MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Ben Jones

Aug 15, 2007

Wise Words From Mikey

Posted in: Process & Statistics

I'm going through my in-box today, taking care of some long-overdue things. I found an entry that Mikey wrote for me that I had intended to publish this past spring. The summer snuck up on me before I had a chance to, and I decided to wait until now instead of posting it in June - this seems like a better time, as people prepare to arrive on campus and start their MIT experiences.

I'm sure some of you will be able to relate to the sentiments expressed below - I just work here and I know I've felt this way from time to time. :-)

I am also publishing this because (a) I really miss Mikey, who has left us to attend grad school at the university down the road, and (b) because I've been longing to post this picture of him, which always makes me think of The Matrix. (It's shamelessly borrowed from Mikey's page over on the Logs site.)

So, some context: Mikey received an email from a student who had been admitted to MIT and was concerned that everyone else would be much better prepared than she. Recognizing her concern as a very common one, Mikey asked her if we could publish their correspondence. Here it is:

So, mainly at this point I am very excited for MIT, but I am having some second thoughts. Concerning my peers. When I applied, I was well aware of the fact that MIT attracts the best and brightest... and I'm a bit worried that I'm not as bright and shiny as the others. For example, almost all the people I've talked to have been to the IMO or at least the USAMO or have won some science competition or another (Westinghouse, YES, Intel, take your pick) or have patented something, or have taken their school's science club to nationals. And I've never done any of that... I'm basically a kid who likes math, cats, plants and some plumbing and thought MIT seemed like a cool place because everyone was always building one thing or another, all the time.
But now I'm worried that I won't be able to catch up to these kids and as a result, coming in with no research experience or major math competition experience or etc. will pull me far behind my classmates and I'll struggle to get good grades (I know grades aren't everything, but I'd like to get decent enough grades to apply for graduate school) or find research opportunities or basically show professors that I have something to offer... when in fact I'm not sure I have anything to offer in comparison to the rest of the class of 2011.
I was really psyched to go despite the notoriously huge workload because I was pretty sure that I'd love doing the work, no matter how much there was (I really enjoyed, for example, doing stoichiometry problems and math problems... they're fun for me, but I don't have any true talent for them... I'm a "peasant" of a student, not a "poet" if that makes any sense at all), but now I'm more worried than anything. Please feel free to be honest... if you think that my sort of person can still do well at MIT, that's great... but if not, be as brutally honest as necessary!
So how was your experience at MIT? If you don't mind, can you tell me a bit about yourself? Like, were you one of those USAMO kids?
Thanks again for your time, and I hope I don't sound too hysterical :)

And here's Mikey's response, which I love:

Don't worry.
I had never heard of "Intel", "Westinghouse", or "IMO" before coming to MIT. I did not know a USABO, USNCO, or USPhO existed. I didn't even know science fairs and research competitions existed. No joke. I took the "pre-AMC" (back then it was called the AJHSME, and the AMC was called the AHSME - American (Junior) High School Math Exam), did okay on it, and never went any farther (I had heard of the AIME but wasn't even close to being considered for that test). And I felt exactly like you even before I applied to MIT. "MIT students are way smarter than me... I must've gotten in by accident... I'll be like the dumbest one there" is what I seriously told myself. And I totally get your "poet" vs "peasant" analogy... people would talk about how "elegant" a math proof was, or how "neat and interesting" the solution was to that physics problem, while I would just sit there and say "heck, did I at least get the units right?" or use brute force to solve the problem in a way that took 20x longer than it should have and said "hey, I still got it right in the end, who cares if it took 2 hours instead of 2 minutes?" Haha.
But anyways, back to the original point. I came to MIT, and seriously, I probably had way more fun than I was supposed to. (Hanging out with friends in my living group, going on road trips, having spontaneous parties, watching TV shows and movies, playing video games... Not all the time, but most of the time. Don't tell my parents.) Over my four years, I sang with an a cappella group, helped record and produce 2 CDs, sang in a classical group, was part of a religious club, did a UROP, and made many lifelong friends and memories.
But wait... what about the academics?? I graduated with a 4.8 GPA (out of 5.0) - and I honestly had a blast. (I hope that didn't come off as arrogant - I just wanted to let you know that you can have a lot of fun and still get good grades in your classes!)
Believe me, there was definitely hard work involved (it was not ALL fun and games) but really, you wouldn't have been admitted if you we didn't think you could not only survive but THRIVE here academically, socially, emotionally, physically, mentally (and every other "lly" way). MIT is about educating the entire student, not *just* the academics, and the college experience is not *just* the classes - it's EVERYTHING. You literally passed through *at LEAST* 5 different rounds of screening before you were definitively admitted to MIT; we said "not only can she do the work, but she's going to have fun, she'll add to the campus community, she'll be able to make great friends, and above all, she's a great match for MIT." Or something to that extent.
Yes, there are geniuses at MIT, even for MIT standards. I met plenty of them throughout my four years. But you know what? I couldn't even tell for most of them - I had plenty of friends where I didn't learn about their special and unique talents until after having known them for 2-3 years (examples: I didn't learn until junior or senior year that some of my friends consisted of: California State Nintendo Champion... a child TV show star... placed in the Putnam for more than one year... went to Africa to help vision-impaired children... worked on the Human Genome project... owned his own design company... etc... etc... etc...). But when people get here, everyone pretty much leaves a lot of that at the door (unless it comes up specifically). They're all students just like anyone, eager to meet new people... and it was incredibly exciting to have friends like them.
So don't worry. I know exactly what you're going through, and as someone who's been through it all and is on the other side now, I know you'll be juuuuust fine. :)

Mikey speaks the truth! So if you're nervous about your forthcoming arrival on campus, don't be. Really.

