Here are a couple of other good questions that I have been asked by applicants. Maybe they will help you too. If I didn’t address your question in this blog, shoot me an e-mail and I will try to get it answered in a Q&A Part III blog.
Q: I got a question…Referring to the application fee:“Full name of the applicant must be on the money order’. How can I indicate that someone else is providing the fee?
A: Just make sure that YOUR name appears on the money order! Bugs Bunny, Santa Claus, Miley Cirus……, it really doesn’t matter who is writing out the money order. We just need to know which students have paid their fee so we can go ahead and read your application. Get it? Got it? Good.
Q: I have a question about one of the short answer questions. There is one that asks applicants to describe a situation/project/idea in which they used their creativity. If the situation I describe doesn’t relate directly to the field or major I want to apply (i.e. doesn’t convey an obvious love for math or science), will the admissions staff get suspicious about that or question the sincerity of the career choice(s) that I may mention elsewhere in the application?
A: Great question (Unnamed applicant)! I should start by saying that we are NOT trying to trick you or be maliciously deceptive with our question. You can write about ANYTHING that you like. If the project that you want to discuss relates to your major interests; SUPER! Kudos to you. However, if it doesn”t relate to your intended major (or science & math), that is COMPLETELY fine as well.
For instance, what if a student indicated that she was interested in majoring in nuclear engineering and wrote about a high school project that she was working on that involved highly enriched uranium……..that would be problematic for us. In this example, having experience does not work to your advantage.
The question is designed to allow you the maximum flexibility to write about science/engineering OR non-science/engineering related projects. So go ahead and write about whatever you like, just make sure to use your creativity. ;-)
Q: Quinton McArthur. What’s good? I have registered for the November 7th SAT and have subject tests December 5th. I really want to apply early to MIT. Can I take the SAT I during the November date and my SAT II subject tests on the December date and still be considered for Early Action?
A: Well (Unnamed applicant #2), I would start by saying that standardized tests are just one part of our holisitc admissions philosophy. Yes, we do consider test scores in the admissions process, but typically they play less of a role than students sometimes assume. If you are applying for Early Action (November 1) you can take the November test date and still be considered for Early. If you are applying for Regular Action (January 1), the last test date that you can take is in January. Just because I care, here is the link for the College Board so you can check the dates. You’re welcome. You’re all welcome!
In your specific case, you will have to be considered for Regular Action because your SAT II subject tests will not be completed until December.
Q: Hello Quinton. I go to a small private religious school, and my whole senior class has only 35 people. With that said, does my class rank really matter?
A: Great Question “Anonymous Applicant #3’! At MIT, we practice something called holistic admissions. In a nutshell, holistic admissions means that we will take into account a variety of quantitative (Standardized test scores, GPA, & yes, class rank…. if your school ranks, etc.) and qualitative factors (extracurricular activities, interview, letters of recommendation, etc.). To be very honest with you, the quantitative factors are helpful, but only to a degree.
Class Rank means different things at different schools. Some schools are really huge and have 2,000 or more students in their senior class (Shout out to all those TX, CA, FL, & IL high schools). Others, like yours are pretty small. Some of the students at MIT have not even attended formal high school. (We have a wonderful population of home-schooled students here and others with non-traditional academic pathways that sometimes do NOT include gradation from high school.) During the evaluation process, we are looking for students who are the best fit and match for MIT. Sometimes, those students who are the best fit for MIT are also the valedictorian of their high school. Many times, students who are NOT the valedictorian of their high schools are the best fit for MIT. We accept plenty of students who were not the valedictorian of their high school. No need to get bent out of shape because you are not the valedictorian. Just do your best, enjoy your high school courses and if you are a great fit for MIT, I am sure that it will come through loud and clear in your application.
Q: What is the difference between MIT & _____________ (Fill in the blank with your choice of “Prestigious Big Name University with lots of money’)?
A: One of the biggest differences between MIT and a bunch of other very cool schools is that, regardless of major, our educational experience is fundamentally quantitative and analytical. You will take a core curriculum (General Institute Requirements or GIRs….by now you know that we love acronyms) that is designed to give you a platform from which to learn how to solve problems!
And then there are the somewhat more difficult aspects to articulate. For instance, paper airplanes…..
This is how most people (including me) make a paper airplane! See? Yaaayyyyyyy!!!!! Fun, right?
This is how MIT students make a paper airplane (I found this one day laying in Lobby 7)……
When I was in Dallas, I was trying to explain this very phenomenon to a young man by using the paper airplane example. He listened to what I told him, paused for a moment, then asked me for one of the publications on my table. He proceeded to fold the exact same paper airplane that I had just shown him (See it in his left hand?). Needless to say, I was impressed…..
….and so were other people as well….
Nevertheless, the point is that MIT students are just a little bit different from most other students on college campuses. They have cooler paper airplanes.