MIT Admissions

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Chris Peterson

Feb 8, 2011

No Chance

Posted in: Best of the Blogs, Miscellaneous

Mashable is running a story today called New Facebook App Tells College Applicants What Their Changes Are. It's created quite a buzz on different social network sites, and been syndicated to CNN among a bunch of other sites.

Here are some excerpts from the article, written by staff Mashable writer Sarah Kessler.

Startup Splash Networks wants to make selecting schools to send an application to easier. On Tuesday, the company is launching a Facebook app called AdmissionSplash that shows prospective college students how likely it is that they will be admitted to each school on their lists.

The app asks students for their basic information: test scores, address, and other factors that affect admissions, like whether they volunteer or play sports. It then uses an algorithm to give users a desirability rating as well as the likelihood, ranging from “very poor” to “very good,” of getting into the schools. Admission Splash currently runs customized equations for about 1,500 schools that it developed using the admission data they release.

 

Applying to college, especially selective colleges, is really tough. It's hard to know how to gauge your likelihood of acceptance. I'm sure the AdmissionSplash people are only trying to create a helpful tool.*

However, this tool is unhelpful. In fact, it is much worse than unhelpful. It, and tools like it, actively harm the college admissions process.

I spend a lot of time on College Confidential, specifically the MIT forum. Every summer, as students begin the college search process, newbies flood the boards with "chance" threads, in which they post their GPA, SAT/ACT scores, and some extracurriculars, and ask for complete strangers on the Internet to assess their likelihood of admission.

So last summer, I posted a thread on CC entitled Reminder: No one, not even me, can give you an accurate chance at MIT!

What I said then, of CC chance threads, is true now of AdmissionSplash:

No one on this forum, not even me, can give you a meaningful chance at MIT.

Why?

  • Because the factors of admissions that can be readily apprehended in a forum post (GPA, SAT scores, etc) are in many ways the least important in our process.
  • Because listing the school you go to or ECAs you are involved in does not communicate the degree to which you are a vibrant member of the community, does not communicate what your coaches or teachers or mentors will say about you, and those are the things we care about.
  • Because it does not include any information about the interview, which is another critical insight into the candidacy of any prospective applicant.
  • Because a forums post cannot communicate the complexity of an applicant's life story, circumstances, and so forth; even if they were to replicate all the answers to their essay questions, we still have additional data external to the application that we consider in understanding an applicant's context.
  • Because of a billion other reasons along the way.

I understand that chancing may be fun, or a way to blow off steam, or just something to do because we haven't made the app available yet.

However, from my own time on forums for undergraduate and graduate programs, I know that people can take chancing quite seriously, that it can affect where they apply, that it is ripe for mockery (or can itself be used to degrade the self-esteem of others), and so forth.

I don't want anyone who isn't aware of this to be misled into thinking that CC chances are accurate or meaningful in any way (they aren't and could never be!).

 

Programs like AdmissionSplash are bad because they emphasize the wrong things. Because only the raw numbers can be abstracted from an application and put into a computation, only raw numbers are (meaningfully) considered in AdmissionSplash.

But, as we say here over and over and over again, the numbers are probably the least important part of an application to MIT.

Not that numbers don't matter. If your grades and scores suggest that you are not prepared to do the work at MIT, you will not be admitted, because we don't want to admit people just to have them fail out.

But once students have demonstrated academic preparedness - as the majority of MIT applicants can and do - then the additional returns accrued by marginal increases in academic performance diminish markedly. When comparing two applicants who have scored in the latter band, we're not sitting there saying "well this person has a 750, and this person has a 780", we're saying "both of these applicants are academically qualified for MIT, so which one would contribute more to the community here?"

But programs like AdmissionSplash can't do this. They can't do it for all of the reasons I mentioned in the CC thread. They don't have all the information admissions offices do. They don't have all of the perspective. They can't make sense of the application in its whole.

And to the extent that people think tools like AdmissionSplash are useful, they will begin, subconsciously or consciously, to tailor their applications to focus on things that look good on AdmissionSplash, since that's the only heuristic they have. I'm not a technological determinist by any means. But there is still something to the law of the instrument, or, in its proverbial form, "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

AdmissionSplash may be more accurate at some schools than at others, depending on their selectivity, competitiveness, and how their admissions process works.

But if you're thinking of applying to selective schools - or, at the very least, if you're thinking of applying to MIT - I beg you: please, please do not pay attention to "chance" threads, sites, applications, voodoo rituals, seances, or anything else. At their best, they cannot help you; at their worst, they do great harm.

