MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Ben Jones

Jul 30, 2007

New Server

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Hi folks,

As of this afternoon, is living on a new (and much faster) server. You'll probably notice better performance in page rendering right away; commenting is still slower than I'd like, but a forthcoming software patch should (hopefully) fix that.

I think the migration went fairly smoothly, but if you notice anything weird, let me know.

I'll be back with a real entry very soon! Hope your summers are going well.


Comments (Closed after 30 days to reduce spam)

Hello World

Posted by: Snively on July 30, 2007

it is faster, but it's really expensive. i hope you got a discount or something :D how come it's not hosted on one of the boxes at MIT?

Posted by: Sh1fty on July 30, 2007

yay for MIT!!!

Posted by: Dhaval on July 30, 2007

Great, we've jumped straight to trans-server trolling.

(Donut for the first person who gets the admittedly occluded reference.)

Posted by: Paul '11 on July 30, 2007


Posted by: babby on July 30, 2007


Posted by: Wings '11 on July 30, 2007

Hello, I was wondering if anyone could tell how long does it takes to get an answer from admissions at mit dot edu? Because now that the 2008 freshman application is available I sent an email with a few questions about stuff I asn't able to figure out from the website.

Posted by: Farhad on July 30, 2007

Hey Farhad-
In my experience, admissions at mit dot edu has been pretty prompt. I'd expect that they're very busy since the application was just released, but I'd guess that your question will be answered in the next few days. Just work on the other sections of your app first, and they'll reply before you know it.

Posted by: Adam '11 on July 30, 2007

checking comment submission speed....

Posted by: 0 on July 30, 2007

yup! It *is* faster now... smile

Posted by: Basant on July 30, 2007

Paul '11, "Great, we've jumped straight to trans-server trolling."

That'd be the xkcd comic that Keri featured earlier. Trans dimensional trolling FTW!

Posted by: Adam '11 on July 30, 2007

Indeed so, my friend! Well done. A thorough knowledge of xkcd is an important skill for success at MIT...yes, indeed...

Just friend me on Facebook or something so I know who you are...and on some happy, random day I - as promised - will show up at your dorm with a donut. :D

Posted by: Paul '11 on July 30, 2007


@Snively: EECS?

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on July 31, 2007

Also, to anyone who has application questions:

Feel free to post your questions as comments, if you're comfortable. There are a lot of people in this community who can and will help you, many of whom have already been through the application process, and many of whom are not nearly as busy as the admissions staff. We're here for YOU. =)

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on July 31, 2007

Hi Ben!!!!!!! remember me......yeah!!! for MIT

best of luck

Posted by: Utkarsh on July 31, 2007

Hey Ben,

I've been reading the MIT admissions blogs and have always find them to be enjoyable to read! They have also made the admissions process a lot clearer to me.

I have a few questions though: Does MIT ever plan to become a QuestBridge partner? QuestBridge asked the students applying for the College Prep scholarship to identify schools that they were interested in, so perhaps the organization could go out and make ties with these schools. I wrote down MIT, of course. It would be really, super-special-awesome if MIT ever decided to join QuestBridge (even if it didn't happen to be this year).

Posted by: Minnie on July 31, 2007


I'm actually pretty set on Course 2, but I enjoy EECS, I'd like to get much better at it. I just felt a good "Hello World" was appropriate for our new server!

Posted by: Snively on July 31, 2007

I'll second that, Hawk. Dang, I wish people had been this openly friendly when I was applying. smile

By the way, if you post a question, I'd really recommend filling out both the Name and Email fields on the comment form. Only the bloggers can actually see your email address, so it's a really good way for them to get in touch with you privately.

Posted by: Paul '11 on July 31, 2007

Oh yeah, I would have put my questions in here, but they are a few and I have to give some explanations about my situation, being an international student, etc... But yeah, it feels great to have a place like this (admissions blogs) where you can always find someone willing to help smile

Posted by: Farhad on July 31, 2007

Ben, Check your login page for new users to admissions. It's not loading.

Posted by: kThomson on August 1, 2007

Hey kThomson,

Are you talking about the MyMIT page? I can get all the pages to load, including the new users page. The problem may be on your end - perhaps your browser? I'm using Firefox, which has almost never let me down. smile

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 1, 2007

@ Sh1fty - that's a very long story. grin But in a nutshell, there are (understandably) a lot of rules when hosting anything on MIT's servers (related to centralized software, security, etc.), and not all of them play nicely with the ways I've built and customized the backend of So it has just been easier and more efficient for me to maintain my own server.

@ Farhad - it depends on the time of year, but as others have suggested, feel free to post here and others will likely be able to help you out with the answers.

@ Minnie - that's not my department, but I'll ask around and see if I can get you an answer!

@ kThomson - I tried emailing you but it bounced back. Thanks so much for letting me know - do you mean If so, are you still having trouble logging in?

Posted by: Ben on August 1, 2007

Ben, where did you learn programming/web design? I'm just wondering because you know a LOT about this web techie stuff considering you were an English major in college =) Kudos to you. *thumbs up*

Posted by: GK on August 1, 2007

Hey, thanks! To be honest, I learned almost everything through a combination of (a) reading a lot and (b) trial and error. I've always been a "content" guy (i.e. writing and design), but right after college I got interested in how the content gets processed, displayed, etc. - so I just started building (and breaking) sites and trying to learn something new every day. Generally speaking, higher education (be it my alma mater or MIT) is wonderful at teaching you how to be a life-long learner - which is important, considering everything we know about everything will be obsolete in 10 years. grin

Posted by: Ben on August 1, 2007

Hi guys, I was kinda wondering about one thing, whether or not I should include it in my "resume".

The recent four years I've spent some time with a professor in the mid 50s, and we came up with a quite wild idea; I can't describe the entire process in detail for you online, but it is about turning methane- rich waste (we used cows, since I've got about 50 of 'em wandering just outside the lab) into usable rocket fuel. We launched a liquid fueled rocket last year and proved that it can be done, although we still need to refine our methods. Should this work-in-progress also be included?

Posted by: Beano on August 1, 2007

HAHA, Beano, what a wild idea!

