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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Admitted Students Parties Update by Matt McGann '00

Stories from the parties today; more stories, and questions answered, tomorrow.

Tonight, I’ll post the first of the reports back from this week’s Admitted Students Parties. Tomorrow, I hope to answer questions. So, in the comments, please leave more of your thoughts from the Parties, or drop me a question!

First up is Fangfei, who went to the Long Island Party:

MIT has been my first choice for most of high school, but for a brief period of time, another school took its place as my number one, and then the two schools jointly occupied the position of “dream school.” I included both in my list of college applications. MIT eventually came back to being my top choice, and a couple of days after receiving my acceptance to MIT, I was sure I was joining the MIT Class of 2011.

Then my acceptance from my old top choice came. I wavered for a moment. I knew at either of the schools, I could probably spend my college days there and declare afterwards, “Those were an amazing four years!” After some thought, I decided that MIT overall was the better fit. But my mind needed further convincing, further affirmation that MIT was really the right place for me. That further affirmation came with the Long Island Admitted Student Party.

The party started off slowly with some introductions of admitted students, of current students, of alumni, and also of MIT — nothing that was particularly grabbing. We then began a Q&A session, and that was where the real color and appeal of MIT got through to me. We, the admitted students, weren’t the most talkative bunch during the Q&A session, but I’m glad people asked questions, or else the party wouldn’t have been the same! My biggest concern about MIT was successfully addressed with another person’s question: “What if I go through MIT only to find that I want to be an English teacher?” Though that wasn’t my exact concern, it was close. The consensus among the current students was that you could do anything with an MIT education — yes, even become an English teacher. The current students at the party ended the Q&A session with confident declaration that if we haven’t already been won over, CPW would definitely do the job.

After that, we were allowed to mingle among ourselves and eat delicious cookies. I chatted with some other admitted students, and I also got to talk to some current students and ask some more questions. One of them had also faced the decision of choosing between the same two schools that I was slightly divided over. You can guess which school I will attend after that conversation. In the meantime, my mother made plans for a future carpool arrangement with another admitted student’s parent.

A worthwhile night? I think so.

And Ryan went to the Party in Philly:

I went to the admitted student party in Philadelphia tonight. I knew it was going to be fun, but I was shocked at how great it really was and how fast the time FLEW by!

What really amazed me was just how much everyone was excited with MIT. Current students, new students, alumni, parents of new students, parents of current students — EVERYONE was absolutely in love with MIT, and it was infectious. If MIT wasn’t already my first choice (by far!) I think tonight would have definitely swayed me.

Anyway, it was great to meet up with current students and alumni who were full of information and advice, as well as start to get to know the people I’m going to spend the next four years of my life with.

Good times had by all!

38 responses to “Admitted Students Parties Update”

  1. Ranjodh says:

    Hi Matt,
    I need some information about ‘reapplying’ to MIT. I was rejected this year and would be applying again next year. Can you refer me to any sources for the same? There’s no information on your site. I have hundreds of questions to ask you. For example, do I send in my scores again? If yes, when?
    How and to whom do I ask all my questions? Can you help me? When is Omnibus starting again?
    Hope to get a response…….
    Yours Sincerely,

  2. Jillian says:

    That’s great – now I really can’t wait for the DC party tomorrow!

  3. Paul ('11) says:

    I really wish I’d been able to go to one of the parties – the one I would have gone to was today, in fact – but unfortunately I had to be at Indiana State Science Fair all day.

    Clearly, that’s what I get for being such a geek. raspberry

    On that topic, any other potential 11’s going to be at Intel ISEF? I know there were a bunch last year and I’m hoping it’s the same this year…

  4. Debbie says:

    haha wow fangfei! haha yea alas, i am the student of the parent that had made carpool plans with fangfei’s parents… but i was going to sum up the LI party but I guess fangfei beat me to it. But yea, i’m pretty much convinced as well… though that may also be as a result of my obsession MIT’s mantra – work hard, play hard. Also, it was also fun to see so many of my friends from science competitions and my lab. Reunions are always nice

