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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

April Questions Omnibus 1 by Matt McGann '00

Recent questions, answered.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Questions Omnibus…

Harlan ’10 wrote, “I sent in my affirmative reply on March 21st, and have yet to recieve a reply, is that because I sent it in so quickly?”

Harlan ’10, I am writing your name with a ’10 after it. This means we have received your reply. I don’t know why you haven’t gotten your postcard, but I’ll look into it.

Leo asked, “is it true that rejected MIT applicants get auto rejected if they apply again ,,, and another question is what is MIT’s definition for a transfer student.”

Leo, it is not true that rejected MIT applicants get “auto rejected” if they apply again. Also, we define a transfer student as a student who has enrolled in but has not completed an undergraduate degree program at another institution.

Shammi wrote, “dear matt, how is that I could not find your email address ANYWHERE? is this a security issue? Well anyway, I applied from Bangladesh bt I actually am an American citizen. My family came back when I was only one, so basically there is nothing american about me except my passport. I wanted to know whether my application was then considered in the intl. pool or the American pool. Some of my friends have been saying I got in because of my citizenship and they got rejected coz of the opposite reason, that’s why I am posting this huge, boring question. Thanks!”

Shammi, you can find my email address in MIT’s People Directory (and in the email I just sent you). Anyway, because you have citizenship, you were considered in the domestic pool. As for why you admitted — it’s because you are awesome. Don’t let any bitter friends tell you anything else.

Carmel asked, “Question: does it matter if we send our scores to MIT now? Why now and not later?” And Dan wrote, “I have the same question as Carmel. Should I be putting any school I think I’m going to apply as recipients? What if I end up not applying to a school that I already sent the scores to? (of course MIT isn’t one of those)”

Carmel and Dan, you do not need to do it now, since you can always do it later, but every year there are applicants who forget to send us any scores at all, so I recommend using your four free score reports on each test to send scores to four schools you’re considering. Also, sending scores to a school does not mean that you must apply to the school.

LA wrote, “I was recently rejected from MITES. Does MIT know if you applied for MITES when you apply in the fall?” And Anonymous wrote, “Matt, What about not being admitted to RSI? Same as MITES? Fresh slate?”

LA and Anon, if you were not admitted to MITES/RSI/WTP, we won’t know that unless you tell us. You’ll have a fresh slate. And don’t despair, all three programs have a lower admission rate than freshman admissions. We admit plenty of students every year who were not admitted to one of the programs.

Dan wrote, “Will I get to meet you at MITES?”

Yes! I’ll be around all summer, and will get to meet all of the cool MITES, RSI, and WTP folks.

Alvin wrote, “I am doing my SATs in june 3,2006, how can also do SAT subject test the same day?Am confused!”

Alvin, if you’re already doing the SAT Reasoning Test, you cannot also do the SAT Subject Tests on the same day. The next test date after June will be October 14.

Kristin wrote, “Slight problem! I’m taking physics this year, but our course only covers mechanics, while the SAT II covers electricity, magnetism, waves, and optics too. I’ll be taking AP Physics next year, but we only cover mechanics then too. So, I’ll probably end up taking Chemistry, but I took it sophomore year. I’ll be taking AP Chem next year, too, so I’ll have that for a sort of review, but I’m still quite iffy on how I’ll do…so would a poor SAT II science score affect an otherwise good application? Or would you suggest instead that I take the physics exam, even with my limited knowledge?”

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here: one test score will not make or break your application. We don’t admit because of test scores. And, especially given the recent test scoring problems, we’re absolutely willing to be flexible when it comes to standardized tests. Tests are definitely still a considered part of the application process, but are not by any means the most important part.

As for what to do, one option would be to take a math, a chemistry, and a physics test. Yes, it would mean more tests, but it would only be an hour more to hedge your bets. Another option would be to try the science SAT Subject Tests again in November (if you apply EA) or December/January (if you apply RA). Or, you could just sit for chemistry and math, do relatively well, and not have to worry about it. Regardless, I’m sure things will turn out well for you.

Grad wrote, “Me and my thank-goodness-blog-comments-are-anonymous because-I’m-not-supposed-to-talk-about-it Nielsen-tracked TV are tuned to Veronica Mars every week.”

Grad, you are my hero =) (And my friend points out that if you watch O’Grady, their ratings might exceed those of Candlepins for Dollars)

FYI, Ben also answered some questions today (and built a swing set!).

16 responses to “April Questions Omnibus 1”

  1. D says:


    I was a MITES reject but I still got into MIT smile

    There is still hope for all you kids out there (that didnt make RSI/MITES/WTP)

  2. I had some questions.

    This year I am in Senegal but next year I will be in France in a new high school I never went to where as here in Senegal I am in a school where I lasted nearly 6 years.

    Now, do you prefer reports of experienced or young teachers, teacher that had me long time or teachers that had me most recently ?

    And I wondered if, when reading applications, you were considering the culture of each other because some culture are more positive than others. For instance, if a teacher of France makes a report he will surely be less positive than a teacher of Senegal (even of french origin). And anyway, french culture is known to be much more negative than american culture.

    Can you lighten my lamp ? Thanks.

  3. And : I want to apply for entry 2007.

  4. gm says:

    Mr. McGann, I also sent in my affirmative reply back in March and still have not received a card?!

