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MIT student blogger Laura N. '09

Save a tree… by Laura N. '09 a Beaver. MIT makes me fill out lots of paperwork. Get it? Beaver? Oh come on, you know it's clever.

…eat a Beaver.

Speaking of beavers killing trees…let’s talk about how many pages of paperwork the MIT Athletics Department (DAPER) is forcing upon me.

As a new MIT athlete, the first thing I had to do was print the Eligibility Checklist, which has been tremendously useful. It lists all of the forms that need to be filled out, along with their deadlines and the addresses they need to be mailed to.

First there was the Medical Report and the Supplemental Medical History for Varsity Athletes (both of which were submitted to MITMedical). Then I had to fill out the Practice Form, which was sent to the athletics department and was 10 pages long! These were all due August 1st (yesterday, for those of you who are chronologically challenged now that summer’s here) and the Medical Report was required for all incoming freshmen, so I hope everyone met the deadline! Personally, I mailed all medical forms and the first 9 pages of the practice form in plenty of time, thank you very much. (The tenth page was discovered this morning in my scanner. I never took it out after making copies. See what happens when you follow directions?! I mailed it out today with a little apology note attached and crossed my fingers that it won’t get lost and create a big, messy, administrative problem.) Now I just need to fill out the one page Sports Information Sheet and the 10 page NCAA Division III Form and bring them with me to my first meeting with my team. Oh, but before signing the NCAA form, I need to read the Summary of NCAA Regulations- Division III, which is thankfully only 11 pages long.

I’m tired just thinking about this.

Moving on to….FEE results! The FEE stands for the “Freshman Essay Evaluation,” and all incoming frosh are required to take it. You sign up on-line, access the required readings on-line, and submit your essays by email. A few weeks later, the results are posted. These results analyze your English ability and determine which classes you are able to take as a freshman. I took the test in June, because the results were available before the deadline for the HASS-D lottery. The upshot of this is that you can make more informed choices in the lottery, because you’ll know what restrictions will apply to you next year. I read my results (which were very helpful and specific…they totally called me on the fact that my essays had no structure at all, so props for that) and confidently submitted my preferences for the lottery. Once I did this, I of course promptly became very, very confused about my results and panicked about the possibility that I had messed up the lottery.

[Editor’s note in 2017: some of the requirements described below have been updated since this was first published. Please refer to the current description of MIT’s communications requirement.]”

Here’s what happened: my results said that I “may take any CI-H or CI-HW subject during your first year at MIT,” which was fine with me, because I had no idea what the difference was between CI-H and CI-HW. Still don’t, in fact. So I just filled out the lottery based on the subjects I was interested in and didn’t take CI-designation into account at all. Then I realized that some of my choices (including my first choice) weren’t Communication Intensive at all. I was nervous that I messed up (maybe I was required to take a CI class?) until I realized that the course catalog we received was made especially for freshmen- so if all freshmen were required to take a CI class first semester, why would non-CI classes be included in the booklet? Exactly.

So, assuming you’ve followed me so far, here’s what I’ve figured out. You’re required to take 4 CI classes before you graduate. This translates to roughly one per year. So if I take a regular HASS-D first semester, I can still take a CI class second semester. (You are required to take one CI class your freshman year, and CommReq agrees with me. Yes! I feel like I’ve finally figured something out!) Apparently, I’ll be ineligible for sophomore standing for the spring semester, but…hey, I have no idea what I’m doing anyway. That’s why they give me an advisor and let you add and drop classes later in the term and all that…

Next big date: August 15th, when advising folders will be available on-line. (These will include such goodies as your freshman advisor and seminar, AP scores, results of requests for transfer credit, FEE results, Math Diagnostic results, and HASS-D lottery results.) Fun stuff.

I apologize for the dryness of this entry, promise to write things that are more entertaining once I start packing and getting properly excited about college, and certify that I am absolutely uncertain of any and all of the information listed above.

One last thought- I finally made a proper banner and set up my blog just the way I like it. Ahhh, satisfaction. Thoughts? Please let me know if it’s completely illegible. I have a tendency to really screw things up that way (just ask Ben). Please don’t tell me if you think it’s really ugly, unless you’re sure it’s ugly only by accident, because that would make me sad. OK thanks.

Have a nice day. =)

5 responses to “Save a tree…”

  1. Bryan says:

    I dig the color scheme (a little MIT pride, I see). In terms of HASS-D/CI-H/CI-HW craziness, I’m right with you. My freshman year I just decided to select a class that I wanted to take regardless of the designation, and I had a blast. I think the difference between CI-H and CI-HW is I *believe* CI-HW’s are intended to help your writing skills (people who failed the FEE are required to take it, me thinks)

    Anyhoo, that’s all for now. See you in the fall.

  2. Mitra says:

    Hey dude, don’t stress too much about HASS stuff. Your advisor(s) and associate advisor(s) can help you figure out what to take in the next few terms, plus other people who live near you are always a good help. Though people rarely mention this, you can always switch your HASS class once you are a few weeks into classes, if it turns out you don’t like it. Are you psyched for REX or what?

  3. Jane says:


    I hate the HASS system already. I figured out (and I hope I’m right), that having failed the FEE (CI-HW required) I am required to take a CI-HW course this fall semester. And the five choices don’t appear in the lottery, so I didn’t enter. I think my advisor will somehow get me into on of them. I hope. But yeah, they totally recognized that my essays had no structure or central idea.

    So what sport are you trying for? I’m going for Cross Country, and those forms are really annoying.

  4. Sam says:

    Yeah, sometimes the HASS requirement gets a little confusing. The only thing you might need to worry about is that if you have enough credits to declare sophomore standing, you can’t do that unless you take a CI-H. Sophomore standing is overrated, though, it basically just lets you take more classes. Still, Mitra’s right about switching classes–some people dropped my freshman year HASS for another one like 4 weeks into the semester and it didn’t seem to be any problem. See you around Burton Conner, at least for orientation!

  5. Mollie says:

    Just a clarification, which I hope will make you happy — you do have to take 4 CI classes by the time you graduate, but only 2 of them are CI-HASSes. The other two will be CI in your major (ie I had to take 9.01 and 9.12 for course 9).

    I hate the CI requirement — last term I took a CI-M and 2 CI-Hs (7.02, 24.900, and 21.216). WAY TOO MUCH WRITING.