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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

December Questions Omnibus 2 by Matt McGann '00

The deadline is coming!

I’ve been feeling guilty with these questions piling up so close to the deadline, so I’m taking a break from my New Years vacation (in Virginia) to answer some questions. Props to my old buddy John (Caltech ’08), Leon, Niyatee, Sarah, and everyone else for doing a little pinch-hitting for me in the comments…


Vinayak wrote, “Just a quick question. When I print preview the MIT application online (Part 2), my name doesn’t appear on the two signature lines which are on the 4th page and the last page to verify that everything is “true and accurate, etc.” On the Common Application, for example my full name appears typed there and it reads something like “By typing my name here I agree that…etc.” I submitted already, so would it have let me submit if somewhere were wrong? Do I need to print out that page, sign it, and mail it in?”

This is a bug in our online application, all is good, don’t worry.


Anonymous wrote, “hey, do you recommend any programs seniors could do in the summer?” And Ashish wrote, “Can seniors also try for the SSP. I am asking this because I remember there being some international kids in RSI 2005, who were seniors and I believe that RSI is also strictly for juniors. In any case can you suggest some summmer programs for seniors (where international participation is allowed). Thanks for providing all the earlier information.”

I’ll try to do a longer entry about this earlier, but I encourage you to take this summer to decompress from high school, spend time with friends & family, do something good for your heart (lots good for your head is to come!). And, if you can swing it, consider taking a gap year between high school and college. More to come on these topics later.


Scott wrote, “I was wondering how much each part of the application is worth for the “overall picture”. e.g SAT scores are worth 30%, extracurriculars are worth 20%, etc. I’m not really looking for actual numbers just a general idea.”

Some public universities do have exact percentages of what things are worth, but really, it’s a pretty holistic process here. If anything is most important, it would be your grades, but everything is important, and everything is considered. More on this in many future entries.


Minh wrote, “When submitted the Part1 of the form, I have asked for the fee waiver however there is no Guidance Councelor or someone like that in my country’s system to help me. This is really complicated. Is there anyway that I can now submit the application fee instead. 60$ may be a large sum for my family but MIT is my only choice and I have spend 65$ for SAT II, 160$ for Toelf. Now it will be really ridiculous if I cannot submit my form.”

Minh, have any official from your school write us a letter certifying your financial situation. This will be sufficient for a fee waiver. It is okay if this reaches us after January 1, if you need the extra time. Please use a fee waiver if you need one.


Jason wrote, “I scored an 800 on math level 2, but only in the low 700s on my other two subject tests (in physics and chem). I understand that math level 1 is not required since I took level 2, but if I could get an 800 on that (or a score significantly higher than the score in the low 700s I got on the sciences), would it make sense to take it?”



Amulya wrote, “I am a little worried about my application. MIT has not yet processed my toefl score. I did the test on november 19. I got my printed score report on december 19th. I see no reason why it wouldn’t have reached by now. Will my application be adversely affected if the scores dont reach on time? Another concern is that my interview has not been processed either. I filled in the conducted interview form a couple of days ago after two weeks were up. Mr. Coutts was my interviewer. Do i start worrying about either right away, or should i give it more time?” And Aditya wrote, “Hey matt i sent my evaluation forms a and b on second of december , the b form has reached but the a form is still not shown on the application tracking. should i again get the teacher evaluation forms and resend them. my toefl scores which i have been told were dispatched by 6/12 have not yet reached, so should i ask them to send the scores again” And C��sar wrote, “I have a problem with my toefl score. I did the test on november 17(more than a month ago) but MIT has not yet process my scores. I am a little bit worry about it. It is okay if I do the sat subjects test on january? The other thing is that all my evaluations and my transcript were send by express mail because I was worry about the deadline.” And Edward wrote, “1. I did my TOEFL in April and my SAT 1 in June. Both these tests have not been processed in My MyMIT account. This really worries me because my SAT 2 (which I did in DECEMBER!!) has already been processed. Whats the problem, could you help me in any way? Please.2. My scool report and teacher recomendations are also not processed even though I made sure they were sent in early December. Do I need to get them sent again? I hope not because this is a real problem for me, getting them in the first place was difficult. Does it take longer to process things for international applicants? If so maybe that’s the cause of all my problems because I’m applying from Kenya.” Pradyumna wrote, “I have a problem here. My math evaluation which I made sure to be sent in the early weeks of December has not been processed yet in Mymit account. Even my TOEFL score which was realeased on Nov-28 didnot appear as processed in my Mymit account.Is it a problem to worry about? Should I ask my Math lecturer to resend the evaluation?”

For your TOEFL scores, if they are not on the tracking system and you sent them this past summer, first double check that the name you took the TOEFL under and be sure that it matches the name on your application. If they are different, please email admissions so we can check for your scores under the other name. If they are the same, check with the testing agency and have them resend the scores.

Aditya: Were forms A and B sent together, in the same envelope? If so, you should email [email protected] If not, give it another week or so and see what happens.

Amulya: Don’t worry about your interview any more; we will follow up.

Cesar: You can do TOEFL in January if you wish. You do not need to express mail your application as long as you send it by the deadline.

