ant06 wrote, “is it okay to get a recommendation from a teacher who’s teaching you a subject you are not planning to further pursue, as against the teacher teaching your future major but who doesn’t know you as well?”
Yes! You should get recommendation from teachers who know you well. We do not care if recommendations come from the subject you wish to major in or not.
Emilia wrote, “I live in Ecuador, am about to enter senior year and am very interested in applying to MIT. I have one question about the application process I would like to ask you (I read this post and thought that you provided good answers to a lot of the questions about the process): The application says that it is recomended, but not required to get an interview, and when I checked My MIT account it said that there wasn’t an interviewer available in my area and that the interview had been waivered. I really would like an interview though, because I believe that it can provide a lot more of information about myself other than what’s on the application itself. I know someone who’s an MIT alum and is in the area. Is it possible, that this person could conduct the interview? And if so, what steps should I take do make it happen?”
Emilia, we have no interviewers in Ecuador, but we do have several in Colombia. If you wish to pursue this, contact the Educational Council office at [email protected]
Michael B.B. wrote, “1. Can you tell me if there are any interviewers around Oslo, or at all in Norway?
2. There are very few extracurricular activities around where I live, other than golf and soccer, sports I don’t have the greatest enjoyment in participating in. How bad will this look on my application, as participation in (to me) interesting activities is very difficult as there are no science-based activities at all?
3. And my term grade report won’t be very impressing, as I had a doctors note advising against me taking the exams, as I was very ill, but due to various disagreements with my history/grade teacher, I am not sure how to make that clear, as I am uncertain whether he would. Therefore I would like to ask how to make something clear, in case your teacher doesn’t?”
1. We have no one in Oslo but we have someone in Hordaland and someone in Stockholm. If you wish to pursue this, contact the Educational Council office at [email protected]
2. We know that most countries do not put the same emphasis on extracurricular activities as the United States does. This is okay, and we will consider this as part of your context.
3. You can write us a note explaining your circumstances, or you can have whoever completes your secondary school report explain it to us. Either way would be fine.
Saket asked, “Sir, as it is very difficult to get into MIT, what kind of extra cullicular activities are expected from an international student? What kind of extra cource work we have to do considering for admission, myself being an international student?”
No particular activities are expected of you, but we do hope you’ll follow your passions and use your time to be involved with things you are excited about, to the extent which that is possible. Most students take the most rigorous version offered of their nation’s curriculum and do well in that curriculum. Your courses should certainly include math through calculus, physics, chemistry, biology, and English.
Rebecca wrote, “Because I attended two different high schools (parent/job situation), my class rank suffered significantly, as my new high school does not accept weighted credits from out-of-state schools. How important is class rank in terms of MIT admission? If my rank is not even within the first decile due to the transfer situation (despite the fact that my grades are very good), will this hurt my chance at MIT, ie, will MIT understand this?”
This is a fairly common situation, actually. You should definitely submit a note detailing the circumstances, and if possible have your college counselor also note this on the secondary school report. We will focus on your course grades much more than the school’s weighting.
Jennifer asked, “In filling out the tests, activities, and essays section of the application, I needed more room for a few of the questions. Should I attach an another sheet to include these extra activities?”
We expect that most of our applicants are involved with more than five activities, but in our application process, we are primarily concerned with the five things you do that are most important to you. If you like, you may send in additional information (sometimes called a “resume” or “brag sheet”), and we will certainly consider it, but please do fill out our forms as completely as possible.
Mike W wrote, “I’ve been thinking of sending in a DVD of a video I created for my church’s Vacation Bible School. I figured I could tell you about my video editing in the application, but it would be a lot cooler if I could also show you my video editing. Any thoughts on that?”
You may send in a video that you edited, or a video of you editing video, or even a video that you edited of you editing video. We try to evaluate every video sent to us, including films, dance performances, and more.
Shikhar asked, “Can I send in softwares that I have made as a part of the extra material on a CD-ROM?”
You may send it in. We try to evaluate all software sent to us, though it is not always possible. If it is evaluated, we’ll want to see both the compiled program and the source code (with comments, if you’ve commented your code).
Laura wrote, “I’m applying for MIT 2006, and was wondering if I should bring an art portfolio with me to my interview, or send it with my application, etc., even though I’m majoring in engineering, not art.”
