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MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

2006 Already?!? by Ben Jones

Back to work tomorrow... wow do vacations go fast!

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to say hello. Having been out for a week I am presently inundated with email and related communications backlog; I will respond to everything but it will likely take the better part of the week. (So please don’t write to me 10 times asking if I’ve received your original email. :-)

I see that the server seems to have been down yesterday. It’s working fine for me today, so hopefully that issue has been resolved. MIT is observing the New Year’s Day holiday today (1/2) since the real holiday falls on a Sunday. So you should be able to submit stuff today as if it were still 1/1 – and no, you won’t be penalized for being a day late.

As for an “official” deadline extension, I doubt that’s going to happen as the server doesn’t seem to have been down for very long. I’ll know more when the ‘Tute officially reopens tomorrow.

Hope you all had a wonderful vacation.

-B

49 responses to “2006 Already?!?”

  1. SHABIN says:

    Dear Mr. Ben Jones,

    ~~”So please don’t write to me 10 times asking if I’ve received your original email. grin

    I had sent you an Email seeking urgent and crucial information. Please do attend to it and let me know the same.

    Yours truly

    SHABIN

    Jan 02, 2006!

  2. SHABIN says:

    .

    Have a rocking new year!!

    ………./|/|/|/|/|

    ……….(^O.O^)

    ……….(…(_)…)

    …………..–../_

    ………/

  3. David says:

    “I see that the server seems to have been down yesterday. It’s working fine for me today, so hopefully that issue has been resolved. MIT is observing the New Year’s Day holiday today (1/2) since the real holiday falls on a Sunday. So you should be able to submit stuff today as if it were still 1/1 – and no, you won’t be penalized for being a day late.”

    I love you Ben…

  4. Jessica says:

    Hi Ben, I’ve never commented on your blog but just wanted to say that you guys deserve a breakkkk and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Applying regular decision = a very long wait.

  5. Nalin K says:

    Happy New Year Ben! Hope you had a great vacation!

    “MIT is observing the New Year’s Day holiday today (1/2) since the real holiday falls on a Sunday. So you should be able to submit stuff today as if it were still 1/1 – and no, you won’t be penalized for being a day late.”

    That’s awesome! MIT is extremely cool!

    P.S. The next OC episode is on next Thursday, 1/12 at 9 PM! Oh, and the season premiere of 24 is on January 15th (continuing Jan. 16th–4 hr. season premiere!)

  6. Rebecca says:

    “MIT is observing the New Year’s Day holiday today (1/2) since the real holiday falls on a Sunday. So you should be able to submit stuff today as if it were still 1/1 – and no, you won’t be penalized for being a day late.”

    ^^ This made my day. THANK YOU.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hey Ben,

    Does this mean the adcom starts looking at apps 2morrow, or today?

  8. Seth says:

    Hi, my name is Seth and I did not apply to MIT. I have never been great at math and have never taken a math SAT II; therefore I cannot apply.

    My question is, and I am not sure whether this can be answered, why is MIT’s philosophy to discriminate who can apply based on demonstrated mathematical and scientific aptitude? MIT also has social science programs; is it possible that a student could highly contribute to those programs without having the inclination to spend their lives as a research scientist?

    Really my root question is probably too broad and multi-faceted to have a satisfying answer. Ultimately I am wondering why, if education at elite colleges is so fantastic, so unequivocally better than an education at a less prestigious name, should admission be so limited. IF MIT really offers an unparalleled education, then selectivity seems to deny the chance to many who would intellectual contribute and participate as much as any admitted applicant.

    I guess that as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and MIT all steadily inch towards single digit acceptances, all of the motivated and passionate students not offered a spot will attend supposedly lesser institutions, and once they get over the prestige, realize that the admissions process has become so upended and unbalanced that the idea of one school being better than another has lost meaning.

    But I

  9. Seth says:

    The last sentence of my first paragraph should read “is it possible that a student could highly contribute to those programs without having the inclination to spend their LIFE as a research scientist?” My bad.

    Seth.

  10. MathDude says:

    Hey Mr Seth!

    You talk way too much! Are you a journalist?

    Just keep shut, okay?

  11. Christina says:

    Hahaha. I just clicked on this comment box and thought, “I better tell Ben ‘happy birthday'”

    So either my brain is addled or psychic.

    Is today your birthday!?!?

  12. Kam says:

    Thank you so much Ben for reliving my emotionally stress! Happy New Year smile

  13. just a guess says:

    “Why do you want students to have an aptitude for math and science?”

    I’d guess it’s because this is an Institute of *Technology*. Even the more social-science subjects are approached from a base of math and science. If this is not something applicants are comfortable or interested in, they might want to apply elsewhere for college.

