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Telethon Fun…Squared by Paul B. '11

The amount of fun experienced at an event grows exponentially as a function of bloggers present.

January 17, 2008

Hey all, just another entry about the EA Telethon madness. I ended up helping out from 6:00 to 11:00, with maybe a half-hour break in between to write up a quick blog entry – so it has been quite an exciting time. I’ve called more pre-frosh than I can count, though sadly about half of you were out of your houses (MIT pre-frosh are busy people, apparently). So if I happened to leave a message on your machines or with your parents, feel free to comment below. ;-)

All in all, about 60 students – a record turnout – helped call the Early Action pre-frosh. Yes, all 522 of you! I’m not sure if we were lured by the idea of talking to prospective students or the free food (more on that below), but either way, it was a pretty strong showing of support. Most of the callers were freshmen, like myself, though I saw a sizable sprinkling of upperclassmen as well. Virtually all of the dorms represented, along with a few fraternity brothers and sorority sisters.

Upon arriving, I signed in with my name, living group, and class year. I then received a stack of about ten single-sided sheets, one for each of the students whom I was supposed to call. We used the sheets to keep track of when we called, whether we got in touch with the student or not, and (if necessary) when would be a good time to call back. Most of the pre-frosh I called were from the Midwest, since I asked for people from Indiana – most of the callers wanted to talk to admitted students from their home state. But I also ended up talking to a few people whose names I remembered from Facebook or the blogs – which was amusing, to say the least.

After the first few calls, I had a pretty good spiel developed, which went something like this: “Hi! This is Paul Baranay. I’m currently a freshman at MIT, and I was calling to say congratulations to on being accepted to MIT! *cue awkward laughter and/or shy “thanks” from the pre-frosh on the other end* So I was just wondering if you had any questions about student life, or research, or just MIT in general.” From there, it was pretty much anyone’s guess as to how the conversation would go – some lasted two minutes, some five, some half an hour or more. And that was all fine with me.

If for any reason you didn’t get a call, you really didn’t miss much, especially if you’re already a dedicated reader of these blogs – but it was a lot of fun for everyone involved. If you really do have any burning questions about MIT, you can always leave them in the blog comments; or just drop me (or any of the other bloggers) an email. We’ll be happy to help. Additionally, I do have two important reminders that you should all be aware of:

I personally think the second bullet point is the more important of the two, but I imagine the parents would probably tend to disagree with me on that point. ;-)

And now I’m going to stop writing and let the photos I took do the talking for me. Because no telethon is complete without me taking fun, awkward photos of my friends and other people nice enough to put up with my antics. =)


We take admitted students’ papers out of this big file, call them up…


…and put them in the big file of students who have been called.


As the night goes on, the “done” file magically gets bigger!


Group shot! Snively, Tina ’11, Matt, and Jon ’11 pose for the camera.


Friendly Admissions Officer Johnathan (whom you may remember from this entry) gives advice.

[THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]
There should be a picture of Ben Jones visiting the Telethon here, but he came down sick with something today, so he couldn’t come. Alas, but it happens to the best of us.


Alina ’11 and Jon work on the computer as Snively conducts a call.


Jon looks intense. Maybe he’s blogging?


One of the best parts of the Telethon: free food! Actually, you’ll learn this quickly if you decide to come here next year: most of the events at MIT have free food, whether they’re student-run or put on the administration, and it is absolutely wonderful.


My friend JR ’11 shares a laugh with a pre-frosh.


Another friend, Grace ’11, favors me with a smile.


With arms like that, Sun ’11 should have been arrested for illegal weapons.


Sivakami ’11 is super excited to have her photo on the (in)famous MIT blogs.


I smile for the camera. So cheesy!


The awesome people who actually organized the telethon: Jennifer ’06, Stephanie ’10, and Dhru ’07.


Possibly my favorite picture from the whole night, this shows the last six students to leave the telethon: Colleen ’11, Josh ’08, Me, Stacy ’11, Sivakami ’11, and Kendra ’09.

And that’s it for the EA Telethon! Hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did!

29 responses to “Telethon Fun…Squared”

  1. Hyun Jin says:

    @Anonymous
    Just to add to Akshay’s awesome advice:

    Since Int’ls can’t apply online, you can find the International Financial Aid application forms on Collegeboard or the MIT Financial Aid website. All you have to do is fill the form out, plus a Certification of Finances form, which is usually found with the Int’l Financial Aid app. Then you send them to MIT by mail.

  2. Tanmay says:

    That financial aid application tracking is absent on my MyMIT also. I think that finaid apps take longer to process, since it’s not currently a high priority document. So there’s so strong reason to worry. smile

  3. Tanmay says:

    Sorry, but that ‘so’ should be ‘no’!

