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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Home! by Matt McGann '00

I'm back in the US after three weeks in Asia.

After a long vacation in Southeast Asia, I’ll be officially back in the swing of things tomorrow. It will be a little strange to be back (and for so many people to be speaking English), but I’m excited to begin the new application season for the Class of 2010. My first Admissions trip to Florida starts in less than a month!

Forthcoming blog entries will include a brief recap of my time in Asia, a Questions Omnibus, a continuing of the Meet the Admissions Officers series, a look forward to our upcoming nationwide tour, and an in-depth look at the application and its components.

While I’ve been gone, what have I missed? Any excitement? What was your favorite post while I was away? What are your lingering questions for my first post-Asia Questions Omnibus?

17 responses to “Home!”

  1. Laura says:

    Here’s my vote for favorite mitblogs entry:

    Just go read it.

  2. AG says:

    Hi Matt,

    A question for the omnibus:

    Do you consider US citizens or Green Card Holders who have grown up in countries other than the US among the pool of US educated students, or do you evaluate them vis-a-vis their opportunities, that is among students from the country they have grown up in?



  3. Hello,

    Hope you had a great trip!

    The blogs rock – very entertaining and informative. It’s so awesome to do college research and stalk pepole on the internet at the same time.

    For the Omnibus:

    Do mind if blog-readers stop by to say hello? Kind of last minute, but are you going to be around tomorrow (Friday) morning?

    Haha I met you at Phillips Exeter in the spring, but I’m sure you meet lots of people. Still, it’d be cool to give you a hi-five or something.

  4. madmatt says:


    Since Friday morning will have come and gone by the time the Omnibus is posted, here’s the answer: sure, swing on by! I have a meeting 9:30-10:30am but otherwise should be in the office. I look forward to seeing you!

    — Matt =)

  5. Anthony says:

    Welcome back!

  6. Laila Shabir says:

    Yay you’re back!

    And you didnt miss much.. we’re all busy packing here… and that’s *not* exciting hahah.. wink

  7. Eric says:

    Hmmm, how was Southeast Asia to you, Matt? The first thing I mentioned to my mom when I alighted from the flight that was to bring me here permanently for 10 years was, “Ma, have we entered a furnace?” Haha, and that was Singapore back then.

  8. Anonymous says:

    are you definitely coming to South Miami, FL on Sept 11 then?

    and i enjoyed reading the responses to:


  9. sran says:

    Question, if I may ask one so early: How rigid are the Short Essay word limits? I think I’ve written essays which show me as an individual as well as entertain the admissions official a little bit, as well as giving details. Problem: One essay is 151 words, and the other is 183 words. I’m sure I could drop like 10-20 words from each, but that’s still pretty far over. So how bad would it be?

    Thanks very much.


  10. Crystal says:

    Matt, I have just VERY VERY recently become quite interested in MIT. The problem is, previously I had been most interested in schools that i believe would prefer a strong background in the social sciences to one in actual science. Coincidentally, I have 9 credits in history and government but only 3 in the sciences, all of which are not accelerated in any way (fault of the high school). In addition, i have not taken and did not plan to take physics, which i think you had recommended and which appears to be important for admissions. Would I, as a student with a very strong course background in the social sciences but a relatively weak background in the actual sciences, have a disadvantage? (Considering that I got 720 freshman yr on the biology sat ii, 790 on the math 2, and 800 math on the new SAT)

    Thanks alot,


  11. Crystal says:

    Sry, one more thing: also considering the fact that Im taking calc bc this yr and have thus exhausted my school’s math courses?

  12. sran, Matt’s probably got a better answer on this but I can mention that both of my short essays were ~150 words. I don’t know if I count as the norm though. I _think_ that 151 is fine, 183 you might want to cut down a bit, even though it seems insignificant. I don’t know.

    Crystal, your application is considered within the context of your school. That is to say, as long as you’ve challenged yourself with courses that weren’t “fly-bys” and you do have a passion for learning (be it mathematical or social in nature), you’ll be fine. I feel like I’ve heard that so much it’s just rehashing the same statement haha.

    Again, I could be wrong, but I’m sure Matt will correct me if I am.



  13. sg says:

    Hi. I’m a prospective student, love the blog. I have a question about admissions:

    Exactly how important is taking an SAT II science test? I had been planning to take math, but not science. Compared to other subjects, my high school is a bit weak in science, and the preparation I’d need to take the test wouldn’t fit well into my schedule. This is really nagging at me, since it’s a “requirement”–not just something good to have. If I have a (good) SAT I score and three (hopefully good) SAT II scores, but none in science, how much does that hurt me?

  14. sg, you will not get in without a science SAT II. It is indeed required. Just prepare for it and do your best on it. Buy a review book or two.

    Nabil, this is just my opinion, but I don’t think you should be choosing a school based on whether or not MIT will think better of it. I chose Stuy because I liked it a lot, and because I would have killed myself being bored in a regular public high school. Other than that, considering MIT considers your application within the context of your high school and situation, as long as you challenge yourself in either school, you should be fine.



  15. Nabil says:

    Hey Matt,

    I have just moved from Australia (where I did 10th and 11th grade) to North Carolina. I am in a position to choose between two public high schools to graduate from. I can either go to Raleigh Charter High School which is a 20 min drive to the middle of the city, or Cary High School which is the more local school, right down the road. I’m having trouble making up my mind and school starts in less than 2 weeks. This Raleigh Charter High School is supposed to be really good, ranked 9th in the nation by Newsweek. It’s very hard to get into (but since my dad works there, they offered me a spot), has 450 kids, almost every AP course and lots of extracurriculars and stuff. Cary High school has 2400 kids, plenty of extracurriculars and all of the APs I would want to take, and I can walk there. My question is, does MIT really care what high school you come from? In other words, would you prefer it if I went to a normal large high school, or the special highly ranked charter high school? I really have no preference, I think they are both good, but any kind of advice or hint one way or the other would be greatly appreciated.



  16. Eric says:

    Hey sran, both my essays were over the limit, actually… but the online app. form, I think, gave us around +100 more words to work with, so that’s the system being generous on us. I had to cut down my essay around 3 times to reach the same meaning with shorter words – haha, the miracles of an education in Singapore, when they teach you to summarize and crystallize. =P

    So don’t worry about the word limit – if you do the application online, the system will limit you if you get carried away with the writing (like I did).