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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Admitted Students Update by Matt McGann '00

Lots of good and important stuff for both EA and RA admits.

Hello MIT Class of 2013! Here are some things that admitted students should do, now that the entire class has been admitted…

Read Chris Su’s Entry: Chris wrote an awesome entry earlier today for admitted students, check it out!

Join the Facebook Group: Facebook is a great place to meet your future classmates and get questions answered by current students. Here it is: MIT Class of 2013. (…and international students can join the international students group!)

Await Financial Aid Info: I know many of you are eagarly awaiting finanial aid information… don’t despair! It will be in the mail on Wednesday, and in your mailboxes soon after that. (This goes for both EA and RA admits who have submitted complete financial aid applications)

Check out your MyMIT Portal: Over at MyMIT, you’ll find a bunch of stuff only available to admitted students, including:

  • Campus Preview Weekend Registration: Please register for CPW on April 2 or when your travel plans are solidified, whichever is sooner. Also, when you fill out your CPW registration form, give us as much specific information as you can; this will help us make your CPW experience as good as possible. Finally, please complete the Medical Release Form.

    Notes to the wise: if you’re flying in, book your plane tickets early (You may want to consider using Orbitz. Once you create an account you’ll be redirected to the MIT Orbitz page). If your parents are joining you, have them book their hotel early.

  • Local Admitted Students Meetings: During MIT Spring Break next week, MIT alumni across the globe will be hosting gathering for the Class of 2013, as nearby campus as Providence, Rhode Island, and as far away as Singapore. There will be meetings in nearly 60 locales, including New York City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Miami, Chicago, and many more. RSVP information is included.

  • Class of 2013 Guestbook: Hundreds of your classmates have checked in to introduce themselves. Since only admitted students can enter themselves on the guestbook, it’s a good way to share your contact information securely with your future classmates, and to get emails and screennames to be in touch with fellow MIT 2013s!

  • The MIT Reply Form: As soon as you’ve made up your mind for sure about whether or not to attend MIT — after you’ve received your financial aid package, come for CPW, or anything else that you need to make your decision — please let us know your decision through the online reply form. You have three choices: tell us you’re enrolling this fall (Yay! Welcome officially to the MIT Class of 2013!), that you’re declining our offer of admission (it’s okay, we know you’re making the best choice for yourself), or to request a deferral/gap year(s) before enrolling at MIT (for a gap year, military service, or other reason — see future entry for more information on this option). Take as much time as you need to make your decision (and if we can help, please let us know), but be sure to let us know by May 1.

  • Overnight Program Registration: If you can’t make it for CPW, don’t despair, you can still come visit through our Overnight Program. Please register at least two weeks in advance, and we’ll do our best to show you MIT.

Finally, Class of 2013, what would you like to see us do blog entries on over the coming month or so? How can we be best helpful for you as you make your college decision?

84 responses to “Admitted Students Update”

  1. Chinua '13 says:

    I am sure that I want to go to MIT, however my parents are Harvard grads. I am totally interested in computer science and am pretty secure in that major. Any tips on how to convince my parents that MIT is the best for me? I am just hoping right now that I don’t get into Harvard cause that would be easier, but if anyone has any suggestions, I would love to convince them.

  2. David '13 says:

    “How can we be best helpful for you as you make your college decision?”

    Honestly, as long as you still exist, you don’t have to do anything.

  3. Veronica '13 says:

    I second David ’13’s answer. I mean, in all seriousness, this is MIT we’re talking about! smile

  4. Chinua '13 says:

    Personally, I found the whole blog thing as being very influential in my decision. That is what made my decision easier.

  5. Quentin '10 says: is a good site for finding low airfares; it’s a meta-search site that searches dozens of other sites. It’s usually cheaper than the other individual sites.

  6. Reena '13 says:

    Wheeeee, I finally got to officially reply! :D

    p.s. the bottom half of your post is all hyperlinked.

  7. Cam says:

    @Reena: Ha. I think I beat you to it by 15 mins.

  8. OscarV '13 says:

    I wonder whether the packages will be sent via snail mail, as this could take about a month to get to me (Costa Rican postal service is slow…) confused

  9. QJS '13 says:

    On average, how would you rate MIT’s financial aid? I got a full-ride at the University of Minnesota, and now my parents are pushing me to go there, even though I would LOVE to come here. Any tips for me to convince them MIT is a better investment?

  10. anonymous says:

    Current MIT students will be CALLING ALL ADMITTED STUDENTS tonight! If you’re not home, they’ll call back later tonight or sometime in the next few days!

  11. Question for Matt, or whoever else can and wants to answer it:

    Do RA admittees get their admissions packs in a tube in the mail? Because I will be devastated if they do not.


    I am in Germany at the moment, meaning I do not have access to my home phone. Who can I email my cell phone number to in order to receive the aforementioned phone call (which would be very nice)? Thank you. :D

    PS: I just realized I have a very strange writing style. Might be that it’s 12:30 AM in N√ºrnberg right now…

  12. anon says:


    You could always just withdraw your Harvard app

  13. Enas'12 says:

    To all the International admits, there is a Facebook group for y’all as well.

