Skip to content ↓

COVID-19

Learn more about how MIT Admissions is responding to COVID-19 in this blog post from our Dean and new dedicated FAQs.

MIT student blogger Karen F. '11

Classes! by Karen F. '11

Classes! Classes! Classes!

Oh man – considering the fact that JKim has posted not one, not two, not three, but FOUR times since I last did, it is clearly time for me to start spending less time on p-sets and more time blogging…

But not about the Red Sox. Because had it not been for the MIT Blogs, I’m not entirely sure I would have even been aware they won the World Series. Because I don’t actually care whether the Red Sox win or lose. (Uh oh. Am I allowed to say that on here?)

I do, however, care whether YOU win or lose, and that’s why I’d like to devote the few following sentences to help you WIN senior year.

Take it easy, guys! I know it’s much easier said than done, but try to remain a semi-reasonable human being. Don’t hole yourself up in your room trying to get a 100% in every one of the 16 AP classes you’re taking – don’t surrender to senioritis and stop doing homework entirely. Just, you know, chill. When you think about it, you’re way beyond capable of accomplishing what high school is throwing at you. So if you feel stressed out, just take a step back and think about how hard things actually are. Because chances are, you’re looking at them under the Last Year of High School Magnifying Glass, which always makes things look harder and more important than they actually are. Believe in yourself, take some time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and what you haven’t accomplished – anything you wish you would’ve done? Regrets?

No! It’s only November. You still have time to live whatever dreams you’ve been dreaming these past three years – to start up a high school chapter of Amnesty International or to make friends with that one kid you’ve had Spanish with all four years but never actually talked to except when the teacher made you practice your conversational skills by telling you to describing your family to eachother and the only vocabulary you knew at the time didn’t even come close to describing your family, so both of you just ended up describing your cute little sister, intelligent older brother and tall father. Or if you’ve been dreaming about doing nothing at all, do that! (But I don’t actually mean nothing at all. Everything is relative, right? You should still eat and breathe and sleep.)

Anyway, now that I’ve preached you into living an accomplished, bilingual and happy life, I’ll discuss the application season a little, of which I was actually nearly completely unaware. So I kind of missed the deadline to wish you guys good luck with your essay-writing and such. No worries! Deadlines are more morbidly named than they should be. I’m sure there are still plenty of people to wish good luck and tell to try not to worry TOO much because it really doesn’t help.

Right. Application season. Oh, application season…It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your spot and-

Wait a second. It actually was long time ago. You know why? ‘Cause I took a gap year! And I’m so far, mentally and emotionally and scholastically, from what I was senior year because that year was so life-changing that it feels like a lifetime ago that I was filling out my application. Just something to think about while you still have the time…

Anyway – I suppose I’ll talk about my classes now, too, since I promised I would at some point, and at this rate the next time I post will be next semester….Just kidding, I’ll post before then, but if I’m going to tell you about my classes, I should seize the day! What if something happens tomorrow and the internets break? You’ll never know what that one girl whose blog you sometimes read spends her time doing!

(Incidentally, you know how sometimes you find something really silly absolutely hilarious? Even years after you’ve heard it, you want to laugh and laugh and laugh everytime you hear it because it’s so funny, even though no one else thinks it is? “Carpe carp: Seize the Fish” never fails to make me laugh. Just thought I’d share….)

Right. Moving onto relevant things….like my classes.

As you may have guessed (or I may have told you – I don’t remember), I’m not taking the typical freshman course load. Why not? Let’s review: I realized physics was an unnecessary evil at some point this term, so I dropped it. Also because my intended major doesn’t actually require most (any?) of these classes. Also because I’d rather take classes I’m interested in rather than a whole bunch of classes I’m forced to. Basically, it doesn’t seem worth it to me to pay to come to MIT just to be miserable. So I’m taking classes that make me happy. :)

So what am I taking? (Man, do I know how to get off track or what? You should see my notes. I end up writing Chinese characters all over my calculus notes and the arabic alphabet during Chinese class and solving calculus problems on my French reading…)

Wow! I’m sneaky! I just told you all four classes I”m taking! I guess that makes this entry a wrap, then.

Right, I guess a little more detail wouldn’t kill me. Well, to turn a lot of boring paperwork into a slightly interesting story, these are the classes I ended up with after filling out a small tree’s worth of paperwork and a lot of indecision:

1. 18.01, known to the rest of the world as “calculus.” MIT requires two semesters of calculus to graduate. It’s just a standard math class, not too different from high school except that that homework is a little harder. Three days a week I have lecture and two days a week I have recitation, which is about fifteen people and a TA to go over stuff with us.

2. Introduction to French Culture. I took four years of French in high school (kind of…) so I didn’t want to take just another language class because it gets kind of old. Intro to French Culture is like a history class taught in French. It’s only three hours a week – we get tons of reading and spend classtime discussing things which may or may not be relevant to what we read. It’s a nice class, I usually have fun.

