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MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

Answers To Your Questions Dec 2006 by Ben Jones

This is a big one!

Finally seeing the light at the end of the EA tunnel! Here are the answers to your recent questions.


NoOneInParticular wrote: "Would it be inappropriate / discouraged to get a recommendation letter from a current MIT undergrad student? Do you remember specifically (or can you imagine) admitting anyone… (a) with a 3.5 gpa (including several B's in math/science), (b) without special accomplishments (such as high school research, or competition in science olympiad, etc., even though the applicant is from a region where such opportunities are available), (c) who has been suspended (for a computer related, non-academic violation), or (d) a + b + c + with a passion for math/science?"

You're welcome to submit supplemental recs from anyone you think might be able to provide us with additional perspective.

(a) yes

(b) yes

(c) depends on the circumstances

(d) now you're pushing it. :-)

Remember: everything in context, always.


Glairflair17 wrote: "Would a 580 score on the SAT I math section be grounds for a second look at the application (or even termination) if the rest of my application materials are up to par?"

I'd recommend trying to get that score up if you can, but one score will not keep you out of MIT if the rest of your application is stellar.


Mihaela wrote: "How bounding is one's choice about the department and program one points in his/her application? Is it possible for example (in case one is admitted at all) to have pointed School of Engineering in one's application and decide to go to School of Management?"

Daniel responded: "I'm fairly certain they will tell you that decisions about department and program are NOT made on the application, but rather at the end of your freshman year. They know that it would be ridiculous to make such a binding decision before you've even seen what each program has to offer."

This is correct. Approximately 50% of our students major in something different from what they wrote on their applications. We couldn't have department/major quotas even if we wanted to.


Olivia wrote: "Above you said 'we don't distinguish between a 750 and an 800 on any single test.' Is this philosophy also applied to grades? For example, would a B+ in an application be viewed in the same way as an A- or maybe even an A, provided that the applicant had mostly A's or A-'s and only one or a few B's/B+'s?"

A couple of B's will never be a deal-breaker.


Anonymous wrote: "Would a 2100 (690 800 600) be considered the same as the (750 750 750) 2250 which would be considered the same as 2400?"

The difference between a 2100 and a 2250 is more significant than the difference between a 2250 and a 2400 (there's a big discussion around this on CC, but I can't find the link at the moment). Having said that, a 2100 is definitely not going to keep you out of MIT if the rest of your application is competitive!


Yuri wrote: "Just out of curiosity, what are your thoughts on (I guess particularly on the assumptions/judgments made in) this NY Magazine article?"

My thoughts are: sigh.


Reg wrote: "From what i remember, you need a science/math teacher rec and a humanities/language teacher rec. Do they have to be a teacher teaching you currently? I haven't taken a humanities or language subject for A levels, can i ask my GCSE teachers? Or is that too long ago to count?"

Evan responded: "The recommendations do not have to come from a teacher who is currently teaching you. I did not have either of the teachers that wrote my rec letters senior year. What's important is that they can help to build the picture of who you are as a person, not just as a collection of grades numbers."

Great answer!


Muneeb wrote: "Do we have to send our tofel scores before the application deadline to be considered for admission?"

No. Just make sure we receive them in January and write on your application that they are forthcoming.


Michelle wrote: "How can we make sure that supplementary materials were received? I sent in some music clips to the auditions e-mail on the website and never got confirmation. Should I just assume it went through?"

Music submissions are reviewed by the music faculty, not by admissions. My advice would be to send an email to [email protected] and request confirmation.


Sarab wrote: "I have had my interview a little after the deadline but it isn't showing on my MyMIT page. Will it be considered EA or will my paper go without an interview?"

If it still hasn't shown up, I would contact the EC office at [email protected].


Anonymous wrote: "How would a 720 on CR on the SAT I be percieved?"

720 is a perfectly competitive score. DON'T RETAKE IT. :-)


Samiue wrote: "I have a question regarding how you guys consider the SAT Reasoning test scores. I did reasonably well, with 800 in math, 670 in reading and 760 in writing. Now I have heard that the writing section isn't taken into account when reviewing applications. Is this true, and is there any positive impression made if one does score highly on the writing section?"

We'll certainly see your 760 and be impressed, but the writing score is not a big factor in selection at this time.


Mark wrote: "Is there an acceptable way of adding updated information to the already submitted EA application, such as recent participation in Intel, and another competition that was not mentioned on the application?"

Absolutely. Simply mail a letter (or whatever) to our office with the updated info. Make sure to include your full name and birthdate on all correspondence to make sure it is filed correctly.


Joshua Villanueva wrote: "How holistically would you say MIT reviews applications? I have been talking to my guidance counselor quite a bit lately and just by some of the things she is telling me, i have come to be quite nervous about applying to MIT. i know that my test scores do not fall in those middle 50% ranges, and i really do not know where i would stand. Now, i don't believe MIT has a cutoff test score, so i guess what i am asking is if MIT will still seriously consider the rest of an application even if the numbers are not quite there."

We take great pride in the level at which we read applications holistically. Take a look in some of the recent threads for admitted students and you'll find lots of proof.


Saurav wrote: "What if instead of doing well in the int'l physics, maths and other olympiads, one stands on the podium of the "green olympiad" – int'l environment olympiad for 2 consecutive years, and loads of int'l and nat'l quizzes too? Will that be considered as good as an achievement as the int'l maths/physics olympiads?"

Shashank Sheshadri wrote: "Apart from all those physics and math int'l olympiads, would an int'l robotics olympiad look good on the app?"

