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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Admissions Blogs by Matt McGann '00

A quick note on admissions blogging.

This evening, as I sit reviewing some of the first early action applications of the year, I note that I’m getting a lot of new traffic to the blog from a posting on another site asking about admissions officer blogs. This reminds me that we haven’t officially announced that all of the MIT Admissions blogs — including blogs by three admissions officers, the Director of Financial Aid, and 9 current MIT students — can now be viewed (without logging in!) at I know this has been long requested by non-student visitors to the blogs (including parents, MIT students & alumni, and the generally curious), and now it’s a reality.

So, if you’re looking for admissions officer blogs, look no further than MyMIT, where you’ll find the blogs of MIT Admissions Officers Ben Jones and Bryan Nance, as well as Financial Aid Director Daniel Barkowitz.

I should also give props to the only other admissions blogs I know of: first, the mawrmawr blog by Bryn Mawr College Senior Associate Director of Admissions Maureen McGonigle, and second, the blog of Olin College Assistant Director of Admissions Emily Roper. Bryn Mawr and Olin are two places I like a lot, and I’m not surprised that these two terrific places host the only other admissions blogs I know.

Anyway, back to the applications…

22 responses to “Admissions Blogs”

  1. b-boy mike d says:

    hello from shanghai! good luck reading those apps (i’m in there [again]!). question(s): how did you happen to choose the student bloggers from the class of ’09? how will you (if you do) choose from ’10?

  2. Shikhar says:

    Hi Matt,

    I am getting so excited now that the admission process is coming nearer.

    Tell me as you are sort of familiar with International students affairs do you get only the international applicants applications to review.

  3. Anonymous says:

    GOod luck with those apps!

    Make sure to take breaks at least occasionally, too.

  4. Omar says:

    Hi Matt!

    It is really stressful/anxious/exciting the fact that the early action admission process already started! It has been so long time since I started waiting for this moment to come, that I can’t realize that my application is being (or going to be) evaluated now! I know you are going to be working a lot from now on, so yeah, I just hope I can do it into the class of 2010!


  5. zoogies says:

    Matt, why is MyMIT on an infinite loop sequence of reloading itself every five seconds before it even gets a chance to finish loading? Ahhh! It’s scary!

  6. Dear Matt

    Hi! Im from Oman, in the middle east… an indian school. Do you guys mind if i send any research work that I have done, or any computer c++ source codes etc….

    Also, is MIT need blind to international students like me, because there has been a lot of ambiguity regarding this issue.

    One more thing……is it possible for me to have an interview with my ec over the phone if i am not accessible to him?….thanks a lot , and best of luck going through the applications

  7. Mark Butt says:

    Hey Matt,

    I’m an admissions officer at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and I’ve started my admissions blog after following your blog for the past few months. Can you maybe give me some tips on writing a successful blog? Thanks.


  8. Matt,

    My question is similar to Shikhar’s, but it’s a bit wider in scope.

    With 10,000+ applicants to review, how many people are actually working in the Admissions Office to read those applications? And how many people read one application to decide whether a student is a fit for the school or not?

  9. Alissa says:

    I think I’ve discovered the identity of one of the cosplayers from this picture (if someone hasn’t already said this yet). I beliieeeve the silver-armored person is Shadow Moon for Kamen Rider. See–>

  10. Hi,

    First off, I’d like to say that the MyMit website is by far the best admissions website for any college. It’s attractive, functional, and fool-proof. (I should know; I’ve been able to use it!) That said, it provides so much information in an easy-to-read, easy-to-find way, and also doesn’t make false promises. When it says some info’ll be up if you follow this link, it’s actually there. (Which is more than I can say for a couple other college’s admissions websites. Sad, yes.)

    Now, for the question(s). I’ve submitted all parts of my application (and am tracking the tracker like crazy). Both the teachers who are writing recommendations for me put them in the mail before the Nov. 1st postmark deadline for Early Action; however, neither recommendation has been marked as ‘processed’ on the tracker, yet. Will it not get checked off until they’ve actually been read, or something? Or is there reason to worry, yet?

    Also, since I did a research internship at the U. of Washington this summer and fall, my mentor/supervisor at the UW wrote a supplemental recommendation letter for me which I mailed along with the green card copy, etc. If the other stuff has been checked as ‘processed’ can I assume that the supplementary recommendation has been read and processed, too? Is there any way for me to know for sure?

    Thanks in advance for answering these.

    – Ankita

  11. Sirius says:

    Hello Matt,

    I’d just like to know, what is MIT’s formal reason for putting a quota on international students?

    Of course I, living in the stats, should theoretically support that quota… but I’m just interested in MIT’s reason for the quota. smile

    thanks in advance.