* I will note, however, that not only does AdmissionSplash pull quite a bit of data from your Facebook profile, but when filling out the "chance" form it also asks for things like high school and home address. It's not immediately obvious why these are necessary, because the data sets AdmissionSplash says they pull stats from don't break down by high school and home address. In other words, they are getting a lot more private information from you than they themselves say they need. While I have no reason to believe that they are not on the level, it is always best practices on the Internet to be skeptical of anyone asking for this sort of information when they have not demonstrated a clear need for it (and often even when they have). Especially when, as in the case with AdmissionSplash's parent company Splash Networks, you can't find anything else on the Internet about them. Yet another reason to proceed with caution - or better yet, to not proceed at all.

Comments (Closed after 30 days to reduce spam)

Wow.!
The first one.!
But really good one Chris.
It would be quite helpful to many!

Posted by: Aspirant '15 on February 8, 2011

so, what do you think my chances are, my sat...... HAHA- jk.
just love the 'off the hook' feeling about MIT

Posted by: bravo on February 8, 2011

to summerize the whole post. DON'T read what is written on CC

Posted by: Dimitris on February 8, 2011

Hi Chris,
I have been in America for only 3 months and had never known anything about SAT before coming here. I was the top 3 in math and 10 in physics in my high school and my high school is the best one of my province. I am crazy about math and physics. And I can use 10 days to get a 800. Evething is good to me except my SAT reasoning part-reading part. I can not get a high score since I have studied SAT for only a month. Can I give me some advice? Can I still have the chance to study in MIT this fall. I have told you I have begun to study math three(a third-semester course for math major in my first semester) and learn courses without English learning(ESL).
My E-mail is [email protected] Could you analysis for me?
Sincerely,
Qing

Posted by: Qing( Wenqing Chen) on February 8, 2011

And it's because of this kind of posts that I feel that I have (ironically, or perhaps coincidentally) a chance at being admitted to the MIT in lieu of my average scores. Because I know the admission team will factor every single thing about me, including dyslexia and so on, to make a decision.

Cheers!

Posted by: David on February 8, 2011

A common thread on CC:
Name of thread: CHANCE ME! I'm Dying. Please! I beg you! Don't leave me alone!!!
First post: fellas, these are my stats:
SAT: 2400 SAT II:1600
two strong recomm letters. 5 recomm letters from 5 different coaches.
I know 8 foreign languages fluently. I know how to play 6 instruments
.
.
.
Post #2: MIT, Harvard, Yale...(so many great schools in the list): very poor chances. Dude, don't even think about these.
and the same thing goes on and on.

Posted by: Observer on February 8, 2011

I actually tried it.. It said my chances are poor :'(

Posted by: Albert '15 on February 8, 2011

@Qing -

You cannot apply to MIT to begin studying in fall of 2011. That deadline has passed. However, you also do not need to rely on your verbal portion of the SAT. Students like you can take the TOEFL: http://www.ets.org/toefl/. Then you can apply next fall for admission to begin studying in fall of 2012.

Posted by: Chris Peterson @ MIT on February 8, 2011

Dear Chris,
I have applied MIT. I took a regular application.
Qing

Posted by: 0 on February 8, 2011

@Qing -

In that case, it is too late to take the TOEFL for this year. However, for future reference, students who have lived in the US for less than 5 years are encouraged to take the TOEFL rather than the SAT Verbal.

Posted by: Chris Peterson @ MIT on February 8, 2011

Dear Chris,
I am applying MIT and took a regular application.
I can not take TOEFL because I haven't taken it. But I did take SAT:
My Math level 2: 800
Physics:770
SAT1: MATH 800 WRITING ~650 READING 400+
Even though I don't know if I can do it, I still applied MIT this year.
Sincerely,
Qing

Posted by: 0 on February 8, 2011

Dear Chris,
I am applying MIT and took a regular application.
I can not take TOEFL because I haven't taken it. But I did take SAT:
My Math level 2: 800
Physics:770
SAT1: MATH 800 WRITING ~650 READING 400+
Even though I don't know if I can do it, I still applied MIT this year.
Sincerely,
Qing

Posted by: Qing on February 8, 2011

@ Chris: I am from Bangladesh where there rule of thumb instructed by society is NOT to apply to MIT unless you have perfect scores on Math level 2 and SAT 1 Maths, won something at IMO, have a particular sparkling ECA and have been interviewed by a certain person. I still applied; thanks for the post- it comes a slight relief.

