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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Questions Omnibus & Fierce Forever by Matt McGann '00

More questions answered, with a few words about yesterday's Fierce Forever 6.

It’s time to answer more questions… You should know that writing up one of these entries takes up a good deal of time, so I’m sorry that my answers are brief, but I hope that by publishing answers to all of your questions, I can help others who may have the same or similar questions. If your question is more in-depth, you may wish to call the Admissions Office during business hours.

Last night, while I was writing up this entry, here’s one of the things I missed on campus:

Fierce Forever is MIT’s student drag show. With over 30 student and professional performers, and an expected attendance of 1,200, Fierce Forever is the largest student drag show in the country.

The past five editions of Fierce have earned significant name recognition for the event at MIT, both in the LBGT and allies communities. Past shows have included national acts such as Girlina, Candis Cayne, Shequida, and Kim Chee, and local performers such as Destiny, Miss Kris, Lisa Newcar, Maya Montana, Mohaganny Brown, Mizery, Heywood Wakefield and Nomi Sparks.

The sixth edition of Fierce Forever will be held on October 29, 2006 in MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, the largest performance venue on campus. In addition to the performers, this year’s show will feature nationally-recognized stand-up comic Margaret Cho.

Anyway, on to the Q & A:

Anon1 wrote, “Does MIT accept rush SAT reports, if I rushed my report last Friday for early action?” And Andrea wrote, “For the standardized test scores, when do the scores need to be received by MIT? I just realized that the regular shipping takes 3-5 weeks while or a rush shipping that takes 2 days (at $26..). Do I need to get the official score reports in by Nov 1?” And Anon2 wrote, “What is the deadline for mailing the SAT scores to the school for early action applicants?”

You do not need to rush your scores to us. If you send them the normal way, I assure you we will receive them in time for early action decisions. And to directly answer Anon1’s question: if you do rush your scores to us, we will accept the report.

anonymous IB student wrote, “Why does MIT Admissions consider IB and AP at the same level of course rigour? 40% of last year’s AP Calc BC takers received 5’s, while approx. 8% of IB exam takers received 7’s. Furthermore, IB courses include Internal Assessment (experimental lab work, math portfolio, literature essays and oral commentaries, field studies) that are additional to examination preparation, unlike AP, where a course can be used to study for the most common questions that come up on the AP exam, etc. It seems unfair to treat IB courses which have set guidelines the same as an AP “course” that usually is just an exam prep course.”

First, I disagree with your assertion that most AP courses are usually “just an exam prep course.” Also, we are well aware of the differences between IB and AP, as well as many other curricula, such as A levels, the French Baccalaureate, ICSE/ISC, etc. We will not advantage students who are in one curriculum over another, but we will consider your curriculum and its relative rigor as part of your context.

Ying Wei wrote, “I have something to ask about Part 2 Section 1 b, something i do for the pleasure of it. Can i really write anything for it? (for instance, just a hobby which i do it daily even if i did not join an organization relevant to it, or something eccentric and makes others regard me as weirdo)”

Like we say in the application, this isn’t a trick question. Yes, you really can write about anything. Writing about a hobby would be perfect.

Anon wrote, “my 11th grade grades arent good…however 12th is ok..and no olympiads..but i took the national talent search exam…but didnt do excellently..but i am excellent at computers…i mean i am really good..and till 10th grade i did well at school..i am into a lot of extra curricular activities..i am HS student council if i do really well on my SATs..including the subject tests…do u think i can make it?please reply…thanks… hopeful international student ’11”

You sound like you could very well be competitive in the international pool. Beyond that, there’s little more I can tell you. Best wishes!

Shabie wrote, “I am an international student from Pakistan Matt. So the chances of getting admitted are pretty slim.I know that. What I wanted to know was that a person with almost 10 As (9As and a B on 89%) in O levels and 4 As in A/S level is how much likely to get admitted (provided most As on 95 or above)? And how many people apply from Pakistan as undergraduates? I really want to know the numbers to calculate the probability of my getting admitted.”

I can’t help you calculate your odds. You do sound like you’ll be competitive in the international pool, but beyond that I can’t help. All I can say is to apply and see how it turns out. Best wishes!