3. Chinese III – this is the class I picked up when I dropped physics. Someone asked how it was possible to pick up a class so late in the semester and didn’t I have a lot of work to make up. Yes, I did (do…) have a lot to make up, but it’s not too bad because I already know a lot of what was taught, so it wasn’t impossible. That’s part of the reason I chose this class – I knew that for any other class I would have missed too much to make up. Anyway, Chinese class is really fun because our teacher is really amusing and says crazy things, and because, well, I like to speak Chinese.

4. Beginning Arabic. (“But Karen, I’ve studied MIT’s course offerings extensively – multiple times! – while planning out my four years of college even though I haven’t even finished first semester of senior year, and I don’t remember seeing arabic on any of the programs!”)

Well my eager little beavers, you would be right. Much to my language-loving little heart’s dismay, MIT doesn’t offer Arabic. Luckily, that one school down the river does, and MIT students can cross-register for classes there. See? That’s why we keep Harvard around ;)

Anyway – so yes, I ride my bike every day to that lovely brick campus and study this absurdly hard language and have a great time doing it. It’s really challenging (especially at ten in the morning!) and not quite as relaxed as my MIT language classes – in fact, Arabic is the only emotionally taxing class I have. I’m on my toes and slightly nervous through out the hour because our teacher is awesomely hardcore, but it’s easily my favorite class. I guess this is what they mean when they say MIT students are academic masochists…

Well, I hope you guys that have submitted the application can finally get a good night’s sleep! And for those of you that haven’t, well, I hope you do too :)

63 responses to “Classes!”

  1. Ben says:

    Paul, good thing you didn’t write that in your blogger application…

  2. Karen says:

    Anonymous,

    As you can imagine, saying “four classes is enough” is not enough to keep 1000 over-eager freshmen from taking more classes than they should. So there’s actually a freshman credit limit – you can take four classes, and have 6 extra units to do with as you please: take an advising seminar (which I am – more on that another day), join band or something similar or nothing at all.

    Constantin,

    I lived in Taiwan for a year as an exchange student, so although I have no actual “formal” Chinese training, I do have a lot of background in it. Languages – even Asiatic ones – are only as difficult as the time you don’t put into them, just like any other class. If you want to do it, I’d definitely say go for it smile

  3. Snively says:

    Each course is usually 12 credits (all the usual ones I’ve heard of anyway) and each credit corresponds to an hour of the week. For example, a 12 credit class could spend 3 hours in lecture, 2 hours in recitation, and expect you to spend 7 hours doing homework . . . per week. Now, 4 classes = 48 credits = a lot of work (difficult work!)!

    There is never a “kick back and relax” semester here, you’re thrown headlong into work. It’s MIT though, I mean, come on. . .

  4. milena '11 says:

    Labs are 18 units, if I’m not mistaken. But yea, the way the units work is basically the number represents the number of hours you’re expected to spend weekly working on that class. For example, my HASS is a 12-unit broken down into 3 hour-long lectures and “9” hours of paper writing/reading a week. (I say “9” because I spend more like 0 time reading.) So that’s basically how units work. Or something.

    4 classes is pretty tough, and 5 classes is like hardcoreness at its premium. But if it’s four classes you love/don’t hate that much (like the ones I’ll be taking next term!) then it’s not that bad. I’m going to be taking two chemistry classes and one math and one physics next term. Gaaaah can’t wait!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wow… I can’t believe you almost didn’t know that the Red Sox won the World Series… please tell me you know who the Patriots are playing this Sunday? (if you don’t just pretend like you do)… but anyway since when do you use these … a lot? and I was wondering which class of yours happens to be your personal favorite? (saying all of them is a cop out)… also Harvard rocks

  6. milena '11 says:

    Harvard’s campus/social scene sucks!! But I do want to go there and take Portuguese :-D Oh and they have a freakin awesome burger place in Harvard Square called Bartley’s, everybody go and check it out

  7. Karen says:

    Arabic is my favorite class, as I stated above. Gosh. Read more carefully! (Just kidding. Kind of wink

    Way to make me self-conscious about my ellipses…

  8. Awesome! lol “I end up writing Chinese characters all over my calculus notes…” I was immediately able to relate to this. I end up writing most of my notes and homework in Calculus in Japanese, and then get lectures from my teacher on why it should not be written in Japanese [even though the homework’s all essentially numbers anyway]. I can’t wait to hear more about your classes and about how cross-registering with Arabic goes.

  9. add says:

    4 years of French? kinda? Wouldn’t that make it difficult to understand a class taught in French? Maybe I’m just comparing to the relative four years I’ve spent learning French not-so-well.