@ Qing: Good luck smile I hope your passion pulls you through.

Posted by: FarhanN5 on February 8, 2011

First things first - I'm a senior at MIT, I signed up for CC around August 2004, and I currently have almost 2000 posts on the website, and I am (also) a MIT blogger.

Here's my two cents:

Don't get me wrong, CC is a very useful resource. Being at CC taught me how I could achieve more out of my education in Taiwan going to an American school, when my school didn't offer 20 AP exams or even that much in terms of extracurriculars. Through CC, I learned about Mathcamp and SSP, which I attended in my freshman and junior years, respectively, which formed (and still are) some of the best memories of my life. I really owe all of that to CC.

HOWEVER, please believe the MIT Admission Officers when they say that grades and test scores are not only the picture. In my four years here, I've gotten way too many emails from applicants asking me whether their 2000, 2100, or even 2200+ is good for MIT. There is no answer to that question, and there never will be. They're simply looking the wrong way.

I went through medical school applications this year, and this slant is even more obvious in medical school applications (at the top 20 schools) just because 1) there are more applicants for less seats, 2) the age range is bigger, so people have unique life stories, and 3) they're looking for people who are going to be good doctors. Coming from a country where grades and scores are everything you need to go to the top school, I initially find this hard to accept (why so many "subjective" factors?), but then I realized that that's essentially the same process I got into MIT through, anyway.

Look beyond the scores, and just keep developing your passions. Focus on what matters to you, and everything will fall in place. I'm going off on tangents now, but I don't personally have high academic credentials at MIT, and I received several med school interviews that a grade-driven "chances" spreadsheet (like AdmissionSplash) said that I had "little chance" at. In fact, some of them even converted into acceptances.

tl;dr

Look beyond the scores. It's the person behind the application that really matters.

Posted by: oasis '11 on February 8, 2011

Dear Chris ,

There are loads of difficulties I had to endure during my 11th and 12th grades ,like a lot of financial difficulties and home problems as well as the fact that I studied for only a day for my SATs, each of the two times I gave them because I just could not carve out time. Should I tell the admissions people via the Midyear Report ? (my SAT scores aren't bad though , but dunno if they are by MIT standards of 2100+ scores )

In my transcript , my A-Level school has given grades for Terms 1 , 2 ,3 and 4 for each of my 4 A-Level subjects. However, I also see that they have given grades for Terms 1, 2 , 3 and 4 for Further Mathematics. My confusion lies in the fact that Further Mathematics was taught in my school from November 2009 to May 2010 , and I was only able to give the school exams of only two modules (out of six) of Further Mathematics in January 2010 , because I had gotten seriously ill during the following months and had to be admitted to hospital.

Therefore, is it helpful to the Admissions committee if I mention this in my Midyear Report ?
Because it seems that my Further Mathematics grades for Terms 2,3 and 4 came out of the blue.

P.S : I graduated from school in June 2010

Posted by: Shahriar on February 8, 2011

Chris,

Thank you for your feedback. I understand the perspective you're coming from. Especially on the admissions end.

There are few points I think are worth making:

The Facebook app is not binary
We are not saying whether or not you will or will not get in. We're providing you a range. A student who has a Very Good chance to get in, does not guarantee he will. Just as a student who has a Very Poor chance, does not guarantee he will not.

Students are overwhelmed
Students today have so (read: so, so, so) many schools they can choose from. As schools like MIT get increasingly hard to get into, students need to be able to get a basic understanding of where they are on the spectrum. Should a student with 500s on the SATs and no extracurriculars apply to NYU? No. Helping students realize this is valuable. However, students should talk to college counselors, read guide books, and visit schools….and, use AdmissionSplash. It's just another datapoint.

Your points can equally apply to professional guidance counselors
High school guidance counselors are constantly telling students what their chances are. But they are professionals? True. But they are still not able to measure how an interview goes, and other aspects of a student’s life.
Why we ask for a home address
Eventually we want to have an option at the end where for every school you select, you can choose at the end to receive a brochure from that school. The app is pre-built for that feature which we hope to roll-out soon.
Like I said I really appreciate the blog post. Obviously this is your blog, so feel free to delete mine. But I would love to talk to you more about this and get your thoughts. My email and office phone number are below. Please send me an email and we’ll figure out a time to talk!

Best!
Allen
CampusSplash.com (this is the website for all our college apps)
202-681-0327
[email protected]

Posted by: Allen Gannett on February 8, 2011

Allen -

I appreciate your thoughtful responses. And I'm not going to delete your comment - it is very fair.

