being – and that is made evident by the range of causes, services, messages and events you can see in the posters around campus. I came away with such a strong sense of just how accepting, fun-loving, serious, engaged, collaborative and entrepreneurial these students and their profs must be in every fibre of their being.

Their buildings range from wildly unique Gehry creations, to stately stone structures, to unremarkable cinder block rectangles, but the hallways reminded me of elementary school classrooms: full of colour, chaos and creativity. And covered in paper!

I have also visited Harvard and Yale and the contrast between the three schools is perhaps symbolized by the co-inhabitants: Harvard had bunnies, a chipmunk was on the front steps of the admissions building at Yale, and MIT was home to black squirrels. What should be made of this? Perhaps a good prompt for a college essay!