Edward and Pradyumna: Wait a week or two; this is our busiest time of year for processing.


Jonas wrote, “Many “top” schools contact applicants *if* they require further information regarding one’s application. Is MIT among those? If not, do you contact Guidance Counselors?”

We will not contact you if application components are missing — it is your responsibility to monitor the tracking system. If there are other things we need to know, we will not hesitate to call you, your counselor, your teacher, etc.


Helen wrote, “I have somewhat of a dilemma. As MIT is my first choice, and Cal Tech isn’t too far down the list, I’ve noticed that a lot of applicants to either school have taken the AMC. I’m a high school junior right now, so this is probably my last chance to take it and still report my scores. Unfortunately, my school doesn’t offer it, which means if I have any desire to take it, I have to discuss this with the department head, recruit people for it, meet very quickly approaching deadlines, etc., etc. Also, according to some discussion on CC, some of people don’ report their scores and a score of under 130 won’t really help my application. Since my school doesn’t offer very challenging math courses (the toughest problems I’ve seen since coming to America were regular AP Physics problems: not only fairly easy, an entirely different ballpark), in order to do well, I’ll need to study/practice. With the SATs and school finals coming up, stress is at an all-time high, and I don’t know if I want to undertake extra responsibilities. What would you suggest I do?”

Feel free to not take on this AMC project at this time — it honestly won’t hurt your application — but next year, actually organizing your school for the AMC could be your gift, your legacy for the school, something that could live on past your time. Bottom line — don’t stress, but think big!


Donna wrote, “Are you going to visit the annual HMMT on 2/25/06 at Harvard? Or may be even give a talk to the contestants? About 700 some students (most of then juniors and seniors) registered.”

I might just be there! HMMT always falls during a tough time for us (often during selection!), but I’ve made it to HMMT the past two years, and hope to be there this year. More news as the date draws nearer…


Prashant wrote, “I just have an request that I would like to make. Could you please thank all the people at the admissions office for sacrificing their holidays to make sure that last minute submitters like me don’t get left out. Also, a very happy New Year to all of you!”

No problem — I’ve forwarded it their way!


Virzhiniya wrote, “I’m still working on my application part 2. It’s just that I’m never satisfied with my essay. I’ve written 12-13 drafts so far, and I still haven’t found THE ESSAY.”

My advice: relax, take a step back, reread the question, and make sure you actually answer the question.


Minh wrote, “It is really close to the deadline but I think I am still not clear about everything. I will take the Toelf and SAT II in January, I sent the office of Admission some letters one week ago to explain about this but still not receive anything back. Can I send anything else after the deadline?”

We will accept your January test scores. That you for your note explaining the situation. Submit your application before the deadline, but feel free to send us updates after the deadline.


Minh wrote, “Sorry Matt, I think this is such a stupid question but I have to ask it. Who will send my evaluation letters, my teacher or I will send it myself, every thing is not very clear where I live, It’s a ridiculous thing that I must have one teacher make the evaluation and someone else translate it, some of my teachers are ot really good at English.”

Either you or your teachers may send the letters. If they are being translated, send the translated letters directly to our office.


Phil wrote, “I have a quick question which, I am sure, applies to more than a few applicants. My semester ends well after January 1st. Therefore, I cannot postmark my Mid-year report by the deadline. Should I just send the report in when my semester grades come out (early-mid February)? Or would it be too late to be processed by then anyway? Thanks for any info you can give me.”

There is no deadline for the Mid-year Report. Please send it in as soon as possible after your grades are available.


annie wrote, “I’m an applicant from Hong Kong. My school has mailed the school reports and teachers refereces on the 7th of December. However, the MyMIT account shows that these materials sent have not been processed yet. How much longer should I wait before asking the school counselor to mail the materials again?” And Pradymna wrote, “My math lecturer had posted the teacher evaluation in the second week of dec but my mit account shows that it has not yet processed the evaluation whereas my secondary school transcripts sent by the school on 7th of dec have been processed. Do I need to ask my Math teacher to post it again on or before 1st of Jan.”

Wait a week; we are busy processing things. This is our busiest time of year.


Rahul wrote, “i m intrested to join the under-graduate course for engineering in mit..i m an indian student,studying in std 12th . ao plz tell me everything abt how to fill up the application form,syllabus of the entrance examination n the fee n the course structure.”

I would recommend thoroughly reading the Admissions website and the main MIT website. Stop back with any more specific questions.


sayeeda wrote, “hullo, i have a very amusing but bad situation. see, i had an interview with a different EC than he who i was assigned to about two weeks ago. he hasnt sent anything in yet, which I assume because it hasnt shown up in my application tracking box…And I wanted to report this, but check this out: I know his phone number, his email, where he works, his wife’s name, but i can’t figure out his last name! so how shall i report this??? and ive been searching like a hungry rat for this guy’s last name over the internet. the closest i got was to his yahoo online profile – which failed to mention his name, or anything for that matter. any suggestions? help would be sincerely appreciated.”

Wait a week to see if it appears on the tracking system. If not, email [email protected] with this information and they will follow up.


