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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Tales from the application process by Matt McGann '00

Results from the 'mini-contest.'

Earlier this month, I asked for your reflections on the application process. Dozens of you wrote in with wonderful, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking stories.

I had originally planned to publish one to three pieces, but there were just so many great responses that I have published seven.

Ryan, Pennsylvania

Click on the image for a flash animation:

Carla, Costa Rica

I became a Food Channel fan since I decided to apply to MIT. No kidding, but going to college away from home requires more skills than just getting good grades, and one of them is knowing how to cook amazingly simple 30-minute meals.

People always tell me that I have no reason for applying to a college outside of Costa Rica, since our education system is quite good, and I have earned a complete scholarship for attending the best universities in my country. However, I want to study aerospace engineering. In Costa Rica, we hardly have a decent airport for receiving tourists, and therefore, studying this career in my homeland is like making a cake withou flour. So, I had to apply to a college abroad, and MIT was my choice.

The first thing that my parents asked when I told them I wanted to apply was: “Where is Massachusetts? Near Los Angeles?” Obviously, I had to get a map and show them that they were completely lost, and I explained them how the application process was. Even if they did not know where I dreamed to study, they were completely supportive.

Another funny thing of studying abroad is how expensive everything seems… In fact, the annual cost of attending MIT doubles what my parents earn a year… you can imagine their reaction when I told them this… but thanks God there exists Financial Aid.

The last thing that may be an issue of going away from home is that my family will miss me, and I, as well, miss my country, its nice climate, and, above all, my family. My parents have to accept that I will move away someday, they have NO choice. I choose evasion… at least I will have many things to think about in college to keep me focused in going on and to avoid being homesick.

I think I will cook my own food while being at college. It is way cheaper than buying meals. And I am trying to learn to cook really well before leaving… I will miss my mother’s food.

Michael ’11, Oregon

Many people dread filling out college applications, but I looked at it as an opportunity to get to know myself better. Perhaps, filling out those applications would allow me to look deep inside my being and discover who I truly am. Well, I approached my application to MIT with this deep philosophical outlook and soon enough, I realized that I was completely wrong. Really really wrong. Like, imagine somebody who is as wrong as they could possibly be. That was me, only more wrong. This is not to say that my college application process wasn’t educational, it just had nothing to do with learning about who I truly am. Allow me to share some of the things I did learn though! Maybe you learned some of these?

  • I now know how many hours are in a week and how many weeks are in a year
  • I learned that MEAD envelopes with recommendations take only one stamp
  • I know how long 500 words looks on paper
  • I learned where both of my parents went to college, what their degrees were, and when they graduated
  • I learned my social security number!
  • I know my High School’s SAT code by heart
  • I learned that you can type as much as you want on the MIT application as long as you don’t mind reading the preview app with a magnifying glass
  • The Common App really is as scary as they say it is
  • I now remember what classes I took in 9th grade, what I got in them, and whether they were honors or not.
  • I became proficient at downloading and reading PDFs.
  • I know everybody on the admissions committee on a first name basis, but I haven’t actually met them.
  • Waiting to start the Stanford app until after the MIT decision (5 days before it was due) was risky, but I learned that it was SO TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Perhaps you learned all, or none of these things. Perhaps your college application process was completely different than mine. All I know is that I know a bunch of stuff now that I never thought I’d ever need to know, and I imagine attending MIT will be a similar experience. Go into it expecting one thing and come out with something completely different. Bring it on!


It was one of those weeks; you know, a time where you throw your hands up in the air and stand back, let life take its course. An unexpected death and tangential, echoing disappointment coming from different directions—it wasn’t easy.

I remember coming to school that Thursday. No one was talking; nearly everyone was crying. Why did he do it? There were no outward signs of depression; he was a jovial, beloved, intelligent athlete and friend. We had known each other since seventh grade, had been in all the same honors and AP classes together. I wasn’t surprised when I had overheard him chatting to someone in the halls about the Stanford application; that was about a week before he hung himself.

Earlier in the year, schoolwork overloads caused me to pull several all-nighters. There was one day I came to school stone-faced, chokingly whispering to my AP bio teacher that I couldn’t do the lab the rest of the class was working on; I tried to say that stress was taking the best of me, but even these words soon drowned in my own tears. Immediately, she sent me to the counseling office, and in no time my counselor had me back to my chipper old self again.

But the day we found out that Johnny had killed himself, my teacher walked up to me, looked me in the eyes, and told me something that scared me so much I almost collapsed before her in a heap of apology.