  5. tokenadult says:

    Hi, Matt,

    I see your latest questions omnibus mentions MIT’s definition of a transfer student: someone who has previously ENROLLED “in an undergraduate degree program at another institution.”

    Back when you were swamped with reading applications, I asked a question about what *I* think is not a worry: a student who has possibly racked up a lot of “college credits” via EPGY, PSEO, special student (high school student) classes at a community college, or all of the above. In online discussion, I have seen the factual assertion that having more than two years of previous college credit (in nonmatriculated “high school” status) would keep an applicant from being able to enter MIT as a freshman. I’ve never heard of such a thing from an MIT source, but that is the point I want to fact-check.

    Congratulations on getting past the crush of application-reading. Thanks for your reply to the question I have, whenever you have the time.


    P.S. Congratulations on the promotion to associate director of admissions.

  6. Molly says:

    This is kind off topic butI was wondering if admissions officers talked to hosts from overnights, not CPW just regular overnights? Or if an overnight was just a way for prospective students to get the feel of MIT.

  7. Anonymous says:


    I have received my financial aid package in three days after financial aid office sent it via DHL.

    You should also ask your local DHL Office maybe. It takes more to reach some overseas countries as it can be predicted. Alternatively, you may ask tracking number of your financial aid package to the financial aid office since it is supposed to be sent by DHL then you can easily track it online at .

    Hope it helps…

  8. Zviad says:

    Hello everyone,

    I wanted to ask international addmited applicants, did you recieve your financial aid award letters? I am asking this because I still haven’t recieved the letter, I asked about it to financial aid assistant on 9 april and she said I should recieve mail within two weeks, this two weeks are almost over so I am starting to worry about it.

  9. madmatt says:

    A few quick answers (I’ll try to elaborate in my next Omnibus):

    tokenadult, you are right that that is not a worry. We have plenty of applicants, some homeschooled and some just more advanced than their school, who take lots of courses in college. As long as they are not enrolled in a degree program, this isn’t an issue. The most famous recent example was Reid Barton ’05, who came in with years and years of college credit. Also, tokenadult, I haven’t forgotten about your homeschooling question — I’ll post an entry on that sometime after May 1.

    swissinsenegal, the best recommendations come from teachers who know you well inside and outside the classroom. Choose accordingly. Also, we are well aware of the differences in positivity (?) in certain cultures. We will consider this.

    gm ’10, we have your response as well. Not sure what’s up with the response card.

    Molly, if you mean do overnight hosts provide feedback about their prefrosh into the admissions process, the answer is no. Overnights are for your benefit.

    Zvaid, see your email for my response. If anyone else hasn’t received their financial aid, please contact the Financial Aid office ASAP.

    Robb, AP scores are a considered part of the admissions process here.

    Srikar, you should take an SAT Subject Test in math and science, and also take the TOEFL.

    Mahsa, we have no special admissions program for International Astronomy Olympiad winners, but winning in the competition will be considered appropriately in the admissions process (since it is a pretty big deal). On campus, we have some great astronomy resources within our Planetary Sciences and Physics departments.

  10. Robb Carr says:

    Hi Matt! I have not posted here in a while, so I feel kind of bad having my first post in a month or so being a question…but

    How important do you feel AP tests really are? Several Counselors mentioned that colleges didn’t really care about them for admission, but this was a pretty opposite view as to what I had gained an impression of. I will of course be taking them either way, I am just curious as the view points presented recently were fairly contrary to what I had interpreted from MyMIT and other college admission resources.

  11. Silvana says:

    Hi Matt,

    Recently I sent a rather important e-mail regarding my final exams in Switzerland. Did it arrive? I haven’t gotten an answer yet.

  12. SRIKAR says:


  13. mahsa says:

    Hi Matt!

    What is your program for International Astronomy olympiad winners??

  14. Dhrubo says:

    Dear Matt:

    I’ve got a couple of questions, and pls. take all the time you need (weeks or even a month smile to answer them effectively.

    (1) International Homeschooled applicant, having extraordinary results in external exams (i.e. A Levels): What’s your advice? Should I send in the detailed syllabus with the application, along with transcripts from the awarding body? Recommendations from whom? Any other suggestions?

    (2) Applicants who have been rejected in the previous years: do you compare the previous application with the new one through the old summary sheet? What are the chances of admission; do you recall any student at all who made it the second time? I had applied somewhat early (at age 16.5), whereas most of the intl applicants here apply at age 18/19/20 etc. So, the extra-curricular side was quite weak. What do you think?

    Thanking you in advance. And congrats for the promotion :]

    Best Wishes

  15. Molly says:

    Thanks for the reply Matt smile

  16. Abha says:

    Hi Matt,

    I have been going through your blogs for a while now. I Find them very interesting. It helps me gain more knowledge about the admission procedures at MIT. I write to you from Hyderabad, India. I understand that many Indian students blog you time and again enquiring about the AP exams offered by CollegeBoard. Although there are very few Indian schools which conduct the AP program we are a school in Hyderabad that allow students who donot belong to our school to write the AP exams through our centre. I would like to share this information with all the International students from India who intend to write the AP exams. They can always contact me at [email protected]