Chris wrote, “My Application Tracking says that they havent processed my teacher recs or interview, and both were completed a while ago, sometime in October, and I am certain that my teachers sent in my letters a while ago. Should I be worried? Should I call to see if they have them? And what do I do if they never received them?”

I would have them sent again, or faxed in to our office, if they were sent in October.


Siddhartha wrote, “May I send in my optional essays via postal mail along with my ISFAA and the note from the counsellor? Also, will it be a problem if I submit the ‘unembellished’ (i.e., without the symbols/images) optional essays with my online application in addition to sending in the handwritten one by post? Heartfelt Thanks!!!”

That sounds like a good plan. You should separately package the materials for admissions and financial aid in the envelope you post.


alphamale wrote, “I do have a serious question though. I had my interview weeks ago, and the interview box on MyMIT is still unchecked. Is this something about which I need to worry?” Sukrit wrote, “1. On the activities descriptions, despite cutting I am over by 8 words on the description of one activity and 6 words on another (under on the rest). Will this be a problem? Note: the online counter did notice this. 2. I had my interview near the beginning of the month, but MyMIT still does not indicate interview information was recieved. Should I worry, or is this not an issue?” And Yi wrote, “I have two questions. Firstly, I did my interview on Dec 10th, but in the application tracking section, it still says not processed. I filled out the Conducted Interview form 3 days ago, but I haven’t got any response. What should I do now? Secondly, I finished my year 11 in Australia. I have a reference letter and three school awards from the Australian school. Should I send them to you? If I should, when is the deadline for sending them?”

If you have indicated your interview was conducted, do not worry, we will follow up.

Sukrit: 1. That is not a problem.

Yi: 2. List the school awards on your application; you need not send in the certificates. You may send in the reference letter as soon as possible.


Lerh wrote, “I too took my SAT IIs in December, but the scores have not been reported. Is this an issue for concern?”

No, don’t worry at this time.


Sebastian wrote, “I just inmigrated to the US with my family, and I dont have a high school diplomma from any US school. I’m planning on taking APs and enrolling on a shool for that pourpose (Calc AB, Calc BC, Physics C and maybe Art or Lit)I’ll be taking the SATs and also the TOEFL. The idea is to prove I am a qualified student for MIT, but i’m not sure id I really need a High School diplomma. Should I just take the APs? (I’m sure I would get outstanding grades) Also, maybe I could just enroll in some college’s program for summer or simple courses while I wait for the EA deadline 2006. What would be better? PLease help me.”

While waiting to apply in 2006, you may want to enroll in a US school towards a diploma (we not not require a diploma, but it might be a good idea). You cannot enroll in a degree program in a college and still apply as a freshman to MIT (you’d be considered a transfer student), but taking college courses could be an excellent option for you. Best wishes.


Anonymous wrote, “I got deferred from early and I was wondering, is there any way to send additional materials online? Or, so I have to mail them to MIT? I wanted to send an abstract and/or the whole of my Intel paper. Would additional recs be helpful?”

We recommend mailing any additional materials to us. See my previous entry on this topic.


“Class of ’10 hopeful” wrote, “Is it true that if we don’t sign the waiver on the teacher evaluation forms, our recommendations aren’t taken seriously? If yes, can I send my decision to waive my right to view the evaluation on a separate paper? (My evaluations have been mailed.) I am an international student from India.”

If you have already mailed your evaluations and live abroad, don’t worry about sending in a separate waiver. Don’t worry, it’s all good.


AnnaKot wrote, “I’ve graduated from High School one year ago, and the last Grade in our school system is 11th. (I’m applying from Russia) I have a question on how to fill q10 – test/activities section, where one supposed to circle grades of participation. There are activities in which I’ve participated since graduation, not in 9-11 grades. How to indicate this applying on-line? Also a question considering sending TOEFL scores. There is no chance that you receive it before January 1st. What is the last receipt date of scores?”

Just leave a note about “grade 12” in the “anything else” section if you’re worried about it. As for the TOEFL, if you’ve already taken the TOEFL and have named MIT as a score recipient, I assure you we will have the scores on time.


Dan wrote, “I’ll be applying to MIT next year. I’ll be taking statistics at a community college soon. When I apply, would I need to send a transcript from that college or is it being listed in the self-reported grades enough?”

It should be enough to list it on the self-reported grades.


Sarah wrote, “If we were admitted EA do you want the Mid-Year grade report? or transcripts from fall college courses taken?”

Admitted students need not send in Mid-year grades, but we will require a “Final Grade Report” later on.


Anonymous wrote, “Are permanent residents considered international students?”

No; Green Card holders (permanent residents) are considered domestic students. read more in previous blog entries or on the MYMIT website.


cujoe169 wrote “If i wanted to send in a recording, but it would be very difficult to find piano accompaniment, could i record the violin solo part and send that in? i’d rather not play a solo violin piece like bach, but something like the lalo or mendelssohn requires a good piano player which would be somewhat difficult to find soon”

Yes, that should be fine.


Shoeb wrote, “Long time reader, first time poster ;). The box in my account for one of my evaluations remains unchecked so I am thinking it must have gotten lost in the mail. As school is out till the beginning of January, can I just ask my teacher to submit it when school starts again? Will getting the letter “late” hurt my chances? Should I include a note from the teacher explaining that she did mail it out “on time”?”

