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MIT staff blogger Kim Hunter '86

The Interview…Part 3 by Kim Hunter '86

Connecting with your Educational Counselor

This time of year, Educational Counselors all over the world are taking your calls, receiving your emails, setting up interviews and writing reports about their meetings with you. For some of you, an interview may not be something new, but for others the meeting with your Educational Counselor (EC) may be the first interview you’ve ever had. Some of you may still be trying to figure out who your EC is so let’s talk a bit about the mechanics of how this all works.

The best way to find out the name and contact information for your EC is to log in to your account. There you will see the name of your EC and the best means to contact them (usually via email or telephone). Each year we match up prospective applicants to the ECs in their area. Some ECs interview for just one school so you and several of your friends may get the same EC while in really large schools, more than one EC may be assigned. But most ECs are assigned to you simply because they are the closest one to where you live. We want to make this as easy as possible although in some cases the EC may be some distance away. In a case like this it’s great if you are able to still set up a meeting, perhaps by each agreeing to drive a distance and meeting somewhere in the middle.

Once you know who your EC is, get in touch with them via email or by phone. If you email them include a subject field in the email that says something like “Request for MIT Interview” That will help ECs find your request if it should end up in their spam folder. If you’re calling them and leave a message, give your full name and phone number if you are asking them to call you back. Try to speak slowly and clearly. If you talk too fast they won’t get the whole number and won’t be able to return your call. One year when I was interviewing students I had two people on my list with the same first and last name and when the first one didn’t leave his phone number I had no idea who I should call back. It was quite a comical at the time but still frustrating.

When you contact your EC give them a little time to get back to you–a couple of days at least before you begin to worry. They are busy too so may not be able to respond right away. After a couple of days, it’s fine to contact them again. It you don’t hear back after the second call, consider contacting the EC office at [email protected] and we’ll see what we can do to help you get in contact with them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help but do give them a little time to respond.

It’s not necessary for you to have completed your application before you contact your EC. Waiting until you have may mean that the EC doesn’t have time to interview you before the deadline so please don’t wait. They are able to see if you have submitted portions of your application on the EC website during this process but they are NOT ever able to see your actual application. They only things they know about you when they meet you is your name and your school. If you have a particular question about the application I know they would be happy to offer advice but do not feel that you need to share it with them. Your application does not provide the basis for your interview, you and your interests do.

For those of you who are applying for Early Action, keep in mind that your deadline to contact your interviewer (and preferably have had your interview:-) is October 20. You and your EC both have a deadline of November 1 to submit materials to us so if you haven’t yet contacted your EC about an interview I suggest you do it right away!

42 responses to “The Interview…Part 3”

  1. Ivan says:

    tou xiang

    Nice post, always helpful information

    Do you know the name of the MIT representative that will be coming to Brazil this month?

    Thanks in advance

  2. D says:

    Hi Kim,

    Does the October 20 deadline to schedule the interview mean I just need to have talked to my EC and discussed a convenient time to meet, which could potentially be after October 20? Or, does it mean that we have to have finished our interviews by October 20?


  3. Stacy says:

    Thanks for this informative post but I was wondering if I would be seen in a lesser light since I have not turned in Part 1 of the application (this is because of moving and circumstances that have blown way out of control).

  4. deng says:

    is “tou xiang” meant to be chinese?

    when we contact our EC, would it be rude to request that the interview be in a public and less formal setting rather than, say, in their offices?

  5. Kim '86 says:

    @ Ivan: No one from the Admissions Office will be in Brazil this month. Some local ECs may visit schools there, however.

    @ D: It is preferable to have done your interview by the 20th but ECs will be flexible if they are able. Their report is due Nov 1, just like your application.

    @ Stacy: This is not a problem. Your application is due Nov. 1.

    @ Deng: Most ECs will suggest a public place for the interview. If they suggest an office it may be for convenience. I wouldn’t worry however about the setting being too formal.

  6. Ehsan says:

    So…How many parts are there to “The Interview”?

  7. S says:

    Last time when I had taken the interview and when all was going fine my EC asked me “Which movie have did you see last”
    I was stumped at this question, not knowing the purpose of the question. What was it all about!
    PS. I am an International Student

  8. Barack Obama says:

    Hey Kim

    What about graduate admission? Can tell me more about that? How is the application and selection process?

  9. Monorina says:

    My EC got changed.:(
    Now I have to begin all over again.And just when I had stopped getting cold feet every time I thought of the interview.

  10. My interview’s tomorrow!! The butterfly’s are migrating to my stomach… but I’m pretty excited smile

  11. Ahana says:

    One of my friends recently had an interview an EC from New Delhi, and apparently he was quizzed about Indian History!
    Does this mean I have recollect my knowledge of 10th grade in preparation of my interview?
    I thought this was a process through which the university can gain an idea of the applicant’s personality.
    I also remember that another applicant was asked to fill a questionnaire about nanotechnology. A discussion is fine, but a questionnaire can be very intimidating!

