September Questions Omnibus 2 by Matt McGann '00
Questions Omnibus is the place to come for "official" answers!
Questions Omnibus is the place to come for “official” answers!
Melissa wrote, “Should I call you Mr. Matt, or just Matt? Anyways, I’m in my hotel room at the Doubletree, having just gotten back from the Info Session. Mad props! It was definetly something I’d attend again, even though I’d be hearing the same information over again. Anyways, it was definetly worth flying down here from Tallahassee. ( I was the girl with the dad who asked about MIT statistics, the astro-physics girl. ^^;; )”
Call me Matt! Thanks for coming to the session. For those of you who have driven/flown a long way to come to a meeting, I hope it was worth the long journey. We do our best to make it worth your while, including staying after to answer any questions.
Anyway, Melissa, here’s some more great information about Astrophysics at MIT:
- [email protected]
- Prof. Alan Guth (rumored future Nobel Laureate)
- Prof. Paul Schechter, the other professor I was telling you about
- The MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
- A few courses in Astrophysics
Hope that’s helpful!
Tracy wrote, “Does MIT accept supplemental material with the freshman application? Like, say I wanted to get an extra letter of recommendation from my boss at work…could I send that in along with my teacher and guidance counselor recs? Or is that like, overdoing it and being pushy and generally not recommended? Grazi!”
We will accept supplemental material (within reason!). An extra recommendation from your boss would be great. That’s exactly the kind of supplemental material that is very useful. I look forward to seeing your application!
Rushil wrote, “I am an international applicant from India. I have been selected under the National Science Fellowship (KVPY) conducted by the Government of India, IIT Bobaby and IISc, Bangalore. I don’t know if you already know about it but if you have the time, i’ll request you to visit www.iisc.ernet.in/kvpy to get more info about the above scholarship. I would just like to ask your views on how the KVPY scholarship and summer camp compares with the RSI conducted at MIT by CEE regrading importance in the international admission process. How do the 2 programs (RSI and KVPY) compare in terms of chances for admission. I’ne heard that RSI almost assures admission at MIT. Is this true?”
As I’ve written before: Those who are admitted to RSI have many of the same qualities we look for in MIT applicants, but there is no ‘magic ticket’ for MIT admissions.
With regard to KVPY, it certainly has a lower admit rate than RSI or MIT, and I’d imagine the students are top-notch. To be funded for research at some of India’s top institutions is quite an opportunity. I’d imagine that KVPY students would be very competitive in the international admissions pool.
Rushil wrote, “If I wsih to give more details of my academic achievements (NOT AN ESSAY) and other exams I am planning to take(excluding those in the MIT list), I include them in the part 2 of the Completely optional section. Right?? Also, could you plz answer my original question regarding the comparison between KVPY(please follow given link www.iisc.ernet.in/kvpy) and RSI in terms of MIT International Freshman Admission. Are the posts in comments by Timur SAhin oficial? When will MAtt answer these?”
I’m answering these questions now =) I appreciate the help of some readers like Timur and leftcoastmom, but unless they’re quoting one of the admissions officers or one of our publications, you should consider their answers unofficial (though usually very helpful!). See above for the answer to your KVPY question. Also, if you want to submit further details of achievements and exams, submit those as you see fit; on the online application, the “anything else?” question is a great place.
Anonymous [Shikhar?] wrote, “Anyways, regarding the community service, does teaching poor students and getting a 4-year poor child into school and teaching him everyday etc. fit into the MIT Admission Picture? ALso, do you accept optional references and some projects I have made? I had read in an earlier post by you that international students attach resumes, certificates etc. Can we send these or are they seen with even a tiny bit of ‘anger’ by the admission comittee. Also, what exactly do you mean by an extra resume?”
With regard to the community service, we’ll want to hear more about it in the application and we’ll evaluate it at that point. In general, service is a good thing.
Lipei wrote, “I recently was asked to speak with my teacher about US History to 5 AOL Time Warner interns selected by the National Committee on US-China Relations. I assume I should put this in the optional essay part but can you verify where I should include this in my application?”
I’m not sure I quite understand what you mean — is it this? — but your teacher should mention it in his/her recommendation for you, and you can note it among your awards & honors. You can also, like you say, attach an additional note about your honor.
Ben wrote, “Thanks for putting out these question omnibuses out, Matt. They really help answer the questions I have. However, I have one of my own: My mom currently attends community college part time to earn a degree in nursing (she works part-time as a nursing assistant at a hospital). How do I report this in my application?”
For occupation, write “Part-time nursing assistant and nursing [or RN] student;” for education level, choose “Some college.” How’s that sound?
