Skip to content ↓
MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

The Ides of March by Matt McGann '00

No longer MIA.

This entry brings to a close one of the longest periods of blog inactivity ever since I began this blog. What’s been keeping me so busy?

  • Domestic selection (final stages). It’s been a long season of Regular Action, but we are finally beginning to see the Class of 2010 truly take shape. I can’t help but be excited.
  • International selection. Choosing slightly more than 100 students out of more than 2500 super-qualified applicants is a daunting task. I’m excited about the choices we’ve made, while at the same time hopeful that the students we couldn’t find room for at MIT will have other great opportunities elsewhere.
  • RSI selection. I am honored to be a part of the selection committee for the Research Science Institute, a summer program hosted by MIT and run by the Center for Excellence Education. RSI, which is free (except for the application fee), actually has a lower admission rate than the MIT freshman class. I don’t know when decisions will be released, but for those students who are not admitted, I hope you’ll still apply to MIT, since we have 1400 more admission spaces than RSI does.
  • MITES selection (preliminary phases). I am also honored to participate in the selection committee for the Minority Introduction to Engineering & Science (free) summer program at MIT. And again, I don’t know when decisions will be released, but for those students who are not admitted, I hope you’ll still apply to MIT, as many students turned down for MITES are still very competitive for freshman admission.
  • Campus Preview Weekend preparation. CPW is just three weeks away! We’re planning a 4-day weekend for the Class of 2010 that will hopefully help admitted students determine whether or not MIT is the right fit. For those of you who are admitted this weekend, I hope you’ll sign up ASAP for CPW, which is April 6-9.
  • Intel Science Talent Search. Each year I am fortunate to attend the banquet and celebration of the Intel Science Talent Search (STS), which is also referred to as the “junior Nobel Prize.” Previous STS winners include Prof. Eric Lander (my MIT freshman biology teacher, and this year’s CPW keynote speaker). One of the reasons I really like Intel STS is because it is a great celebration of science research and education, and we need more celebrations of excellence in these fields.And in this season of high anxiety over selective college admissions, I think it’s worth noting that this year’s STS winner, Shannon Babb, will attend Utah State University, and that last year’s winner, David Bauer, attends the City University of New York Honors College.

35 responses to “The Ides of March”

  1. Csaba says:

    So why did all of you apply? the numbers (well not all numbers, but most) were fully known, you fully knew yourselves.. Of course you didn’t know who you’re “competing against” (more exact would be “who you’re compared with” as this isn’t a competition per se), but neither do you know so now! I do not get you people.. A rate of 4% is very small and may kill *some* hope but it should have done so before application and not now.

    51h 12′ left

    ps: i hope i didn’t offend u

  2. Mahul Patel says:

    Nice one Matt and the admissions team. Thanks for getting the decisions done so quickly.

    Hopefully (but doubtfully) I will be one of the ~100 internationals that were admitted.

  3. I’m Quan from Vietnam.

    My dream may not become true in this year (you chose only 100 students out of 2500 super-qualified students), but I will try to get it become true in future.

  4. Fadl says:

    Hey everyone!

    Csaba the answer to that question is very simple. I personally applied for many reasons:

    1- When applying I did not realize that those I’m competing against would be so good.

    2- 4% is infinitely larger than 0% which would be my chance had I NOT applied.

    3- I had nothing to lose but so much to gain so why NOT???

    To conclude people apply to universities like MIT not because they think they’ll get in but because they know if by some chance they did it would be so great. As for why hope dwindles I believe it is because people finally realize how small the numbers are, those same numbers they’ve been avoiding for months.

    Good luck to everyone!!!

    3 days 2 hours and 44 minutes!

  5. Fadl says:

    oops sorry I meant 2 days!!!

  6. Christine says:

    Good luck to all the MITES and RSI applicants, and to those who plan to participate in the Intel STS! I remember writing the essays for the STS two years ahead of the deadline.

  7. Barry says:

    Take your time.

    But I for one am glad this is coming to a close.

    I’d love to go to MIT.

    Well, if MIT rejects me, I’m not gonna end up going to a bad college.

    Plus, there’s always undergraduate transfers and grad school.

    If you do not select me this time around I SHALL MAKE YOU REGRET IT AHAHAHA.

    I was just kidding…please don’t burn my letter! NO!

  8. Thank you Fadl for replying before I got to answer Csaba’s post. You basically said it all…we’re not necessarily contemplating why the numbers are so small, but actually IF we get in then we would have gotten in based on that small a percentage of the total number, which makes acceptance even better smile

    But yes, I not only applied to MIT because I thought I could get in, I also applied because it’s where I most WANT to go…It’s my “dream school” so to speak, and applying and trying to fulfill my aspirations is better than just sitting there and saying “I wish I’d applied” or “Was there a chance of me getting accepted if i applied?”. We apply, we pray and we hope to get in. If we do, excellent. If we don’t, we realize how small the chances were and how tough the competition was and we try to reassure ourselves based on those scenarios. It might work, and it might not :/

    Anyway, sorry if i sounded offensive in any way, but I just wanted to clarify why most people apply to schools such as MIT, Harvard, Yale etc…in my opinion of course, others are welcome to alter/add something to this =)

    Well, with 2 Days, 1 Hour and 18 Minutes I guess there’s not much left wink

    Good Luck Everyone!!!