Anon wrote, “matt…when i log into says my EC’s details will be posted there within the “next week”..uh..that was 2 weeks ago…i’m an international student(india)…therefore applying for regular action…but i’m beginning to get worried…help!!!”

Assigning international ECs is a very time consuming process. I hope you (and all of the other international applicants) can be patient with us as we manually assign ECs for students across the world. Thanks.

Rupa wrote, “In my school(India) there weren’t many extracurricular opportunities, & I didnt participate often. I didn’t even participate in many activities in my community. But there are a lot of things I do at home, just because I am interested in them, although I did not join any club/organisation for them. So, should I write about these in the extracurricular section or the Additional Information section of the application, listing them as activities of my interest ?”

Rupa, you absolutely should write about the things you do at home. “Activities” doesn’t mean just organizations and formal activities, it means any of your activities. We’re interested in all of this.

Tina wrote, “How many girls applied EARLY last year? and how many got in EARLY? Does the title of “National Merit Scholar semifinalist” help any bit in your decision of admitting a certain applicant? Our temporary school rank is not official yet. My rank will go up a lot more after this fall semeater, but you will not be able to see it while you review my EA application by December 15. Is school rank, in my case simply an unofficial one, very important to you Admission Commitee?”

I have the admitted numbers, which were 177 young women admitted early, out of a total of 377 early admits (47% of admits). The national merit scholarship competition has some nice honors for you, but it will not play a big role in our admissions process. If a school provides a rank, we will consider it in the admissions process, and if you are deferred, we would consider any updated rank in regular action. I hope this is helpful.

Thuita wrote, “I have made two websites which I would like to present to the admissions office. Do I have to make a copy of the site in a CD and send it to MIT or can I refer them to the URL and have a look at it online? Can I have a peer recommend me? I think peers can say more of me than my teachers can.” And Kristina wrote, “I pretty much have the same question as Thuita, but a lot of my site is done through a MySQL database so I’m not sure how to send that through a CD. Would it be possible just to reference the site URL instead?

For the website, include a URL; we can’t guarantee that we will visit all websites submitted. We will look at all papers in your folder, so you may submit some screenshots and descriptions of your site. If you feel compelled, and you think it would help us get to know you in the application process, you may submit a supplemental recommendation from a peer.

Samiur wrote, “A question about Science achievements: I am captain of my school science olympiad team, and we are expecting to perform really well in this year’s regional and state tournaments, which are in February and March respectively. Is it too late to send in information of our success in February and March, and if not, what is the process of sending in material? I mean, I can’t really send in the medals, but maybe photos of the medals?”

You may email us with any updates at any time. So, if you do well in your science olympiad competition, send us an email telling us about it. You need not include photos of any medals.

Carmel wrote, “I am an artist and I’d really like to send some art in. I hadn’t realized that cds of art weren’t acceptable, and I might not be able to have slides made in time (they’re pretty expensive, also). I can’t send my actual drawings and paintings in. Would it be acceptable for me to photograph the pieces I choose, print the photographs on good paper, normal printer size, and send those 10-12 photographs in a binder?”

Yes, that would be a great solution. We look forward to seeing your work.

Martina wrote, “I was just wondering if an applicant is allowed to exceed the 500 word essay limit?”

You may exceed the 500 word limit; whether you choose to do so is up to you.

As I’ve written before, we’re not going to reject you because of the length of your essay. We do not have an auto-word-counter for the online application. Also, I am not going to count the words in your essay. I have never even estimated the length of an essay response.

Really, quality is much more important than quantity. And some people, I know, do have more to say than what fits in the suggested number of words. If that is you, I’d encourage you to show your essay to your favorite English teacher, tell him/her that your essay is currently longer than the recommended limit, and ask what advice s/he would give you. They may tell you to send in the longer essay, and if they do, I’d trust that. Or, if they recommend paring it down to restrict it to the word limit, I’d take that advice.

Sha wrote, “I wanted to send in the beginning of my latest novel, but I’m not sure how much is too much. Would submitting the first three chapters be over-doing it? Also, can I send it in on CD, or would you rather have a paper copy?” Nikhil wrote, “I actually have the same question as Sha. I’m not sure exactly how I should convey the depth of the novel, since synopses really don’t do that. I’m thinking of submitting the first 10 to 15 pages; how does that sound?” And Kelly wrote, “I actually have the same question as Sha and Nikhil.”

