The Mount’s Sixth Form student and headgirl, Caroline Rosenzweig, talks about applying to US universities.
The Mount has a knack for getting its Sixth Form alumnae into a remarkably broad range of universities, given the size of the school. As well as Oxbridge and Russell Group universities, pupils in the past three years alone have been offered places at Central St Martin’s (three in 2015), Simon Fraser University (Canada), Northern Ballet Academy, Norland Nannies, University of Hong Kong and the Munich Business School (Germany). This year, just as the all-girl Quaker school is offering bursaries of up to 100% for Sixth Form entry in September, The Mount’s headgirl has accepted an unconditional offer to study Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT.
With 32 departments over five schools and one college, MIT is widely regarded one of the world’s top universities. As of 2015, the MIT community counts no less than 85 Nobel Laureates, 52 Medal of Science recipients, 45 Rhodes Scholars and 34 astronauts among its community of current and former affiliates. MIT’s unique offer is its expertise at transforming students’ technology ideas into successful – in some cases, hugely successful – businesses.
When she joined The Mount in 2012 as a full-time boarder, Caroline Rosenzweig already knew that she wanted to be an engineer. She initiated the all-girl Quaker school’s first ever Robotics Club which has been a hit as an extra-curricular activity and paved the way for a new Coding Club. She also takes sessions with younger students in the equally popular STEM Club. So when it was announced at school that Caroline had been accepted by MIT, the news was both welcome and yet, to her teachers, unsurprising.
“I applied to six different colleges,” explains Caroline, who began her applications process in the Lower Sixth Form. “In America they don’t have a cap on it, so you can apply to as many universities and courses as you want to; but you do have to pay a fee for each one. I received offers from MIT, San Diego and Santa Clara.
“The Mount really helped me through applications. There is a common application where you fill in everything and they give it to each university; they needed information and long references from the school. Mrs Thompson and Ms Hayward spent a lot of time on that for me and it really helped.”
Caroline sat the infamous SATs (scholastic assessment tests) which assess abilities in Maths and English and are required by every American university. “The top universities ask for SAT subject tests, which are specific to your field of interest,” says Caroline. “Because my subject is Engineering, I did the Maths Level 2 and Physics papers. I actually did the SATs twice. I sat the four hour Maths and English SATs in January 2015 and October 2015, and I did my subject tests in November. It was a time of year that was really busy, right at the start of College II (Upper Sixth Form). To anyone else thinking of doing this, I would advise them to start early, especially for the SATs; they are really time-consuming and you want to do them at a time that does not conflict with your A-Level preparations; and stay organised and manage your time! I knew that if I spent the time to get good results, I would never have to re-sit. And yes, it did pay off,” says Caroline with a smile.
Asked if she considered whether an International Baccalaureate (IB) would have been more useful than A-Levels for applying to study abroad, Caroline becomes very thoughtful. “I did not find the lack of an IB to be a barrier at all when I was applying. Most large universities have staff who can ‘translate’ A-Levels, and none of the places that I applied to said they favoured IB; I think it really comes down to the SAT scores, and then they look at your application essays. I never heard that IB is better than A-Levels.”
Wendy Thompson, Head of College and Careers, says, “To have an unconditional offer from an institution like MIT is a wonderful achievement for Caroline and a testament to her hard work and efforts. We try very hard to guide girls to be able to accept offers from their first-choice universities.” The Mount was York’s top school for A-Level results in 2015 as well as in 2014 and 2012.
Principal Adrienne Richmond says, “Caroline is a brilliant ambassador for the school and a credit to her family. She has been an inspirational headgirl. I am certain she will thrive at MIT. The Mount is very pleased to be offering bursaries of up to 100% for Sixth Form entry in September for high-achieving students. If any girls out there are predicted to achieve 7 or more A-A*s, and are interested in joining a vibrant community in a caring all-girls school, they should get in touch with The Mount.”