    It’s MIT Class of 2013 International Students

    It would be great if you could add it to the entry Matt, since one the comments list is long nobody reads them anymore…

  14. Hey Matt,
    I have a serious question.
    Currently I’m a high school sophomore and strongly considering MIT. I’ve lived here in the U.S. now for 4 years and my English is perfect, honors and AP classes, etc.
    But I’m also an Israeli citizen (lived there for 8 years) and when I’m 18 I have to serve in the military. I have to serve for 3 years. I know the max gap years you allow is 2 years. Does this allow for a special circumstance? Or should I just throw MIT out of the picture? The question is not whether or not to go to the army or not for 3 years, because I love my country, the question is whether or not you allow 3 gap years from senior year to age 21 in special circumstances, like military service. Thanks a lot.

  15. Reena says:

    Emilio, I’ve been to N√ºrnberg… it was awesome there. I’d love to talk to you! smile

  16. “Finally, Class of 2013, what would you like to see us do blog entries on over the coming month or so? How can we be best helpful for you as you make your college decision?”

    This may be too much to ask for, but are there any bad things (Yes, I dared to ask! Sorry!), or perhaps shortcomings, to MIT? Don’t get me wrong, I love reading about all the fabulous things that MIT has to offer, but what sorts of things is MIT lacking in? For what types of people would MIT not be a good fit? Do you personally know any students who have enrolled and found out MIT wasn’t for them? If so, why? I think a blog post with a topic like “MIT: To be or not to be?” in which questions like these are addressed would be helpful. smile

    By the way, if there’s already a blog post like this, please direct me to where I can read it! Thanks.

  17. Logan '13 says:

    Matt: What is the advantage of using that Orbitz for Business link to buy flights? (Besides being charged a $7 Orbitz for Business fee, that is.)

  18. Narce says:

    I already sent in my official reply I already sent in my official reply <(^.^)d

    There was no way I’d go anywhere else, even if I somehow don’t get a good deal on financial aid (though still hoping for that!)~

  19. Anonymous says:

    About the phone calls:

    I got mine, but I, absent-minded as I am, forgot all my questions on the spot. Are there other ways to speak to current students?

  20. Narce says:

    (and even though I took this long to post here, based on what Cam said, 15 mins earlier than 6:44 eastern, I did it at almost the same minute as him, IIRC. Definitely before I went to work out today)

  21. Narce says:


    You can friend some of them on facebook to ask questions, and the bloggers are always open to whatever questions you have… don’t forget that they’re current students of every undergrad year, too.

  22. Anonymous says:

    @nanofreak israeli

    There’s lots of countries that have mandatory military service. I’m from Russia so I’ll share what I know about mandatory service. Russia and many CIS states have a mandatory 1-2 year military service program. In these countries, you get a “povestka” — a summons to the military — to your place of permanent residence. Since my place of permanent residence is in the United States and I am not registered anywhere in Russia, I will never get one of these summons. This has some disadvantages. If you DO get a summons to your grandparents house, then you have a bigger problem — you cannot return to the country until you reach 26.

    My suggestion to you is this — go straight to MIT. By the time you’re of age (18), you should be eligible for a US passport (even if you don’t want the citizenship, it’s useful to have two travel documents). You can safely return to Israel with a visa, but make sure to enter the country with the US passport. If you enter with an Israeli passport, you will not be afforded consular protection and are legally considered an Israeli and obligated to serve in the military. When you are above conscription age, you can again return with an Israeli passport.

    Best of luck!

  23. Anonymous says:

    @nanofreak israeli

    Might be different in Israel, though… would be unfortunate if avoiding military service marked you as a felon.

  24. Piper '12 says:

    @Chinua – You’re an adult. This doesn’t sound financially based, so while your parents can (and should!) throw in their opinions, it should ultimately be your decision.

  25. Anonymous says:

    @ Treebeard

    MIT makes you really stressed. If you fall a bit behind for whatever reason, it’s extraordinarily difficult to get back on track, making you even more stressed…

    I’ve been experiencing anxiety attacks and high levels of overstress for the past month. There have been days when I haven’t been able to attend lecture because I’ve been crying from stress. I’ve had trouble sleeping, terrible headaches, difficulty making myself eat… I’m now in counseling with MIT medical mental health.

    So, if you really hate being miserable from stress, MIT might not be the place for you. I think the stress might be the worst part of MIT, but, of course, stress levels vary between individuals.

    Just take the workload into account when making your decision. When I chose to attend, I thought the workload would be maybe twice as much (at most) as a full high school AP or IB schedule. Instead, I’ve found myself working straight in the library from 3 until 11 and then hours more back at my dorm every weekday. Weekends mean longer working hours. MIT has a lot to offer as far as student life is concerned, but it’s often difficult to take advantage of those opportunities. I often wish I had time to relax, read books, check out the cultural scene in Boston, or socialize with my peers, but psets and exams seem to preclude this. My life basically consists of studying in the library, lectures, and grabbing a few hours of sleep when I can.

    (Bottom line: run while you still can. I hope that taking a few minutes out of my schedule has sufficiently forewarned you.)

  26. Chinua '13 says:


    If it simply withdraw, my parents would be really mad.

    @Piper ’12

    Not quite. I am a little ahead and will be 18 when I matriculate, and so my parents will still have legal authority. Plus, I don’t want to disrespect them, so I would like to convince them.

    They understand my excitement at getting in, however, I think that they expect the same excitement if Harvard accepts me. If anyone else has gone through something similar and can give me tips, I would love that.