Except for music supplements, sending things in on paper is usually going to be better. It’s unlikely we will be able to read chapters of a novel; I would recommend using the optional essay to describe your novel and your creation process. You may also send in an excerpt, maybe a page that is representative.

Anon wrote, “Once the interview is completed, does the applicant need to send a conducted interview form or do anything else other than turn in aprts and part2?”

You should monitor you application tracking to ensure that we have all of your application pieces. Please allow a few weeks for our records office to process things.

HaoQi wrote, “I have written a research paper (about 10 pages) last summer. Is it a good idea for me to mail it in as a supplement for the application packet?”

As I’ve written, I think research papers are best talked about in the completely optional essay (“about something that you have created”) or in an extra recommendation from your research mentor. It is unlikely that if you submit a complete research paper that we will be able to have it properly evaluated during our process. We’ll be most interested in your research experience: how you got interested in the field, how you acquired your research opportunity, your results, what you learned, how this experience influences your future plans, etc.

Anon wrote, “I am at the top of my class, in several extracurricular activities, my SAT scores are pretty good, and my AP test scores are almost all 5’s (my school doesnt have IB). My question is with that, im only just over 2 months in AP physics in which im doing well, but I’m taking the subject test on Nov 4th, without the entire course. How will MIT look at that if I don’t get a great score?”

One bad score won’t ruin an otherwise strong application. Do your best, but don’t be too anxious. Any one piece of your application is unlikely to make or break things.

Andrea wrote, “Q1. For the main essay, is there a preferred tone of voice (Such as a conversational tone v. a formal tone)?
Q2. As far as my grades go, I’m not considered at the very top of my class (CP weighted 4.12) or involved in the most activities in comparison to some of my other classmates. I enjoy learning but I don’t like having my schedule filled up to the point where I can’t sit down and relax. Will it make too much of a difference in the application process or should I just mention it in one of the essays?”

A1. There is no preferred tone for the essay — you should answer the prompt in the way that best fits for you. I’ve seen serious essays, funny essays, chatty essays, etc, and all of those can be quite fine, as long as you don’t try to force it.
A2. We don’t ask that you be involved in everything, even if many of your classmates seem to be. We’re not looking for perfection, just a good match, and that can come from people with near-perfect GPAs as well as very-strong-but-not-quite-perfect GPAs, from people doing everything as well as people doing a few things. In short, I wouldn’t worry, you are who you are, and we’ll see how things go.

Kristin wrote, “For an art supplement… I am directing a one-act play this fall, and I was wondering if it would be acceptable to send in a DVD of a performance?”

I’d recommend checking in with the kind folks at the Music & Theater Arts department at [email protected] If they can review it, submit it in a similar fashion to a music supplement. It’s unlikely that we in admissions will be able to evaluate it. Other ways we could learn about your directing experience could be through an essay or supplemental recommendation.

Anna wrote, “How should we enter our SAT scores if we still want to include scores from the October and November tests?”

You should enter the scores that you have, and for tests that you don’t yet have the scores for, just write in the date with the scores blank. We’ll be using the official score reports anyway.

Salsabila wrote, “I am very interested in studying at MIT. I wanna ask about SAT 2. is it okay if i take SAT 2 on January 27? I take the test on Jan because the registration for December test has been closed on Oct 11. i am confidence to get high scores. I really want to be MIT’s student.
About the payment, my application fee (i tried to submit my payment online on Oct 21 and Oct 26) has been declined. Why was it happened? I have contacted MIT’s phone number. a woman said that i have to mail her to [email protected], but i havent received the answer. Could you help me to make my payment not declined?”

We can accept January scores on a case-by-case basis; let us know that you plan to take January tests by an email to [email protected]
I don’t know why your application fee was declined, but I assure you that if you have emailed [email protected], we are looking into it. Please be patient; as you can imagine, we get a lot of email at this time of the year.