  10. Anonymous says:

    wait… you are only taking four classes?

  11. Sam R. says:

    Well, I finally submitted my application so I will now get a good night sleep and stop having nightmares about the different fields I had to fill out in the application. Its very cool that you are becoming such a multilingual person. I really admire that. Your words are also very conforting in a time where our schedules are filled with Ap and other such classes but we are also faced by the evil senioritis. Unfortunately, some of my friends have been infected. Thank god im vaccinated, jk. Oh well, I guess I should really start that Spanish club I always wanted to create.
    -sam r.

  12. anion says:

    maybe if MIT ppl din’t need to study arabic they would have blown up harvard..hmm..nice to imagine that!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Just curious: does anyone know how MIT classes compare to IB classes?

  14. Hunter '11 says:

    I think the bio lab is something like 32 units, and I think I’ve heard of classes that are 9 units as well – but yeah, 12 seems to be the norm.

    To all those who are thinking, “Wow, only four classes?” – yeah, I breezed through 7 classes quite easily in high school, so I know what you’re thinking.

    But realize that 1 MIT class = 5.63 x 10^27 high school classes. (OK, so that number may be a little high, but you get the point.) The credit limit exists for this very reason – they want to keep freshmen from taking on too much because they’re so used to high school classes.

  15. As a present parent of an MIT 2009 student and an MIT Asian male applicant this year, I have been worried to see the following report from The Tech, Oct 30 :
    “Fifth-week flags have been sent to 233 (or another number 266) freshmen who may be in danger of failing a class. This 21.8 percent warning rate is an increase from 17.5 percent in Fall 2006 and 18.3 percent in Fall 2005. About six percent, or 66 students, received more than one flag.”

    It has been a concern each year at this college applying season that Asian male applicants face the worst odds in competeing with other applying races and females when trying to apply for MIT. This Asian male applicant pool is usually among the strongest in maht, science, leadership and almost every other areas compared with other pools of applicants. I am quite sure that they can readily and strongly benefit from the most rigorous education and training MIT has to offer based on their solid pre-college preparation and later greatly contribute to our society. Could you lift the “bar” that is limiting the Asian male applicants to be admitted? Accept more from the Asian male pool because a lot of them are really much stronger than other students you will have admitted and then will need to flag them the warning at their fifth week. MIT is not the best for every one but it is the best for many highly capable Asian male applicants who may later end up not being admitted because of a quota you set for Asian males. You can have a ready “fit in the big MIT picture” and “right match” explanations to give to the public but it is not very effective in ridding the doubts of the rejected strong Asian male applicants. Give them the equal and fair consideration and opportunity when they are competing with other female or different race applicants. If they are stronger than females or other races, admit them! They deserve the admission. The admission process should be sex blind, and race blind as well as need blind.

  16. Keri says:

    Anonymous (one of them):

    Taking “only” four classes is the typical courseload for an MIT student. Anything above four is usually particularly painful.

  17. Constantin says:

    I’m kinda new here, so forgive me if this has been asked before: Have you studied Chinese before MIT? I’m asking because I’m thinking of learning an Asian language in college and I’m wondering how difficult it would be if I know nothing about it.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I have friends at the University of Chicago taking the same courseload! With the exception of Arabic. So it is only three classes, and they also say it is enough to make it a painful schedule…my question is, how painful? like 10 hours a day studying?
    Please, i am curious wink

  19. Anonymous says:

    Well said. I agree.

  20. Marissa says:

    I really really want to take Hebrew in college (I knew it when I was younger but haven’t spoken it in years), but I know MIT doesn’t offer that either. So I guess that means I would have to take it at Harvard if I went to MIT.

  21. Snively says:

    @ An Asian Male applicant’s Parent

    “Accept more from the Asian male pool because a lot of them are really much stronger than other students you will have admitted and then will need to flag them the warning at their fifth week.”

    No way, that is so out of line! If you’re going to make a blanket statement declaring that letting fewer students of other races (especially females) into MIT will result in fewer fifth week flags, I’m going to have to give that a [citation needed].

    A college’s admissions process can’t be sex blind and race blind, as optimistic and heartwarming as that may seem. The fact of the matter is that you’d end up with an unbalance due simply to the applicant pools from each respective race/gender (similar to the fact that MIT admitted almost 50 people from Massachussets, there was a much larger applicant pool from MA than, let’s say, OR, where only 7 people were admitted).

    MIT’s goal is to produce an environment that promotes learning, exploration, and discovery. A surpluss of any one race/gender, even if it may initially reduce 5th week flags [citation needed], will end up supressing the wonderful ideas that erupt from many people from different backgrounds and of different gender.

    The “bar”, as you called it, isn’t pleasant, maybe not even fair, but it’s keeping MIT alive and thriving.

