MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


David duKor-Jackson

Oct 5 2012

Reflections from the “other side” of the desk

Posted in: Miscellaneous

It has only been a couple of months since I left MIT Admissions for a college counseling position in Providence, RI.  While I am no longer an official member of the broader MIT community, I find that it is difficult for me to fully articulate how I can feel inexplicably connected to and simultaneously disconnected from this place that I spent the last several years.

To some degree, the disconnect is easier to explain.  I no longer live in the Cambridge area.  The Red Line no longer delivers me to the Kendall/MIT stop on a daily basis, and I no longer spend my days with the wonderfully idiosyncratic family of the admissions office, who will always be special to me.

The feeling of connection is a bit more complex. When I think of MIT, I think of an incredible place where amazing people do remarkable things every day. It is also a place where many discover that their quirks and eccentricities are an important dimension of who they are, and fit quite nicely into the mosaic of the... read the post »


Mar 30 2012

The Perfect Match?

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Freshman Applicants

While many of our students have known for a quite some time that MIT is where they wanted to be, others were less certain. Some may even have thought that another institution was a better (gasp) match for them. That is of course, until they had the opportunity to experience all things MIT over the course of Campus Preview Weekend, better known simply as CPW.

As for CPW, I don't think it goes according to plan for most prefrosh, because I don't think it is possible to grasp the sheer enormity of it, without having experienced CPW previously. How many campus visit programs have had their own App developed by a participant, just to keep track of everything that was going on? (Since this was such a great idea, we are planning to have a platform-independent mobile site that should work for everyone, up and running by CPW)

But I digress. As I am sure that if you are planning to come to CPW, you have reflected on what you would like to get out of the experience, have a preliminary... read the post »


Mar 26 2012

Holding out for a piece of Pi

Posted in: Transfer Applicants

Over a week has passed since Pi day, and the reality of the MIT admission decisions should certainly be sinking in by now. For those offered admission, there is a bit of role reversal as a new decision date approaches at the beginning of May, when an enrollment decision must be made. Those accepting a spot on the Waiting List, need to choose another institution, while holding out hope for good news from MIT. Those not offered admission, simply need to move on, acknowledging that enrolling at MIT is not an option in the immediate future.

This is what is supposed to happen, and for the most part is what happens. Some, however, really want a piece of MIT pi, and opt for the path less travelled.

Some simply elect to apply again in a subsequent application cycle. There are cases when this could be appropriate, but generally I would strongly discourage this course of action. For one thing, when there are no significant developments between applications, the admission decisions tend... read the post »


Mar 13 2012

To whom much is given…

Posted in: Best of the Blogs, Miscellaneous

Much is expected.

I can't tell you how many times I have heard, thought or uttered some portion of that phrase over the course of the past few weeks. I can tell you with a fair level of certainty that it is just as true in college admission circles as it is anywhere else that it might be used.

Let me be frank. Any serious applicant to MIT has been given much. That does not mean that everyone has received in equal measure, but that each and every applicant has been given a lifetime's worth of opportunities and has made choices about how to use those opportunities. I won't belabor the point, as my position on the matter is well established. Suffice it to say, we may look just as favorably on the trajectory and distance travelled as we do on the heights achieved. I think our admission decisions reflect this value.

In short order, our decisions will be released and the inevitable armchair quarterbacking will begin. I don't begrudge the post decision analysis, as much as the... read the post »


Jan 9 2012

The Trouble with External Validation

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Within the last few weeks, early action applicants received their admission decisions and the last of the regular action candidates clicked "submit" as the January 1 deadline came and went. For some the wait is over, while for others it has just begun.

In the admissions office, we are particularly conscious of the magnitude of this selection process, given the limited availability relative to the significant demand, for the exceptional opportunities that await. Since our desire is to make the best possible admission decisions, we utilize a wide range of sources to help confirm and validate our impressions of each applicant.

While this external validation is an absolutely essential aspect of the college admissions process, it is somewhat problematic that it frequently seems to be part of a continuous feedback loop.

Allow me to explain.

In a selective, competitive, holistic, merit-based admissions process, the information and insight that applicants share about themselves is... read the post »

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