‘Monsters University’ opened in theaters on Friday, June 21, 2013. In spite of a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 77%, theaters across the nation were packed with viewers anxiously awaiting Pixar’s new release. The movie especially hit home in Massachusetts, a college state filled with prestigious universities and levels of competition perhaps higher than that depicted at the movie’s fictitious university. The state’s residents could not help but imbibe the animated picture’s valuable lessons about college admissions and about higher education in general.
Start Early. In `Monsters University,’ Mike, a student at Frighton Elementary, decides that however unlikely, he would work hard and eventually attend the prestigious scaring institution, Monsters U. Mike has the right attitude. Admissions prospects to prestigious universities such as Harvard University, MIT, Tufts, or Holy Cross are improved when students follow his example and start early. Good grades in elementary school lead to opportunities to take high school level courses in middle school and then, AP classes in high school. By exploring and defining extracurricular interests in elementary and middle school, students can excel in their activities when at high school. AP classes and strong extracurricular records help set applications apart from the stack.
Visit colleges before you apply. If Mike had visited Monsters University before applying, he might have realized that the institution was too much of a party school for his outlook on life. Even if Mike had not visited, he could have at the least researched the school and looked for an institution without fraternities. Students should always consider what they want from their future schools and evaluate potential institutions accordingly.
Work as a team. By the time Mike enrolls at Monsters University, he has become so grossly competitive that he quickly finds himself kicked out of the Scare Program for fighting with fellow classmate, Sullivan. Heightened competition is characteristic of students who vie for coveted seats at selective institutions and often continues after students begin college. For example, students, not uncommonly, hide their extracurricular activities from classmates in order to keep their competitors from “catching up” and looking better on college/work applications. They often fail to share test tips or anything else that could possibly improve classmates’ college admissions/work prospects. However, as Mike and Sullivan both realize by the end of the movie, working as a team helps people progress more than they would alone. In real life, this is so important that some prestigious universities evaluate students’ ability to work with others when they judge their application packages.
Everybody fails. Everybody fails at something sometime. Mike had work ethic. Sullivan had raw talent. But both were scared, and both experienced failure. Whether a student fails getting into the school of his choice, while at college, or afterwards at work, what defines a person is not how many times he fails but how many times he gets back up. In the end, Mike and Sullivan do not give up on their dreams to become “scarers,” and eventually they succeed.
Overall, ‘Monsters University’ opened with a bang in Massachusetts. It not only proved to be entertaining, it taught important life lessons about college admissions, college life, and the after college world that every student should learn.