If it does not appear by the time school is again in session, have it faxed or mailed to MIT, you will not be penalized.


Bill wrote, “I’m an international student. Do I need to send in a mid-year report? And if I don’t need to, can I?”

You do not need to, but you may.


Jane wrote, “so random question, what made u want to be an admissions officer?”

More on that in a future entry, ask again in a few months when there aren’t so many application questions! =)


Mushal wrote, “my queston is similar to shoeb’s…my grade 11-12 school is off for the holidays and they haven’t sent in my rec. yet…but my grade 9-10 school has. Will it be ok if my 11-12 grade rec. letter gets in after jan 1?”

If your teachers, through no fault of your own, send in your letters after the deadline, this will not be held against you.


Zain wrote, “I have two questions. 1) What is the last acceptable date for TOEFL resutls to reach you? 2) How much does replacing SAT with TOEFL hurt the admission decision? Can we send both?”

You may absolutely send in TOEFL instead of or in addition to SAT I without any adverse effect on your application. Please take your TOEFL as soon as possible; we can take some January TOEFL scores.


Vibhore wrote, “I have taken only two subject tests (maths and physics). Will that affect my chances on getting in? What if I take the third rest in January?”

You can take a third test in January; note this on your application.


Varuna wrote, “I did SAT II in December in Sri Lanka and the MyMIT tracking displays the subjects I did. Does that mean the MIT has received my results? (I want to find out this because I haven’t received my results yet; maybe because I was a standby student)”

Yes, we have received your results then.


SoccerChick wrote, “For the completely optional essay question on something that i have created i sent in a cd containing a picture of one of my ceramics pieces, but no real essay. Is this ok or should i send a discription(as supplementary material, i got deferred EA)? I also have gotten more pictures of my work that represent me more fully as an artist, should i send them in on cd? Thanks!”

Any art pieces you send in on CD/etc. will be evaluated.


ar wrote, “My son applied to MIT early action and was deferred. Recently, he was offered University of Michigan merit scholarship($32,000). We were asked to accept/decline the offer by Jan 15th, 2006. Would it be possible to know his MIT regular admission status by Jan 15th. Please advice.”

It will not be possible to know his status before then, unfortunately. Calling the Admissions Office may be able to provide more context for your decision making. Best wishes.


Raghav wrote, “sorry to add more questions to the already overflowing blog but my myMIT account shows that you have not received or rather not processed my secondary school report and transcript. This was sent in the same envelope as my recommendations and they have already been processed. I dont think it is possible for only two documents to go missing from a large DHL packet. Similarly my SAT I November and SAT II October scores have not yet arrived even though collegeboard sent them again when I wrote to them regarding it. Is this a problem on the MIT server or did you guys not receive it? im really worried because school is closed for winter and i cant send additional school reports before the 1st jan deadline.”

If they were sent in the same envelope, please contact [email protected] about this. As for your scores, ensure that your SAT name and MIT application name are exactly the same. Please contact [email protected] about this and they will look into it.


Rizwan wrote, “I’m applying to MIT with electrical engineering as a preferred major, but I have little or no super impressive projects. All I have to my credit is a project for the Asian International Space settelement design (we came fifth in Asia) and a LOT of unpublished poetry (free verse and songs, mostly). Since I enjoy(ed) doing both of these activities, do you think I should send them as supplements with my other stuff? And I’m VERY into Rock music (I’ve been playing guitar for 3-4 years now), would it be appropriate if i send in a cd of a gig I did during the school year? The video is a bit shaky, but the sound is fine. By the way, I’m completely self taught and have no formal training and I DONOT plan to major in music, but I know for a fact that guitars will ALWAYS be my passion. and blissfully ignorant as I am of most technical formalities, I didnt write my date of birth on the letters containing my recs/reports/transcripts, just my name. would this be a problem?”

You may send along these supplements. Also, if your name is unique enough, the lack of a date of birth shouldn’t be a problem.


Anonymous wrote, “Hi, Matt, I’m sorry to inundate your overflowing comment section with another one, but I’m sure like everyone else here that has posted a question, if you could find time to answer it, that would be most appreciated. I’m currently a sophmore in high school, and being into the whole math/science thing would really like to attend MIT. The past seven summers I have attended a sleep away camp in Connecticut. I love it there, and have many amazing friends. Since as I mentioned I like math and science and would like to get into research I feel almost obliged to complete a research project before the end of my high school career. In fact this year a science teacher approached me with the opportunity to do research this summer, and I am seriously considering it despite the angst of leaving my friends at camp. I have already, almost indefinetely set aside the summer after my junior year as a research year, and am considering sophmore as well. Do you think the MIT admissions committee could appreciate, and/or understand the decision to do something social with my summers as well as something academic?”

Yes, we can appreciate and understand this.

85 responses to “December Questions Omnibus 2”

  1. ar-

    Our son is in precisely the same situation (Deferred MIT, U of M Engin. admit, $32000 U of M Engineering scholarship), and I called the U of M Engineering Scholarship office. While they would prefer that the student be “98% sure” about attending U of M if he/she accepts the scholarship, there is no penalty for accepting the scholarship offer and then changing one’s mind and attending elsewhere. The representative said that they would very much appreciate notification if the student accepted the scholarship and then desided to attend another university, which seems only fair!

