Supplemental Materials by Matt McGann '00
Answering questions about extras beyond the formal application.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about supplemental material. None of the below is required or even expected. In general, you should not send supplemental material unless the application did not sufficiently show who you are. I hope this is helpful and answers lots of questions…
Music. Advanced musicians who are interested in continuing their music activity at MIT in the music community are encouraged to submit a music supplement via email addressed to [email protected]. For performers, we request all of the following: 1) MP3 recording attachments of two pieces of contrasting styles, of about 10 minutes total duration. They may be solo or with accompaniment but not in an enemble; 2) a one-page Music Resume attached in pdf format; and 3) one letter of recommendation from a Music teacher attached in pdf format. In the body of the email, please be sure to include your name, date of birth, your instrument, and the composer(s) and title(s) of the recorded works submitted. You do not need to be a music major for this to be considered (most people who submit the supplement are not), and there is no audition process to take most music classes or to be a part of the music program. For more information, see here.
Art. Students who are interested in Architecture or MIT’s art community are welcome to submit a portfolio containing any art, photography, or architectural work for evaluation by our faculty. Simple, 8″ x 10″ hard copies are preferred. Submissions in CD format are permitted but not preferred. Please note that slides are not encouraged – they may be difficult to view and thus may put you at a disadvantage. Please include your full name, your date of birth, and the words “Undergraduate Application Materials” on the envelope. Send submissions to: Jan Wampler, Director Of Design – Undergraduate Program, MIT Department of Architecture, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Building 9-213, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307. You do not need to be an architecture, art, or media major for this to be considered (most people who submit the supplement are not), and there is no portfolio review to be an Architecture major, to take art classes or to be a part of the art program. For more information, see here.
Athletics. If you are an athlete and would like to participate in one of MIT’s 41 varsity sports teams, please be directly in touch with the coach of your sport, and/or fill out this form. Your talents will be evaluated by MIT’s coaches. Your athletic talents are something unique that you bring to this process and your talents can be considered with your other talents in your application. You do not need to be “recruited” to join an MIT sport.
Extra recommendations. If you feel an extra recommendation would show an important additional side of you not already covered, you may send in an additional letter of recommendation. This in general would not need to be on an MIT recommendation form from the application; a separate sheet of paper is most common. In general, third recommendations from a teachers do not provide much additional insight; the most helpful supplemental recommendations come from people who know you well outside the classroom. Some helpful extra recommendations I’ve seen have come from research mentors, youth group leaders, coaches, and bosses. If you decide a third recommendation is necessary, have your recommender send this via US Mail to MIT Admissions, and be sure your full name and date of birth are included.
Research papers. 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.
Resumes / “brag sheets”. We will use your application Part II as the resume of record. Sometimes, an addendum that explains your activities/accomplishments can be useful, particularly if it is an usual pursuit or it requires further explanation than what you can fit in the formal application. However, long lists of activities and awards are most often not useful. These extra sheets are most useful in providing depth, not breadth.
Web sites. Last year, many students left me comments asking about how to submit work on the web. While we will make every effort to view any URL you ask us to, we can make no guarantee that we will be able to visit every web site. Certainly, you should include the URL in the Part 2 of your application; you should also tell us why we should visit the site and what we will find there.
Anything else. As #14 on the application part 2 says, we know that no admission application can meet the needs of every individual. If you think that additional information or material will give us a more thorough impressions of you, feel free to provide that information or material. You can do this through the online application or mail things in to MIT Admissions. Please include your full name and date of birth.
Most applications I read do not include any of these extra materials; they are neither required nor expected. In some cases, one or two of these extras can help you in providing us with greater insight into who you are. Also, please note that we do not “lower the bar” for musicians, artists, or athletes; while these are talents that some students bring to the admissions process, all students must be independently qualified to be admitted to MIT.
I hope this answers many of your questions!