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MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

Ben’s Fifth Semi-Annual Q&A by Ben Jones

Answers to blog comments from the last month.

I’ve been working on this one for weeks, but you guys know what the past few weeks have been like, so some of these answers are super late. Apologies.


Aziz wrote: “If i’m living in Kuwait, is there any possibility of receiving the Admissions decision either by courier mail or online? This is because the problem comes not from the international mail’s speed, but due to the very poor mail system here in Kuwait. It is vital for me to receive my admissions decision before the May 1st deadline.”

No worries – we will mail in mid-march, a good 6+ weeks before May 1. I cannot promise at this juncture that decisions will be made available online for RA ’06, but we are working on it.


Merudh wrote: “I was wondering if you watch House, M.D. next to LOST?”

Totally! I love that show. :-) House is the MAN.


Dan wrote: “I think creative writing and contemporary literature (1/2 year counted as regular CP) for 4th year english is truly more beneficial than BRITISH LITERATURE (honors), but it’s not as challenging and that shows, so I’m iffy about choosing not so demanding english senior year. (I’ll be in AP calculus, AP physics, AP biology, AP US government and spanish 4 honors.) What do you think?”

I think you should take what you want to take, especially when it comes to English. (As an English major I can totally relate to what it feels like to suffer through an English class that doesn’t connect with you.) This will not affect your chances at MIT. Whenever possible, you should try to take the highest level math and science classes though.


Andrew wrote: “I was wondering whether phone interviews are accepted, since my nearest EC lives 1000km away?”

I just asked the Educational Council office, and they responded: “We usually try not to conduct any telephone interviews, however, if the nearest EC to the applicant is very far away (as in this case) and the applicant really does want an interview, we will make an exception to the rule.”


Shikhar wrote: “Should I put down that I have been member for four years of my school’s programming and quiz team at certain competitions called MODEM, COFAS (and explain about them in the explanation sheet) or is participation not that worthy to put down?”

I’d put these down and explain them, as you’ve noted.


Shikhar wrote: “I have served my local community service center (a mix of old age home and underpriviliged children and mentally impaired people) for a very long time. I cant exactly remember the number of hours as the’d go in 1000’s I suppose. However, what I want to ask is that do you want proof of my work there in the form of a letter of reference or is my noting this fact in the application good enough for the admission commitee? (The letter is not any form of recommendation but just something which the Chief officer wrote for my appreciation and sort of just explains what all I have done there… which is quite a lot.) As I do not intend to write an essay about this, I was wondering whether that letter will be of help as that will explain my activities at the centre without me having to write about it.”

We don’t need “proof” but it does sound like that letter would be very beneficial to helping the committee understand your experience and involvement there. I would include it.


Sam wrote: “How do you guys decide if someone gets admitted? Are there a bunch of cuts or is it a one time yes or no decision?”

After your application is read by multiple people, it goes to committee where it will be seen by up to 10 different people. Finally, the Dean herself reviews every admitted student’s folder. There are no simple one-time “yes or no” decisions unless the folder contains very serious negatives (terrible grades, expulsion for malicious behavior, etc.)


Cheng wrote: “My guidance counselor tells me that she can’t send out the Mid-Year Grade Report until the middle of February and at the same time I’m applying via Early Action. Will this affect my chances of getting in?”

No – we will evaluate your folder using the grades that we have. If your application is deferred, we will want to see your mid-year grades. Your school yould sent them to us as soon as possible, as we begin committee in February.


Justin wrote: “As of November 1st, none of my grades this year have been calculated. I have, however, in the past 2 weeks received my quarter grades but not my semester grades since the semester does not end until the end of January. Will these quarter grades count as pseudo-semester grades or will you be waiting until the end of January to see my grades?”

Please see my response to Cheng, above.


Dhrubo wrote: “I am an international student (from Bangladesh)… I am worried about my essays. Aren’t they the most important part of the app? I’ve been through some really tough courses (3 science subjects and 2 Maths in A Level) for the past two years, so I had little scope for EC activities, society or friends on which I can write on in my essays. I would be so grateful if you could say a few words of wisdom and guidance (or even a little encouragement) about the essay.”

