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Who are the "MIT 5"?

Although five talented students from a Los Angeles magnet school all received multiple prestigious university offers, they are sticking together and coming to the Institute. Media stories call them the "MIT 5."
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Class of 2018 members, from left, Reymundo Cano, Andrew Koh, Kevin Escobar Rodriguez, GiMin Choi, and William Lopez-Cordero.
Class of 2018 members, from left, Reymundo Cano, Andrew Koh, Kevin Escobar Rodriguez, GiMin Choi, and William Lopez-Cordero.
Courtesy of Polytechnic High School, Los Angeles

Was it founding school clubs together, or being in many of the same classes at Polytechnic High School’s math/science magnet program, in Los Angeles? Was it chatting on bus rides to a community college to take multivariable calculus, or getting together on the weekends to eat Korean barbeque? Those were just some of the experiences that five members of MIT's incoming Class of 2018 have already shared.

And while they expect that their camaraderie will ease the transition to college, these five current — and future — classmates plan to make lots of new friends and live in different areas on campus.

Why come to MIT?

“Not only are the people at MIT extremely talented and intelligent, but they also have amazing personality and passion for learning,” GiMin Choi says. “Thanks to my older brother GiHun Choi, who is currently a freshman at MIT, I have been to MIT twice and already know many upperclassmen, and the overall atmosphere was very supportive and energetic.”

Choi began relying on his MIT support network during his senior year. Since his parents don’t live in the U.S., when his older brother left for MIT, he was far from family. When he wanted advice or conversation, he tapped his brother and other MIT friends.

For William Lopez-Cordero, MIT was always a dream school, but after spending a summer on campus in an engineering program, he was obsessed. “I knew MIT was the place for me when I stepped foot on the campus,” he says.

Reymundo Cano says the group got close taking Advanced Placement courses together. “It was initially collaboration, then that turned to playing games together over the Internet, then we started to eat KBBQ together on weekends,” Cano says.

The atmosphere at Polytech helped the group bond, Andrew Koh says. “Our school environment was always more into helping each other out than only ourselves and, as we had similar ambitions, it became natural that we became friends.” And for him, why MIT? “It’s the cooler Institute of Technology,” Koh says.

Kevin Escobar Rodriguez expects MIT to be somewhat like Polytech: “Students take difficult classes, yet focus on helping each other out rather than being the sole best student. The fact that MIT had a supportive community, as well as amazing academics, drew me there.”

Read the full Slice of MIT blog post to find out what advice MIT students who are alumni of the same high school offer the new students.

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