Skip to content ↓
MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

Brain Dump by Ben Jones

News and updates for admitted students from the last few weeks, in no particular order...

Sorry for the massive blog entry – this should have probably been split into two or three, but I didn’t want to dominate the homepage. :-)


Campus Preview Weekend Registration Deadline

The deadline to register for CPW is Monday, April 2, 2007. That’s in five days! I know you’re all second-semester seniors, but procrastination is not your friend in this case. ;-)


Shameless CPW Plug #1: Meet The Bloggers

Want to meet these guys in real life? Make sure to show up to our annual party at CPW on Friday The 13th (bwahahahahaha) at 8:30PM in the Mezzanine Lounge (Student Center, 3rd Floor).


Shameless CPW Plug #2: Marilee Jones = Rockstar

She admits you to MIT and writes you nice letters, but can she ROCK you? Oh yes she can. Come see Marilee perform with my band at ZBT’s fifth annual Battle Of The Bands on Saturday night (4/14).


Facebook Group For Admitted Students

The facebook group for admitted students is lots of fun with a variety of interesting threads (this is my personal favorite). If you’ve been admitted to MIT and haven’t joined yet, you should! Note that you’ll need to sign the MyMIT Guestbook before requesting to join – it’s how Emma and Michael (the admins for the facebook group) confirm that you’re actually a member of the class.


The Waitlist

I’ve gotten a bunch of correspondence asking about the validity of the Tech article‘s suggestion that we’ll be taking 10 people from the waitlist this year.

From the horse’s mouth: at this juncture, that number is entirely speculative. We don’t have any idea yet, because yield (i.e. how many admitted students will accept our offer of admission) is affected by so many different factors. (Note to self: take Weather Machine out of storage for CPW.)

When I know more, I’ll definitely let you know – but right now your guess is as good as mine.


Affirmative Action

Each year I hear countless stories of admitted students having to suffer through others saying “you only got into MIT because you’re a [insert gender or ethnicity of your choice]” – and this year has been no different, unfortunately.

I posted the following in the ’11 facebook group, but I realize that many of you aren’t members yet, so I thought I’d share it here:

I’m so sorry that some of you have been on the receiving end of the various negative affirmative action comments that seem to pop up every year.

I can tell you, having been through 12,500 applications over the last 4 months (and many more over the last 3 years), that no one gets into MIT “the easy way.” There aren’t different standards for different genders or ethnicities. I don’t care what you look like – if you aren’t the sh*t, you’re not going to get into MIT.

Having said that, as an admissions committee we do believe strongly in admitting a class that is diverse in every way (gender and ethnicity are just scratching the surface). I guarantee that you will learn more in college from your peers than you will from your classes – and for that to happen, you must celebrate the differences between you, and we must ensure that there are differences to celebrate. (It’s the fundamental pulse of the process through which we build the class each year.) What fun would MIT be if everyone looked and thought the same? How can we change the world with only one perspective at our disposal?

So from the many thousands of qualified applicants who apply to MIT each year, we try to build a class that represents as much of society as possible. People will always cry “affirmative action” in response to the fact that certain groups are underrepresented in our applicant pool, and thus appear to enjoy a higher admit rate than other groups. But please do not misunderstand what “affirmative action” means. It definitively does not mean that we lower the bar for anyone.

But your actions will speak louder than my words. And I can’t wait to watch you change the world together and show the naysayers that each of you is an integral part of that mission.


Your Personal Mikey

So the lovely and talented Mari sent the following email to the staff yesterday:

As you are probably aware, we have an unprecedented number of CPW events happening this year. I’m concerned that the events won’t fit into the booklet considering its current size and saddle-stitch binding. Which of these options would you prefer?

1) Print the academic class schedule separately from the general program schedule

2) Use a spiral-bound booklet instead of a saddle-stitch booklet

3) Increase the size of the booklet to 8.5 x 11


The resulting email thread quickly descended into chaos, with each member of the staff weighing the pros and cons of each option and arriving at different conclusions.

With no resolution in sight, I sent the following at the end of the day:

I think we should clone Mikey 1000 times after he’s memorized the whole booklet. Then each prefrosh can have a personal Mikey and, at any given time, the prefrosh can say “yo Mikey what’s going on right now” and his or her personal Mikey will be like “there are actually 29847596 things going on right now, but personally I’d recommend…” (and the recommendation would be based on the prefrosh’s preferences, which would be established with his or her personal Mikey early on. Perhaps we could even frontload the Mikeys prior to CPW with each prefrosh’s preferences?