The essay is your voice in the application. It is not a writing test. There are no real requirements, other than to use your voice and talk to us – connect with us. Tell us who you are, tell us about your world. Do not fear the essay – it is your friend. :-)


Merudh wrote: “If you do listen to [Paul McCartney] and if you have heard the new album… what is your take on the song English Tea?”

I like Paul (although admittedly I’m a much bigger fan of the Beatles than I am of Paul’s solo work) but I haven’t heard that song – should I check it out?


Danish wrote: “I want to improve my scores by retaking the tests but I have to take the SAT I on DEC 3rd and this is the last month I can take any standardized test as I applied through Regular Action. I could do much better if I could retake the test. That was my first attempt. Please tell what should I do. I know they are much below the MIT requirement. Secondly, I am an applicant from Pakistan… Will you people evaluate me in context with the Pakistani students or the American students?”

We will accept January scores as well. Also remember that international students can take the TOEFL in lieu of the SATI (but must still submit 2 SATII’s). We are familiar with all international school systems. You will be evaluated in the context of your specific school system.


Merudh wrote: “I was wondering if the fact that we never came for a visit will be held against us in the admissions process.”

Not at all. Many folks are not able to visit MIT until after they’ve been admitted.


Mamat wrote: “Although I finished Advanced Calculus at 8th grade and participated International Mathematical Olympiad, because of my English I couldn’t get full at SAT1 and SAT2 on MATH… Is it possible to achieve the highest levels at MIT with bad knowledge of English?”

Yes, there are many students here for whom English is not the first language, and they are highly successful. We have a very supportive International Students office.


Utsav wrote: “I got a score of 670 in Maths, 570 in writing and 560 in verbal. I am a student from India. Are my scores too bad for MIT? I secured 89 in English in my CBSE XII exams. I will be taking the ACT in Dec. My SAT II scores in Maths2/Physics/Chem are 800/760/770. Please suggest.”

Your SATII scores are excellent – I would advise you to take the TOEFL, on which you will probably score better than you did on the SATI. If you take the TOEFL, we will use that instead of the SATI.


Shizzlast wrote: “I’m an international student (Canada) and since the admission rate is so low for international students is it possible for students to get in without AP classes etc. My school does not offer AP courses and i am the first person from my school to ever take the SAT!”

If your school does not offer AP classes, you won’t be penalized for not having taken any. Our reading process is very context-based.


Zoogies wrote: “I’m going to cite a comment that either you or someone else on the admissions staff once made on perfect SAT scores… the jist of it was that perfect scores are sometimes seen as signifying a lack in other involvements, i.e, that the student spent all their time studying on SATs. Well… I’ve been slacking my poor behind off in the SAT I Prep dept, and somehow managed to get a 2400… so… um… this won’t be seen as, say, scoremongering or anything?”

Not at all. :-)


Olga wrote: “Do you need to send a mid-year grade report for EA? I figured it was just for RD applicants, since we haven’t reached the mid-year yet.”

Sorry I’m late in answering this, but for future years… we’d like whatever is available, but you won’t be penalized if something is not available. EA admits are not required to send in a mid-year school report, but are required to send in a final school report.


Sam wrote: “I submitted the (paper) application EA. For the optional section (#13) I attached a copy of my final composition project for the music theory course I took junior year. I’ve kind of been wondering… is this the kind of thing you guys like to see for those questions?”

Yes, this is a great use of #13.


Irina wrote: “I saw a big OPTIONAL written there under my writing score on the SAT Reasoning Test. Does this score count in the admission process? Well.. my Critical Reading score wasn’t fabulous (690) and I got 780 in Math, but I am very proud of my 800 in writing. Why is that score ‘optional’?!”

To quote the December 7 issue of the Wall Street Journal:

“Marilee Jones, dean of admissions at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., said she has concerns because the new test “did not come from the grass roots…” Ms. Jones says she isn’t confident in the grading system, which instructs graders to disregard factual errors in almost all circumstances. Instead, the emphasis is on rating language usage, structure and logical flow. Ms. Jones also says she worries deeply that the focus on writing could hurt students from poorer backgrounds, or whose parents didn’t go to college, or from families where English isn’t spoken at home. ‘Those kids have a tendency to get left out,’ she says. They ‘are going to get clobbered on the SAT – worse than before.'”