  14. Mike says:

    Christina, you’ve got 10 more days for that wink.

    I’m sure we’ll all celebrate with a myriad of posts…

  15. shen says:

    Welcome back! It’s great to hear back from you. Hope your break was relaxing and refreshing. smile

  16. me? says:

    So, another question to take a few moments of your day, if you don’t mind. smile

    I’m on one of the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams, so you guys obviously know a lot about this. Would you think it could be beneficial for me to send in a newspaper article (front page smile) where I was one of the main people interview? Would this just be considered an annoyance, as you guys already know so much about it?

    The article did make a couple mistakes, but overall it gives a fair idea of the project. (They didn’t mention Lemelson, or ‘Inventeam’ at all, even though we specifically identified all of that to them…)

  17. Kim says:

    Admissions officers often lament the same problem, Seth… that there are many, many highly qualified applicants who would contribute a lot to their school and who would greatly benefit from the education recieved. Unfortunately, MIT can’t admit all of these students–the logistics (housing, section, etc.) just wouldn’t work out. Thus, some qualified applicants will have to be rejected, and having an admissions process that takes academic acheivement (in context), “fit” to the school, and so on, seems fairest. (If two applicants are identical except that one has significantly higher grades, for instance, it would be a bit unfair to admit the other instead.)

    Obviously I’m not speaking for MIT admissions, but I vaguely recall them dealing with similar questions in the past.

  18. Christina says:

    WHOA, REALLY!? I WAS ONLY 10 DAYS OFF!!?

    That’s amazing!

  19. Debbie says:

    just a guess: It is possible to think in a rational way and even understand complex mathematical and scientific concepts without being “good” at math and science. Certainly, these abilities are more than adequate for success in any social science.

    And even if you don’t buy that argument, MIT is pretty highly-ranked in many of the Humanities — e.g. its Philosophy department is 6th in the nation*, tied with colleges like Columbia, Harvard, and Stanford.

    *according to The Philosophical Gourmet (philosophicalgourmet.com)

  20. Anonymous says:

    Seth,

    Perhaps I can offer some ideas. First of all, MIT is a tech school. For undergraduate degrees, it only offers Bachelor of SCIENCE degrees. All students have to take (or pass out of) two semesters of calculus, two semesters of physics, biology, chemistry, a lab class, as well as two other math/science/engineering electives, even if you are a Theatre/Music major. If you have no demonstrated ability in mathematics or science, you will have a hard time completing any of the degree programs. For example, every student still needs to be able to pass two calculus classes designed to stimulate the average MIT student (a science or engineering major with a strong math background).

    The admissions process at MIT isn’t only designed to find high quality students. It is designed to select students who will fit it at MIT how it is currently designed. This includes having the ability to reasonably perform well at MIT because how can you fit in if you can’t even pass your classes.

    Sure, you should be able to be a great Theatre/Music major even if you don’t know calculus and you can do that, just at a different school. MIT wasn’t designed to be the school for everyone. It is specialized for a certain type of student. There are plenty of other great schools for the other students.

    Plus not getting into MIT, Harvard, Princeton, or Yale is not the end for the intellectually curious/passionate student. There are many other top schools, public and private, where such a student would still get a great education. Undergrad isn’t even a student’s only shot at MIT, etc. Plenty of MIT grad students are from state schools, liberal arts schools, etc. and I am sure this is true for Harvard, Princeton, and Yale as well.

    Two more points:

    The best school/teacher in the world can’t teach everyone. There are limitations on money, space, time, etc.

    How great/elite a school is, is definitely not independent of the quality of its student body. You can’t just swap out the current students or accept 10 times as many students and expect things to stay the same.

  21. Masha says:

    Hey Ben!

    Once again, I just wanted to say: I love you guys!

    I want to drop by sometime and say hi… that would be fun…

    HAPPY NEW YEAR smile

  22. Wow, what a relief! Thanks Ben, that was exactly what I wanted to hear.

  23. Dear Ben

    One question : I’ve sent certain extra materials via email and via post, along with the rest of the application material. The thing is, I sent the email just a couple of days before the deadline. How can I be certain that all my stuff has reached you guys?

    Thanks and Happy New Year :D

    Prashant

  24. Wish says:

    I sent my application over from France by regular mail, not ups or something like that. Should I worry that it doesn’t say on “my MIT “account that the final parts I send have been received ?

    Thanks ! Happy New Year !