    Abdulaziz (Aziz) Albahar

  9. Alissa says:

    haha I hope my MITES and RSI apps DIDN’T pass by Matt…too embarassing. haha wink

  10. Anonymous says:


    Abdulaziz (Aziz) Albahar and Fadl, spot on in your comments! Very well said. Its going to be very tough, but the whole process has been very exciting and also an opportunity to chat with so many matured and smart individuals! Just relax and hope for the best smile

    By the way Abdulaziz, i don’t know mate, but I am feeling that you are losing an hour in your countdown smile

  11. Anonymous says:

    or sorry, maybe the time is according to your regional setting…sorry in that case!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hey Aziz, you were at RSI, no worries smile

  13. Fadl says:

    Aziz I agree with you totally! MIT is also my dream school and even though I’ve applied to others the one I really want to get into is MIT. I would like to add that even though most people might be ashamed of a rejection I see nothing shameful in getting rejected by MIT. Getting rejected means nothing about how good you are. Before I used to see it as an exam but my friends helped me see otherwise. Good Luck to all! smile

    2 days and 50 minutes left!!

  14. Stuart says:

    Happy St. Urho’s Day everybody! Try not to stress too much. :p

  15. renuka says:

    How does one sign up for the upcoming CPW?

  16. Jeff says:

    Hi Matt!

    I hope you enjoyed the banquet on Tuesday. It was nice meeting you.

    and is Eric Lander really the keynote speaker for CPW?? wow! all the more reason to go…he asked for a copy of my paper.

  17. Haha I’ve been hearing that so much lately. Get some sleep =D youve earned it.

  18. Csaba says:

    Of course… I was only asking people who said “oh no.. the rate is 4%.. oh no… I am doomed”.. that’s nonsense, sorry as the rate has been oscillating between 4 and 5% (with a small decline, admittedly) so it was something to accept. I totally understand how applying to awesome schools work. {In fact I only applied to 4 uni’s (and IUB who have accepted me) I don’t think settling for “close to best” works for me.} I was only disapproving the whole “ohnothechancesaresoslim” thing.

  19. Analiese says:

    Yes, I am STILL freaking out. I think my friends are annoyed by my constant reminding them of how long until I find out.

  20. Shahrukh says:

    So it all comes down to this Saturday

  21. Eugeniu says:

    Analiese, why don’t you stop doing that then?

  22. Alexandre says:

    1 day 22 hrs 43 mins!!

  23. Cecilia-Anne says:

    I’d imagine that the Center for Excellence Education, if it existed,

    would develop and promote seminars on how to “be excellent to each


    RSI is a program of the Center for Excellence in Education.

  24. I can’t tell you how excited I am for CPW. Yay for prefrosh. Wow, I feel old. I was just coming to CPW a year ago. Time flies.


    P.S. ISEF, woohoo. Two of the kids you saw last year from NY will be there again, if you decide to go smile

  25. Hey Matt!

    Nice to see you finally wrote an entry, thanks for taking some time to do so! Alright for RSI! I remember being first selected as an alternate last year and then when I got in I didn’t think it was that big of a deal…but when I went there and saw the program and the people who actually got admitted I was like “Okay…I feel reallllly dumb now…” Hehehehe wink

    Hmmm….for international selection let’s say, worst case scenario, that you select 100 out of 2500…that’s exactly 4% Admissions rate :/ Now the odds of my name ending up there are next to …impossible?! :( I really really want to get in….I’m going to be praying all weekend and all of you other applicants, I encourage you to do so because THIS IS IT!!!

    Thank you for being an amazing admissions officer and, at the same time, a friend, Matt! Really, applying to MIT has taught me many things and one of them is dedication to your duty, and you guys have it all!!!

    ONLY 2 Days, 7 Hours and 28 Minutes left!


    Abdulaziz (Aziz) Albahar

  26. LoooL Anonymous, actually you’re right, I just discovered today that I’m wrong in my timing…i have to add an hour :/ Darn daylight savings time or whatever the reason is =P Hehe and I don’t know if it was the same anonymous but what do you mean by “you were at RSI no worries” ? raspberry

    Okay…so now there’s about 1 Day 20 Hours and 10 Minutes :/

    Good Luck to all!!!

    Abdulaziz (Aziz) Albahar

  27. renuka, there should be information on CPW sign-ups in the packets mailed to all admits this weekend (including EA admits). Last year there was a CPW website where you can read all about it, sign up to attend, and be matched with a current student host. That website for 2006 is not yet available, but be watching for it!

  28. Jason Murray says:

    It is insanely tense at my house. I applied to MIT EA, was deferred and am now awaiting the final word, my younger brother also applied to RSI and so both of use are off the walls. Good luck to everyone.

  29. Fadl says:

    Hey Matt!!

    You must really have had quite a busy week! As for me I’ve been trying to have some fun before Saturday but unfortunately I have my final term exams just a few days after saturday. I hope everyone is doing well. Good luck to all and don’t forget (as if you can): 3 days 7 hours and 15 minutes!!

  30. Edward says:

    For all your cool but hard work, Thanks, Matt!

  31. Anonymous says:

    I’m beginning to lose hope. I’ve never been known for my luck and in a situation where only 4% of talented students are chosen, luck is also instrumental in gettting the best news. Neways, good luck to myself. I need it.

  32. Sam says:

    Thank you so much for evaluating us in a speedy manner smile

  33. Nina says:

    On application reading after another. It’s great to see you can’t get enough of young minds. smile Hope my applications for both MITES and RSI cross paths with you.

  34. jian says:

    i’ve achieved enlightenment. it makes no difference if i cry/bang my head against the wall/jump off from a tall building’s basement when my admission decision turns out to be rejected. it won’t change the decision. it’s a good indicator that i’m not in that top super smart all rounder 4%. though i’ll have missed the prestige and everything in mit, like i said, if i’m rejected, i’m rejected. that’s it. so save the energy and tears for sth else that’s more pragmatic.

    and if i get admitted, the most natural and obvious reaction would be to celebrate, stay up late and tell everyone about the good news.

    unless, of course, you shed the tears of joy when you got rejected. that’s abnormal.