Skip to content ↓
MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

Back From Paternity Leave by Ben Jones

I'm back! A few words on the Harvard Admissions Institute and such.

Howdy folks,

First of all, thanks so much for the phenomenal advice posted in response to my last entry about raising siblings to be friends. It’s truly something that I’ll keep and refer to in the coming years.

I wrapped up paternity leave last weekend and have been at the Harvard Summer Admissions Institute since Sunday. It starts at 8AM with breakfast and I usually don’t get home until after 1AM. Each day, there are four 90-minute seminars, 1-2 small-group discussion sessions, 3 meals, 2 networking/social periods, and a few other things thrown in. (Check out the schedule!) Needless to say, it’s pretty awesome. Tonight is our one night off (the out-of-towners are exploring Boston) so I’m taking a minute to say hello.

So what do admissions people talk about for 6 days in a row, 16 hours a day? When I get back, I’ll give you the play-by-play of each day. I think you’ll be fascinated (as I have been all week). My personal experiences in this profession have given me a ton of stuff to think about – what I didn’t know is that everyone else is thinking about the same things. Simply amazing. More soon.


P.S. Shameless plug: I sing & play guitar in a band and our CD comes out in July. If you like rock/alternative stuff, please take a listen and let me know what you think.

26 responses to “Back From Paternity Leave”

  1. Shrenik says:

    I liked the songs I listened to, are the lyrics/music yours? (or written by someone in your band?)

  2. Merudh says:

    hey ben, rock/alternative is one of my fav. genres…I just downloaded one of your songs on my lame 56k connection but I’ll download the rest later and let you know what I think.

    by the way, appreciate it if you could answer my question on the “Meet The Admissions Staff”

    thanks =)

  3. Kiersten says:

    YAY!!! Ben Jones = rock star:)

  4. Laura says:

    Yay, welcome back, Ben!

    Since I use shameless plugs myself all the time, I’ll indulge you. I’m downloading one of your songs right now and will listen to it when I get a chance.

    Can’t wait to hear more about what goes on in the head of an admissions officer! =)

  5. Lulu says:

    To be honest, Ben, I was expecting something MUCH worse than what I heard. In fact, that was quite enjoyable smile Professional sound, yet homegrown kind of feel to it as well.

    Are you the lead singer?

  6. Lulu says:

    P.S. – where can we purchase such a cd? mm?

  7. Jane W says:

    Ben! You’re back! And that’s a lot of discussion between admissions officers too, I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been talking about.

  8. Fabrice says:

    welcome back to work grin

  9. Katie says:

    Totally awesome smile

    I’m with Lulu – where could we purchase this cd?

  10. Kelly says:



  11. intleyes says:

    Welcome back Ben! Well, I guess not getting sleep with the new baby prepared you for your first week back to work. I am looking forward to reading about your session. I’ll take a listen to your cd this evening. Make sure you look in on your little sleeping angels before you go to bed at night. Take care and again welcome back.

  12. Laila Shabir says:

    Hey ben! welcome back!! n hows ur new baby? smile

  13. Say Ben! I see “Jones” listed on the schedule half a dozen times: were *you* presenting or on the discussion panels? Or was this some of the other two registered folks named “Jones”? (Or was your boss participating?)

    Welcome back, and hug those little ones.

  14. Prashant says:

    Dude Ben!!

    I casually clicked on the smallest mp3 file, waited 5 min, then listened to it (“sister”).. now I’m hooked wink

    Freakin amazing!

    I’m downloading ALL of em right now, and dont blame me if i burn a CD and hand it over to my friends raspberry [jokes apart, let me know, if you allow me to burn a CD out of these?]

  15. Melda says:

    hey, i like the sound of that! i’ll third the question: where might one obtain one of your cds?

    and welcome back smile

  16. Shikhar says:

    I Know this is not the place but I really want to know whether Indian students can have an interview for Undergraduate admission in fall 2006. If the interview is available can you please provide contact information of any EC member.
    Moreover, interview@mit told me to contact a certain Mr.Tushar Suraiya but I have not heard from him for more than 10 days now.

    Also wanted to ask is being a part of an olympiad team a requisite for having a chance at MIT (for international students).

  17. Anonymous says:

    lol dude that’s so cool, I didn’t know you were in a band.

  18. Prashant says:


    Interviews – Calm down! It’s too early. Contact your EC in say, November.

    Olympiad – It boosts your chances, but is not a requisite.

