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MIT student blogger Laura N. '09

Decisions, decisions by Laura N. '09

Yikes! It's been a month since I last wrote to you guys. In the intervening time...

Yikes! It’s been a month since I last wrote to you guys. In the intervening time, I have accumulated like 5 entries worth of photos and stories- which will be coming soon, I promise. But it’s silly to plow ahead with that when there are more pressing issues at hand- like the fact that decisions were just recently released.

First of all, congratulations to all of you who were admitted! I remember getting my decision- the old fashioned way, like a letter showed up in my actual mailbox outside my house, if you can imagine- and how freaking awesome it was. Seriously guys, go celebrate, get that energy out. You deserve it. =)

For waitlisted applicants, I know how frustrating that can be. (Funny story- NJ has about 5 or 6 summer programs called the “Governor’s Schools,” and there’s one for each of a variety of different subjects. Because of the small size of my school, we were only allowed to send one applicant to each of the programs. My high school puts out a newsletter to the parents with all kinds of information about recent accomplishments by the students, and they had this section saying “Congratulations to our Governor’s School Applicants! We had a great success rate this year: Jane Doe: accepted at the School of Science, John Smith: accepted at the School of Engineering, Someone Else: accepted at the School of International Studies, That OtherOne: accepted at the School of Math, and Laura Nicholson: waitlisted at the School of Public Policy.” I was like “wow, thanks guys, for announcing to the entire student body AND THEIR PARENTS that I was the only one not accepted.” I was later rejected from the waitlist, and then called at home three days after the program started because someone dropped out unexpectedly. See? Happy ending!) Anyway, the best advice I have for you is to get really excited about your other options (because really, college is exciting no matter where you go) and to keep your eye on Matt’s and Ben’s blog for more info about the process from this point.

For those of you who were rejected, I don’t want to preach at you. I don’t want to give some whole speech about how it’s not so bad getting rejected from your first choice school, because how the hell should I know? I got in to my first choice school, and I’d be a huge, hypocritical, condescending jerk if I were to tell you about how it’s probably all for the best this way. That said, please try to keep in mind the excellent advice that has been popping up on these blogs. There have been some remarkable, mature, sincere comments from students who have managed to keep their perspective as well as their sanity depite their disappointments. Be inspired by them- getting into MIT (or not getting in) is not the defining moment of your life. You’re only 18 years old, I certainly hope this isn’t the most important thing to ever happen to you. Trust me, as someone who is only 2 years removed from the time I opened my big envelope, there are many moments I cherish far more than that one.

That said, I know you guys are really disappointed, and you have a right to be. Sometime life really sucks. So take a few days to sit on your couch eating ice cream straight out of the carton watching cheesy movies. (I was going to suggest chick flicks, but I suppose not many guys would relate to that, and as for me, I always watch horror movies when I’m having a bad day. They cheer me right up. No, I’m actually serious.) Then get back out there and get excited about all of the awesome things that are ahead of you. I know, easier said than done.

Just like last year, I’ve been really impressed with the level of maturity you have all managed to bring to the table despite your disappointment and frustration. Of course, there are always a few people who aren’t able to pull that off, and I’ll refrain from commenting on them. However, there was one comment I noticed which I feel really needs a response.

Rejectee said: Yeah… Whatever. My credentials exceeded MIT’s average admissions statistics, and I got rejected. I guess its because my Dad’s not a billionaire or a rich aristocrat. If I learned anything, its that things are not what they seem, and you will be judged not by your merit, but by your background and ability to pay (why else would I get bullied in to sending in my parents tax forms). To sum it up, don’t be too hard on yourselves. Chances are, you have what it takes, but just aren’t a part of the establishment. To get in, you must either be the next Newton, or filthy rich. Good luck to all of you who did not get accepted, and remember, MIT isn’t the sole shining pillar of education it implies it is. Just another rich geek school.

Rejectee: I know you’re disappointed, but please know that the assumptions and conclusions you jumped to in this comment are completely, absolutely, 100% FALSE. I honestly can’t off the top of my head think of a single person that I know here who I would categorize as “filthy rich.” And I would know- unfortunately, in high school I could rattle off a long list that fit that description. I went to a magnet high school which admitted students based on “merit,” but unlike MIT they didn’t do context- so my class was mostly filled with the richest kids whose professional parents lived in the nicest towns with best schools and who knew how to prepare their children for high school applications, nevermind college. I’m happy to report that MIT is nothing like that. Some of my closest friends are first generation citizens whose parents came to this country with next to nothing. Some of the brightest kids I know here are from the MiddleofNowhere, USA and had never heard of the science olympiads.

And here is an important fact that I feel the need to clarify: MIT Admissions is 100% need-blind. This means that your application is considered without any information about your financial situation- so that your ability to pay for college in no way affects your admission decision. (Although, just to be clear, while I am not sure if this applies to international applicants, it certainly applies to domestic applicants.) We’re grateful to have a lot of successful alumni who donate money to help current students afford the privelege of going here. There are some fascinating statistics on the Financial Aid website, and one of the most impressive is this:
58% of MIT undergraduates are awarded a need-based MIT scholarship that doesn’t have to be repaid, and the average award is $23,300. Seriously, that’s a lot of financial aid. I know several people from less advantaged backgrounds whose financial aid package is so good, they are paying next to nothing to go here.

That’s not to say that everyone gets a lot of financial aid, or that there are no rich kids at MIT. What I am trying to say is that MIT is all about opportunity- and we’re very proud of the fact that admissions is need-blind. The Institute’s attitude towards first generation college students, students from less advantaged backgrounds, and the accessibility of education are all very progessive, and we’re extremely proud of that.

