Mar 23, 2006
The Only Answer I Have
Posted in: Process & Statistics
I think you guys set a record for ben.mitblogs.com - 353 comments in the last thread, as of this writing. Thanks to everyone who understood that it was a personal entry in my personal blog about my personal experience, and not some MIT-sanctioned, carefully crafted spin. Thank you for being human and for recognizing that I am the same.
I had a long response prepared for the haters, but I let it go. No matter how good and honest one's intentions, there will always be haters. That's life.
I've received hundreds of emails since Saturday and a bunch of blog comments, all asking for "just a couple of sentences" about why a specific applicant was not admitted. I've responded to each email with a slightly different version of the same answer, because it's the only answer I have to offer. And here it is...
What you must understand is that the selection committee votes to admit the applicants who are admitted, not to reject the applicants who are not offered admission. I know that the term "rejected" is common in my field, but it needs clarification. No one is ever rejected by MIT. Almost 10,000 applicants were not offered admission, true - but many of them could have been, had there been additional space in the class. The term "rejection" implies the opposite.
As such, there is always a compelling reason for every admit - and I could reproduce those committee decisions on demand. But often there is not a specific reason that someone is not offered admission, other than the fact that there are too many qualified applicants for too few spots in the class.
Also, as I said in one of my comments in the last thread, I wish people would stop reducing themselves (and other applicants) to a bunch of numbers and a few words of description for the sake of comparison. We have a 25+ page application for a reason. Clearly no one knows the whole story on any applicant except for the applicant him/herself and the committee. That's why all the speculation in my blog comments (and on College Confidential) is so silly.
I want to remind people that I didn't go to MIT, and I happen to like my life very much. MIT is an amazing place, but it won't determine your future success and happiness. How you embrace and dedicate yourself to whatever options life throws your way will.