(And Mikey: we miss you! COME VISIT US.)

Comments (Closed after 30 days to reduce spam)

Yay! An update!
And thank you Mikey =)

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 15, 2007

Err, so somehow a second chunk of my response got eaten -.- Anyway, that blog is really comforting, because that's how I've been feeling lately (actually, since I applied in October). I'm still worried the schoolwork is going to kick my butt + classmates breezing through it, but I guess I'm not the only one feeling that way =P

Though I still wonder how in the world I got in =)

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 15, 2007


Never heard of them until I read this entry 30 seconds ago. Seriously. And I'm about to be a junior here.

Just sayin'. =)

Posted by: Laura on August 15, 2007

Thanks. It's comforting to know there are real people at M.I.T.

Posted by: GraceyGurl on August 15, 2007

Thanks, Mikey and Ben! This really helped dispel some of the worries that have been plaguing me. Now I'm just wondering how this girl picked Mikey out of a couple thousand students to ask her question...

Posted by: Grace '11 on August 15, 2007

Because Mikey rocks, enough said. He's like a living legend. Seriously.

Anyway, great entry. I've felt the same way on many occasions - which is sort of funny when I think about it, because technically I'm one of those "Westinghouse people" that the original writer found so intimidating! Guess we're all just a little insecure about our respective talents...which is probably a lot better than all of us being over-confident jerks. smile

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 15, 2007

I was having the same concerns as the student who wrote to Mikey: I haven't done anything with a really huge impact - I like math and computer science, and I probably will be speculating on one of those subjects at any given point in time. If not, I do some reading or daydreaming to keep my mind working. I volunteer and try to help others where I can. MIT just seems like a perfect fit for me. It's nice to know that not every MIT student has to be a supergenius. I kind of fit into the peasant mold.

Posted by: wmerkes on August 15, 2007

Still a little upset that we didn't all get our own private Mikeys during CPW. . .

Posted by: Snively on August 15, 2007

I used to have these same concerns, and I guess I still do. Mostly because of my terrible SAT Math scores and better, but not MIT-good ACT Math score. It's been subsiding recently, mostly because I leave Saturday, and the time to be worried is over.

Do or die time, baby.

Posted by: Hank R. on August 15, 2007

The thing about MIT is that there is always someone more accomplished, or smarter, or generally "better" than you. But it doesn't matter, because you stay away from the people who are arrogant about it, and learn from the people who aren't.

You'll read about it on places like this all the time: MIT is a very collaborative place. If you're better at someone than somebody else, you help them get better, and the opposite is true as well. We all help each other through things - nobody is here to try and hoard knowledge.

Posted by: Evan '10 on August 15, 2007

That's reassuring...thank you!

Posted by: Anonymous on August 16, 2007

Hi, can someone help me, please??
I have this big problem with App1.
I was just ready to submit it, but in the field to indicate my highschool anme, date entered, etc, I cannot find my school, so I chose I cannot find my school, and saved the changes, but when I use the validator or try to save those changes I just get an error telling me that info is missing!!
And then i tipped in the info, though I could find it on the list, and saved the changes, but I get the same error and when I see the fields are in blank again!!
And my interview is tomorrow!! Can i procide with it anyway?? I hope I don't ruined it all!!

Posted by: Farhad on August 16, 2007

Is it ok if write my school and graduating dat info in the 'If you feel the need to clarify your answer to any of the questions on this form, please use the space below' section?????
Someone?? help!!

Posted by: Farhad on August 16, 2007

Is it ok if I ignore the errors and do the thing stated above???????????????

Posted by: Farhad on August 16, 2007

@Farhad - BREATHE. Go to your interview. Email MIT. They aren't going to throw out your application because something's wrong about what is entered as your high school =)

I didn't know about any of those exams, either - and I don't know how I was even allowed into MIT without knowing computer programming like everyone else seems to know. Or having taken differential equations in 2nd grade (well, sophomore year or something). Or not doing research.

... are you SURE I wasn't an accident? I'm getting worked up again.

I think I'll reread Mikey's words =P

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 16, 2007


I'm having exactly the same problems as you mentioned above .... don't worry the admissions staff will try to clear it up as soon as they can.

BTW Mikey is just awesome ...

Posted by: Vihang on August 16, 2007

what kind of students are accepted by MIT to do their course in there?

Posted by: 0 on August 16, 2007

I've been waiting for this entry! =) Of all those acronyms, I've only ever heard of AMC - and that's just because I googled it when I saw it on the app. I went to high school in a small town with one AP class (English).

I've definitely felt those same insecurities, mostly becausee I'll be arriving at MIT four years after high school. But if there's one thing I've learned from the real world, it's that it's full of real people. We all have our talents, our abilities, our passions... But not one of us knows everything. In a place like MIT not even the "poets" can get by on their own; we all help each other, and we all need help from others.

@Farhad - Relax, friend. Your main concern at the moment should be your interview. You can wait to submit App1 until the problem is fixed.

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on August 16, 2007

Wow, that's exactly how I felt.

Then I realized there's a lot of people that looooove to brag about going to X or Y competition.

So... even though there's people that are going to try to make us feel like we're complete morons, and we're going to feel like crap when we get 30's on our tests, we did not get in by mistake!

Posted by: milena '11 on August 16, 2007

@ Farhad: You may not read this before your interview, but either way, don't worry! In addition to everyone else's excellent advice, let me just say that the interview is a not a test, it's a conversation. It's a chance for you to talk more about what you've done the past few years, and perhaps to learn a little more about some of the people who've gone through MIT. Bottom line, you can't "fail" your interview! smile

@ Anonymous: Perhaps the best answer is all kinds. There are some common traits - commitment to excellence, an excitement for learning, willingness to collaborate, inventiveness, creativity, dedication...but one of the great things about MIT is that there really is no "stereotypical" MIT student. Probably the best advice I can give you would be to continue reading the blogs, and to come visit if you can!