You're correct, of course, that students need help in figuring out where they have a shot. But for selective schools, using GPA/scores aren't good proxies for competitive applicants. They simply aren't.

I don't think guidance counselors provide chances like you describe. If they do, they probably shouldn't. But most guidance counselors I've spoken with understand the fact that they don't have all of the information needed.

Like I said, I appreciate your response, and I understand (really!) how difficult it is for students to choose where to apply. But I don't think that many tools out there - CC, Princeton Review, and your site among them - are very good guides for the reasons above.

Posted by: Chris Peterson @ MIT on February 8, 2011

I tried Admission Splash just to see what it said for MIT. I got 'very poor'. Not only does this not upset me in the least (especially after reading articles like this) but I think it just motivated me to prove it wrong.

Great article, btw [ :

Posted by: 0 on February 8, 2011

I strongly agree with you Chris.

Allen, when I discovered MIT as good fit for me, I thought that SATs, numbers etc(like on your app) would be the criteria to get in. But simply, they are inadequate to describe why MIT really is a 'good fit'. Allen, as I went through the whole process from interviews to essays, I realized how carefully and critically laid every step in admission is, and your app, that take only minutes, is somehow inadequate even to get a rough idea of a process requiring months.

Though I appreciate your efforts that you want the students to realize their chances, and ease off the pressure, you have no space for 'specifying' any situation. You have no super computer to understand the words the way human can.

Allen, I just attended a seminar of a respected writer David Brooks and I find a great insight in his words that analyzing 'everything' just numerically can be decremental for our society.

Posted by: Manu on February 8, 2011

Really impressed by your passage. I extremely realized that application for college was not that simple as just exams, as that was much more difficult and kinda "interesting" than it!
Still so interested at MIT!! And Try my best to go for it raspberry
Really goooooood post again! Really impressed by your passage. I extremely realized that application for college was not that simple as just exams, as that was much more difficult and kinda "interesting" than it!
Still so interested at MIT!! And Try my best to go for it raspberry
Really goooooood post again! <3

Posted by: Yuki on February 8, 2011

This post makes me feel really fortunate that I came from a relatively noncompetitive high school.
Far too often are test scores made to seem the deciding factor in college admissions. It's really tragic, because it forces students to turn their attention to acing the tests rather pursuing their own interests (art, music, etc). The end result is most likely a mess of students with 2100+ SATs but no depth.
Doing what you love with diligence will give you the best chance at MIT.

Posted by: '15 on February 8, 2011

Based on my school stats, those who do not receive an overall GPA of 95+ have little chance of being admitted to MIT. Would you say this is because grades in the lower 90s do not show adequate preparation for MIT's course load, or because lower grades correlate with one's lack of motivation and creativity and ability to contribute to the community?

I really want to believe that a person that is both brilliant/ingenious and true and funny can make it in with great, but not stellar, grades and stats. Are these types of people just very rare to come by?

I have great engineering capabilities as shown by math and science stats, but how can MIT tell that I'm a gangster gamer that makes everyone laugh by keepin' it real?

Posted by: Skeleton on February 8, 2011

"As schools like MIT get increasingly hard to get into, students need to be able to get a basic understanding of where they are on the spectrum."

Fair point, but I have a feeling that most students actually know where they stand relatively, and do not foolishly apply to numerous reach schools. I believe that examples like:

"Should a student with 500s on the SATs and no extracurriculars apply to NYU?"

don't convey much, because I think those students are scarce.

I think by propagating the use of "chances" applications, the creators of these guides/applications/websites are just feeding into the score-driven frenzy often exhibited by the top 10%-20% of college applicants and foreign international students, who believe that scores tell the whole story. The actual utility of "giving a wake-up call" to some applicant who has a 1500 and is thinking of applying to all the Ivy League schools I think is not that significant. Therefore, I believe these things are really doing more harm than good.

Another case in point - my sister has a perfect score on the SAT, and I had a 2290, with similar GPAs (same high school). Our activities, essays, and personalities differed by a lot, and she ended up getting into a completely set of colleges than I did, with only one or two overlaps. Numerically, she was predicted to do better than me at the Ivy League schools, but it didn't turn out that way. Well, you can argue that your application "doesn't predict acceptance," but what does your application say then to students already "in-range" at all the selective colleges? I consider this student population to be probably the biggest portion of your customer base, since they are likely to be the only people concerned enough to be gauging their college admission chances even on Facebook.