Yes! If you send us an art portfolio, we will have it evaluated by people in the arts. The best way to do this is to send us a CD with some of your works in a Powerpoint file. Also, you should bring your portfolio to the interview, but we make no guarantees that your Educational Counselor will know anything about art ;)
Victor asked, “what if your passion isn’t what you want to major in? e.g. if you want to major in some sort of engineering, yet your passion is in exercise science/kinesiology (which isn’t offered at MIT I don’t think?) – is that really bad?”
It’s cool that you’ve found something you are passionate about. Your passion need not be your major. Remember that half of MIT students don’t major in what they put on the application. Last year, I remember seeing (and admitting) students whose passions ranged from weightlifting to tiddlywinks. I’ll be interested to read more about your passions.
Cafer wrote, “I want to ask you about the transfer admissions. If I want to apply in my first year in a college, what are my chances? Or if i apply in my second, what are my chances to be admitted to MIT?”
There should not be much difference between applying for transfer admission in your first or second year, as long as you will have spent at least one full year in another university before entering MIT (i.e, freshmen must wait until the spring to apply for transfer) and have taken classes similar to MIT’s core math & science classes. This past year, 259 students applied for transfer admission, and 17 were admitted. The transfer process is very similar to the freshman process, in that we look at applicants holistically and within context. As you can surmise from the numbers, it is very competitive, more competitive percentage-wise than the freshman pool. We’ll be considering the same attributes, though: initiative, creativity, passion, personal qualities. You can read more about the transfer process at the Admissions website, admissions.mit.edu.
Aziz wrote, “Quick question..does MIT do information sessions internationally, even things such as sending a current undergrad during or before winter break to give basic information and answer questions about what it’s like to be at MIT ??”
Currently, we don’t do any information sessions abroad, but it is something we’re currently looking into. So, unfortunately, for now places like these blogs will be one of the few somewhat personal information points. I hope it’s at least a little helpful.
Liu Huan asked (re: TOEFL abbreviations), “What is ‘PBT’ ‘CBT’ ‘iBT’?”
These abbreviations stand for:
PBT – Paper-based Testing
CBT – Computer-based Testing
iBT – Internet-based Testing
For more information, see the TOEFL website.
Ben wrote, “I was wondering, if I didn’t do extremely well on the math section of the SAT I, would having a very strong score on a Math SAT II make up for that?”
First, know that you don’t have to do “extremely” well on your SATs to be admitted. To answer your question, though, a very strong SAT II Math can absolutely balance a less than extremely good SAT I Math score.
Lindley wrote, “Over the summer I took college courses through Carnegie Mellon University’s Summer Pre-College program. I took a calc based Physics Mechanics course and a Differential and Integral Calc course. The highest math my high school offers is Calc BC and the calc course I took covers all but about a chapter of the course. Should I stick w/ the Calc BC course @ my skool and take the AP test, or take another higher calc course @ a community college or online program? I’ve a similar problem w/ my physics course. The highest my school offers is just regular non-calc basesd college prep that covers mech. and electr. & magnet. Should I just stick w/ that course since it is a lab unlike the one @ Carnegie, take it and another an AP/college level course for electr. & magnet. and take the Physics C AP test, or drop it and just take Physics C online or @ a community college. How does MIT look @ these outside courses and do I need a transcript from Carnegie Mellon University?”
Hmm… there are no right answers to some of these questions, but hopefully I can help somewhat. Taking courses outside of school can sometimes be hard, but in your case it is an option you should strongly consider. I suspect you’ll be more challenged and intellectually fulfilled if you choose to do some more advanced online/CC math & physics courses this year. If you do, you may still want to consider taking the BC Calculus and Physics C tests, as these can ease the process of transfer credit and placement at whatever university you attend next year. We will consider your CMU courses, and we would like to see a transcript.
Lindley also wrote, “my SAT1andSAT2 math scores are both about 710 should I retake the tests and try for a higher score or does having pretty good course wrk balance out the relatively “low” scores?… just curious do you have the avg. SAT2 scores?”
I don’t have the average scores, but I can tell you that the middle 50% of admitted students on both the SAT I Math and SAT II Math scored between 740 and 800. Given those statistics, you may want to consider retaking one or both tests, but remember that 25% of our admitted students last year scored 730 or less on the SAT I Math and/or SAT II Math, and many of those students balanced out scores with strong grades and coursework.