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 16, 2007

And....does just having heard about those things make us somehow unqualified?

Posted by: Curious '11 on August 16, 2007

@farhad: Hakuna Matata man.

whether or not you get in won't be due to a beurecratic detail.

@ everybody: Hakuna Matata, drink some orange juice, eat some captain crunch, have a good time.

Posted by: Thomas on August 16, 2007

I'm eating an apple; does that count?

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on August 16, 2007

about the poet/peasant analogy, will I survive if I'm the opposite? I think math is awesome and beautiful, but I don't really like to take insane amounts of time working through it(I know that I will have to change my work habits a little...). I'm also completely useless with computers. I just don't really like them that much...

But anyway... Mikey is certainly very comforting. Thanks for posting this.

Posted by: Kari on August 16, 2007


Any idea how I can apply for "study abroad" at MIT from outside the USA??!/

I have been trawling the web Site but it says abs nothing in this regard.

Any help appreciated..thx!!!

Posted by: 0 on August 16, 2007

yeah, I was able to read all this help ful and great info before the interview!!! Actually it will take place in an hour :D:D Interviews, as far as I have read, sound as something great! Thank you all for the help!!

Posted by: Farhad on August 16, 2007

Hey Ben, nice job making the "n comments" link on the main page link to the comments section of the post.

I'm going to drop by on Monday with parent types, are you going to be in your office?

Posted by: Snively on August 16, 2007


Does the "Remember Me" work yet?

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 16, 2007

Guess not. Oh well, one down, one to go =P

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 16, 2007

Apples aren't my favorite comfort food.. but meh? why not.

Posted by: Thomas on August 16, 2007

How do you like them apples?

(It had to be said.)

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 17, 2007

If one student apply for undergraduate and he/she have programming knowledge like C/C++ VB ,etc.
And also be familier with cryphtology does these thing help him/her to accept for study in MIT?

Posted by: 0 on August 17, 2007

Thank you so much for this post...the girl writing to Mikey expressed the sentiments that I have had since getting accepted in December. I am glad to know I am not the only one trying to figure out when someone will yell out "haha just kidding!!" and revoke my admission because I am not up to the MIT standard. I have not done any of those things that she mentioned and also felt as though I was the only one in that boat. Thanks!

Posted by: Stephanie '11 on August 17, 2007

lol Paul, that was entirely necessary.

@Anonymous - current knowledge and familiarity with programming (or any field for that matter) has nothing to do with admission to MIT. Academic ability, passion for what you're interested in, curiosity, willingness to learn, collaborative spirit, etc... Those things make you a good match for MIT.

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on August 17, 2007

How can show are academic ability and passion to MIT is the mark of Academic is most important for MIT or there are other ways to show that we have ability for MIT or not?
What we should do to show are potential to MIT?
Thank you

Posted by: 0 on August 17, 2007

My school isn't listed either... Probably because it's a VERY small school in a country far, far away... (170 students total)

Posted by: Eirik on August 17, 2007

I am a guy with the big competences that I prefer to be a really pleasant guy and I appreciate the music and the maths and I want to obtain in MIT does you has the point for me that will be done me the better one. PLEASE HELP! smile

Posted by: Charles on August 17, 2007

@Anonymous - If programming is your passion, go for it! Learn what you can. Of course, you'll probably pursue learning it whether or not you get into MIT - that's the nature of the people here. I don't know a lick of programming (the limit of my computer skills ends at very little html programming, which never made it on my application anyway) and I got in. Don't worry so much about what MIT "wants" - MIT wants passion and drive. They don't look for specific activities.

Posted by: Wings '11 on August 17, 2007

I am so glad that 1) someone besides me was worried about this and 2) Mikey responded like he did.

Reading this post and these comments has been very reassuring! I've decided to definitely apply to MIT (yay), which, while exciting, is also REALLY scary.

@Paul -- You are very intimidating.

Posted by: Kate on August 17, 2007

@ Kate: If you're intimidated by ridiculously good-looking guys with a great sense of humor...then, sure, I'm intimidating. wink

By the way, I'm glad you made up your mind to apply. Good luck!

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 17, 2007

I share the same feelings. I felt intimidated by the nature of MIT at first, but then I said to myself that everything happens for a reason and nothing in life is accidental. Also the only kind of people that exist are real human beings with different talents and weaknesses. Thanks Mikey!! I feel reassured.

Posted by: Stephan '11 on August 17, 2007

All this broken English reminds me of lolcats (if you've never heard of lolcats, a quick trip to should clear up the confusion).

"I'm in ur blog, hijacking ur comments..."

@Kate - good luck!

Oh, and Paul is shameless. =)

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on August 17, 2007


Just read the blog, and really found it nice (though, since I'm not one of those admitted yet, it can't exactly reassure me now - I've to first survive the admissions process).

Anyway, sorry if I am a little out of topic, but I had to clarify a few doubts about the MIT admissions process.

I am a student in India and I graduated from high school (class 12) in April 2007. I have secured admission to the first year of a four-year undergraduate engineering course in an engineering college of Mumbai University.

However, I would like to do my undergraduate and graduate studies in MIT, and hence would like to apply for the MIT freshman admissions (entry year 2008). I did not apply for the 2007 freshman admissions (big mistake, I realise now).