"But they are still not able to measure how an interview goes"

How do you quantitatively measure how well an interview goes? I find that hard to do myself qualitatively in my mind already...and I've been on dozens and dozens of interviews since senior year of high school.

"High school guidance counselors are constantly telling students what their chances are."

Not really. Probably only at the really competitive prep schools that try to get as many kids into Ivies as possible. But then again, if you think that will be your target group, then your application doesn't serve much purpose for the reasons already stated above.

Summary:

I think this kind of application will have utility for kids who are "mid-range" and are entirely confused about their own competitiveness in terms of applying to colleges. I think the truth is, though, this will not end up being your biggest student population, and thus will only help generate more neurotic college applicants.

Posted by: oasis '11 on February 8, 2011

I mostly agree with Chris on this. I used College Confidential when applying to schools. The 'chances' were perhaps inaccurate but it did give me a vague sense as to which schools were reaches and which I was practically already into. However, I recognize the lack of legitimacy of these chance posts despite thinking that they do have a tiny bit of merit.

In terms of AdmissionsSplash, I just filled out the form and my chances for MIT are poor...I'm an EA admit so I guess that proves the point that filling your numbers into an algorithm does not give an accurate result.

Posted by: Miren '15 on February 9, 2011

I was lucky in the sense that I properly discovered CC in January this year. I found that it's quite common for students to flounder about in "cafés" and other inconsequential forum. Agreed, there is a certain utility to the website, as was rightly pointed out in some of the comments, but in my case, it was too late for it to make a difference. And yes, chance threads are laughable, but the consequent impact the replies that the thread-starter receives may have long-ranging effects on that person's outlook towards the entire application procedure. And although the Facebook App was probably created with best interests at heart, Chris rightfully pointed out that a computer can only spell-check a life story. Sure, it can crunch numbers, but after a point, it makes little or no difference. Hope more admission-related updates come our way soon.

Posted by: Vivek on February 9, 2011

Oh my god! I wrote an essay for MIT about how to create a software to assess the user's chance to MIT based on previous year's admission data. May be I'm doomed now!

Posted by: Chau Tran on February 9, 2011

"Allen, as I went through the whole process from interviews to essays, I realized how carefully and critically laid every step in admission is, and your app, that take only minutes, is somehow inadequate even to get a rough idea of a process requiring months."
I second that.

As far as collegeconfidential is concerned, I'm glad that I didn't go through those chances thread before my application submission. I opened CC for only application-related doubts because I was just too busy with my work. Or may be I was afraid. wink

But the bad thing happened in January and when I visited those chances thread, seriously, they gave me night-mares for a month.

And I agree with what Vivek said - "And although the Facebook App was probably created with best interests at heart, Chris rightfully pointed out that a computer can only spell-check a life story. Sure, it can crunch numbers, but after a point, it makes little or no difference."

Posted by: Deepika on February 9, 2011

These are the most encouraging words I have read since months smile

Thank you Chris for this wonderful piece of information. I super-duper like it :D

Posted by: Shehzad Lokhandwalla on February 9, 2011

A great piece of information, Chris. Thank you for this post!

Posted by: Nikita on February 9, 2011

Hey Chris !
Have any decisions been made for International applicants.
Can you please disclose some of their stats if not names smile

Posted by: Anon on February 9, 2011

@Anon - Last year, international admissions were decided over the span of a few days towards the end of February. Most files have been summarized already, but no decision will most likely be taken till end February. So stick tight and hope for the best.

Posted by: Vivek on February 9, 2011

I found this on the Harvard admissions site...

The skill sets developed by memorizing multiplication tables and vocabulary flashcards – all essential for a high scores – create minds that excel at computing facts. In his book, The whole new world - Daniel Pink tell us that in the current world, things are different and that the “keys to the kingdom are changing hands.” In the new world order, those who are creative and see the big picture will reap society’s rewards. The psychologist Robert Sternberg, now dean of students at Tufts University, agrees. The best example of a problem caused due to a traditional focus on only analytic smarts is the “The Wall Street collapse”

Posted by: 0 on February 9, 2011

Dear Chris ,

There are loads of difficulties I had to endure during my 11th and 12th grades ,like a lot of financial difficulties and home problems as well as the fact that I studied for only a day for my SATs, each of the two times I gave them because I just could not carve out time. Should I tell the admissions people via the Midyear Report ? (my SAT scores aren't bad though , but dunno if they are by MIT standards of 2100+ scores )

In my transcript , my A-Level school has given grades for Terms 1 , 2 ,3 and 4 for each of my 4 A-Level subjects. However, I also see that they have given grades for Terms 1, 2 , 3 and 4 for Further Mathematics. My confusion lies in the fact that Further Mathematics was taught in my school from November 2009 to May 2010 , and I was only able to give the school exams of only two modules (out of six) of Further Mathematics in January 2010 , because I had gotten seriously ill during the following months and had to be admitted to hospital.