  27. Victoria. says:

    While, I know you have a few blog entries about this, it would be nice if you could have some new posts on the minority *urm* experience at MIT. In addition to the culture, the comfort level, resources.

    I would also mind hearing more from the class of 2012 on their adjustment.

  28. Ragheb '12 says:

    @ Matt, the link to the international students group you have now is linking to the normal MIT Class of 2013 group not the international students one. The link is
    looking forward to meeting you all pre-froshies.

  29. @ Chinua ’13

    I don’t know if rankings for top colleges in Computer Science would help, but try this site:

    That’s the site from US News & World Report that ranks MIT’s computer science program as 1st in the country and Harvard is not even in the top 10 for that particular program. Another suggestion is to visit both universities with your parents and meet with the director of the department. I think it might become quite evident at that time which program is better. Approach it from the program perspective and not necessarily from the university perspective. That way you are not insulting their university, you are just wanting to go the MIT because it offers a better program in computer science.

  30. Narce says:

    YES!! I love hearing about that so much!

    Er, I mean, I am deeply sorry that you don’t seem to be handling the stress very well, but….

    That’s exactly why I want to come to MIT! A true challenge! Gah ha ha ha, I really really can’t wait whenever someone speaks like that! The N^1 workload in the entire world of universities~ Hours of studying necessary even for someone who never spent a single second studying in high school~

    I want that challenge noooooooow~

  31. Sheila ('13) says:

    Blah. I guess I won’t get the fin aid letter this friday…because I just sent out my IDOC last week. Anybody like this? If we sent out that late, does it mean we’ll get our fin aid info this April, at least before CPW?

  32. Tshiamo '13 says:

    About the financial aid packages

    Will mit email me or will I be able to check my financial aid package online so I can get to know whats on it soon, because Im in Botswana right now and its going to take a whole month before I can receive the letter, and I wont have enough time to decide on which college Im going to before May 1st.

  33. jdk says:

    Hey Matt,

    Just curious if the recent raise in freshmen applicants will put a damper on the already tough-enough-as-it-is transfer applicants?

    Also, could (or any other MIT blogger) pleeeeaaaasssssee write about transfer students, the transfer process, or anything else relative to the subject. I mean c’mon man, there are a million and one blogs geared towards the hopeful freshman; give us other applicants something to gnaw on! At least every once in a while. Sheesh!

  34. Anonymous says:

    @ Narce:

    Oh, really? You like hearing about other people’s nervous breakdowns?

    Oh, wait… I forgot. That could never happen to you. You could never get worn out from constant, grinding stress. In high school, you always understood everything; you were #1 in the class; you’ve won national science awards and the STEM scholarships are rolling in, why should that change now? You won’t ever experience the misery that comes with struggling with something to the point of failure. And even if you did, it’d feel great! Struggling with things is fun, right? It’s all about the challenge, huh? Nah, you’re way too smart to succumb to stress like that pansy anonymous poster.


    Seriously, if you’ve never had to study for anything before, you are going to have a difficult time adjusting. “Being Challenged” is a great and noble abstract aspiration, but if you come in here with the idea that a workload that is bigger and more demanding than anyone else’s is a badge of intellectual honor, you are going to end up with some serious mental health issues.

    From the tone of your post, it seems that stress issues, to you, are things that happen to Other People. You have an infinite capacitance for academics and you can certainly tolerate long hours of drudgery over a problem set you don’t understand, day after day, even though your data set consists of “never [having] spent a single second studying in high school.” Hm.

    Take it into account in your decision. Understand what you’re getting into, and when/if you’re here and you finally do understand what I’m talking about, take a moment from crying over your pset and remind yourself that you did take the stress into account in your decision, years ago. This is important, and it will be important to you later on.

    Coming to MIT for the “The N^1 workload in the entire world of universities” is the WRONG reason to come to MIT. No one here wants a classmate who matriculated based on some weird notion of prestige, and you will end up not wanting to be here.

    Just think about it more carefully.

  35. Shoshie '13 says:

    @ nanofreak israeli:

    The answer to your question might be that if you go to serve in tza’hal, you might have to apply to MIT from there. If they would have accepted you straight from high school, chances are, they would do the same later. This means that you won’t have guaranteed placement as you enter, but it might be the best solution (wait for Matt’s answer though – a 3 year gap year would be nice in this case).

    That said, you will most likely have to volunteer for the army, effectively. When you turn 16.5, you will have the ability to go to the Israeli consulate and apply for exemption, as a resident of the US. It’s really a difficult choice – I chose to do it on the basis of something very important but unrelated to both American colleges themselves and Israel. If you do decide to go to college first, you have the option of serving in the army after (at 22, they’ll sign you up in a moment; if you go for grad school first, you might have to volunteer), and you will have many more options for what to do in the army. There are many professional units, for example, and if you’re going for practically anything useful in MIT, your skills will be in high demand wink

    My advice to you is not to rule anything out yet. There’s a fair amount of Israelis at MIT who have done army service, and gone after, and I’m sure there is a fair amount of people who have been exempted from army service. At this point, keep your school work up, do interesting things, and make sure that you’re in good shape. You don’t have to decide yet, and even when you will have to decide, you’ll have a lot of options.