The day before, which was a Wednesday, there was an ECO Club meeting, but other obligations caused me to blatantly forget it. Not until my teacher walked up to me the day after did I exasperatingly realize my error, but what she told me in no way relieved my regret for forgetting about the meeting.

Apparently, all the teachers had received a phone call the evening before. According to my bio teacher, the news of Johnny’s suicide was prefaced with the ominous words “We have some bad news.” Momentarily, she believed that my name was about to come out of the receiver. She had believed, for a second, that I had killed myself the night before; apparently, no word as to what had happened to me during ECO Club was part of this, along with my incessant stress all semester long.

What could I say to that? I’m sorry I forgot about ECO Club? Or how about, I’m sorry I gave you reason to believe I killed myself? I didn’t know what to say.

The hardest part was going to Statistics the next day. Several of Johnny’s best friends had gathered around his seat in the class, sobbing. Everyone in the class was sobbing, and these contagious tears caused me to get “all worked up” myself. My friend held me tight; she wasn’t even in that class, but she was so sad she had decided to come to it with me. I told her that this was enough, and we quickly left the room to get some air outside. We walked for a while, discussing emotions and the situation. Everything was alright until she said “Well, I mean, I get ideas like that all the time. You know, end it all. It’d be so easy.”

And I broke down. She said she doesn’t talk to me about “those” feelings because she doesn’t want to burden me. I yelled at her, saying the biggest burden would be that I would have to live the rest of my life with the loss of my best friend. What else was I supposed to say?

We walked off our feelings, and soon saw our friend at the quad-turned-makeshift-memorial. He was one of Johnny’s best friends, and I had known him since fourth grade. He looked lost, coming at me with open arms for a hug. He began to sob, telling me how he had found out that morning that he was accepted to his early decision school. By then I was crying again, and I remember whispering some corny nonsense about how Johnny’s influence over him would help him to be one of the greatest kids showing up at the freshman orientation of his new school.

Days passed, but they seemed like weeks. A week and a half later, I began to remember that MIT’s and Stanford’s early decisions were coming out. I was almost sure that I wouldn’t get into MIT, but my friend Calvin, who is basically my hero and was waiting for “Stanny’s” decision, had a new name: “Stanford.” All of us called him this because he was the brightest, most talented individual any of us knew. We didn’t think for one moment he wouldn’t get in; comparatively, all the students who had gotten in the years before were not nearly as personally or academically qualified as he was. And we were hoping an acceptance letter would boost his spirits because he was one of Johnny’s best friends as well.

I have spent endless hours sitting in front of my computer screen, reading MIT’s admission blogs, College Confidential discussions, statistics. I have stayed up on weeknights until two AM dreaming about getting into MIT. My friend Calvin did the same; he obsessed, like me, over getting into his favorite school. We both even got a little cocky leading up to the decision release dates. And yet whenever we got in our own little “funks,” saying “Why am I even applying; I know I have no chance at all,” we constantly consoled each other.

Well, neither of us got in. Before I read that deferral decision on the Internet, I thought that my life could be changed forever in the next minute. But it didn’t. And as I sat there, thinking about all the work I had done up to that point, all that effort I had put into my application, all those B’s I had worried about, all those embarrassing SAT scores, I realized, this is stupid.

This is stupid.

Less than eleven days ago a brilliant student whom I had known for more than four years used a rope to end his life, and I’m sitting here, freaking out about how I didn’t “get in.” Well guess what, there’s more to life than getting into “the school of your dreams.” In fact, even if there’s not “more to life,” there’s still life, which is more than what Johnny gave himself the chance to indulge in.

As finals approached, though I stayed levelheaded, I maintained that idea in my head, that idea that I’ve got bigger fish to fry. Maybe I should live a little more than worry about how MIT will reject me. Maybe I should focus on other amazing schools rather than read MIT blogs every night. Maybe I should (I’ll stop with the clichés soon, I promise) “carpe deim” it up a little more, rather than worry about my GPA.

Because I’m still alive. No, Ms. O, I did not kill myself. And trust me, I’m glad I didn’t.

Shubha, India

Applying to college – how it feels? (eyes tightly shut) “It’s only a bad dream, it’s only a bad dream, it’s ok, it will all be over… (opens eyes) …oops… not yet over.”