  22. Anon says:

    Just curious: given that you seem to prefer languages to the Math/Science/Engineering options, why on earth did you opt to attend MIT? Why not Middlebury, or Harvard itself? Why take a place from someone who really wants to take full advantage of the “Tech” aspect of MIT?

  23. Oy…I’m taking four courses here at Penn State, and it is far from painful. Unless you count the boredom.

    *jealous*

  24. donaldGuy says:

    Well said Snively.

    To the people out there who say something like “easy for you to say .. you already got in,” I’d like to say that I am a white male applicant who has occasionally fallen into the “oh no! reverse discrimination will ruin my life!!!” trap, but that Snively is absolutely right.

    Diversity is a wonderful thing. A homogeneous MIT would not be MIT. Sure, I’ll be sad if I don’t get in.. I may even be heard to say “if I was a girl/black/hispanic, I’d have gotten in” I might not even be factually right. On the other hand if I do get in, I’ll be glad to have opportunities to meet all sorts of people with different backgrounds, and I’ll certainly appreciate the female population.

    At this point, while I can have an essentially objective perspective, I’d like to say that I truly think MIT tries its best to do like Snively says, to “an environment that promotes learning, exploration, and discovery.” And I’d say from my campus visit and everything I’ve heard that they do pretty well.

    There is more to a success in an environment than what grades one gets. Consider, what makes these Asian male applicants “much stronger than other students”? If you mean just study skills and high school grades, I think your priorities are out of whack. If you mean extracurriculars, make sure none of those were done with the motivation of resume padding. For MIT to be MIT, people there need to be passionate, versatile, and have a wide variety or perspectives.

    Its important that people can handle the work, but diversity can not be ignored as an important factor either. If your son would not agree with this, perhaps MIT is not the best place for him.

    Anyway, I hope applicants of all races, genders, ages, creeds, religions, and other varieties the best of luck.

    I also wish the admissions committee luck in the incredibly difficult process of balancing these factors and others to make a good class.

    To get this discussion back on topic:
    Wow Karen, even without Physics, thats quite a load. I’d love to learn Arabic. I’ve always wondered how people react to the concept of taking classes down in ‘Hawvad’. With the Crimson’s insular outlook ( Well said Snively.

    To the people out there who say something like “easy for you to say .. you already got in,” I’d like to say that I am a white male applicant who has occasionally fallen into the “oh no! reverse discrimination will ruin my life!!!” trap, but that Snively is absolutely right.

    Diversity is a wonderful thing. A homogeneous MIT would not be MIT. Sure, I’ll be sad if I don’t get in.. I may even be heard to say “if I was a girl/black/hispanic, I’d have gotten in” I might not even be factually right. On the other hand if I do get in, I’ll be glad to have opportunities to meet all sorts of people with different backgrounds, and I’ll certainly appreciate the female population.

    At this point, while I can have an essentially objective perspective, I’d like to say that I truly think MIT tries its best to do like Snively says, to “an environment that promotes learning, exploration, and discovery.” And I’d say from my campus visit and everything I’ve heard that they do pretty well.

    There is more to a success in an environment than what grades one gets. Consider, what makes these Asian male applicants “much stronger than other students”? If you mean just study skills and high school grades, I think your priorities are out of whack. If you mean extracurriculars, make sure none of those were done with the motivation of resume padding. For MIT to be MIT, people there need to be passionate, versatile, and have a wide variety or perspectives.

    Its important that people can handle the work, but diversity can not be ignored as an important factor either. If your son would not agree with this, perhaps MIT is not the best place for him.

    Anyway, I hope applicants of all races, genders, ages, creeds, religions, and other varieties the best of luck.

    I also wish the admissions committee luck in the incredibly difficult process of balancing these factors and others to make a good class.

    To get this discussion back on topic:
    Wow Karen, even without Physics, thats quite a load. I’d love to learn Arabic. I’ve always wondered how people react to the concept of taking classes down in ‘Hawvad’. With the Crimson’s insular outlook ( <– oxymoron!!) and the resulting opinions of them, I wondered if theres any social stigma (even good-natured ribbing) over taking classes down there. Any in your experience?

    ~Donald

    P.S. I also wonder if anyone else has ever come up with the idea of calling a committee at MIT a “comMITtee” and if they acted on it or dismissed it immediatly

  25. donaldGuy says:

    thanks to making an ASCII arrow and its similarity to the way HTML comments are structured.. part of that post disappeared

    heres that part (with exposition)

    To get this discussion back on topic:
    Wow Karen, even without Physics, thats quite a load. I’d love to learn Arabic. I’ve always wondered how people react to the concept of taking classes down in ‘Hawvad’. With the Crimson’s insular outlook ( oxymoron!!) and the resulting opinions of them, I wondered if theres any social stigma (even good-natured ribbing) over taking classes down there. Any in your experience?