Carlos wrote: “I am international student from Guatemala. My SAT I is of 650 (math) and 620 (verbal and writing). Someone in this board feels rejected with a 700. I would die for a 700! My SAT’s aren’t that high. I still have to take my SAT IIs but obviously my grades aren’t at MIT’s level. All of this combines with the fact that Guatemala is not the place where extracurriculars are huge. I still have a bunch of them, however. Am I the for-sure-reject that someone posted here earlier? If I am, how can I push my application? My TOEFL, however, is very high (270 out of 300). Does it help?”

Your TOEFL is fine, and will be counted instead of your SATI. Do well on your SATII’s and you’ll be competitive from a scores standpoint.


Prashant wrote: “I have given my english and maths teacher their respective evaluation sheets, but I also want to send in my Physics teacher’s eval, because I think he can also write a holistic review of me. Can I give him a science teacher evaluation sheet as well, and get the evaluation sent like any other normal evaluation?”

Yes, just copy the Eval A (or he can simply write a letter, if that’s easier).


Michael wrote: “I have just tried to contact my EC here in Oslo, Norway, but recieved an email saying that my email could not be delivered to my EC’s address, as his username was unknown. I then contacted to company in which he is ’employed’, only to find that the receptionist does not even know of my EC. Therefore, I would like to ask you what you think my next course of action should be?”

Contact [email protected] asap and request a new EC.


Anonymous wrote: “1) In the first optional essay what do you really consider as an invention? for example if once I happened to notice a geometric progression in chemistry and then used simple mathematics to produce some basic but new (in that I never saw these equations in my chem text books) equations is this suitable content for optional essay 13? 2) Is it okay to answer optional essay 14 with an essay which tells of my interests and excitements about space exploration? My application so far has not spoken about my scientific passions specifically.”

All of our essay prompts are designed simply to help you tell your story and discuss your passions and interests and goals. So there is no right or wrong answer, nor is there a right or wrong use of the space. If you’re being true to yourself and your story, you’ve made good use of the essays.


Merudh wrote: “Any idea how I can talk with Akash?”

You can find anyone here:


Anonymous wrote: “Do you think that more people choose A or B for their essays? Just wondering…”

Based on my experience, it’s an even split.


Rafael wrote: “Is it necessary to give a specific title to the essay or is it ok to just begin writing with the instructions as so called title?”

No title necessary! Some folks use ’em, some folks don’t. We don’t have a preference.


Shikhar posted a question posed by someone over at CC: “I am applying to MIT for the second time now. I wonder what does MIT do with our (for those reapplying) old application folders. Do they open them again? And if yes, what impact do they have on the new admission process?”

If you applied last year and didn’t get in, and have reapplied this year, we will see both applications. I’ve seen a couple of these cases so far this year.

I look at last year’s summaries to see how the readers and selection committee arrived at their conclusions / decisions last year. Then I read your new app from scratch to see where you are now in contrast, in particular what you’ve done in the last year.

As this year’s applicant pool is shaping up to be equally competitive (if not moreso) than last year’s, folks who reapply without having done anything since HS will likely not be accepted, as they will essentially be submitting the same app into an equally competitive pool.

On the other hand, those who have taken the year as an opportunity to pursue some great experiences and grow as students/people may have a good chance of finding success the second time around. It all depends on the individual case.

I should note that there is no advantage to having applied to MIT in a previous year.


Stephen wrote: “I am interested in attending MIT and I have heard the sleep pattern is very different, and that many people get very little sleep. I was wondering how these students manage that, and how I could build up a solid sleeping pattern that only has about 5 hours. I have tried in the past, but I always end up becoming too tired to continue throughout the day. What should I do?”

You should pose this question in some of the student blogs for a variety of perspectives – some of them sleep a lot; others hardly ever. I guess the overall answer is that you’ll be able to work it out and do what you need to do. :-)


Wisteria wrote a long and heartfelt response about recommendation letters. I won’t post the whole thing here, but I just wanted to say thanks! And I’ll look into the online evaluation service you mentioned.


