MIT Admissions

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Matt McGann '00

Oct 24, 2006

On Supplemental Materials

Posted in: Freshman Applicants

I'm often asked about supplemental material. None of the below is required or even expected. In general, you should not send supplemental material unless the application did not sufficiently show who you are. I hope this is helpful and answers lots of questions...

Music. If you play music and would like to be a part of the music community at MIT, you may send in a CD/DVD or score (or mp3/pdf email attachment) containing 2 recent, unedited, contrasting samples of your best work for evaluation by the music faculty. Your musical talents are something unique that you bring to this process and your talents can be considered with your other talents in your application. Send this via US Mail to MIT, Room 4-243, 77 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139; or electronically to [email protected] Be sure your full name and date of birth are included, and please write "undergraduate application materials" on the envelope. You do not need to be a music major for this to be considered (most people who submit the supplement are not), and students do not need to audition to take music classes or be a music major.

Art. If you are an artist and would like to participate in the arts community at MIT, you may send in a portfolio containing any art, photography, or architectural work for evaluation by the architecture faculty. The faculty requests that you submit only hard copy materials in a binder, and not electronic submissions. Slides will be evaluated by members of the MIT art & architecture faculty. Your artistic talents are something unique that you bring to this process and your talents can be considered with your other talents in your application. Send this via US Mail to Professor Jan Wampler, Director Of Design - Undergraduate Program, MIT Department of Architecture, 77 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139. Be sure your full name and date of birth are included, and please write "undergraduate application materials" on the envelope. You do not need to be an art or media major for this to be considered (most people who submit the supplement are not), and there is no portfolio review to take art classes or be a part of the art program.

Athletics. If you are an athlete and would like to participate in one of MIT's 41 varsity sports teams, please be directly in touch with the coach of your sport, and/or fill out this form. Your talents will be evaluated by MIT's coaches. Your athletic talents are something unique that you bring to this process and your talents can be considered with your other talents in your application. You do not need to be "recruited" to join an MIT sport.

Extra recommendations. If you feel an extra recommendation would show an important additional side of you not already covered, you may send in an additional letter of recommendation. This in general would not need to be on an MIT recommendation form from the application; a separate sheet of paper is most common. In general, third recommendations from a teachers do not provide much additional insight; the most helpful supplemental recommendations come from people who know you well outside the classroom. Some helpful extra recommendations I've seen have come from research mentors, youth group leaders, coaches, and bosses. If you decide a third recommendation is necessary, have your recommender send this via US Mail to MIT Admissions, and be sure your full name and date of birth are included.

Research papers. I think research papers are best talked about in the completely optional essay ("about something that you have created") or in an extra recommendation from your research mentor. It is unlikely that if you submit a complete research paper that we will be able to have it properly evaluated during our process. We'll be most interested in your research experience: how you got interested in the field, how you acquired your research opportunity, your results, what you learned, how this experience influences your future plans, etc.

Resumes / "brag sheets". We will use your application Part II as the resume of record. Sometimes, an addendum that explains your activities/accomplishments can be useful, particularly if it is an usual pursuit or it requires further explanation than what you can fit in the formal application. However, long lists of activities and awards are most often not useful. These extra sheets are most useful in providing depth, not breadth.

Anything else. As #14 on the application part 2 says, we know that no admission application can meet the needs of every individual. If you think that additional information or material will give us a more thorough impressions of you, feel free to provide that information or material.

Most applications I read do not include any of these extra materials; they are neither required nor expected. In some cases, one or two of these extras can help you in providing us with greater insight into who you are. Also, please note that we do not "lower the bar" for musicians, artists, or athletes; while these are talents that some students bring to the admissions process, all students must be independently qualified to be admitted to MIT.

I hope this answers many of your questions!