    ~Donald

  26. Paul says:

    Let’s go COLTS! smile

  27. @ anon
    I can’t really answer for Karen, but as an applicant considering a language major, I’d have to say that MIT’s culture, or what I’ve seen of it, is one for people of all majors and passions. Yes, programs in math, science, and engineering are amazing, but MIT isn’t just a math/science/engineering school. MIT has an entire culture around it that attracts students, even if they haven’t built their own computer or solved some complex formula. They want a well-rounded student body, not just the mathematicians and scientists. They want people from every part of the spectrum. Saying that they took the chance from someone else is out of line. The “Tech” aspect of MIT isn’t all that there is to MIT. I can’t reiterate enough, MIT isn’t JUST a tech school. It’s also a humanities and arts school. Saying that she “took” the chance from someone else is out of line. One doesn’t “take” chances from someone when they get accepted to MIT. This is why MIT asks for essays from the applicant, so they know the person behind the application, and know who they’re admitting.

    @ An Asian Male applicant’s Parent
    First of all, I also agree with Snively. One cannot base another’s passion or drive by their race. Nor can one assume that simply because some people of a certain race/gender are good with “math, science, and leadership” that all people of that race/gender are just as brilliant. Thousands of people apply to MIT a year, look at the stats. I’m sure that there are many qualified “Asian males,” but if MIT accepted only Asian males, where would the diversity be? Saying that Asian males are usually strongest in math, science, and leadership is a tad out of line. I know perfect examples of that being false. MIT is a difficult school, and everyone [no matter the race or gender] can get thrown off course with the changes that going from high school to an Institute of MIT’s status can bring [remember the “Drinking from a fire hose” adage]. Allow the admissions staff to do their job, they’ve been doing this long enough, and have been at MIT long enough to know about how to keep MIT the way that it is supposed to be.

  28. Erick F. '11 says:

    I knew I had seen you from somewhere! You’re in my seminar! Lemme know how the french culture class goes for you because I’m looking for a HASS class for next semester. 78 units is nothing! I know this 5th year taking 10 classes, and he’s getting his masters in Course 22 and 14. Needless to say, he pretty much lives off of energy drinks.

  29. jh says:

    Who’s gonna win the DARPA? haha..

  30. Snively says:

    “You are so right. MIT should definitely scrap the “Technology” bit in its logo, and just settle for the “MI” — that way it can be just like most other liberal arts schools. Yay for diversity.”

    Two responses for this, depending on your sarcasm level:

    U = High Sarcasm -> Psh, totally, I mean, it’s not like people here actually like technology, it’s just a front.

    U = No Sarcasm -> Nooooooooooooooooooo!!!!! MIT is a technological institute, that’s the entire point! Sure, we are well rounded and have tons of other stuff, but it’s still a tech school, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

  31. Lydia says:

    I think its really funny that you’re taking Arabic at Harvard. My dad did the exact same thing about 30 years ago, and that was the only college course he actually failed. Guess its still as hard as it use to be.

  32. Please forgive me for blogjacking, but

    anon, I was mainly responding to “Why take a place from someone who really wants to take full advantage of the “Tech” aspect of MIT?”

    I never meant to compare MIT to a liberal arts school. They wouldn’t be the Institvte we know and love today if they were. I was simply trying to say that they have other majors at MIT for a reason, and that one doesn’t have to only be a technology buff to take advantage of MIT’s “Tech” aspect. People who enjoy technology, but are more passionate about art or languages go there too, and are just as devoted to their work as the other students [or, at least the ones I’ve met]. If I misunderstood what you said, I’m sorry. It just sounded like you were saying that people in humanities at MIT weren’t taking the Institute seriously, and taking opportunities from others, which I don’t perceive to be true.

  33. eb says:

    @ An Asian Male applicant’s Parent

    “This Asian male applicant pool is usually among the strongest in maht [math], science, leadership and almost every other areas compared with other pools of applicants.”

    To suppose that a certain segment of the population is necessarily more prepared than any other group only pushes stereotypes further. While some Asian males may be well prepared, I know many students who are neither Asian nor male who are even stronger.

    “I am quite sure that they can readily and strongly benefit from the most rigorous education and training MIT has to offer based on their solid pre-college preparation and later greatly contribute to our society.”

    Asian males can benefit, but I strongly believe that members of any group can benefit from the education MIT is able to offer. Limiting admissions to Asian males would be limiting the diversity of the community with this education. We need to guarantee that the next generation of scientists, engineers, leaders, mathematicians and thinkers are a diverse group, where all ideas are welcomed.

    “Accept more from the Asian male pool because a lot of them are really much stronger than other students you will have admitted and then will need to flag them the warning at their fifth week.”