Anon wrote, “I am sorry about asking a quesiton off the topic..
However, I really wonder about aplying to MIT as a international student.
And I found the rate of accptence of internatinal students to MIT is extremely lower than that of citizens. Does MIT favor US citizens over international students??”

As an office, we’re pretty upfront about the fact that we are quota-limited in the number of international students we can admit each year. That quota is currently about 110 admitted international students each year. It doesn’t mean that we prefer citizens/permanent residents over international students, it is just a reality we all have to live with. Remember that we do admit all students, foreign and domestic, in a need-blind process, and meet full financial need for all of our admitted students, including international students.

Alisha wrote, “I am a HS senior in Waterloo, Canada and I am considering MIT as an option. I’m only taking 2 APs and considering a third. I do a lot of extracurricular activities and generally would like to keep my life free of even more APs – would this put me at a disadvantage?”

It doesn’t necessarily put you at a disadvantage. I hope that my recent entry was helpful in discussing how we think about APs.

Chattrin wrote, “I am very interested in studying at MIT. I wonder why can’t international student apply to MIT under Early Action. If MIT wants to limit the number of international applicants to be accepted, MIT can also set the limit during Early Action for international students too.”

You make a good point, Chattrin, but we really do prefer considering all of the international students together in one process, especially considering the small number of spaces we have. Remember that applying early wouldn’t provide any admissions advantage, though it would allow you to learn a decision earlier. I’m sorry that you’ll have to wait another three months, but for us, that extra time is worth it in terms of making thoughtful decisions.

Beth wrote, “I’m applying early and I did research at a college for two years in a row. I talked to a representative of MIT at local presentations and asked her if I could send in another recommendation from the profesor who oversaw my research, and she made it seem like it was a bad idea. Would it actually help? And if it does, can the person send the recommendation in after November 1st since I doubt that she can write it by the early action deadline. Should I also send in the abstract of the research?”

The supplemental recommendation could be helpful, especially since your project has spanned two years. We can accept letters after November 1, so feel free to have that sent. You may also, if you wish, send in an abstract.

Phillippe wrote, “I have a question about the self reported coursework form. Do we list courses from middle school that appear on our high school transcript? (in my case Algebra 1, Geometry, and Earth/Space Science).”

If you have room, you may list them; if you don’t have room, don’t worry.

Michael wrote, “I was wondering whether it would be possible to sebd another recommendation from someone who knows me from NAGTY, who I have spoken to on regular occasions regarding study in the U.S and we are very close friends (I’m from the U.K). I feel he could add extra insights into my knowledge about astronomy which would be useful for me as I want to study Astronautics major and possibly an Astronomy minor. Could you please advise me on this.”

If you feel this would be helpful to us, feel free to have this supplemental recommendation sent in.

Anshuman wrote, “Thank you Matt…but where do I report the standard 12 marks? The Application process ends before I get my marks.”

If you are admitted and choose to enroll, we will ask you to send us your final marks.

Anon wrote, “I’m sorry to be a little off-topic, but I definitely remember seeing this question before on the blogs and it would be nice to find an answer to it. Whenever I go to the application tracking page on the ‘Dashboard’ (?), it asks for my password, and then takes me right back to MyMIT. Using the menu on the left has the same result. Any suggestions?”

We’re trying to better understand this problem, but others have found that logging out from the site and logging back in has worked for them.

Bobby wrote, “I’m applying EA. I gave my teachers the recommendation form 6 weeks ago, with stamped envelopes, a letter with the due date, etc. I very nicely reminded my humanities teacher today that the application deadline is next Wednesday. She said she hasn’t even started on my recommedation and “hopes” she can get it in the mail late next week. For various reasons I’m getting a little nervous and am beginning to wonder if she will write my recommendation at all. It’s much too late to ask another teacher. Any advice?”

Teachers are usually pretty responsible people; I believe she will write you the recommendation. I would suggest having a conversation with your counselor, who may be able to check in with your humanities teacher. Regardless, we are understanding and accepting of late teacher recommendations, since we know you have little control over this, and that teachers are very overworked.

Manisha wrote, “I’m from India and wanted to know that if a student has already joined a college but still wanted to study at MIT as a freshmen.. is it possible? Or is the transfer the only way to get into MIT? Also.. till which term am I allowed to apply to MIT?”