Most students who are admitted to MIT have not participated in any international olympiads – we certainly don't expect that. Many, many activities are considered impressive by the committee, including those that you mentioned.


Fahad wrote: "What if someone who has studied in an engineering university for one semester only wants to apply to mit as a freshman provided he has left the university after 1 semester only because of poor teaching standards… should he submit his university semester result along with high school record and is he allowed to send along any lab research work he has done in that semester at the university?"

If you have enrolled at another university in a degree-seeking program, you can only apply to MIT as a transfer student (you unfortunately cannot apply for freshman admission). You will need to provide your college transcript, and you are welcome to submit lab research work as well.

[edit] I was mistaken – if you have completed only one semester at another university and you officially unenroll at the end of the first semester, you can still apply to MIT as a freshman. If you pursue a second semester in a degree-seeking program, you would then be considered a transfer applicant. Sorry for the confusion.


Anonymous Who Hasn't Had A Turkey Dinner For 8 Years wrote: "Once I submit Part 1 of the application, is a file created for me to recieve the paper mails that are sent by my school, or must I complete part 2 as well? (Because my school has an internal deadline of Dec. 1, on which it will send out the all the mail parts of the app, but I want more time to work on my essays in part 2.)"

Not a problem at all. We receive the various components of the application in all sorts of random orders.


Jawwad wrote: "My interviewer according to the MyMIT profile is in another city (which happens to be my bithplace) but i reside in another one. So i e-mailed [email protected] so they might help me out here, but have not got a reply as yet. I am going to mail [email protected] right now about the problem…"

That's exactly what you should do – hopefully you've already received a response.


Ziyue Wang wrote: "Is this video accurate about life at MIT? How many people applied early this year?"

I'll let current students chime in and answer the first part. (My opinion is that no one video could ever capture the full spectrum of life here – it's simply too vast.) 3493 people applied EA this year.


International Applicant wrote: "I'm an international applicant. My predicted grades for the A Levels are not as good (probably) as the rest of the applicants because my school's exams were really tough. My school also follows the policy of predicting the same grades as the school preliminary exams. Would you advise on still applying to MIT? Also, in my country the SAT2 subject tests is only offered in January. Should i just apply to sit for it and will MIT take into consideration my scores?"

RE applying to MIT: as my friend always says, if you don't apply you have a 0% chance of getting in. :-)

RE the SAT II's – yes, we will accept January scores.


Ranjodh Dhaliwal wrote: "Do you discriminate betwenn Maths Level 1 and Level 2? Between SAT reasoning and TOEFL?"

These questions are answered here.

Many of the topics in SAT maths level 2 and biology, chem, physics are those that we haven't covered in class in our school system. Would that affect my chances? Also, nowhere near the 450 km radius of where I live is any kind of GCSE, IB or AP offered. I only do what is taught in the school though my performance here is really impressive, would that affect my application. Should i mention all these points on my application? If yes, where?"

Every application is evaluated in context, so it's fine to provide that context if you think your school profile will not. There are multiple places on the application where you can do this – we don't have a preference.


112358132134 wrote: "I attend a university for 3 classes and high school for 5 classes. My high school is not affiliated with the university and will not receive my college grades. What should I do for the mid-year grade report?"

Please ask the university to provide you with a transcript; then send us a copy.


Tom wrote: "I forgot to put on my self reported course work that I am taking AP Psych, but I did list it in the AP Test section and it will be on my transcript. Hopefully this doesn't affect my application."

Not a problem; we'll see it on your transcript.


Adelin Miloslavov wrote: "I am orignally a Bulgarian citizen but I am also a U.S. permanent resident. I need some help with a problem in my application. The MIT application requires a copy of my green card to be sent along with it. Since I'm applying online I don't have a way of sending the copy with the rest of the documents. Therefore, I want to know if it would be a problem if I give a copy of my green card to the college counselor in my school to send it along with my secondary school report?"

That would be fine! You're also welcome to send it to us directly.


Lucy wrote: "Does the admissions office review the additional materials sent even after the application has been reviewed already? And is there a way for me to know if they have even arrived?"

If you were deferred, the materials will be considered for Regular Action. You can contact our office to confirm if materials sent here were received. For music or art portfolios, you should contact those offices directly, as you would have sent your portfolios directly to them.


Siva wrote: "I'm from india. I have been trying 2 contact my interviewer by phone, for the last couple of days, but am not able to get through. Please tell me what to do, as i have mailed him as well & have not received a reply so far."

If the problem has not been resolved, please contact [email protected].


Hammad wrote: "All the people in my school as smart as me are applying to the same places as me… does that make a difference? And I wanted to ask that if i apply next year as well in case i dont get in now… how much will this affect my chances of admission next year?"

We don't have quotas for schools; some schools send many students here from the same class.

If you reapply next year, your application will be briefly compared to the one from this year to see how you've progressed, but for the most part you'll be considered fresh in the applicant pool. There is no advantage or disadvantage to having applied in a previous year.


Willy wrote: "On my MyMIT account, there is a check next to "Testing Requirements," however, when I go into the Application Tracking page, it says that "No test results have been recieved." I checked the CollegeBoard website, and it said that my score reports were sent out 9/18/06. So I'm wondering what exactly is going on, and if I should simply order another set of score reports to be sent out."

Apparently there was some sort of MyMIT issue that has since been resolved. If you're still seeing this in your account, you should give us a call and arrange to have your scores resent. If everything looks okay now in your MyMIT account, then we have the scores.