  5. EA Parent says:

    My daughter attended the California Bay Area party for admitted students. Although I didn’t attend, I did have a chance to speak with a current MIT student who carpooled with my daughter. The current MIT student attended the same high school as my daughter, and the last time I’d spoken with her (a year ago), she had been admitted to Princeton, Stanford, MIT, CalTech, etc. and was uncertain where to go. So yesterday, I asked her how she’d made that decision. She said that when she spent an overnight at Stanford, the students were playing frisbee on the lawn and complaining about the amount of work they had to do for class. At MIT, students also worked hard, but the students she had talked with seemed to enjoy the work. She remembered one girl saying, “Yeah, I’ve got nine hours of biology p-sets, but hey–this is MIT.” There didn’t seem to be much social life at CalTech. She summed it up this way: “At Stanford, students throw frisbees; At CalTech, students don’t throw frisbees; At MIT, students design and build frisbees that fly themselves.” My daughter said there were many students at the party who were trying to decide among several great schools. For her, however, there’s no decision to make. Although she’s been admitted to Yale, Berkeley, Duke, etc., she’s coming to MIT. The question has been one for her parents (yes, us), in terms of the cost, and the experience at the campus. But it sounds as if MIT is a good fit for students who embrace an intellectual challenge. The MIT student we spoke to was thrilled with MIT, and although she works hard academically, she has found time also to work at a job, hang out with friends, and play in two bands.

  6. Akshay says:

    I have finished my 10th grade exams and I’m from India. I want to apply for an undergraduate admission in MIT. Can you please tell me when I should apply ??

  7. Ben Goering says:


    All these blog posts are making me drool over MIT. I’m only a junior, and it’s driving me crazy.

    You all are very lucky, congratulations. I can only hope I get in next year.

  8. Snively says:


    Does that rhyme with “Daring”?

  9. Abhishek says:

    Hi Matt, i was denied by you but i still respect your decision as it was a very tough job. But i think there’s one thing still missing which is that what were the deficiencies or facts missing in our application which made you to deny us. Please try to understand that it can help us to shape our academics or life in other college so that no college deny us for transfer or graduate admission in future. I just wanna know my mistakes so that i can learn something from them. (Contd.)

  10. Abhishek says:

    Hi Matt, i was denied by you but i still respect your decision as it was a very tough job. But i think there’s one thing still missing which is that what were the deficiencies or facts missing in our application which made you to deny us. Please try to understand that it can help us to shape our academics or life in other college so that no college deny us for transfer or graduate admission in future. I just wanna know my mistakes so that i can learn something from them. (Contd.)

  11. Abhishek says:

    MIT is not just a college but a passion for me. I know that somehow i have to make myself in MIT in future.i know transfer admission are tough but i will apply again and this time better prepared. But there are no admission stats and blogs for transfer students. Please arrange a Q and A blog for transfer students also. Thanks

  12. shawn says:

    hahahahha its funny to see how people are tryna get into MIT.. keep tryin sukaz.. u mite find som luck in the next millennium

  13. Ben Goering says:


    Essentially, yes it does.

    I feel for Abhishek. For me, I already feel like a part of MIT. Every core philosophy and every piece of ideology I’ve heard from professors, students, or the admissions website hit right at home with me.

    That said, when I apply, my statistics will likely be around the 40th percentile of those admitted this year, with no overly spectacular athletic or extracurricular awards.

    I don’t know what will happen if I am denied admission, though I think it will suffice to say that I would be unhappy.

    Like I said before, to those were accepted: Congratulations. You’re going to be a part of something very special, and you’ll be surrounded by some of the most amazing people in the entire world. Be ready to work, but know that that work will not be in vain.

    I would like to propose a question to Matt and/or any other blogger or student who reads this. I’ve always thought that, should I attend MIT, I would learn so much from the pupils around me. I love the idea of being surrounded by so many brilliant people. It seems like the diversity, brilliance, and general awesomeness of my surroundings would likely inspire me to also do great things.

    So Matt/Bloggers/Students, is this the case? Can you comment on how the MIT environment has affected you and what you have learned from the people around you?

    I’d appreciate it. smile

  14. Anonymous says:

    My Admitted Students Party was fun. I looked like a squirrel jumping around everytime they said something funny about MIT. They must have thought I was retarted or something, but I was just happy to know that I’ll be spending the next four years of my life in the most amazing place in the world.

    Also, the alumni and current students kept talking about Course 6, EECS, UROP, Course 16, Lobby 7, etc… It seemed like I was the only one who knew what they were talking about.