    Hope this helps

  2. Three things here:

    1. As a participant in the International Space Settlement Design Competition I’d like to make sure Rizwan knows that participating in either SSDC is super-impressive. There are precious few people interested, capable and motivated to take on something of its scale.

    2. On that topic…Matt, I have a proposal in powerpoint from last year. Should I send it in full, with a note as to the relevant parts, so as to give you a complete picture, or cut out everything but Automations (the department I headed), and send it in? Also, The file is on my computer, but my printer’s color ink is whacky and printing it out would likely be more confusing that helpful. When reviewing the application, does admissions typically print out materials sent electronically, or review it via an electronic medium?

    3. One your RA Blog-surfers (Lindsay) set up a few weeks ago, and we have only a few members at the moment, but we’d be happy to welcome more members — students and admissions officers alike. smile At the moment it’s targeted towards MIT, but I’d bet Lindsay wouldn’t mind expanding AD.


    Andrew A. Toulouse

  3. Anthony says:

    Matt rocks for doing this entry right in the middle of the holidays grin

  4. Sukrit says:


    Thanks for taking questions over break! But I’m afraid I have another :(.

    I just submitted Part II of my application online, but MyMIT has not placed a check mark next to my Part II. Is this normal? Is there processing time even for part II of the application? When should I be worried?



  5. Masha says:

    Sukrit – dont take my word for it, but im pretty sure that if you just submitted your app your should not be worried. all parts take time to process as far as i know, even online. and right now its pretty late the day before new year’s eve….

  6. Dave says:

    Anonymous, what camp?

  7. Jennifer says:


    I think you should enter the subscores for one of the sittings, but don’t mix and match. MIT will see both sittings on the SAT score report and consider the highest subscores (regardless of which test date you put on your application).

  8. Shikhar says:

    Hi Matt,

    Hope you are enjoying your holidays. Hmm I saw your post about leaving behind a legacy for someones school. Maan you and I have the same frequency of thinking when it comes to writing down applications. Just hope you get to read my app.

    Well now I am off for a week of well deserved rest after all the admissions stuff.

    See u soon on the blog.

  9. Liz says:

    Hi Matt,

    During my freshman year, I took the AMC and received a 93; I know this isn’t too high of a score. Is it still worth it to include it?

    Thanks so much and Happy New Year!


  10. well now, we find ourselves in a bit of a jam, 1 day before the deadline. In the question about “Tell us something u like to do for the pleasure of it”, do i talk a/b one thing or just a lil a/b a bunch of things? im leaning towards the 1 thing deal, but i could be wrong, and that would really be tragic.

    thing #2: myMIT shows they’ve my Teacher Evaluation A but not B (even tho they were sent in same envelope). should i resend the second eval? and will my app be considered late??

  11. Oops, I forgot to thank you for taking the questions. THANK YOU!

  12. Jon says:

    Yeah, you’re fine. My app took a few days to process ( i was worried cuz it was right up to the EA deadline. Then again… I got deferred.

  13. Sukrit says:

    Hey — just one more question. On my online application, I rounded up my AMC-12 score 132.5 –>133 in order to make it fit the place on the form. Is this OK?



  14. Mushal says:

    finally submitted my application amidst…well…chaos.That’s what you get for procrastinating. I’m sooooo happy I’m done:D and A Happy New Year everyone…twice to those still in 2005:)

  15. Anonymous says:


    I am an international student and I have taken the new sat and two sat II subject tests – Mathematics level II and Physics. My medium of instruction has been English throughout and thus it is my first language. Do I need to take any other test

  16. Dear Matt,

    You mentioned: ‘That sounds like a good plan. You should separately package the materials for admissions and financial aid in the envelope you post.’

    I wish now that I hadn’t already mailed that envelope last night! The two documents are separated merely by bell clips and staples! Will it be a really big problem???



  17. liz says:

    I sent an email asking about which SAT score to report on Section 2 of the application (I got a higher math score the first time, higher overall score the second time) but all that was said in the response was that MIT takes the highest subscores. So is it OK for me to list my highest subscores on Section 2 even if they weren’t on the same date? (and list the other scores in the Optional Section)

  18. Renuka says:

    As a deferred student, I plan to send in some supplemental material. As the post does not go out tomorrow: Sunday, January 1, is it okay if the material is only postmarked for Jan 2?

  19. AG says:

    Dear Anonymous,

    Since you have taken only 2 SAT Subject Tests, you would need to take a third one, or since you are an international student, you may take the TOEFL in place of the third test.

    Hope this helps.

  20. Joe Laurendi says:

    Oh, I just read your post on AoPS and found your link to here:

    So you don’t need to answer my question anymore. smile


  21. Danielle says:

    Hey Matt!!

