Just a quick note to say hi from the depths of reading. :-)
I know there are a lot of questions in the comments and I’ll definitely get to those this week. But we’ve been instructed to clear everything from our calendars until after EA selection, so I haven’t had time for much else (although we were allowed to take thursday off for Thanksgiving).
I spent Thanksgiving morning in the ER with my 6-month old son, after staying up all night with him on Wednesday, watching his little body fight progressively harder for air. It’s the first time I’ve been that scared for one of my kids. In the ER, we had an amazing doctor who diagnosed him with a really bad case of Croup and pumped him full of steroids – he was breathing fairly normally before we’d even left the ER. It’s hard to describe how that feels to a parent (although other parents will instinctively understand), but relief like that can make your whole body melt.
He’s totally fine now, and living through that experience has shown me – first-hand – the power of research. In this case it was medical research, but the idea translates across the board: research makes the world better. Whether it’s some sweeping development that revolutionizes energy, or a drug that enables one little boy to breathe in a hospital in the suburbs of Boston on Thanksgiving morning, research changes the world.
So to those of you who want to come to MIT and explore in the name of all of this, thank you.
On a totally unrelated topic, I will now get something off my chest rant-style!
Dear Teacher At A Very Prominent School From Which Many Kids Apply To MIT Each Year,
As you may have heard, we don’t read regionally. But there’s always the chance that two students from the same high school will end up in a single reader’s pile, especially when the high school sends as many students to MIT as yours does.
Therefore, when you use the IDENTICAL, word-for-word, paragraph-for-paragraph recommendation for two different students, chances are that someone on this end will notice.
I wholeheartedly understand that you are very busy, so I could almost understand if you wanted to repeat a few generic paragraphs here and there (assuming they really applied to both students). BUT DUDE, have the decency to change at least one sentence so that there is some indication that you actually care and/or know anything about the individualities of your students.
If you can’t find the few minutes it would take to do this, may I suggest being brave enough to tell the students that you’re too busy when they request recs from you.
Of course the students will not be penalized for your indiscretion, but it makes you look pretty lame.
And on the flip side – to all the teachers who take the time to write wonderful and heartfelt recs, who invest not the aforementioned few minutes but literally hours celebrating the differences between their students, you are the lifeblood of the reading process. And I can’t tell you how much we at MIT appreciate you and how much effort you put into your work.
Enjoy these next few weeks and don’t stress, my friends; mid-december will be here before you know it.