Therefore, is it helpful to the Admissions committee if I mention this in my Midyear Report ?
Because it seems that my Further Mathematics grades for Terms 2,3 and 4 came out of the blue.

P.S : I graduated from school in June 2010

P.S : Sorry for posting this again , but I wanna get an answer ( hope you understand )....the anxiety is taking on a major role in my mind these days....

Posted by: Shahriar on February 9, 2011

If you've ever seen the site Dream School Stories, a lot of the stories on there seem to agree. It seems like grades and test scores just need to be over a minimum, thn it's about the other things you mentioned.

Posted by: Blair on February 9, 2011

I agree with Chris. The thing I don't understand is why applicants want to see their "chance". We are the best evaluators of our self. One should choose the schools that he likes and then make the strongest possible application with what he has, even if that school's acceptance rate is really low.

Posted by: Anirban Shaw on February 9, 2011

Blair Silverberg, Stanford class of 2010, your website is cool... Was refreshing to see different perspectives. I hope MIT students and others chip in and add their stories there... (you get a $10 amazon card folks!)

Posted by: 0 on February 9, 2011

Hahahah, I got "Poor". Must've been my shameful, shameful 2260...which was the only item of substance the test asked about other than GPA.

Posted by: Rachel '12 on February 9, 2011

Hello,
Dear Chris

What other additional factors are considered when evaluating the international applicants? Do you have enough resources to evaluate applicants from around the world? Since international admissions is very competitive and there are numerous differences between US and us including the systems, I am nervous that you don't know something important or disadvantage to understand the "true" context (or) know something misunderstanding regarding the applicants from other unfamiliar countries. But I have some expectations that the number of admitted international students will be increased.
Thanks you for your great post! All of us are looking forward from the admissions officers during the reading process.

Posted by: TTS on February 10, 2011

Dear Chris,

Thank you so much for this post, it lifted my already down spirits.. i do have to ask you though, my SAT writing and reading scores were not up to my mark, however i scored a 118 on my TOEFL (internet) i haven't sent those scores to MIT, should i?

Posted by: hoping '15 on February 10, 2011

118 is really good !!! I think you should if its not too late....

Posted by: SL on February 10, 2011

@hopeful-

YES. Students like you should send the TOEFL, which we will consider in lieu of the relevant SAT sections.

Posted by: Chris peterson @ MIT on February 10, 2011

Hey Chris, if I just started a course on OCW (like 2 weeks ago) do you think I should mention it on the mid-year report? Something like (MIT OCW - since end of January)?
Thanks!
Also, I got a 780 on my CR SAT but a 112 on my TOEFL (wasn't too concentrated). I sent in the TOEFL but myMIT shows they don't have it. I assume it's not necessary as the 780 is a lot better, correct?

Posted by: James '15 (?) on February 10, 2011

James -

yes and yes.

Posted by: Chris Peterson @ MIT on February 10, 2011

@Chris

What if neither scores are up to the mark~~~ and I am not talking about 110's and 700's ~~~~~

Posted by: No CHANCE :P on February 10, 2011

Why are you guys freaking out about TOEFL?
TOEFL is a requirement as long as you are 90 or above it's fine.

Posted by: Observer on February 10, 2011

@oasis '11
I come from China-a place where the scroe is the only thing. I don't know if Taiwan is just the place like China-in fact, Taiwan is a part of China-I don't know whether you advocate that.
I have a question:
I am studying third-year courses without ESL in a public college and I still think it is too easy for me. Is the info any helpful to my application?
And I have to say, even for a student with only 1500 score-there may be many reasons-it can't prove that he is stupid or lazy, although it may prove that. Many students with 1500 scores still become more successful than some top ones.
Like me, my score is something like 1900, but I have only connected to America for 3 months and SAT for 1 month and 3 times to take SAT in past three months.
Sincerely,
Qing