  36. Anonymous says:

    when do you guys post the blog for wait list students. congrats to all of you admitted.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Out of curiosity Anonymous, how many hours of sleep do MIT students get? In addition, how happy are you? You sound pretty resentful right now, but is that only because of one person’s comments or your life at MIT? I must ask, is MIT worth it for you? Why did you chose to come here? Why didn’t you transfer out after coming and experiencing MIT? And in all truth, if you had the option to do the college application process all over again, would you chose MIT again?

    It must be hard to be here, and struggling must hurt, but is the sort of pain that builds you up? Or do you regret coming here?

    Hope you don’t mind these questions. If they’re too personal, feel free to ignore them. I just don’t know how to articulate them any better.

  38. '13 says:

    Wow Anonymous. You pinpointed Narce perfectly. Too bad you can’t filter the blogs for all of his posts. Or maybe that is a good thing.

  39. k '13 says:

    i sort of expected there would be an admitted students meeting in india :(

  40. @ John Galt –

    I COMPLETELY agree with you. The reason I am so determined to get into a college program much like MIT (we will let time decide where I end up; and I completely believe that wherever I am accepted is where I was meant to be) is I want to learn with people who want to make a difference. I want to “LEARN!” High school has been a bunch of busy work; striving for perfection when you realize that perfection alone will not get you anywhere. Who cares about the 4.0 I have once I get into college? It is character, devotion, and drive that will get me somewhere. I want to make what I am spending countless hours and nights on USEFULL. I feel that when you sign the paper that determines you a student of MIT, or any other university for that matter, you do so knowing that you are going to be challenged beyond what ever was saught feasable. But when perfection is about impossible, does that not make the learning process more rewarding? But I also believe that in order to succeed to wherever you set your sights, that success entails being happy.

  41. Nicole '10 says:

    “It’s interesting to here someone actually admit to what’s wrong with the academics in one of the most enviable universities in the country.”

    I’m going to preface my comments w/ the fact that I also respect Anonymous for sharing his/her experience with the MIT blogs – it takes courage to post such things publicly (even w/out a name)… but I dislike John Galt’s use of the phrase “what’s wrong with the academics” at MIT… MIT is not easy – some people are going to struggle here; actually, most people will struggle here at some point (though there are exceptions – they are few and far between, since it takes a unique combination of super-genius and slacker to get through MIT without ever signing up for a class that truly challenges you)… some people will struggle more than others. But we’re up front about this from the outset, nobody pretends that MIT is supposed to be easy. And while of course some people do get overwhelmed, this happens at every school, even community colleges… it’s just a different set of people, and I don’t see how that means there’s something wrong with our academics.

  42. John Galt says:

    It is not meant as directly as you have taken it. There isn’t anything wrong at all ,actually. What’s wrong is when students, many of whom are gifted, interesting, and talented, completely ruin their self-esteem and ability to pride themselves in their work. For example, you study hard, do well on a test, then receive no satisfaction from it because someone possibly did a little bit better or you made a silly mistake.

    It isn’t the educational system, which is design to challenge you and make your abilities more extensive than imaginable, it’s the dissipation of the student’s view of themselves. (Of course, everyone needs to be challenged, I make no qualms about that at all. But when suicidal tendencies are invoked, then well I’ll leave that up to everyone else. I apologize for the incorrect phrasing.

  43. Current '12 says:

    @ Anonymous who asked “I must ask, is MIT worth it for you? Why did you chose to come here? Why didn’t you transfer out after coming and experiencing MIT? And in all truth, if you had the option to do the college application process all over again, would you chose MIT again?”

    A lot of the times I wish I hadn’t come here. I chose to come to MIT because the people and culture interested me. I wanted to be surrounded by people who were crazy and interesting. In that aspect my expectations were totally satisfied. I’m definitely surrounded by people like that and I really love my friends and community here.

    As a prefrosh I never considered the workload in my college decision. I just assumed I’d be able to handle it well because I hadn’t struggled too much in AP classes in high school.

    MIT is different. MIT means week after week of stress and seemingly endless work. There are things I love about this school but I’m absolutely miserable a good portion of the time.

    MIT has shown me that my interests don’t quite align with most other students – I’m not really keenly interested in science, math, or engineering – and most interest I had in these subjects has been completely crushed by ridiculous amounts of work.

    Why am I still here? I will take fewer math/physics/chemistry classes in the coming years, try and find things that interest me, and get out of here as soon as I can. An MIT degree means a lot in the world and I know that if I put my mind to it I have the ability to get out of here alive and with a degree. Then I can finally get on with my life and do what I want.

    If I had the chance to apply to college all over again I definitely think I would have been happier at a quirky liberal arts school. On paper I was a great fit for MIT, I took all my high school’s most advanced math and science classes, I was interesting, I wrote good essays, I interview well, I had good test scores, but in reality I’m not happy here.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Oi, another vehement debate in the blog comments?

    Let me put in a possibly mediating opinion here. I’m a new ’13. I haven’t had it easy in high school. I’m the kind of person whose body can’t handle stress well. I’ve had the experience of passing out from working too hard while I was sick. And I’ve learned from it. But I’m still pushing myself to the limit every day, and I’m not for a moment hesitant to put myself in that position again. It’s part of why I’ve decided to come here. Maybe that makes me stupid, but hey. I did get in to MIT. Admissions apparently thought I can handle it, and I trust them.
    From what I’ve read on these blogs, I think Narce sometimes tends to speak his mind without thinking enough about the effects of his words. But I totally see where he’s coming from, and you need not assume it means he thinks you’re a pansy.