Comments (Closed after 30 days to reduce spam)

Thanks Matt for your advice. I have made two websites which I would like to present to the admissions office. Do I have to make a copy of the site in a CD and send it to MIT or can I refer them to the URL and have a look at it online? Can I have a peer recommend me? I think peers can say more of me than my teachers can.

Thuita Maina
Kenya

Posted by: Thuita Maina on October 24, 2006

Just wanted to piggyback on the section on research papers (for the small subset of people this may apply to):

"We'll be most interested in your research experience: how you got interested in the field, how you acquired your research opportunity, your results, what you learned, how this experience influences your future plans, etc."

Writing a few paragraphs in "layman's terms" would be great for this. Simply submitting a 20-page research paper, though probably easier for you, will not do much for your application (because the reader probably won't have the time nor the expertise to fully evaluate it). But an abstract (preferably one written for the general public) can be quite helpful. And, of course, you describing your motivations, influences, experiences, etc. related to the project.

Posted by: Mikey Yang on October 24, 2006

Thanks Matt for the helpful advice for prospective students such as myself!

Posted by: Jean on October 24, 2006

A question about Science achievements: I am captain of my school science olympiad team, and we are expecting to perform really well in this year's regional and state tournaments, which are in February and March respectively. Is it too late to send in information of our success in February and March, and if not, what is the process of sending in material? I mean, I can't really send in the medals, but maybe photos of the medals?

Posted by: Samiur on October 24, 2006

Samiur-
January 1 is the "Postmark deadline for Regular Action application"
and
"Mid to Late-March" "Regular Action applicants notified of admission decision"
(Check out the page Apply->Deadlines, http://www.mitadmissions.org/topics/apply/deadlines/index.shtml )

Chances are, anything sent in March wouldn't make it in time to be reviewed to change your decision. Honestly, in my opinion, I doubt that the results of Science Olympiad would be enough to sway a decision anyway, unless they were spectacular.. But then again, I could be completely mistaken.

Also, in my opinion, you really shouldn't send pictures of your medals.. Thats overkill, and the admissions officers certainly know what medalling in Science Olympiad means. E-mailing your results to [email protected] as soon as you get them would probably be your best bet.

Matt- Sorry for stealing your blog again, but I felt compelled to reply.. grin

Posted by: Adam on October 24, 2006

Thuita,
I wrote a program, and I mailed it on a CD to the admissions office and included a URL in the application (it's written in HTML/Javascript). This would probably be the best approach, to cover all your bases.

As for the recommendation, I personally thinnk a peer who knows you very well and can convey something to the admissions staff that neither your application nor your teachers can convey would be a great choice. I have no idea what the admissions staff would have to say about this though...

Posted by: Daniel on October 24, 2006

I am an artist and I'd really like to send some art in. I hadn't realized that cds of art weren't acceptable, and I might not be able to have slides made in time (they're pretty expensive, also).

I can't send my actual drawings and paintings in. Would it be acceptable for me to photograph the pieces I choose, print the photographs on good paper, normal printer size, and send those 10-12 photographs in a binder?

If this isn't ok, would supplemental materials that arrive slightly after the deadline still be acceptable?

Thanks so much

Posted by: Carmel on October 24, 2006

I pretty much have the same question as Thuita, but a lot of my site is done through a MySQL database so I'm not sure how to send that through a CD. Would it be possible just to reference the site URL instead?

Posted by: Kristina on October 24, 2006

Here is a general rule of thumb you crazy kids should go by (because I did and it worked?):

If anything worthwhile occurs between when you send in your application and say, two weeks before decisions are released, FAX IT TO MIT AND/OR YOUR OTHER SCHOOLS. Don't ask if it's okay. Don't think it's too late. Just make a copy of your certificate or take a picture of your team winning first place at a physics competition or write a few sentences about whatever awesome thing you've recently accomplished and FAX IT TO MIT AND/OR YOUR OTHER SCHOOLS along with your name, birth date, and social security number.