So please, don’t assume otherwise. And if you did, I hope I’ve managed to convince you that your assumptions were wrong.

Also, to those of you who seem to be utterly convinced that MIT plays some elaborate game with your hopes and dreams to maximize profit or diversity or public opinion and that these blogs are some big sham to make us only look like nice people who care, you’re also dead wrong. I’m just an undergrad here- all I do for admissions is take ridiculous pictures of myself and post them on the Internet. It’s Matt and Ben and some of the other guest bloggers you might have read about who do all the hard work of deciding which small percentage of the huge number of incredible people get to come here. I know those guys pretty well, and let me tell you- they really, really care. When they say they read your applications with care, they mean it. When they say it breaks their hearts to put your application into the larger pile, they mean it. I had the privelege of sitting with Macgregor (one of the admissions counselors) at the CPW help desk for a few hours last year, and I was honestly blown away about the obvious level of care and concern he had for the students whose applications he had read. I have no idea how, but it’s like he remembers every single application he read, cover to cover. Every few minutes a student would come by to introduce themselves and say hi (because he had been in touch with them via email previously and wanted to meet). And as soon as the student walked away, he would turn to me and tell me 3 different awesome things that student had accomplished, or 3 staggering obstacles he or she had overcome, and how thrilled he was that they were able to afford to come here despite their financial situation, etc etc etc. Now if MIT is all about promoting some elitist society of rich kids and admitting an appropriately diverse class, how can you explain that behavior? And if it’s all about the appearance of concern, how can you explain the compassion that I saw that admissions counselor express behind closed doors? I know I’m just giving you an anecdote, and I’m sure some of you are closed-minded enough to completely disregard it. But if you’re willing to take my word for it, trust me. I know these guys. In real life. They say they care. And they really do. (And if you’re one of those who still thinks that I’m saying this just for the sake of appearances, then you need a serious reality check.)

One last thing.

Mandah said:
I don’t exactly live in the Philippines. However, my mother and sister were both born in Manila. :)

I am a born and bred Jersey girl. And no, I don’t say Joisey. Hahahahaha.
Amen. NO ONE from Jersey calls it that. Ever. (This is actually the very first claim I ever made on this blog.) Go Jersey. =)

On that note, to the admitted students: please, take a minute to leave a note introducing yourselves! That way when I meet you at CPW I can be all “oh yes, Ryan, from Kansas, I remember you!” and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside (like Ben did to me when I said, “Hi I’m Laura” and he said, “wait, the Laura?” No joke, just ask him) instead of being like “umm…huh?” No, seriously, we love getting to know you guys. I’m totally good friends with blog commentors in the Class of 2010. So don’t be shy, introduce yourselves!

89 responses to “Decisions, decisions”

  1. ME says:


  2. Basant Sagar says:


    I’m Basant from India. I won’t be able to attend the CPW, though I’m eagerly looking forward to see you all this fall.. smile

  3. Chingorm says:

    Congratulations Basant, nice going.

    I have a question regarding the RA 2008: My grades are above average in my country (only Bs and quite a few As).. But I have a D in French :( Am I still eligble for selection?

  4. Karen says:

    Can’t attend CPW either…stuck here in Taiwan. smile

    But I’ll be there in the fall.

  5. Lendz says:

    I think the hardest thing about the decision, was the letter. surely if they spent so much time on the applications, and did the whole debate thing, surely thier could be some recorder catching the highlights of WHY we were dropped? and making a letter out of that??? not this, this… heartless letter they sent. To be frank, despite what they say, yes it IS a show on our ability, the ability to be defeated by nearly 2000 people. That is a sham on our abilities. the sugar coating of the letters is not worth it, and i think we can deduce the fact that no matter what your dreams are, no matter what your grades, they inevitably resort back to the SAT scores. It doesnt matter if you got a 95% on the math section, worked for nasa when you were 17 building a satalite, an observer at mira, and exc. the point is, no matter what we have accomplished, we have been handed a letter saying to us, your services arnt good enough. they may be close. but close doesnt cut it. So now we have no clue WHY we were rejected. none, what so ever.

    thats what hurts…

  6. Adam S. says:

    I waited for my decision in the mail… And I’m accepted! Just got the news 5 min ago! Can’t wait to meet all of you in real life!

    See you in Cambridge!

  7. UP says:

    Nice, Adam, you deserved it.

  8. Alex says:

    Heh, congrats to Adam S. smile hey guys, I won’t be seeing you either at the CPW, I’ll just keep reading, writing, chatting, and keeping in touch with everybody until fall… Until then, I’m stuck in Bulgaria raspberry

    Oh, and I wanted to say something: I seriously encourage everybody to sign the guestbook, it really is a wonderful way to get in touch with people from all over the world even before you actually meet at MIT!! And you can also join the “MIT Class of 2011” group in Facebook smile

  9. Sh1fty says:

    congrats Adam! come and visit us on IRC from time to time smile

  10. Anonymous says:

    To Lendz:

    I’m sure MIT didn’t resort to SAT scores. It makes no sense anyways! Why would MIT want someone who got 2100 instead of 2090 ? There must be much more significant accomplishments like your example (building a satellite?)

    It would be rather difficult for MIT to record 10k+ different reasons why they couldn’t accept you. Probably too impractical ?

    And I’m saying “couldn’t accept you” because it’s not a rejection. You are quite possibly just as “qualified” as an admitted student. Who knows? But MIT Admissions does what it can, and I’m sure they did their best. What else can you ask for?