    It’s just that there’s so much more thrill in achieving anything, even be it a passing grade on a test, when you’ve gone through hell for it first.

    And you can’t say they didn’t warn you, either, can you?

    Anyway, that’s my two cents. I just wish people would stop making assumptions about each other on here and give them benefit of the doubt. Thanks, though, for the warning not to… er, take the warnings about workload lightly. I’m sure it can’t be emphasized enough.

  45. Piper '12 says:

    “Out of curiosity Anonymous, how many hours of sleep do MIT students get? In addition, how happy are you? You sound pretty resentful right now…”

    I can’t speak for the above Anonymous, but I can speak for myself – I assume you’re going for different aspects to create an overall picture :D

    I sleep 9hrs most nights. Truly. I’m involved in a lot of activities – though I am taking 36 units (3 classes – a full load) as opposed to 48 units (4 classes – a standard load). I tend to do things a little last minute – I think if I were always on top of things, I would be sleeping just as much each night with 4 classes. Though I suppose I won’t be able to tell you that until next term :D

    Anonymous may very well be resentful, but that’s not necessarily the driving force behind his/her comment. People should not come to MIT for the wrong reasons – and people should not come to MIT expecting to work hard but still breeze through. The academics are hard. That’s not a flaw, that’s part of what makes MIT the institute that it is.

    For me personally, MIT’s been a trial. It has been hell and it has been a haven. The real difference, I found, was in my attitude. Whereas I used to let stress trip me up and get me frustrated to the point of almost quitting, I’ve since learned to simply do my work and not worry about everything that goes with it (which is not as simple as it sounds, and is incredibly valuable). I came for MIT’s culture and subcultures, for the quirks, for the opportunities – and am really only now exploring them. A year ago, I might have told you that MIT was the wrong choice – but now I know it was absolutely right for me.

  46. Oasis '11 says:

    I wanted to write a whole other blog on this topic but I’m too hosed from cramming exams again (yay probably not going to sleep another night this week) so that entry will have to wait. =p

    I think for every student at MIT, there will be at least one moment when they regretted coming here. Yes, you heard that right – regret.

    It happened to me plenty of times, although I choose not to dwell on those moments too much.

    At the risk of sounding narcissist, let me tell you a bit about myself. I don’t know if you have noticed from my blogs, but I love to be involved. In fact, in high school, I spent exponentially more time outside of class and actually in class. I joined the orchestra, the choir, student government, headed the yearbook crew as editor-in-chief, travelled to track tournaments, did MUN, spent two Aprils in the Philippines staying at an orphanage and helping the squatter community, started a non-profit SAT preparation program at school (all of the income was donated) just to help the ’08s and the ’09s that would soon be graduating (I was a ’07 then), planned big events at school (like our Junior Carnival – a fair hosted by juniors), and just generally had a good time. In fact, I spent so much time just doing activities that my parents started to object on the grounds that “you won’t get into college because of that.”

    Coming to MIT, however, I was faced with a different challenge. Now, it’s like I’m living in a hyped-up, high-res version of my life in high school. Do you want to help people? Well, why don’t you join D-lab and go to Africa? Like MUN? Well, we have a conference in the Netherlands! Still like SAT Prep? Well, we have a program that draws in 450 students from the Boston area! Want to do research? Hey – I hear that there’s a space opening in that Nobel laureate’s lab. Do you want to apply for it?

    The opportunities that come with being a MIT students and the doors that are open to you are just simply amazing. Yet, I guess the academic competitive side of me also kicked in (I took 14 AP exams in high school). I wanted to satisfy my academic knowledge too, and so I often signed for 60 credits, or 72 credits in one semester.

    This is where the “work, sleep, play” dilemma comes in.

    I quickly realized that as fun as it is to do activities all day, I no longer could entirely neglect my academics and still do well like what I did in high school. Increasingly, I would have to finish what I was doing in terms of activities, come home tired, and then still plow through a pset or studying for an exam. In many ways, I’m also living a amped-up version of tiredness and busyness.

    Sometimes I do ask myself – couldn’t I have gone to a less-challenging school and fully explore my activities without academics being such a burden? I’m a premed, so wouldn’t that help me more than what I’m doing now – constantly shuttling back and forth between activities and academics but feeling like I’m just barely keeping my head above the water?

    However, I think I’m starting to realize the answer to that question.

    I realized that if I did what I thought – I would have been taking the easy way out. I know I am perfectly capable of doing what I did in high school, but how is that contributing to my personal growth? How is that making me more than the person that I was 2 years ago?

    There have been moments where I was teetering on the edge of quitting what I was doing – dropping classes after a C on an exam, feeling fed up with my life in general about how I have a billion of meetings to go to but the psets are piling up faster than the snow is falling outside. There have been moments when I asked myself, “what am I doing at MIT? I can transfer to any state school and feel infinitely better about myself without all this sleep-deprivation and lack of human interaction (too busy to talk to people).”