I know that since I have already entered another university, I may be expected to apply for the transfer admissions, instead of the regular freshman admissions. But I want to apply for freshman admissions instead of transfer admissions, because:
(1) I want to do my entire undergraduate studies (all 4 years) at MIT, and this is possible only if I secure freshman admission. (Securing transfer admission would mean doing my 1st year at Mumbai University, and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th years at MIT, which is less desirable to me.)
(2) The admit rate is lower for transfer admissions than for the freshman admissions. (This reason is not as important as the first one, but it still can be considered.)

So, will my freshman application (entry year 2008) still be considered seriously, even though I would spend the academic year 2007-2008 in Mumbai University? Or will I have greater chances of getting rejected?

I sent a mail (containing all of the above details) to the MIT Admissions Office, and recieved a reply (not very informative) stating that since I would spend 2 terms at another university, I would be ineligible to apply for the freshman admissions, and so should apply for the transfer admissions.

So should I cancel my admission in Mumbai University, to become eligible for the MIT 2008 freshman admissions?

And here's another thought: can I apply for BOTH freshman and transfer admissions for the same entry year (2008)? (I would still prefer to enter as a freshman.)

Sorry if my post is too long, but I really need these doubts clarified.


Posted by: Vijay on August 17, 2007

Haha, I totally forgot about this! Thanks for posting it B. I'm back home visiting the family this week but I hope to stop by the office sometime next week or the week after. I know Marisa's gonna be on vacation, are other people gonna be around? smile

Posted by: Mikey on August 17, 2007

P.S. Glad to read many people found this comforting! Y'all must be so excited to be coming to Boston soon. I hope I get to meet some of you, even though I'll be going to school down the street. Who knows, maybe I'll still be reading applications for MIT next year and I'll see y'all around the office! smile

Posted by: Mikey on August 17, 2007

Anonymous (and everybody else), when I was doing my applications, I compared the whole process to having a crush on someone. You like the school, you wish you could go there, you get pretty obsessed over it, check your hair in the mirror to make sure everything looks good, and get involved a gazillion extracurricular activities. But if you're just yourself, the guy (or girl) will just come to you. Soooo moral of the story: just be yourself, have fun with the application, and show yourself in the most flattering light. If MIT loves you too, amazing, but if they don't... there's more fish in the sea!

Posted by: milena '11 on August 17, 2007


As you said, MIT's policy prohibits students already enrolled in another college or university from applying for freshman admission. That's the way it is. There is the [extreme] option of choosing not to enroll at Mumbai University this year, in hopes that you will be accepted to MIT. The thing is, MIT is extremely selective (even more so among international students). If you want to begin undergraduate study this year, your best option is to enroll at Mumbai University and consider applying to MIT as a transfer student.

A thought that may cross your mind is to apply as a freshman, concealing all information about your enrollment at Mumbai University. This is a bad idea. It may go undetected for some time, and you may even get away with it... But, as the admissions office has been so painfully and recently reminded, it's best to just be honest.

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on August 17, 2007

I doesn't matter if I have submited my application yet or not... My EC just forgot about our meeting, LOL, now I'm meeting him on tuesday... Anyway, I have these new problem, yeah I'm Mr. Problems and Mr. Questions. As I wrote in a previous post, we here have two last names, so I was told I should write my name exactly as the name I wrote or will write for registering for the tests. The problem is in the College Board site I don't have enough space to write them both... So I said, ok, no problem, I will submit my application writing just my first last name, there's probably no-one with my weird complete name. But for registering for the TOEFL they ask me to write them both, last names, if I have two, and that's the case.
Any ideas?? Someone who had this problem too if there's anyone who had actually this problem? Someone from admissons??
I'll try not to write so long posts in the futuro raspberry

Posted by: Farhad on August 17, 2007

Hey Farhad,

Interesting dilemma...I'm pretty sure it'll all get worked out eventually though, and you can always call or email to ensure that MIT gets all your papers in the right file. If it's an immediate problem, you can try calling (or emailing) the admissions office to see what they have to say.

Incidentally, do you also have a middle name? Because if you don't, you might want to think about putting one of your last names in the "middle name" section.

@ Hawk: Yes, I am totally shameless. Got a problem with that? smile

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 17, 2007


I have a feeling you are correct when you say, "there's probably no-one with my weird complete name." If you put both last names on the TOEFL and just one of them on your other tests and your application, I'm sure they will get matched up in the admissions office. Smart people work there. =)

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on August 17, 2007

Now I'm intimidated... =P

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on August 17, 2007

Hahaha, but you're in the Navy, I know better than to mess with you guys. raspberry

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 17, 2007

Time to play some catch up

@Vijay: Kudos for being able to write all that in english so well.

@Paul: Deez Apples?

@Farhad: I feel for you and all the ink you must be going through.

@publicspeaker: meh.. no first posts in public speaking

@Charles: Hakuna Matata

Posted by: Thomas on August 17, 2007


Posted by: paul on August 18, 2007

@ Farhad : I believe that the problem with the online application has now been resolved. It works fine for me.

BTW best of luck for your interview.

Posted by: Vihang on August 18, 2007

nice post milena...keep giving us gems like those...

Posted by: ronald on August 18, 2007 one pls help me out....i am a 11 grade student studying in india...basically i m very good in academics n am thinkin of tryin for MIT...but my family cant afford the fees as the cost of livin in india is r there ne chances of gettin a full scholarship?? n is there ne problem if i study in the indian board n not an International one???

Posted by: apramita on August 18, 2007

MIT offers need-based admissions entirely independent of family circumstances. Your chances of admission are enhanced by your strength of grades and the quality of your secondary school curriculum, and not by which specific stream or "track" you have studied.

Personally, though, I think it is more prestigious, realistic and AUTHENTIC to follow everything the typical high school student is following in your country and to do 'em all.
Therefore Indian board is better, and maybe cheaper and easily-arranged, who knows?..

