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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

It may have been snowing outside, but inside, it’s raining applications.

Unfortunately, I missed another classic IAP event last night: the annual 6.270 Robot Competition. Modeled after MIT’s world-famous 2.70/2.007 robotics competition, 6.270 throws in an interesting twist: the robots must be autonomous. The competition is so popular, they hold it in the 1200 seat Kresge Auditorium on campus.

Here on my blog, there has been a lot of interesting discussion after my last post, and lots of good questions, too. I hope to answer many of those questions soon, but today I’ll start with the question that seems to be most prominent: what does it mean to be a “good match” for MIT? What do we look for?

  • Alignment with MIT’s mission. The founding mission of MIT was to improve the world through science and technology. The Task Force on Student Life & Learning — aka the “Task Force,” which was formed during my time as an undergraduate to articulate MIT’s mission for the next 50 years (this is a topic for another post) — reaffirmed that mission, stating, “Today, the goal of discovering and applying knowledge for the benefit of society remains at the center of MIT’s mission.”

  • Collaborative & cooperative spirit. The core of the MIT spirit is collaboration and cooperation: you can see it all over the Institute. The homework (“problem sets”) at MIT is designed to be worked on in groups; cross-department labs are very common; MIT is known for its interdisciplinary research; the Open Source movement is powerful here; publishing and sharing of results is the center of academic research. Fostering a collaborative environment is an important part of the MIT community.

  • Initiative. Opportunities abound at MIT, but they must be seized. Research projects and seed money and interesting lectures and all that good stuff isn’t handed to students on a silver platter, but for those students who take initiative, who take advantage of what’s around them, MIT’s resources are unparalleled. Initiative is also coupled with risk-taking.

  • Risk-taking. Asian Mom provided a great quotation from Marilee Jones, our Dean of Admissions:

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