Posted by: Rick on August 1, 2007


Sounds like a good "Tell us about something you've built" essay to me!

Posted by: Snively on August 1, 2007

Hello again.
I was (believe it or not) thinking... I'm porobably going to send all the components of my application that can't be submited online in a single package. What I want to do is to send it using FedEx or any other service of that kind because it's more eficient and reliable than average international postal service.

Posted by: Farhad on August 1, 2007

I'm a bit worried that my "something I've built" essay might sound like I'm bragging, which is quite possible because I'm passionate about most of my projects and once I start talking about them I get all excited :D
btw is there any way to send some electronics schematics or sketches to someone at MIT so that they can tell me if it's any good or not as they do with art? not for the application, just so that I know if it's a new idea or someone already did it... I wouldn't get them swamped with sketches and crazy ideas or anything, I'd just ask them to take a look at a project or two...

Posted by: Sh1fty on August 1, 2007

The "Something I've Built" essay was my favorite part of the application! There's no need to worry about it! Tell a good story, everybody likes a good story!


Posted by: snively on August 1, 2007

Sh1fty, I felt the same way when I was applying! The basic thing to keep in mind is to write confidently and passionately about what you've done, without being arrogant. College apps are a great opportunity to brag a little bit. smile

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 1, 2007

What is the earliest that we can schedule interviews for EA? Can it be done before school starts, or is there like a start date written somewhere that I totally missed?

Posted by: Becca on August 1, 2007

Gah, I love admissions questions. It's a good feeling, knowing that all the knowledge and tricks you pick up while applying aren't wasted!


There's no official start date. I had my interview late September and was the first one for my interviewer. The earlier the better, that way you don't have to worry about it later when you're trying to keep track of 8,000 different pieces of paper, envelopes, stamps, and signatures.

Posted by: snively on August 1, 2007

Thanks snively. That feeling is starting already. I am trying to get most of the essays and application stuff done before school starts and the homework piles on, but a lot of schools don't even have their applications out yet! Crazy people. I guess I will email my EC and see what she says.

Posted by: 0 on August 1, 2007

hahaha i contacted my EC about interviewing about a week before the "last day to have an interview day" because i totally forgot. i was so luck to have been able to have an interview!

i believe the essay was "something you created" not necessarily something you built. i talked about the community service club i created at my school as an offshoot of a leadership camp i went to over the summer. since i just started it this year, it was really hard to get underclassmen involvement, and i'm really worried that it won't survive without me, as i am currently searching for a teacher to be the club advisor, and the person who's going to be in charge next year is in france.

Posted by: jenn on August 1, 2007


As Snively so swiftly pointed out, there is not an official start date for "interview season". Your EC should be able to tell you what his/her schedule is like and when they will available for an interview. You should come prepared - you already know what your passions are, but you may want to have a list of what to discuss with them in case you think you might leave something out. Also, have questions for your interviewer about MIT; they like that, or at least mine did. =)

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on August 1, 2007

Out of curiosity, did those of you who submitted research abstracts last year submit them under the "something created" or the "additional material?" I really want to save the additional material for a boggle scorecard (odd, I know, but the words I won on are ironically totally me) and maybe a resume.

Just curious.

Posted by: Shannon on August 1, 2007

But does "Remember Me?" work now?

That is the question.

Posted by: Hank R. on August 2, 2007

Can I ask you about the Early Actions? I know that it is not open for international students but I really don't understand why.

Posted by: Ronny CHEN on August 2, 2007

@ Shannon: I would definitely include that Boggle scorecard! It sounds crazy, but somehow I think it might just fit. smile

Regarding your other question - I talked about my research in #14 ("additional information") because I had already filled up #13 ("something you've created") talking about a political club I founded at my school. If you don't have anything else you want to talk about for #13, I'd go ahead and mention your research there because that's the most specific.

But whichever question you choose, don't just submit your abstract! Use #13 or #14 to summarize what you did in a clear and concise way. You might want to mention where you worked, for how long, and with whom. You don't have to be very wordy; my response was a little less than half a page. Remember, MIT isn't going to judge you on the "quality" of your research - showing excitement and dedication is much more important.

As for what to actually do with your abstract - I submitted mine separately from my application, along with a letter of recommendation from my mentor.

Oh, and as for resumes - they certainly can help, but remember there's a reason the application has space for only 5 activities! smile Matt talks more about resumes and other supplements in <a>this really helpful article</a>.

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 2, 2007

Thanks, Paul! I'll guess it will depend if I'm writing about anything else in 13, then. I'm definitely including the Boggle thing either way.

The thing with the resume isn't so much the number of activities- I totally understand and agree with the stance on that it. It's more that there are just a few that I don't have enough room to fully describe and a few of my academic honors need explanation, too.

Posted by: Shannon on August 2, 2007

Uh hi. I live in Africa (Benin, in west Africa) and I am going to apply for MIT soon. I took a SAT practice test and got 570 in maths and 480 in critical reading. I know it's about having the MIT culture, which I think I have more millions of reasons, this is not the place to post them. But do I have a chance with results like mine ?

Posted by: Isshak on August 2, 2007

Ah, I see about the resume - sounds like you'll be just fine then. smile

By the way, I don't know why the link in my other post isn't working...but here it is again anyway.

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 2, 2007

Hey Isshak,

Having the MIT culture - "the match," it's sometimes called - is absolutely important! I think it's great that you understand that.

As for SAT scores, MIT doesn't have any minimum SAT scores you need to be considered for admission. However, MIT is still a very difficult school with a heavy focus on science and engineering, and SAT scores are a convenient way of whether or not you can handle the workload at MIT. But they are still just one measure. The scores you mentioned are somewhat low; but if you're committed to applying to MIT, you shouldn't let anything prevent you from doing that.

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 2, 2007

Oh you think they are low ? I have got 1700 in total. I'm used to a huge amount of workload, being in the french system (and they never let you rest from 11th grade). But I guess I better have better ones by fall...
Well thanks for your advices ! It's really nice of you to answer clearly, but now I realize I have little chances of getting in my "dream/first choice" college..