Something you don't want to do: let your guidance counselor fax something that clearly pertains to MIT to Duke and then crazily pound on the keys of the fax machine along with him for a good 30 seconds until you both realize it's a lost cause and start laughing hysterically because it's better than crying. tongue laugh

Posted by: Christina on October 24, 2006

I wanted to send in the beginning of my latest novel, but I'm not sure how much is too much. Would submitting the first three chapters be over-doing it?

Also, can I send it in on CD, or would you rather have a paper copy?

Thanks!

Posted by: Sha on October 25, 2006

Awesome post Matt! It seems like everytime I have a question you suddenly make a post about about it.

Posted by: Aaron Thom on October 25, 2006

Hello

Once the interview is completed, does the applicant need to send a conducted interview form or do anything else other than turn in aprts and part2?

Posted by: 0 on October 25, 2006

MIT is awesome!!!

Posted by: Default on October 25, 2006

Hey,

Thanks for the great information. This actually clears up a lot of thoughts about the application.

Thank you,

Keshav

Posted by: Keshav Raghavan on October 25, 2006

Hi Matt,

Thanks for the explanations - they really clarified many points for me. I actually had many of the same questions you addressed.

Thanks,
Arkajit

Posted by: Arkajit Dey on October 25, 2006

I actually have the same question as Sha. I'm not sure exactly how I should convey the depth of the novel, since synopses really don't do that. I'm thinking of submitting the first 10 to 15 pages; how does that sound?

Regards,
Nikhil

Posted by: Nikhil on October 25, 2006

hey,i want to hunt a best friend.if you interested at me ,please contact with me by email ,ok? i like economics,and you ?my friends?

Posted by: kandy on October 26, 2006

I actually have the same question as Sha and Nikhil. grin

Posted by: Kelly on October 26, 2006

For an art supplement... I am directing a one-act play this fall, and I was wondering if it would be acceptable to send in a DVD of a performance?

Posted by: Kristin on October 26, 2006

Wow, hi Nikhil and Kelly! We ought to organize a critics group or something... or am I being scarily overenthusiastic? (Probably)

We could give each other feedback on the parts of the novels we want to send in to MIT before we actually send them in, if that makes sense. Just an idea. Let me know.

Posted by: Sha on October 26, 2006

Hi Matt,

How should we enter our SAT scores if we still wnat to include scores from the October and November tests?

Thanks,
Anna

Posted by: Anna on October 26, 2006

whoa writers??

JOIN RUNE (mit's literature/art journal)

well, get in first, and THEN JOIN RUNE.

RIGHT AWAY

Posted by: lulu on October 26, 2006

As a writer myself, I thought about sending in supplemental material, but you have to think, you all wrote (or will write) at least one possibly three essays for this application. If you honestly do not think you represented your writing talents well, than consider sending suppplemental material. For me, all the admissions office would read would be the same voice set to fiction. Yes, it would show your creativeness, but if your an artist of any kind it should be apparent from essays, evaluations, and other part of your application. I applaude MIT for its application. It is much better than the common application that I have to for other colleges. Overall, its your decision, but if whatever college you go to, and you get into its writing program, it is going to see plenty of your writing.

Posted by: Amanda on October 26, 2006

Hi Matt,
I am very interested in studying at MIT. I wanna ask about SAT 2. is it okay if i take SAT 2 on January 27? I take the test on Jan because the registration for December test has been closed on Oct 11. i am confidence to get high scores. I really want to be MIT's student.

About the payment, my application fee (i tried to submit my payment online on Oct 21 and Oct 26) has been declined. Why was it happened?

I have contacted MIT's phone number. a woman said that i have to mail her to [email protected], but i havent received the answer. Could you help me to make my payment not declined?

Thank you very much for your help..

Posted by: Salsabila Firdausia on October 26, 2006

Hi..

I am sorry about asking a quesiton off the topic..
However, I really wonder about aplying to MIT as a international student.
And I found the rate of accptence of internatinal students to MIT is extremely lower than that of citizens
Does MIT favor US citizens over international students??