  19. Okang says:


    MIT is awesome…I know you and Jenny are going to Do Great Things! Well, we left the Harvard Institute Friday around 10:30 AM and a trip that should normally take three and half hours took us seven. There was a “jack knife” tractor trailer on the GWB(George Washington Bridge). The bridge was shut down for two hours, and the Yankees were playing the Mets…TRAFFIC NIGHTMARE…TAKE CARE FROM YOUR FRIENDS AT FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON UNIVERSITY,

    P.S. Hey, I with everyone else..where can I purchase that awasome music?

  20. Shikhar says:

    Thanks for the reply.Hope to meet you people in the class of 2010.

  21. Prashant says:

    k just listened to all except smile [its downloading], and everything else being top-class, i must add that you have a very cool drummer!

    my fav two are sister and another week (until ofcourse i hear smile). though i found the guitar arpeggio on machine a bit hackneyed (say, the Scorpions).

    recording quality is just right – professional, yet preserving the indie flavour.

    hmm smile just downloaded.. groovy, but sounds like country music at some places raspberry

    battle’s over – sister and another week remain my fav smile

  22. Ben says:

    Hey guys, thanks so much for the positive feedback on the songs! Shrenik – we do write all of our own material. The stuff you like – I wrote that. The stuff you don’t like – the other guys in the band wrote that. grin Thanks also to everyone who expressed interest in buying a copy; they’ll be for sale for $5 at the end of July. I’ll post the link when it’s up.

    Merudh – answered your questions in the other thread…

    Laila – the new little guy is awesome. He’s a much better sleeper than his brother was – only wakes up 2-3 times a night!

    Leftcoast Mom – that was Marilee. The Harvard Admissions Institute faculty is made up of the deans and directors of many top-tier schools. Talk about being in a room full of rock stars!

    Prashant – thanks! Feel free to distribute them to your friends; please just write our name (Tremulant) and website ( somewhere on the CD. In fact, when it’s ready I’ll upload the album art so you can print it out and make a “real” CD if you’d like.

    Shikhar – Prashant beat me to it and gave a great response. No worries! grin

    Okang! Thanks for checking out the blog. It was great to meet you at the institute. So sorry to hear about your trip home though… ouch. Keep in touch and let me know if you’re ever in Boston again!

    Big entry on the last week’s adventures coming tomorrow.

  23. David A. says:

    Ben- Sounds great!

    It’s really cool to be able to put a voice to your face, and writing grin

    Best of luck with your new son, and welcome back.

  24. Shikhar says:

    Dear Ben,
    Can you tell me how to send any extra correspondence if I apply to MIT online (Note that I am an international student from India).

    Well, The evaluation section of the form has the space for writing the evaluations.However, my teachers insist on inquiring whether it is ok for them to attach computer generated evaluations to the form as that would make it easier for them to edit and recheck the evaluations.

    Lastly,please give me a realistic account of the difficulty of the admission scenario in India.Please tell me the app. no of applicants and the no. of admits.Not that I’d be scared or anything but I’ll strive harder with the competitiveness at the back of my mind.

  25. Ben says:

    Thanks David and Stephanie! Stephanie, we’re a trio (bass/guitar/drums). Darrin (the drummer) and I had been playing together for 5 years or so in another band which broke up last year. We teamed up with Adam (the bassist) to start this band in the fall of 2004.

    Shikhar – you can email additional correspondence to [email protected]. Make sure to include your full name and birth date with every email.

    Your teachers may attach their own recommendations in lieu of filling out our evaluation form, however they should try to embrace the *spirit* of our questions which go well beyond the subject of academic achievement. We want the evals to tell us who you are, not just what you’ve done.

    To answer your final question – and I wish I had better news – international applications are very, very competitive at MIT. We had well over 2000 applications last year for about 100 spots. I believe 5 students were admitted from India while most countries had 0 or 1. But that’s misleading because we also have many more applicants from India than from most other places. I think often of a few applicants – amazing applicants – who applied last year from India and who didn’t get in. It still makes me sad.

    So my advice is to keep the faith and do your best and hopefully everything will work out. It’s good to try to make multiple options for yourself whenever possible – the applicants last year who were the most disappointed tended to be those who applied only to MIT and therefore didn’t have other options when MIT didn’t happen. I began corresponding with them too late to advise them against this; this year I’m saying it here in June: international, domestic, space alien, whatever – always have a backup plan, because MIT isn’t a guarantee even to the most phenomenal applicant in the universe.

  26. Stephanie says:

    Wow, your songs are so amazing! I too am interested in buying this CD. When did you start this band, and who/what instruments are involved?