    Ok, and I couldn’t resist: a whole lot of people get 95% and above on the SAT math section

  11. Josh B says:

    Hi I’m Josh from the Detroit suburbs and i found out that I made it in at the Robotics regional in Detroit on Saturday and my whole team went crazy when I found out. Sadly i won’t be at CPW because it’s the same weekend as World Championships for Robotics down in Atlanta and my team is defending champs, so it’s not exactly something I can miss. I’ll probably come spend a night at MIT sometime earlier that week though, and I can’t wait to see what campus life is like.

  12. Karin '11 says:

    It’s really cool to type the ’11 after my name =D
    Adam I’m so happy for you! You really truly deserved to get in. Thank you so much for the chatroom and everything else.
    See you at CPW! Yay!

  13. MIT alum says:

    Wow, some of those responses were bitter. I guess this is the first time that many applicants are dealing with rejection in their life. Sorry, but any college you apply to that has as many applicants as MIT is NOT going to send out 10,000 personalized rejection letters, telling you why you didn’t get in. That goes for most rejections, including being rejected for an employment position.
    For the record, I went to MIT and I didn’t score anywhere near the top 95% in SAT scores. Plus, my family is not rich: I was offered thousands of dollars in financial aid to attend MIT. MIT admissions is need-blind. (And, I am not a minority applicant…I am caucasian).

    Good luck to all of you…and I hope the bitterness wears off someday.

  14. blah says:

    hehe ya Josh B, i have the same first issue; isnt woody flowers from mit?

  15. lolz says:

    “The mapping of E8 is also unusual because it involved a large team of mathematicians, who are typically known for their solitary style. “People will look back on this project as a significant landmark and because of this breakthrough, mathematics will now be viewed as a team sport,” said Brian Conrey, executive director of AIM.” (

  16. Sara '11 says:

    haha, congrats adam S! i noticed you were always posting on these blogs, and was wondering what your decision would be.

  17. Andrey'11 says:

    Hello, everyone!
    I’m from Russia, and I also can’t come to CPW. I’m trying to win a place in this year’s Russian team in the International Olympiad in Informatics – that’s my last chance.

    Looking forward to seeing you all in fall =)

  18. Awet says:

    What’s Up Class of 2011!!!

    I’m from Detroit, Michigan, and I can’t wait to meet all of you interesting people at CPW. Congratulations (hearing this never gets old does it?)

  19. In response to Josh B’s comment —

    Yeah, it really sucks that this year FIRST Nationals and CPW are the same weekend, especially when you consider how many FIRSTers end up here. A few of us FIRST graduates are mentoring a local team here in Cambridge (Laura blogged about us last year after coming to watch us at the brand-new Boston Regional), but since we’re going to be in Atlanta for CPW, we can’t even do recruiting for new mentors… That said, I suppose we can recruit right at the Georgia Dome! Come say hi — we’re Team 97. That goes for any of you guys if you’re down in Atlanta for Nationals. And congrats on getting in!

  20. Stephan says:

    Hi, I am Stephan from the island of Jamaica. I really hope to be at CPW. I hope my Easter break will allow it. Looking forward to it.

  21. milena says:

    Hey there, I’m Milena from Puerto Rico, one of the EA people… I’m sure I’ll be easy to remember lol I’m the only girl from PR that got in (at least that I know of!)

  22. Cody Daniel says:

    Hello. My name’s Cody Daniel (very Johnny Cash, n’est-ce pas?), and I would just like to say that my classmates went crazy today! A friend of mine is even making me an MIT pumpkin pie for celebration. What a day, huh, what a day. Not to mention 300 in iMax this weekend was fantastic! Frank Miller is a great artist bringing back a great genre! I can’t wait to meet all of you during CPW. Yay!

    Exquisitely Yours,
    Cody Daniel

  23. maia says:

    Hi, I’m Maia from Georgia, and I’m EA too. I hope I get to meet all of you at CPW!

    Also, does anyone else from Georgia know when/if there is an MIT admit party?

  24. José P. says:

    Congratulations to those admitted.

    Hello, Milena! I’m also Puerto Rican. I didn’t apply, however — after all, I am only in the 10th grade. Still, it is good to know that someone who shares my roots was accepted into MIT.

  25. Lendz says:

    lol, many people have disregarded my statement, and more than likly have takin the wrong tone with it, so, i will explain myself more clearly.

    First of all, it IS practical for MIT admissions to make 10,000 personal letters, why? well i will tell you.

    I have read the admissions process, and each person is debated over, all they have to do is record a few key points of each debate and put them in an outomated letter, theirfor it is personalized, and its not. The reasons could also range from not high enough grades to low ambition… or something like that. In fact, i think i know why they dont put down why they ‘dont accept’ or ‘reject’ students, because A) they probobly dont really know, they have a more natural feel towards one, than another… or one just strikes them more than another, or/and it would make us nervous wrecks. However, I would of prefered the little highlights of the debate featuring our pros and our cons. It’s really NOT that impractical, submit the highlights into our folder and have in outomattically uploaded into the file database, thus, WE will be informed. What that information would include, i dont know, but MIT IS a place to furthur knowledge, then the least they can do is give us all at least 1 reason to why we did or did not get accepted. the: ‘your good’ just ‘not good enough’ doesnt work with me. I take my flaws and make them my advantages. And call me pessimistic, but i dont see whats the problem with that. If we are good enough, then why didnt we get in? that question is what’s sticking out to me. If i applied with flat out F’s, I still would have gotten that letter. Be truthful. thats all we ask.

    Yep, a satalite, on the creation essay however i focused more on the hovercraft i built out of old computer monitors and PVC piping. Next time, i will know better. But i did include the fact that i had and will biuld another this summer. But this time, instead of getting my role moddle (best instructor ive ever known)to write a letter of recomendation, I will get my overseers at NASA to do it.

