An Interview about the Interview by Mitra L. '07
Remember: questions of science, science and progress, do not speak as loud as [your] heart.
Please note that, as of August 2018, our process for assigning interviews has changed. A description of the current interview process is posted here.
Yimin asks: What is interview like?
Good question. Let’s start at the very beginning. (A very good place to start.)
0. Is an interview required? No, it’s not required, but I highly suggest having one. “Your interview gives us a vivid sense of you as a person and how you would fit at MIT – something the paper application alone can never match.” Don’t get me started on selection bias, but if you crunch some raw numbers, the admit rate for applicants who had interviews (or whose interviews were waived) is about three times the admit rate for those who didn’t.
1. With whom do you interview? You’ll interview with an MIT alum, otherwise known as an Educational Counselor (EC).
2. Where do you interview? Your interviewer will live/work nearby, so you’ll interview in your hometown area. There’s no need to bike/fly/hitchhike to Boston for your interview.
3. How do you schedule an interview? You will receive your Educational Counselor’s (EC) name and contact information via your MyMIT account. Please note that there may be times when there is no EC in your area and we will waive your interview. It is your responsibility to check your MyMIT account to find out the name of your EC, and to schedule the interview before the interview deadline.
4. What are the deadlines for interviews? If you’re applying early action (which is non-binding, btw), you’ll need to set up the interview no later than October 20, and conduct it no later than November 1. For regular action, the deadlines are December 1 and December 15, respectively. Your EC will probably get busier as the deadline approaches, so I suggest scheduling your interview as early as possible.
5. What will happen in the interview? Every interview is different and ECs don’t have a fixed set of questions you must answer. Basically, your EC wants to get to know you as a person so he/she can add another layer (both metaphorically and physically) to your application file. Because your EC is an alum of MIT, he/she will be able to share with you experiences and memories about his/her time at MIT. The interview really is a two-way exchange, so take advantage of this and feel free to ask questions of your EC as well. Remember: questions of science, science and progress, do not speak as loud as [your] heart.
6. What is your advice for the interview? Some interviewers like to see that you have researched MIT and have specific questions for them. This does not mean you should have memorized course numbers or already picked out your living group. I think good traits to convey during your interview are enthusiasm, maturity, and respect. It sounds hokey, but all that stuff about making your personality shine through really means a lot.
If you are a freshman applicant with questions about the interview process that aren’t answered above, please send an e-mail to: [email protected]
(I copied that sentence from the MyMIT section on interviews. To get to this page, which has additional information: sign in, click the light green tab “how to APPLY” and then on the left click “INTERVIEWS”)