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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Meet the Admissions Officers: Ben Jones by Matt McGann '00

Name: Ben Jones; Job title: Communications Dude, MIT Office of Admissions; Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Name: Ben Jones
Job title: Communications Dude, MIT Office of Admissions
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
High school: Gilman
College: Oberlin, 1996, English & Environmental Studies double major, minor in film
Favorite things about MIT: Other than Matt McGann’s blog? [seriously, this is what Ben wrote. Honestly, I’m a bit embarrassed -mm] Without a doubt, the students. They are all so different and yet you can look at any one of them and say “now *that’s* what MIT’s all about.” And the energy that the students collectively create – impossible to describe, must be experienced. Another of my favorite things about MIT is hacking, but it’s been quite some time since we’ve seen a truly mind-blowing hack. Someone needs to do something about that.
Favorite things about Boston: The local music scene, the youthful feel of the city (250,000+ college students can have that effect on a place), the restaurants, the WORLD CHAMPION BOSTON RED SOX (WOOOOOT!), The $5 Large Cheese Special at Dial-A-Pizza (in Somerville), Walden Pond, the Public Garden, 80’s night at ManRay, the way the air smells in the fall, our kickass public transportation system, and the fact that more than a city, it’s really just a collection of neighborhoods, each with its own distinct energy and passion.
Favorite movies: To Kill A Mockingbird, American Beauty, Swingers, and dare I admit it, I watch Dazed & Confused at least once a month. And if we’re really getting into my secrets, I have a thing for the first 5 Steven Seagal movies (everything after the first 5 sucked).
Favorite TV: The OC, Alias, and Lost are the only 3 hours I give up for TV each week. But I never miss an episode.
Favorite music: Tremulant, Counting Crows, Coldplay, U2, Incubus, Mars Volta, Death Cab For Cutie, and anything from the 80’s
Favorite books: Frog & Toad, Bridge to Terabithia, Where The Red Fern Grows, Ender’s Game, To Kill A Mockingbird, Blindness. But even Blindness, which won the Nobel Prize for Literature, pales in comparison to your applications.
Favorite food: Pizza, followed closely by a medium-rare Tenderloin Steak covered in Bearnaise. Oh, and martinis – do they count? Can I say that here?
Favorite cartoon character: dude, the little mermaid was HOT. But in the spirit of MIT, I’ll go with Speed Racer’s car. That steering wheel was dope.
Advice about applying to college/MIT: Two things – first, put yourself – your true self – into all of the subjective parts of the application, especially your essays. When readers feel a human connection to an application, it makes them search even harder for a reason to admit you. In other words, we don’t connect with pieces of paper, we connect with people. So make sure that your application is a compelling window into who you really are. Second, maintain perspective throughout the entire process. Hopefully everything will work out and you’ll get into MIT or another top-tier school that you love. But if not, remember that there are many roads to happiness and fulfillment. Check this out – I didn’t even break 1400 on my SAT’s, and yet I had the time of my life in college (at a school that was ranked -YIKES- only #20 or something in USNWR), I have a wonderful wife, two wonderful children, a house, a job that I love, food on the table, and the means to follow my passions like playing in a rock band. I’m happy with who and where I am. All that without going to one of “the top ten schools in the world.” Shocking, isn’t it? ;-)
Fun fact about yourself: I’ve recorded 7 CD’s since 1995, played hundreds of shows in 10 different states on both coasts, won songwriting competitions, and still – I have yet to make a cent of profit playing music.

26 responses to “Meet the Admissions Officers: Ben Jones”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Another of my favorite things about MIT is hacking, but it’s been quite some time since we’ve seen a truly mind-blowing hack. Someone needs to do something about that.