  26. Emily L. says:

    Congrats Adam S. and everyone else who got in!

  27. Hey Laura – I’m Paul from South Bend, Indiana. I feel obliged to mention I’m planning on being a biomedical engineer…but I’m kind of tired of saying that, since I talked about it on every college application I filled out.

    I think it’s much more interesting to talk about a tidbit that didn’t end up on my application, which is that I am a huge Notre Dame fan – and I’ll definitely be carrying on that Irish tradition at MIT. smile

    Congratulations to everyone who got in – can’t wait to meet you at CPW!

  28. Liz D. says:

    Hey, Laura! I’m Liz, and I’m from a western suburb of Chicago. I plan on going into math/economics/finance… something along those lines. But I also love listening to music, singing, making jewelry, playing tennis, and designing web sites.

    Hope to meet you at CPW!

  29. Aaron says:

    That comment about the filthy affluence angered me quite a bit. First of all, the whole point of an average (in terms of stats-ugh) is that approximately (it’s average after all not median) half of the students are above the “average” and half happen to be below. There’s more to it than numbers. Passion, drive, originality, creativity. There’s more to it and people should give more credit to admissions than that, whether they were accepted or not.

  30. Paul '11 says:

    Lendz – although I certainly understand where you are coming from, I would like to mention one thing, which is that not being accepted to MIT does not mean you have failed in any way, shape, or form.

    Although I like your idea of personalized letters and feel it merits serious consideration, there is one flaw to it. Someone who has just received a letter from MIT is probably not in the best state of mind to be receiving any sort of criticism, however constructive, on his or her high school career. In fact, I suspect that too many people would fixate on the “reasons” given in the letter.

    Moreover…the fact of the matter is that an overwhelming majority of the applicants to MIT (and indeed all elite schools) have incredible ambition, intelligence, passion, etc. I have little doubt that you are qualified enough to handle the work at MIT – for all I know you’re more “qualified” than I am. Not being accepted to MIT is not an objective measure of your personal worth – it’s a completely subjective judgment, and even then it’s a very arbitrary judgment.

    You said, among other things, “they probobly dont really know” why accept one person over another. In my opinion, that claim is totally false. But sometimes the reasons are so small, so minute, that they’re barely even reasons at all. And if you say that’s not fair, I agree with you. Sometimes, good kids get – for lack of a better word – screwed by the system; I’ve seen it happen to many of my older friends. I wish it were some other way, Lendz – and I believe MIT does as well. But until someone figures out that better way, if there is one, we all just do the best we can.

  31. Clark says:

    Hey Laura. Clark from central California. Can’t wait to see MIT again!

  32. Joan says:

    Hey Paul ’11,

    I don’t know if you remember me. It’s Joan, who used to live in South Bend your Junior year (well, I guess mine, too), but I wanted to congratulate you on your acceptance!! Good luck with everything and I am so happy for you and everyone else for c/o ’11.

    (my e-mail is Joannie402 at yahoo dot com.)

  33. Jimmy says:

    It seems that the MIT rejection letter is very apologetic.

    It’s almost as if MIT assumes you are a depressed engineer or something when the letter reads, “I am very sorry to bring you such disappointing news when you have worked so hard.” The sugar coating either doesn’t work or isn’t necessary. Maybe it needs a funny anecdote.

    When reading the admissions blogs, I think that MIT was more disappointed in rejecting me than I was in being rejected. For example, Matt keeps on mentioning how sad it is to turn so many students away, and I almost want to reach out to Matt, pat him on the back, and say, “it’s ok dude.”

    I don’t know what the point of my post is. Maybe I wanted to say that this whole process is too hyped up, that everyone needs to step back and breathe.

    People around me are so sad to hear that I got rejected, and they automatically assume that I’m sad or depressed (even MIT). It makes me feel weird.

  34. Hm, debating whether to add the ’11. anywho. . .


  35. Lendz says:


    your right, it probobly isnt a good idea for some of them to here why it is, or why it isnt, but they deserve a chance to know. I said myself we’de probobly be nervous wrecks, but we’de get over it. We applied, we should have at least expected this outcome, its the logical consistancy. And I have no dought people would take offense, but if they were given a choice to know, many would. Personally, If I knew why I had been ‘not accepted’ i would probobly sigh, and go… AHA! then go threw the hole moping thing for an hour, still doesnt change the fact that we would get over it. If we can get over a rejection from MIT, then we can shurely get over the reasons for it.

    As for the ‘admissions dont really know part’ 90% (just making this up) of the admissions probobly had absolutely nothing wrong with it. So, thats when the comparisons begin, and upon that, you have two people, and one has something more than the other. how do you wright that as a reason? yes, you were marvelous, but this person was marvelous plus one. they cant find any reason NOT to admit you, just reasons to admit somebody else. thats what i mean by no clue. When they read the app, they think, ZONKERS! this guys good, then they read onother, and as hard as it may be, no matter how close, the decision is made. thats why they dont know, they dont know whats wrong with your app, they only know that someone elses was better. thus the sugar coated rejection. I highly dislike sugar coating.

  36. Lendz says:

    Im with jimmie on this one.

  37. Margaret says:

    Actually, I think that not getting into MIT is the defining moment of my life.

    It was the moment when I realized that my priorities did not rest in getting into a prestigious college, but getting an education that will make me a better person. The hours spent poring over AP study books weren’t for nothing now that MIT rejected me. In fact, they made me appreciate the fact that I am able to get into a great college, and that I have been blessed with the intellect it takes to even be competitive.

    Yes, I was disappointed, but a great load has been lifted off my shoulders nonetheless.