Posted by: Qing on February 10, 2011

Oh, sorry: third-semester-and four semester' without credits. Is that important? I can learn a third-year course in a week.
I am the scarce student as someone described, maybe-no work experience. Just come from China in a sudden.
Do you know someone who gets a 800 in math is very arrogant. In China, there are probably 20% kids who can do it.
Even if you get a IMO gold, it just can prove that you are smart enough but it doesn't mean others are stupid-they may not have the conditons. What I see is that most great men come from provity and frustrations and mature slowly.
SAT 600, 700 or 800 are the same. But if you want to be accepted by MIT, you should be fine in everything: AP( I haven't really know what AP is), good words from teachers, national prizes...
I want to be a physicist. And a friend told me, a person is recognized by the world through his original work.
Well, I am the one who want to get some advice. Get the chance to know the result is desired by most of us, and the rest a few who don't care that much but still persue dreams would most likely become the most successful ones. I admire them! Even knowing there could be no help, if you still want, just do it.
Sincerely,
Qing

Posted by: Qing on February 11, 2011

To +1 this post --

I'm a current MIT undergrad, came across this thing and tried it for fun, inputting my birth year & college graduation year as if I were a HS senior right now -- and it told me "poor."

I was admitted EA.

Hope that helps some of you who tried it with less-than-pleasing results grin Good luck!

Posted by: Reena '13 on February 11, 2011

Great post! Encouraging and uplifting to many of us here. And to those "poor" accepted students who commented, thanks, too! This sure made me feel a lot better! :D

Posted by: '15? on February 11, 2011

@Qing :

You are correct in every respect , but you cannot generalise people , there is simply no way to tell if someone's gonna be great and famous by getting poor academics or whether they're gonna be the same by getting great grades ........in the end , it all comes down to heart and passion ....but what you said have indeed proven right for some great scientists and mathematicians, as well as musicians.....but it was not "always" the case with "all" of them

Physics ! Awesome man , give me your e-mail address, I wanna keep in touch with you.

Shahriar

Posted by: Shahriar on February 11, 2011

@Shahriar
You haven't read the posts in detail. Are you talking with me? I have already put my e-mail on one of my posts in this page.
repeat: [email protected]
I still want to say, even someone is very fortunate in his life: best one in school and rich enough, then become a doctor or a lawyer, I don't care that. Do you know Madame Curie or Meyer? What I say is about great-emphysize "Great" scientists maybe plus musician and artists. One wants to be great, it has to experience difficulty and frastrations-because those things can improve one's characters and personalities and let it do something that ordinary ones can't do.
Qing

Posted by: Qing on February 11, 2011

@Qing
I'll e-mail you the replies, let's not junk this place up with comments that other people don't care about , so I'll talk to you via e-mail , ok ? wink

Posted by: Shahriar on February 11, 2011

To everyone concerned,

I'm from Abu Dhabi, the capital city of an oil-rich country called United Arab Emirates (although I'm just a regular Pakistani expatriate). Coming to the point, I understand the reason to fret about scores for the fact that they act as a general indicator for university admissions.
But then again, we're humans, and humans are not just defined by numbers, all of us have innate abilities and talents, and universities are just basically looking for a good mix. By that I don't mean that scores are just useless, they do give some indication of academic performance of a person (which is a top priority of admissions after all), but my point is that they're not the ONLY thing.

I myself have applied to MIT and I'm awaiting my decisions, and I know that my scores may not be the "creme de la creme" or my extracurricular achievements are "tremendous". The only thing that led me to apply to MIT is my might to study there and my honesty. Its not just your scores, its not just your extracurriculars, but its simply YOU who matters. And this is basically what MIT is looking for I believe, a person who can contribute to their community and do something for the world. MIT, or for that matter, most great universities in the world aren't hunting people with "800/800s" but for the humanness in them, for the qualities they possess and what they've done and achieved with those qualities.

To all future applicants, I'd simply say APPLY TO MIT WITH MIGHT, NOT WITH SCORE ANXIETIES. Good luck to all of us applicants once again.

P.S -- Thanks Reena for taking your precious time to encourage all people out here smile Respect!

Posted by: Murtaza Ali Khan on February 11, 2011

Hi Murtaza,
I like your imperious style of writing :D
Best of luck ! I am half arab and half Indian...

Posted by: Friend on February 11, 2011

@ Everyone.

People! People! Please. Relax.

The MIT Admission staff looks at the entire picture.
Scores
Grades
Life
Activities
Community
Character
Sports

Literally - Everything they can get their hands on is taken into account. Posting what you've done and asking whether it's likely for you to be accepted is the exact kind of thing that this post is trying to address.

