Admissions process reflections from a crusty Junior by Melis A. '08
Try not to bite all of your fingernails off.
I’ve recently had a number of startling revelations: I’m almost halfway done with my Junior year, there are only 2 weeks left until Final Exam week starts, and before I know it I’ll be graduating. Where has the time gone??? I feel like just yesterday I was in your shoes, nervously waiting for my early action decision from MIT… *cue psychedelic time-traveling music and hand waving.*
MIT was my top choice and applying early action was a no-brainer. My anticipation was compounded by the fact that I had a list of 14 colleges that I was planning on applying to, but I had only completed about 5 of the applications by mid-December (under the assumption that if I didn’t get into MIT then I’d worry about the other ones later.) So, I bit my nails with the knowledge that if I got wait-listed or rejected, I would have to spend my Winter Break moping AND writing (approximately) 1,348,234 essays. About a week before decisions were due, my mom discovered CollegeConfidential.com and began showing me people’s ridiculous posts, which only made me more nervous and sure that I would never get in. Not a chance. Nope. For example, there was one guy who set-up a webcam on his mailbox that had some sort of complicated mechanism that I no longer remember (it involved the little flag that the postman raises when there’s mail.) (Do you remember, mom?) So, thousands of people could log onto his website to watch his mailbox for the arrival of a big, beautiful, yellow envelope. As far as I remember, he was admitted.
So as the decision date rolled around, I would run to my car after school and speed (I mean… drive quickly but cautiously under the speed limit) home to check my mailbox with my heart pounding the whole time. A week passed, and so did the day when we were supposed to receive the letters. It turns out that there was a giant blizzard in Cambridge, MA, which delayed the shipping of the decision letters. Oh man, was I upset. My heart couldn’t take the constant anticipation, the daily races home, and the deep disappointment of a mailbox filled with bills and coupons. I got so restless that I began to say that I had been put through so much anxiety that I wouldn’t accept the offer even if I did get in (clearly this was just an ill-planned coping mechanism, but it worked for a few days.) Finally, I got tired of racing home and just told my parents that if the letter arrived at home before I did and if they opened it before me, then I would fine them $1,000. They took my threat seriously. So a couple of days before Winter Break, I was sitting in Computer Science class and I received an email from my parents saying that I got a big envelope from MIT, asking if I would waive the fine and if they could open it. Of course, I caved in, and thankfully the news was good. I had gotten in! I experienced extreme shock followed by disbelief (thinking they must have made a mistake!) followed by “oh my Gods” followed by illicit phone calls and crying in the bathroom. I drove home with Britney Spears on full blast, yelling that I had gotten in.
The next day, I had found out that eight people from my high school had been accepted early action, including 2 of my best friends. The initial excitement was tainted by some impolite comments by some of my classmates who claimed that we had only gotten in because we were girls. Even when I knew of my accomplishments and those of my friends, we couldn’t help but feel some degree of self-doubt. In hindsight, it’s easy to recognize that they spoke out of jealousy and that MIT would never accept someone for merely having two X chromosomes, but it definitely hurt at the time.
So I know what you all are going through… in fact everyone around me knows what it’s like. Your parents, friends, and teachers are probably telling you to relax, that everything will be alright no matter what, that there are other schools than MIT…and they’re absolutely right! But it’s also easier said than done. Check out JKim’s blog for tips on what to do while waiting. Speaking from experience, make sure to obey traffic laws and try not to give yourself a heart attack (i.e. stay off of College Confidential!) Really, stressing out won’t change the contents of the letter. When I was a senior going through the application process and someone told me, “if you’re gold then you’ll shine anywhere.” They were absolutely right. Just keep in mind that you are all motivated and diligent for even reading these blogs to find out more about MIT, and you will do well no matter what school you get into! Obviously I got into MIT, but I also received rejections. Different schools look for different qualities, and it’s still early in the application process. Just breathe and you’ll get through it.
Good luck!!! Email me if before/during/after the decisions if you need help.
May the beaver be with you.