Chris wrote: "I have a question about the common data set, if that's okay. It lists enrollment by race, but does not allow for bi- or multi-racial students. Where does that put a half-hispanic, half-white applicant like me?"

If I'm not mistaken, the common data set would consider you hispanic for its purposes. In admissions, we'll see all of the boxes you check regarding ethnicity.


Stephanie wrote: "I'm an '08 student here at MIT! I actually was interested in blogging as well for the admissions office, where can I get more information on it? I totally think this is a great idea, and would love to help share the awesome-ness of MIT."

Hi Stephanie – we take applications for a given cycle's bloggers over the summer and choose them in the early fall. Please look for application announcements next year!


Indian '11 Hopeful wrote: "So… I was just reading the part where somebody asked you if he could submit his mid-year grade report around the end of jan. I'm an international applicant. So i don't have to submit the midyear grade report… but can the secondary school report and transcript be submitted around the beginning of feb?"

I'd advise you to send whatever grades are available in January and then send an update as soon as possible in February.


Manu Hegde wrote: "In my online application, there is space for only 2 SAT Subject Scores. I took 3 and got the same number of points on each, how can I include all three scores? BTW College board has sent MIT all 3 scores. Is that enough? In the online application, if I cannot find my school, does it automatically give me a code of 6999999? Should I put in the name of my school, or leave it as 'NO SCHOOL AVAILABLE'?"

We'll receive all three scores from College Board. You can simply choose whichever two you like best for your application. :-) You should try to identify your school if possible; if you're having trouble, give our office a call and hopefully we can help.


International wrote: "I am an international student, therefore I wrote 'SAT Subject Tests' [Math Level 2 = 800, Physics=800, Chemistry=770]. I will write SAT Reasoning and TOEFL. Which one of the two, SAT Reasoning or TOEFL, would you consider during the admission process; moreover what if there is a big difference in SAT score and TOEFL score? For instance: if I get 2000 in SAT and 110+ [out of 120] in iBT TOEFL, would the low score in SAT decrease the chances of my admission to MIT despite a relatively much better TOEFL score; please note that English isn't my first language, so while I am sure I'll score 800 in Maths in the SAT Reasoning Test, I won't be able to score equally high in Critical Reasoning and Writing Section. I have written a paper; might I submit the paper or should I submit a summary of paper?"

No worries – whichever test makes you look better (TOEFL or SAT I) will be used, and the other will be ignored. You should submit a summary of your paper if possible.


Hopeful wrote: "Can you please tell me how you evaluate GCE A Level Scores?"

If there are scores, we'll use them; otherwise we'll want to see predicted scores. We're well-versed in many international curriculums, including A-Levels.


Freaked Out wrote: "For the SAT II Math, I took it twice and the score went down from 700 to 610 (I was sick on this day). I'm sure I'll be able to raise it up to above 750 if I take it one more time. Does MIT consider all the test scores or just the best one? Is it bad to take the same test three times?"

We just consider the best one, no worries.


Ranjodh Dhaliwal wrote: "I want to send in some certificates that relate to my extra curricular activities and I feel will shed some light into my overall personality helping you in your admissions process. I know you don't need certificates but I feel those will give you a broader look about me. Should I send those in?"

You are welcome to send them in, but it is not necessary.


Robertson wrote: "I was wondering what exactly the policy is for standardized testing from January. I ask because of some poor planning on my part (a good excuse, I know). I had not planned on applying to MIT until Thanksgiving break due to my opting for a senior year with three foreign languages in place of a senior year with chemistry. I regret not taking chemistry now, but as an applicant to mostly UK schools (where one specializes immediately), I wanted to branch out in a subject I'm interested in before focusing entirely on my chosen subject, economics. As a result, I have no SAT 2 Science tests. After finding out I needed on last friday I immediately bought the Princeton Review's study book and read about 120 pages, before realizing that in no way will I achieve an adequate score (I have not taken physics since 10th grade… last year I took robotics and electronics). And a bad score would be seen by all my other schools (which might admit me, as compared to the likelihood of MIT admitting me given my school's admission statistics at your institution and my lack of chemistry courses). I am very interested in your institution, but there is no way I can take the test this month (poor choices on my part, I know). Is there anyway that I can take it in January?"

Yes, January is fine.


Adnan wrote: "I recently came to hear that mit and other ivy league universities do not take more than one international student from the same school! I want to know whether this is true or not."

J responded: "I would say that while there is probably no specific 1-student per school limit on international admissions, the likelihood of admitting more than 1 student from the same school is very low. Given that international admissions are so competitive, with only ~100 spots to fill, it just seems unlikely that 2 of the 100 most qualified students in the world outside of the US come from the same high school (or equivalent). So from my understanding, what you said is not true, but more often than not occurs in practice."

This is a great answer, generally speaking, although there can certainly be exceptions.


Shana F. wrote: "There seems to be so much focus on AP tests in the blogs here, but I'm having difficulty finding information on IB. Does MIT look at IB classes as equivalent to AP classes? I am in the IB program at my school and the only AP classes I have been in were ones offered as joint AP-IB (French, Lang + Comp, and Calc). There are plenty more AP classes that I would loved to take (especially physics) offered at my school, but as I am in IB I was unable to take them. I don't want it to look like I'm not passionate about learning, because I am, but schools tend to look to AP to see when a student challenges themselves. I just want to know IB measures up to AP when you look at a student's file. I have taken the toughest courses offered at my school, but it's hard to know if colleges care with so little reference to IB."

