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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Selection notes by Matt McGann '00

A brief update from selection.

A few notes from selection:

  • No decisions are yet final. We are still working on each decision: which students will be admitted, which will be deferred to regular action, and which students will be denied during this stage.
  • In parallel, we are preparing to mail out decisions. All decisions will be sent via postal mail. We will not be releasing decisions on the web, on email, or over the phone. The date of the mailing will be announced on the blogs when we mail the decisions.
  • Selection time is a very busy time! Most of us are very behind on email, phone calls, etc. (including blogging, questions omnibus, replying to comments, et al.). I apologize! Until early action decisions are finalized, selection is job one.
  • I haven’t gotten to see many student-friends lately, but Mike ’09 and Solomon ’06 did stop by to drop off a copy of the new CD by Resonance, which Jenny and I listened to while conducting important admissions business.
  • It’s still unknown exactly how many students we will admit during early action, but it is likely to be fewer than last year’s 383, and with application numbers up, we are likely to see a record low EA admit rate, lower than last year’s 14%. I don’t say this to scare you, but rather to be honest about how things are looking here.
  • Admitting a class is hard work, full of many difficult decisions. This year, we have a great applicant pool, with more terrific applicants than we could possibly ever hope to admit. Hence, I am quite excited about the students that we will admit, and encouraged by the quality of the deferred applicants that we will get to reconsider during the regular action round.
  • Tomorrow, the work continues. Be patient. And as I’ve said, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Best wishes!

27 responses to “Selection notes”

  1. Clark Poland says:

    Are decisions still set to mail on Friday?

  2. mike d says:


    i too have a very serious problem. i seem to not have any more fingers (let alone nails!) to bite. do you know where i might be able to get more? as the mailing date approaches, my biting habit increases. help!

  3. hohm0018 says:

    do any of us really want to prepare for the worse? I can hardly stand the waiting!

  4. Preparing for the worst is the only way you’ll get by if indeed you do recieve the worst. Trust me, you don’t want to prepare for the best. I have friends who did, and they were hurt by it.


  5. zoogies says:

    I’m going to be in the waters of the only warm area in the US when the final decisions are mailed out. A nice way to unwind and not worry about decisions, hopefully ^__^

    Can you believe today’s high/low for Happy, TX were 16/4 in FAHRENHEIT? That’s insane!

  6. Ha, thanks for the plug Matt. Hopefully I’ll see you Friday at the concert in 10-250 at 9PM after a hard day’s work so you can relax a bit and enjoy some a cappella (shameless plug?).

    On a very different note, this is a message to all pre-frosh. If you guys have questions to ask that are semi-urgent (or just want to talk and get your mind off things…lord knows I needed that last year :p), feel free to email me ([email protected]) or AIM me (h4x0rtang) and I’ll try to answer them as best as possible. I went through what you’re going through just last year, so I feel your pain. Not to mention I have a lot of friends applying too :p. Yeah, see you guys on the flipside smile

    Good luck,


  7. renuka says:

    The randomized iterative review of the summaries by various subcommittees seems like a great way to take out subjectivity from the process. However, from what I understand from your previous blog entries, summary of each application is done by exactly one evaluator. Doesn’t this introduce subjectivity in the process? Depending on who reads/evaluates the essays, it could end up getting either a high or a low grade. Is it not?

  8. Summaries are prepared for each applicant by two readers.

  9. Sam says:

    Why can’t you guys just accept me already!!!

    Just kidding, thanks for the inside info Matt. You think the acceptence letter will start going out tommorow?

  10. ybai says:


    Congestive heart pain : )

  11. Ahh! So many applicants! This year’s huge selection pool truly is daunting. Us regular applicants are going to have quite a time, with not only a larger group of competitors than the early applicants, but, added to the pool, all those applicants that were deferred from early. Truly frightening….. :(

  12. Rose says:

    Heck…even Captain Planet wants to get into MIT. I have no chance! Heh.

  13. Zack Yang says:


    I went to the Resonance website, and I listened to some sound clips. These guys (and girls) are good! I liked their versions of Why Can’t I, and Unwell.

    I was impressed by the sound-mixing they did on sound clips (for example, the cymbal-like approximations on Take Me Away). My question is, do they play a mix while they’re singing live?