I’m from India. Applying to colleges has just about started for me because MIT is the only college that I’ve applied to until now; Indian colleges hold their entrance exams during March and April. So, basically applying to MIT has been like a kick in the backside to tell me GET GOING!!!

Right now it’s all about unevenly bitten fingernails, stained coffee mugs left all over the house while studying at unearthly hours, extra stationary envelopes, gluesticks, correction pens – to mail applications jussssssssst before the deadline and remembering to breathe every once in a while. I’ve had nightmares about turning up late for my SATs, public rejections from colleges made super-embarrassing, not getting admitted anywhere, the boogie-man (ok… that’s pushing it; that has nothing to do with colleges, sorry :) ), etc. My application has been the only thing on my mind for the past two months or so – and what makes it scarier is how badly you want to get in but knowing everybody else wants it just as badly and is just as good… phew!!!

But it’s also nice in some ways ’cause you realize you’re taking your life into your own hands – deciding what you want, what you need and how you’re going to get it. When you’re writing essays about yourself you learn stuff about yourself that you really did not pay attention to before. Hmmm… I’m trying to write more about why it’s good… but… er… uh… until I get in anywhere, that’s all I can manage. :)

And oh yeah… the most amazing thing – reading blogs and responses of people in the same soup. :-)

Josh, Washington

So I’m from Seattle, and you might have heard that we had major winter wind/snow storms last December. (It’s funny because I hear all my east coast buddies say they have been having such a mild winter, while we are freezing our toes off – it seriously never gets that windy/rainy/cold/snowy here, EVER)

Anyways, so it was the night of December 14th and I was editing and rewriting all my essays for the Stanford app (which was due on the 15th; I know, I should have finished it earlier, but whatev). I was charging my laptop, so I decided I would use our office computer to write them. I was on my last essay when the lights suddenly flickered out for a second. “WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT?!” I thought.

The rain was beating on our living room windows like large pine cones and the wind made the trees bend like blades of grass. My dog was frantically barking outside in the momentary darkness. To my shock and horror, my computer had restarted and I had not saved any of my changes. THANK GOD FOR AUTORECOVERY.

So I started my computer back up, but just as I was about to open up my files, the power surged again… however, this time, the power did not come back on. I sat in front of my blackened computer screen in our dark office for 5 minutes waiting for my electricity to come back on, but it never did. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I was frantic. I did not know what to do. The app was due the next day and I did not have any of my essays saved anywhere else nor did I have Internet. Luckily I charged my laptop.

That night, I stayed up writing my Stanford app essays and finished them all just before 3 in the morning. My power was still out and my laptop was running on 19% power. Ohh man. Time for me to submit this thing!

So I ended up taking my laptop and driving all over Seattle looking for a wireless signal. I drove up to my school (which was closed due to the storm), connected to the network from the parking lot, and submitted my application with 4% battery life left.

I was extremely relieved when I finished it and my power came back on the following night (which was when I saw that Stanford had extended its application deadline for those Pacific Northwest students affected by the storm to the 18th). It was definitely a roller coaster experience – one that is funny when I look back on it, but also one that was definitely stressful in the present.

Meenakshi, Bahrain

It was a moment to remember as the “SUBMIT” button was clicked to a standing ovation from the rest of my family crowding around me at the computer. There could have been many reasons for their sigh of relief though. For one, I could see that my little sister all of 7 years was getting her favourite computer back after what seemed like ages to her. (Maybe she hasn’t heard of the ‘One Laptop per Child’ project by Nicholas Negroponte!)

The MIT application process has revealed yet another wonderful quality of my little sister. My sis has just let me in on her innermost secret. On our very recent visit to a temple here, I found her surreptitiously going up to the statue of a mouse which is believed to be the vehicle of a much revered Hindu deity. There I spotted her whispering something into the mouse’s ears. Later, on our way back home, she came close to me and told me that the whispering I witnessed was actually a wish she had made for me – that I would be lucky to get into the “Mayor’s office.”

“And what do you mean by a mayor’s office?” I asked her, bewildered.

She replied, “Oh, I thought you knew akka (which means elder sister in Tamil language), this [MIT] page which you keep looking at all the time on the computer is the same Mayor’s office building which I keep seeing on the Cartoon Network’s ‘Powerpuff Girls.’ I thought you too want to be one of them, and so I have prayed for you!!”

Much as my parents could not help feeling amused, I tried hard to control my emotions… I was touched… I guess that’s MIT ‘P.O.W.E.R.!’

