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Alumni Spotlight!

Read below to learn more about some of our spectacular alumni! Rachel has a lot of great things to say about college and making a life transition.


RGaither_HeadshotI’m currently a freshman at MIT in Cambridge, MA.  Most of my first year here will be spent taking general intro classes, but I plan to get a biology degree and become a medical researcher. I love late-night sociopolitical discussions, sweet potatoes, and the BBC’s Sherlock. I’ve also been dancing (ballet and ballroom, mostly) since I was about 7, and I’ve continued that at MIT as well.

There are a lot of things I could say pertaining to the 21cccs—college transition, but I’m going to focus on time management. (Typical, I know, sorry.) Seriously, though, it’s been one of the most useful skills I’ve brought with me and I’ve noticed that it’s a challenge for some of my fellow freshmen. I was cyber-schooled throughout middle and high school, and I was a 21cccs student from 10th-12th grades. Online schooling takes a lot of self-motivation, especially in later grades. There is no explicit schedule, and no teacher at the front of the room. It’s up to you to finish that essay or take that math test. Teachers are always available for help, but you have to reach out to them; there’s no way for them to know that you’re struggling if you don’t say anything. It’s unbelievably easy to procrastinate, especially when the Internet is a click away. Most of these challenges are unique to cyber-schooling, and I think it’s really important to acknowledge that online education doesn’t work for everyone. It didn’t work for my siblings. It was perfect for me, however, and by the time I graduated I had gotten really good at managing my time, taking control of my own education, and asking for help when I needed it.

When I got to MIT, these skills were just as important! The workload here dwarfs anything I ever experienced in high school, but I’ve been able to stay on top of everything. My first week here, I knew that I needed to start my homework early, make sure I knew about deadlines and exam schedules, and ask other people for help when I didn’t understand a chemistry concept or a physics problem. I’m definitely not a model student, but I had a much smoother transition than some of my friends. I definitely attribute this to cyber-schooling and the fact that I learned how to structure my own schedule in middle school (instead of three weeks into my freshman year of college).

I’ve already exceeded my word limit by over 100 words, so I’ll stop there. If there’s anyone out there who’s applying to colleges or thinking about applying or wondering more about the relationship between cyber-schooling and college, you should email me! Seriously!


We are so proud of Rachel’s successes so far. Often times, that hardest part about transitioning to college is learning how to adapt to the schedule change, and find a routine that works well for you. Thanks for sharing, Rachel! And best of luck!