If you feel that MIT might be right for you -- apply!
Don't let CC or any of these other things dash your hopes.

A famous hockey player once said:
"You miss 100% of the shots that you don't take."

So if you're curious, if you have desire, if you want to get into MIT or any other school for that matter, apply.
That's the only thing that will ever get your foot in the door.


In other news:

@ Chris

I enjoyed the post Chris.
I remember when I was applying to MIT (and a plethora of other colleges), I ventured onto CC and various other sites of that nature. I think part of what makes/made people (me at least) nervous is that they see all of these other people acting nervously and posting their information like it could possibly have an affect on their admission decision. Sort of the nature of crowds I suppose. Keep it up!


@ Everyone (one last time)

Don't feel like that sort of resource is strictly out of bounds or taboo.
Just understand that There is no algorithm, no method, no sure-fire way to get accepted into, or rejected from, any school like MIT.

Posted by: Seth M. on February 11, 2011

For all of you who are considering applying at MIT (or for those of you who are nervously awaiting a decision in the mail)

I found this other blog particularly reassuring in my time of need. smile

Check out Chris's other post:



Applying Sideways

Posted by: Seth M. on February 11, 2011

I'd defend CC in that it offers a great place for like-minded students to talk about the admissions. I'd say it's particularly helpful for international students and students from underrepresented high schools who are not well acquainted with the intricacies of the application process.

Chris: a wonderful point made. But I don't think that you'll see the number of neurotic college applicants decreasing anytime soon. Even if they get over the childishness of sifting through chance sites. That's just because there are far too many qualified, fair and hardworking students who have set their sights at MIT than what MIT can take in its incoming class.

(P.S.- I'm so sure of a rejection that I feel relieved)

Posted by: nOOb on February 12, 2011

@Chris: I think you are right, but in some case it's helpful to get an advice.
I am italian and I don't know very well the american system, so I have found very helpful collegeconfidential and "chance me threads".
In other cases people use your "post" not to give adivice, but "I guess" to increase they count posts.

Regards,
Edo.

Posted by: Edoardo Moreni on February 12, 2011

My SAT scores are low, but I take the most challenging courses my school has to offer, and plus I took an AP class via an online course to add to Calc and English AP. I've gotten A's so far... Will the admissions committee acknowledge the fact that I've challenged myself and succeeded? I know that they can't cover for low scores, but does the AP courseload help when they are considering my application? What I'm really asking is whether the scores will spell doom for me even though the rest of my application is fairly strong... that's all I'm worried about at this point...

Posted by: Sam on February 12, 2011

@Chris P.
...so you ARE MitChris on CC. I thought so! thanks for being awesome. every now and again I go on CC, get freaked out (along the lines of "I have NO chance at MIT, why did I even apply") and you say something off-the-wall funny and I calm down smile.

Posted by: Phoebe on February 12, 2011

@Friend -- I haven't got any other name to address you with but really thank you very much.


@Chris -- I honestly would have to agree with CC, it actually gives me some more insight into the colleges, not from the "decision" side but perhaps from how the American system works as what Eduardo had said above. It actually helps in finding students and asking a type of insider question, something say which you really wanted to know about the place but say it's not available on the college's website or no one knows much about it.
But on a very important note, I despise the "chance me" threads, I don't hate the people who do post up such threads but then the point kinda becomes of a "bragging competition" say I've 2100 or 2300 score in SAT or I've these and these extracurricular achievements, I mean sure people other than admissions officers (like college students, alumni, parents even some other people) may comment and say something about one's "profile" like if they're commendable, good or even poor. But the point becomes bland since "chance me" is unofficially asking for a decision and the person posting such a thread should know that it doesn't just depend on the what you've posted on the thread, it happens by what you've actually sent to the admissions officers and what they find in it, so I'd agree with you in that aspect of CC. For that matter, not even an iPhone app could tell you an admissions chance, it all depends on what you're and what you've shown the colleges (and should I say a bit of fate? also should I be even referring to the iPhone since I'm a loyal Nokia user?)


@All other prospective MIT applicants who're currently fretting about their admissions chances ---- JUST TAKE A BREAK AND DON'T FRET! Just be positive and hope for the best, and listen to Daft Punk (yes that's absolutely a command I'm telling you to do, you'll really get relaxed listening to their awesomeness, also is anyone else a Daft Punk fan over here? smile if yes, then hi-5!)

Posted by: Murtaza Ali Khan on February 15, 2011

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