Thanks to everyone who submitted their thoughts! I couldn’t publish everyone, but I did read everything that was sent in (several times!).

I wish everyone my best as you wait for responses from colleges!

71 responses to “Tales from the application process”

  1. Monika says:

    Anonymous: nothing to say, except: Why do such terrible things happen? Again and again, and in fact: Nothing changes!
    People say, they don’t care about grades, scores and so on, but its reality: They do care…
    That’s sad!

  2. Jenny says:

    Ryan that had to be the funniest video I ever saw…..

  3. Edward says:

    Amazing stories!!
    Its so nice to know that someone, anyone is going through something similar to what I’m experiencing; the same soup (thanks Shubha!).
    So I’m the last one to comment: YAY! – yes this is directed to all you who beat me to being the first!!

  4. Carol '94 says:

    Wow! Good Stuff People!

    Get Ryan into Course 4 (Visual Arts)!

    Such talent. I’m sure the admissions committee will have their hands full again.

  5. milena says:

    I feel like I need to write a comment for every entry lol they were all great!!!

    Ryan – you did an awesome job there. I definitely loved it and I found myself chuckling a few times! Well, if you applied (and I guess you did) I hope you get in because this just shows the great talent you have and being at MIT will definitely help you develop it further!

    Carla – it’s always very nice seeing someone try so hard to reach a goal, even if you don’t make it, it’s always inspiring for others! And don’t worry much about the money, pretty much everybody that wants a college education here can get money to pay for it, you just have to be willing to look (and work) for it. I hope you make it : ) Espero que esto te haya servido de algo para motivarte, yo ando en el mismo bote! ; )

    Snively – You must be soo happy!!! hahaha in less than a week you’ve been posted about twice! I definitely enjoyed your entry, you have a pretty good shot at becoming a blogger here : ) btw, I love the shirt you wear in your profile pic in facebook ; )

    Anonymous – Wow. that’s pretty much all I can say. I can’t tell you everything will be alright, because for a while it won’t be. Just try to get your friend’s story out there as much as you can so that you can help other people think twice before doing something like that.

    Shubha – I too had nightmares about getting late to the SAT’s!! That was about 2 days before the test so obviously I took the necessary precautions and got there an hour earlier and slept in the car until it was time to take the test : )

    Josh – I had something like that happen to me but fortunately I got apps out of the way as fast as I could, usually a month before the deadline (I’m a little too responsible, maybe paranoid!). My problem was with a 3000-word essay I had to write for ecology class on the benefits of organic products…. And just as I finished the essay my computer froze and I couldn’t save it. I didn’t have autorecovery because my computer was so old, it should be in a museum! But after that, Dad got the hint and got me a macbook. But I applaud you, when there’s will, there’s a way!

    Meenakshi – Little sisters are so cute! lol I’m glad your family supports you 100%, some people aren’t fully supported by theirs (like me) so you’re very very lucky. I hope you get it!!

    Matt, you should do this for the first day of college too!! I bet it would be super exciting and people would definitely get into it…

  6. Jess says:

    Ryan Schoen, please be my best friend for life.

    You know where to find me! :D

  7. Whew. What a read.
    I was initially disappointed that I didn’t have a chance to submit an entry, but having read these makes me realize that having accidentally showed up two hours early for my interview is really nothing to shout about.
    Ryan’s animation was quite amusing as well.
    Applause (or, rather, the Web equivalent) to all those whose submissions appear here – indeed, to all who submitted!

  8. Ryan Schoen says:

    Wow, quite a response to the animation. Thanks for the positive feedback!

  9. Minh says:

    Wow, these are awesome!

  10. Anthony says:

    Ryan, you made my night. tongue laugh

    Thanks for posting all of these, Matt — seven was definitely not too many smile

    Happy new year!

  11. Arthur says:

    amazing stories, people!

  12. Solomon says:

    Congratulations once again Ryan and all the others who entertained us. Nice animations and nice essays.

  13. Ryan, you are my hero. I put everything I thought about admissions into a video that pretty much was amazing. 1337 Sweet road?!?!? Pwnage for sure. Nice job.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Michael, I sat nodding my head as I read your piece.
    Nicely done.

  15. Snively says:

    Gah, typo! When I said “I put everything. . .” I definetely meant you, because you were the one who put everything i thought about admissions into a video that was pretty much amazing.

  16. Christina says:

    Anonymous – If MIT doesn’t accept you, it is our loss.