Oh, and also each Mikey would sing its prefrosh to sleep at night with his or her favorite song (Mikey was a Log).

This option is clearly superior to #’s 1-3.

The reason I’m sharing all of this with you is to hopefully inspire you to take your CPW registration seriously. Some folks think that we ask you about your preferences and interests so that we can match you with the best possible student host for the weekend, but the truth is that we ask you these things so that we can properly program your Mikey.


In Conclusion…

I feel like there’s more stuff I wanted to tell you but I have to run off to a meeting… I’ll add it later if I can remember it. ;-)

37 responses to “Brain Dump”

  1. hoooray says:

    Numero uno I am!

  2. Evan says:

    You should totally print them spiral bound. That’d be so much cooler than saddle stitch.

  3. Evan says:

    More importantly, they’d be more durable, and given how much you rely on them as a prefrosh, that’s a good thing.

  4. Snively says:

    lol! Wow, this post made me smile. Looking back at it I realize it was probably entirely because of the Mikey story, but the rest of the post was useful as well. I agree, the facebook group rocks, everybody needs to go join!

    Oh, and I’ll def be at the “Meet the Bloggers” party, even though I’m scared to death of what you guys think of me. I’m afraid that I’ll walk in and Kerri will just start beating me with a big “I’m #1” foam finger and scream “STOP BRAGGING ABOUT GETTING FIRST POST!!!!!1!”

  5. José P. says:

    You know, I really wouldn’t care if someone made such a ludicrous assumption. The people that tend to make comments like those are merely jealous because you were accepted into MIT, and they were not. Often, it is a subconscious response to the fact that they would be denied admission at highly-selective universities, even if they were Afro-Asian-Australian-Alaskan-Hispanic-Americans (or, sometimes, a response to the fact that they already were).

    In any case, you shouldn’t let something as frivolous as that disturb you.

    (Oh, and hello, Snively.)

  6. Zaira '11 says:

    No 8.5 x 11! Please! I don’t think a lot of people would like to walk around campus with a huge booklet. That’s just me(I’m a paper-size/font/color freak).

    Thank you.

  7. Nathan says:

    Spiral Bound is the way to go. It’ll much more durable (as Evan noted), and it’ll make it a nice memento to take home and remember all the awesome stuff they went to. The only downside is it might be a bit less portable… I know I went through most CPW with the little booklet in my back pocket, and I CONSTANTLY checked it for where the free food was, and when no free food was available, where the cool kids were ;]

  8. James says:

    Sorry to be the one to break the news, but current cloning techniques are capable of duplicating only the genetic material of the subject, not the memories. You’d have to develop some sort of “brain-dump” technique to copy the entire contents of a subjects brain.

  9. Ritchie says:

    Awesome. You promoted our facebook group, and you also censored yourself in your answer to affirmative action. Nice.

    And im guessing we all get booklets for CPW?

  10. Yuki says:

    Definitely not 8.5×11… I’m down for a Mikey though grin

    Glad to see you like the Facebook discussions grin

  11. Kevin says:

    I know that affirmative action accusation stuff is junk, and being me I totally understand that. I mean, come on,… I don’t really understand how there could be a quota for half-indian (dot or feather? dot, thanks Columbus) and half-american (read WASP, mom’s from pennsylvania, etc. and awesome) kids from Houston. I mean, could any real admissions person honestly say (with sophisticated semi-British accent) : I don’t know Charles, ” How many of those half-Indian half-American kids do we have now? Does he speak with a Texan accent? Hmmm… Nope we already have, like, 5 of those… we need to get some more of those half canadian kids in here… like… pronto” I mean, honestly. I know what it’s like for someone to get in and you not to. That’s what happened for Early Action. My friend at my school got in and I got the big D – Deferred. Well, I’m happy to say that we both plan on attending next fall and we most definitely did not get in because of affirmative action.

    Btw. Ben you are awesome. the statement on the facebook group that you can’t get into MIT unless you are [awesome] rocks. What will Marilee play in your band???

  12. Kevin says:

    This entry also made me think of a Simpson’s episode, where there’s a daydream where Harvard admissions is surveying Lisa’s “permanent record” and they’re Hmming and nodding in faux-British accents, and then they’re like “What?! A ‘B-‘” and then they throw the app. in the fire? Just a joke. If MIT did that, my b in physics would have ousted me. Good thing it’s only TV.

  13. Christine says:

    I CAN’T GO TO CPW!!! Stop teasing me with all of those fun things, Ben.

