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MIT student blogger Jessie L. '07

Answers to some questions by Jessie L. '07

Wow, I have enough questions this time to do a sort of omnibus like Matt does! And I’m starting to get more comments in general – I guess my blog is starting to take off.

Scheduling interviews with ECs

Kathleen asked, “Now that the Interview Information is posted on the MyMit website with the EC contact information…what do I write/say when I email/call my EC? Just “Hi, my name is Kathleen and I’m applying to MIT… I would like to schedule an interview” or what??”

Yeah, that sounds about right. Don’t be shy; the ECs are used to people wanting to schedule interviews. If you’re emailing your EC, you may want a subject line that refers to your purpose so that he/she knows your mail isn’t spam.

I remember college interviews. Nearly three years ago now…believe it or not, guys, they’re not that scary. *grin*

Cooking facilites and supplies

Leftcoast mom asked, “So, my kid is coming to EC in less than two weeks (EEEEEK) — and in fact he’ll be temped on your hall. He’s coming with Mom’s Greatest Hits cookbook (which includes completely foolproof recipes… unless you stop reading one of the lines in the middle and neglect to add the baking soda and the second cup of flour, ahem…) and some amount of expertise. So here’s the question: how often is there kitchen-contention? Is there enough room, pans, pots, knives, ovens, stove elements, etc. for everyone to share? Should he bring his own knives? Are there things like crockpots and rice cookers and blenders and sifters and measuring cups? And if you set up a crockpot to cook for a few hours, can you usually trust that someone won’t open the lid and dump in something unrelated to the recipe? :-) Do people share the cost of staples for the hall and cook together, or is it pretty much “everyone for themselves”?”

Hehe, good question! I can’t speak for everywhere, but I’ve never known lack of kitchen space to be a problem on 5th East, and I’d say we use the kitchen more than the average living group. Residents who use the kitchen frequently usually claim a cabinet for their supplies and label it with their name using a marker and a piece of duct tape. We’ve got most of the basic cooking supplies, I think (I’m not much of a cook myself), and lots of dishes and silverware, for public use. There are also public refridgerators and freezers, but, if you’re going to put food in them, it is very important that you label the food with your name, because unlabelled food is considered public and will probably disappear (I once had a carton of ice cream gone an hour and a half after I put it in the freezer).

On 5th East, I don’t think you need to bring your own knives, unless there’s something special or particular about yours. If there’s one thing I don’t believe my hall will ever lack, in or out of the kitchen, it’s knives. *grin*

I’ve never heard of someone’s cooking food being spiked, and people leave food around the kitchen all the time, so no worries there. There’s a small amount of public food, and there are hall feeds about once a month and hall snacks about once a week, but people buy the large majority of their food themselves, or, in the case of some couples, buy their food in pairs. Anyone’s welcome to invite others into a cooking group or something and split the costs, if they desire.


Annie asked, “I was wondering if MIT had an initiation* for us, new freshmen? All my friends have heard from their schools about what to bring for the initiation, but I haven’t received anything. Is that because we will not be initiated? And if we are going to be initiated, do we get to know what we’re going to have to do?” (followed by several examples of initiation activities)

Riv helped me out with an answer: “To take a page from Jessie’s book and co-opt her question :p, NO. Frosh don’t even declare a major right away, there’s no overarching organization to administer hazing-type activities to them save for dorms, and dorms either don’t or aren’t permitted to do that sort of thing. That’s not to say that upperclassmen won’t try to knock their egos a bit in whatever ways they feel appropriate, but there is definitely no initiation as you describe it. (In fact, I have a hard time believing this is a serious question…)”

As Riv (my Big in APO!) said, there is no “initiation”. All the examples you gave, Annie, would be classified as hazing here, and are banned under both MIT policy and Massachusetts law. Some living groups, of course, have their own ways of welcoming freshmen, but they’re not anything you’d have to bring supplies for!

There are some events during Orientation that most freshmen attend, such as the Freshman Photo, CityDays, and the President’s Convocation, but very little is mandatory. If you feel like, by not having an “initiation” like your friends, you’re missing out on a chance to bond with your classmates – or just that you wish you had something interesting to tell them about ;-) – you can tell them about Rush/REX instead, which is probably different from anything they have, and is a great bonding opportunity.

How to apply to MIT (and get into a department)

Finally, lorelai asked, “i want to ask you something, i want to study (undergraduate) computer engineering in mit, but dont know how to do that! i am taking SAT in february , what should i do then? (i am from turkey by the way)”

I’m not sure what year you are, lorelai, so I can’t completely answer this. If you’re a senior (in your final pre-college year), you probably want to take the SAT before February, because you need it for your application.

If you’re not a senior, taking the SAT is certainly the right thing to do, and you’ll also want to take three SAT II subject tests – one writing, one math, and one science. If English isn’t your first language, I think you need to take the TOEFL as well. When you start applying to colleges, you’ll get the application (which is available online) from MIT. You don’t apply to a specific department, you apply to the university as a whole and then choose your department toward the end of your freshman year.

If you want more specific information, you should ask Matt or Ben, who are admissions officers.

3 responses to “Answers to some questions”

  1. Thanks for the responses, Jessie! So should the kid bring a crockpot? Hey, I have an idea: make him bake a loaf of banana pecan bread for you as an initiation. smile

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would keep in mind that your son’s current room assignment is only temporary, and he may switch halls or even dorms before the first week is over. That makes it difficult to say what sort of kitchen supplies your son will need.