If you are already enrolled in university, you must apply as a transfer student. All of the details about transfer admission are here.

Murtaza wrote, “Hello, I am a high school senior studying in Asian International School in Sri-Lanka. I am doing my SAT 1 in November so is it necessary for me to do the TOEFL exams if I have a good score in critical reading and writing?. My school is an English school in which I’ve been studying for 13 years and I’ve also got an A grade in English Edexcel O’Level exams. I also would like to know whether MIT will accept scores of SAT exams in January which I’m thinking of re-sitting if my first exam doesn’t go well. I further like to know whether MIT has a specific International supplement to the secondary school report or do you accept the common application International supplement to the secondary school report or the usual MIT secondary school report form. Lastly, what is MIT looking for in the application essay.”

You do not need to take the TOEFL; it is an option that is available to you, if you wish. We can accept January scores on a case-by-case basis; let us know that you plan to take January tests by an email to [email protected] We don’t require an international supplement and don’t need the common app supplement. As for the essay, know that we’re not grading your essay based on how well it’s written; rather, we’re reading your essay for its content, to learn more about you. Answer the questions in an open and honest way, letting us know you better. There’s no formula for essays, and I’ve read many different kinds of essays from students who have been admitted. So do your best, and that will be all we can ask.

38 responses to “Questions Omnibus & Fierce Forever”

  1. Michael says:

    A couple of these questions seem like they could have come right out of my mouth. I especially like the “My teachers seem to get distracted and won’t fill out my forms until the day before the deadline” one. Very relieved, thank you!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear Matt,extra curricular activities are things the I fear will hamper my chances of getting admitted. I have done community service and I have been active in sports in school. I wanted to know the precisely and if not possible roughly the weightage you people will give to my being Prefect or Head Boy of school and leadership in community serivce programs and soccer teams because these leaderships are not province-wide or nation-wide as such opportunities are not available here.

    There are many things that I dont do officially (like by joining a club or organization) like playing piano, helping poor people and other community services; I just do them because I like to do so. Do they count as much as the ones which I do officially or you people just glance it with mild interest? I really do want to get admitted to MIT so Matt do be as much informative as possible.

    And yeah one last thing ( I know its getting longer) I would most probably have gotten a regional or national level distinction in my Chemistry A/S level if it had not been for the malfunctioning of the chemicals provided by the practical center, so should I mention this unjustice in the application because the website says that most international students have a regional, naitional or international level of distinction.

    And if all of it is not enough, just tell me and I will not apply…

  3. Sh1fty says:

    i have a couple of questions. does the style and grammar of the essay affect the application? i mean, what if my grammar is really bad? :D if i get into mit do you still need my final grades, even though i’m not from us? i’ll have a lot of web server space soon, would you be mad at me if i send you a dozen urls of my projects? :D i have a couple of questions about food, but i’ll ask jess wink

  4. Nick Ray says:

    Hey Matt,
    I just wanted to say thank you for being so helpful when I asked about SAT IIs, while I was visting the other day.

  5. Ko. says:

    Hay Matt,
    No Querries here!
    I am just writing to tell you that MIT’s application is the most fun application of all the colleges I get to fill out this year.
    Really! an application is not just for the colleges to know about us,
    its for us to know about our colleges as well.
    And your application has really confirmed my suspicion that MIT will be a great place for me.
    Keep up the Good work.!
    And yeah the Bloggs are Great too!

  6. Kristina says:

    Thanks for answering my question. It certainly helped a lot =)

  7. Thuita Maina says:

    Thanks matt for your answers. One more question please: I wanted to get MIT prospectus. How can I get it?

  8. Thuita Maina says:

    Hey, this is interesting; I read about Micheal Griffin’s educational background (NASA’s administrator). He has to many master’s degrees; about 20! Just look at this website:-

  9. Thuita Maina says:

    I agree with Ko. MIT application forms are just straightforward – it just goes the way you want. The Common application is just a headache (shhhhhhhhhh don’t tell anyone!). This makes me like MIT more.