    So sad… :(

  14. Kristin '11 says:

    I vote printing the academic schedule separately… if you want to go to class, you want to go to class. If you don’t…you don’t!

    YEAH for pimping the Facebook group! WOOOO

  15. Christina says:

    Sorry to be the one to break the news, but current cloning techniques are capable of duplicating only the genetic material of the subject, not the memories. You’d have to develop some sort of “brain-dump” technique to copy the entire contents of a subjects brain.


  16. Christina says:

    Also – I just read through the CPW events and I have butterflies in my stomach! I couldn’t go last year (sooo sad) but I am really excited to meet all of you and so is everyone else.

    If you’re on the fence about coming

    click the links for “complete schedule” for each of the days. Ahhhhhh!!! HOW COOL IS THIS.

  17. Anonymous says:


  18. Karen F says:

    Reading your letter about affirmative action made me want to break out in what would have been a stunning rendition of “Different Strokes.” But I think I’ll leave the rock star-ness to you and Marilee Jones smile

  19. Emma says:

    Ben, you’re a deity.

  20. Kari says:

    Yup, thats my thread he’s talking about. That’s right. He liked my application AND my thread! (Well, its also possible that he argued vehemently against accepting me….But it appears he liked everyone’s apps so I’m just going to say he liked mine and continue gloating…)

    On another topic, if we can’t have a Mikey I’d say that #1 is the best option for the CPW schedule. Because who really cares about academics?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Please have classes being offered during CPW in a separate booklet so I can carry it on me and go from class to class!

  22. Daniel says:


    I’m kind of confused, if we want to commit to MIT, we simply bubble in the appropriate bubble? There is no deposit required?

  23. Lulu says:

    I can totally imagine saying, “Yo Mikey what’s going on right now?” I’d almost go to CPW just for the promise of having that experience.

    Also, Marilee Jones is Dean of Admissions by day, rock star by night? How awesome.

  24. Jason says:

    Can I fill in YES on the MIT response sheet and accept Harvard’s waitlist at the same time?

    Would this be a violation of the rules (and thus endanger my MIT acceptance?) Thanks!

  25. Solomon says:

    MIT has rejected me, Harvard has placed me on the waitlist what next.

  26. Christina says:

    Jason – yes you can. Harvard knows that you will accept an offer of admission elsewhere while you wait to see if they (H) can accept you.

  27. Anonymous says:

    The schedule looks fantastic – for the kids. There don’t seem to be many activities for the parents other than a reception and some financial aid meetings.

    Not complaining, just want to get the facts straight so that we can plan. Are we free to roam after we’ve dropped off Junior?

  28. KB says:

    “… and I CONSTANTLY checked it for where the free food was…”

    I am disgusted! You’re such a pig, Nathan Lachenmyer!! Always looking for food -.- no wonder your freshman fifteen started so early. (yeah, I actually know who wrote that comment) tsk tsk, shame on you!!

  29. Maverick says:

    can ne one give me info about transfers??
    i mean,isent in the application,but i how do i know about the decisions an stuff,like is there a post mark deadline of sorts or what??

  30. Julie says:

    inscrease the size to 8.5 x 11 in my opinion

    but of course a Mikey would be ideal

  31. Christina says:

    Jason – yes you can. Harvard knows that you will accept an offer of admission elsewhere while you wait to see if they (H) can accept you. And MIT expects that students will withdraw if accepted from a waitlist at a later date.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Go to my blog)

    I never thought you could have typos in subliminal messages. raspberry

  33. José P. says:

    Blog’s pretty cool, though.

    (Previous post is mine.)

  34. Snively says:

    So, I just realized that the hyperlink on my original comment was a link to my e-mail address instead of my blog. Can’t have that now, can we? Here (Shameless Plug):


    I’d say have everything together in an 8+1:2×11 packet that my Mikey can carry around (yay for Mikeys).

  35. Snively says:

    The colon is definitely bold, it’s just hard to tell. Thanks for visiting!


  36. José P. says:

    Ouch. Beaten at my own game. :D

    (I missed the colon, even though I checked the source code to see which letters were written in bold. I always seem to miss tiny details like that one.)

  37. Anonymous says:

    I want to thank the MIT Undergraduate Admissions Department for the transparent view of the admissions process and the abundance of information presented through these blogs. We applicants truly appreciate your incredible efforts and know that you are faced with a very difficult job. Finally to Mr. Ben Jones: thank you for creating the highly usable and useful MyMIT portal. It made the application process much smoother.