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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

January Questions Omnibus 1 by Matt McGann '00

Some questions answered.

Here goes another Omnibus… sorry if I didn’t get to your question (it takes a long time to compile these, even with the brief answers!).


abstract wrote, “ummm… to break the long debate on percentages, do you know what the name of Nance’s baby is? We’re very curious =D”

I think I’m at liberty to say that Bryan‘s son’s name is… Miles!


Rafael wrote, “wow, thats a bunch of applications! Btw, how many people are actually involved in selecting the class of 2010??”

You can view some of them in the archives if you look for titles that start with “Meet the Admissions Officers”, but I haven’t gotten around to everybody yet.


Manisha wrote, “Does MIT require a Mid Year School Report from International Students? Thats because the form said that it was for US. students only. Or is there a different form we could use?” Michael wrote, “I’m an international Applicant, and therefore am not to fill out the “Mid-Year Grade Report”. However it still shows up as not processed, even though the other US-only section, the “Self-Reported Course Work”, does not even appear on the online tracking. Is this something I should be worried about, or is it not anything to take any particular notice of?” Anon wrote, “Mat i have a question; if your an American who lives outside the US and you school does not follow the US school system do you need to hand in a Mid-Year Report or some sort of supplement for it?” SyRx wrote, “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.” And Anon wrote, “Does anybody knows if I have to send the Mid – Year Report even if I’m not assisting an U.S school system? Please answeer mee!”

Only students in American schools need to submit the Mid-Year Grade Report. Do not worry.


Emi wrote, “I am a Deferred Early Action applicant, and I was wondering if I could still send in supplementary materials and, if so, until what date can I do this?” Renuka wrote, “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?” Steven wrote, “When is the latest supplementary emails can be processed?” Bryan wrote, “I am still in the process of getting my supplementary materials together. I was told that anytime in January is fine. Is that still true?”

Anything you send will be considered up until decisions are mailed. If you want your supplemental material considered within the context of the selection committee, I recommend you send in things by the end of January.


Sid wrote, “How may I ascertain whether the supplementary materials and the financial aid documents I sent have been received and processed?”

You will be able to track you financial aid documents via special financial aid tracking; wait for more information on that. We do not track supplemental materials.


Nicolas wrote, “I am an international applicant and I have mediocre CR and Wr scores on the SAT 1. I have attented a Greek public (government) school in Cyprus teaching us English only 1 1/2 hours a week. Will this be taken into account when reviewing my app? When scores are sent from the college board to MIT are the percentiles and actual raw marks shown?” Ryan wrote, “What is your experience with admission regarding people with low Verbal/CR scores? Is it difficult to be admitted with a 640 CR score? Is it bad if I take the same subject test twice to improve my score?” moonghostv wrote, “How important are the SAT I and II scores of international students for the admissions officers? When I took the SAT I math section and the SAT II Math Level I, the format of the problems and the time limit were completely new to me, and I got only 710 on the SAT I Math and 700 on the SAT II Math Level I. I know many international students score high on the SAT math tests, but I have participated in international leadership programs and have won several national competitions. Can that, along with the fact that I am extremely motivated and hard-working and have shown that in my application, compensate for my bad test scores? My TOEFL scores are better than the SAT I, but I have listed both results in my application part II. Will the admissions office regard my TOEFL results instead of the SAT I?” Varuna wrote, “I sat for the TOEFL on January 14th. The test got cancelled due to some problem with the cassette. I sent an e-mail to the MIT admission office explaining what happened. I expected to get a good score for the TOEFL.. I will take the SAT I on January 28th, but my SAT I score (critical reading and writing) is likely to be lower than what I expected for TOEFL. How will MIT consider this? Please tell me if there is anything I could do, because my entire future depends on this.” Danielle wrote, “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 that I 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 don’t know what to tell you all, except what I’ve said before. Test scores are not the most important part of the application, but they are a consider aspect of things. We evaluate each applicant within their context.


Ryan wrote, “Almost three weeks ago I emailed my EC requesting an interview. I have not received a response. I emailed [email protected] a few days ago explaining my situation. Will MIT look down on me because I have not been interviewed?” And Saad wrote, “I’m from Pakistan and I have the same problem as Ryan; I called my EC and e-mailed him several times to schedule an appointment but got no response whatsoever. The Interview deadline passed weeks ago. The wierd thing is that at frst I was told that there was no EC in my area and my interview has been waived. What should I do?”