    To suppose that Asian male are stronger than non-Asian or female students at MIT would seem to be a rash conclusion, and the blame for red flags cannot be put on the race, gender or nationality of the students.

    “MIT is not the best for every one but it is the best for many highly capable Asian male applicants who may later end up not being admitted because of a quota you set for Asian males.”

    The MIT admission rate is low for every group, so many students who would probably do well at MIT are never given that chance. And, MIT is not necessarily the best for every member of the Asian male group any more than members of other racial or gender groups.

    Asian Male applicant’s Parent, I hope that you realize that MIT’s strength is in the diversity of its students. While I wish the best to your son who is applying, I am sure that he will do well wherever he goes if he is determined to do so, whether or not it is MIT.

  34. milena '11 says:

    Hank, now I feel better about my excessive ordering of food while working: I’m not lazy, I’m hardcore! yay!

  35. Snively says:

    “It looks like one car is passing the chase car, very aggressive. Also, it looks like the MIT car is going to try — Oh No! They’ve hit! MIT just turned right into the other car!”

    and it was going so well! why does our car have to be a jerk and crash into another car? that’s ok MIT DARPA car, we still love you.

  36. Oasis says:

    Just a note about Fifth Week Flags…

    You have to take into account that getting a Fifth Week Flag is not definitively a sign that you’re failing college and that you don’t belong in MIT in the first place.

    A lot of the people who actually got Fifth Week Flags got them because there was only one exam in the course prior to the time when they sent out the flags, and they didn’t to so well on the exam because a lot of students didn’t know what to expect for the test (there’s a big transition from most high schools to MIT, you know…). If you got a C or below on only one exam, basically you will get a fifth week flag. Moreover, take into account that a lot of freshman are not studying as hard as they can be (hey, there’s only one semester of pass/no record!) – so it’s totally not an indicator of overall performance. If you read further on down that article, you will notice that 80+% of all freshman that receive fifth week flags end up successfully completing the course. I think this is more of an issue of careless negligence, rather than academic incompetence.

    From Asian Male Applicant’s Parent:

    “If they are stronger than females or other races, admit them! They deserve the admission.”

    I am Asian Male myself, so I did know how difficult it is to get into MIT, when I meet the other members of the Asian male pool that were admitted here. When I read that sentence, however, I strongly disagreed with it.

    I came from a very small school in Taiwan that was limited in both academic resource and faculty. During my high school life, I had to find other channels to express my abilities in the math and sciences, because there was simply not enough avenues in my school for me to reach my full potential. This is precisely the case of many applicants (regardless of sex or race) across the United States. I may be stereotyping a little bit here, but it is true that many URMs do not have equal access to schooling as the rest of the population. Would it be fair to admit an applicant who attended elite private schools his entire life, did research in a private lab because he had the means to, traveled around the world to gain “cultural experience” because he had the money to over another individual that may not have had the same opportunity?

    That example was a little extreme, but I think it illustrates a point. Often, applicants are “stronger” because they are both economically and socially more well-off than the average person. You would imagine that a student attending Phillips Andover will have a much better pre-college preparation than a student attending a public school in Louisiana. Is it fair, however, to admit that student over the student in Louisiana just because he had better training in high school and therefore is “smarter?”

    What I’m trying to illustrate is precisely the beauty of American college admissions. It’s the notion that there is opportunity for everyone, regardless of the background you come from. In a strictly exam-focused college admission system in Asia, middle to upper class children generally get into the best colleges because they had the resources to prepare their children (cram school, private tutors…etc.) while the more disadvantaged students (such as the students that had to work extensively in high school to support their family) gets “shafted,” if you will, in the college admission process.

    Not solely relying on a system of strictly academics allows applicants across the USA, regardless of gender or race, to know that they have a chance at MIT if they work hard enough with the resources that are given and strive to live out their passions. It gives everyone an opportunity for an incredible education, whether you are a preppy high school student from New England or a farmer’s son in Iowa.

  37. Eldar says:

    I’m agree with Oasis; I’m an international student from Asia, and I know what she is talking about…

    Anyway, that’s why I love MIT: to work hard and enjoy it;)

  38. Snively says:

    @Eldar

    Oasis is a guy — Chris.

  39. Paul says:

    @ An Asian Male Applicant’s Parent:

    My life story is pretty straightforward. I was born and raised in South Bend, a small Midwestern city in northern Indiana, where I attended a small, 800-student parochial high school. Although the student body was very diverse economically, we were nonetheless a predominantly Caucasian school – and so for most of my life, my experiences with students of other races were very limited.

    Fast forward four years: my first day on campus here at MIT, I was simultaneously overwhelmed and overjoyed by the racial diversity on campus. For the first time in my life, I was meeting other students whose backgrounds were wildly different than mine. Although initially I had some trepidation about what it would be like to live and work alongside students who seemed so “different” from myself, those foolish fears were soon overcome. No matter our race, gender, social upbringing, or economic background, all of us were at MIT to learn – and that was what mattered the most, far more than any exterior “differences.”