  17. Snively says:



    I’m done, no more typos.

  18. Melissa '11 says:


    I don’t know what to say. It’s awkward, I suppose, being a complete stranger a seeming world away from everyone on this blog, but I just have to say a couple of things.
    I’m sorry for your loss. Your story is valuable beyond words – those worrying about acceptance into MIT or any college (including myself before December 9th) need to take things in perspective. That can be applied to any part of life. There are worse things than not getting into a school, getting a bad grade on a test, having a huge project due the next day.. and for a while, I’ve forgotten that. I’ve let school stress me out far too much lately.
    I applaud your bravery in telling your story. I’m not sure I would have the strength to share something that personal or life-altering.
    I can’t say “it’ll all be OK” or “get well soon”. Obviously, a classmate’s suicide is hard to overcome; it’s not a virus you fight off in a couple of days. I just hope that you and others affected by his suicide heal. My prayers are with you. Though I’m agnostic, it doesn’t hurt to try.


  19. Anonymous says:

    if my parents dont earn enough is it bad to thik about getting into MIT…will anyobosy kill me…will MIT reject me for the same fact …if they say they can only pay 4500$ anually for my college i supposed to wake up out of a dream???am i really dreaming something too far from reality…

  20. Anonymous says:

    if my parents dont earn enough is it bad to think about getting into MIT…will anyobosy kill me…will MIT reject me for the same fact …if they say they can only pay 4500$ anually for my college i supposed to wake up out of a dream???am i really dreaming something too far from reality…

  21. anon above says:

    somebody tell me.. i am disappointed in life..i have the strength to go on ..but i cant survive like this..are there no hopes whatsoever of my attending a quality university ..and i can’t give up on MIT..even if i am accepted i wont be able to pay for it…i am sheerly utterly disappointed..

  22. Snively says:


    Chill! You sound like something you’d expect to see in Tim Burton’s diary! College is expensive, and in MIT’s case, uber expensive. Very few people are going to be able to afford it, I for one can’t pay a whole bunch more than you will be able to. Think about it this way though, have you ever heard anybody say I just graduated from MIT and just CAN NOT find a job! ??? Of couse you haven’t, and that’s because there are an average of 3 job offers for each MIT graduate. The very worst that happens is you take out a ton of student loans and then pay them off with the income you have after graduating.

    That’s all assuming you get no internships or grants from MIT, which is ridiculous. MIT provides opportunities to work off tuition (in fact, they even make you pay $5,500 of it out of your own pocket, not your parents’).

    So relax, seriously. Enjoy the application process and senior year, it only happens once! Go write something happy and uplifting, it’s much more fun!

  23. anon above says:

    thanks snively
    but you dnt knw i think i wnt be able to attend any college for that matter,…i cannot take my mind odd this..and considering the facts about MIT ..i feel ..i wouldnt be accepted…this is the first time in my life that i am feeling so low and i can’t find no hope or life in anything around ..atleast your parents will be able to pay more than a 4500$…but for me id be outrightly rejected cause i cant ..i jus cant..not for MIT ..not for any other college..

  24. Snively says:

    MIT is need-blind buddy. They don’t worry about finances when they make their decision. In fact, most colleges are. It’s to the point now that colleges have so many ways to scrounge money that just don’t worry about it! You’re too young to have this much stress.

  25. Anonymous says:

    thanks snively
    ill search for a reason to smile…may be its camouflaged somewhere under my bed sheets…n no other college is need blind ..they all want the assets and financial proof before they let you in..but ill figure out a way..i am not giving up on my dreams…

  26. Anonymous says:

    That sounds much better- i was just up to write a “please smile”-entry extra for you, Anon!
    ( wish you luck,and..I pray for you..)

  27. Monika says:

    That sounds much better- i was just up to write a “please smile”-entry extra for you, Anon!but Snively was faster.wink
    ( wish you luck,and..I pray for you..)

  28. Monika says:

    That sounds much better- i was just up to write a “please smile”-entry extra for you, Anon!but Snively was faster.wink
    ( wish you luck,and..I pray for you..)

  29. Vihang says:

    Wow these tales were really great.
    Maybe I’ll write one too a year later when I’ll have completed my application.

  30. Guyomar says:

    All the stories were good reads, but the one I particularly enjoyed was written by Anonymous.

  31. Porkey says:

    What a great animation perfectly sequenced with the background song. Ryan, you have just inspired me to learn more animation during this waiting period – thanks.