  38. Hey Laura! I live just outside of DC but I get to come to Cambridge this fall, and I can’t wait for CPW. Hope to meet you then!

  39. Paul '11 says:

    Lendz – I think I see more of your point now, and I don’t exactly disagree with you. One thing I want you to know, though, is that I think you certainly could have been accepted to MIT. I’m not going to say should have been, because I don’t think anyone SHOULD be accepted anywhere – I myself went into this whole process with absolutely zero expectations. I’ll admit I did fantasize about going to MIT a little bit, and no doubt I’d be very disappointed if I had been rejected.

    But my point is that you can’t really rank people – and yet that’s what the admissions committee has to do, every year, at every school. Bottom line, Lendz, my heart is literally breaking for you at this moment, and I sincerely hope you will consider all your options and make the best of this admittedly disappointing situation.

  40. I regret checking I want financial aid, I couldve get in If I said I’m wealthy(I’m not wealthy tho)

    so basically mit wants rich kids

  41. Amanda says:

    HAH! *I* am Mandah, and I just got quoted. It’s official. I am awesome. *dances*

    Jersey peeps unite. Represent!!!!! Go class of ’11!!!

    Dork #5

  42. Jose Morillo says:

    Laura, your words are full of great sincerity and honor, I sense that you’re absolutely candid about what you’ve said. I also strongly adhere to the values you’ve expressed. Some people are just too counteractive when it comes to rejections, to be brutally honest I think MIT decided right to not accept those cynical applicants who only think of themselves.. Although one can understand their despondency, those who were negative about it should just have some “reality check” as you stated..Thanks for the concern, by the way I’m one of the 499 waitlisted students, yeah I didn’t expect it…But to be wholly honest I’m in a state of disillusion mix with hope. Though I need to be realistic of what the future might have concealed for me, because I am aware that MIT is the 1st choice for most students as a result abating my chances of getting into MIT. Also I’m like a little content that MIT is making me wait and also proud MIT considers me a strong applicant..I strongly want to get in; it is why I will still continue to make the biggest effort and work diligently to aim at an acceptance to MIT, I’m also impatiently waiting for Ben to post some advice for us waitlisted students. I sense he’s probably relaxing or doing something of the source; he deserves it for his diligence at the office of Admissions..Well hope he types soon, I just want to get on a roll and show MIT that it is my long dream to be part of their school.. Making the effort and possibly getting a rejection at the end will not make me regret it because I did something to increase my chances at getting an opportunity for an acceptance rather than doing nothing. Congrats to those who were admitted (Best of Luck during your undergraduates years), I’m hoping to be in your same shoes (SIGH)..For those who were rejected be realists about it, MIT just doesn’t have space for 12,443 students so inevitably some were destined to be deny of admissions. Finally, we that were waitlisted I know is a grievous predicament to be placed in but take it as I have decided you either wait with the hope of an acceptance or simply don’t, you make the decision. Good luck to all!!


  43. Rose says:

    Hi, my name is Rose, also from NJ =D. Yay, I’m so glad you referenced Gov. School!

  44. Rejectee says:

    MIT has a discriminatory policy toward middle class white americans. Not blaming you guys, this is the deal at all major colleges across the country

  45. Audrey H. says:

    Hey Laura! Fantastic blog.

    I’m Audrey from Wisconsin. I draw and run and play trumpet and I have an inclination for genetics. I hope to see you at CPW, I’m trying to persuade my parents to let me go. :p

    If I don’t see you in April, I’ll see you in the fall!

  46. anonymous'11 says:

    hmm, if MIT discriminated against middle class white people… i would’ve been out a long time ago, so i dont think people can claim that admissions discriminates based on money/race.

  47. Austen says:

    Hey, nice job on the blog.

    Anywho, I’m Austen from SoCalifornia, can’t wait to see everybody at CPW and find out what clothes I’ll be needing and if I can still wear flip-flops :D

  48. laura,
    just for future referance, mit is one of the few schools in america that does need-blind admissions for international students too! this is pretty much unheard of…and amazingly cool! peace!

  49. Luis Pena says:

    Hi Laura.
    I am Luis Pena from Chitre, Panama and I certainly know from my own experience that MIT is completely need-blind, even for international applicants. It would be very nice to meet you but I’m still not quiet sure if i’ll be able to attend to CPW.

    I already signed the guestbook, so it would be nice if any person adds me to his/her contacts list.

  50. Karen says:

    Rejectees, listen – if you want to sound like you actually have an argument, atleast get your story straight. Why IS is that MIT rejected you? Not high enough scores? You’re white? You’re Asian? You’re male? You’re not poor enough? You’re not rich enough? I’ve been seeing it, and I’m tired of it. None of us had some RIGHT to get accepted. It’s a great school, we didn’t make it – time to move on.

  51. milena says:

    Luis, if you have a facebook account, you can join the facebook “class of 2011” group (look it up) and meet about 400 or so of the admitted students… There’s a few people that speak Spanish (I’m from Puerto Rico and there’s a Mexican girl too) so I guess you’ll find it nice there grin

  52. JR Annapolis says:

    It’s incredibly exciting…when I got deferred I thought I’d have to go somewhere close and local…but not so : )

    Hoping to be @ CPW and MIT this fall!

  53. Rachel '11 says:

    Hi Laura!

    I’m Rachel from a rather small-town in Texas, just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your blog entry and am extremely excited about CPW! I am still in a state of shock and elation…

  54. Yuki '11 says:

    The ’11 is on there in a hope… I was born in Japan but am also born and bred a jersey boy (although I don’t say jersey, I know that jersey is the dirtiest state and STILL thikn it’s the best. new jersey, where the strong survive by eating the weak…)

    Glad to be a part of this class, and can’t wait for CPW!!