Posted by: Isshak on August 2, 2007

Oh, great entry by Matt and thanks to you, Paul, for the link!
I'll surely be sending samples of my music, because writing music is one of the things I enjoy the most!
Say I wrote a Suite... Can I talk about it in the something you created part of the app? It is just I'm very proud of it and it is one of the varied activities that I do and there's so much to tell about the ptoject... Yeah, I know it sound I should be applying to Berklee or some other music college and not to a science and technology school raspberry

Posted by: Farhad on August 2, 2007

wow, paul, you should become an admissions officer wink

Posted by: jenn'11 on August 2, 2007

@ Isshak: I'm not trying to discourage you, and I certainly hope I didn't scare you away from applying! I'm just a student, after all, not an admissions officer. Best of luck in everything you attempt this coming year!

@ Farhad: No problem. And yes, you can definitely talk about your compositions for that question! Engineers love music too...

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 2, 2007

@ Jenn: Haha, thanks, I think! It's really just a symptom of having too much time on my hands...but hopefully that'll change next year. smile

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 2, 2007

Paul, are you applying to be a blogger?

Posted by: Farhad on August 2, 2007

AH! Don't remind me about blogging applications! Time goes so much faster when there's no anticipation for results. Think of MIT blogging applications as "The Game" (shoot, just lost the game)

Posted by: Snively on August 2, 2007

Snively! now I lost the game too because of you! :D now I'll have to avoid reading these comments because of it and I'll still lose the game every time I see this post on the front page! you're one cruel player :D oh, noone did answer my question. is there a place where we can send sketches/schematics of our electronics work for evaluation?

Posted by: Sh1fty on August 2, 2007

In Part 2: Essays, Activities, and Tests Form;
does reading count as an activity

Posted by: Kakas on August 2, 2007

To be honnest...yes Paul '11 you scared me, but not you especially (why would you) but the average scores ARE a lot higher than mine, and in the stats page, even if scores "don't count", there are very very few people admitted with scores like mine.
And being an international student...
But should I talk about some creations I made ? Because in my school I made about 3 internet websites and made 2 school videos (editing and all) for projects other then mine. Should I talk about them in the application ?
And I was hopping of applying for early action. Since I live far away, by when should I send my scores ? Thanks a lot !

Posted by: Isshak on August 2, 2007

Well, a few doesn't mean none, does it? smile
Also, scores in the SATs are not the only thing admissions people look at when makeing a decission. Other things like passion also count and having an interview is very helpful.
I'm also an International Apllicant and don't know exactly why, but I feel pretty confident about my chances of being accepted, heh.
Oh, and I googled my EC, I haven't contacted him yet but yeah, and he seems to be someone important over here, so hey! Good things are happening from all of this, so I could not be more enthusiastic.

Posted by: Farhad on August 2, 2007

If anyone from the admissions office is still reading the comments in this entry... I see there's going to be a n information meeting with MIT people here in Mexico City too... Anyone can attend those meetings? who should I contact to get further information?? Oh, I'm excited smile

Posted by: Farhad on August 2, 2007

all this blog has been great!!!
I am visiting TOMORROW!!!! the 10 AM tour.
I can't wait too see MIT after reading all these interesting blogs.
However, the 3 hour time difference from California is still a bit weird XP

Posted by: 0 on August 2, 2007

i lost (or apple lobster )!
anyone also play with the "Moo!" rule?

Posted by: 0 on August 2, 2007

Are there any like hands-on courses, such as design for courses 1 or 2 in freshman and sophomore year? I saw that there was a product design class, but there seems to be a lot of prereqs. Anyone know?

Posted by: Becca on August 2, 2007

@ Farhad: Sad to say, I have indeed by seduced by the idea of being one MIT's (in)famous admissions bloggers. Guess we'll just have to see what happens?

@ Isshak: Like Farhad said, a few definitely isn't none! However, make sure you take the right SAT II's as well as the regular SAT. Not having any SAT II's is very, very bad. (SAT II = SAT Subject Tests.) You can read more here.

As for talking about your creations, by all means go for it! Unfortunately, international applicants can't actually apply "early action." But that doesn't stop you from submitting your (completed) application as soon as you feel ready. smile

@ Becca: There's loads of "hands-on" work to be had at MIT! Apart from classes, UROPs can be a great opportunity to build crazy stuff. To give just one example, I actually got to meet this guy when I was on campus for CPW. I didn't even know he was famous then! There are also many freshman-only seminars that focus solely on getting down and dirty building stuff.

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 3, 2007

Sh1fty, remember you have that 30min period after someone has lost the game before you can lose the game - it gives you time to forget =)

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 3, 2007

Oh we can't apply early action ? I didn't know that.
Do not worry I am planning to go to France to take the SAT subject (I'm thinking about maths level 2 and physics) because it's not available in my country. And is there a way to have an interview in the period of time I will be in Paris ? How can I do that ?
Thanks again for your information !

Posted by: Isshak on August 3, 2007

I lost.

Thanks for the server upgrade! smile

Posted by: oasis '11 on August 3, 2007

@ Isshak: That sounds great, I figured you'd be on top of things. smile I wish I could go to Paris!

Having your interview in Paris is an interesting idea. Email [email protected] explaining your situation and see what they can do for you.

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 3, 2007

Ok I will (I just sent it). Thanks again ! I hope I'll get in MIT, I have a feeling it's the only college for me, I feel good when I imagine myself there, I can't explain it (and no I'm not weird, but I really think I'm a "MIT student". Well, I'm off studying for SAT.

Posted by: Isshak on August 3, 2007

Er, don't mean to be rude or anything, but did you give me the right adress ? I received a notification telling me that it wasn't sent like the email is not right.

Posted by: Isshak on August 3, 2007

It looks like they have some pretty cool options for the seminars. How do those work? Like how many people are in them, how do you sign up, how many can you take type of thing? Thanks!

Posted by: Becca on August 3, 2007

I think the right adress is [email protected] Try it.

Posted by: Farhad on August 3, 2007

Ok thanks a lot ! I'm waiting for an answer now. Thanks a lot you guys for your support.