    On a completely different note (no pun intended), would you say that the early action round is more or less difficult (in terms of difficulty in making decisions, feeling over-worked, etc.) for you, than the regular decision round, or are the dynamics of these rounds so different it’d be hard to say? This is, of course, speaking just for yourself (unless the majority of the review team shares your sentiments).

  14. Adnan Esmail says:

    Thanks for the update, sort of disappointed at the lower EA admit rate. Anyway, I’d be interested to learn how you separate the great applications from the good ones. Must be hard work, considering your dealing with many spectacular students–with only minor differences.

  15. Edward says:

    Hey Matt, I need some help!

    Thank you for the good work.

    I have a problem, previously my interview had been waived but now (TODAY) i log in to mymit to see, shock of all shocks, that there is an interview available in my area.

    This is really REALLY scary because there deadline to approach ECs has passed and I’m afraid that, through no fault of my own, I’ll be seen to have intentionally skipped an interview.

    What should I do?

    Can you help?

  16. Nalin K says:

    Just trying not to think about it, for now.

    “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” Scary stuff, but it’s the only way, for better or for worse.

    However, thanks to all of you for making such an effort in your work to select the new students; this is effort that truly deserves to be applauded. Thanks again!

    It’s now 8:55 PM on the East Coast; all I’m sure about right now is that it is expected to snow here in New York City.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mr. McGann

    I know you’re really busy with the applications, so please take plenty of time to answer this question.

    I was wondering, may we submit a teacher recomendation from a teacher we had before high school? I went to a school where we had the same teacher from grades one through eight, and my teacher really got to know me well and watch me develop into who I am. Would this be okay?

  18. Zack,

    When we sing live we have nothing but a few microphones (sometimes not even that) and our voices. Nothing else. That’s the beauty of a cappella. If you are interested in finding out more, please feel free to AIM me or email me.


  19. Jane Zhou says:

    i always wondered….why is MIT’s early acceptance rate so low compared to other selective colleges? it’s kind of cruel. :-(

  20. Anonymous says:

    MATT, you say that it is likely that this year MIT will accept less than last year’s 383. Is this because you guys simply want to admit less this year because you admitted too many that you wanted last year, or is it all relative to the applicant pool? (in other words- was last year’s EA stronger than this year’s so that is why you are accepting less this year?)

    I was wondering because it seems counter intuitive that even though 300 more applicants for EA applied this year, you are accepting less than you did last year.

    Puzzled and confused…please reply Matt! Thanks smile

  21. Oren Hazi says:


    MIT overenrolled last year (more people than expected accepted admission (say that five times fast (-: )), so they’re accepting fewer applicants and hoping to hit their target of about 1000 incoming freshmen this year.

  22. Victoria says:

    Thanks for taking the time to post updates on selection.

    Mike D., have you considered twitching?

  23. Sam says:

    How does anyone reject MIT. It makes no sense to me. If I got accepted I wouldn’t even wait one day to send MIT the letter that says I’m accepting their admission. Hopefully I will be doing that soon.

  24. >Hey Matt, I need some help!

    I have a problem, previously my interview had been waived but now (TODAY) i log in to mymit to see, shock of all shocks, that there is an interview available in my area.

    This is really REALLY scary because there deadline to approach ECs has passed and I’m afraid that, through no fault of my own, I’ll be seen to have intentionally skipped an interview.

    What should I do?

    Can you help?<

    Hi Edward,

    Not Matt here, but I am an interviewer for MIT (and I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express?)

    Anyway, please call your interviewer. Explain why you are calling past the deadline. Interviewers will make every effort possible to accomodate you. There is some leeway between last day to schedule interviews, and when they actually have to be submitted.

    I strongly recommend trying to interview if you would like to. Don’t be intimidated. In the process it almost always helps your application.


  25. Edward says:

    Hi ‘An Interviewer’

    Thanks very much for your help.

    It worked. I contacted the interviewer and he responded. However, to my dismay I won’t be having the interview because my EC is out of the country (Kenya).

    Oh well, I hope my application is enough as it is.

    You help is really appreciated.

    Have a nice day.

  26. Anonymous says:

    To be or not to be..that is the question

  27. Hi Edward,

    Sorry your interviewer is out of the country. :(

    You may want to put a note somewhere in your application that you contacted your interviewer, but they were unable to do the interview.

    Don’t despair that you didn’t get an interview. My interview was waived when I applied (and it was mandatory then), and I still got in to MIT!

    Good Luck!