Leon wrote, “Hi, Matt. I have another question. I have come to the United States for roughly four years ,and I do not speak English at home. While trying to complete Part 2 of the MIT application, the directions “strongly suggests” me to take the TOEFL. I’ve neither seen nor taken the TOEFL. On the other hand, I had fulfilled all the requirements for “Native English Speakers” by taking both the old and the new SAT as well as more than 3 SAT IIs, and my scores are high. So in my case, would you rather advise me to fill in my SAT scores like a native english speaker instead of taking the TOEFL like the directions suggest for students of my background?”
If you have “high” scores on the SAT already, there is no need for you to take the TOEFL. We “strongly suggest” the TOEFL because we find that it often benefits the student. We honestly have no preference between the two testing options (SAT 1 or ACT, and 3 SAT IIs; or TOEFL and 2 SAT IIs), so you should do whatever you believe makes you look best. If you submit both the SAT I and the TOEFL, we will use whichever option makes you look best, regardless of what option you formally chose on the application.
Carla wrote, “I am a international applicant, but I am going to go to Belgium to study for a year so I would like to know if I should send my application this year or next. Thanks a lot for answering all our questions it is really helpful”
If your study in Belgium is part of your formal schooling, I might recommend you apply next year. However, you may want to settle some application pieces, such as your recommendations and transcript, from your current school before you leave. Without knowing more about your situation, it’s hard to give excellent advice, but from what you’ve said so far my instinct is that you should apply next year.
Dan wrote, “I’m a senior taking EPGY Multivariable Calculus this year. Will I have to take multivariable again in MIT if I get accepted?”
I’m a big fan of EPGY; I hope you’re enjoying multivariable calculus. Assuming what you learn is equivalent to MIT’s multivariable calculus, and you receive transfer credit or show your knowledge through an Advanced Standing Exam during your Orientation, then you won’t need to take the class here, and will advance to the next level.
Kishor wrote, “i’m an applicant from nepal. being an international applicant,i had made my mind to take the toefl and the two sat subject tests,one in physics and one in maths(iic).but the toefl representive of my country admits that the resistration for toefl has been closed for now and test date for december is already packed,which happens to be the last month for the standard tests to be taken. due to these circumstancs i switched to the another option ie: sat 1 and three sat subject tests. so can i take physics,chemistry and math(iic)as my three sat subject tests or am i restricted to take only one subject test from science?, which in turn forces me to take either the langauge test or the history test. but these subjects are completely alien to me.so what should i do?
secondly, does mit consider the toefl test given in janaury test date if i have a different situation here? and what does it really mean by :”case by case” in the context of the test given in janaury test date? do i fall in that catagory? to whom shall i admit my situation about the toefl test formally and if there’s any deadline for admitting the unforseen situations please do mention it.”
Yes, you can submit physics, chemistry and math as your three SAT IIs, that is not a problem. You do not need to take a language or history test. We evaluate each situation to determine if we can accept January test scores. I don’t know what the determination will be in your case, but you should submit your request to [email protected]
Shikhar wrote, “I am a bit confused regarding my essay to MIT. Basically I want to tell you how being in a small city (that too in India) I missed out on lots of competitions and science activities that never came to our school and I want to tell how I still managed to get good competitions (all by my own effort) to follow my passions. How(or more appropriately where) should I put all this down in the application. Is it okay if I send this as a reply to question 14. P.S. Do you people have info sessions here in India. If not you should seriously look into it as there are many MIT fanatics here.”
That sounds like a very appropriate answer to Essay choice B, the one where you talk about your community. You could also talk about this as a reply to question 14. Also, we have not had any information sessions in India (in fact, we haven’t done any international information sessions in several years). This is a topic, though, that I hope to discuss further in a future blog entry.
Anonymous asked, “can i send the informations of the part 1 of the application on the computer printout of the part 1”
Yes, we are happy to accept the application as a printout, from the paper application, or online. We do encourage you to use the online application, but we will treat applications in the same way regardless of how they are submitted.
Angie wrote, “Hi, I’m a junior and I’m interested in applying for the MITE’S Program. Can you give me an idea of what does the curriculum consists of? Any advice on what to concentrate on my application for next summer?”
From the MITES website: “MITES participants spend a rigorous 30-35 hours in classes and lab each week and receive daily assignments.” If you explore further at the MITEs site, you can see a list of course options — including Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Humanities, Internet Programming, MEchanical Engineering Design, and Genomics — as well as the schedule the students followed this past summer. As for how to be admitted to MITES< my best advice to you is to start the application well in advance of the deadline in early February. Do well in your classes this term. Think about which teachers you will ask for your recommendations. Also, I do encourage you to look into similar summer programs (such as Caltech's YESS Program), as admission to these excellent (and free!) programs is quite competitive. I’ll talk a little more about MITES, RSI, WTP and other summer programs in December.
Victor wrote, “Are pictures allowed in the essays? (e.g. the one that shows what you like to do in your spare time and the build something one)”
Yes. In fact, pictures are often very helpful, especially for the “completely optional” (and yes, it really is completely optional) extra question about something you’ve created. I look forward to seeing your creation!