  25. Phil says:

    Wish:

    My dad is an Army officer, and we are stationed in Germany right now. I sent all of my teacher recs/transcripts snail mail and had the same worry. Give it about 2 or 3 weeks (I sent Express Mail and that’s how long it took to show up on MyMIT). I am still waiting on one of my teacher recs to show up on MyMIT, but I am hoping that it arrived and is just waiting to be entered into the system. Remember that it’s not just how long it takes the mail carrier to get the package there, it’s how long it sits on a secretary’s desk before being posted also (or that’s how I would think it works smile ).

    My two cents.

  26. Seth says:

    thank you. I am sorry if I came across like a jerk. I didn’t mean to offend you mathdude. No I am not a journalist. I’m a high school senior stressed about by college admissions and I’m starting to see the entire process as ludicrous. I was looking to see what an admissions officer had to say, and MIT seemed like a good place to start because the admissions are so known for their openness. I did not mean to attack the institution. I am sure the education is great.

  27. juanjhong says:

    Hi my name is juan jhong. I am an international student from Peru. I just want to tell you that these blogs are amazing!!!!!! It feels great to be able to talk with other prospective students and Admission Officers.

  28. hi every one:

    it’s wrong in your path ‘math’ to comment in such an awkward manner.

    “Hey Mr Seth!

    You talk way too much! Are you a journalist?

    Just keep shut, okay?”

    sorry mathdude………….

  29. Anonymous says:

    hi phil and wish

    happy new year:

    annie wrote, “I’m an applicant from Hong Kong. My school has mailed the school reports and teachers refereces on the 7th of December. However, the MyMIT account shows that these materials sent have not been processed yet. How much longer should I wait before asking the school counselor to mail the materials again?” And Pradymna wrote, “My math lecturer had posted the teacher evaluation in the second week of dec but my mit account shows that it has not yet processed the evaluation whereas my secondary school transcripts sent by the school on 7th of dec have been processed. Do I need to ask my Math teacher to post it again on or before 1st of Jan.”

    answer: Wait a week; we are busy processing things. This is our busiest time of year

  30. shikhar says:

    Hey Ben,

    Happy New Year. So enjoyed your holidays did u. well even people at MIT should party hard sometimes. So I am finally all set with my MIT app just wish u and Matt get to read mine.

  31. Jessica says:

    Hi Ben,

    I just have a quick question for you. Do you think it is possible for an applicant to send in “too many” supplementary materials? For example, a music recording on top of two athletic recommendations. Is it an advantage to be “well-rounded” and able to contribute to many parts of MIT’s community?

    Thanks

  32. Anonymous says:

    Have a rocking new year!!

    ………./|/|/|/|/|

    ……….(^O.O^)

    ……….(…(_)…)

    …………..–../_

    ………/

  33. Jia says:

    Hi, Ben,

    Happy New Year! My name is Jia, an applicant for freshman of 2006 fall. I have already submitted my application on the web. Please note that there is a mistake on my transcript. That shows that I only have 50 hours of community service. In reality, I volunteered for over 500 hrs and have met the requirement for the Presidential Community Service Award. That’s my fault. I forgot to submit my social work sheet to school on time. In the Midyear School Report from my school, it will show that my actual community services time is 508 hours. I feels so bad about it. Do I need to write a letter to admission office to explain this? Thanks for your help.

    Jia

  34. Vivek says:

    jia:

    Same happened while i was applying to stanford university. I sent a fax to the admission office and got it fixed.

    I hope ben tells you same to do.

    If i am not wrong he perhaps wrote it somewhere that you have to contact admission office if any detail is to be changed/fixed and he is not authorized to change details.

    probably that can change dimensions of your application so you should definitely get it fixed.

    all the best

    Vivek:)

    EDIT: Sorry , Ben if i am wrong”

  35. Linda says:

    Hi! I have a bit of a problem. (Aren’t I good at pretending to not freak out?) On the online tracking page, it lists both my teacher recommendations as Not Processed, but they both swear they sent it in two weeks ago. Who should I talk to? What should I do?

    Why am I just… not lucky?

  36. Anonymous says:

    Happy new year, Ben!!

    This is important. My school sends recs+transcripts+school report in one package, but only my recs are processed! why?!!

  37. George says:

    read up Linda. a lot of stuff hasn’t been processed yet. don’t worry about it

  38. Wish says:

    Thanks a bunch Phil !

  39. I want to wish Happy New Year to all the applicants and to the people from the admissions office. May your worst day in 2006 be better than your best day in 2005. I am worried about my fee waiver. I sent it along with other application materials in December. MyMIT shows me that all my application materials are received and processed except for my fee waiver. It is a letter I wrote with my college counselor’s signature to verify my financial difficulty. I’m worried whether the admissions office will accept this kind of a fee waiver. If there is something wrong with it, or if it lost, could you notify me so that I can send a new one?