    At MIT, diversity is not some stilted, artificially-enforced concept – it is a real and fundamental element of our campus. While I understand the nature of your complaint, I cannot help but feel that your intentions – while essentially good-natured – are horribly misguided. Indeed, although you claim to be acting in the interest of equality and fairness, your comment is in fact one of the most intolerant statements I have ever encountered on these blogs.

    My feelings on this matter are strong, but I will limit myself to saying reiterating this most important of points: MIT does not, and never will, alter its high standards of admission simply because of an applicant’s race, gender, or socio-economic background. As much as you mock the concept of “the match,” that really is what matters the most.

  40. Hank R. says:

    Real hardcore people take 78 units a term, hardly socialize with people, ordering in all their food to eat while they work, and don’t sleep.

    That’s hardcoreness.

    Are you hardcore enough?

    I’m not. Fuck that shit.

  41. writergeek says:

    Nice classes! I’m glad to see there are humanities people at MIT as well.

    I’m wondering about creative writing opportunities at MIT, and also the general atmosphere with regards to humanities–I know there are some great specific areas of humanities, but are there students around who actually enjoy HASS classes and take non-math/science subjects seriously?

    Also, how is taking classes at Harvard, logistically? MIT doesn’t offer any African-American history classes, which I’d like to take a few of.

    Any help you can give is much appreciated.

  42. anon says:

    Saru:
    You are so right. MIT should definitely scrap the “Technology” bit in its logo, and just settle for the “MI” — that way it can be just like most other liberal arts schools. Yay for diversity.

  43. @ An Asian Male Applicant’s Parent:

    I’m dismayed that you’re still holding on to the somewhat ancient perception that females are weaker than males in math and science, even though you’re living in a developed society and in this modern era.

    I graduated from a top senior high school (or what you might just call high school in the US) in my country. The top physics scorer for all except one of our exams (in which she came in second) in the whole school was a female. Teachers were so impressed with her stellar performance that they named her “the goddess in physics”. There were no school-wide rankings for most of the other subjects, but at least in my class, the top and second scorers in chemistry were female too. And the top physics student in the class was yet another female.

    That was not the end of the story. After our graduation, one classmate obtained an engineering scholarship with the prestigious defence science organisation. She’s female. Another classmate was awarded a BS-PhD scholarship, which PhD component is now done in none other than MIT (in bioengineering nonetheless). You guessed it- she’s female too.

  44. MITreader says:

    now that’s an MIT conversation ! just how I like them, honest and spicy!

  45. Anonymous says:

    @ a lot of the people discussing about An Asian Male Applicant’s Parent this AAMA Parent

    “Give them the equal and fair consideration and opportunity when they are competing with other female or different race applicants. If they are stronger than females or other races, admit them! They deserve the admission. The admission process should be sex blind, and race blind as well as need blind.”

    I don’t think this Asain parent is despising females or other races. He is asking for a fair chance for Asian male applicants. I noticed this parent has a child going to MIT now, in other words, he is a MIT parent. He might have a basis of his comment. If you are a female, if you are a Caucasian, Hispanic or Aferican or even Asian male, by no means is this parent trying to belittle you. As a parent of both an Asian female and male student also going to MIT now myself, I can kind of side with this AAMA Parent about the admission rate for Asian males. My son did have a much harder time and fiercer competition than his older sister when applying to MIT. Even my daughter recognized her brother’s higher potential and achievement than hers but less chance to be admitted. two years ago. Thank God he got in!

    @ Oasis
    We originally came from Taiwan and we worked very very diligently to eventually get the recognition from the people here in this diverse and mostly friendly country. Both our children are now at MIT. They went to a very regular public high school, meaning not offering more than a few AP courses, no AP chemistry, AP Physics. Their high school did offer AP American History. My children did not have a means to take college courses because there was simply not any college nearby in our small town. Not too many Aisan kids have the resource you mentioned that others would envy.

    I am relieved because both my daughter and son have rentered into their dream college – MIT. I know the point that An Asian Male Applicant’s Parent is trying to make. It is true in some way. I would not say “Well said” like the Anonymous above, but I agree with it to a certain extent.

  46. @ An Asian male applicant’s parent: “Accept more from the Asian male pool because a lot of them are really much stronger than other students you will have admitted…”

    I’m afraid I cannot agree with the previous poster’s argument that the “Asian Male Applicant’s Parent” is deserving of our understanding. The comment above is demeaning to any current MIT student who is not an Asian male. It is not based on fact, simply because the poster has no knowledge about the various strengths of admitted MIT applicants. And I must say that I’m sorry to learn that post was made by an MIT parent.