  32. turnef says:

    Thanks for sharing everyone. Your tales or animations touched my heart and will stay in my mind for quite a while. And thanks Matt for running this mini-contest.

  33. Solomon says:

    Anon ,Ryan,Josh and all the others too,I loved your stories. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be admitted to MIT if you can communicate this way. Hope you will all be my classmates at MIT. All the best.

  34. kanika says:

    sob sob sob…my crude poetry wasn’t published…but all of these stories jus about awesome…i ruin a nerve every time i stary thinkin about me!!!!!

  35. Anonymous says:

    gus Ryan, yrs animation is really cute.

  36. Josh V says:

    Anonymous, your story touched me. I feel for you, and you are in my prayers.

    Ryan. You are amazing. I can do very basic flash, but what you created is way beyond me (and probably way beyond my old computer). Hats off to you!

    Everyone else, your stories were fantastic. Yes Solomon, let’s hope we are all classmates next year!!!

    PS: Kanika, I’m sure your poetry was just so brilliant it would have overpowered our stories. =)

  37. Amjad says:

    That’s amazing, Ryan. very amazing! smile

  38. Anon says:

    Coming from the student who wrote the story as ANONYMOUS:

    I wanted to say thanks for all the positive comments and that all the other pieces were fantastic (some good laughs to cheer me up).I didn’t plan on having a grammatical error in the second sentence “One of those times *when*” not “One of those times *where*.” But honestly, the gravity of what I wrote about hopefully overshadowed my writing style. Good luck to all.

  39. Amjad says:

    yo Anon
    i’m sure that if MIT wants you. they will admit you regardless of your financial status. And i believe that you SHOULDN”T GIVE UP!

    “.even if i am accepted i wont be able to pay for it..”

    c’mon there are so many ways to pay for colleges. and just as Snively said before. you can always take a LOAN.
    fight for your dream and don’t give up. especially if you get accepted.


  40. Amjad says:

    I, were i you, i’d do the impossible
    and you know what the impossible is?
    it’s NOTHING cause there is nothing impossible. you can do everything, anything.


    ***excuse my words, but those words give real excitement, and i hope that worked for you, anon.
    you are not gonna give up, are you?

  41. Abha Agarwal says:

    Wow!! I am amazed with “The Zombies”. Although I would disagree with the way he/she has named herself/himself. I don’t think there is a better way of putting your feeling about being rejected by your “Dream” college. I am intend to show this flash clip to all my students who have aspirations and have applied to MIT and the likes. It would definitely pull up their spirits and thanks Matt for uploading these for our view. Way to go! I dont think there was any better way of taking the rejection in your stride. Appreciate it!

  42. Samujjal says:

    Man!!! u ppl rock… u deserve to MITians… Hope me too…

  43. Carla says:

    Thanks to Milena for her comments (De veras estoy motivada, y con tu comentario aun mas smile )
    Ryan, I want to congratulate you for your creativity. It was not the easier way to express you app thoughts, and your history was quite hilarious.
    Anonymous, you really touched me. I worry so much about stupid things, and you just made that clearer to me. Thanks for sharing this with us, it has shown many of us that people is what matter, not applications and college acceptances.
    All the rest, your histories were awesome. I hope we can all meet at the “mayor’s office”

  44. Yossarian says:

    Wow…what amazing stories. Anonymous’ story is especially touching…I mean, wow. That’s a college application essay in and of itself. =P What an amazing story. I send as much of my condolences as will fit over Internet to you and your entire school.

    The very fact that I am able to empathize with many of these extremely talented writers seems to serve as validation for my own efforts…and for that, I thank them, and Matth, for hosting this contest.



  45. Ryan says:

    I finally got around to reading all the other stories and comments.

    Just to be clear, the guy in the animation is *not* necessarily me. Come on, I’m not that bad raspberry I didn’t apply to Harvard, I started on my MIT app in October, and last of all – but certainly not least – I’ve never committed a felony.

    Now, I’m not saying I didn’t stand by my mailbox for two months. That part might just be true.

    Snively – So true. Especially “I know how long 500 words looks on paper”, “I learned where both of my parents went to college, what their degrees were, and when they graduated”, and “I learned my social security number!”

    Anon – What can I say? I wanted to cry while reading that. I can’t imagine what it must be like for you.

    Josh – Had a similar experience with the USB flash drive that had the ONLY copy of my essay on it. The USB connector snapped clean off. Thank God for soldering irons…

    Once again, thanks for all the comments, and congratulations to all the other winners.