    Thank you for taking questions over break!! Okay, I just have one more for you. I have been trying not to freak out about this, but on my SAT subject tests I scored a very low (in the 500’s on all three of them), but the thing is I didn’t even know I had to take any more tests after the regular SAT because I live in a really small town in Wisconsin, and my guidance office never told me thatI would need anything like these tests since all of the students pretty much go to state schools if they go to college. I guess I should have been more concious about what was going on with my application so that I could have had time to study or take them during a less stressful time in high school, but my grandpa went into the hospital with heart problems for a while and standardized tests were one of the last things on my mind. To top this off, my mother said I couldn’t retake them because our family can’t afford it since we are having trouble paying for groceries right now. I have been reading a lot of the posts and eveyone is saying that they think scoring a 700 is bad. I have a lot of other things going for me in my application, so I was just wondering if these kind of scores will automatically curse my chances of admittance (I know they won’t help), and would sending in a letter explaining my situation help at all? I really know I have what is takes to make it at MIT!

    Thank you for all the information so far!

    Happy New Year!!

  22. SpeckJr says:

    Happy 2006, MIT!

  23. SpeckJr says:

    oh thats cheap…my clock so read 12:00

  24. Joe Laurendi says:

    Hey Matt.

    I’m a devoted member of the Art of Problem Solving (AoPS) website. I wasn’t able to make the Math Jam that you and Kiran Kedlaya hosted a little while back but I wanted to drop a line and say thanks! I looked over the transcript of the Math Jam and found some very useful information.

    I also have a question: is there somewhere that I can find admissions statistics for MIT broken down state by state? I live in South Carolina, by the way.

    Happy New Year!

  25. Albert Chang says:

    Happy New Year and good luck with reading!

  26. Shoeb Omar says:

    I can’t believe you did this in the middle of your holidays–the sort of dedication you show sums up the reasons MIT is my top choice. Thank you so much for answering my question Matt and happy new year to you and all the other staff working so hard for us prospective students at MIT.

    Also Happy New Year to all you other prospects!

  27. Rafael says:


    don’t worry, my application has been received Dec 22 and is still not processed because they have like thousands of mails coming in during this time… wait a week or two, things should be processed by then…

    happy new year!!

  28. I sent my supplemental materials(recommendations, transcript etc.) by fax. the no. I sent it to is 617-258-8304. Is that okay or am I true to my name

  29. John Shen says:

    Have a good new year, Matt.

    Oh, just to give you a heads-up, I’m probably going to write a guest entry for Melis A. (she’s a high school friend of mine) on the topics of (a) research at MIT/Caltech, and (b) how to choose between the two, and other competitive choices. I’ll send it through her, but I’ll try to keep it free of any West-coast bias.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Hi Matt,

    Well, I just submitted my application. Just like the others, I have been trying to log on to the application website last night but it would not let me. Is it going to hurt my chance of getting in because it is “late”?

  31. tyler says:

    now that everything admission-wise has been sent in…just two quick questions. do you guys match up those who have made comments online with their applications? also, are deferred applicants who did not submit any additional supplemental materials viewed the same as those who did? hope these don’t take too much of your time, I know you have plenty of applications to read. Happy 2006!

  32. Applicant says:

    Your server died :( I might not be able to apply to MIT

  33. Gideon says:

    Does dead-server syndrome make the deadline a little flexible?

  34. applicant 2 says:

    I am an international. MIT is my first option but because of previous internet problems I could not finish my application. Today the server is just busy…. X(

  35. Anonymous says:

    MIT’s server has been busy two days. I tried to submit yesterday but I couldn’t. Today I have been trying all day I can’t

  36. Kenneth Wong says:

    Argh!!! Anybody having problems with the website? I am receiving a “web site temporarily busy” message! Why do you all procrastinate until the last hours??? I hope the website recovers soon… I thought MIT housed large server farms…

    Somebody please tell me that this is not a hack. I thought hacks are not supposed to damage anything or anyone… It is damaging me mentally and emotionally!

    I have been trying for the past hour to submit the essays that I had just finished…

    By the way, is the deadline at 11:59:59 PM EST or PST or any other timezone?

  37. Matt,

    My app is in, and I’m fairly pleased with everything… now it’s up to fate.

    However, I just had one of those “moments”. I’m wondering whether I should have explained how I got my 4 “Bs” freshman year (strenuous classes at exclusive private school) and my 3 on the AP Chemistry test, even though i got a 760 on the SAT II Chem many months *after* the AP Chem course (we were on a choir tour for a week and a half prior and averaged about four hours of sleep a night and the AP Chem test was on the following day when we got back, so we were all sleep deprived, exhausted, and didnt have time to study).

    Mucho Gratias,

    Mr. I’m-Sure-I’m-Not-Anonymous-But-I’ll-Pretend-I-Am-Anyway

  38. Gideon says:

    Nope, Kenneth, you’re definetly not the only one.

    Fourteen minutes and counting…

    I assume their sumbission facilities don’t automatically shut down at 11:59:59 EST.

  39. Gideon says:

    well, I just got to the screen to type in my password for the first time in an hour but then it jumped right back to the server-is-busy message.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Do you think if it has ever happened before? Why did the EA deadline got extension?

  41. Anonymous says:

    I believe people who have having difficulties should email to [email protected] to make sure they know that there has been a problem upon the MIT server.

  42. Gideon says:

    Nice. I did that but their auto-reply said they won’t be checking email until the Third, anyway. I hope that by then we’ll hear about a one-day deadline extension.