  15. Vytautas says:

    Hey Ben, I want to get in to the MIT just as much. I don’t know if I have a chance, but I’ll try. And you know what if I don’t get in? I’ll try until I get in. Year after year, even when Matt decides to be replaced by another admissions officer smile

  16. Alyssa says:

    so unhappy i missed the LI admitted student meeting :'(…oh well..i guess theres always cpw

  17. How about some Rejected Students Parties?
    Admittedly, the atmosphere might not be all that uplifting… and then there’s the issue of managing such a massive number of people… and then there’s the roughly 3-to-1 gender imbalance to consider…
    Hmm, never mind. :-D

  18. @Anonymous:
    Actually, I didn’t get in because, well… my secondary school record is lousy! I accepted that my chances were slim long before the decisions came out, and, as much as the decision frustrated me, I wasn’t particularly surprised by it.
    I’m honestly not here to complain. My tone was somewhat bitter… yes, it tends to be these days. Try getting your dreams chewed up and thrown in your face once or twice, and you’ll likely find your self feeling and sounding just a tad bitter for a while.
    This is a public thread, and I felt like commenting. Perhaps my remarks were in bad taste, but by no means did I intend to imply that the admissions office was at fault in any way. Plenty of people are angry over the fact that females seem to have such an advantage in admissions, but let’s face it: the majority of the applicant pool is male, and spending four years in a heavily male-dominated environment would be no fun. The policy might not be great for us applicants, but those who are admitted surely will appreciate it.
    I brought up the issue for comic effect, not to start an argument. Gosh, didn’t you see the “colon-hyphen-D” emoticon?
    In the future, when you see my name on a post, please go ahead and assume that it was intended to be humorous… even if I did a crappy job.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Guys, let’s not play the, “oh, I didn’t get in because of I’m white/black/asian/male/a Dodgers fan” game again.

  20. I can’t believe that the Dean of Admissions could be so racist — at MIT, of all places.

    But I found the quote in the MIT newspaper with the same “math grind” quote about Koreans:

    Such racism should be unacceptable at MIT.

  21. Ben says:

    Concerned Asian:

    1) I understand your concern, but understand that at best she was misquoted and at worst the quote was fabricated. Marilee Jones is about as far from racist as a human being can be.

    2) Please stop posting this in every single active blog entry.

  22. I did not see any apology or clarification regarding the “math grind” remark from Marilee Jones.

    I hope you’ll pardon me for believing the published words of an independent journalist instead of the assurances of someone who reports to Dean Jones.

  23. people, please.
    theres so much yelling and anger in a place that these bloggers spent so much work and time in. they dont even have to do it! i havent seen one other college that has a blog as personal and helpful as this.
    so you didnt get accepted. oh well. if youre good enough to be at mit then youre good enough to adapt at any school and have the best 4 years of your life. If all you can bring is negativity to these pages, then i think its good you were not accepted; i doubt you could handle the maturity.

    in response to ben’s original post:

    I was at the milwaukee party, and it was really great. i talked to the ECs and a few MIT freshmen and a Sophomore,who told us stories and talked of daily life at MIT. I met some of my future classmates as well, and it just made me all the more excited for CPW. :D

  24. Drew says:

    within 5 minutes of meeting for the first time, we were all outside playing ultimate frisbee smile

  25. Elvis says:

    Hi Matt,
    I applied for transfer admissions what is the probability for admissions.I am asking this because I know that anybody who applied for transfer admission is a qualified candidate.

  26. Elvis says:

    Hi Matt,
    I applied for transfer admissions what is the probability for admissions.I am asking this because I know that anybody who applied for transfer admission is a qualified candidate.

  27. Well to get down to an actual question…^-^

    Matt, exactly how important are teacher recommendations? I hope this doesn’t sound like an excuse, but I go to a large public school (largest in the state) and am part of the highly overpopulated IB program with 40-50 students in each class. So it’s fairly easy to see how one can find it hard to “stand out” to the teachers, especially when they are too busy trying to make us shut up.

    I’m not saying my teachers don’t know me, its just that I can’t really expect a “best student I’ve ever met in 40 years of teaching” kind of letter from these teachers, considering they are flooded by letters of recommendations every year, and I am quite suspicious that they just end up copying and pasting names into Word.