  12. Ahana says:

    Whoops…seem to have missed to a “with” and a “to”!

  13. Ahana says:

    Whoops…seem to have missed out on a “with” and a “to”!

  14. Kim '86 says:

    @ Ehsan: Not certain myself yet grin

    @ S: No trick questions, the EC probably wondered what to see that weekend grin

    @ Barack: Selection for graduate admission is done by department, not our office.

    @ Monorina: If you have already set up an appointment with your EC and it gets changed, send an email to [email protected] and we can change it back.

    @ Matthew: Good for you. Enjoy!

  15. anonymous says:

    I had a good conversation with my EC over email…and he also proposed an interview date for me…but due to some circumstances i was not ready for that i replied back asking for some other date….since then i have not got a reply from my EC…(it has been 9 days till now)..Is every thing ok??? should i call my EC?? please help

  16. Tiffany says:

    First of all thanks for the info. My EC hasn’t responded to my email yet and I really would like to complete my interview by Columbus day (this monday). Should I ask for another EC?

  17. mohit says:

    @Ahana, you are making me very nervous. I have scheduled my own interview in another couple of weeks in New Delhi.I think I’ll research nanotech just to be sure(hehe)…..

  18. Kim '86 says:

    @ Anonymous: Sounds like contacting your EC again would be a good idea.

    @ Ahana: A test about Indian history or nanotechnology should not be part of the interview. If that happens please let the EC office know via [email protected].

    @ Tiffany: There won’t be new assignments available until the office reopens next week after Columbus Day but if you are still unable to reach your EC let us know.

  19. Samantha says:

    Hi Kim,
    I’m starting to get very worried. The first EC I had wasn’t reachable by email or phone, and so I got a new one– except I emailed this person a week and a half ago, and left him a message a week ago, and still no response! I have been calling him without leaving a message but he never picks up the phone. The deadline is getting closer and closer but I have been trying so hard to get an interview for a month and a half so I am getting very frustrated. Should I ask for another EC again? Do you think I can still get the interview scheduled before October 20th?

  20. Monorina says:

    I have exactly the same problem as Samantha:I cant contact my EC.My earlier EC(whom I had contacted) has been changed for some unknown reason and the new EC’s phone no. is not working and email is bouncing back from his mail id.I have contacted the MIT admissions office with the problem and they haven’t responded.I’m getting stressed out!!

  21. Tiffany says:

    Thanks for the response Kim. My EC has responded but he’s answering my emails at the pace of a snail (actually once every 3 days). I’m not usually this impatient but this is my first interview and I’ve just realized how much I wanted to go to MIT (surprisingly I tend to realize these things at the instant I realize how slim my chances actually are. Anyway, there’s no point to this post. Just wanted to give you an update, in case you wanted to know.

  22. anonymous says:


    i am an international applicant, planning to apply for the class of 2013. i have given SAT 1 and the SAT subject tests. do i need to give toefl also? i have been studying in an English medium school from last 10 years and speak english at school and home. Do u think applying without giving a toefl will harm my application..(worse case> rejected).

    please help asap
    thank u

  23. Kim '86 says:

    @ Samantha & Monorina: The EC Office was closed for the long weekend but we’ll be there again tomorrow. Please let us know if you’re still having problems reaching your EC.

  24. Garrett L. says:

    Hi Kim,

    I sent an email to [email protected] yesterday about a problem I had with my interviewer. I’m from Miami, FL, and the interviewer I had listed on my MIT dashboard isn’t actually doing interviews this year. I was wondering if you got my email and if there’s anything that you could do about it. Thanks!

  25. Kim '86 says:

    @ Anonymous: Taking the TOEFL will not hurt your application. If English is not your primary language I would recommend you take it.

    @ Garrett: Looks like you have a new EC now. Check your account.

  26. Monorina says:

    Kim, I have finally scheduled a day with my EC!
    Um, may I take along something to show him? Like, if a person paints( I don’t, but some applicant must be smile), can s/he take along a painting? Something to do with a hobby or whatever. I guess there’s no point taking along a program I wrote coz my EC studied Architechture.

  27. Monorina says:

    Just wanted to add that my EC was really friendly and nice. smile
    @Anonymous: If you took the SAT I, MIT does not require the TOEFL. But other colleges will.TOEFL is easier than SAT if you are from an english medium school and see english movies.I’m int’l 2.

  28. anonymous says:

    thanx kim
    thanx Monorina, i will get registered for TOEFL..
    and btw i watch english movies…

  29. Anonymous says:

    Wow, nice tips!