AP and IB are considered essentially equivalent for our purposes.


Aroy wrote: "I was wondering if you considered ALL school grades for international students… for eg. would a 'd' in vernacular (hindi, bengali) be a problem. I haven't got a 'd', but it isn't unlikely… what grades do we need to send in… as in, how many years (11 & 12, or 9 to 12)? Also, mit is probably not familiar to our board of education (cisce/isc)… is that a problem?"

We'll want to see all grades – try not to get a 'D'! If you do get a 'D' in vernacular, you should still apply however. (A 'D' in physics is a different story… :-)

We are quite familiar with cisce/isc.


Andre wrote: "I got honorable mention on international physics olympiad. Would it make any sense?"

Yes. :-)


Manu wrote: "I heard that MIT especially looks for kids who show extraordinary curiosity in a certain field. Mine would be assembling electronics. I have a pretty impressive school project and I wanted to send the report to MIT. I ran this by my counselor and she said, 'When a college receives 20,000 applications, do not add much extra unasked stuff.' What are your thoughts? Should I send it? Should I carry it to my interview?"

I'd suggest sending in a concise abstract/summary with your application, if possible.


Zhexi wrote: "I have a GPA of 3.767 out of a 4.000. I know that's not like genius level but i was wondering if i still had a chance to get into MIT and if the courses you take have any impact."

Yes, and definitely.


Anonymous wrote: "You replied to Dan's query that SATs in 500's do not matter, i have my CR score in 400s and all maths tests ie, Ic,IIc and SAT 1 maths in 600s and physics in 700s. The point here is that my app otherwise is best you can probably can get from my country, the only downfall seems to be SAT scores. I am a school topper from 2 years. Have some exceptional talents and researches which even an undergrad will feel hard to dream of.
But here people say that as my SAT is not enough, it will become a deal-breaker and MIT and i will not even qualify the app gateway and will br rejected rightaway, is that true? I have toefl of 263 (CBT), will that substitute enough for CR section, plz help!"

International applicant wrote: "I am an international applicant. Let me explain you my case,, SAT math: 600s, SAT Cr/V : high 300s. And i am going to do the SAT subject test of Physics/Chemistry/MathIC. Most likely ill get 600+ in these 3 subjects espacially math and chemistry. And i got in TOEFL ibt 93. Since i got what MIT requires for TOEFL, will this TOEFL grade cover my SAT CR/V grades. Also, my grade in english in school is in the mid-high 80s. Also i have won two national awards in math and chemistry. And many academic awards. I ranked #1 in class with an average of 95.4 in grade 11. So basically I only have the problem of the SAT CR/V."

You're both fine in terms of scores – your TOEFL scores are competitive and will be used instead of the SAT I.

For the record, I didn't exactly say that "scores in the 500's don't matter." My exact quote was: "One score in the 500's isn't going to keep someone out of MIT if the rest of the application is exceptional." :-)


Question! wrote: "I'm curious as to whether the admission process ever involves contacting the reference teachers/administrators by phone/email. Please identify situations when this would happen, if at all. I'm also a Canadian, so international applicants might receive different treatment?"

Yes, if we have questions, we'll often call the teacher or counselor to clarify. This applies to both domestic and international applicants.


Arvind Ragunathan wrote: "I live in the Southern part of India. I aspire to get in to the MIT. Can you provide me contact details of MIT graduates and those currently studying at the MIT, from my part of the world? That would help me know MIT a lot better."

I don't have this information, but perhaps others will chime in here.


Wendy wrote: "As a parent of an applicant, I help with my son's applications by addressing all those return postcards to keep track of receipt of materials by colleges. Of all the 6 schools (big and small) my son has applied to, MIT is the only one who has not been sending them back. Since you receive thousands of applications and, therefore, tens of thousands pieces on incoming mail, I can understand things being lost or your not returning them even when they are self-addressed. So the question is whether to contact by phone to check on status. When to do it? How often? My son tells me that he can check status online and assumes that you will let him know if something is missing. However, with the work load, will anyone at admissions really be able to let an applicant know if info is missing or needed? If an applicant's admissions is in the balance, would missing pieces of info tilt the balance towards rejection? But then might pestering not do the same? On the other hand, conventional wisdom seems to suggest regular contact with your office show stong interest. [My son's response: I applied, didn't I?] It would also allow applicants gain insight as to what else to send in to strengthen his or her application. So how and where do you draw the line?"

I'm sorry you haven't received the response cards! Normally we are good about returning those. Your son should feel free to call the office and confirm receipt, if something seems to be missing via his MyMIT application tracking.

In the broader sense, regular correspondence with our office is good, assuming it adds new information or accomplishments. Written correspondence is preferred to telephone, as it can be placed directly into the file with no "middle man."


Ronald wrote: "Can one still be considered for the regular admissions if one has more scores to send in along with their mid year report."



Rob wrote: "I have a technical question about the online application: I am ready to submit, but when I hit the 'validate application' button, I am told that I have errors on the essay pages because several of the essays 'exceed the required word length'. I know that these essays are slightly over the limit, and I saved them as such. When I look at the pdf version of my application, all the essays appear to fit properly in the spaces. My question is: is this okay? I want to make sure that the applicaton will appear to the admissions officers exactly as I see it in my 'preview.' Thanks!"

We'll see exactly what you're seeing in preview, so it sounds like it's okay.