Posted by: Isshak on August 3, 2007

@Isshak - You have to be prepared both ways, though. There's no harm in applying to MIT, and certainly your SATs won't keep you out if your application is amazing otherwise. Plenty of amazing students, though, do get rejected every year - MIT just doesn't have the room! I definitely understand falling in love with MIT, but keep an open mind to other schools. It's not only about where you go - it's also what you do with it!

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 3, 2007

Ahh I'm dumb sometimes...sorry about the typo, it works correctly if you click it though. Thanks for catching that Farhad.

Isshak, I'm glad I was able to help you a little, it was no problem! I hope everything works out the best way possible! smile

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 3, 2007

Yeah, Wings'11 you choose the right words, "falling in love with MIT", but it's more like "finding a perfect home in MIT".
Well, I'm off to some more SAT practice.

Posted by: Isshak on August 3, 2007

Oh, I forgot to say in my last post something :
those who are in MIT, I hope you know what you're in touch with, all the ressources, the informations, the technologies. My school doesn't even have a proper library, and the network is dead because of huge lack of protection (viruses everywhere you can't even dream about plugging you usb key in it). So I hope students there get the maximum out of them, because always remind yourself, there are schools where you can't count on the library to find information, but by your own means.

Posted by: Isshak on August 3, 2007

Hey Isshak nice going, if you need help with prepping for the SAT you should consider ordering a review book, for instance Kaplan or Barron.


Posted by: TC on August 3, 2007

I know exactly what you're talking about, Isshak... In my school we don't have many resources either... But that makes it more exciting, looking for those options somewhere else I mean!
Just a point of view.

Posted by: Farhad on August 3, 2007

I know ! I share the same point of view ! Just thinking about the ressources available here (and my favourite, nanotechnology research!!!!!) makes me shiver.
Thanks TC I'll try to order one, but for the moment, I found websites that offr entire SAT tests so I'm doing them for the moment. But thanks a lot!

Posted by: Isshak on August 3, 2007

Ben, when wil bloggers find out the rseults?

Posted by: 0 on August 3, 2007

This server change has helped me with my Internet problems smile
There are some sites that always display the same error message when I try to visit them. Now the Admissions server has changed I encounter the same problem.
Is there any way you could put me in contact with someone who knows the details of the new server. I know this is a little weird but it's the only lead I have on this issue.

Thanks, Angus

Posted by: Angus on August 3, 2007

Thanks anonymous, just lost the game again

Posted by: Snively on August 3, 2007

Now I lost the game too! my school is amazing so I don't have trouble with finding information smile there are teachers(over 20 different fields of electronics/computing/robotics) and a few system and network admins so it's not hard to find someone to learn from smile still, most of my friends don't even realize how great our school is...

Posted by: Sh1fty on August 3, 2007

Can someone give me the example of an international student or more then one with 570 sat math, 500 sat critical reading, and average score for SAT level 2 and got in MIT ? If yes, then MIT isn't about the numbers. If no, then it's just a fake image.

Posted by: Julien on August 3, 2007

Well, It surely isn't about the numbers, it is about passion, intereset, being able to do the hard work and many other things that the different components of the application show. So even if you had 800 on each of your SATs, there many other things that also count.
I think 800 is the top score anyone can get... Not sure.

Posted by: Farhad on August 3, 2007

*there are many other...
Woah! I've never posted that much on a blog entry before... I feel the dark forces pulling me!

Posted by: Farhad on August 3, 2007

You see your not even answering, because the truth is you must have high scores to get in, and I know I have no chance of getting in, just like this Isshak doesnt have ANY chance at all of getting in, international student with low SAT scores, ha!

Posted by: Julien on August 3, 2007

If you're so sure you won't get in, then what's the point in asking those questions?
And about that last thing we'll see.

Posted by: Farhad on August 3, 2007

Again, if Ben or anyone from admissions is still reading the comments... I already have a MyMIT acount, but I have not submited the App 1 form because of one doubt... There's a field that says 'Last Name' Of course I know what does it means but, here in our passports, our official names have two last names, the father's one and the mother's one... So, should I put them both in that 'Las Name' field?

Posted by: Farhad on August 3, 2007


You need high scores to get into MIT, period. It's one of the top schools in the country, scores matter.

When people say that scores aren't everything, they mean that people with 800's (perfect scores) won't always beat people with 700's. Your score needs to be high, but once it is, there are a ton of other factors that matter.

Posted by: Snively on August 3, 2007

@Julien -

If you look at the MIT statistics for admission, there are indeed people with 500s. MIT is a top school that can only accept people capable of handling its courseload. This proof can come in a variety of forms - one of which is SAT scores. If someone has low SAT's, he/she must show through other means a capabiliy to handle the courseload.

International admission is extremely competitive (there are only about 100 slots alloted), with plenty of students who have high scores matched with high passion.

I think the basis for your "challenge" is just wrong.

Posted by: WIngs '11 on August 3, 2007

Thanks for posting the fall recruitment travel schedule.

I look forward to the information session in our town. I'm not sure if DW or I will go with our son; I'd hate to miss it myself (MIT information sessions are FUN), but I'd also hate for her to miss it.

P.S. Yes, admission at MIT and at most "peer" colleges is not strictly by the numbers, because applicants are not put into a strict rank order by the numbers. As another reply has said, sometimes a student with 700s is admitted while a student with 800s is not. Multifactorial admissions looks weird to persons from lots of other countries, but that is the way things are done in the United States. Strong problem-solving ability in the testing room is a proxy for other forms of problem-solving ability, and it IS true that MIT students have to come in the door with a capacity to develop strong problem-solving skills, because the education at MIT is all about problem-solving.

Posted by: tokenadult on August 3, 2007

Clearly, SAT scores matter. If they didn't matter, MIT wouldn't use them. And yes, the ideal applicant to MIT is going to have fairly high scores.

But I still believe that scores are not everything. They are important, as are academic success and strong extracurriculars. But the Admissions Department has publicly stated that they have no cutoff scores, and I choose to take them at their word.