  43. ARGH! says:

    Oh… my… god… I can’t believe I forgot this… I’ve had 95% of my app finished for months, I submitted it yesterday, all i did was copy+paste my essays in and hit submit… but I was looking over my stuff and saw that I DIDNT SAY that I was PSAT Semifinalist ANYWHERE on my application! ACK!

    Oh my god… What am I supposed to do?

  44. Kenneth Wong says:

    I have a feeling that this is some prank by the admissions officers or some disgruntled IHTFP student… No way can the MIT servers be down for so long. Perhaps we should organise a DoS attack some other time to see whether the server would go down, and that would confirm my suspicions. grin

    I hope this is not a way to filter the procrastinators… or put them at a disadvantage…

  45. Gideon says:

    IT would be a really cheap way of filtering the procrastinators…

  46. Anonymous says:

    I hope it is not. I suppose there is a lot of people outside who are not procastinators but just were unable to access the web.

    What happens when servers are busy? Are there applicants who can log in or the server is busy for everybody?

  47. Gideon says:

    I’d figure that since no one can do anything without changing pages that each request made by someone goes into the logjam and that no one gets anywhere. I got logged off at about 10:45 EST after being on, so there’s no preference for people who were signed in, which is further evidence for my theory.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Then there should be loads of people outside refreshing their browsers.

  49. mpcusack says:

    so frustrating!

    they better extend the date.

    AUTHOR: applicant 2
    DATE: 01/02/2006 12:55:34 AM
    Do you think they will process if applications are sent by mail, even though they would be late?

  50. Gideon says:

    I’ve found the site to be slowly coming back; I can get to the login page now, but no further as of yet.

  51. Anonymous says:

    It says something about: An application error occured at approximately Mon Jan 02 01:30:13 EST 2006 (java.lang.NullPointerException).

  52. Anonymous says:

    Ugh granted we shouldn’t have waited till the last moment to submit, but everything should technically be working!

  53. Kenneth Wong says:

    The secure servers are back up now! Hopefully it will stay that way until I finish inputting and verifying the information.

  54. Kenneth Wong says:

    Ah non! ‘Tis gone again!

  55. Kenneth Wong says:

    Yes! I submitted my online application just before 12:00 AM PST! Hopefully I am okay. grin

    I still cannot believe that MIT’s servers genuinely was DoSed by a few thousand people maximum. There must be somebody(ies) behind all this… tongue laugh

  56. danish says:

    Dear Matt,

    My courier service website shows that my documents have been submitted on Dec 27, 2005 but the Application tracking details show that the documents haven’t been processed. Does it mean that the documents haven’t been recieved or the documents are received but not yet processed? Pls help.

  57. Helen says:

    Thanks a ton for the reply, Matt.

    Happy New Year to you and to everyone at MIT. smile

  58. Varuna says:

    Happy New Year!

  59. Masha says:

    In resposne to the person who asked about summer programs for seniors –

    I went to SSP last summer (which I highly recommend to sophomores and juniors especially), and on one of the chat boards the director posted science programs for after senior year. I thought you might be interested:

    National Youth Science Camp (open to Americans only, sorry)


    Lucent Global Science Scholars Program (open to students worldwide)



    Other Programs

    Here are the best places to look for other good summer programs

    (mostly for rising seniors, some open to graduating seniors):

  60. Steve says:

    Hey everybody,

    I hope that all applications have been submitted by now, the website doesn’t have the ‘Too busy’ message anymore. But to never forget that night, and so that I’ll remember to never procrastinate anymore, I made a screensaver with a screenshot of the ‘Too busy’ browser window and “DON’t PROCRASTINATE” flashing on the screen. PowerPoint Viewer has to be installed, I don’t know how to make a free screensaver without doing the PowerPoint version. It’s up for download on if anybody wants to remember that fateful night.

  61. OMG says:



  62. EDWIN says:

    sir,i,ve been listening to my fellow applicants notes and theyseem so advanced in their application. ihave just come by enough cash tosit the next sat2 Ialso havent applied yetthough ihave taken my sat1.surely, you,re not going tolock me out till 2006.i,m from the village and am trying to adapt.ed

  63. anonymous says:

    I have a question.. its because i’m not sure if i have to send also the secondary school report. I am from Mexico and i don’t assist a US system school…

  64. anonymous says:

    I have a question.. its because i’m not sure if i have to send also the secondary school report. I am from Mexico and i don’t assist a US system school…

  65. Edward says:

    Hey Matt!

    Thanks for this post and specifically for answering my question.

    I’ll try and wait a while but the anxiety is killing me….any pointers on how to deal with this?

    Have a nice day.

  66. Kam says:

    Hi Matt,

    I have submitted my application. However, my additional information essay was a bit too long, and the sever would not let me submit the entire essay before I change it. Can I mail it in instead?

  67. Csaba says:

    Hi and Happy 2006!

    I have a weird question here… Perhaps too weird to answer it… In Romania when one applies for college one knows the lowest grade (well a bit of an aggregate-average weird score) one could get in the major one desired in that college the year before. I know that in the US (and especially MIT) it works differently and scores are not all. So that’s why it’s a very good choice giving only the 25-75% score ranges.

