MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Chris Peterson

Jul 27 2014

What Essay Questions Should We Ask?

Posted in: Freshman Applicants

I've got applications on the brain. Last week, we posted the blogger applications; this week, I'm modifying the Maker Portfolio for the next cycle. During Ceri's admissions excavation she found some old applications, which got me down to the Institute Archives, looking at old requirements for admission

Last year I posted our essay questions. This year they'll (almost certainly) be the same. But maybe next year, they won't; every year, we sort of reassess the questions, and think about whether we want to change them. 

Strategically, our essay questions are intended to prompt certain responses from applicants. The idea is that the answers tell us something about the applicant, not only through what they literally write (i.e. "For fun I like to dress up like a Viking and light things on fire") but also how they write about it, what they choose to write about, the salient categories and concepts around which they organize their lived experience, and so on. You can think of essay... read the post »


Jul 21 2014

Blogger Application 2014!

Posted in: Miscellaneous

It's summer in Cambridge, which means three things: 

1) I've begun cold-brewing my own iced tea as per Kenji's instructions

2) I've setup a WeMo Switch connected to IFTTT so I can turn on my air conditioner with a text message from ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD




Jul 10 2014

I Suppose It Was Inevitable That We Have An Office Instagram

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Life & Culture

Nearly five years ago I added a Facebook share button to the blogs. It's strange to think that was so long ago, and also strange to think that it was once not obvious that people would come to the blogs any other way than navigating to or searching for Of course, it's also strange to think I once had a full head of hair and wasn't exhausted by 10 PM every night. And this too shall pass

TLDR: we on Instagram now. The account is curated primarily by my colleague Holly, who will be taking and posting many square, filtered photos of MIT. 


As some of you know, the admissions blogs originally grew out of independent student blogs which Ben collated and eventually centralized under this domain. Nowadays, our bloggers post here, but they also have continued to post elsewhere too, on different platforms. I've never been that interested in connecting the two, mostly because I wanted to respect some distinction between what bloggers post for us and their... read the post »


Jun 18 2014

Makers @ MIT

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Academics & Research, Life & Culture

President Obama has proclaimed today National Day of Making, an opportunity to recognize and encourage a new generation of makers and manufacturers to share their talents and hone their skills. As part of the celebration, the President is hosting an inaugural White House Maker Faire, where more than 100 technically creative folks from all over the country will showcase things they've made.

A tremendous number of individuals and organizations have come together to support the National Day of Making through efforts, initiatives, and announcements, including:

  • Kickstarter, which is today launching a new funding category specifically for Makerspaces
  • 3D Systems, The Coca-Cola Company, and, who are providing more than 1,500 3D printers and kits as part of a drive to ensure that all 3,000 FIRST Robotics Teams have access to 3D printing equipment
  • Chevron, which is announcing a $10 million commitment to the Fab Foundation with plans to support the creation of 10 new... read the post »


Jun 6 2014

Commence the Commencing!

Posted in: Miscellaneous

147 classes have graduated from MIT in its history; today, the Class of 2014 will join them as alumni of the Institute. 

The 148th Commencement will be webcast starting at 8 AM ET, with color commentary by our very own Matt McGann.

You can follow the commencement on Twitter, on Storify, or via #MIT2014 on your social media system of choice. 

I must admit I'm a bit sentimental about this particular commencement. The Class of 2014, including Anna, Emad, Kate, Natanya, and Tom, were the first undergraduates whom I helped admit, and I've seen them grow from small, squishy prefrosh to unbelievably intelligent and compassionate adults. Most of my functional cohort (and some of my closest friends) from grad school are graduating today as well before heading to different corners of the planet to help make it a better place. It's very, very hard to see the Class of 2014 leave, but I'm so glad that they are.  Congratulations, kids.

I intend to spend most of the day watching the... read the post »