Merudh wrote: “What are the chances that you will be reading my application or what are the chances that you already have?”

Alas, I wasn’t one of your readers Merudh. But I do remember you from my travels!


Inquisitor wrote: “I hope that this question does not come out the wrong way, but I wanted to ask what the qualifications are of each member of the admissions staff who vote on whether to accept or reject an applicant. Are you all MIT alums? If not, do you all have science/engineering backgrounds? If neither of the above, what would qualify a non-alum to gauge ability of an applicant to “fit” within MIT’s academic and social culture? If you yourself never went through the MIT undergraduate experience, how can you possibly judge an applicant’s ability to ‘fit in?'”

Stu, Matt, Alia, and Mike are all MIT alums. The other 20+ people in our office are not. Fortunately, PhD programs in Admissions Science are fairly uniform, so we’re all equally well trained. ;-)


Zack wrote: “Has there ever been something close to a ‘Twelve Angry Men’ scenario (in reference to a great classic movie) where one officer convinces everyone who had previously voted ‘deny’ to vote ‘yes’?”

Not that I can think of – we spend a long time callibrating ourselves for reading and selection before we embark on either. So there’s not a ton of disagreement by the time we get to committee.


Dheeraj wrote: “Can i take the SAT in jan 2006? Will its scores be considered?”

Yes, and yes.


Charles wrote: “I will assume that if I am denied my account will be terminated; but, will it be terminated at the start of next year or the start of next year’s admissions process?”

All accounts are terminated over the summer. So whether you are admitted, deferred, denied, or waitlisted, you’ll have your account until late summer 2006.


Anonymous wrote: “If we get defered, are we allowed to edit our application? Can we change our essays and update ECs?”

Rizo wrote “would you mind telling us about what supplemental material we may send, or what we can change in our applications?”

You can’t change your application in any way, but you are always welcome to add to it. Additional essays and recommendations are welcome (as long as they provide additional context and do not simply repeat what is already there), and we want to know about any new awards and accomplishments.


Many different folks wrote in to ask what the official EA numbers were.

377 admitted, 2371 deferred, 216 rejected, 133 incomplete.


Raindrop wrote: “I checked [my son’s] application, and found he didn’t put his VP position on his Math team in his EA application. Is leadership really important?”

First of all raindrop, thank you for your other post. It was wonderful. Your son is lucky to have you.

Leadership is important, yes. And generally a leadership position would be a good thing to mention. But to all parents: you should discuss these things with your children – ultimately the choice of what to include must be theirs.


Mike H wrote: “Do you remember applications? I’m sure you read through hundreds, but for instance, if I told you my name, what my essays were like, etc, would you be like oh, that kid? I’m curious to hear your thoughts/why I was admitted if it’s a yes.”

I do remember all of the EA apps I read this year, and many of the applications that I read last year (yes, even the ones who were not admitted). But no, I couldn’t tell you specifics on why you were admitted, other than to say “because you belong here.”


Many people have asked: “if you know of EA people who will get in RA, why not take them EA?”

Because we only take 30% of the class EA. Someone described this as “unaccountably low.” Accountable to whom?!? This is how MIT does things, and that’s been a very public fact for years.

In black and white, no one deferred in EA is guaranteed a spot in RA. They’ll all go back to the table with the RA applicants. What I said was a personal observation, not an official committee practice. But I stand by what I said, and one glance at previous years’ numbers shows it to be true: we take a LOT of EA people in RA.


Sam wrote: “What is the address for the admissions office? I need to know where i should send my supplemental stuff.”

MIT Office Of Admissions
77 Mass Ave #3-108
Cambridge, MA 02139

Don’t forget to include your name & birthdate on everything you send in.


M.D. wrote: “Is there anything in particular you could suggest (unofficially, of course) that us deferrees might add to our applications?”

Check out Matt’s great post here:

I’d personally just advise you to write to us from time to time, keep in touch, and let us know what you’ve been up to.


SoCal wrote: “My MyMIT account was locked. Why did this happen?”

Likely because someone else tried to log in – it will lock if you input the wrong password 3 times in a row.


And about that supplemental material deadline???