Brian wrote: "What must I do to get into MIT? I go to a prestigious high school and this year, MIT deferred everybody! People who were high scorers in USAMO, people who were on the Chemistry Olympiad Team and all these geniuses got deferred! What must one do to get into MIT these days?"

EA selection was more selective this year than it has ever been. Please don't lose hope; 295 students who were deferred last year in EA were admitted in RA. I expect a similar scenario this year. Remember that we will only fill 30% of the class in EA, whereas many other school try to fill more like 50%.


John wrote: "For the optional essay asking us to describe something we created, could we talk about a 'novel' we've written… I write it in quotations because currently it's just a story I've been working on since early this summer, but writing is often something I do when school becomes too stressful at times, so I've spent quite a bit of time on it."

Absolutely! Don't send the whole novel, but writing about it in an essay is a great idea.

57 responses to “Answers To Your Questions Dec 2006”

  1. AdMITed says:


    Wow, it is the first time I read your answers since the EA decisions came out. It feels so different now! Thank you.

  2. WM says:

    Are there any Early Action applicants who were deferred on a “Regular Decision Definite-Accepted” list, if there even exists such a “list”? If so, approximately how many would you say are on this list?

  3. Goldie says:

    Dear Ben,
    I’ve got a total score of 2240 at three SAT II Subject Tests: Math Level 1 – 730, Math Level 2 – 740 and Physics – 770.
    Would I be in the compettion or should I go for them again?

    Best Regards!!!
    Yours’ truly,

  4. Brandy says:

    Hi Benny! (My cute persian cat is named Benny!)

    What does MIT look at in a transfer student?

    I was denied as a freshman (eeeeks) this December, but I’m a persistent one that likes to hear “no” a lot, just ask my mom!

    Do you think it’s a long-shot if I apply again for next year or should I wait until grad school? Now be nice! Santa Claus is coming to town… (you know the rest of the song). = )

    I know my SAT scores were “sheep”ishly baaaaaaad. (and so was that joke…sorry) : )

    OMG, what if I do poorly on my GRE? It’s like the re-visiting S.A.T. score all grown up! = )

    I miss coming here to blog. Maybe the admissions department will reconsider me? Ummm, then again maybe not. Just thought I would ask, it’s not like it’s written in stone, was it? = )

    In all seriousness though, perhaps when all the admissions are complete, is it possible for someone to email me in May or June and go over my application and let me know where I failed miserably, and perhaps give me some tips, in case of a next time.

    Next time though there will be no MITARS box. Geesh, how stupid of me. What was I thinking?! LMAO.

    Anyway, I think you all are so fun, I actually missed coming in here to blog, so I thought I would come in and take a peek (so…peek a boo). = )

    I swear it’s only soda in there! lol

  5. Eileen says:

    690+800+600=2090 (:

  6. Eileen says:

    I think you guys should send RA letters in tubes-that way I can use it to whack everyone who asks me whether or not I got in.


  7. Olivia says:

    Thanks so much for the thorough and thoughtful responses!

  8. Dave says:

    Maia: As a Windows Vista beta tester (and someone who is running that operating system as I write this) here’s my $0.02 on the computing question.

    (1) Windows Vista is a good, solid OS that is preferable to XP for a variety of reasons iif (if/only if) it is run on modern hardware

    (2) I’d suggest, in your situation, that you hold off purchasing a new computer until after Jan 30th — especially since that sounds like it’s your plan anyway. After that date, all new computers will come with Vista preinstalled. So, you’ll get a new computer, and you’ll get Vista. If you can, wait until at least the summer. By that time the computer manufacturers will be designing systems for Vista and you’ll get a better machine.

    Good luck!

  9. anonymous says:

    Hey Ben,

    I was a deferred applicat and I took my SAT IIs again in December and sent the scores to MIT. Now, I was wondering if my scores were lower than my previous ones (these ones were rushed because of circumstances), will MIT only consider my original scores (the better ones)? Also, would the change negatively affect me?

  10. fahad says:

    hi ben,
    you didn’t understand my question fully.I wanted to ask you that if someone studies in the university for 1 semester only and then quits that university…which means that at the time of appliation he is not enrolled in any university, then can he apply as a freshman,
    plz answer my question keeping in view that the student has received a clearance certificate from university also and he is currently not enrolled in any university.i mailed about this problem to [email protected]. They replied that as long as you are not enrolled in any university you can apply.

  11. blah says:

    Hi, I just took the ACT twice and my scores were (31 ,32,35 math, 36 science) and (33, 35, 35 math, and 27 science). I know MIT takes the highest scores but i was wondering if the descrepancy (sp?) in science scores would cause a problem. I usually do well but I was really tired at the end of the test that day for some reason. In your opinion should i retake in february ( would MIT accept that date?)

  12. I’m seeing the problem with the test scores not appearing on the My.MIT application tracking page. However, I’ve not yet submitted my fee waiver request (it should reach you in a week or so). I’m wondering if the two are related or not, since if it’s the technical glitch you mentioned I need to order another set of score reports. Otherwise, I can just wait till you receive the fee waiver request and see if the score reports appear then.


  13. admitted EA says:

    I had TWO SCORES that broke 700 – a 720 in SAT I math and a 750 in SAT I critical reading. All the rest of my scores were in the late 600s. You guys need to relax. They want capable people, not perfect people.

    – and NO, I did not have research or national/international awards.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Of the 3500 EA applicants, about 400 were accepted and 2800 deferred to RA. Since MIT only has around 1100 spots left (about 1500 total – the 400 accepted EA), why does MIT defer so many?