Practice a math and science SAT II and the SAT I or TOEFL. Attempt a foreign language, too, like German or Spanish, both in school work and in the SAT II!

Posted by: 0 on August 18, 2007

Hi, I have the same problem that Farhad has about the High School entry. I select Can not find my school and I save my changes but the error message keeps reapearing. Is it normal ?
And I have a feeling that IF I get in MIT this article will calm mem but for now, no can do! Can you do a similar post for prospective students please Ben ^ ^ ? Thank you.

Posted by: Isshak on August 18, 2007

Yeah, it works fine now :D

Posted by: Farhad on August 18, 2007

There are several students that apply for MIT from around the world and you cannot chose all of them.
What they should do to show that they are better than other?

Posted by: 0 on August 18, 2007

Interview is offline or online?
I mean do you have interview section throgh internet or only we must come and do it?

Posted by: 0 on August 18, 2007

Interviews are in person, in your home area if there's an EC available there

Posted by: Farhad on August 18, 2007

Hah, I had exactly those sentiments when I got accepted into MIT and they periodically start to resurface. CPW did a lot to raise my confidence, though, since everyone I spoke to seemed human. So whenever those feelings start to resurface, I just remember that the people at MIT are still people.

Posted by: ShawnOfAwesome '11 on August 18, 2007

I am so excited that there are people out there that are thinking this because I have been freaked out since I got in! I still think it was a mistake, but I'm glad they let me in. I'm really excited to get to MIT tomorrow! See you all around!

P.S. Milena—nice thinking.

Posted by: Katie '11 on August 18, 2007

thank u soooooo much for posting this; it was something i needed to read!

Posted by: KantoKid on August 18, 2007

@Hawkins -- thanks. I think I'm going to need it (the good luck, that is.)

@Paul -- Oh, yes. I am incredibly intimidated by good-looking guys with funny senses of humor. That might be my problem! lol

Posted by: Kate on August 18, 2007

Lets make sure I have all my lucky charms here:

Hearts... check
stars... check
horshoes... check
clovers.... check
blue moons.... check
pots of gold... check (aka tuition)
rainbows..... check
red balloons... check
..... rabits foot... check...
Wouldn't it be gross if they put little marshmallow rabits feet in lucky charms?

Posted by: Thomas '12 on August 18, 2007

@Kate: You prefer the ugly mean Darth Vadery types than?

Posted by: Thomas '12 on August 18, 2007


Aw! Rabbit feet marshmallows! That's just, horrible!

Although, you shouldn't need rabbits feet anymore:

Posted by: Snively on August 18, 2007

@ Milena: My friends and I used the exact same analogy when talking about colleges. Before results came out and we were going insane, it was because they were playing hard to get, but while I was trying to make my decision, the two colleges I was deciding between and I were having a menage e trois (sp?).

Made the whole experience more enjoyable tongue laugh

Posted by: TehShawn'11 on August 19, 2007

Yeah, "in your home area" translates to "in your country" for my part. My EC's located about 600 km from where I live.

Posted by: EV on August 19, 2007

Not kidding

Posted by: EV on August 19, 2007

@Snively - hahaha! I love that commercial. Especially the rabbit swimming in the gigantic fish tank. So random!

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on August 19, 2007

can neone tell me whether i should opt for a good college in India or i should try for MIT....coz here the studies are totally a practical person i don feel like studyin here and the other problem is i've never been to US n i fear tht i'll get a gr8 cultural shock n wont be able to study....I AM CONFUSED!!!!

Posted by: apramita on August 19, 2007

One more thing,is the interview online or is it a telephonic conversation???coz i don think ne one will come here all the way from US.

Posted by: apramita on August 19, 2007

@apramita - You can think it over as you apply. Now is not the time to choose a school; now is the time to give yourself options! Don't let culture shock keep you away - if you're accepted, you won't be the only Indian attending MIT. =)

The interview is done in person! There should be someone in your area (at least someone in your country) who can interview you. If not, your interview is waived. To find out who is assigned to your area, create a MyMIT account here.

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on August 19, 2007

All the worries. I haven't even applied yet, but still. I just talked to my rowing coach who used to coach at MIT and it was really reassuring that MIT students are NORMAL people too. And pretty awesome ones at that. Is there a time when it is too early to contact coaches?

Posted by: Becca on August 19, 2007

@ Hawkins - Thanks for replying and the great advice!

But you must be knowing, the transfer admissions are even more selective that the freshman admissions, and even in these U.S. students have a better chance of getting admitted than international students.

The thing I'd like to know is, is it a strict RULE, or simply a DESIRE of the MIT admisions officials, that students (especially international) who have secured admission in another university, cannot apply for the MIT freshman admissions?

If it is a rule, then the admission officials might just reject my freshman application without even considering it properly. However, if it is not so, then they might consider my situation and look at my application properly before making any decision.

And (at the risk of sounding like someone intent on breaking the rules; but I'd first like to KNOW all the rules) I'd like to know that if I don't reveal in my freshman application that I've been admitted to Mumbai University, how will the MIT admission officials come to know about it at all?

And there's another thing on my mind. Can't I apply for BOTH the freshman and transfer admissions (at the same time)? I would prefer to first apply for the freshman admissions and await the decision, and apply for the transfer admissions only if I'm not admitted as a freshman. However, since the notification of freshman admissions decision is during late March and the application deadline (for international students) for the transfer admissions is March 15, waiting is not possible.



@ Thomas - Thanks for the complement. (But were you expecting my English to be flawed?)