  46. I am from earth, and was a bit busy with my activities regarding my HS exam here…………. So I missed the opportunity to write…….

    Yeah.... thats my condition... a bearded hobo like animal, struggling with everything........ But enjoying the struggle. ;)
  47. Laura says:

    Ryan- OMG, did you actually solder your flash drive back together? Because that’s freaking awesome. =)

  48. Ryan says:

    Yeah, but it’s way easier than it sounds. There’s just four little points that line up on the USB head and the chip, and you put them back together. It was a good enough job to get my essay, but there’s no way I’d trust it with anything important again.

  49. kanika says:

    still breathing everybody…????

  50. kanika says:

    can i publish my story widou matt’s permit here….

  51. shubha says:

    yay..glad to find myself there..though i wish winning the mini-contest automatically meant ur admitted or sumthin….sigh!!!!
    LOVED anonymous…..!!!!!!
    n ryan,josh…
    n meenakshi…younger sister’s are pretty cool,aren’t they?i’m one…wink..n i call my sis ‘akka’ too…:D

  52. Yossarian says:


    dude. that is so frickin hardcore. shieet. XD haha nice job dude. =P

  53. Hey Anon
    just relax
    i will also be able only $4500(above this a dollar or two)
    when i asked about financial aid to my EC
    he said not to worry about that he had similar case like of us
    now go and have some fun

  54. Anonymous says:

    please post the result it is being hard to wait

  55. Anshu says:

    great posts!!! loved to read them…so sad i couldn’t send in mine! Josh, my experience was somewhat similar to you. I wanted to submit my application on the 21st, n the same day my motherboard got burnt!!! changed it immediately, got a new one and it got burnt again…lol…and then were 3 days holidays, so no chance of getting it from anywhere…finally got a new one on 26th and then there was that taiwan earthquake and the internet service didn’t work…i lost hope of submiting it!!! but then on 28th midnight i got a brainwave, got up switched on my computer and tried to connect, and it connected!!! sat the whole night and submitted everything…and then i felt as though i found back my capapbility of breathing!!!…
    Matt, can’t you get all of us in???

  56. Indian says:

    Dear Matt
    Has MIT ever admitted an Indian who didn’t have his interview done?

  57. Michelle says:

    Wow. I was just really impressed with the stuff that I read in these blogs.

    Anon: your story was amazingly touching. Heart-wrenching, one could say, but hopeful at the same time. When I read it, I was having a really bad day, but reading your story just gave perspective on my problems (aka, they’re wimpy problems) compared to dealing with a death of a classmate. As I said before, it’s amazing. Continue writing; you deserve to enjoy the opportunities given to you. smile

    Ryan, I like the Flash animation. =) It’s… amusing. Please, though, stop picking on Wisconsin. Please? Thank you! smile

    Michael ’11: Hahahaha, Snively, you finally get your day on here. raspberry Okay, that said, I totally agree with some of the points you put up. For example, I had to learn my SSN and the high school testing code. (Oh, the joys of memorization.)

    Still. Meh. I wanted to submit something, but school’s hit me full-force, and I’ve barely had time to myself. (I don’t have any really refreshing stories, except that I finished submitting all my apps about three days before the internet connection for SE Asia was knocked out… oh, and the weirdness that ensued when my sister and I (twins, by the way) were applying to different schools.)

    Mmmmm. Good stuff. I hope to read more stories soon. Thanks, Matt, for hosting this competition! smile

  58. Carlos says:

    Hey, excellent stories and a very interesting blog. I almost felt like I wrote some of those stories. I loved them because I felt entertained and at the same time I thought about what an application process truly means (I was totally touched by the Anonymous story). I also had an interesting tale but I did not send it…it was about my interview (my ec was very, very sick).

    I can’t wait until application decisions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  59. brendan says:

    Double posting?
    Anyway, with three offers per grad, you’re almost guaranteed to get a nice job after MIT, especially seeing as the physics majors probably don’t get any. Or is it because of MIT physicist that the rest of us get stuck working low level jobs at Boeing. Oh, well, I’m not going to let that stop me!

    And Josh, I can totally relate, I was (slackerlyly) filling in my Stanford at 9 Thursday night, I had just finished Harvard (yah right), when the power finally quit coming back on! I had to go maneuver through back roads and fallen trees to get to my friend’s house in Duvall to borrow his internet. He had to fire up his generator and then I had to drive 40 minutes to get to the nearest open post office!

