MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Stu Schmill '86

Feb 22 2018

Policies, Principles, and Protests

Posted in: Best of the Blogs, Miscellaneous, Process & Statistics

Last Wednesday, February 14th, 2018, seventeen people, including fourteen students, were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Over the past week, student activists from Stoneman Douglas have spoken out loudly, often, and in public, advocating for policies to prevent such a shooting from happening again. They have formed an organization, Never Again MSD, and led peaceful demonstrations at the Florida Capitol and the White House, as well as meetings with state legislators. Their leadership has galvanized students at schools across the country to join them in protests, including several school walkouts scheduled for March and April.

In response, some high schools have announced that students who demonstrate will face disciplinary action, which may in turn be reported to universities to which they applied. Indeed, the "fine print" on our acceptance letter includes the following clause:

We also insist you continue to conduct yourself... read the post »


Jun 20 2016

Turning the Tide

Posted in: Prepare for MIT

A few months ago the Making Caring Common Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education released a report entitled “Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions,” which talks about ways the college admissions process might “promote greater ethical engagement among aspiring students, reduce excessive achievement pressure, and level the playing field for economically disadvantaged students.”

I was very pleased to endorse the report, along with more than 100 of my admissions colleagues at colleges around the country. I think it is a very strong report that will help prospective students and their families by clarifying the expectations that admissions officers have of students – and more important, by clarifying what we do not expect. I believe there has been a growing mismatch between what students think they need to do to be strong applicants, and what they actually need to do.

In simple terms, we want students to pursue the... read the post »


Apr 30 2012

Stephen, I’m Putting You On Notice!

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Believe it or not, admissions officers occasionally try to do things besides reading applications to MIT. One of the things I enjoy doing in my downtime (besides playing with Legos) is watching the Colbert Report, which is one of my favorite television shows. 

During one recent episode, Stephen Colbert interviewed Richard Hersh, a former university president who recently coauthored a book on how higher education is failing in America. During that interview Hersh - who I think it is fair to say is somewhat down on education in America today - had some very kind words to say about MIT. (Thanks Richard. The check from Tim Beaver is in the mail). 

Stephen, though, had some unkind words about MIT, and moreover didn't seem to really "get" what makes this such a special place. Now, I know such complex concepts may be difficult for him to grasp (after all, truthiness will only get you so far), but, as someone who cares deeply about education, I felt compelled to try. 

So Stephen, a... read the post »


Apr 23 2012

A Few Lessons from FLL

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Spring is the season when students across the country are making choices: high school seniors are choosing where they are going to college (we just finished hosting Campus Preview Weekend to help our admitted students make their decision), high school juniors are choosing where they might want to apply to college, and high school freshmen and sophomores (and even my sixth grade daughter!) are choosing what classes to take next year. So this time of year I am asked all the time for advice on what choices students should make to help their chances of coming to MIT.

As I recently wrote in an op-ed piece for the higher ed website Inside Higher Ed, the best thing a student can do is whatever will advance his or her personal growth and genuine enthusiasm for learning.

In the piece I cite the FIRST robotics competition as one of many excellent and worthwhile activities a student might do. While many MIT students have participated in FIRST, last year I had the good fortune of... read the post »


Mar 29 2009

Some reflections

Posted in: Process & Statistics

It has been almost two weeks since we released our admissions decisions, and I wanted to take a moment to offer a few thoughts, and to thank you for being engaged with MIT and our admissions process.

This year has certainly been different from any we’ve seen before. The economic crisis has affected many, here at home and around the world. I know that many of you — students and parents — are concerned about the future: about jobs, about your ability to pay for college, and more generally about the economic, social, and environmental stability of the world.

For those who will come here to study, despite the difficult times — indeed, because of the difficult times — I hope you will come here with the realization that MIT offers the type of education that the leaders of our world need today, and the determination to take full advantage of it.

Through our commitment to a science and technology centered education integrated with a strong humanities program that offers appropriate... read the post »

Comments (14)