Category Archives: CDI
Hello blog readers! CDI has recently launched a revised website over at collegiatedirections.org. We’re now hosting the CDI blog on that new site–right here. That means we will no longer post on this wordpress.com site. So please follow the link to our new website. You can still subscribe to the blog, and the process to do so is easy. Just click on the orange “blog” icon beside “subscribe to RSS Feed” and follow the prompts. Once you set up the RSS subscription, you’ll get a blog post in your inbox every time we post!
Thank you, as always, for following our blog!
Princeton University, Freshman
After the week long fall break, I came back to Princeton and the ball started rolling again. I continued to work on the essay I started before break and started some research in the university archive library for a paper about after-the-fact opposition to coeducation at Princeton in the early 1970s. It is so amazing that we have access to the university’s primary artifacts from its history!
This week has been relatively manageable in terms of school work; however, the spring course offerings are now released! While this is very exciting, it is difficult to choose courses that will create a reasonable schedule and the question always seems to be whether or not I am choosing the right classes and really taking advantage of the “exploration” process. Currently, though, I am considering taking an introductory Computer Science course, Psychology, and American Studies. Luckily, before anything becomes official, I have a meeting scheduled with my academic adviser next week to discuss my schedule and plans.
On another note, it snowed on campus last week! There was a good 3-4 inches, enough for people to have snowball fights, make snow angels, and even create life-size snowmen! The campus looked beautiful; it was definitely an exciting time for everyone as it was the first snow of the year!
I have gradually gotten closer to the members in my CSA family and have even begun to talk to my classmates outside of class. I agree this is a slow process, but I am happy my friend circle is expanding. Additionally, I applied to become a tutor at a community tutoring company. The manager verified that I was qualified to be a member of their team, so as of now, I am waiting for them to process my paperwork and match me with a client. I can’t wait! Again, I feel so grateful to be going to this school; yesterday, I went to see “The Lion King” on Broadway, which turned out to be a spectacular show as we got superb seats near the stage! There is such a great balance between academic and social life. We have a lot of work to do, but we have many opportunities to relax as well. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my family, friends, teachers, CDI counselors, and the Princeton community for allowing me the chance to learn at such a fantastic institution in all respects.
Princeton University, freshman
Since my last weekly check-in, I have been preparing myself for the mid-terms which took place on October 26. I had mid-terms in both Spanish and Introduction to Architectural Thinking on that day. While I should have started studying for it earlier, I dedicated an adequate amount of time for each class 2-3 nights before to prepare study guides for myself leading up to the exam. Luckily, my Introduction to Architectural Thinking exam was open note, and on the day of the exam, I felt confident because I had prepared a comprehensive guide to all of the concepts we had learned in that class. After taking those exams, I realized that every assignment and every discussion in class is related to the ultimate exam. The practice we get in homework and classwork assignments as well as the topics and pictures displayed in the readings all will help with the exam. I will definitely keep this in mind over the next four years. After the exams, we had a fall break for a week from Oct 26 through Nov 4. Hurricane Sandy had a huge impact on the Princeton community. I heard that a lot of surrounding neighborhoods lost power for many days as well as experienced severe damage due to the storm. The Princeton campus lost several trees and closed its campus for a few days. I am glad I was home with my family during this big storm and have enjoyed a great week with friends. I will be coming back home for Thanksgiving Break! The school will be providing a bus at a low cost to take us back home for the short, but important break. I have really grown attached to my Princeton home, though, and can’t wait to return!
CDI welcomes new Executive Vice President Rachel Mazyck to the fold. She joins CDI after spending two years on the Chief Academic Officer’s team in the Baltimore City Public Schools. Among other duties, she oversaw strategic planning and teacher professional development across the schools in the district. Dr. Mazyck graduated with Highest Distinction and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead Scholar. After spending two years as a Teach for America teacher in Indianola, Mississippi, she earned a Masters in Education from Harvard. She then attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, earning a D.Phil. in Education and serving as a Junior Dean at Oxford’s Harris Manchester College. With her distinguished background, Dr. Mazyck is an excellent fit for CDI and will no doubt be an inspiration for our Scholars. Today, her first at CDI, she answers a few questions for blog readers.
CDI has been helping Scholars successfully find their way since 2005. What is your vision for CDI’s future?