    I am applying early decision and I already got a date set up. I didn’t do as well on the SATs as I think I could’ve, so I think my only chance is the interview…any extra advice?

    A few extra questions that I couldn’t find a place to post in:
    > Are the secondary school report, the evaluations, and the mid-grade report supposed to be filled out and sent via MIT website or through print-outs and mail?
    > How do my counselors and teachers filled them out via website?
    > If I apply for early decision and am deferred to R.A., will I be able to submit new SAT scores from Dec. and Jan.?

    Thanks in advance! wink

  30. Carleton says:

    I contacted my EC in late September via email with the subject line tag and everything, but I didn’t hear back from him. I then called him yesterday, and ended up having to leave a message on his voicemail on his cell phone. It included my name, school, house phone number and cell phone number. I want to apply Early Action, and the deadline to schedule an interview is tomorrow. If I am unable to get into contact with him before tomorrow, will I be penalized? And should I call him again?

  31. Anonymous says:

    Sorry this is unrelated, but I don’t know where else to ask:
    I’m trying to complete my application, and when I uploaded the long essay, all of the quotation marks and apostrophes disappeared. I tried copy-pasting the essay into the space provided, but it won’t let me indent the first paragraph (pressing tab doesn’t work, and any extra spaces I add are automatically taken away when I preview the application). What should I do?

  32. Austin says:

    I have been trying to contact my interviewer and never got a response and was unable to leave a message any of the times i called his home. Is it still possible to have an interview scheduled now that the deadline has passed. Is the decision made at the interviewer’s discretion or is the deadline non-negotiable. I’m worried that my grades and tests alone won’t get me in and feel that the interview would be what would give me a chance. I’ve expressed this in an e-mail to my interviewer but am yet to get a response.

  33. Charley Ho says:

    Dear Ms. Hunter,

    I would like to thank you so much for spending the time with me on the MIT application a few weeks ago at our San Leandro campus of Chinese Christian Schools. I have learned a great deal from your advice and I am much more determined on getting into MIT. I have submitted my Early Action Application Part I on the MIT website and I will submit the Part II very soon by mid October. Also, I have had my interview already.

    Once again, it was very nice meeting with you and I look forward to seeing you again at MIT campus next fall.

    Warm Regards,

    Charley Ho

  34. Kim '86 says:

    @ Anonymous: At this point only your application can be done online. The reports from your school and evaluations will need to be mailed in. We will accept November scores for EA and January scores for RA so you could submit the additional ones.

    @ Carleton: You aren’t penalized for not having the interview, you just don’t have the benefit of the EC’s report in your folder.

    @ Anonymous: Sometimes cutting and pasting from certain word processors does create that problem. Try putting the marks back into the text boxes provided manually. Don’t worry about the indent on the first paragraph. If it really bugs you, mail your essay in the old fashioned way.

    @ Austin: ECs will sometimes schedule interviews beyond the deadline. If you have heard nothing back from him you may send an email to [email protected] and we’ll see if there is anyone else in your area who is still giving interviews. If you were unable to contact your EC we will not hold it against you.

    @ Charley: It was great to meet you! I enjoyed my afternoon at Chinese Christian Schools. I’m glad to hear you are so close to completing your application.

  35. Khevna Shah says:

    My interview is tomorrow and I am both excited and scared at the same time. Thank you for the blogs, they helped calm me down some.

  36. Karl says:

    This is also off-topic but I wasn’t sure where else to ask. I’m applying early decision online and I was just wondering if I can or should include my high school “resume” anywhere besides just the five extracurriculars they ask for. Also, can I ask a non-teacher for a letter of recommendation even though there isn’t a form (like form A and B for teachers) for it in the application and if I can should I just have him mail it in?


  37. Cathy says:

    I met up with my EC a few days ago, it was a fab experience… I actually *got over* my longstanding fear of interviews! (the last time I was interviewed, I screwed up after less than ten words… not the best memory)

    The blog really helped me calm down, and you guys are great! THANK YOU!!!

  38. Anonymous says:


    I just had my interview and I want to send a thank you note to my EC. I was wondering how would be able to do that if my EC’s address is not listed on my MyMIT page. I could send an email but I think a note will be better.

    Thank you in advance.

  39. Marco says:

    Thanks for you help. wink

  40. Anonymous says:

    Are there any ECs in the middle east? Specifically the Arabian Gulf region?

  41. Kim '86 says:

    @ Karl: Just mail it in.

    @ Cathy: Told ya!

    @ Anonymous: Email is fine. Most ECs don’t list their mailing addresses anyway just telephone number or email.

    @ Anonymous: We have ECs all over the world (including, of course, the Middle East) but if we don’t have one in your area we’ll waive your interview.