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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

RA Selection Day 8 & Beyond by Matt McGann '00

On Selection Day 8 (Thursday), I wore a skinny tie, and worked with Mari and Prof. Patrick Henry Winston. Winston is what we at MIT call a “lifer” — he received 3 degrees from MIT (SB ’65, SM ’67, PhD ’70) and was the Director of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (“AI Lab”) for 25 years. He was the undergrad academic/research advisor for three of my friends, all on their way to Doctorates in AI. He also wrote the text book I used for 1.00: Introduction to Computers and Engineering Problem Solving and teaches 6.034: Artificial Intelligence. I think it’s pretty cool that faculty are involved with the admissions process. Many noted MIT professors have helped to select the freshman class while I’ve been involved, such as Wolfgang Ketterle and Don Sadoway (among many others).

The following day (Friday), I did not wear a tie for the first time in more than a week. Yes, the regular action selection committee for domestic applicants has ended. I spent much of the day discussing and planning for MIT’s new viewbook, as well as preparing for Campus Preview Weekend.

You might ask, so selection is over, why can’t I have my decision? What happens now? Well, as you’ve read, there is randomness built into our admissions process, from the reading to the selection subcommittees. The final step ensures consistency and fairness: all of the decisions are reviewed by a small team lead by Dean Marilee Jones. The vast majority of decisions from the selection room will be upheld; some decisions will be changed (one way or the other) if they seem inconsistent with the process. This is a good thing for you, one more way that we make sure there are no “mistakes,” and that everything is appropriately considered.

In parallel, the international process continues. Next weekend, we’ll do international selection, sure to be extremely difficult. As I have previously written, the international admissions is extremely rigorous. I’ve been reviewing international applications all day, and I must say I am impressed. Even for those of you for whom we don’t have enough room for at MIT, I know you’ll be a big success wherever you end up.

Another process that continues in parallel is the financial aid process. For those of you applying for financial aid — which I assume is most of you — Daniel’s blog is required reading.

In short, lots going on as we race toward the mailing of decision letters in mid-March…

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