Posted by: 0 on October 26, 2006

Hi..

I am sorry about asking a quesiton off the topic..
However, I really wonder about aplying to MIT as a international student.
And I found the rate of accptence of internatinal students to MIT is extremely lower than that of citizens
Does MIT favor US citizens over international students??

Posted by: 0 on October 26, 2006

Hi Matt,

I am very interested in studying at MIT.
I wonder why can't international student apply to MIT under Early Action. If MIT wants to limit the number of international applicants to be accepted, MIT can also set the limit during Early Action for international students too.

Posted by: Chattrin L. on October 26, 2006

Hi Matt,

I am very interested in studying at MIT.
I wonder why can't international student apply to MIT under Early Action. If MIT wants to limit the number of international applicants to be accepted, MIT can also set the limit during Early Action for international students too.

Thank you for answering my question...

Posted by: Chattrin L. on October 26, 2006

I'm applying early and I did research at a college for two years in a row. I talked to a representative of MIT at local presentations and asked her if I could send in another recommendation from the profesor who oversaw my research, and she made it seem like it was a bad idea. Would it actually help? And if it does, can the person send the recommendation in after November 1st since I doubt that she can write it by the early action deadline. Should I also send in the abstract of the research?

Posted by: Beth on October 26, 2006

I have a question about the self reported coursework form. Do we list courses from middle school that appear on our high school transcript? (in my case Algebra 1, Geometry, and Earth/Space Science).

Posted by: Phillippe S. on October 27, 2006

I was wondering whether it would be possible to sebd another recommendation from someone who knows me from NAGTY, who I have spoken to on regular occasions regarding study in the U.S and we are very close friends (I'm from the U.K). I feel he could add extra insights into my knowledge about astronomy which would be useful for me as I want to study Astronautics major and possibly an Astronomy minor. Could you please advise me on this.

Thanks very much for reading.

Posted by: Michael Roberts on October 27, 2006

Hi Matt,

I'm sorry to be a little off-topic, but I definitely remember seeing this question before on the blogs and it would be nice to find an answer to it. Whenever I go to the application tracking page on the 'Dashboard' (?), it asks for my password, and then takes me right back to MyMIT. Using the menu on the left has the same result. Any suggestions?

Posted by: Anon on October 27, 2006

What is the deadline for mailing the SAT scores to the school for early action applicants?
Sorry, this is a little off topic.

Posted by: 0 on October 27, 2006

Hey matt(ok u dont seem to be replyin... no offense .. on the blogs at least),

anyways, i was wondering... wat are the kinds of things that MIT would like to recieve and wat not.. for example i write(ok not much but i come up with the plots:-), i make websites, make music etc etc. however i wanna take up comp science so wat should i send in? wat wuld u recommend me sending in. and do u recognise the Karnataka state syllabus(india). i should have stayed in CBSE. ok that aside, i did my 9th and 10th grade in National public school(rajajinagar). this place is known to MIT as i made out from the school selection form... however i joined SBMJC(name too long to type out) after my 10th grade. I was wondering... which school's teachers should i ask for my recs. also could u give me an insight on how each student will be pitted against another... this is bcos... here in india we have the three diff education systems, ISC, CBSE and each states education system. these three systems vary in standard hence it may be easier to score high grades in one system and easier in another. so how is the selection on educational assesment done?

thanx
usurper

Posted by: Usurper on October 30, 2006

Hi there,
I have recently applied early decision to MIT and was wondering, if I produce more artwork from now until December, am I permitted to send it in?

Thank you!!

Christianna

Posted by: Christianna on November 5, 2006

Hey Matt,
I am going to apply for the Fall of 2007, and I have my mid-term exams in December and the results come out in January. So when am I supposed to send the Mid Term Evaluation Report ?

Posted by: Rizwan on November 13, 2006

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