  15. Sarab says:

    I’d say wait for Vista because it is amazing. It’s an amazing OS and it’s possibly the most user friendly I’ve ever seen. Even rivalling my Mac’s which is pretty tough to do. Only, if you want to use Vista, you’ll have to get a top of the line PC, preferably 3Ghz and 1.5-2 GB of Ram and a dedicated 256-512 MB Video Card.

    Ben, Thanks for the answers. Now I hope you’ll make the best deals you can with the others in the admissions committe, so that I get in RA grin

  16. Dear sir/Miss,
    i have sent my MId year grade report , secondary school report , Teacher’s evaluation 1 & 2 . But as yet my these report wasnot submitted with my application. when my these document will be submitted with application.
    will MIT admission office be able to offer me a place in MIT class? Can I be admitted ? I have major/applied for Computer science there.My e-mail add.: [email protected]

    I have only your respect.

    Sincerely yours,

  17. Dear sir/Miss,
    i have sent my MId year grade report , secondary school report , Teacher’s evaluation 1 & 2 . But as yet my these report wasnot submitted with my application. when my these document will be submitted with application.
    will MIT admission office be able to offer me a place in MIT class? Can I be admitted ? I have major/applied for Computer science there.My e-mail add.: [email protected]

    I have only your respect.

    Sincerely yours,

  18. Solomon says:

    Ben please different schools have different grading systems. On my transcript I had a D in chemistry would you consider that as a deal breaker since my school has a pretty tough grading system. And also during the term I had the D I was writing my first SAT’s and SAT 2’s so I was pretty stressed up. We were also preparing for the National maths and science quiz. Most of all to I had to be shuttling from Cape Coast where my school is to my home in Akosombo for writing the sat’s and completing applications and other things. A distance of about 180 km. I was in school for just about 7 weeks so I missed alot of class tests and finals.
    If all these are considered will my D still be considered a deal breaker.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hey Ben,

    I have one question that’s been bugging me for a while, and an answer would really help to relieve some unneeded stress.

    If my grandfather went to MIT, would that have any bearing whatsoever on my admissions decision? I mean, there was a place for it on the MIT application, but I was just curious as to its actual role in the admissions process. I’ve already been deferred so it’s obviously not a shoe-in factor, but will it help me at all in the end? Thanks, and hope you have a great holiday!

  20. Hi,
    I’m an undergraduate degree holder(not an engineering degree, its just equivalent to B.S. in Computer Science, its a 3 years degree after high school). My areas of interests are Artificial Intelligence and what ever related to Computer Science. After completing my graduation i started working for Dell Inc as a technical support expert. I’m interested in applying for an under-graduate engineering program in MIT(thats my life time ambition too). I’d love to complete my under grad, grad and doctrol prog in MIT itself. So, I’m looking for the application procedures and eligibilty criteria to get in. I don’t know if im eligible for unger grad engineering prog or not. So, please help me with the information required or any right department were I should contact.

    Name: Navaneetha Krishnan
    Location: Bangalore, India
    Email: [email protected]

  21. Monika says:

    Admitted EA :”the rest of my scores were in the late 600s. You guys need to relax. They want capable people, not perfect people.”

    Well, just got my scores(Math I and Physics) and they are bad! Physics 740 and Math 630 (though I would never use it as an excuse- it was my slower way of reading the questions- I only had english in school- 3 hours a week or less- so I missed the last 7-10 questions)
    As an international applicant who has no chance to repeat the test, it feels like the end of my dreams…
    Maybe you are only the exception that prooves the rule??
    I mean: how many people read these applications of 2,000 people??? And consider the context??

    Greets from germany

  22. Jake says:

    Admissions are crazy sauce, for all those who think they are inadquate, I got in! Its not about numbers, don’t define yourself by numbers!

    Never took a chemistry or a physics class.

    Got a 700 on SAT2 math and a 710 on SAT1 math (800 on reading (whoo) and 670 on writing (I wrote on utilitarianism and the question was on the need for creativity in the world. I think I would have gotten an 800 if i’d just said yes).

    Was 26th in class, exactly in the top 10th percentile (out of 260 kids), and 2 other kids applied who were both higher than me in rank

    Got an IB diploma and never took an AP class, got a 3 on my IBHL Math class (out of 7), its like a 2 for equivalent in AP. I recieved no credit here, IB sucks for that cuz MIT only accepts 7’s which are impossible.

    Went to public school – (don’t worry all you public school kids, the American education system may suck, but don’t think you have to pay 20000 dollars to go to private school.

    Thats about it, also I worked at sears and not for a university doing amazing research like everyone else you hear about.

    However, I was an eagle scout, ski jumper, and a international debater. The key is doing something special and interesting, not being a part of the faceless mass of useless people that define themselves by the number of AP classes they took or their super special valedictorian award. They don’t represent humanity, they represent a waste of 12 years of their early lives. Do things you love!!!!!!!…but be really good at whatever you do that you love lol.

  23. Indonesian says:

    Can International Students send Midyear Grade report?

  24. Paul says:

    Season’s greetings Mr. Ben Jones!

    Our school is already done with the third quarter of the school year 2006-2007. Could I send my secondary school transcript again which reports grades up to the third quarter of my senior year, most especially when it would exhibit an improvement in my grades? The transcript will be available by the end of January or start of February. Mailing it would take just a few days to reach the MIT Admissions Office.

    Thank you sir.