  40. Phil says:

    Hi,

    On my application, I included some info about my musical interests. Rather than send in a CD with a few of my home recordings on it, I put a link to my purevolume site in my essays. Is this a smart move? Will the admissions staff really go to the trouble of typing in my URL? Probably a petty worry, but hey, it’s one of my biggest passions so I want to make sure you all get to see it.

    Thanks,

    Phil

  41. Goldie says:

    Dear Ben,

    First of all Happy New Year (its not too late, is it?).I am one of the lateset reader of your blog (honestly telling,1st time).I wanna be a regular reader but can’t tell when will I be back.I will be trying to get admitted in MIT in 2007.

  42. Alexandre says:

    “The last sentence of my first paragraph should read “is it possible that a student could highly contribute to those programs without having the inclination to spend their LIFE as a research scientist?” My bad.

    Seth.”

    Posted by: Seth on January 3, 2006 08:53 AM

  43. Anonymous says:

    this is for all, please read

    I just copied

    annie wrote, “I’m an applicant from Hong Kong. My school has mailed the school reports and teachers refereces on the 7th of December. However, the MyMIT account shows that these materials sent have not been processed yet. How much longer should I wait before asking the school counselor to mail the materials again?” And Pradymna wrote, “My math lecturer had posted the teacher evaluation in the second week of dec but my mit account shows that it has not yet processed the evaluation whereas my secondary school transcripts sent by the school on 7th of dec have been processed. Do I need to ask my Math teacher to post it again on or before 1st of Jan.”

    matt: Wait a week; we are busy processing things. This is our busiest time of year.

    Hence there is no problem for our application materials

  44. mohan says:

    anonymous – mohan

  45. anon says:

    so uh… can i send additional material direct to your email? or do i have to send it to the undergrad office, i have had many emails go unheeded by the actual office *sigh*

  46. Phil, Matt once wrote that they don’t always have a computer nearby, so any supplemental material that’s put on the web might not be read.

  47. Andrew Lin says:

    Hi Ben, I meant to ask this a while back, but what is your email address?

  48. Yasemin says:

    Dear Ben,

    thank you for making the admission process so much easier for all applicants. I am a junior from an international high school and MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences is my absolute dream. I have several questions to you (“to fit your schedule”, I have started worrying about college some 8 months beforehand… kidding of course =). I would be very thankful if you could address these points in your eight semi-annual FAQ smile.

    1) As far as I understand RD and RA refer to regular application time, am I right? What exactly do these abbreviations stand for?

    2) I have exhausted almost all AP courses offered at my school now. The last one is AP Java which I will take next year. So next year will not be a very challenging year for me, although not easy either. Will you understand that I had no other AP courses to take? smile

    3) I am planning to take AP Calculus BC this year. On the first day of our mid-year break I found myself studying Calculus for hours until my dad came at noon thinking I was still sleeping smile! We do have an AP Calc BC course offered to seniors, but since I am working on their topics at the moment, I’d rather not take the AP Calc BC course next year and waste a slot on a subject I already know. What do you think?

    4) Do you value other nation’s science olympics? Are they valued as much as the Intel and Siemens-Westinghouse awards?

    5) The subjects I have a great passion for are Biology and Calculus. But my teachers in those subjects happen to be a couple. Will it look odd on the application if I get recommendations from both of them?

    6) I know you don’t answer directly to questions such as “Am I an automatic reject?”. But I am worried a little, because I truly think I have a greater understanding of science than what my grades show. In all sciences I have about A- or A average. In the student blogs and the comments above I can only observe A+ grades. But I was a finalist on the national biology olympics. And I was selected to the olympics teams at our school, too. I am sure I will have very good recommendations. And standardized tests are very good, too. Can these “make up” for the lack of “outstanding” grades I had?

    7) MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences is awesome! Are there any students you know of who are majoring in this field? If they agree, could you please give me the e-mail address of one? I would love to contact one of those students and get their views.

    Thank you so much for your time. I know you are very busy, so thanks for your great support. I really appreciate it.

    hopefulmit’11 smile

  49. Dear Ben,

    I am very sorry if the above comment sounded pretentious. I know some people would think so when I talk as if an A- is a horrible grade. I am really sorry. And also I mention that “there are no other AP courses”. Please don’t think that I am on the watch for all AP courses I can take just to bring myself to a better standing. I genuinely love math and the sciences. This is why I wish we had more advanced courses offered at my highschool. I happened to call them “AP course”, because they tend to be the kind of rigorous courses I enjoy, not because there is an AP exam I can take after the course.

    Thank you for your understanding…