I'm not dumb, and I'm not trying to give anyone false hope. I can read the admissions statistics just like any of you can, I can see that higher scores are correlated with higher admit rates. I know that it is damn hard for an international student to obtain admission to MIT, no matter what their scores are, and I try to be as honest as I can about that.

You can call me naive, an idealist, whatever. But I am not going to flat-out tell someone who doesn't even have their final SAT scores yet that they shouldn't even bother pursuing their dream.

Make back-up plans, yes. Apply to other schools, yes. Prepare to deal with the possibility of rejection, yes.

But abandon a dream? Never.

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 4, 2007

Yay for Paul!

Posted by: Farhad on August 4, 2007

You guys just give fals hope. Even if Isshak score are not high, and even if they do get higher let's say 50 points, they are still low. He has no chance of getting in. NO CHANCE. Even with extarcurriculars activities involving "helping people" like you say a million times on your website, even if he has "passion" for something, u wont let him in, because of his SAT score. So stop pretending.

Posted by: Julien on August 4, 2007

Julien, I know I have the lowest chance possible for an international student applying, but at least I won't say to myself all my life : what if I had tried?", even though I already know the answer to that. Anyway!
I worked in an american NGO and we made 4 magazines about safe sex and I used Adobe In Design to make them. Should I send them the pdf files of the magazines to show MIT what I made ?

Posted by: Isshak on August 4, 2007

Ben and Paul,

Yes this page But I was at work that day when trying to register as a new user. I'm at home now and it works fine so it could have been our server at work. I didnt' have time to mess around with it that day.

Thanks for trying to drop me an email but I forgot I had to switch the prefix so the address I gave you before was wrong. Should work this time if you need to contact me again.

I will sign up today and take a look around. I'm looking forward to learning more about MIT and hope to visit in the future.


Posted by: kThomson on August 4, 2007

@ Isshak: Sending that in is probably not necessary. MIT doesn't need to see everything you've done, just finding the right place on the application to talk about it can be enough. smile

@ Julien: As I said before, I've never pretended anything or tried to give anyone false hope. Hopefully, one day you'll realize that MIT actually has one of the most transparent, honest admissions departments around. That's really all I have to say about the matter.

@ Kevin: Glad to hear it's working now. Good luck and I hope you can visit soon! smile

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 4, 2007

Okay I will find a place for it on the application. Thanks!

Posted by: Isshak on August 4, 2007

I won't say anything anymore, but you will see when he will receive an email saying he wasn't accepted. They won't even spend time on his app, they'll just see his scores and forget about him. And you know why Ben and Matt aren't answering ? Because they work there and know it's true.

Posted by: Julien on August 4, 2007

Well, I'm glad Isshak has the right perspective on this. Julien, I don't quite understand what it is you're trying to accomplish here.

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 4, 2007

Nothing more then trying not to make another student cry. I know how it feels to be rejected by the college you dream about and only see yourself there, and going to another one, maybe as good, but not having the feeling you wanted to have.

Posted by: Julien on August 4, 2007

"And you know why Ben and Matt aren't answering? Because they work there and know it's true."

Actually it's because we're both on vacation and, contrary to public opinion, don't spend *every* second hanging out on this site. grin

I'll respond to the thread soon.

Posted by: Ben on August 4, 2007

Wow Ben himself ! Just so you know, I've been following this (and I'm supporting Isshak of course) so start with the post starting with this to understand all of that : "Uh hi. I live in Africa (Benin, in west Africa) and I am going to apply for MIT soon." (do a research on ur webpage with ur browser, I use firefow and its great!).

Posted by: Laurie on August 4, 2007

@ Julien: I don't think it's fair to discredit someone's goal by just saying that you have "no chance" through SAT and stats. It's one thing to get into college, but it's another thing to have the vision of seeing oneself succeed. If you approach this whole application process (or, even, your life) with a mindset of "I have no chance at all," you WILL have no chance. Life is full of surprises - and if you refuse to step outside your door from the beginning, there's no way you're going to see what lies beyond that next mountain, that next bend in the path. One of the most beautiful things in life is overcoming one's shortcomings and achieving what others deem impossible. I don't necessarily know about you, but I've seen this played out too often in my life.

"Hopefully, one day you'll realize that MIT actually has one of the most transparent, honest admissions departments around."

I can't stress how much this is true, both online and to underclassmen applying in a couple of months. Out of the 15 college admission staffs I've encountered earlier this year, MIT really makes a commitment on its students during the application process that is not emulated by the other schools. There is such a "personal" feel, both through the communication and the ECs. At other schools, I get generic letters of acceptance - at MIT, I get an enthusiastic welcome. Moreover, this entire site is a testament to their commitment on transparency.

Posted by: oasis '11 on August 5, 2007


MIT has been nothing but upfront about its admissions. It's tough to get into, and no one should kid oneself into thinking that he/she will be accepted for sure.

When I applied, I have no research, many of my SAT/SAT II's are in the 600s, I had one AP in science, etc. I knew my chances were slim from the start. You probably would've told me not to apply.

If I didn't, where would that leave me? Why give up hope before there's reason to? If you try, at least you know. And you know what? By some miracle, I got in.

It sounds like your reasoning has changed. You can't prove MIT's dishonesty, so you're.. trying to keep someone from crying? Yes, disappointment isn't fun, but if you're never going to take a chance at failure, then you'll never take a chance at succeding.

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 5, 2007

You know what Julien ? I actually found someone while browsing on this website. A nigerian girl who had less then 1500 SAT score, with no or very few extra curriculars and got in (I'll try to remember where I read it and give you the link, it was on an article about a girl who applied to get back at her boyfriend or something, oh man MIT is so cool...). So if she got in with thoses results, I have the same chance of getting in as someone who has 5000 SAT, speaks 58 languages and has been president (president = lots of things to do = pmenty of extracurriculars).

Posted by: Isshak on August 5, 2007

I really dun beliv MIT cn tak in sum1 lik dat...
.. less dan 1500 is so damn less..

ps; On dat note.. MIT is seriusly kool...!!!!