    Typcially, the sort of hacks described as “mind-blowing” happen every two to three years. Assuming that the last one was the Wright Flyer, it’s been a year and eight months. So this is normal enough. grin

  2. I have this odd feeling some of the ’09ers might have a hack planned. I don’t know why I have that feeling. It’s odd.

  3. Meder says:

    LOST… wow, it started in local TV (here in Kyrgyzstan) like a month ago…

    Mike, maybe that feeling appears from the name Borohovski that is on the list of the 09′ hackers…

  4. Saad Zaheer says:

    I definitely had to say what mike said above, I too feel that the ’09ers have a hack planned!

    Its an excellent profile.. a REALLY COOL photo of Ben! and I loved this remark,

    “But even Blindness, which won the Nobel Prize for Literature, pales in comparison to your applications.”

    is it satire or admiration! (I will have to read this book to see! smile)

  5. Meder,

    I have no idea what you’re talking about. What list? What’s hacking? You’re crazy, I’m just trying to find my way to Baker house.



  6. Laila Shabir says:

    hahah mike you crack me up…

    Hacks hmm!! Im not doing anything *angel face*

    hahah wink

  7. Laura says:

    Oh Ben, you flatter us. Really now.

    And I love Ender’s Game too.

    Why do I know nothing about this hack that isn’t being planned?

  8. What hack? What the hell is with you people?

    (Laura: im me)



  9. Saad Zaheer says:


    same here man, no plans whatsoever!

  10. Ben says:

    Don’t worry, no staff members read this.

    And whatever you’re not planning, I am excited for it!

  11. Jessie says:

    What the heck? I like being coy as much as anyone, but this is a public Internet forum whose readership includes MIT staff members, and you’re commenting under your own names; do you guys not understand the concept of plausible deniability? Or discretion? I know you’re excited about coming to MIT, and I look forward to you showing up, *friendly smile* but let’s use a little common sense.

    And I haven’t even mentioned the concept of “having a clue what you’re doing before you start making plans”.

  12. Well, then, just make up a plan, and do it!

  13. Meder says:

    hey people…

    that was just a joke…

    the list that i was talking about above is what have come to my mind when i read Mike’s comment.. is there a real list? i don’t know. is there Mike on that list? i don’t know. sorry buddy…

    even if there’s something being planned, i even have no feeling that it’s aproaching…

    btw… that was a nice profile of Ben smile

  14. Yeah, what the hell.

    Jeez. I hate sarcasm on the intarweb.

    Meder and I were completely kidding.

    There is no list, there is no hack being planned that I know of.

    I do have a feeling, but they’re usually wrong.



  15. What? I actually don’t know what anyone’s talking about. I actually don’t know of anything being planned. I just have a feeling.

    What the hell.

  16. No, seriously…I have no plans. Never did.

    I just have a feeling that some people would.

  17. Anonymous says:

    hi,i think u’re cool.please i want to find out about mit online scholarship program.thanks for the me via [email protected].

  18. Bleh. This is all blown out of proportion.

    I was joking around. It should’ve ended with my first comment.




  19. lulu says:

    good god borski,

    just stop talking.


  20. Justine says:

    Hey, I’m from baltimore too!!! and ironically enough, I go to roland park right across the street smile Not sure if you remember Mr. Vishio (crazy old latin teacher) but I have a feeling he’s retiring soon, so it would be a good thing to visit soon! Later days!

  21. hamad salem says:

    wow , your savoir faire about movis very high ..

    ha ha ha hacks plane !!!!

    u r very witty .. u made me funny .. :D

    i hope ti see u if i passed through MIT next year ..

    see u later .. smile

  22. Mike W says:

    I actually walked by his office during a tour while I was at MIT (and if I remember correctly, it was also your room, too, Matt). I would’ve stopped and visited later, but I was on a real tight schedule for college visits.

  23. Ben says:

    Justine – RPCS, wow! Blast from the past. I totally remember Mr. V, he’s awesome. If you ever visit MIT, drop by 3-107 and say hi – unfortunately Baltimore’s not in my travel territory this year. :-(

  24. Jennifer says:


    The most valuable piece of wisdom you imparted to the rest of us, was in the last paragraph of your bio. Thanks for offering up something to help us parents and our someday MIT applicants keep it all in perspective.