I am excited to join the CDI team; so much good work has been done already! My vision includes making sure that we have codified all the good practices that make CDI successful. I look forward to supporting the expansion of CDI to reach a broader group of students, with our systematized approach captured in a clear and concise way.
What are some of the challenges you foresee with that vision?
One of the things that makes CDI so special is the individualized approach that the counselors and tutors take with each student. It can be a challenge to maintain that quality of tailored support as a program expands, but that individualized attention is essential to making CDI work. I am committed to working with the team to maintain the core values that make CDI great.
Now that CDI has been around long enough to see Scholars graduate from college, we will have an ever-expanding alumni network each year. How do you hope to harness the energy and enthusiasm of our graduates?
I am so excited about the CDI alumni! I’ve had the opportunity to speak with several CDI college graduates, and I look forward to bringing them together and hearing their thoughts on how CDI can continue to support them. I have been dreaming about an alumni network where CDI graduates can get advice, discover job opportunities, connect current Scholars with internships, serve as mentors for current Scholars, and help us refine our model so that each year our Scholars are better prepared for success in college. Those are my dreams, but I would love to hear from both current CDI Scholars and graduates about what their vision for an alumni network might entail. If you have some ideas, please get in touch!
On August 4th, CDI honored its graduating Scholars at the Bauer Community Center in Rockville, MD. In past years, this event–known as the Bon Voyage party–celebrated our high school Scholars. This year, with our second class of Scholars graduating from college, we revised the format to include all of our graduates. Watch the slideshow!
When he moved to the United States from El Salvador in 2002, CDI Scholar Francisco Barrera (CDI class of 2007) faced a difficult transition. As a native Spanish speaker, he often found himself struggling to understand his teachers at Wheaton High School. In his own words, he felt “intimidated and uncomfortable” whenever he was asked to solve problems on the board. His ESOL classes helped, but outside of the classroom, adjusting to life in his new, faster-paced country tested him. As a result, his grades suffered and he ended his freshman year in disappointing fashion.
At home, however, Francisco had a powerful ally in his mother, Rosa. She had been unable to complete her own schooling back home in El Salvador, but she knew the value of a solid education, and she worked long hours to give Francisco and his siblings every opportunity to study. She told them, “There are many paths you can take in life, but only educating yourself guarantees success.” Though his freshman year results had been discouraging, he took his mother’s words to heart.
With her encouragement, Francisco enrolled in Honors and AP courses during his sophomore year. He expected his grades to drop, but instead found that the more difficult classes actually stimulated him. Determined to succeed, he worked hard and his grades soon began to improve, and he became an Honor Roll student his final three years. At the same time, he participated in clubs like Wheaton Works and the Vietnamese Club, ran cross country and track, and joined the tennis team, where he worked his way to 2nd singles his senior year. Outside of school he volunteered at the Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity, serving 360 hours of community service as a mentor and translator for immigrant families.
But what Francisco wanted more than anything was to go to college. Through their excited interest, his science teachers had shown him how to love the subject, and now he wanted to do the same for others. Unfortunately, even with his excellent transcript, he didn’t know how to make that goal a reality. At CDI, Francisco learned how to prepare for the SAT, how to create a college list and apply to colleges, and how to get the most scholarships and financial aid. Thanks to the one-on-one mentoring he received from CDI counselors, Francisco was accepted at six colleges—Randolph Macon, St. Mary’s, University of Vermont, Dickinson, Hood, and Goucher—and was offered $162,000 in financial aid.
“CDI taught me that I had options,” he says. “I got a full ride at Goucher through its Educational Opportunity Program for minority students. Without CDI I would not have known about that program.”
Today, Francisco is one of CDI’s first seven college graduates. With a B.A. in Biology from Goucher College, he is fulfilling his dream, teaching 7th and 8th grade Science at Southwest Academy Magnet School in Baltimore County. Because of the support he received from his mother, he knows how important it is for adults to stress education, and he’s taking that message to the next generation. In the classroom, he challenges his students through hands-on activities that generate interest in the topic, as his teachers had once lit a spark in him. Taking a page out of the CDI playbook, he wants his students to make discoveries by themselves, knowing that in order for them to succeed they need to be fully invested in their own education—building a strong foundation, one brick at a time.
Just like Francisco.
A version of this post originally appeared in CDI’s Winter Newsletter.