  10. Paula says:

    Hi, I just wanted to say to Salsabila that the deadline for the December SATs is November 7 (or Nov 9 for late reg.), not Oct 11, which was the due date for the November SATs.
    I got a little nervous when I read that Oct 11 was the deadline for the December SATs… The international regular deadline is the same date, if you’re an international student. I’m sorry if the deadline for you is different for some reason…

  11. Andrea says:

    Thanks for answering my questions :D

  12. Jet says:

    Hi Matt,

    I’m from Malaysia and is currently a form 5 student applying as freshman to MIT. I have low GPA for form 1 which is around 3.0 to 3.5 and then improving 4.0 for both form 2 and form 3. Currently i have GPA of 3.7 which is the same as form 4 with almost A-(80-89) in every subjects except a few which scored A(90-100). I have participated and won several competitions at national and international level such as quizs and also invention competitions. Besides, I’ve participated in several charity and community works such as visiting the blinds, cleaning up the neighbourhood and many more and also a strong base in extra-curricular activities. I will be taking my SAT subject tests and TOEFL in January and is pretty confident about it. I just wishing to know whether my profile is competitive enough as an international applicant? and is my GPA of 3.7 considered low for an MIT applicant?

  13. Murtaza says:

    Hello. I’d like to know what is lacking in applications that are rejected by MIT?

  14. Bianca says:

    Questions for Early Action:

    If a student was deferred to regular decision, do they have to resend their application? Are they treated any different because they were deferred?

    Does the Nov. 1st deadline for applications also apply to supplemental information? Could I send in extra materials afterwards?

  15. Bianca says:

    One more question:

    I was thinking about getting a job to help my family since my parent is unemployed. Could having a job affect my financial aid package if I were accepted?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hi Matt! I am deeply interested in joining MIT and then If I make it to MIT I would love to join Aeronautics and Astronautics .I would mention this in my application. I have a hunch that I’ll score more on the SAT Chemistry than on the SAT Physics. When the admissions department would consider my application, keeping in mind my ‘field of interest’ would the department prefer to have the ‘physics’ scorers? What if I send both the sores and my hunch turns into reality; I mean I have a higher score in Chemistry than in Physics? or would sending the higher of the two be enough ?I have also written a research paper [but that has nothing to do with Aeronautics and Astronautics!] would it help if I submit that? or would describing the paper be enough? One more question.

  17. Ruben says:

    its 6:04 am in CA and Im almost done with part B of my application for Early Decision! I believe its a new personal record, it took me from 10 am Oct. 31 to 6:05 am Nov. 1 (non stop with a couple of breaks) to complete Part B! I know that its not something I should be proud of but, “If it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would get done”! – Murphy’s Law
    Time to take a nap…………….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    (sorry about the randomness)

  18. Anonymous says:

    hey, if i apply early action with the online application, is november 1 the last day to submit it? or does it have to be in BY november 1 (midnight Oct. 31)?

  19. s says:

    I am a topper in school.But the principal simply refuses to mention it anywhere as the school policy does not allow it.So she doesn’t want to fill a rank or even a percentile score.Will it put me at a disadvantage?

  20. Hi Matt

    Just to make sure, the admissions committee won’t prefer a 800 on SAT Physics to a 750 SAT Physics applicant, right?

    Would there be any advantage to retaking it?

    I am an international applicant, and since it’s so competitive, I am worried.

    Thanks for answering all our questions!

  21. This is connected to the last post:

    What about a 600 for the writing section on the SAT and a 690 for reading ?

    I know you’ve been telling some people how it would be stupid to retake the SAT when he or she has a score of 780, but what about 600’s ?

  22. Paula says:

    Hi. I realize that SAT scores don’t really “make or break” an applicant and such, but do admissions look unfavorably on an applicant who has taken too many SATs (e.g…. more than 5 times… heh)?
    My guidance counselor has said that the amount of SATs I take doesn’t matter, but I have heard from others that taking the SAT too many times.. is baaad (…whatever that means).