Anytime in January is fine. Just make sure we receive it in January (not just postmarked in January).

36 responses to “Ben’s Fifth Semi-Annual Q&A”

  1. Steven Lu says:

    Is there any way for deferred students to send supplementary essays online?

  2. Prashant says:

    Sorry for the error on the previous blog….What i meant to say was, although i got a very high precentage in my class 10 public exam..the top 10 in the whole of india, i guess…it somehow doesnt show on my transcripts< i got two 100/100s in maths and science, but both an 82 and 100 are considered A+) so should I send in my class 10 marksheet….would it provide better insight into the exam as a whole..?



  3. Lindsay says:

    I didn’t realize that we could send January scores, so I wasn’t planning on taking the SAT on January 28th. After seeing that we can send in our January scores, I would like to take the SAT again. I have already submitted my RD application, without filling in the “SAT to be taken” date. Who do I need to contact in order to change it so my January scores will successfully be matched to my account?

  4. Christina says:

    Linds, I could be wrong…but I’m almost positive that as soon as the admissions office receives anything with your name on it, they throw it in your file.

  5. Dan says:

    If I have questions regarding my application to the MITES program, can I ask you, Ben?

    I have a few….well encase your answer is yes, one of my questions is if you think a hobby such as BMX Biking is a possible topic for the following required essay:

    Essay 2: Which one of your extracurricular or volunteer activities is most important to you and why?


  6. Akshay says:

    I think the guys at MIT have a good understanding of many educational systems all over the globe.I suppose ( might be wrong ) they should be familiar with CBSE, its one of the biggest boards in the whole of India.

    Shikhar, which school are you from?? If you have participated in MODEM, i suppose you are from delhi. Which other competitions have you gone for??

  7. Clark Poland says:

    Is there a deadline for additional stuff that EA-deferees can send in? I ask because there’s a competition in late January that I’m going to participate in that my school has won for the past 7 years but didn’t want to list it on my app without having any award or any thing to show about it other than the prep. I’d love to be able to send in a letter stating what I did, what happened, and how much I love it (I truly do) for my RA consideration.

  8. Clark, as Ben said in the post, you can send any suplement in January, just make sure that they recieve it in January and not just be postmarked by Jan. wink

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is awesome. Never seen people who actually address our questions before.

  10. Rafael says:

    Ben wrote:

    “Also remember that international students can take the TOEFL in lieu of the SATI (but must still submit 3 SATII’s)”

    I am an international student and have only taken 2 SATII’s and the TOEFL as it is written on the application (I took the SATI aswell)… so I guess the “3” is not correct or should I be scared now?

  11. Rajeev says:

    Its incredible how much time and dedication you put into answering everyone’s questions. Thank you Ben!

  12. Adnan Esmail says:

    Can we remove optional essays from our EA application?

  13. Ben says:

    Rafael, you are so right! I have corrected the entry. Thanks for catching that typo…

  14. Thanks for answering all of our questions about applying!

  15. Sam says:


    Thanks for answering questions, but i still have one that i have not found an answer for.

    So I was deferred, and really do not like the essay I wrote. I know that the essay cannot be completely changed, but would it be beneficial to send in a new essay that I feel better explains who I am? Should I just leave it as is, and hope that it is good enough?



  16. Anonymous says:

    Thanks a lot for your answers to many questions. Not to blame anyone. Just for your reference, letter postmarked 12/10 and reached West Coast on 12/19. Do suggest to post decision for RA on MyMIT.

  17. Prashant says:

    Dear Ben

    Thanks a lot for taking the time out to answer all our questions…..If only other colleges could get that personal touch into applications…..

  18. Dear Ben

    One quick question…..I know there are many different international schooling systems that you guys have to consider…But among indian school systems how highly do you rank the CBSE system…also…i had a very high precentage in our class 10 public exam….but my transcripts dont reflect these….and some how the application doesnt show that….Regards..Prashant

  19. Alex says:

    Sorry to inundate you with more questions!