Posted by: Rashi on August 5, 2007

This is the post, I just copied it from this article :

Hey Mollie, I can totally relate to wat ur of the class of '09.yeah, just got in. n to be honest if anyone had told my a couple of years ago that i'd go to mit i wuld never have believed. first of all im cumin all the way from Nigeria,i also dint exactly get perfect scores on my SATs (1480),was into just abit of extra curricular stuff,(by luck) and of course Nigerian kids are not exactly blessed with the type of exposure n experience our American counterparts are endowed with. Im cumin from a country where the concept of a teenager working is frowned upon as child labour and the average teenager's knowledge of computer applications is limited to surfing the web and chattin with frends.a lot of people actually told me not to allpy to their words there were much better things to do with my $70, well im glad i didnt listen to them cuz then i would not be lappin up being treated like a demi-goddess or reveling in the glory of being the only Nigerian gurl admited.Basically I think it was just divine isnt juat about gettin the perfect score( people actually told me to take the SAT again cuz i did it only once) or being top of ur clas, gues its also counts to be able to add a bit of ,spice to the school, plus, a lil luck on the side never hurt anyone

Posted by: Alexis Odusanya on July 24, 2005 01:02 PM

So you see Julien, it is possible ! (and this girl just gave me hope !).

Posted by: Isshak on August 5, 2007

testing speed.

Posted by: solomon on August 5, 2007

speed is okay

Posted by: solomon on August 5, 2007

i can think of only one reason to tell people not to apply. mit admits only about 100 internationals, so maybe he's trying to get rid of competition :D you should definitely apply, because nothing is impossible, at least at MIT smile and if you think your SAT scores are too low you can study a bit, retake them and get better scores. even if you don't get in and you're really in love with this place(as i am) you can apply for transfer or postpone college and apply next year. what ever you decide to do you should know that you're not alone and if you need some moral support come here or to wink i think that this stuff is much easier if you know that you're not alone.

Posted by: Sh1fty on August 5, 2007

Thanks a lot Sh1fty, it's really cool of you. And yes, I think I'm in love with it, but also because I would want to study nanotechnology (and I love MIT). I will check the website out. Thanks again ! (I am studying like mad).

Posted by: Isshak on August 5, 2007

Oh lord.

The numbers thing again?! Yes, darlings, go crazy your senior year and sign up for a gazillion AP/IB classes, join the towel-washing club, save a third-world country from starvation and destroy matter! No way MIT is going to say no to you!

Just relax, focus on working hard and having fun, not finding ways to score higher on X or Y test. You'll find it a lot better in the end, because if you don't end up where you originally wanted to be, at least you can laugh at all the people who wasted loads of time reviewing for tests that don't really matter. (Now, that's not to say that you shouldn't study for them, just don't get sucked into it.)

Enjoy the whole admissions process!! (glad I got mine done with!) bwahahaha

Posted by: Milena '11 on August 5, 2007

By "done with" you mean accepted ? If yes, I'm happy for you ! You wll be going to the best college ever.

Posted by: Isshak on August 5, 2007

@Milena - Yeah, it's numbers again, though this time someone's been telling someone else NOT to apply because of his numbers, and the rest of us are telling him to apply because MIT is too cool to be number-centered =)

@General Population - The thing about MIT is that they don't care what you've done. They care what you've done with what you have. Some opportunities are there for some and not for others - it's all about how you took advantage of them! Think about it - MIT has TONS of opportunities. Admissions wants to know that you'll use them to the fullest!

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 5, 2007

Oops, I think I forgot to put my email/blog on the last one. Anywho, Isshak, yes, Milena's accepted. People who write '11 after their names are part of the MIT class of 2011 (well, I guess people can lie, but that's generally true).

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 5, 2007

Mm, I love the smell of spam posts in the morning.

@ Wings: Very well said! I didn't go to a school that had a million APs or a huge robotics team or anything like that - but I always pushed myself to do my best academically, and apparently that was enough. :D

One last observation: it's not just about the opportunities that you's also about the opportunities you make for yourself.

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 5, 2007

Um I don't know what to say, I think I've been to the limits of my school, even crossed them.
But the story of the nigerian girl gives me hope.
Is there a way to see the list of admitted student countries ? Because I wanted to check if anyone in my country had ever made it in, or ever applied. Thanks! (by the way, off topic, the "remember me" doesn't work with me)

Posted by: Isshak on August 5, 2007

Maybe this site could help, I don't know, it's the only one I know with info related to that.
Yeah, the 'Remember Me' doesn't work for me either.

Posted by: Farhad on August 5, 2007

@aacreditjag - Three?! I'd be careful. It's easy to run up credit cards now and be paying high interest for the rest of your life. I have one (at $700 a month) for emergencies - otherwise I won't pay what I don't already have.

@Paul - I definitely agree. Point is, you gotta do SOMETHING. It's not handed to you, right?

@Isshak - Yeah, the 'Remember Me' hasn't worked in forever. It's all good =) Farhad got the list - but don't get too worked up over it. There's hope. Don't obsess about numbers - just try to improve, do your best, and try not to worry.

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 5, 2007

did you just reply to a spammer? :D Ben, you can easily filter this one. his name is 2 random letters + "credit" + 3 random letters wink

Posted by: Sh1fty on August 5, 2007

Melissa, just though you'd like to that I think I wet myself laughing, reading your first response (to aacreditjag).

Posted by: ShawnOfAwesome '11 on August 6, 2007

I live to amuse wink

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 6, 2007

Hey '.Farhad.'
Send me a mail.I can help you
[email protected]

Posted by: John on August 6, 2007

Hello Ben,

Thanks for keeping up the blogs. I've been reading them for a couple of years now,
and they have been a tremendous help. Now that the time has finally come for my son
to apply to MIT, I have a difficult question to ask.

My son is severely disabled. I don't see anywhere on the application to declare a disability,
so I guess this would come under 'additional information', but he may not want to bring it up.

If he were blind or paralyzed, I wouldn't be too concerned about his applying to MIT.
I trust MIT to accommodate physical disabilities, probably with a dazzling array of gadgets
to ease the way for the physically disabled.