  23. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    There are many things that I dont do officially (like by joining a club or organization) like playing piano, helping poor people and other community services; I just do them because I like to do so. Do they count as much as the ones which I do officially or you people just glance it with mild interest? I really do want to get admitted to MIT so Matt do be as much informative as possible.
    Posted by: Anonymous on October 30, 2006 03:13 PM

    Will you Buy it Matt? I am not accusing OP of cheating-He must have done these things- but i know many ppl who will be mentioning such things on the app without doing/participating in them, some are even buying fake certificates for Community service. I have done 1000+ hrs of Volunteering(meaningful) and it’s really painful to see this. You will probably say that those who cheat don’t go far but i know someone who lied on the app and got wait-listed from MIT last year:(
    You aren’t able to catch them always. Many ppl tel me that i shouldn’t worry about these ppl and risk my image being tarnished but i am an int’l so places are very limited and such ppl take away seats from genuine applicants.

  24. ron says:

    hey i miss the october test for the SAT because of the department here in they arrange make up test in october 28th but i could attend it for that .now i got a problem in november test due to clash of my exam and i couln’t give december i have my exam again for i couln’t complete my test on time that had set up by the MIT.the latest for me to complete is on january test so pls advice how i could manage it.

  25. Reilly says:

    Hey Matt,

    I’m a senior in HS and I applied EA to MIT. While there is nothing more than I would like to attend MIT and become a member of MIT community, I am worried that my chances of admission are blown. I have most of the academic basics covered (strong GPA, recommendations, extra-curricular activities, enrollment in college classes) however, I find that I am a horrible test taker and as a result I have less than admirable SAT scores (M 650, R 530, W 590) and it’s too late to retake my SATs for EA. I have read many places that standardized test scores are not the most important factor in admission, but will scores this bad break my application? Do I even stand a chance? Any insight would be much appreciated


  26. Sofia Tania says:

    @Thuita Maina
    I’ve just taken a look at the article about Michael Griffin. Wow, you’re right, he’s got a lot of master’s degrees!

    @Abhishiv Saxena
    I am also quite worried about the same thing. While I believe that most int’l applicants will be honest in filling out the apps, well, at times, there are people that aren’t genuine as well. It will be pathetic if one of those get in to MIT. How does MIT react to this?

  27. anonymous says:

    certificates that claim 1000+ hours of volunteer service mean nothing

    now, if the experiences and insight gained from volunteering were expressed in the essay questions…

  28. Rika says:

    Sorry, I have another question.
    On my dashboard, it says “Click here to track your application.” where the checklist is suppose to be. When I click on the link, it takes me to a login page. After I re-login, it takes me back to the page that says the same message as before, and I can’t see the checklist anymore. What could be wrong?

  29. Rika says:

    I sent an email to the admission office before, asking about EC, mailing address, and greencard. I see that my EC problem has been solved, but I haven’t received an answer for the mailing address and greencard so can I ask the question here?

    1. Where should I postmark the paperwork to? On the application, it says Room 3-108, but the address book my school has says Building 10-100 for MIT. Furthermore, the pre-addressed envelope in the application packet says Building 3-108.

    2. On the application packet I mentioned above, which I picked up five years ago, there was a flow chart saying applicants need to mail in a copy of their greencard if they are permanent residents. In the new packet I received in the mail, the flow chart is not included, and I don’t see anything about sending in a copy of greencard mentioned anywhere. Has the policy been changed?

  30. ABHISHEK says:

    hi matt.
    i m a student from india
    i wanna ask u one thing. WHY THE HELL DO U REQUIRE MIN 90 SCORE IN TOEFL(ibt).can a person below this score cant communicate in english or what.the toefl exam can be american student can also get score less than 90.
    PLEASE DO SOMETHING REGARDING IT.plz dont make 90 as a comulsory score.

  31. David says:

    A couple of questions:
    1) what can I/do I put in the scholastic distinctions section
    2) Can a high score on MathII make up for a not so great score on SATI math section
    3) What are the 2 essays – I was looking at the application and only saw one.

  32. Shabie says:

    Matt, I am applying from Pakistan as an international student but the thing is that I am not from the big schools like KGS (hope u know it!). The fee charges are too high and they dont offer scholarship! I just had a chat with one of the students St.Patricks(another big name) and they told me that had lots of extra-curriculars like volunteer work and debate competition but my school has far too few opportunities as compared to theirs in fact negligible. So, if you are going to compare me to them, I feel I will surely get rejected. I have tried my best at my school and outside whatever I can do but it is not enough I believe. I have discussed this with my principal and he will be telling you people about this situation in his recommendation letter. Will you kindly consider me in “context” or the does context means to compare applicants with their compatriots? I am really, really, really worried about this. Please help!!!