Contact the Educational Council office. They will mark your application with the “attempted interview” code. This is pretty much equal in status to the “interview conducted” code.


Csaba wrote, “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 don’t have the statistics to answer to any of these questions, sorry. I can say that the importance of test scores is often overconsidered by applicants, and that most applicants do submit competitive test scores.


Anas wrote, “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?”

We evaluate every applicant within their context. We know that some schools and schooling systems do not have a “summer” like in most of the US, and we will understand that when evaluating applications.


Lindley wrote, “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 YeSeul wrote, “Do you know when you guys are gonna post the date of CPW and all that information on the myMIT portal? If it’s not anytime soon, could you tell me the apprx. dates?”

Keep an eye on your mailbox, a CPW brochure should be there very soon! This year’s CPW will be April 6-9.


Liz wrote, “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?”

Sure, that’s nothing to be ashamed of.


Sukrit wrote, “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?”

That should be fine. One point either way shouldn’t make much of a difference.


Liz wrote, “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)”

That’s fine.


Kinan wrote, “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?”

We evaluate every applicant within their context. We do not expect that applicants live and breathe for the college admissions process, so if you don’t know some of the terminology, don’t worry.


Ismet wrote, “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?”

If you will receive a Bachelors degree from your university, we will not be able to consider you (we do not admit students for a second Bachelors degree). Otherwise, it sounds more like you are a transfer student. You may wish to email the admissions office and ask for your application to be consider for transfer rather than freshman admissions.


Caroline wrote, “I have a sort of random question… Would a student ever be denied the request to defer acceptance from MIT to complete a 13th year of high school abroad? I want to, because I’ll graduate when I’m 17 and I don’t want to be the youngest person (again!) in college.”

I don’t make the decisions about gap years, but my guess is that it would be unlikely we’d deny this request. And, for the record, it would be extremely unlikely you’d be the youngest in your class. I entered MIT at age 17 and I wasn’t even the second youngest person on my dorm floor.


Anon wrote, “i just wanted to ask: how would you compare the admission process and selectivity of MIT with University of Cambridge. Is it possible that if a person is rejected from Cambridge, he might not get into MIT?”

The admissions process at Cambridge (or Oxford) is completely different from the process at MIT (or Harvard, Stanford, Caltech, et al.), It is absolutely possible that a student admitted to MIT would be denied at Cambridge, and vice versa. The same goes for any combination of universities: MIT and Harvard, MIT and Caltech, MIT and IIT, MIT and NTU, whatever. Every university has its own institutional priorities, its own culture, and its own admissions process.


Shikhar wrote, “so whats up at the office these days. Well I was kinda wondering if u could suggest some cool science stuff one should do if he’s taking a gap year (I know we have to decide that ourself) but there’s a friend of mine who didn’t know about US admission procedures and is therefore taking an year off coz he could not apply this year. So he was looking for some ideas on what academic stuff (apart from ones likings) do people do usually if they take a gap year.” And later, Shikhar wrote, “I wanted to ask one thing : can you please tell me about any summer research (not summer schools) programs which are like open to internationals also. I am looking for computer science mainly…also just so u know the thing I once talked abt ‘taking a gap year if not MIT’ is confirmed. I am continuing with my research work and have left other applications so its pretty much MIT for me this year. Which is why I am also looking for good research opportunities to keep myself engaged somewhere.”

Hmm, I don’t know, but maybe some readers can leave some ideas for you in the comments.


tiggeroncourthk wrote, “One of the teachers who wrote my recs had to be out of the country for much of December, and therefore did not make the deadline. Will it still be read? Is there a cutoff point at which you no longer look at official (not supplemental) stuff that we send? Please let me know.”

It will still be read. Everything that is sent up until decisions are final will be considered.


S wrote, “I think I mailed my ISFAA to Room 3-108. Where are we supposed to send the Financial Aid materials?”

Send all Financial Aid materials to:
Financial Aid
Room 11-320
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139


Sofia wrote, “I already sent my Application Part 2, but, while reading the question/answers in this blog I realized I had made a mistake. In the activities section it said you should circle the grade/years of participation, and I didn’t get that they were talking about school years. I didn’t circle any, but in the titles put how many years I’ve been practicing the activity mentioned (except on one activity on which I circled ’10’ because I had been doing it for ten years…) Is there something I could do about this?”

Don’t worry. It sounds like you developed a very clever work-around, possibly even better than what our form asks for!