Gabor wrote, “I’m from Hungary, but have been living and going to school in the US for 6 years. I still don’t have a green card, so I still am considered an international student. All my coursework/test scores/etc. are American. Does this hinder me in any way? Is there anything extra I need to do on my application because I’m essentially an American student that’s being tossed into the international pile?”
Many of our international applicants are applying from US schools. This is very common and does not put you at any unusual disadvantage.
Guli asked, “I was wondering, are you able to mix and match old SAT and new SAT math scores? For example, if I scored higher on the math section of the old SAT but my verbal/reading section of the new SAT was higher, would you combine those “higher” scores? Or are you only allowed to take the best scores from either the old SAT only or the new SAT only?”
Yes, you can “mix and match” as you described. We will take your best math and best verbal scores, from the old or new SAT I.
Isabel wrote, “Hi, Matt! This is Isabel from Seoul, South Korea, living on a U.S. military installation. Do you remember me from RSI 2005 this summer? If not, that’s okay, because I’m sure you meet hundreds of new faces every week. Well, I was browsing through MyMit and came upon this page. It helped clear many questions of my own. However, I was curious myself about mixing the highest subscores for my ACT score on my application. Is that possible? In addition, how much emphasis is placed on SAT II Subject Test scores when evaluating an applicant? Thank you in advance!”
Good to hear from you, Isabel. I don’t know how/if our algorithms consider ACT mixing of ACT subscores, but I’ll try to look into that. As for SAT II scores, they are considered equally with ACT/SAT I scores. As you may have read, we don’t put a huge emphasis on scores, but they are certainly a considered part of our process.
Kamran wrote, “I find myself in a very unique situation, I think. I know MIT needs 2 Letters of Recommendation (“Forms”), one from a humanities and one from a science. I am part of a very unique gifted and talented program at the Learning Alternatives and I am also taking some AP classes at the high school itself. The program is taught by one teacher (but we bring in other teachers from Learning Alt to teach us things like Leadership, English, Latin, and Bio) and I spend 7+ hours inside the classroom. I did take Accel Phys last year and AP Calc AB, and out of those two I think my physics teacher is a good choice for a recommendation. My question is, basically, can I have a recommendation from my program teacher? I don’t even look at him as my teacher… he’s my mentor and my friend. He just knows me so well, he knows my faults and he knows how I work. I think it would help me more to get his recommendation rather than, say, my English teacher (even though I know her very well too). Is the recommendation process set in stone, or can I use his recommendation AND a sciences recommendation too? You also require the Secondary School report form and a Mid-year report form and those are supposed to be from a guidance counselor or principal. Well, since I belong to both the Learning Alternatives and High school (they are seperate… yet the LA is a wing of the high school building), can I choose to use my LA principle instead of the high school principle? And, one of my last questions (I promise!), my guidance counselor hardly knows me (since I spend most of my time in my program and not in the HS), but the Gifted and Talented Coordinator is almost exactly like the guidance counselor only for the LA. He also knows me very well too and has a very close relationship to the program’s students. Could I use him instead of the HS guidance counselor?”
Whew! Many questions. Hopefully I can help. It sounds like we would take a recommendation from your physics and program teachers. You could also submit a third recommendation if you feel it would give us a unique perspective. You may have your LA principal or G&T Coordinator fill out the Guidance Counselor forms, but you should check with both your LA principal/G&T Coordinator as well as your high school guidance counselor before doing so.
Kamran also wrote, “I am going to try very hard to get good scores on the SAT and ACT, but if it turns out that I, suppose, get a 670 English and 710 Math, does the fact that I am involved in a lot of things and other unique things about me (entrepreneur, guitar, Latin, passion for computers, websites, etc etc. I could go on for awhile but I’ll save that for the application) weigh in at all? (Read: Do I still have a chance at getting accepted?)”
Yes, you still have a chance of being accepted, even with lower scores. Scores do not rule our process, but are certainly a part of our process. As one guideline, note that the middle 50% of admitted students scored between 690 and 770 on the SAT I Verbal and between 740 and 800 on the SAT I Math, but also remember that a quarter of students scored lower than that.
Michael B.B. wrote, “My Physics teacher has just left for a teaching position in Uganda, and his repalcement has never taught at my school before and will only be here until Christmas. I would like to sign the waiver to see what my teacher wrote found on the top of the form, but that would be impossible, as I intend to ask my ex-physics teacher in Uganda to write my recomendation letter. What advice could you give to an international student in a bit of a squeeze.”