  33. ana says:

    By the way. People. Please. Be nice. Matt’s nice to you, posts like the one’s I’ve just read not only convey terrible grammar mistakes. They convey terrible manners.

    Anyway. I was writing to ask about applications in themselves. I just finished writing it down and then I read this blog. And I just realized that writing a poetry book or having poetry published in another country (US and UK) might actually be important (I didn’t write it because I honestly think those poems were terrible, and even though I write a lot, I do not think I’m good at it) or that community service might be more important that I thought (again. Didn’t think it really mattered as it was for school, and it counted towards a grade. But I helped for six months in a school for kids with mental disabilities). So. I think of myself as someone that does not need to place every single thing done… but I’m scared I’m ruining my chances of getting admitted because I’m not bragging much about myself because I do not feel I have done something all that outstanding, I’m just a 20-year-old learning addict.
    Which, in the end, is. If I have already submitted my application and I want to write more things about myself, should I? Where? How? Will it matter?
    And about EC’s… if your EC actually literally adored you, does it count a lot towards your admission process? Because I’m scared of getting my hopes too high on that one…
    Thanks, Matt. I know I write a lot but I usually can’t help it :S

  34. Bhushan says:


    can u paste some charming campus photos on this website making different colom for them

  35. James Bae says:

    My son’s school is very competitive private school here in Canada. They send more students to top schools like MIT compared to any other school in Canada. The school doesn’t have ranking system.
    Unless they are no. 1 rank, the school doesn’t say on the application form except like top 10% or 25%.
    My son got all As(if they got more than 80, it is A or A+ or A.) , but he is not top 1 so I told him rather to spend time on International Olympiad or extra activities if you can’t make top 1 and you still keep maintaning all As.
    Am I wrong or any other seggestion for him ?

  36. Claire says:

    Hi, I have a quick question:

    I am currently a high school sophomore, and I am taking AP Calculus AB this year. There are no higher mathematics courses given at my high school. I can continue in mathematics (linear algebra, differential equations) at my local community college for the next two years, but I do not have time for taking three college math courses a year, and I won’t need higher math until I get well in to college.

    Which do you think would be preferable-not taking math for the next two years or only taking one quarter-long course each year in junior and senior year?

    I ask because I’m one of the extremely few (10? maybe?) sophomores to ever take Calculus (it’s a class for seniors or super-honors juniors) at my 2000-student school, so nobody there really knows.


  37. Andy says:

    Hi, I’m applying as a international student and I wrote the required TOEFL test last month. I’m wondering whether the score will still affect my chance into MIT if I got 100+.


  38. Anonymous says:

    Hi Matt,

    i’m a little shy about this but I figure since you’re used to answering questions about the complicated lives of international students its okay for me to ask.

    I only have one question but I feel like it’ll only make sense contextually so I’ll tell you the whole story first. I’m fifteen & legally emancipated. I’m taking classes at BU’s metropolitan college and some classes at the college of arts and sciences as a nondegree student. Originally, my plan was to officially transfer from the metropolitan college to CAS and finish my degree. Since I didn’t really go to high school, I’m kind of behind on math (in precalc right now, taking Calc this summer). Other than that, I’m taking Chem and core classes.

    The thing is, BU classes aren’t exactly challenging (I’m maintaining As while working 40 hours a week and I still find enough time for partying after those damn three-hour night lectures. Impressive, huh? huh? hahaha) nor stimulating. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up but I know that I’ve always been inclined towards science and I know that I thrive when I’m surrounded by my intellectual equals and superiors. MIT seems like it would be a good environment for me to get serious about school…if that makes any sense.

    So my question is, is there any way for me to transfer as a freshman? I’m certainly young enough, and I’m still a non-degree student. I never finished high school so could I apply as a homeschool student or something similar? I’m afraid that I wont be accepted as a transfer because I’m so behind on math for a college student that I’ll be within 3 semesters of completing my degree before I’m anywhere close to competitive.

    Thanks for reading all of this.

    – EA