In a few minutes I’ll head over to the committee room to begin Day 7 of selection. Things are going well; for some reason I’m enjoying committee this year even more than I have in past years. Maybe that’s just what happens as you become a seasoned admissions officer, or maybe you guys are just awesome and inspiring. Probably a combo of the two.
In any case, selection committee is a pretty intense exercise as far as the brain is concerned, so when you get home at night, you’re not exactly looking to dive into a theoretical physics book. Truth be told, you’re looking to do something as mindless as possible. And this is where my American Idol addiction comes in handy (did the women pwn last night or what?).
I’ve heard that the producers put through the best ~10% and the worst ~10% to Simon, Paula, and Randy – the former because they actually have a shot at winning, and the latter for pure entertainment value. Fortunately, our applicant pool is very self-selective so even the bottom 10% is very impressive. But I have to admit – sometimes I wish we’d get applications from people who have no business applying to MIT to liven up selection committee. (As a guy who is not wired to do science and math, I’d be a prime candidate.)
While I’m rolling with this fantasy, I’d also add Simon, Paula, and Randy to our selection committee, and I’d also have each applicant apply in person. Because then we could have scenes like this:
Randy: Dog, it was just okay for me. You want me to keep it real, right? Alright, it just didn’t work. The curriculum was just too big for you. You should have picked classes that you could have actually passed.
Paula: You know what? You’re a star. Your handwriting is beautiful, you look great, and I really like you. I’m not sure MIT is the place for you, but you’re really going to go far in life and have gorgeous kids and save the world.
Simon: When you do math in public, how do people generally react? Is this an application to MIT or to pre-school? You are absolutely forgettable. I could go into any middle school and find 6th graders I’d rather admit.
Paula: Oh stop, it really wasn’t that bad. You shine, you know fractions really well. You’re beautiful.
Ryan: Would you like to respond to Simon?
Applicant: Um, uh, I thought it was okay…
Simon: You haven’t taken any math since ninth grade, you failed bio, chem, and physics, and you have a 220 on your math SAT. You know when you’re at a wedding and someone has a little too much wine and gets up on stage and tries to integrate? That was you tonight.
Simon: It’s true.
Ryan: If you’d like to vote for this applicant, call 888-MIT-IDOL or text MIT on your Cingular phone which is now AT&T which was formerly AT&T which was formerly Cingular which might be Cingular again in a few months.
Randy: DOG POUND!
Dog Pound: Woot!
And on that note, my friends, selection committee beckons.