  12. the university is very diferent and excepcional my dreams is i can do study in tha same school of enginery

  13. the university is very diferent and excepcional my dreams is i can do study in tha same school of enginery . i need your can sendme the process admision .

  14. Shikhar says:

    actually Eric even I was wondering about the same thing.

  15. Davey C says:

    I have a question: Since there was an extension to Early App date (for which I have applied by) my teachers took the liberty to take the week as a grace period to finish their recommendation letters and evaluations promising that it’ll be postmarked on Nov. 4 and that that is all that really matters- then they killed me saying that it doesn’t really matter if it is postmarked a day late… To which I STRONGLY disagree. All of the application process that I could personally take care of (part 1, part 2, testing, interview etc), was done and sent in time, if in fact, the evaluations are sent last date, or even a day late, would it really affect my chances at MIT? Thanks…

  16. Ben says:

    I have no idea why I am awake right now but since I am, I’ll help Matt out with some answers since he’s been getting so many questions lately. grin

    In order…

    Mike – how’s China man? As I recently posted on CC: A key component in our selection process for the MyMIT bloggers was the “portfolio.” Most had proven themselves to be dedicated and thoughtful bloggers long before we ever approached them. The key to good blogging is regular posting – so when we see people who have already prioritized the time it takes to keep a blog’s content fresh, those people get onto our radar screens. After using that criteria to develop a good “blogger applicant pool,” it becomes a matter of balancing class years, majors, interests, etc. There will certainly be at least one opening next year, as *sniff* Mollie will be graduating. So to any of you who are interested, I’d start working on your “portfolios” now. grin The competition is fierce!

    Shikhar – Matt is a very experienced reader and reads hundreds of apps both domestic and international, not to mention all of the advice he gives to the other readers, especially when it comes to international apps (he’s an expert).

    Zoogies – really? what browser are you using? Ugh.

    Prashant – send the research, MIT is completely need blind to all applicants (including international) and I’m not sure about the interview (but write to [email protected] to ask).

    Mark – hi!

    Eric – from my CC post: “First a senior staff person will do a quick read to make sure there aren’t a bunch of D’s or combined 400 on the SAT. Any application that has even a remote chance of making it through selection committee will make it past this stage. This is just to make sure we’re not wasting time doing full reads on people who aren’t competitive (and by that I mean *really* not competitive). After than, 2 readers will read everything in your folder (yes, everything) and write individual summaries. Then selection committee, where different groups (each generally comprised of 2-3 admissions officers and sometimes a faculty member) will discuss the app, guided by the two summaries (but able to access anything in the folder they want). If it’s a clear admit, sometimes the group can admit, but generally an admitted app is seen by at least 2 groups and usually more like 3, even 4. Then Marilee (Dean of Admissions) will personally review each and every admit before approving the final decision.” So to summarize: lots of people will weigh in.

    Ankita – thanks for liking the site! No need to worry; we’ve received a TON of mail on or around the deadline and it’s taking awhile for MyMIT to update.

    Sirius – it has to do mostly with being need blind (we guarantee full demonstrated need for everyone we accept) and due to federal financial aid being limited to domestic students, MIT can’t afford to bring more than a certain number of international students each year. For more specifics, you should pose this question in Daniel’s blog (

    Davey – we would never hold you responsible for your teachers being late. Do not worry. grin

  17. zoogies says:

    Mozilla Firefox. Apparently, it was one of those things were the browser just gets stuck and you have to open up a new tab and retype the address.

  18. matt,

    You might have heard of caltech’s undergraduate research programme SURF, for which applications are invited not only for its students but all over that world.. Could you plz find out if MIT offers any such research programme..(which is not confined only to its community)

  19. Sirius says:

    “aid being limited to domestic students”…

    So the quota is not “need-blind” so that admission can be “need-blind”… smile what a paradox. :D

  20. kishore says:

    hi matt,

    i’m a US citizen, but i live and go to school abroad in an international baccalaureate school. will my RD app be reviewed as one of a US student, or one of an international student? if it’s the latter, does the international student quota apply to me?

    thanks in advance,


  21. hi matt,

    i live in india and it’s not possible to get PAID work experience here, as the law forbids paying employees under 18 years of age. also, unless one knows the owner/CEO/MD of a corporation personally or through a family friend, etc., it’s extremely difficult to even get an internship. to make up for it, i’ve engaged heavily in volunteer work. will my lack of paid work experience be held against me?


  22. Ben, thanks for answering my question! I somehow feel better knowing the process, and it feels even better knowing that you guys are open about the selection process.

    Undergraduate, MIT’s version of SURF is UROP, but I believe UROP is open only to MIT students. You can find info on it at

    Kishore, if you’re a US citizen, then you’re considered American, not foreign.