Posted by: Vijay on August 19, 2007

Hello, this is Mr. Questions again! Sorry :$
This about one of the two teacher evaluations, the one to be filled by a humanities teacher. What I want to know is if this form can be filled by a teacher I had in the 10th and 11th grade but not anymore? It is just I trust that teacher more than anyone else to write a teacher recommendation for me! Is that possible? Anyone has been in a similar position?
As usual, I'm very thankfull for the help from all of you!

Posted by: Farhad on August 19, 2007

Vijay: As I understand it from the guidelines given here, transfer admissions at MIT are intended for students who have completed two or more terms at a college. Since you haven't yet completed any academic terms at Mumbai, even though you have committed to enroll there, you might be able to apply as a freshman.

But please do not place too much stock in that comment - the honest answer is that I really don't know, because a case like yours is not explicitly covered in the guidelines and I simply do not work at MIT. I know international phone calls aren't cheap, but my best advice is to call the Transfer Admissions office at 1-617-253-4770, and see what they have to say.

Whatever you do, please don't lie. Not only is it simply unethical, the truth is often more convincing and touching than any lie could be.

Best of luck to you.

Farhad: No problem. A recommendation from a 10th or 11th grade teacher is certainly acceptable, as long as they know you well. Basically, if you consider yourself to be friends with that teacher, they're probably a good choice. smile Personally, both of my recommendations came from teachers I had in the 11th grade.

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 20, 2007

@Hawkins Thanks for the reply.I would like to ask one more thing.As i am studying in an Indian Board,the system of grading is different,as in we dont get grades,we get marks in each subject and the overall percentage.We dont have any Advanced Placement.I got overall 87% in the 10th grade.does MIT recognise the Indian systemof grading??

Posted by: apramita on August 20, 2007

@Farhad : Funny. I'm doing the same thing ... getting a humanities recommendation from my 10th grade teacher who knows me better than my current teacher.

I glad MIT so nice and accepting about all these problems students face.

@Apramita : Yes MIT knows quite a bit about the Indian System of Grading too. I remember reading somewhere on the admissions Site that they do know quite a lot about the different education systems all around the world including the CBSE board.

Posted by: Vihang on August 20, 2007

@Apramita - As Vihang said, it says on the International Applicants page:

"Your application will be read by a committee of experienced MIT admissions officers. We are familiar with many international school systems, including, but not limited to, the IB, A Levels, the French Baccalaureat, and CBSE, and we assure you that we will understand your curriculum and your context. Your application will be reviewed within the context of the resources available to you, including your situation as affected by family, school, culture, region, and country."

@Vijay - Oh yes, transfer admissions and international admissions are both extremely competitive. Paul has a good point, and the only answer I have for you is that you need an MIT admissions officer to answer your question adequately.

Also, how would they know about your acceptance to Mumbai University? You just posted it on their web site, along with your name! =P Believe me, I know how much you want to go to MIT (you can't possibly want to go more than I do). But I do not recommend dishonesty as a means to get there.

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on August 20, 2007

@Vijay - Well.. i would really like to suggest you 2 drop ur admission.. Provided u r really serious bou MIT.. Even i gt enrolld at Delhi University aftr graduatin dis year bt dropped it coz i wntd mahslf 2 b cumpletely focusd.. Gotta giv SAT-1 n 2 vich is no joke n trust me d application process is gonna tak whol lotta time.. N in ur case wid engg studies its gonna giv u loads of troubl n at d end of d day u wnt b abl 2 put ur best in d app..!!!!!... N i suppose u can put 1 yr at risk 4 ur dream college...!!.. U might jus gt in2.. n evn if u dunt.. Mumbai Univ is olways dere...!!

Posted by: Rashi on August 20, 2007



Posted by: Rashi on August 20, 2007

@Rashi/Vijay - that's true, but you shouldn't take a gap year simply in order to apply to MIT. You better have something meaningful to do with that time!

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on August 20, 2007

How was your interview???
Was it held in Iran???

Posted by: Mohamad( call me John) on August 20, 2007

Hey Ben, Matt or anyone... As I wrote earlier, my EC lives 600 km from where I live. It sounds kinda strange to me but is this "my home area"?

Posted by: EV on August 20, 2007

Can't wait to go there!

Posted by: Ronny CHEN on August 20, 2007

Judging by my name, I could easyly be Uzbek too, but no, I'm not Iranian and I don't live in Iran, I live in Mexico and my interview was rescheduled for tomorrow.

Posted by: Farhad on August 20, 2007

thank u anyway

Posted by: john on August 21, 2007

please help me for atleast getting enrolment forms for admissions heere in pune, India. I'm completely lost about whom to contact and seriously seek help. please send me you suggestions on my email address: [email protected] thankyou

Posted by: Anshul on August 21, 2007

@ Anonymous ("does programming knowledge like C/C++ VB, etc. help you to get into MIT?") - It certainly won't hurt to have some prior programming knowledge, especially if you're thinking about a related major such as Course 6. But keep in mind that your passions and activities don't have to all be science and technology related to make you attractive to MIT.

@ Anonymous ("what should we do to show our potential to MIT?") - Honestly, just be yourself. Everyone has potential - but it's those who really make use of it that stand out from the pack. We're more interested in the how and why than we are in the what.

@ Vijay - it is a rule that if you will have completed two semesters at another university prior to enrolling at MIT, unfortunately you will have to apply to MIT as a transfer. As others have mentioned, it's not a good idea to apply dishonestly for freshman admission - we'll likely find out. I also wouldn't recommend taking a year off - you have a great opportunity at Mumbai, and it's not worth sacrificing it just to apply as a freshman to MIT. Have a wonderful experience at Mumbai and apply here as a transfer if you wish to leave after your first year - but chances are you'll love Mumbai and want to stay. Give it a chance!