  55. Karen says:

    Oh, I forgot, there was someone saying how MIT doesn’t want “brown” either…

  56. Sarah says:

    Hi everyone!
    I am very happy to say I was accepted…but am I the only one who feels like they don’t deserve it? Don’t get me wrong I am happy and excited and know I am qualified in the typical ways for MIT, but there are other kids I know who wanted it so much more than I did and were rejected. Some of them even had better test scores and just as many awards/everything else as me. So I guess in my mind I keep asking why me? And that’s taking away about 95% of my excitment.

  57. Alexandra says:

    Hiya Laura! I’m Alex from Wellesley, just around the corner smile Hope to you see you at CPW!

    Your points are really well made. I was reading some of the “rejected” posts and some of them made me quite mad and depressed. I’m glad you clarified some things up.

  58. Ishan says:

    I amfrom India and I also got rejected. I e-mailed to MIT admissions office asking them a few weaknesses in my application which got me rejected. I got the following reply:
    Disappointing young people like you is difficult at best. We are sorry that we
    were unable to
    offer you admission to the class of 2011. Out of an applicant pool of 2,700
    international applicants, we offered admission to only 114. Through our
    decision making, we try
    to get a broad distribution of people from all over the world. The competition
    was incredibly
    intense. We choose those who we felt would bring something special and unique
    to our
    community. With limited space, we are forced to turn down many well-qualified

    We are unable to review individual applications to answer specific questions.

    Let us wish you the best as you continue your education.

    It really wouldn’t have been difficult to point out the weaknsses in 1 application if the admissions guys would have read it with as much interest as they say they do. It shows that they might not be as sincere as they say they are.
    And while we are at it, would it not be good if MIT increased the overall seats to at least 2000. If they really are so sad to reject “so many wonderful people”, that’s the least they can do instead of giving us a lot of “I feel sorry for you”.

  59. Kathy says:

    Hi Laura, I’m Kathy Bui, from Westminster, California. Hello from the state of sunshine (is that florida also?!) =]. Btw, i got accepted EA, but i enjoyed ur blog nonetheless. Hope to see u at CPW! =D

  60. Karen says:

    Ah, a couple more I forgot. MIT rejected me because I’m foreign or MIT rejected me because I’m from the US…

  61. Melissa says:

    MIT is in an area where it would be difficult to physically expand – and therefore difficult to take more students. You forget, it’s not 500 students it would increase – it would be 2,000 in four years (500 per class). Even then, people will keep begging for an increase.

    And yes, 1 application isn’t hard to review – but do you think you’re the only one who wanted to know your weaknesses? And why would they treat you any different from the others who were not admitted?

  62. new Paul says:

    I can sympathize Sarah… I feel there are others who wanted it much more badly than me. I’m still probably going to attend, though.

    I can’t relate with the excitement thing grin. I’ve been ecstatic since Saturday.

    Oh, and in response to a few earlier comments, I’m white, middle class, and applied for financial aid. Sorry you guys didn’t get in, though.

  63. Steven '11 says:

    To Ishan:

    Thousands of people who were rejected would want to know the weaknesses in their applications. None of the top schools can reply to so many questions; if they did keep track of a list of weaknesses for each file, we would have to wait for our decisions for many more months.

    I know what it’s like to be rejected – I applied to Stanford EA, and even with perfect SAT reasoning and subject scores, top-notch grades, and a bunch of extracurriculars, they rejected me outright back in December. I, too, wanted to know what it was that tripped up my application, but Stanford never told me anything. There was never even an indication of a human being actually looking at my application. At least MIT gives you the opportunity to talk to these bloggers. How many colleges do you know of let people criticize them on their own web site? Please do not judge the sincerity of the admissions guys based on the requirements of their job.

    As for the class size, all applicants would love it if Harvard, Stanford, and MIT opened up their doors to more students. Inevitably, however, some people won’t get admitted, and they’ll call for even larger classes, so I can’t foresee any of these colleges being pressured to accept more students.

  64. Japan Dave says:

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for you wise words. I just have one question for you: What, in your case do you think was the “compelling” reason that led to your enrollment to MIT?

    I have asked this question a million times to hundreds of people on the blogs and have never received a reply.

    However, I am hopeful in this case because the last time I asked a question to YOU, you actually answered it in you post “Q&A catch up.”

    Jalpan Dave

  65. anonymous says:

    I would guess that, if MIT offered reasons for why a person was not admitted, they could open themselves up for all sorts of frivolous discrimination law suits–not to mention, there may not be one tangible reason they can put their finger on–it’s not like they write down a reason for not admitting each person while they’re going through the admissions process, and they probably don’t have the time to answer individual requests that would require them to re-read whole applications–especially since there a probably many such requests.

  66. Casey says:

    Hi Laura and Class ’11!

    I’m Casey and before you get confused, yes I’m a girl! : ) Actually the interview guy I had for MIT was “pleasantly surprised” to find that out when I showed up! haha

    I’m from Florida and I will be coming to CPW! Super excited! I found out I was admitted on my dad’s bday (st patty’s day) and he was like, “this is the best birthday present ever!”

    I really just wanted to leave a comment so I could get that warm and fuzzy feeling when I showed up to CPW! : ) But I also thought you did a good job of handling the angry rejectee! so hooray!

    Looking forward to meeting the wonderful Class ’11!

    -Casey Hua

  67. Maryia says:

    Hi Laura,
    I’m Maryia Lu from Duluth, Georgia. Being from the South, I feel a little out of place but extremely excited to be going to MIT! ^_^

  68. chrissie says:

    hi laura,
    just wanted to say mit did not admit me last year, as well as all the other colleges i applied to. but now i’ve been accepted. i suppose persiverance pays in some cases. i can understand the way those who were not admitted are feeling………all i say i courage, u’ll make it.