  47. Parent says:

    @ An Asian male applicant’s parent: “Accept more from the Asian male pool because a lot of them are really much stronger than other students you will have admitted…”

    MIT admits around 12% of the strongest students in the country, so what makes you believe that admitted students from other ethnic backgrounds are not as strong as Asian male students? There is a good deal of bias in your statement. What is sad, though, is how often I encounter this. As the parent of a white female MIT freshman, I can only tell you this: My daughter is taking 6 classes and is earning top marks in all of them. Sad that someone might glance at her though and think, “Ah, a caucasian girl — guess she can’t really cut it.” She has made friends from other countries besides Asia who are also doing really well at MIT. My guess is that if any MIT freshmen are failing a class at this point, it’s because they’ve been staying up until 4:00 each morning playing Halo, not because they can’t handle the work. It takes some time to adapt to MIT culture.

  48. Parent says:

    Correction to previous post:
    That should have read “She has made friends from other regions besides Asia.”

  49. Anonymous says:

    To An Asian Male Applicant’s Parent:

    It is a complete overstatement and simply untrue when you say that other minorities, females, and others in the pool are taking places away from Asian males.

    You remind me of my parents. When I was taking the SATs, they got completely strung over the score, believing that if you scored high on physics, chemistry, and math, there would be no reason for a school to reject you. But there was no doubt in my mind that the score would only be of limiting help to me during the admissions process. It took me a long time to convince them my test scores didn’t mean everything, and I think they’ve become less worried about a fleeting number associated with me and more confident in my overall qualities as a person.

    To me, it seems that MIT does not look at your GPA or your test scores and then admit you on the basis that you are more intelligent than the other applicants. Instead, they take into account character, personality, dedication, open-mindedness. So when you say that MIT is taking spots away from Asian males who are “much stronger” than other applicants, that is an extremely offensive assumption and insult to Ma Sheng Li Gong students. On what basis are they stronger? Higher test scores? Larger intellectual capacity? Perhaps.

    But MIT students are strong in EVERY aspect. And after years of admitting students who later become leaders in the human genome project and NASA scientists, I’m pretty sure they know what they’re doing.

    (By the way, this message was spurred by the fact that you mentioned that females were taking spots away from Asian males (originally, I wasn’t even going to say anything). I am proud to be a girl who could probably do calculus circles around any guy at my school. Not bragging in the slightest, just making a feminist point. ^_^)

  50. Angela says:

    I hate to be a spoilsport, but…I’m a complete and utter Latin nerd, and “carp” isn’t Latin. It’s a purely Germanic word. And if it was Latin, the correct grammar would be “carpe carpem” because the noun would have to be in the accusative case…and since its ending is not -a, -us, -um, or -es, it would be adopted into the 3rd declension.

    But I guess you don’t need Latin if you have French, Chinese, and Arabic to serve your purposes. XD

  51. Karen says:

    Haha – I know carp isn’t Latin – that’s part of the humor, I guess. It’s still not terribly funny, I know, but for some reason it always makes me laugh. smile

  52. aanoipon says:

    the way we are refering to “asian males”..it seems they are some kinda exotic animals…anyway..i’d like to see ben or matt answer the question that has been raised…..

  53. @AngryMITreader —
    Chill. The Admissions Department has already accepted Snively as an MIT blogger, although his start date has been deferred until one of the current bloggers moves out of Burton-Conner. This was discussed by the Admissions Department several months ago. I don’t think the MIT community has any problems with Snively posting a link here.

  54. but if he can, then other bloggers should be able to advertise too, because he is advertising for his other blog, not his MIT blog (and I know he was deferred).

  55. hey, MIT Admissions is not a place you can advertise for your blog !!!

  56. Snively says:

    @Angry MIT reader -~_~-

    If the goal in reading these blogs is to learn about MIT (that’s the goal) then the more MIT material present, the more effective the blogs become. By providing a link to, not my blog, but a page of my blog specifically dealing with an event at MIT, I’m just giving readers more opportunity to learn about the school they all are dying to attend (and if you’re not dying to attend yet, keep digging around on the MIT blogs or the Hack Gallery, you’ll be dying to be here soon enough).

    Sorry if I angered you, just trying to give people more places to read about MIT.

  57. Hunter '11 says:

    @Angry MIT reader — notice that, when posting, you can add a link to your name. Many posters, myself included, put a blog link. I think MIT’s OK with this, since they allowed that space. And Snively has the most right to do this since he is an actual blogger who’s just waiting for his spot.

  58. I’m already a student here ! Where did you get the idea that I was prospective ?
    Hunter, I love you with all my heart. I hope you will figure out who this is.

  59. Isshak says:

    Wow I didn’t see that coming.
    And Hunter is right, there’s a place for your URL, it’s not decoration you know ^^