    So I guess my question is, will MIT consider the letters of recommendation in context to the school, or should I start buying chocolates for my teachers? smile

  28. Paul ('11) says:

    Rebecca – I know I’m not Matt, but the first thing you should know teacher recommendations are just one of the many things MIT (or any school) considers when reviewing your application. I would doubt that an “average” recommendation is, as they say, a deal-breaker. And, yes, they always consider context. smile

    As for the specifics of your situation…that’s more interesting. Coming from a very small school, I didn’t have your same problem with “overpopulation.” I would say that the best thing for you to do might be to talk to your teachers as early as you can. Give them plenty of time to write the letter, but also make sure you establish clearly when the deadline is (especially since MIT’s regular deadline is earlier than most colleges’).

    You may also want to consider giving your Secondary School Report to your principal, instead of your guidance counselor. (This may involve giving your principal some of the information the guidance department would normally possess.) I should emphasize, though, that there’s no point asking your principal for a letter just so it comes from “the principal.” You have a choice between your guidance counselor and your principal; choose whomever knows you better. As for me, I had a very close relationship with my principal, whereas my guidance counselor was new that year, so my choice was easy. If your principal can’t match your face with your name, though, you may want to just stick with your actual counselor.

    As for “standing out” – that’s actually not so hard. The best thing you can do is to actually bring your teachers a list of your awards, accomplishments, clubs, etc. – and then highlight the ones that matter most to you. (Ideally, some of the things that your teachers highlight, you yourself will talk about in your actual application.) You may also want to arrange a quick discussion with your teacher about you and your letter, just so both of you know what the other is expecting.

    Personally, I would not worry about not getting a letter that says “Rebecca is the best student I have ever had the privilege of teaching!” That kind of letter sounds nice, but it probably has very little substance to it. What you’re aiming for is a strong letter that shows that the teacher is excited about your academic future and also reveals something interesting about you as a person. (If teachers really do think you’re amazing, they’ll indicate that more effectively in how they check off those little boxes on the actual evaluation form.)

    As I said earlier, though…the recommendation letters are just one part of the application. Just make sure that MIT gets the letter with their name on it, as opposed to, say, Caltech’s. smile

    One last suggestion: if there is someone outside your school who knows you very well and/or with whom you’ve worked VERY closely (especially if it’s for research or volunteer work), consider asking them for a recommendation. This person could be a research mentor, a youth group leader – you get the picture. Matt actually wrote about supplemental materials here. Once again, to share my own story, research was a huge part of my application but something none of my other teachers talked about too much; so I asked my mentor to write me a letter. Beats me if it helped, but I guess it didn’t hurt too much. smile

  29. Paul ('11) says:

    …To anyone who actually read that essay I just wrote – please accept my sincerest apologies.

    I’m going to go away now…yeah…

  30. MIT Dean of Admissions:

    “… Park looked like a thousand other Korean kids with the exact same profile of grades and activities and temperament … YET ANOTHER TEXTURELESS MATH GRIND.”

    from “The Price of Admissions” by Daniel Golden, Wall Street Journal reporter

  31. Elizabeth says:

    Paul- Yeah , I read the first paragraph, scrolled down and saw how long it was, moved on, then laughed at your next post.
    At Everyone- I am out of the country so I couldn’t go to my admitted students weekend, but ‘CPW all the way’ is what I’m shouting!

  32. Elizabeth says:

    *admitted students party
    I’m a wee bit excited about CPW apparently.

  33. Akshay says:

    @ shawn.
    ” hahahahha its funny to see how people are tryna get into MIT.. keep tryin sukaz.. u mite find som luck in the next millennium “

    reply :
    well.. u can just behav a bit better… n STOP talking nonsense abt INDIANS…

  34. bon says:

    The San Antonio meeting was fantastic! We talked over specific classes (like “digital death” ect.) and the east campus west campus differences. I had a blast and we even got to try out our host’s Segway : ) Meeting the current students was so helpful and getting to know what some of the other admits were like was neat. A great night all in all.

    @Drew: ultimate frisbee is way cool!!! I’m jealous

  35. Kiran says:

    Sorry, faintly off topic, but when should we have our AP scores reported?

    I’m a sophomore, so is it too early to have my scores reported? i mean, i’ll be applying in 2 years, so where will they end up? should i just send in a copy of the score report with my app later on?

  36. Anonymous says:

    mit bloody sucks!!!!

  37. Anonymous2 says:

    Now that’s not very nice. Sois gentil, crétin!

  38. Megan says:

    within 5 minutes of meeting for the first time, we were all outside playing ultimate frisbee smile