    And what were they thinking extending the deadline, wheres the challenge in that!?!
    Good anecdotes, all of you!

    this one goes to all those who feel they’re not good enough to be at MIT ,hmmmm rather i shud put it like this.. those who think they’re underperformers …i dunno why am i posting this but it scared away all the negative thoughts bou myself after reading it.. so thought i could share with all you people.. here goes..

    i love being an UNDERDOG .It is infinitely better than being the top dog .People are always ready to tear down the most successful guys:the top singer,the top politician , the top actor even the top criminal. Remember all the times that you cursed the girl who lead the cheer leading team and caught all the glam…or the guy who always got elected to the position of the class president…we hate people who are better than us..don’t we??

    But being the second best not only gives me the energy but also the credibility…take for instance india. For a long time india has been the second most populous nation after china .Look at how we’re catching up :By 2050 we will litter the world as the most productive nation! (that’s sarcasm — so all my indian folks dont leave hate posts–i love india too…!)

    now think of the world’s most eminent underdogs .He was terrible in mathematics .His school teachers thought he would never make it.He struggled long and hard for employment.His parents were worried about his learning disability.He never learnt to drive a car in his life .His name :ALBERT EINSTEIN .so folks!!if you alwayz got a mediocre B or C on math dn’t feel bad –you can identify with Einstein –rejoice!!!

    The psychology of the underdog fascinates me.He has the itch for achievement and the right pitch that can hitch hike him to planet success . Bill Gates , now a top dog himself ,is often out to record underdogs .During job interviews for Microsoft he often asks a potential employee ,”tell me about one of your significant failures in life .” When quizzed about this ,Gates says ,”Unless the employee can describe his failures he is unlikely to know all the elements of success. “

    so if you’ve failed again n again n again n are still moving on– be proud of yourself—eliminate all negative thoughts–go for a beautiful dream no matter how far or how hard to reach it may seem , luck is nothing but seeing the opprtunities and capitalising on them,try your very very best and you will be rewarded .

    for those of you who are thinking that i wrote this lemme tell you –it appeared in a national daily in my country…i just added the last few lines .
    asta la vista .. prospective MITians!!!(wow ..even that term excites so ebullient a feeling…)

  61. Nihit says:

    A marvelous art work that is a perfect combination of acoustics and animation which depicts the situation faced by most applicants to a great extent.

  62. Anonymous says:


    Get your facts right. Albert Einstein was a brilliant student. He was so brilliant that at the age of 19 he was a professor already. Talk about Bill Gates, he was a child genius.

  63. kanika says:

    wowowowowo….anon…those aren’t my facts ..sorry i didnt research enough bou Einstein …may be ur right…but you see i jus read that..n i liked that…so i posted issues…

  64. Kanika,

    yes and einstein so was genius, right from chilhood and hated his school’s curriculum, the only defect he had was that he spoke every word twice till the age of five!

  65. kanika says:

    i dunno who you are…

  66. great post this one… loved reading it… Ryan, ur flash animation was damn good n hell yeah… hilarious too…!!! n tht anonymous story was sooo touching… its really amazing to get other people’s perspectives about the whole admissions process… n really… there’s a whole world outside of these applications and rejections…!!! i love my life…!!!

  67. Anonymous says:

    it sounds like Ramdev baba

  68. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous, Einstein wasn’t brilliant in school. School bored him.

  69. saikat says:

    i am afraid about the selection process & i want to contact SUBHA RAO ,INDIA in the bloggers section for 21st january’07.

    please contact me or send your e-mail id to my id([email protected])as soon as possible.

  70. hey saikat….contact me…dont be afraid…theres nothing as draconian in the world ..not even the admission JEE….ur from india …must b knwin dat ..chilll

  71. Elizabeth says:

    Wow- I’ve been so busy since all our snow days up here in Seattle that I have recently been keeping my New Year’s Resolution to not be as obsessed about college as I was for the month before my deferral came. I actually have been thinking about the rest of my life for the past couple weeks! And how time has flown. Reading all these posts has only emphasized that feeling. I’m so happy! And I’ve finally managed to truly convince myself that it would not be the end of the world if MIT rejects me. I like my other schools too. Sure, they’re not my first choice, but they still all rock!
    Thanks to everyone who posted, it brings different parts of the country, world, and even simply environment to me in Seattle, where I often feel that the weather is the only change. Thanks!