  4. Tanmay says:

    Sorry, but that ‘so’ should be ‘no’…

  5. Akshay says:

    @Tanmay
    For this you should check if your courier services if your financial aid application has been delivered to the given address. If it has been then you should not worry as once received at the office they won’t be lost by them. And just be confirmed that your application will show up in coming weeks.
    That’s the best thing you should do now to make yourself less tensed about your financial aid application.
    And you can check with the courier service’s website for it’s online tracking tool. And if it says your documents have been delivered you can also ask your courier service to give you a Certificate of Delivery.

  6. Akshay says:

    Correction:
    You should check with your courier service

  7. Sam says:

    Haha, I am so bad at talking on phones. My phone conversation with Emily ’11 was hilarious. I was either thinking “Oh no, quick, what do I ask next?”, or “Man, this is really awkward turtle.”

  8. Hawkins says:

    You called me! Thank you! Hahaha, I love how professional you sounded. Were you a telemarketer in a past life? Will I ever get to be on the call-giving end of the telethon? It sounds like a good time.

  9. Jing Jing says:

    The call actually surprised me, because it’s usually the students calling the college people rather than the other way around…. But it was nice talking to you Paul! =D

  10. Anonymous says:

    hahahah JR’s picture!

  11. Marc R says:

    Thanks again for the call.

  12. Caroline '11 says:

    wish i coulda been there! but i had lab. =(

  13. Piper says:

    Haha, I really like that picture of you Paul =P Yay for liveblogging and recruiting future awesome people to come to the institvte!

  14. Isshak says:

    LOL so ironic, I did not know about the marathon ! Anyway, it was nice.

  15. AwayfromHome says:

    I’m afraid I have the unpleasant task of being the first to call you on this, Paul:
    I’m afraid schpeel isn’t correct, when you say “whole ‘schpeel.'” It is true that Spiel, the word you’re looking for, is German, and that the ‘sh’ sound from English equates to the ‘sch’ from German, however, so long as it’s not in compound words (such as lebensmittel, ‘life’ + ‘means’ or food), s followed by a consonant produces the sh(consonant) sound, usually a little less pronounced.

    But then, as you’re using it in an English phrase, feel free to butcher it as much as you like; that’s what we tend to do anyway! (My last name, Brensinger, is a good example. I can’t pronounce it German by any stretch of the imagination, yet most Americans refuse to pronounce it the proper English way, either.)

    On another note, I really hope I get in RA, as I’d love to both receive one of these calls and participate in the telethon next year.

  16. Natalie says:

    It was so awesome to get a phone call from MIT! It really made my day!

  17. Akshay says:

    Nice blog.
    Well if I get in I am definitely in for the next telethon. Who doesn’t like free food :D

  18. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to interrupt the fun with a question, but I was wondering a bit about the financial aid. I’m a RA international applicant. I’m a bit confused about whether we should apply for financial aid before getting accepted as the deadline seems to be Feb 15 and most other universities look down on applicants who apply for aid before being accepted. It also says there that the financial application can be tracked in the MyMIT but it’s not on mine. So, my question is, could I send the financial aid application online?

    Many thanks for any help smile

  19. Akshay says:

    @Anonymous
    I think you should apply for financial aid regardless admission decision is announced later. And MIT has need blind policy for all applicants including international applicants. And as far as I can understand they ask for financial aid application before your decision is given to start working on your aid package as soon as they get your file and they don’t have to wait for your aid application to arrive. And at this point of time they are sorting a lot of applications so it may take time to show your application in MyMIT. If you know your application has been delivered then just write to the financial aid department and they’ll let you know. And you cannot apply online being an International Applicant.
    I hope this clarifies all of your doubts.

  20. Kasa '12 says:

    Paul! I missed my call! *boohoo*

  21. Aditi says:

    i want a call!

    *sob*

    RA decisions…march…i WILL die…

    =(

  22. Grace '11 says:

    omg! terrible picture! you should have told me about my bad posture!

  23. Sam R. '12 says:

    Aww…I didnt get the call. I was out of town and wasnt able to get it. Oh well, maybe next time.
    -sam r.

  24. Nihar says:

    @Aditi
    Seconded!

  25. Karen says:

    Props to all of you for making those phone calls! I’ve been calling our robotics team sponsors all week, and most phone calls are either me leaving messages or five seconds of awkwardness when I realize that I’ve reached a real person smile

  26. Paul says:

    Awayfromhome – Thanks for the spelling suggestion! I honestly had no idea how to spell it, and my usual dictionary sources were no help, so I actually just took my best guess. :D

    Swagnik – Yes, the forms can be faxed in. You can find all the relevant information here.

  27. Swagnik says:

    can the financial aid forms be sent by fax for international students?