Anon wrote, “MIT requires the second evaluation to be from a humanities or language teacher. If the applicant has no such teacher available can she use a second teacher from the math or science disciplines? Will it be a negative for the applicant? The history teacher who was to write the rec has taken a leave and the tracker shows the rec is not processed. At this late time the only teacher available to write is not humanities. And what if the history teacher’s rec arrives afterall, is that a problem?”

We understand that sometimes, because of a schooling system’s curriculum, an applicant does not have a humanities or social science teacher. In this case, a second recommendation from another teacher would be fine.


Anon wrote, “I wanted to know what are the most popular home contries of international students admitted?”

Last year, it was Canada, Korea, and China. Who knows what it will be this year.


Felipe wrote, “Hi, I am Felipe (Brazil applicant). I would like to know about deadline for financial aid materials. For international applicants is the same date (March1)?”

The deadline is the same, March 1.


Sam wrote, “Is it necessary for me to send in a CSS Profile before the admissions decision is made? Oh yeah, just what exactly is a priority deadline mean in terms of the CSS profile? Is it the last date or is it the prefered date?”

You should send in the CSS Profile as soon as possible, before March 1.


Dan wrote, “I have not heard ONE reference to any science fair since the 9th grade required science fair project. What am I missing? I live in Bristol CT, and are there actually zero science fair type things going on around here? Let’s just say on my application this coming year, I have no references to any science fair, and in turn no science fair distinctions or awards. Is that really bad? Would you say the majority of the MIT applicant pool has parcipated in events like these? I only have in-school distinctions like science honor society and captain of the math team type things.”

It is not really bad. I would not say that the majority of applicants have participated in a science fair. But It is true that most applicants have participated in some kind of math and science beyond the formal curriculum.


Anonymous wrote, “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.”

I would not send another copy, unless you have a common name (and, judging by the comments I’ve seen, “Anonymous” is a very popular name). We cannot track supplemental material.


Rizwan wrote, “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?”

You may notify the admissions office by email. I can tell you it is unlikely to make a significant impact on your application.


David wrote, “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?”

I don’t know; the music supplements are forwarded directly to the Music Department. Use your best judgment.


Anon wrote, “In the additional information section of my application, I describe a digital image that I created. My description highlights all the features of the painting I wished to discuss – but I now feel sending a copy of the image in would complement my description and enhance my application. I am aware that the focus of the supplementary question might only be describing the work…and I now find myself at a crossroad… Would the MIT Admissions Office welcome/accept a copy of the image I describe, if I send a copy by mail (the image is small and on regular printer paper)? Should I submit the copy, having the opportunity to?… or would sending the copy create a hassle?”

You may submit a copy by mail and we would consider it.


Prashant wrote, “One question. I’ve sent a few photographs that I had taken, as part of the supplementary materials. Although q.13 asks us to describe a thing your created, well, i didnt know what to write about the pictures as, well, to use a cliche, a picture is worth a thousand words. Do i have to send any thing else describing those pictures?”

I haven’t seen the pictures, so I can’t say, but I suspect it will be self-evident.


Juan wrote, “Is it possible to send some photographs as Supplemental Information? In question 13 of Part 2 of the Application, I wrote about a personal invention, but I could not send anything by the website so I would like to share with you some pictures of it!…..or maybe it’s too late”

You may still send in supplemental pictures.


Shikhar wrote, “I have recorded a song and well hope to record one more. They are both in Hindi as I have the instrumental for only these two. Should I send them. The songs are one of the most beautiful songs present in Hindi music industry but i wonder whether they will be much help to my admission application.”

You may send them if you wish. They will be forwarded to the music department for consideration.


Sam wrote, “i was thinking about what supplememntal materials to send MIT and I realized the best supplement would be me. I’m gonna be on campus from Jan. 23-26. is there anyway I can talk to you or the other admissions counselors? Any recomendations on what I should see?”

It is quite unlikely you will be able to meet with any of the admissions officers, as most days we are out of the office reading applications. Further, we do not make appointments to personally meet with deferred students. As for what to see, I’m sure readers will have some recommendations for you in the comments, but I recommend picking up the orange “Visiting MIT” brochure, which I think does a very good job of offering suggestions for your visit.


Anon wrote, “can i send in recordings in mp3 form… in email attachments?”

At this time, we cannot accept mp3 attachments.