  25. Keone says:

    Hey Ben,

    I did not apply to MIT, or anywhere, early due to a policy at my school that makes EA effectively binding. Is there a place where I can make this clear? I don’t want my non-early application to be interpreted as a lack of interest.



  26. Anonymous says:

    I hate it when people make everything about SAT scores, but there’s something I’ve been wondering about. You see, I can’t seem to do well on the SAT math. I have a 750 CR and a 780 in writing, but an awful 630 in math. I could see MIT admitting someone with a 630 in math and similar scores in CR/W if the rest of their application was good, but when MIT looks at a 750/630/780 and sees the huge difference in CR/W and M, will they just toss the application aside and say, “Be a writer, not a scientist, kid”? (I really am doing well in my calc class; I just seem to have an aversion to SAT math — I NEVER finish! aaah!)

  27. Anonymous says:

    Anon, remember that not all MIT students are science/math majors.

  28. Sh1fty says:

    these other international apllicants scared me :D now i’m not so sure that i’m good enough for MIT… my school is the best tech school in the country and probably in the whole region, but grades are unobjective and extremely low. in most classes there aren’t any A’s and almost all students are actually happy when they get a D. grades also depend on teachers (i have all the tough ones) so an A at one teacher would be a C at the other. however, someone who has a D or a C in my school would probably have a B or an A in some other tech school. i hope my SAT scores will prove this smile winter break starts tomorrow! yay

    best regards,
    Tin Matuka

  29. Yazeed says:

    Hey Ben,
    I had Keone’s question, too, about the EA policy. Moreover, I have a question that I e-mailed already to ([email protected]) about my SAT Subjects choice in the application (which I already submitted) and that I recieved better in.
    ( Basically, I wanted Math I to be considered while I wrote Math II as my subject choice in the application.


  30. Anonymous says:

    Hey Ben,

    I sent in an e-mail update of some recent achievements and honors that I’ve been awarded on November 29th. I got an e-mail back saying that the information would be forwarded to the Record Office and put in my file, but I’m not sure if it ever actually made it to my file, since I sent my e-mail so close to selection time. Is there anyway that I could find out if that new information was considered during the EA review of my application? Thanks, and have a good holiday!

  31. Thanks for the information Ben,
    Though there was nothing written in strict words that said you consider SAT I and TOEFL as same,I percieve it is so.
    I have already called the admissions office 4 times for various reasons.Now,I want to know if you have recieved my certificates.Do you believe I should call up again to ask the same?Won’t it be too rude?

    Moreover,I have got 700 in Maths Level 1 and 710 in Biology E.I expect to get around 110 in TOEFL iBT.Are the scores fine enough or should I retake any test.All I want to ask is that are the scores good enough for the admissions committee to say’His academics is good enough for MIT’ considering Half of the topics in the tests were those that I did not cover and that I just had 15 days to prepare for SAT?
    Is it fine if I do not give SAT Reasoning?
    Sorry for the trouble again?

  32. Maia says:

    Hi Ben,

    Perhaps this seems a little off-topic, given that everything on the post seems to be admissions-centered, but I have a computer question: would you recommend (since I will be replacing my 1997 IBM Pentium II sometime over the summer before I enter MIT–if all goes well!) going ahead and purchasing the release of Windows Vista right off the bat, or waiting until all the other software vendors, etc. catch up and sticking with XP until all the bugs and compatibility issues are worked out in Vista?

    Thanks so much, and sorry for distracting everyone worried about admissions!

  33. Adam S. says:

    MIT has a webpage at that has computer recommendations.

    Personally, I’m reasonably happy with XP. I’ll stick with XP until Vista becomes standard and I’ve tested it for myself.

    Excellent post, thanks for those answers. It has cleared up a couple of things for me. grin


  34. Monika says:


    Thx for cheering me up smile
    It was just a new feeling not to be good- I mean if you are the best in every class and every project, then its new to be just in the middle with the SAT scores…know what I mean?
    (Ok: it was too hard to say my scores are bad)
    But its relieving hat Sat scores don’t count that much…
    Btw: Merry Christmas!

  35. Juan says:

    Hi there, I was just a bit nervous about my scores. I took the SAT II twice, the first time after a family emergency and the second one after a car crash while driving to the test center. My scores where around 650 on math II and bio, should/could I retake them in January?

  36. Conan says:

    Hi Ben:
    I’m an international student,
    Is it really fine if i just take the TOEFL and SAT IIs? I mean…REALLY fine, just that it’s considered same as the international students who took the SAT I?
    (I already did my SAT IIs, Maths 800 Physics 800)
    my TOEFL score are coming out soon

    And my second question is that the IMO(International Mathematics Olympiad) and other international contests here are mainly for grade 12 students…So I didn’t go last year but i think I might have chance to go this year. The problem is: it will be too late! MIT won’t see that before they decide to accept me or not…So how should I show MIT that I am one of the few competitive candidateds for this years National team?

  37. hey ben,
    i had a few questions regarding the application process.
    1. i will be taking part in the maths and informatics Olympiads next year(my final year – grade 12). in case i do qualify, i will be notified only after the final date of application has passed( 1st January). so will there be any way of letting u folks know of the results so that it would help my application?
    2. if i have a rock band does that count?
    3. i have made hundreds of websites and have been working as a freelance web designer for a number of years now ( designed some websites for a couple of big clients too).Does MIT look at that?
    4. are my achievements before high school considered?

    basically what I’ve done includes web designing, digital imaging, programming, quizzing, SAT 2300, Olympiads, done 2 research based projects, president of the computer club, rock band, drama and some basketball. the problem is, does MIT look at all these achievements in a sense that it doesn’t promote one single interest?(jack of all arts master of none, u know what i mean). also, this has in a way affected my studies so my grades of 9th and 11th grade have gone down( in the middle of the class at the moment, though my school is one of the most competitive in my country). if i work sufficiently hard in grade 12 does that improve my chances of getting into MIT or some other ivy league school?

