I never imagined that when I started helping students with their college applications in 2009 that I would encounter so many aspiring engineers and computer scientists. When I was in college, way back in the 20th century, engineers built tunnels and bridges and computers were as big as a house. (I’m trying not to give away just how long ago this was, but you get the idea.)
When personal computers with word processing programs came along, I was an early adapter. I remember encouraging a few writers with names you know to switch from typewriters to these amazing things that enabled us to revise without retyping the entire paragraph/page/chapter. Going from a typewriter to a word processor was intoxicating. Like going from roller skates to a car. Back in the day, cutting and pasting – with scissors and tape – was what we did.
These days, I still don’t know anything about coding but I know dozens of students who do, and I know what they care about and how they think. I don’t know anything about actually making robots, but I have a feeling if I were your age, I would want to know everything. And I LOVE learning and reading about technology, which is now so intertwined with everything else in life that it’s hard sometimes to make the distinction: This is life. This is technology.
High school students are overwhelmed with schoolwork, homework, and extra-curricular activities, so I hesitate to suggest anything else to do. But for those interested in thoughtful looks at all matters tech from some of the best journalists around, I recommend WIRED magazine. (I just got a year-long digital subscription for $5!)
The extra benefit of reading WIRED for those about to apply to college is that you’ll see how journalists write about tech matters in ways that everyone else can understand. Writing about technology does not have to be technical! This may be of value to you in the essays you write about your own interests, whether they’re in robotics, CS, AI, or even mathematics.
Begun in San Francisco in 1993 to focus on technology and its effects on society, WIRED was named the Magazine of the Decade in 2009 by ADWEEK. Its reach and influence in bringing tech news and ideas to the public are incalculable, and its journalism is recognized and celebrated. And its newest editor, Nicholas Thompson, was the editor of the New Yorker for years before that, moving it to its current lively online incarnation.
Here’s a brief video of Thompson talking about the challenges of AI.
And if you click HERE you can sign up for a $5 subscription to WIRED.
If you’d like information about my work helping students apply to college, grad school, or high schools that require essays, please shoot me an email Liz@DontSweatTheEssay.com or phone (East Coast time): 1-855-99-ESSAY.