@ Farhad - regarding the names question, just try to make them match as closely as possible on your application and standardized tests and then send an email to [email protected] telling us which names were used in which fields on each component so we can be sure to match them correctly.

@ Apramita - as others have pointed out, MIT is committed to providing 100% demonstrated need for every student it admits, for all four years. Please don't worry about the fees - if you are admitted, MIT will find a way to make it work financially.

@ Anonymous ("There are several students that apply for MIT from around the world and you cannot chose all of them. What they should do to show that they are better than other?") - That's a tough question to answer, because most students in our applicant pool are exceptional students and it's often impossible to call one "better" than another. Decisions are based around the "match" to MIT's culture which you can read more about here.

@ Anonymous (Interview is offline or online?) - interviews are conducted in person by MIT alums around the world (or waived if there is not an alum close to you). We do not conduct interviews on campus.

@ Apramita - Hawkins gave the perfect answer: "You can think it over as you apply. Now is not the time to choose a school; now is the time to give yourself options!"

@ Becca - nope, you can begin contacting coaches now.

@ Farhad - absolutely, the rec does not have to come from a current teacher, just someone who knows you well.

@ Apramita - don't worry, we get hundreds of applications from India each year, and we're very familiar with its grading systems.

@ EV - yes, unfortunately it sounds like there is not an EC close to you. You can write to [email protected] to confirm, but your interview will likely be waived.

@ Anshul - you will find information on how to apply here.

Posted by: Ben on August 21, 2007

@ Paul, Hawkins, Ravi - Thanks for the advice. But I'd like to know this now: will it exactly be LIEING if I don't disclose the fact of my enrollment at Mumbai University (if I'm not specifically asked about it)? [Isn't 'not telling something' (especially when not asked about it) different from 'telling a lie'?]

@ Hawkins - It's not necessary that the names with which people post their responses here, are the real names of those people (AND there are many people with the same name). So as far as detecting someone is concerned, doing it through these responses on the Internet won't exactly be fullproof.

But I get what you're trying to say. I know that I can't get into MIT by fooling the admission officials. What I want right now is the right information, to make a right decision about what to do next. I just wish the Admissions Office would answer my emails faster (and be more informative while answering).

Again, thanks for the help.

Posted by: Vijay on August 21, 2007

Hi Vijay - I did answer in the post just above yours... grin

Posted by: Ben on August 21, 2007

Thanks a lot, Ben!!

But PLEASE try to understand..... I REALLY want to do all my undergraduate (and graduate) studies at MIT, and hence would REALLY appreciate it if I could apply for the freshman admissions (like Paul said, the transfer admissions site says that only students who have COMPLETED two terms at another university are eligible for transfer admissions.... I haven't completed even one term at Mumbai University now, I've just taken admission and only the first week at college has passed till now).

And Mumbai University is DEFINITELY not as good as MIT!

Posted by: Vijay on August 21, 2007

@Hawkins '12 - M doin 1 yr certified course in Spanish from Delhi University meanwhile as i din gt a chance in high school 2 learn foreign lang.. plus m tryin 2 gt mahslf aquaintd 2 sum comp programs..

I hope dats meaningful...

Posted by: Rashi on August 21, 2007

Can sumbody plz temme bou MR. RAVI K. MEATTLE..???

Posted by: Rashi on August 21, 2007

@Vijay - here we call it the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. =) So yes, it would be lying. And although not foolproof, the correlation of names would be enough to, say, phone Mumbai University and inquire if they had enrolled a student with your name. =P Anyway, Ben has spoken.

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on August 21, 2007

@Ben:Thanks a lot for the reply.I would like to ask one more thing.I am interested in mechanical engineering and a very few girls (i haven't met neone yet)opt for ME in India.So is there much scope for ME in MIT??

Posted by: Apramita on August 22, 2007

Hey Vijay, I do understand... but it's an MIT policy, not something admissions officers have control over. I know you haven't started yet, but you will have completed 2 semesters prior to enrolling at MIT, which is the language of the policy.

Apramita - lots and lots of women study ME here. grin Laura, for example...

Posted by: Ben on August 22, 2007

@Ben:You said you recognise the Indian system of grading.So what according to you is a good percentage?(i am studying in a CBSE school)

Posted by: Apramita on August 23, 2007

@Apramita - Ehh, don't get caught up in the numbers. If your percentage looks decent to you, it probably is. The big thing is making sure to accurately represent yourself on the application. Grades obviously play a part, but the match is of equal or greater importance.
(sorry, I know I'm not Ben, but I felt compelled to respond anyway...)

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on August 23, 2007

i've felt like a peasant before.. haha
i'm going to apply to MIT so that's comforting to know!
thanks for posting, mr. jones
and thanks mikey

Posted by: tinman on August 24, 2007

@ Ben: Ah - I understand now, that makes more sense. Still, the transfer-admissions page is a little awkwardly worded. smile

@ Vijay: I'm really sorry it didn't work out...I was trying to help, but I'm afraid I might have just made things worse. =/ Still, I hope you enjoy yourself next year at Mumbai. Good luck if you decide to apply for transfer admissions!

Posted by: Paul '11 on August 25, 2007

To Vijay, I've recently left MIT but I worked there for 3 years as an Admissions Officer. MIT's applicant database is the same for transfer and freshman applicants, so its impossible for us to not know that you apply for both. Plus, a freshman application requires that you submit reference letters from 3 teachers at your high school, so there is no way to "pretend" that you didn't enroll at Mumbai--I'm sure that your teachers are honest folks who will mention it in their letters. Basically there's no way to cheat the system. Sorry to burst your bubble, but its always best to play by the rules. Don't worry, your current university can give you a wonderful education. Try for transfer admissions, and who knows? If that doesn't work out there's also the possibility of graduate school at MIT. Best of luck!