  69. Alex J says:

    I was admitted, probably against the better judgment of the admissions staff, because I cannot fathom why I was admitted. I think many of the admitted students feel similar to not-admitted (that’s so PC… but rejected sounds so harsh) in that we dont know why we were chosen either. But i DO NOT think it was based on SAT scores, or money, or science awards, or grades–the decisions were based on all of that and more. Yes, I have good grades. But no, I did not score very high on my SATS: I wasnt even in the middle 50%. I would like to honestly believe that the committee had some valid, thought out rationale (though unknown to all of the 12,000 or so applicants) for each decision.

    and i’d like to say that it is AWESOME that this comments box has spell check.

  70. milena says:

    still-angry rejected people:


    The admissions people look to me like really fair, objective people, and if they had a”discriminatory towards middle class” people, then I guess I’d be out, because I’m not rich.
    I know you’re disappointed/angry/in denial/whatever, but don’t take it out on them/us. Deal with it on your own and act like mature adults.

    (I really needed to write that because I’m getting UPSET!)

  71. milena says:

    I forgot to say I’m not dirt poor either. lol

  72. Lendz says:

    Rejectee, this i can almost asure you is not true.


    you need not worry about me, ill be fine, perhaps ill build my spaceship with madman, perhaps i will build a reasonable hovercraft that doesnt explode, perhaps life goes on. Perhaps, just perhaps, we might have the luxury of facing off one day. But till then, I will remain what i am. A freelance inventor.

    To all those freelance inventors out thier, remember, thier still exists problems in the world. Or universe if you will; If anything, use this as a motive to build up your mathematics and science skills. Do not break resolve, do not break strengths, do not let your emotions get the better of you, do not wallow in self pity, do not break. We Will Survive.


  73. Lendz says:

    Rejectee, this i can almost asure you is not true.


    you need not worry about me, ill be fine, perhaps ill build my spaceship with madman, perhaps i will build a reasonable hovercraft that doesnt explode, perhaps life goes on. Perhaps, just perhaps, we might have the luxury of facing off one day. But till then, I will remain what i am. A freelance inventor.

    To all those freelance inventors out thier, remember, thier still exists problems in the world. Or universe if you will; If anything, use this as a motive to build up your mathematics and science skills. Do not break resolve, do not break strengths, do not let your emotions get the better of you, do not wallow in self pity, do not break. We Will Survive.


  74. Paul '11 says:

    smile That’s the spirit Lendz. I wish you the best of luck – it’ll be interesting to see how you end up, I bet. It’s been far too long since I’ve talked to anyone from our generation who’s actually excited about next-gen space travel (although I guess rocket science isn’t exactly a big deal here in Indiana…).

    Also, I’d like to echo Lendz’s comments towards “rejectee.” It’s easy to say something slanderous about a college…but it’s far harder to prove it, especially if it doesn’t actually exist anyway.

  75. Naisi Gao says:

    hi Laura,

    I am Naisi Gao, from mainland China. You can call me “Nice”, cuz the pronounciation of my first name in Chinese sounds almost the exact same as the word “Nice”. easy to remember, hum?
    But this nice name is sometimes troublesome, cuz when people shouts “Nice”, I have no idea whether they are calling me or they mean “great/ sweet”. Maybe I will think of a real English name for myself sometime. But up to this point, I am still “Nice”.
    Looking forwards to seeing you in fall!! :D

  76. I most definitely agree with some of you here.. tell me, to those who love to belittle MIT, which other college or rather major institution gives you the sincere and welcoming opportunity to be part of this blog community and feel free to express your thoughts, concerns, or whatever you’re feeling. I think those who are negative about it, step away and reflect a little, and maybe you’ll come to the realization of your stereotypical and prejudiced outlooks..MIT is greater of an honorable and admirable school, so may you please and be more heedful and prudent of your comments because obviously MIT didnt admitted robots to their school instead human-beings such like me -who is waitlisted- and those rejected/waitlisted which makes decisions a whole lot tougher. I understand your dissatisfaction but don’t pour it all on the admission committee that is just being selfish, partial, and demeaning, not being grateful of their hardwork they all put these past months to read each application and debate over your final decision…I hope this will create some type of a reflection to those negative people..
    Yes, i’m waitlisted and yes I feel discontent but still it gives me no right to demean MIT’s admirable attributes as a top-notch school it is..

  77. Sarab says:

    Congrats Adam S. Unfortunatley, I won’t be coming to MIT at all. Oh well,………………..

  78. mukul says:

    I am absolutly agree with the statement of Mr. Matt that
    ” know you’re disappointed, but please know that the assumptions and conclusions you jumped to in this comment are completely, absolutely, 100% FALSE. I honestly can’t off the top of my head think of a single person that I know here who I would categorize as “filthy rich.”

    Because i am selected with a family of annual income 2500$.

  79. Alina M says:

    To Jimmy

    You’re OK Jimmy smile The only weird thing in your life will be the way to the place you belong; For a cool job,a loving family and a bright future you often take what seem the longest detours…but you still get there! I’m taking one myself and learning a lot in the process.

  80. Nick L says:

    Ugg… MIT looks for self starters along with the ability to keep up at MIT. Basically people who will learn and make good use of it. I have been rejected twice now because I havnt been able to show that I can keep up at MIT(C average student), but I know for a fact that I can, and in college I will apply to transfer every time I get a chance. So my point is don’t say MIT is a horrible school cus you didnt get accepted. Just try to portray yourself better next time you apply.