Any wrote, “I’m a regular applicant from Hong Kong. I’ve joined my school’s Chemistry Olympiad (a scientific investigation competition)team, but didn’t include it in my application because I was still looking around for a suitable topic. Now my team has finally found a nice topic, and is doing the laboratory investigations (I’m enjoying every bit of it). Do you think I should write to the admission office about this competition, even though the investigation results & report wouldn’t be ready until March?”

If you feel this is important, you may email admissions with this information and it will be considered.


thatolchestnut wrote, “even if we fax you a copy of the letter of rec, did you want us to remail a hardcopy of the rec?”

It’s probably a good idea, as sometimes faxes are not completely legible.


Amit wrote, “I am a student from India. I have sent all the mailing materials directly to MIT’s main address, instead of the Undergraduate Office at MIT. Will this cause a problem?”

It should not be a problem.


Yi wrote, “I just got a Science Fair award. Is it too late to send it to you? I can send it in by using fedex.”

You may email or mail us the information. You do not need to spend the extra money on Fedex.


Rodrigo wrote, “I have just realized that I made a very small mistake in my App part 2. The correction of that information may not seem too crucial, but I won’t sleep in peace until I know if there’s any way to correct it…”

I hope you’ve been sleeping in peace anyway. Feel free to email admissions with this correction.


Andy wrote, “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?”

We cannot print out items sent in on CDs (or memory sticks, or whatever), nor can we view it while we review applications, except for art supplements, which will be forwarded to arts evaluators. You should send other supplements in on paper.


Anon wrote, “a quick question…will sending more references be a benefit to the admission process…?”

No. The quality of recommendations is important, not the quantity.


Ajit wrote, “I have a question for the next questions omnibus- I want to partcipate in the RSI 2006.I visited the site and found that there is a different sellection process for international applicant and a different application deadline too.I contacted the vice precident(administration) via email and requested the contact informations of a RSI representative in INDIA to get a clear understanding of the selection procedure.He/She asked me to contact after 2 weeks.I know a little about the RSI and the deadline is fast approaching.Can you please give me contact informations of a person from INDIA who can help me while filing out the application.”

I’m sorry, I cannot. You should continue to be in touch with the CEE.


Anon wrote, “Could you please tell me in details how to apply for an undergraduate programme?Please I am from India and it’s seeming a very complicated process?Is it really so?well I’m 16yrs old,am i eligible for the programme in 2007?”

You should read the MIT Admissions website,


Anon wrote, “How much does being a Siemens Westinghouse Semifinalist and Intel Semifinalist help in terms of admission to MIT?” And another Anon replied, “I hope being Siemens or Intel doesn’t help much because I didn’t get it. I hope that just participating is enough.”

Both participating and being honored in these competitions is considered. Doing research at the high school level is a terrific thing, and being recognized for that work can be even better.


Anna wrote, “I just wanted to ask how applicants who used the paper application can track their application status? I’m from Lahore, Pakistan and the mailing system is not very reliable – I just want to make sure that all my materials have arrived safely. Please tell me all the required steps I need to take to do so.” Seve wrote, “Pls how do i get to track my application on my MIT?I dont have MIT ID yet.” Nina wrote, “I have sent my application via ordinary air mail. Yesterday I tried to track my application, but there was a required ID which I do not know. Please tell me how to proceed and how to get my ID.” Xing Wei wrote, “I have already sent out all the materials last month, but I am still unable to track my status online.” Priyanka wrote, “I submitted my application through the mail on December 22nd. Is the tracking on MyMit just for online applications? I can’t find anything on my account. Or will it show up when you process my paper application?” Dhrubo wrote, “I sent my application via DHL, and the DHL tracking system shows that it has been received on 27th December by M DIAMOND. But, I haven’t yet received the MIT online tracking number via my email account. Since you people have already processed all app materials, shouldn’t I be getting an MIT app ID via email by now? Or should I be worried? Pls advise…”

Please be patient and wait for your MIT ID number to arrive in the postal mail. The ID number will allow you to track your application online.


moonghostv wrote, “Something I read on an internet site really shocked me. The article said that an admissions officer will stop reading the essay and deny admission to the student just because of a typing mistake. Is that really true? Isn’t it unfair to international students, who might make a grammar or awkward word usage mistake because they are not native speakers?”

That’s not true, not at MIT, and I’d be surprised if it were true anywhere.