    You mentioned on here that all accounts are terminated in late August, so if I am a junior right now, does that mean I have to sign up at MyMIT again if I wish to begin my application process next year? Does that mean that the earliest I can start is in August? (I like to get things done before schedule, esp because I am thinking of applying EA)

  20. Ben,

    For the Jan SAT test–Do you recommend taking the SATIIs again [take Math IC (score higher on practice tests) instead of IIC, (which didn’t score so hot on-710)] *OR* take the SATI for a higher Math score (didn’t score so hot on that, too-670)? Which is more important in consideration for admission?

    THANKS for all your time/effort!!

  21. Sarah says:

    I know that you all say that scores aren’t as important, but I got a 440 on the SATII chem test. No, it’s not a joke, I got fourth percentile. To give me some credit I am currently in chemistry and physics so it was either fail at chem, phyisics or bio(which I last took in ninth grade). So will my horrible score count against me that much? Also, will it count against me if I am better at english than math? I know it’s a math and science school, and I love math, I just don’t seem to do as well at it.

  22. BT says:

    Hmm. A question related to visiting which doesn’t apply to me and MIT per se (I visited twice actually, once for HMMT), but which I want to know the answer to just out of curiosity.

    How does anyone know if you’ve visited a school before? Do you have to go on a tour? I don’t think it’s possible to monitor everyone who walks in (although what do I know?), so I imagine it’d either have to be recorded somewhere, or just self-stated. I never saw any such thing in the app, or any other app, and while MIT seems to be lax about this, some other schools which will go unnamed seem to care a bit more.

    A more relevant question… if I want to send a web link as supplemental material, how should I go about doing it?

    And Sarah, don’t apply as a Chem major, and take some SAT-IIs that are more suited to your strong points. I don’t know the rest of your record, so I can’t comment further than that.

  23. BT — at most schools you fill out a visit card in the Admissions office that indicates you visited. MIT doesn’t count a visit for or against you: plenty of students don’t visit until after they’ve been accepted. Also, you don’t “apply as a X major” — you do write a short answer about a department or subject that interests you, but you aren’t evaluated for entry into a particular department, program, or major, and you don’t declare a major until spring of your freshman year at the earliest. I think Ben has said that almost half of all students end up changing their major from what they thought they’d be doing before they matriculated.

    When my son applied, he included web links in his essays; you could just mention them in your supplemental material.

  24. Harish says:

    Can I fax my supplemental materials? If yes, I’m assuming that the fax no. is on the application booklet. Can I have it here, though?

    My English teacher filled out my recommendation form, but my Science teacher gave me a letter instead. Is that okay? Should I get the letter attested by my school or USEFI or something?

  25. Ender’s side kick, just a partial answer: if you lived on certain floors of certain dorms at MIT, you would be the odd-one-out if you DIDN’T bring your own power tools! (The notes I took in my PalmPilot while walking around there during CPW include the phrase “POWER TOOLS!” highlighted. grin

  26. Dhrubo says:

    Hello Ben

    I am so grateful to you; thanks for your answer.

    Somebody posted about doing poorly in SAT 1 and you advised to take TOEFL. Well, my SAT scores are 670 (CR), 720 (Writing) and 780(Math L2). Also, I got perfect scores in SAT II Physics, Math L2 and Chemistry and a 78o in Biology-M.

    I just received my TOEFL result: I got a perfect score (300/300) in TOEFL CBT.

    Now, my question is: Should I retake SAT 1 in January to improve Writing and CR scores? Or is my perfect TOEFL equivalent to perfect SAT 1?

    I am the valedictorian of my school, and am considered to be one of the best products of my country. Expectations are high.

    Your response shall bring some comfort for me!!


  27. Anonymous says:

    Hi!!! I just need a help.There was a mistake with my application fee because the fee waiver was selected by mistake,I realized that I was not eligible for fee waiver.I didn

  28. Manisha says:

    In reference to the question about something I’ve created, I wanted to talk about a painting I submitted for a charity art competition. But now I don’t have it anymore. So I can’t send a photo or a scanned version of it. Should I still describe it anyway?

  29. I spend about thirty hours a week in my CT High School’s theater building sets. I was wondering what the MIT Theater

  30. Romola says:

    I am about to take the SAT II subject tests, is it possible to take the test in two science subjects (i.e Physics & Chemistry) and one math subject in either level I or II ?

