Why Minority Valedictorians Fail Calculus, Findings Of The Berkeley Program

By Alex Alaniz
MS Mathematics; BS, PhD Physics – Former LANL Nuclear Stockpile physicist – Former quant

“A singular underlying issue was identified distinguishing the way Asians approach first year calculus versus other minorities. Chinese students in first year calculus classes gather at a home to cook dinner and pore over homework assignments, old department tests, fix each other’s mistakes, eliminate misconceptions, and mentor themselves. Black valedictorians, used to working hard and being self-sufficient, quickly fell behind because once they missed a concept, they could no longer keep up with the onslaught of new, vertically integrated material.
Given this observation, participatory group study time was implemented for all class members taking after the Chinese model. The result of which, in a nutshell, was parity in success for all students in all demographics.”

How to Prepare For College for Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors

While not everyone wants to go to MIT, their website on how to prepare for MIT offers an excellent road map for any student who wants to go to any college. READ THEIR ADVICE. You will see what classes to take, learn about useful summer enrichment opportunities and get an honest take on what Admissions Officers are looking for. Click on the link to learn more.

What To Do In High School
When we admit a class of students to MIT, it’s as if we’re choosing a 1,000-person team to climb a very interesting, fairly rugged mountain – together. We obviously want people who have the training, stamina and passion for the climb. At the same time, we want each to add something useful or intriguing to the team, from a wonderful temperament or sense of humor to compelling personal experiences, to a wide range of individual gifts, talents, interests and achievements. We are emphatically not looking for a batch of identical perfect climbers; we are looking for a richly varied team of capable people who will support, surprise and inspire each other.
Preparing yourself for MIT, then, means doing two things:
1. making sure you’re ready to do the work, and
2. making the time to really explore things that interest you, both inside and outside of school.