Chandresh wrote, “Matt said, ‘Between the early and regular action applicants I’ve already seen, I am disappointed to know that we won’t be able to find room for all of the many, many terrific applicants.’ Does this mean the waiting list will have a record size?”

I doubt it. I suspect the waiting list will be similar in size to last year, but that determination will not be made until much later.


Fadl wrote, “I have a question. Seeing as the number of applicants that have applied this year are up 7.5% from last year does this mean that you might be planning to increase the number of those admitted (Hopefully)?”

The number of students we admit is not dependent on the number of applications we receive (assuming the applicant pool is sufficiently large, which it is). Which is to say, we will not increase the number of admitted students because of the upswing in applications. Sorry.


Anon wrote, “I have heard various comments on the quota of int’l students taken by MIT. In the other blog, a percentage of 8% was given, which comes around to be roughly 115 students. Does anyone have any idea how many exactly will be taken? any quotas for individual countries?”

I don’t yet know how many international students we will admit this year. It is true that in the international process, we admit by country, but we admit without quotas by country or region.


Jess wrote, “I have a question. Every year at Acalanes High School in Lafayette, CA somebody comes to speak about MIT, and I went two years ago. Are you the guy who spoke that year? Because I’m pretty sure his name started with an M. All I can remember is that he had brown hair, name started with an M and he stood on a chair :)”

Yup, that was me =)


Anon wrote, “I just had a quick question. Is it true that having references from well known people or MIT Alumnis act as an advantage to your admissions?”

No, it is not. It is the quality of the recommendation that matters, not the quality of the recommender.


thatolchestnut wrote, “Good luck and keep up the good work. I imagine [mail processing in the Records Office] somewhere along the lines of this right now

Thanks for the link�Ķ the folks in the Records Office got a real kick out of it =)

54 responses to “January Questions Omnibus 1”

  1. Saned says:

    My schoolsent everything in one envelope and everything is on the tracking system except the secondary school report which was 100% sent. My school resumes on Feb 7th what should I do?!! I sent a letter to the admissions office but they havent responded yet!

  2. Saned says:

    My schoolsent everything in one envelope and everything is on the tracking system except the secondary school report which was 100% sent. My school resumes on Feb 7th what should I do?!! I sent a letter to the admissions office but they havent responded yet!

  3. Thanx for your answer Matt!:)

  4. anon says:

    Wow! Newborn baby named Miles! Miles to go before he sleeps.

  5. Waleed says:

    Hi Matt,

    I was assigned an interviewer in Karachi(Pakistan), but since it is very far from where I am based, I decided to ask an alumni from Lahore (who was assigned to a friend also applying to MIT) whether he could interview me. He agreed, but my interview wasnt processed for about a month so i sent the “conducted interview form” to you and waited for another 2 weeks or so. However, my interview is still not processed so i wanted to know whether i should contact my interviewer myself or not.

  6. Mahsa says:

    Hi Matt,

    I have a question :

    Does International olympiad of Astronomy(IAO) have any effect on our application such as IOI??

    (for Computer science or EE)



  7. Kim says:

    Wow… posting past midnight is real dedication. Thanks for answering everyone’s questions yet again!

  8. shikhar says:

    well mahsa I would say any olympiad is impressive..And also MIT does not admit with regard to department so dont worry all your activities count.

    Good god Matt, u really are a workhorse…I mean to answer all those questions in the middle of reading. Thanks a lot.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Really posting in your site other than admission matters will reduce our chance to enter MIT then please for give us!!!

  10. Mohan says:

    The admission officers are simply super. I achieved a confidence by reading their words.

  11. Thank you Matt for the anwsers!

  12. Dinah says:

    Hi Matt,

    I realize you’re busy but if you manage to pick this question up in the next omnibus I would definitely appreciate it.

    I gave my guidance cousulor the Secondary School Report back in October/November. She definitely sent it, however it is not showing up in the tracking box so I had her fax it last Friday (20th). How long should it take for the Report to show up in the tracking box? How severely will the late Report count against me?

    Thank you for keeping this blog. It’s definitely one of the best features of this or any other admissions website.

  13. Nina Toleva says:

    Hi Matt! I wrote you a few days ago / I couldn’t track my application online because I did’t know my ID/ and I know you are very busy but… I still do not know what to do. I mean, isn’t there a faster way to understand what is my ID number. I’m still worried, because by the time I shall receive the letter with the information, it’ll be too late to fix the things up /if there is something wrong/. Please, please, please, help me.