  31. mohan says:

    hi every one: merry christamas and happy newyear

    I am mohan an international applicant. I dont know either about SAT or toefl untill I completed my 12th.In june or july i came to know of sat and descided to take a chance for this year as these may lead to a brilliant future although I recieved admissions in the local universities. My scores in maths level II c, physics,chem 720/660/700. my score in toefl is 247. I am taking my SAT in jan as my scores in nov are very poor. I am sure that i would recieve a very good score in this sat, because last SAT is taken with just a 15 days preperation and toefl with a 10 day prep and these tests are totally of new shape of what I had been taking all these years. Please tell me whether the score in toefl and sat II will help me? I cannot again afford to take toefl as time is a factor.

    Thanking you

  32. hi,

    First of all, and before I forget, MERRY CHRISTMAS! And please dont hate me for bothering you during the holidays:P

    Well, here are my questions: I’ve been playing guitar for like three years, and I’ll probably carry my axe to the grave with me:) I’m completely self taught with little knowledge of music theory:P…Anyways, I have this old video of a gig I did in our High school. The music was not Beethoven or anything, but I personally think we rocked. The videos a bit shaky, but I think the sound comes out fine. Should I send the Video as supplemental material?! By the way, I’m planning on studying electrical engineering, but I think this particular passion hasnt surfaced elsewhere on my application. Should I send a cd containing the Video?

    And is it appropriate if I answer the optional essay for question fourteen with a song I wrote(WITHOUT any explanation)?

    and btw, I think a rocker for an admissions officer is the coolest thing I ever heard. You kick * man.

  33. Andrew Lin says:

    Hi Ben,

    Firstly, I was wondering if you are familiar with the tertiary entry ranking systems in place in the various states of Australia. More to the point, if I sent my tertiary entrance certificate and rank (I’m from Queensland, Australia), do I also need to enclose an explanation of the system or a link to a webpage with an explanation.

    Secondly, I recently reevaluated my MIT application and I felt it does not do justice to my personality and who I am as a person. So I was wondering if it would be wise to include a reference from a friend. (The reference was quite specific to a particular event.)

    Thanks a lot and happy new year!!!


    Andrew Lin

  34. Anonymous says:

    Ben, the server has being busy most of the day. Any words of wisdom?

  35. Amalchi says:

    Hi Ben,

    I have a few questions regarding the TOEFL. For some reason, ever since the new version of the TOEFL came out, no center in Puerto Rico has been offering it. I am very worried about this since we (students) are obviosuly foreign language speakers. I tried to see if any other version of the TOEFL was being offered, but I was unsuccesfull. Many students and I feel like this will put us in a disadvantage, since our SAT scores went down the drain for the most part.

    I am very confident and happy about the rest of the application I sent to MIT, but I must say I am not at all happy about my SAT scores and felt a need to take the TOEFL in order for this test to be taken into consideration in conjunction with the rest of my application. The only other test I have taken where my english proficiency has been scored is the PEAU, which is offered by the college board for students who are interested in applying to colleges in Puerto Rico. I took this test last year, in order to gain admission to the residential school where I am presently Studying. I will be graduating this May from high school. I called MIT on one occassion and they told me to send the PEAU results with a letter stating that this was the only test I was able to take besides the SAT. But the score results are in spanish. They are not offered in English. Will the people at MIT be able to find someone that can translate them to the rest of the admission officers? Will this test be able to substitute the TOEFL? If we send the PEAU results, will they be taken into consideration?

    thanks smile Amalchi

    [email protected]

  36. jenaki says:

    Hi Ben,

    I have questions concerning athletics at MIT. If I would like to play for the basketball team, should I contact the coaches before I apply to MIT or just (if i get in) show up for tryouts? And do athletics have anything to do with the undergrad admissions process? Would I specify an interest in the team in my application(coach recommendation letters, essays)?

    For SATs, is SAT I or II more important? Are SAT IIs after the required 2 considered? and does MIT (and other colleges) accept the new Internet based TOEFL?

    I am an international student in an area where interviews aren’t available. Would i be able to do the interviews during Junior year summer when I visit MIT?

    Sorry for bombarding you with questions and thx in advance!


    jen kao<//<