    Just a few weeks ago, I was helping a frosh with the 7.013 pset, and I marveled how it was only a few semesters ago when I took intro bio and everything seemed like it was written in a different language. Now, restriction enzymes and plasmid cloning seemed almost second nature. Just a month or so ago, I was chatting online with a friend from UPenn, who was complaining about his chemistry pset. I looked at it (it was a orgo pset) and it resembled the first two questions only (they were the easiest questions) of our 5.12 exams.

    In many ways, I think MIT has helped me grow in an unseen way and forced me to redefine my boundaries. It had taught me how to better manage my time (sometimes at the painful cost of getting Cs on exams), and also get a good enough GPA to remain on the premed track.

    Is this school hard? Of course. Is it painful? Undoubtedly (perhaps not for the select few that are just geniuses).

    But is it worth it?

    I’m still formulating a working definition, but the answer is coming to be a “yes.”

  47. Pony says:

    By my count, there are 10 anonymous comments so far. You don’t have to give your real name, but it might be nice if people used something so that things aren’t as confusing.

  48. I feel mildly compelled to put a slightly happier note in this thread. Still honest, but I think it is good for the prefrosh to know that it isn’t all pain and misery.

    First, a few facts about life at MIT:
    – You will be horribly sleep deprived /at least/ once a week. And that’s if you’re lucky.
    – There will be some weeks where you can count the number of hours of sleep you’ve gotten on your hands (maybe you’ll have to use a couple toes, though)
    – There will come a time when you question your ability to succeed in your goals
    – You will feel like you have more work than you can possibly do in the allotted time. Then you will likely complete it all, anyway
    – You will feel like you have a never-ending load of work on top of you

    There are a few exceptions to these facts, but very, very few. Most likely you’re not one of them, even if you were valedictorian of your high school and got a perfect score on your SATs.

    That said, I always find myself looking forward to the next term starting. I always feel like a kid in a candy shop when I am browsing the course catalog for classes to take next term. Even when I am walking home from classes, trying to decide how little sleep I’ll get this week or how overbearing my workload seems, a gust of wind will blow by and suddenly I’ll find myself suppressing the urge to cartwheel back to my dorm singing about life being good.

    Even though the workload is intense, I find working in public spaces makes it suddenly seem a lot more enjoyable. You’re solving interesting problems with people you like, occasionally breaking off into interesting conversations. What isn’t there to like? The fact that you fell asleep during that meeting with your UROP professor suddenly seems inconsequential.

    To me, that is what makes MIT worth it. It is as intense and overbearing as you hear it is. In fact, it is several orders of magnitude more so. But once the lack of sleep makes you delirious, you suddenly can’t remember those problems anymore. Just kidding about the delirious bit; that doesn’t quite happen weekly.

    Anyway, those are my 5 cents. Thought I would add a new perspective. There are a /lot/ of people like the above posters. But there are also a lot like me, who manage to find time between tests and psets and projects to smile at least once a day.

  49. Nicole '10 says:

    @John Gelt – sorry at jumping on you for your wording; I had a suspicion that wasn’t really what you meant, but I was bored and wanted to toss in my 2 cents.

    It seems that we’ve accumulated a lot of posts stressing how incredibly hard MIT is, but I want to stress to prefrosh that it’s not like that all the time and it’s also not like that for everyone… in my earlier post, I said that [almost] everyone here will struggle at some point, but there is also a flip side to that… there will be things that are easy for you, that you’re good at. People do participate in extra-curricular activities here, they play sports, they throw parties, they even watch TV (that was a real shocker for me – I didn’t watch at all in high school).

    The thing about MIT is that you can make it as challenging as you want to – making life easier for yourself when you feel overwhelmed is more difficult; many students feel pressure (mostly internal, ’cause we’re all hard workers) to take lots of classes and not to let anything drop; but sometimes you have to step back and accept that the world won’t end if you don’t finish this pset, or don’t do well on this test… that your health and sanity come first.

    My experience with MIT has actually been very different from the experiences described above. I learned procrastination here; in high school everything was due two days later – I was often working from the time I got home from crew practice to the time I went to sleep; there was no time to put things off. At MIT for the first time I had the freedom to schedule my own work habits, and my first two years here a lot of the work wasn’t that difficult for me (some of it was, of course – it wasn’t a cakewalk)… I learned that I could put things off to the night before and still do well, that sometimes it was easier to just wait until there was some pressure to get me motivated. Then junior year happened – I finally got out of the intro classes into things that were really challenging for me. I’ve spent this year trying to unlearn the bad study habits I developed as a freshman and sophomore.

    What is the point of the story? Certainly not that MIT teaches you procrastination (I don’t blame the Institute for that, I can only blame myself). I just wanted to point out that MIT is different for everyone – and for most people it’s not an every day struggle to survive academically; there will be difficult assignments and bad weeks, but it isn’t an academic hell. If you got into MIT, it means that the admissions office has confidence that you can make it here, and if you have confidence in yourself, then you will make it here.

  50. Nicole '10 says:

    Also, re: Oasis… I have *never* regretted coming to MIT, not even for a minute, and I never will. I wanted to come here since I was 12 years old, I didn’t seriously consider any other schools, and I plan to wear my Brass Rat until the day I die (or my fingers get too fat, whatever happens first). And I doubt I’m the only one. I’m sure plenty of people in the midst of it all regret taking certain classes, or not starting that project earlier, but regret coming here??? I know very few people who would admit to that.