  14. Kurt Cobain says:

    As I was reading your responses, I was sensing an angry vibe, seemingly coming from the redundant and common questions that you received.

    For example:

    Applicant: (long explanation of a situation and everything about it going on and on and on and on, with every detail………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..)

    Your response: That’s fine.

  15. Haha Matt, Im glad you enjoyed it =P.

  16. Dear Matt

    Thanks for the reply!

    I hope you get to read my application. If you do, please tell me what you thought of my photos!




  17. Fadl says:

    Thanks Mat for anwering our questions it really means a lot to us smile

  18. Raghav says:

    Thanks a lot for the answers, Matt.

    Regarding one of the questions abt the GYLC – I received a couple of nominations for this and for a Johns Hopkins leadership program but didn’t attend or write abt them on my app because of an anyone-who-writes-to-me-must-be-bad attitude. Did I do the right thing or do they matter?

    Thanks a lot again for looking up from the 11,231 pile to answer our questions.

  19. joseph K says:

    Is Joanne C. still at MIT Admissions? She was my freshman advisor few years ago, just wondering if she’s still there.

  20. Anas Maghfur says:

    I posted this same question around Jan 3rd but I believe you were too busy to respond. I submitted my essay but what I thought was my final draft turned out to be the second last draft. There’s not much difference between the two which is why I thought I was submitting the right essay. The main difference was the way I expressed the conclusion. Can I send my actual final essay?

  21. U3 says:

    How many intl. students are Indians? We inundate MIT with applications but how many of them are worth something?

  22. Renuka says:

    Really amazed by the openness at MIT -particularly the admissions process. I think it is perhaps the only institution in the US that shares the pictures and details of all their admissions officers.

  23. Renuka says:

    Really amazed by the openness at MIT -particularly the admissions process. I think it is perhaps the only institution in the US that shares the pictures and details of all their admissions officers.

  24. Jake says:

    Hey Matt, thanks for answering so many questions. I hope I’m not taking up too much of your time by asking you one, too.

    When is the latest acceptable time to send in Mid-Year Reports?

    I know you said ASAP, but my school’s system is notorious for messing up people’s transcripts. Especially people like me who take weird courses at a local university. Some of the mistakes I’ve had to deal with included a class showing up with the incorrect title or with the incorrect number of credits, but these are minor compared to what happened last year: I had the incorrect grades show up! It took me two weeks to get the situation fixed.

    So that’s why I’m asking how late you will accept Mid-Year Reports. The grades will be available sometime next week, but I just want to make sure everything is accurate before I have my counselor send them because after all, this is my application to MIT!

    Thanks for your time.

    Best wishes,


  25. Anonymous says:

    “Send all Financial Aid materials to:

    Financial Aid

    Room 11-320

    77 Massachusetts Avenue

    Cambridge, MA 02139″


    I sent my Financial Aid materials to room 3-108, too.

    In that case I am very much looking forward to the Financial Aid tracking system to see if you have processed them anyway.

  26. Vaibhav says:

    p ‘Lo There /p

    p Reading the Omnibus, and this bit stuck out: /p


    thatolchestnut wrote, “even if we fax you a copy of the letter of rec, did you want us to remail a hardcopy of the rec?”

    It’s probably a good idea, as sometimes faxes are not completely legible.


    (Please pardon the almost-HTML…)


    All of my teachers save one mailed in their recommendations. My Chemistry teacher was the only one who faxed it, because the “system” (US Postal system) lost the mailed version of the letter three times in a row. Once she faxed it, it went through, and the “Tracking” box says that the letter was received. If I called in, could I know if it was actually legible?



    Secondly, my choir teacher wrote me a recommendation letter that is seperate from the others; is there any way of knowing whether or not it was received? I’m not quite sure if it was filed under “optional reference” or not…


  27. Fadl says:

    Hi Matt i just have a quick question.

    How important are teacher evaluations? I mean does having a really good evaluation really increase your chances of getting accepted? Just wondering

    Thanks for your time Matt I really appreciate it.

  28. U3 — the MIT Registrar’s office publishes the list of home US states and countries for undergrads and graduate students. The current year’s list can be found here:

    You’ll see that there are currently 10 undergraduates from India, and 215 graduate students.

  29. Anas Maghfur says:

    I took O-Levels then IB. I’ve sent my IB results months ago; can I send my O-Levels results as well? Do you even care about the O-Levels?