Posted by: Amy P. on August 28, 2007

@ Ben, Amy P., Hawkins, Paul, etc. - Thanks for all the information and helping me clear my doubts.

So, if I want to get freshman admission in MIT in 2008, the best option for me is to cancel my 2007 admission in Mumbai University and apply to MIT, is it?

Posted by: Vijay on August 28, 2007

Everyone has also suggested the transfer admissions, and I am considering them. But their admit rate is way too low, and the admitted students cannot study at MIT for all 4 years (any other disadvantages?).

Anyway, the thing I'd like to know about transfer admissions (and I'd really appreciate it if I can get accurate information from a reliable source) is how many international transfer applicants are generally admitted to MIT, and what is the usual admit rate for international transfer applicants (I'd like to get the statistics for the past 5 to 10 years).

Any current/ex- MIT Admissions Official reading this? PLEASE answer!

Posted by: Vijay on August 28, 2007

@Vijay - You are correct that your only opportunity to be admitted to MIT as a freshman is to refrain from enrolling at Mumbai University this year. You are also correct in thinking that, statistically, that's your best shot at getting accepted. That said, I still don't recommend it.

Since you're stuck on statistics, here's one... This year's international freshman admission rate was 4.3%, and the trend over the past few years has been an increase in applications and a decrease in admission rates. Assuming no change in the rate, there's a 95.7% chance you would be wasting an entire year of your life to apply to MIT instead of starting school right away.

I say this not to dissuade you from applying, but in an attempt to deter you from giving up a perfectly good opportunity that's right in front of you now. Go to Mumbai, see how you like it, and if you still can't get MIT out of your head then send them an application. And like Amy says, there's always grad school. =)

Posted by: Hawkins '12 on August 28, 2007

@ Hawkins - Its not as if the admissions process is like some lucky draw or lottery where every international applicant has a 4.3% chance of getting admitted. It all depends on the complete aplication of the applicant; the better the application, the more are the chances of the applicant being admitted (and if I apply, I would want my application to be as good as possible).

But anyway, thanks for replying.

Posted by: Vijay on August 31, 2007

hey vijay..i know u've fallen in love with mit..but think about this..this is ur life..u can make it as big as u want..and it's not necessary at all that u need the word "MIT" on ur certs to attest to the fact that u are is big..its awesome..its the best..yet its not necessary that u need to waste 365 precious days of ur life just to get someones help to reach that ultimate goal of ur life..
having said all this..i'm sure u'd make the right decision..go ahead and do wat u think is the best for u ..

Posted by: ronald on September 1, 2007

RASHI - I was interviewed by Mr. Ravi Kr. Meattle..........?U have any questions??? Email me utkarsh1989 at sorry my at the rate key is nt working, even brackets r not working.......

bt hey he's some kinda guy who wants MATTER, and believe me u cant just impress him without stuff, I worked for more than 2-3 months to give him all the matter i had..........

for more info email me................

Posted by: Utkarsh Sharma on September 2, 2007

hey..anyone interviewed by beryl nelson last year??

Posted by: anaya on September 2, 2007

Thank you so much to everybody at MIT that has posted on this page.

I am a highschool senior getting ready to apply at MIT, and all of these words of wisdom have really helped quell my fears. MIT is possible to get into!

Posted by: David on September 2, 2007

I don't know if this is the right thread to ask this question in, but you guys seem to know what your talking about, so here goes.

I have a GPA of 3.1, and so far an ACT score of only 25, now my question is, should i try to apply early decision, since M.I.T. is definitely my first choice, or should I try to boost my GPA and test scores, and then apply early admission? Or should I just not bother applying, please be honest, I really dont want to waste my time applying to a school that will never accept me. (I know M.I.T. trys to look at the whole student, but how far will they stretch?)

Posted by: David on September 3, 2007

Sorry, in the third line of the second part i meant regular admission.

Posted by: David (same as above) on September 3, 2007

@David - If you really believe MIT is a good match for you, I would suggest trying to bring your scores up and applying for regular admission. If MIT has to "stretch" at all to accept you because of your grades, it won't be during the early round. You will also need to take the SAT II subject tests.

Posted by: Hawkins on September 4, 2007

ben benbenben

when will you decide on the new bloggers?!

Posted by: 0 on September 4, 2007

@Hawkins- Thanks alot for the advice, now that i think about it, that is the best idea, now i have time to visit M.I.T., take the standardized tests a few times, and really give some thought to those admission essays. I just thought that applying early might show them that M.I.T. was really the place I wanted to go, but I will trust your wisdom, thanks.

Posted by: David on September 4, 2007

When I read the original posting, I thought about not having heard about most of those acronyms, either when I was applying to MIT decades ago, when my children applied to MIT (one of three got in) or even now as an educational councilor.

Indeed, sometimes I feel intimidated by the quality of students I interview, knowing that they have experiences during high school that I didn't have. But as the awarder said when she introduced me at an ACS dinner in West Virginia when I was 17, I was a local yokel from Kentucky. But I still got into MIT and did well. I had never heard of AP until I dated a sophomore from Radcliffe who AP'd her freshman year. (We are still friends, having helped each other through the deaths of spouses.)

I especially like the concept that there is always someone at MIT better than you in something, and that he or she will be willing to help you get better. My EE TA would wait until I handed in my problems sets before grading the batch because he would use mine as a score sheet, but I still had to go to a ChemEng in my fraternity for help with thermodynamics, and he was the class behind me.

Most applicants can do the work at MIT. You just have to remember to have fun while doing it.

Posted by: ECMark on September 5, 2007

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