But my son is not physically disabled. He is autistic.
He has top grades and top scores, is passionate about his studies
and his extracurricular activities, and wants to change the world.
He's an interesting person with a completely different way of thinking.

But a good roommate? A good friend? Well, maybe not.
Leadership? Teamwork? Community involvement? Not so shiny.

You see my problem. MIT is his first choice, and nothing on earth
will dissuade him from applying, but I have to ask this question.
In a class of over a thousand students, is there really no room for a single amazing loner?

Posted by: Mum in England on August 6, 2007

can someone tell me what's the quiz bowl scenario in mit? does it have an awesome quizclub too?

Posted by: ronald on August 6, 2007

@ Mum in England

I'm not Ben, nor am I part of the admissions department in any way- I am but a lowly freshman smile But I felt compelled to put in my two cents in this case. I would encourage your son to really show, as much as he can, that different way of thinking- in both his essays and in the rest of the application. There are several well known people who have done great things, and who also happen to be autistic. Temple Grandin is one that immediately comes to mind. Einstein is another (though the exact nature of his disability is unknown, and greatly debated). Because, as has been stated before on this very thread, you never know if you don't try. I know firsthand just how different and amazing people with autism can be- my younger brother is autistic. Like I said, I'm not affiliated with admissions, so I have no real answers for you, except to try.

Posted by: Jessica '11 on August 6, 2007

@Any Prospective Student

I know that when I was applying or looking into MIT, I was looking for any scrap of material to read to get to know the little details about the school. Now that I'll be experiencing all those little details, I want to share them with prospective students.

I've created a comprehensive blog covering every aspect of CPW 2007 (Campus Preview Weekend) that I think you'll find interesting, if not downright funny. Please read it if you want a taste of the types of things MIT will do for you if you get accepted, it's a great look into what your future holds (aack, sorry, I choked on that cliche).

Posted by: Snively on August 6, 2007

Message to a blogger, any blogger (not someone posting like Wings or Paul, a real blogger, like Ben, or Mollie, or Matt) : how does recommendation letters influence your application, bearing in mind low scores ? Thank you.

Posted by: Kate on August 6, 2007

Remember folks, numbers don't lie... If you check out the admissions page, a lot more of 'em qualed-guys (or so them SAT people think) get accepted 'cause of 'em high scores.

So I'd recommend anyone who wants to improve their odds of getting in to read and get a score in or above 650.


Posted by: Kinda cool on August 6, 2007

to the mum:

I am another lowly freshman. My one thought is that the recommendations that MIT requests should be able to portray a picture of who your son really is and might, in this case, be one of the most important parts of the application. I am sure that his teachers will be able to give MIT admissions a good idea of whether or not he would fit into the MIT community.

good luck to your son and to you!

Posted by: Kari '11 on August 6, 2007

(in order...)

@ Beano:
Sure, just make sure to describe your involvement in the project - which parts did you really contribute to (as opposed to just assisting the professor)? Question 14 is a good spot.

@ Sh1fty:
RE electronics schematics or sketches - you can send them to our office via postal mail, but there's no guarantee that faculty will evaluate that sort of thing, so it's best if you explain them a bit for your readers. Even better, have one of your teachers talk about them in an eval.

@ Becca:
Whenever you'd like! No start date for interviews, although some EC's may be on vacation during the summer.

@ Ronny CHEN
EA is not open to int'l applicants because the competition is so great (4% admit rate last year, I believe) that we like to look at everyone at the same time.

@ Isshak
The bad news: realistically, you will want to get your math score up in order to really be competitive. We certainly don't expect perfect scores, but a 570 is low enough that it would make the committee worry that you'd run into trouble here academically. The good news: from everything else you've written here, you seem to have a wonderful attitude about life and learning, and from that, I believe wholeheartedly that you're fully capable of getting that math score up if you put your mind to it. Good luck!

Also, the 1480 you reference was likely on the old SAT (out of 1600, not 2400).

@ Julien
I believe that your heart is in the right place - that you're motivated by wanting to help someone avoid serious disappointment. My advice, however, is to look for the positive in life instead of focusing on the negative. At this stage, a 570 math score means that someone needs to aim higher on his SAT's, not lower in his college search.

@ Kakas
Reading absolutely counts as an activity. Get into some specifics if possible. What is unique about your relationship to reading?

@ Farhad
Yes, my colleague Marisa Zepeda is presenting in Mexico City. Anyone may attend. More info here.

@ Anonymous
Blogging decisions will be made in early September.

@ Farhad
RE last name question: you should use whichever name you put in the "last name" field on your test scores, so they are matched properly to your file when they come in.

@ Mum in England
This is a great question - let me give it proper thought and get back to you very soon.

@ Kate
Recommendation letters are *always* important, regardless of scores.

Posted by: Ben on August 6, 2007

Uh nice of you Anonymous but who are you ?

Posted by: Kate on August 6, 2007

Thanks Anonymous, I'm already working and I won't stop untill the exam day! Thanks for your advices!

Posted by: Isshak on August 6, 2007

Oooops, that was me. Sorry about that. Fixed!

Posted by: Ben on August 6, 2007

No way Ben ? Really Ben ? How are your kids ? And your summer ? How your having fun.

Posted by: Kate on August 6, 2007

Oh thanks then Ben. You're really encouraging me I appreciate it.

Posted by: Isshak on August 6, 2007

tnx for the reply, but I was thinking more like sending it to someone who might tell me if it's any good and suggest how to improve it. I'll ask my digital electronics teacher to write something if it's really necessary, but I intended to write about it myself in that "something you've created" essay smile

Posted by: Sh1fty on August 6, 2007

@ Jessica '11:
Thank you for your very thoughtful and inspiring reply.
I met Temple Grandin ten years ago, when my son was in primary
school, and she encouraged me to help him achieve his potential.
(Like Einstein, he was judged by his primary school teachers
to be of below average intelligence.)

One of the reasons he wants to attend MIT is because he knows that
he will meet people like you there, who will appreciate his special abilities.
Your brother is very, very lucky to have you for a sister!

