Aug 5, 2005
Power of suggestion
Posted in: Life & Culture
You know, I'm not a real admissions worker, but I bet they often get the question, "What's the typical MIT student like?" and then they have to say something like, "Oh, the campus is incredibly diverse but all are united by a thirst for knowledge and an indefatigable work ethic, etc... There is no typical MIT student." Well, no offense, admissions office--you really do an excellent job--but I think I just came up with the absolute perfect answer to this question.
My freshman year, I went to Sigma Kappa Late Night, a fall talent show for charity sponsored by one of MIT's five sororities, and they held a raffle there. About halfway through the awards, one of the sisters announced:
"Okay, and the next winner is number 1024!"
Did you just think, "Hey, that's a power of 2!"? So did I! So did Mitra. So did Mike Short. Apparently, pretty much every one of the several hundred MIT students in the room was simultaneously struck with that exact same realization for a fraction of a second.
As you can probably see from these blogs, the MIT student population is remarkably diverse and it's nearly impossible to come up with just one distinguishing interest, habit, or characteristic. Some undergrads spent their years in high school winning science fairs, some spent them cow-tipping. Some like to sit on the beach alone and read physics textbooks, some like to watch the worst television shows in the world. Still, I think it's safe to say that the typical MIT student will instantly recognize 1024 as a power of 2. It's just a strange piece of deep, psychological programming that seems to unite pretty much the whole campus.
So, really, I think you could boil this whole stressful application process down to just one question if you wanted to. Have an interviewer say "1024!" and if the applicant says "power of 2!" they get into MIT undergrad.
And then every college in America could do the same thing, just with a different question.
I am so smart.
Now that I think of it, this is totally creepy in a Brave New World kind of way.