It’s okay if you don’t sign the waiver. If it concerns you, you could ask your teacher to note the situation in his response/letter. Overall, this is not a major problem, so don’t worry too much.
Laura wrote, “I was just wondering if I should send my APs this year; I will be a senior by this September. I will be taking more APs in my senior year – should I send them again then? […] Oh, I was wondering statistically, what percentage of MIT undergraduate students list undecided as their major coming in?”
You don’t need to send us official copies of your AP scores until you enroll at MIT. We will want to know your AP scores, though, so be sure to note them. Statistically, only a small percentage of student list “undecided” on their application, but note that half of MIT students don’t major in what they listed on their application. So, in a sense, half of the students here were undecided or flexible coming in. I was among those students. Anyway, if you’re thinking about a major, you should list it as what you are considering, but if you’re completely up in the air, then you should absolutely list “undecided.” Hope that helps a little…
Mike D asked, “Why are the essays on the app the same this year? Do you not change them every year?”
We do not necessarily change our essays each year. We’ve found that last year’s essay topics worked very well, so we’ll keep them for at least another year, if not longer.
Ajymurat asked, “verbal 500 or TOEFL 600. which one seems better? if we take 1800 can we still have chance to enter MIT?”
Submit all your scores, but we will most likely use the TOEFL 600 in our process. A score of 600 puts you within the competitive range for MIT. As for the second part of your question, I think you mean “Can I be admitted if my combined SAT I score is 1800?” Well, we consider each part of the SAT individually, and will not be using the writing section this year. In short, it’s not a question I can easily answer.
Ajymurat also wrote, “i am an international student from Kyrgyzstan.
for intls SAT 1 isn’t so important isn’t it? i am going to take chemistry , math2 and toefl.
are this enough for test requirements?”
For international students, you are right, we only require the TOEFL, a math SAT II, and a science SAT II, so you will have fulfilled our testing requirements. You do not need to take the SAT I.
Liu Huan wrote, “I want to know more about the recommendation letters. MIT requires 3 letters from humanity teacher, math teacher and principal. What about the other recommendations? E.g. my summer program mentor.”
We are happy to take an extra recommendation if you think ti would be valuable. Often recommendations from summer program mentors can be illuminating, so I encourage you to send that in, as well.
Jeremy asked, “Just wondering, why can’t we use our writing score on the SAT as the SAT II Writing score?”
You can read a little more about that at this old blog entry.
Mahsa wrote, “I am an international student from iran. In my country SAT 2 have not taken. What should I do?”
I will write a separate entry soon about SAT testing and requirements for Iran and China.
Oziegbe wrote, “pls sir my ssce o level result is neco[national examination council] in nigeria i hope it is valid”
I’m sorry, but I don’t understand your question.
sab wrote, “After searching each corner of your blog page, I’m still unable to find your email address.. is it not on the page or I need to check again?! I want to ask some questions regarding admission to mit. It would be really convenient for me to use email.”
I don’t put my email address on my blog, but it’s pretty easy to figure out. The MIT homepage has a people directory, and if you enter my name, my email address should pop right up.
siddharth wrote, “I am a bit puzzled about the biographical informations (either not much informations about it in your site or I might have accidentally skipped it). So please help me out.”
Beginning in September, I plan to do blog entries on each individual part of the application, including the biographical form. In the mean time, do you have a specific question about the biographical form?
Will wrote, “I am currently a rising sophomore in high school, and have taken the SAT I four times so far (my best two scores recieved during freshman year). My question is, will my scores from freshman year still be elgible for my application in the ’08 – ’09 school year? [I would like to keep them, as i have both a 800 math and CR (one from each test).]”
For students applying in 2008, we will require the SAT I with writing. If you have that (and it sounds like you do), then we will consider the best scores from each of the three SAT I sections, and you will not need to take the test again, barring any further policy changes.
Subhodeep wrote, “I have taken both SAT Reasoning and Subject Tests, and according to College Board, the scores have been sent to MIT (#3514). However, in my application tracking section, it says that the scores have not yet been received. Is this due to a delay in updating, or would I be better of sending my scores again?”
I don’t know why we don’t list your scores yet, but you should email [email protected] with your problem. They will get back to you with the best remedy. At this point, do not spend more money to have your scores sent again.
Farrukh wrote, “About Online Application Part 2, Section 3. Can i fill them with my UCLES, GCE Olevel and Alevel courses?”
Yes, please do list your O and A level courses and marks in that section. Exactly!