  30. applicant says:

    hey Matt I was wondering whether a 740 on the Math I is a good score considering that the mean score for this test is lower than that of the Math II. Another question, does a 680 on CR require me to take a TOEFEL seeing as I’m an international applicant? Thanks

  31. Anas Maghfur says:

    I took O-Levels then IB. I’ve sent my IB results months ago; can I send my O-Levels results as well? Do you even care about the O-Levels?

  32. Robb Carr says:

    Shikhar: I have actually decided to not apply this year as well…but its not really a gap year since I was planning on skipping my senior year of highschool. Anyway interesting ideas for things to do:

    Contribute to open source software: If your friend is into software development its certainlly something worth getting into. A by no means comprehensive list, but a good list of some interesting open source projects as of now which should be fairly easy to get a basic patch in for:

    Open office:

    An interesting project, written mainly in c++ and extensible in Java and Python. Basically a microsoft word replacement.

    Mozilla, Firefox, etc:

    Does firefox really need a description? lots of small bug fixes that would definetly be useful.

    Ubuntu Linux:

    A quickly growing linux distribution based around debian, designed to be more of a desktop linux however. Lots of stuff one could do here. A bit easier for someone new to get involved in developing rather than say…Debian which has a bit of a hierarchy at this point.


    A 3d modelling package which has had alot of nice improvements lately, maybe something to work on for a more advanced programmer.

    Perl 6:

    not exp log srand xor s qq qx xor

    s x x length uc ord and print chr

    ord for qw q join use sub tied qx

    xor eval xor print qq q q xor int

    eval lc q m cos and print chr ord

    for qw y abs ne open tied hex exp

    ref y m xor scalar srand print qq

    q q xor int eval lc qq y sqrt cos

    and print chr ord for qw x printf

    each return local x y or print qq

    s s and eval q s undef or oct xor

    time xor ref print chr int ord lc

    foreach qw y hex alarm chdir kill

    exec return y s gt sin sort split

    Awesome points for anyone who knows what that does?

    Anyway those are just a few ideas in computer science, contributing to free software certainlly seems like a good use of time.

    I have to go for now…ill post some math ideas I have sometime soon…and a few physics…eh, hope it helps

  33. Robb Carr says:

    Oh and


    Captain Jean-luc Picard? (

  34. Joe says:

    I don’t know anything about perl, but, as far as I can tell, it has to do with circles; possibly the length of a given chord?

  35. Vicky says:

    Hi, Matt. Thank you for all your responses. I have another question :b

    In my application, I mentioned that I am taking spring semester classes (Math & Chem) in Princeton University. However, at that time, I didn’t know for sure what those classes are. Do I need to notify the admission office about which specific classes I am going to take since I just got them settled down?

    Thank you again…..

  36. that is a LOt of questions.

    Matt, you are amazing

  37. Robb Carr says:

    Nothing about perl! OH NOES!

    Quick! learning perl by oreilly !

    Anyway its actually what is referred to in the perl community, a JAPH, in that it prints out Just Another Perl Hacker, and its a bit of a tradition to try and create increasingly convulted ones.

    Whats interesting about that one is it uses only language keywords, which is rather…a feat of programming…if useless

    More fun perl!

    perl -e ‘print “PRIME” if (1 x shift) !~ /^(11+)1+$/’ xxxx

    (I am not the author of either of these, just things I thought people might find interesting)

  38. Rohit Nair says:

    About those open-source projects…

    I think you’ll have to have a pretty decent programming level to be able to contribute to those…I’ve tried kernel hacking once or twice…but now I prefer to stay out of stuff. The problem is, each of those projects have their own coding style and stuff, and I get tired of abstracting mine to all of those. I’ve done a quite a bit of work modding phpBB though, because their coding style is similar to mine. smile Unfortunately my mods aren’t available to the public, because I’ve done them all as part of a team for a site, and the site doesn’t want to release them publicly.

  39. Lerh Feng says:

    Any of you collect stamps? Because I was wondering what happens to all the exotic stamps you get from all over the world ^_^.

  40. s says:

    Thanks for answering. I wonder what you guys at Room 3-108 are going to do with my Fin aid materials.

    I guess I’ll send them again to the right address this time. smile

  41. Senan says:

    I am an international student….I want to learn from you that is there any advantage for the student who has medals from international science olympiads?

  42. usha says:

    can someone tell how to calaulate the GPA for the

    students from india.

