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MIT staff blogger Dean Stu Schmill '86

More On The Interview… by Stu Schmill '86

You don't need to take up the crumhorn to look "different."

I wanted to offer a few more comments on the interview. While we have a diverse group of ECs (just like the MIT student body) and they may have somewhat different styles of how the conversations will go, the main point of these meetings is for us to learn about the things that interest you and the way you go about pursuing those interests. The interviews are also a good chance for you to learn more about MIT from someone who’s been a student there. College admissions is all about the “match” and these conversations are a way for you and for us to learn about each other in that regard.

To that end, there is no expectation that you should have to prepare anything special for the interview. You should be prepared to talk about the things that interest you and the way you pursue those interests, and think about why MIT would be a good place for you. But those are things that you should be doing for the application, anyway. The interview is simply a way for you to tell us in person.

Some ECs may suggest you bring resumes, some might suggest that you bring something else of interest to your interview. This is not a requirement or an expectation — remember that most students don’t have resumes or other things — but if you have something, feel free to bring it.

Also remember that there are no right or wrong things to talk about in the interview. There is no one profile of student we are looking for — MIT students have extremely diverse interests — and we don’t value one type of activity over another. You don’t need to have pulled a child from a burning building or have solved any of the world’s major problems; nobody else has. Whatever it is that you like to do is great just as it is. You don’t need to glitz it up or embellish in any way. You don’t have to set yourself apart from your classmates (common advice you might hear from college counselors). If you love to play the violin, play the violin – even if your many of your classmates do as well. You don’t need to take up the crumhorn to look “different.”

What the ECs are looking to learn about you is simply what it is that you enjoy doing, and how you have gone about doing those things. Remember that these meetings are supposed to be fun — after all, what could be more fun than talking about things that you love to do!

14 responses to “More On The Interview…”

  1. glareflair17 says:

    thanks again Stu for your helpful advice!

  2. Kaitlin says:

    Anonymous II – Have you re-contacted your EC? Some are more accessible by email than phone, and vice versa, so make sure you use the contact information that you have. Have you gotten any response via email or telephone? I’m sure Stu will answer regarding the consideration, but some ECs are super-busy and it may be appropriate to contact yours again and remind them that you need to schedule an interview.

  3. Bianca says:

    Hi, I’ve had my EA Interview on September 25th, but it still hasn’t been checked off in the application tracker. Is that going to be a problem with my application since I’m applying early?

  4. Thuita Maina says:

    Thanks Stu for your advice. I am getting more and more confident as I do the application process.

  5. Anonymous says:

    How long does it usually take for the interview to appear in the application tracker? I had mine 10 days ago and it has yet to appear. Also, is it alright that I had my interview before I submitted part 1 of the application, or will it create some sort of glitch? (I have already submitted part 1, but this was done after I had my interview).
    Thank you,
    Anxious applicant

  6. Avril says:

    In response to Anonymous –

    The interview often takes two or three weeks to show up in the application tracker. And it’s okay to have the interview before submitting any of the application.

  7. Anonymous II says:

    Hi. Nice post. I presume this must be to counter ‘Ivy Edge’ Anxiety.
    Q. Have contacted my EC way before November, but the interview has still not been scheduled. Will it be considered for Early Action or not?

  8. Kyle says:

    To those who haven’t yet had their interview, this is definately good advice.

    I met with my EC last week, and boy am I glad I decided to give him a call and schedule an interview.

    I brought little more that a wee bit of nervousness and a piece of paper with a few questions on it, while he brought a few informational papers on MIT. I left with a sense of confidence and satisfaction.

    We sat down and talked for about an hour, each of us talking equally about various subjects, ranging from the school itself to broader things including everything from hot rods to social relationships. It was really great because here was a complete stranger to me and here we were having a great, intuitive conversation.

    I would like to thank the MIT admissions team for having the Educational Counselor program; it provides a way for MIT to really see who you are, without having to transpose your soul on to paper.


  9. Marion says:

    I have already had my interview (since I am applying early action). However, I love the advice, and I think that I can truly say that I came across as ME during the interview. It is nice to hear confirmation that my passions and interests don’t need to be changed for them to be of interest at MIT.

  10. Anonymous II says:

    Have contacted him repeatedly. He asked for some stuff (ie a few lines about me) by mail which I sent him and then later as I spoke to him he hadn’t recieved it. over the past month have repeatedly contacted him and 2-3 days ago he said that he had recieved the mail I had sent express, more than 1.5 weeks before. Now am waiting for him to contact me and am unsure of whether or not it will be seen for my EA application that I sent in!

  11. Justin Kim says:

    I had my interview almost 3-4 weeks ago and my status is not checked off for the interview =.

  12. james says:

    My interview hasn’t been checked off either.

    My interviewer put me on the spot though and asked me why I wasn’t applying to another school since I was into music….

  13. ish says:

    Oh no!!
    I know its too late. I came across the whole thing on November, 17 and created myMIT id rightaway.
    But the last day for scheduling the interview is December 1 and I have neither sat for SAT nor ToEFL. I don’t even have any information about obtaining the visa.
    I would like to pursue Electronics or Computer Engineering.