    But the question still rises: How safe is one’s application if he is safely inside the middle 50%? We know there are about 9 rejected students (and 19 international students) for every admitted student to the MIT. But how many rejected students are there with roughly the same test scores?

    (and another one, for personal interest: How much do international students’ middle 50% scores differ from domestic students’?)

    I think not just me but many of us are interested in such questions- it could make our hopes a bit more rational and stuff. At least I don’t know whether or not my essay and rec’s are nice or not. My scores however are typed black on white. Ah. long post. sorry Matt.


  68. Anonymous says:

    Having those brief moments of paranoia, I decided to look over my essays even though i have alrady submitted them online. To my suprise I found out that I sent an old draft of one of my essays rather than the final draft. Only one line is different (which is why I thought I was sending the new draft) but that line connected the body to the conclusion. Should I send the draft I was suppose to send?

    Btw, the conspiracy theories about the ‘busy server’ are frickin hilarious! I hope you guys really didn’t mean it though. I think that MIT is genuinely busy.

  69. Anas Maghfur says:

    Having those brief moments of paranoia, I decided to look over my essays even though i have alrady submitted them online. To my suprise I found out that I sent an old draft of one of my essays rather than the final draft. Only one line is different (which is why I thought I was sending the new draft) but that line connected the body to the conclusion. Should I send the draft I was suppose to send?

    Btw, the conspiracy theories about the ‘busy server’ are frickin hilarious! I hope you guys really didn’t mean it though. I think that MIT is genuinely busy.

  70. Anas Maghfur says:

    The second one was posted by my doppelganger. I don’t think he’ll make it to MIT.

  71. Anas Maghfur says:

    People are always talking about the “summer”. How long is that really? Where I come from there is no one long holiday but three small ones. I don’t understand how you suppose to do over the top productive things in a short holiday. Because of this my Summer Activites isn’t at all impressive. Is it really important?

    (I sent my stuff already of course so im just wondering)

  72. hey… I was just wondering when is the CPW information going to be avaliable on myMIT ‘cuz my mom wants to book our flight. and how do admittees let MIT know whether or not we’re coming?

    and g’luck to u guys applying RD

  73. David says:

    Woops, I put this on the old thread.


    I submitted my application last night, but due to the server problem, my final essays didn’t save (I tried to save them, but the server was busy) even though I thought that they did. I submitted my app the instant that the site came online (without previewing), because I wanted it to get in on time. Therefore, my app was submitted with only the first drafts of my 100 word essays. Is there any way that I can send the actual ones or atleast have it noted that I had this problem? (The only real change between drafts was to delete a repeated sentence).

  74. Hi Matt,

    I just got nominated for the GYLC (global young leaders conference). Although the conference is in summer 2006, should I notify the admissions office of this new development by email? If so, then how?

    Will this be beneficial for me in ANY way?


    PS: less than 1% of the students of every country are selected to attend GYLC every year.

  75. David Shimel says:

    I have a quick question about supplemental materials. I would like to send in a recording of my piano playing and of one of my musical compositions. What is the recommended duration for this kind of submission?

  76. Anonymous says:

    Hi Matt

    I had my research mentor send in a recommendation directly, but I forgot to ask her to write my name and birthdate explicitly. I mean, obviously she will have written my name in the recommendation, but she hasn’t written my birthdate. Should I ask her to submit another letter of recommendation with my birthdate? Also, how can I make sure the supplemental recommendation has reached MIT? Can I call them up, or should I just have faith that it reached. Thanks.

  77. SyRx says:

    I’m an international student (foreign school system) and I was wondering whether I have to send in a Mid-Year Report. One of MIT’s application brochures says I don’t have to, but I just wanted to clear the matter up since the Online Application Tracking has a checkbox for the Mid-Year Rep too. Please advise.

  78. Kinan T. says:

    Hello Matt,

    I was just looking over at some of the comments that other students where posting and I began to get a little worried. People here mention all these things I’ve never seen, like GYLC, EA, etc. I’m an international student in Venezuela and I don’t have the opportunity to enroll or be accepted in many programs to which other people have applied to or have been accepted to. Does the Office of Admissions take into account the places where people live and the opportunities one has or doesn’t have from living there?

    Thank you,

    Kinan T.

  79. Ismet says:

    Hello. I am an applicant from Kazakhstan. I applied to MIT as a freshman, though I am graduating from a local university later in this year. Currently studying political science and international relations that doesn’t concern much technology. That’s why I applied as freshman. It was always my dream to study engineering and particularly at MIT. I took SATII and Toefl. The scores were reported on time to admissions office. The scores are 770/800 (math L2) and 800/800 (Phys). I left my school 4,5 years ago, so it was hard to get reports and trascripts from them, but eventually they sent everything. I never took AMC, AP exams. During my years at school I participated in Physics contests. I always won 1 place around the school, then around the region, but only 2nd and 3rd places on the district level. I indicated all of this in my application. I am not applying for financial aid, because Kaz government will pay all the expenses, if I am admitted, of course.

    What do you think, do I have any chance to be admitted to MIT? Have I done everything correctly?