@ Kari '11:
Thank you for your helpful suggestion about teacher recommendations.
One teacher wrote a recommendation when my son applied to a summer program
earlier this year in which he described how my son doesn't 'get' body language or
facial expressions, but compensates by using his intelligence to analyze social situations.

At the time, I was disappointed that the teacher put so much emphasis on his autism
rather than on academics in his recommendation, but realistically I understand that
schools will be interested in this information. (And he did get into the summer program,
so I guess it didn't hurt his chances as much as I feared!)

@ Ben:
Thanks for taking the time to think about this. I know there is no easy answer.

As a long-time lurker, I'd like to say how much I appreciate the patience
and care with which you and Matt try to respond to the flood of questions
that are posted to these blogs. I have learned a huge amount from reading them.

Posted by: Mum in England on August 6, 2007

Hi there, it's me, Mr. Questions again...
To contact a coach to become part of the sport activities, do I have to do it when I'm told If MIT admitted me? Or can I contact a coach and that stuf during the application process... say as soon as I sumbit App 1?

Posted by: Farhad on August 7, 2007

Yum, spam. I was getting pretty hungry. Time for the good ol' spreadable ham smile

@Jessica '11
For the record, I believe Hawking said that the thing about Einstein being autistic is just a myth, although I may be mistaken (I seem to recall reading that in The Universe in a Nutshell, but maybe not? Anyway, I definitely know what you're talking about. One of the kids I tutor is autistic, and he's quite possibly the smartest person I have ever tutored.

Posted by: TheShawn '11 on August 7, 2007

Haha, Shawn, I love how you call yourself a different thing every time you post. I liked "ShawntheAwesome" =)

Thanks for the update, Ben! AHHH blogging decisions in early September! I have yet to submit my application, though I am almost done.

Snively, nice blogspot! How long did that take you to put together?

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 7, 2007


I had all of it that you can see except for two posts that I added yesterday completed and on the internet about 2 weeks after CPW. After that school kinda got in the way, but I really want to finish it this week. All in all, about three weeks of work. . .

Posted by: Snively on August 7, 2007

Hi guys I just figured this out could you try it and check if it works for you?


Posted by: Einstein on August 7, 2007

can anyone answer my quizbowl question???

Posted by: Ronald on August 7, 2007

E=2mc?? did u differentiate E wrt c keeping mass constant??is that possible practically??i don't think so and what wud dE/dc mean?

Posted by: carlos on August 7, 2007

@ Carlos: Remember that the speed of light squared is a constant, not a variable, so you can't differentiate by it anyway. :D

@ Ronald: I don't have much detailed knowledge of Quiz Bowl at MIT, but it definitely exists and I'm probably going to be checking it out next year. (I did QB for four years in high school. Yes, I am a geek, and I am not ashamed to admit it.) Anyway, you can find their site here.

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 7, 2007

Am I missing something?

E = mc^2... not 2mc?

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 7, 2007

@ TheShawn '11-

yeah- I've heard so many conflicting things about him/his disability as well- that its a myth, that the myth is a myth, etc. - you get the picture smile I think the only thing people seem to agree on is that he in some way learned differently, past there, who knows.

Posted by: 0 on August 7, 2007

Sorry- the above from me!

Posted by: Jessica '11 on August 7, 2007

Yeah, Hawking had a chapter devoted to Einstein where he dispelled many myths about him. For instance, he didn't actually fail math and whatnot. He didn't get good grades because he had an attitude towards the teachers and never did work, but he was more of an A/B/C student, but he did well enough to attend a fairly prestigious university...until he got kicked out for having trouble with authority. He also had a fairly above average IQ. I think what happened was that people heard the above (about grades and whatnot) and the shock value--everyone expects someone that smart to ace all of his classes--caused the story to grow out of proportion. Some of the claims are just absurd, though, like Einstein's wife did everything and just used Al's name because she was a woman.

Posted by: ShawnOfAwesome on August 8, 2007

"Now there was a time when we used to say that behind every great man there has to be a great woman..."

Though I doubt Einstein's wife did everything in his name, that general idea has happened a few times in history before wink

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 8, 2007

@ paul'11
i know that we can't differentiate with respect to a constant..that's y i asked him if he thought it was possible...anyway that was total gibberish that he wrote..the person using the moniker einstein wrote.

Posted by: carlos on August 8, 2007

@ Farhad:
You may contact a coach at any time. Contact info is here.

@ Ronald:
I'm not sure - hoping a current MIT student will chime in on that. Or you may wish to contact a member of the team directly.

Posted by: Ben on August 8, 2007

Thanks a lot Snively for yor work on the CPW Blog ! It's great, and since I can't take the tour, it was like I had one, except for 2 things :
-I didn't really meet the bloggers
-I didn't taste all the ice creams!!!
And the fire horse class where 0=-1 looks very interesting. If I ever get in MIT, I want to live in the dorm where the walls move and the doors are conceiled !
Thanks again ! I'm sure it took you a long time to do it.

Posted by: Isshak on August 9, 2007

Thanx ben, i'll contact them!Really appreciate the help you people like to give!
btw..u really do look a little like stuart pearce, the ex- manchester city FC manager! Or lets make it the other way round stuart pearce looks a bit like you!

Posted by: ronald on August 9, 2007

Hey paul, doing QB doesn't mean we are geeks..i find it preety cool!Anyway being a geek is nothing to be ashamed off..its like a cult status now a days!!

Posted by: ronald on August 9, 2007

Thanks Isshak

Posted by: Snively on August 9, 2007


Lets see.. dE/dc would represent the rate at which energy of a particle (or whatever) would change if the speed of light happened to change. It is quite possible that the speed of light is changing very slowly, or has changed in the past. That's about all dE/dc=2mc would be useful for, though. grin

Now.. if only I can devise a way to slow down the speed of light by a few orders of magnitude.. that'd render all of the nuclear weaponry in the world useless! Muah ha ha.

Posted by: Adam '11 on August 10, 2007

Has anyone else been watching this blog? It's incredible how many spammers are posting nonsense on it (err, or maybe the same one, but still...). Glad they get deleted. TAKE THAT!

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 12, 2007

Comments have been closed.