  51. Oasis '11 says:

    @ Nicole-

    After I posted it, I knew some current students might object to my wording – and I couldn’t alter it anymore because this is not my blog, haha.

    I actually do mean more like regretting some decisions they made here. Regretting signing up for 72 credits but is failing 24 credits of that. Regretting not working efficiently enough and now has to pull two all-nighters. Regretting having to give up going to a party because of a need to tool.

    I mean more of a like sentiment where it’s like, “#@$# MIT, because of you, I have to pull an all nighter and I might still have failed my test! I wish I never came here!” (pretty much IHTFP – i mean, we always say that in jest and banter, but I’ve felt very intense IHTFP feelings before)

    Haha sorry if I misled people. Now that I read it again, the wording does seem really strong, especially since I put regret in bold. What I actually meant is that it’s definitely just not all rainbows and butterflies here.

    And regarding what you just posted as well – I do agree with you on the point that MIT is what you make of it. For example, if I was doing 36 credits per term, I definitely will not be feeling as hosed as I am half the time and would have plenty of time to do the activities I want without being stressed (maybe sleeping 9+ hours a day!). But I guess I’ve also been infested with the competitiveness and being a premed and all I’ve forced myself to take on a big courseload with many activities. So really, it’s different for different people.

  52. Gee says:

    Another student from Ohio received their FA today (at least that’s what they posted on cc) This waiting almost feels same as waiting for decisions….is it just me?

  53. Narce says:

    I don’t care what you guys are saying~ Having a challenge like that–yes, I understand that I’ll be under that same level of stress–is, indeed, one of the reasons I want to come to MIT!

    Sorry about your nervous breakdown, whoever, but I just get so pumped up to try my hand at that workload whenever someone talks about how hard it is!!!!

  54. Narce says:

    (and maybe I’m a masochist on some level, but I don’t regard stress as happening to “other people”, and when I’m put under a decent amount of stress from whatever things, deadlines, etc., I always manage to focus a lot more, which I think is a good thing… so I know I’m not spouting COMPLETE bs about how I’m looking forward to the ridiculous-paced lifestyle of an MIT student~)

  55. Piper '12 says:

    @Shosh – I can tell you from personal experience that MIT is exponentially harder than Calstate LA (both science classes and HASS classes). At CSULA, problems are often from the book – these are trivial compared to MIT problem sets. Friends from other schools (UCLA, Scripps, etc) have told me their experiences, and I find it’s closer to CSULA than MIT.

    But I’ll be able to tell you better after I do 18.03 at BU this summer wink. I do suggest looking at the problem sets on OpenCourseWare though to get a better feel. My high school was not as science-inclined as most.

  56. Anonymous says:

    Current 12…Then get the hell out. Sacrificing your happiness for a degree? You have no credibility on this blog

  57. Shosh '13 says:

    Here’s my question – I don’t know if anyone can answer…

    What is the work like in comparison to that in other colleges? Unlike most of the people here, the most challenging courses I’ve taken throughout high school were college (NYU) math courses, partly because my school doesn’t offer so many APs. I say this because I feel that I’ve surpassed the surprise sensation of having to labor over a problem set, but I want to know if this is comparable. I’ve looked at the open courseware parallel of the courses I’ve taken, and the exams at least are not strikingly more difficult (although they focus a little bit differently than those I took, so ~10-20% of what they covered was a little different). I expect that any other college that I’m looking at – Harvard, for example – has a significantly easier work load than MIT. Would you say that is true based on your experience?

  58. Aakriti says:

    @ k ’13
    Hey! we could have an admitted students gathering sorta thing in india! how many indians got in??

  59. Maria '13 says:

    Financial aid in Cleveland, OH today!

  60. Gee says:

    Financial Aid in New York, today…

  61. MITMom says:

    Current 12 wrote:
    MIT has shown me that my interests don’t quite align with most other students – I’m not really keenly interested in science, math, or engineering –

    MIT is more than just science, math, or engineering. MIT has a wonderful Music and Theater Arts department (21M), Foreign Languages and Literatures department (21F), Writing and Humanistic Studies department (21W), Architecture (4), and so much more. Try some courses in other departments, experiment and explore. This is your time to discover what your passion is.

  62. Anonymous says:

    “Current 12…Then get the hell out. Sacrificing your happiness for a degree? You have no credibility on this blog”

    And just give up? Drop out of college? No, it doesn’t like that….

  63. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous…No, try somewhere where you will be happy… duh

  64. Kristina '13 says:

    MIT’s outrageous workload is one of the biggest factors in determining where I will ultimately spend the next four years of my life. Having gone through MITES, I know what it is like to pull several all-nighters in one week, sometimes two in a row, to have p-set after p-set rain down upon an extremely sleep-deprived brain. There were times during MITES where I wanted to pack up and go home. At the end of the program, however, I found that I had grown immensely as a person. I know that the workload will be hard. Last summer taught me that. But what I also know is that I am better for having gone through that, and that I cannot wait to spend the next four years of my life there.

    Just my two cents. Hope that helps.

  65. Mel '13 says:

    MIT just made me the happiest person in the world. Youre generosity is really appreciated!!!!

  66. Mel '13 says:

    oops typo *your* not *youre*

    Cant go to MIT with bad grammar

  67. Gee says:

    I read on a message board that someone already received their financial aid package…did anyone receive anything????