  43. Bryan says:

    I am a little bit worried that one of my teachers mixed up some of my letters. I am sending an extra supplemental letter, but when it was given to me, it was with several other letters for scholarships. If you get a letter that is clearly for another purpose, will the student be notified? I assume that it would not be held against the student.


  44. Matt Bayer says:

    Hello, Matt, I am a deferred applicant from EA, I live in the US and I have a few inquires. My standardized test scored were only medicore at best, especially for the SAT II Japanese with Listening test. My EC interview also seemed to focus on my Japanese experience. My questions are these:

    I have maintained an A average for 4 years in the Japanese program my high school offers. Does obtaining a low score on the Japanese SAT II test reflect poorly on my passion for Japanese?

    (If I get accepted to MIT i would hope to minor in Japanese at the very least)

    Also, I left out experiences I had at an Experimental Aircarft Association Camp in Oshkosh, WI during the summer of 04′ Is there a feasible way to include this in my application so it can still be considered?

    Thanks again ~Matt Bayer~

  45. Juggie says:

    I have a question about teacher reccomendations. I’m a student from Saudi Arabia. My school is an Arabic school and the only english class offered is the English language class. Anyway, all my science and math teachers dont really know english really well and won’t be able to express themseleves suffiently to make it a good reccomendation. So, should i take the reccomendation paper to an official translator then let the teachers fill it out in arabic and translate the reccoemendation again after being filled out? Cause, I really dont want MIT admissions staff to think I’m not good enough for MIT because my teachers couldn’t submit a well written reccomendation. Thanks.

  46. your hero says:

    woo…matt bayer

    -your hero-

  47. M says:

    I did my SAT well

  48. Anonymous says:

    I am international applicant. From reading all these blogs and different answers provided in omnibus and bens anual Q & A I found out that expressing our selves is more important than scores. Upto know I sent only MIT application and the essay But last night I realised that the only application will not provide what I am hence I sent 5 works which I done to MIT office. The courier office told that they would reach MIT by 5 days. Will MIT accepts these supplementary. I believe these will suerly help in my admission.

    Am I to late!!!

  49. M says:

    I am international applicant. From reading all these blogs and different answers provided in omnibus and bens anual Q & A I found out that expressing our selves is more important than scores. Upto know I sent only MIT application and the essay But last night I realised that the only application will not provide what I am hence I sent 5 works which I done to MIT office. The courier office told that they would reach MIT by 5 days. Will MIT accepts these supplementary. I believe these will suerly help in my admission.

    Am I too late!!!

  50. ferdinand says:

    Hi Matt,

    I just got this small problem on grades.I was wondering whether the admission office has an idea on the GCE grading system in Cameroon.Well for the GCE O Level,pass grades are A,B and C while for the GCE A Level,pass grades are A,B,C,D and E.I guess this info is useful.

  51. Mike says:

    How strongly does the admissions committee look at the midyear report of a student, specifically a deferred student?

    I unfortunately did not perform as well as I usually have in my previous years of High School, due to a very busy schedule (applications, science research, etc.). And sadly to say, a bit of “senioritis” caught up with me. To give you an idea, I averaged mostly A’s and A-‘s, but my mid-year report will most likely be filled with B+’s.

  52. Siddharth says:

    Umm… I’m not very sure if this is where the questions go, but here I go anyway…

    Until I submitted my application (online), the interview window indicated that there was no EC in my area. However, after the deadline and everything had passed, the window suddenly indicated that there was, indeed, an interviewer. I wish the interviewer’s name had showed up earlier… I really think that an interview would have improved my chances of admission.

    Also, in the area where we were told that we could include anything that would tell the admissions office more about me, I, on impulse, typed in a sort of corny, but funny poem. I hope the poem is taken in the right spirit and that the admissions office does not brand me a “joker”. Thanks,


  53. Siddharth says:

    This is Siddharth again.

    I logged into my MyMIT Account and tried to track my application. It said

    “The application process for entry year 2006 has ended via the mailing of decisions. Best of luck to all applicants!”

    Does that mean that the decisions have already been mailed? A month earlier than was scheduled? And are decisions e-mailed, or snail-mailed? Or are only the successful applicants e-mailed? Also, I haven’t sent my Financial Aid application yet, because the postmark deadline is March 1st. Isn’t the financial status looked at before admission for an international student? How were the decisions mailed before the financial aid application deadline?