  38. Bhushan says:

    this is somewhat me

    SAT2 Phy 580
    M1 620
    M2 660

    Hvaing two researches, cool teachers evaluation, new ideas and lots of supplemental material.

    are there any chances

  39. Hopeful says:

    Thanks for all those answers! I had another question. I have a 600 in SAT Reasoning test math but a 730 in SAT subject test math level-1 (and 800 in both physics and chem). Which one will be considered in the app process? By the way, I am an international applicant.

  40. Conan says:

    HI….it’s me again-_-b more questions^^ sry for the trouble raspberry

    Where do I send supplemental materials?
    and what kind of materials are you looking for?(well I could send a lot but maybe it’s better if i can just select a few most suitable pieces.
    So are there an E-mail address that we can send our supplemental materials in or we have to do it by mail?
    I don’t know that should I send art and design pieces, softwares, contest results, maths research papers or other things? I just have too many stuff that I want to show you. But I know if I send them all, it will be annoying. How to select them and about how many supplemental materials you would like to see?

  41. Ying Wei says:

    Ben, i have a question too. Although i will apply MIT in next year, but i have already completed my TOEFL exam and the score shall be sent to MIT few weeks later. Is it ok to send the score so early? And is a score of 107 (reading: 28, listening: 28, speaking:22, writing:29) competitive enough?

  42. Sorry for constant trouble but another question:-
    I have heard that the selections committee takes the recommendations of Indian teachers with a pinch of salt?is that true?

  43. Hopeful says:

    Abhinav Kumar-
    I am an international applicant too. Just wanted to tell you that students from non-US school systems don’t need to give Mid-Year reports. Best of luck with your app!

  44. cynthia says:

    Hey Ben– Our son is in 6th grade and has announced that he wants to go to MIT. He is a real gearhead and probably COULD go…we are just unsure of how to prepare him. We are both from tech backgrounds (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science) but from a different era–before 5.0 GPA’s and the “new” SAT’s etc etc. We don’t know what we don’t know…and as he is our first-born, this whole college 2000-thing is very new to us.

    Who can we talk with at the University to figure out what kinds of things he should be exposed to, etc?

    He has already been bumpted up to the 7th grade math class. He has been selected for the Johns Hopkins CTY summer program(which sounds neat to us, but I don’t know if it counts for squat with MIT). Not sure what kinds of programs or ?? there is out there to move him along in his chosen field.

    We will be moving in the next year (within our county) and want to make sure we’re going to be at the best high school (Orange County, CA) to prepare him for your university. We don’t want our uninformed parental decisions to be the obstacle in his plan.
    ANY advice would be much appreciated.
    Happy New Year!


  45. pg says:

    I applied early action and got deferred, and would like to send in supplementary materials. I don’t know where to send them, however, and don’t know for how long after the regular application due date that I can. Also, would you suggest I redo any portion of my application? For example, the essays? And how can I reaccess my app to edit it if it’s already been submitted???

  46. rs says:

    I know the essay that says “No admission application can meet the needs of every individual. If you think additional information or material will give us a more thorough impression of you, please respond below” is completely optional, but I wanted to know: would it better to leave it blank or try to think of something to write about…could this essay hurt my application in any way? And if I don’t write one would it look bad?

  47. Sulinya says:

    Hi Cynthia,

    I’m a current MIT student, and I would highly recommend checking out the Art of Problem Solving for your son (, and various math camps (such as MathPath as he’s in middle school) if he likes math. It dramatically improves problem solving skills and prepares you really well for MIT-level work. Best of luck!

  48. hey ben,
    my school doesnt offer AP classes but if i do take AP exams for a couple of subjects of interest and score well in them does that help strengthen my application or u folks dont look at it at all?

  49. Jawwad says:

    Thanks ben!!!!!
    Got it!!!!

  50. Ben Williams says:

    So are you saying that a person that has sat I of 710 math and 600 cr with 700 math II 680 chem and 580 lit with no outstanding achievements still has a shot at getting in. Also, how much does being African American and planning on playing baseball in college affect my application. (although I am not really a fan of getting anything without feeling like I earned a place)

  51. Ben Williams says:

    thanks for the info!!

  52. Vivek says:

    hey Ben,
    im an international applicant , just wanted to get an idea about my chances. My SAT scores are 780 math,690 reading,650 writing ,SAT subject test physics 800, math level 2 800. i have loads of exracurricular activities, only thing my grades in senior year arent that great although im considered one of the smartest in my year.

  53. Vivek says:

    also, i sent my toefl scores (116 ibt) when i wrote the test in octobe r06. will mit receive them or do i have to resend them

  54. Dan says:

    What percent of applicants who get deffered from early action get accepted for regular admission?

  55. i’m pretty much sure you are not right in this issue, it’s already known fact that learning is beond everything.

    השלמת בגרות בתנ”ך לימודי פלאש

  56. i’m pretty much sure you are not right in this issue, it’s already known fact that learning is beond everything.

    קורס מסחר יומי לימודי שיאצו