  81. theresa says:

    To all those who want to know why they were rejected:
    I, too, wanted to know why. But I told myself that I wouldn’t go around the admissions website pestering anyone about it, because it would be pointless.

    Seriously, just get over it. We were rejected, and we’ll never know why. Get over it and move on with your life.
    Personally, I like the “sugarcoating” on the letter – I mean, to just give a letter with a big “reject” stamp on it would be highly incongruous to they type of environment they have set up here for applicants (the blog site and everything).

    Congrats to the class of 2011!!! :D have fun at MIT :D (and more smiles to you all!!)

  82. Dou says:

    HI,i am a student from China,nice to write here to say something to you.i’m very interested in MIT,want to know something about this major is electronic information engineering,and in this major MIT is one of the first universities,so i hope to study in MIT very the same time i can make friends there.
    can you send a e-mail back to me ?and tell me specific information about MIT?especial about the information major.thank you very much!
    best wishes..


  83. Anonymous says:

    I have been admitted early since December, but only till this week when I received the financial package, I had to face the fact that my middle class parents might not have a means to pay for my MIT education. They are so sadly frank to me. I smile and nod my head to them to show I understand, but I am actually screaming inside. I am busy readjusting my vision and emotion to “accept” some other nice top colleges that offer me with 4-year full scholarship, air tickets, a nice laptop, BTW I haven’t had one of my own yet, and so on. I wish my parents would win a lottery before April 30 and miraculously all the financial pressure would be relieved over night and I would be able to COME to MIT to see you all. I know I should be happy and smile at the other good offers from other nice colleges. I simply want to cry anyway! Bye, MIT.

  84. Ashley says:

    Applying to college is hard. It’s perhaps the hardest thing we have ever had to do. For the first time, we are being seriously judged, grades, extra-curriculars, essays, recommendations, interviews and told whether a college wants us or not. Yes, some of the rejected are bitter and angry, but this is all understandable given the difficulty of the situation. Luckily for me, I was accepted, but knowing how stressful the wait was, tells me how demoralizing it must be to be rejected. People will come up with excuses for why they were rejected, racism, elitism, whatever, and deep down they know that they aren’t true, but they need something to console them. Allow them the consolation, at least temporarily. Eventually, they will face the truth. My advice is for them to realize that not being admitted into a college isn’t saying you aren’t good enough. It’s saying they aren’t sure. The admissions officers don’t get to meet you or even talk to you. They get a few aspects of you and 12,000 other people. They pick the ones that they are positive will thrive in the environment, and just because you weren’t picked, it doesn’t mean you would not have thrived. If you would have thrived at MIT, then you will thrive else where, and if you wouldn’t have thrived at MIT, then it’s good that you were rejected, so now you can find a place where you will. We are not defined by our college, but by what we will do when we get there. Good luck and best of wishes to all

  85. Karod says:

    This comment is actually for your blog “So who is this Laura person, anyway?” … you look like one of the few people who are willing to try major things in life which need more than the usual struggle… thats pretty awesome… but an interesting pattern is how our ability to change and take up these challenges decreases as one grows older… pretty fascinating coz one generally thinks he/she is above tht but reflection reveals a lot more …. have a nice day !

  86. Vishaque says:

    I have been thinking what it takes to get in MIT; and found some real gems.

    1. You ought to carry a teddy-bear to you school.
    2. You must have a titanium shaving kit, made by Gillette especially for you.
    3. You ought to be rich, extremely rich; and in case if you are not then you should brace yourself to lose your $65, probabilistically 96%.
    4. The so called, much drummed “match”, is nothing but the ability to be INERT, in the class, since they don’t want guys who will stand up and question the professors that what they had been doing from 17-18 years.
    5. From all your application this thing, extracted out, that whether or not you are a radical element, the more inert more “WE-MATCH-EACH-OTHER”.
    6. These guys are convinced that whatsoever they are/have been doing -beacuse they all can do the most difficult thing in this universe, i.e. they can sum up anybody on this planet in two pages- is the best/perfect, so as usual consequence in next 15 years, MIT will lose all the fame that it had gained through selections of Feynman and Louis de Branges and likewise.
    7. One should question himself, whether one really wants to join an Institute, whose greatest achievement is preparing “2 Minutes Noodle”.

    God Bless William Barton Rogers.

  87. Come a month or two, people will move on, it happens. I didn’t get into my firt choice, or any out of state school for that matter, but I just realized that being at BIG STATE U has given me SOOO much more opputunities than going to any other school would’ve with the exception of another BIG STATE U (Ohio State perhaps but seriously a buckeye???) or MIT. Universities aren’t want they always seem. BIG STATE U is a very inexpensive and well connected place. Besides you are no less of a person going to little town U, MIT, or Big State U. I tell myself when I’m applying for things that “I’m going to do great things, it’s just a matter of if employer/school wants to take part in my greatness.” In the end, it is YOU who is going to do great things and be happy NOT MIT or anyone else!!

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  89. Vishaque says:

    Come a month or two or three or four or five. What do you know about me? 12×7=84 months. The fire is still burning. If you are not me, then you cannot understand me, (as a matter of fact, your IQ … ..And I have thought you are from that America, which has been visited by Vivekanand ). Guess the number of girls, whom I turned because I knew I am not on this planet for this all. But guess what, I am free now. I just lost much time, believing stuff from 17th century. Somebody told me: Life and times of Lincoln are over. That’s where I went wrong, I did not believe him.

    Now it is my turn to pay. And I am paying. But I will at least try to make this environment transparent, so if anybody like my background tries to apply, then he will see my head hanging and at least, can save his time, effort, trust which were going to be misplaced and $65.

    *Mens et Manus*