MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Chris Peterson

Oct 28 2014

My Talk @ Maker Faire

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Freshman Applicants, Process & Statistics

We've had makers on the mind here for a little while. Earlier this month Ceri blogged about the MIT Maker Faire. Earlier this year Dawn and I wrote a white paper for the White House about technically creative students at MIT, and next week she and I will be presenting about our Maker Portfolio at a small conference in California. 

Last year, before we launched the Maker Portfolio, Dawn gave a talk at Maker Faire Bay Area about how technically creative students ought to pitch their projects to colleges. Last month, after our first year of having a Maker Portfolio, I gave a talk at World Maker Faire New York about how we admit and empower these kinds of students at MIT. The good folks over at Maker Media just posted the video, so I thought I'd share it here. 



Hopefully that sheds some interesting light on what we're trying to do with our portfolios. If you have any questions about the maker portfolio, let me know below!


Oct 9 2014

My new job @ admissions

Posted in: Miscellaneous

I was rewriting my profile this morning - the first substantive update in five years - to reflect my new role and responsibilities in the office when I suddenly realized that I hadn't actually blogged about my new role and responsibilities in the office. This is a problem, but unlike most we take on here at MIT, it's a easy one to solve. 

As many of you know, most of my career has been essentially doing "web stuff", including the blogs, for the office. And I'm still helping Kris out with them and other communications projects. But earlier this summer, I assumed a new job as an assistant director of talented outreach, overseeing our recruitment and evaluation of students with exceptional academic and technical achievements.

I'm new to the position, but the role it plays in our office is old: it was most recently done by Dawn, and Matt handled the substantive duties for many years before then. Essentially, my job is to find some of the most intelligent, most skilled, most creative... read the post »


Sep 12 2014

California Love

Posted in: Visit

Every year our office travels all over the country to speak to students about MIT. The goal of these presentations is to demystify the Institute and our admissions process, particularly for those far-flung audiences that might not otherwise be able to visit MIT or speak to an admissions officer in person.

Our destinations fall into roughly three categories:

  • Central Meetings: major events, held at large venues, to which we invite everyone in our prospect database in a ~100 mile radius
  • School Visits: visits to individual high schools
  • Community-Based Organizations (CBOs): visits to CBOs, which may work with students from a region or community who span several different high schools

This year, I traveled to Southern California. I spent a week driving all over the region speaking to as many students as I could. I'm writing notes for my colleagues about my journey, and I thought I'd share some of them with you all to see what it's like to be an admissions officer on the... read the post »


Aug 29 2014

Credit for Reddit

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Academics & Research

There's a story my mother likes to tell about the time, soon after I began first grade, she received a polite but concerned note from my teacher. Evidently, when my time to show-and-tell had arrived, I read aloud from a library book about reproductive biology, with a degree of anatomical specificity my teacher considered frankly inappropriate for my age and audience. My teacher clarified that I was not in trouble because none of my classmates understood what I was talking about or indeed had seemed to pay me any attention at all (this was a recurring theme of my childhood and also my adulthood). Some parents might have discouraged 'inappropriate' intellectual interests, but I have long been grateful that my mother, who helps children with special needs navigate elementary school, never let my education get in the way of my learning.

Love you, mom


One of the best ways to learn is to teach, both because in order to teach you have to know your stuff, and because through... read the post »


Aug 17 2014

What Are We Waiting For

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Life & Culture

Freshman orientation for the Class of 2018 officially begins in two weeks. Next week, however, some students will begin arriving on campus to participate in one of 22 Freshman Pre-Orientation Programs (FPOPs), which offer students an early introduction to in the social life of learning at MIT. As the FPOP website says: 

Build an underwater vehicle. Make friends. Work in the Cambridge community. Learn what it means to install public interactive art. Kayak. Play robotic soccer. Visit a nuclear reactor. Swing your way through a ropes course. Learn to paint. Roll your own sushi. Wear paper clothing. Travel to Colorado and Northern New Mexico. Spend a day feeding the homeless. Learn about yourself. Challenge yourself.

We've blogged a lot about FPOPs in the past. This year's FPOPs include (update 10/27/14: all of these links are dead now that orientation is over, but I'm leaving the list just so you know what was offered):