MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Ben Jones

Mar 15, 2005

Two Sides Of The Coin… For Us Too

Posted in: Process & Statistics

I posted a version of this as a comment in the last thread, but decided to blog it here as a real entry so that more folks would see it.

I've been a bit sad this week, and many of you have been wondering why: "you've finished selecting the class, man - you should be happy, you should go celebrate!"

Hmmmm. :-/

Well, it's like this...

As readers, we connect with people when we read their applications. We imagine them coming to MIT, finding their niche, doing wonderful things - sometimes we even start to look forward to bumping into them on the Infinite and watching them grow.

Sometimes those people get in. More often (and truly, mostly because of class size and rarely because they're not qualified), they don't get in. When you put your heart into writing the summary of someone's potential and then lobby hard for him/her in committee, it hurts like hell when he/she doesn't make it.

In no way am I comparing my feelings to those of a rejected applicant - I know that my feelings do not compare. But at the same time, I don't want you to think we're just happy for the people who got in and that's it. Watching the people who didn't get in receive their letters is as heartbreaking for me as any acceptance letter is happy.

And that's not something I would say just for the sake of saying it.

Don't get me wrong - I am *very* happy for the folks who made it in. They help to balance the other side of the coin. I just want you all to know that all of your decisions affect us, not just the happy ones. For what it's worth.

Comments (Closed after 30 days to reduce spam)

*cries in the corner*

Posted by: Shahab Umer on March 15, 2005

second.............. 4 hours later *after i have got my mail* i will cry with u

Posted by: a fat sheep on March 15, 2005

Why are you crying Shahab?

Posted by: Prashant on March 15, 2005

Yea, Shahab, don't cry

thank you ben, thank you thank you :-D

Posted by: someone on March 15, 2005

No mail from MIT arrived here in Kentucky yet. Waiting, waiting, waiting...... and waiting...

Posted by: Dongyon Kang on March 15, 2005

i am still fat anyway......
not a single tear crossed my face.......

Posted by: a fat sheep on March 15, 2005

Hmm.. yes, you care. And thats EXACTLY why people receive their rejection letters upside down. Because its filled with extra love and attention. Oh so VERY kind of you all. I know its not YOUR fault Ben, after all, I don't believe this is your job anyway, I do appreciate you trying to comfort we who are denied admission, however... next time, you should check with your secretaries who handle the forms.

Posted by: Chulupa on March 15, 2005

I am stiil waiting for decision letters to come......Has anyone from India got a letter ie thru DHL or mail

Posted by: sreraman on March 15, 2005


Let me speak for Ben (and allow him to correct me if I'm wrong anywhere) when I ask for you not to hold it against him or the admissions office. You have to keep in mind that mistakes do indeed happen.

You're trying to tell me you could not accidentally have put the paper in the printer upside down? I know I could've.


Posted by: Michael Borohovski on March 15, 2005

Well, when its for an important paper that I care enough about, I won't make that mistake, I'd surely double check it. This letter merely indicates to us that we are not worthy of MIT's attention and not important. Its a slap in the face, Mike. To see in the letter saying something like "Oh... you guys aren't bad people, just because you aren't admitted into MIT doesn't mean you aren't SUPER!" thats UPSIDE DOWN sends a mixed message.

At the same time, I wish everyone who was admitted a wonderful and enriching life at MIT. I myself will be at another university. Although it won't be as prestigious, I'm going to excel in it and join you all in Graduate School. Watch and wait Ben and Matt.

Posted by: Chulupa on March 15, 2005

no sreraman.. i havent recieved any letter by DHL or mail as well.. i too am waiting waiting waiting!!!!!

Posted by: Eager Indian on March 15, 2005

Thank you ben for keeping us up to date, and fighting for those of us. maybe you'll see an application from me for transfer or graduate in the coming years.

Posted by: Alexandra on March 15, 2005

Ben! thanks for this post,

Posted by: saad zaheer on March 16, 2005

Hi everyone!

First of all, I offer my congratulations to all those fantastic people who managed to get into MIT. To those who are waitlisted, I wish you luck... and finally, I want to share my feelings with the majority of us who weren't admitted.

I am an international applicant from India. Last year during the summer, while browsing through the websites of many US universities, and trying to find out scope for financial aid, I came across these words, "Let not the cost of an MIT education deter you from applying to it." This one sentence to me conveyed the spirit of MIT, to value excellence above everything else. I immediately connected to this wonderful institute and ended up applying to it. Giving the SATs and applying to US universities is not a popular choice amongst the students of my school and I probably was the only one who had even applied to any US university.

Yes, I did dream of getting an MIT education, and despite the abysmally low admittance rate for international admissions, I was high on hopes. In fact, I concentrated so much on the MIT admissions, that I did not consider applying to any other US university. Thinking about it now, I guess it was a rather foolhardy decision on my part. Not that I was too confident of my chances, but applying to so many institutes just seemed too arduous a task.

For the past few days, I had been waiting for that precious mail to transform my life. I haven't got it and finally called up DHL today itself, only to be told that there was no mail coming my way. I felt numb initially, to find so many of my dreams falling apart. I had spent so much of my time on this entire process, which I do not mind at all. But what I do mind is that I was a fool to have spent so much of my time dreaming about MIT, something which never was to come my way. Being realistic and practical was probably something I was never born with.

Anyways, now I am calmer. Its rather strange that failures have this unusual way of making you feel at peace with yourself and the rest of the world. So, those of you who are not admitted, do not lose heart. Remember there are 85 per cent of us who are in league together, and MIT was only supposed to be a gateway to something bigger. I am sure you all will realize your dreams no matter where you land up.

Finally, I would like to thank Matt, Ben, Mitra, Allison and Kevin for bringing to 'life', life at MIT. Over the past few months, I had almost begun to feel myself a member of this wonderful community. A year back, I could not have imagined that I would end up applying to MIT; I am sure its been an enrichening experience.

Maybe, it was better to have applied and been rejected, than never to have applied at all.

Bidding you all goodbye,

Posted by: Neeraj on March 16, 2005

Neeraj! I will not say that I can feel like u, or that I can contemplate what is going in your heart, but man ur post really saddens me, and I feel for u. I feel sad for all those who are rejected, who have been making plans and dreaming for the last few months to be among the MIT community.

But friend, its life and life would not have been what it is, without the disappointment or the happiness it brings. If life is beautiful, it is because it has sadness and joy, both coming simultaneously. They say the world follows the rule of opposites and its beauty lies in this very fact, we are hapy because we are not sad, we love because we do not hate, and all other good emotions exist because the bad emotions exist and vice versa. without this the world would be a dull place. we must all realize it, and if u are disappointed by MIT, u will be rewarded somewhere else.

and one more thing!
when i was having my interview with the EC, he told me abt his experiences at his school, of MIT and of his whole life. he told me that glory and honor is not tied with things and places but with deeds and hearts, and one has to discover ones strengths and use them properly, HONESTLY, and sincerely. that is the key to success and no place in the world, not even MIT will make u do this, but ur own self. UR OWN VERY SELF man! its u who is going to make ur life, MIT will only help, any place will help, and nothing is tied with MIT but with U!

I must say that u consider this chapter of ur life as a fine experience and try to extract the good things out of it, and never ever in ur life consider ur self inferior, or superior to anyone, MEN are all equal but its their hardwork and commitment which distinguishes them. So work hard, where ever u go and stick with ur passions, GOD BLESS ALL OF U, selected ot rejected!


Posted by: Saad Zaheer on March 16, 2005

All: thank you for your kind, insightful posts in this thread.

Chulupa: please see

Posted by: Ben on March 16, 2005

Comments have been closed.