  68. '13 says:

    @ Narce
    “Gah ha ha ha, I really really can’t wait whenever someone speaks like that!”

    …you should really, really think before you make comments like that. I understand that you weren’t taking pleasure in someone else’s unhappiness, but it still came across as rude and arrogant. You might want to be a bit more sensitive in the future.

  69. Anonymous 2 says:

    i dont think anyone recieved financial aid stuff yet

  70. Anonymous says:

    if anyone does let me know

  71. John Galt says:

    I appreciate the frankness of the post by anonymous. It’s interesting to here someone actually admit to what’s wrong with the academics in one of the most enviable universities in the country. So maybe you might work constantly and strive for academic superiority. Yeah. Whatever. I read these blogs because I’m interested in hearing what students – students from all important colleges – have to say. I really get annoyed coming here and reading these pretentious diatribes concerning the majority of the bloggers long and perilous struggle with being up all night and working constantly. I appreciate the bloggers who write interesting, engaging entries on something other than their mastery of first order differential equations and Langrange physics. I work too. I love working for hours on math and physics, but if I ever reached the point of crying or hating my life, then I would seriously reconsider my outlook. I make A’s, sure, but there are always some errors made on a vector calculus test or maybe not an expert-level of proficiency in linear algebra. And yet I still get by because I have hobbies and enjoy a wide variety of diverse activities, not commiserating over whether or not I’ll get three points taken off an exam. The truly brilliant students will thrive, but the ones who are never on their level should take a moment to think about transferring to something more enjoyable.

    I truly respect MIT students and would no doubt go there if I had the opportunity, but there’s a huge world out there and working your whole life without pausing to enjoy things will never result in anything worth while.

  72. Jamo says:


    MIT = life smile I’m recall reading about MIT’s drama department somewhere and I am positive that you could start something great if there isn’t one already. Being accepted to MIT is a great honor, and I would surely take it; but then again thats just me wink Congrats!

  73. Aakriti says:

    Thanks Matt!
    Just one more thing. I’m really confused about how i could go about applying for aid now. I mean which forms should i fill out or what documents do i need to submit and where? smile

  74. Piper '12 says:

    @Lara – MIT is pretty much a full time commitment, but that’s including the activities! We have a lot of theater groups – go google Musical Theater Guild, Dramashop, Shakespeare Ensemble, Gilbert and Sullivan Players, Plush Daddy Fly, Roadkill Buffet… From musical theater to improv, MIT has a lot to offer in this department :D

  75. k '13 says:

    @ Aakriti

    i’m not sure. i saw quite a few on the guestbook, though.

  76. Anonymous says:

    EA financial aid went out on Monday. I am on the west coast and I received mine yesterday.

  77. Aakriti says:

    I’m an international student who hadnt applied for aid during the application process coz i was told by alot of people that it would hamper my chances of getting in… and now that i have been admitted (Phew!) i would want to know if theres any way of applyin for aid? smile

  78. Lara ('13?) says:

    I still haven’t decided whether to attend. I absolutely loved MIT, but I do a lot of drama-related activities that I don’t want to give up going to college. People have told me that MIT is a full-time commitment. Has anyone at MIT done anything with theater? I guess I’ll see what happens at CPW. My only other problem is that it is literally a twenty minute trip from my house…part of me would love to go to another state.

    Any advice?

  79. @ Aakriti, you are right about that. Aid hamper chances for international students so it was good that you did not apply for aid. But now you could. Ask your guidance counselor at school to help you and your parents out.

    [Note from Matt McGann: Applying for aid does *NOT* hamper admission chances for any student, foreign or domestic, in MIT’s admissions process. Any student who has financial need should apply for financial aid.]

  80. @Chinua ’13

    Sorry for the late response, but I want to give another plug for the Admitted Students Meetings, where we highly encourage parents of both admitted students and current MIT students to attend. I think many parents find themselves most convinced by other parents’ experiences, so this is a great opportunity for them and you to get any questions answered from people who have been through it.

    Additionally, there are some parents of MIT students who specifically volunteer for the MIT Parents Association called Parent Connectors. These PCs do outreach in their own local areas, and you can contact them via the Parents Association website.

    The list of PCs is constantly being updated, so if you can’t find any in your area, be sure to contact the office directly to see if there are any new ones who haven’t been updated to the web list yet.

  81. @ Aakriti & Matt—–A lot of my friends applied for aid last year (I am from Singapore) and the year before that and the they were students with the same sort of profile like the aid ones who did not apply for aid. From what my understanding says I have definitely noticed and a lot of ppl to have noticed that even though MIT is need based and need blind for international students it is not so generous in giving out admission decision if one applies for aid. It definitely might be a myth but this is what I have understood.

  82. tian2 says:

    Hi,Matt. I am an international student from Singapore. I got into MIT (RD) and I actually applied for almost a full financial aid package. Now things are getting a bit complicated for me because I have to give my reply to a local scholarship agency here by 31st March. I am thinking of rejecting the local scholarship if i get a good financial aid package from MIT. Do you think the mail from MIT regarding my FA will arrive before 31st? and is there any chance of negotiating to get more aid from MIT if the financial aid package turns out to be not so ideal?

  83. Chinua '13 says:

    I was waitlisted for Harvard!!!!!!!!!!