Skip to content ↓
MIT staff blogger Kim Hunter '86

The Interview…Part IV by Kim Hunter '86

This should tie up the loose ends...for now.

The deadline for Early Action has come and gone. I hope all of you who applied for EA got a chance to contact your EC and have an interview. So now that all the interview reports are being filed, it’s a good time to talk about what goes into an interview report.

What we won’t see in your interview report are your scores or your grades.
We also won’t see everything that you’ve already told us in the application. If we did, what would be the point exactly? Your interview report shouldn’t be just a repeat of what you wrote in your application. It will mention some of those same things but do it in a detailed way that there just isn’t room for in your application.

So what will we see then? We’ll see more detail about various projects you worked on or groups you belonged to and worked with. The reports will discuss in depth those activities that were most important to you and why. They will also talk about what you added to the project, how you helped overcome a difficulty encountered by the group, or what you learned from the experience. The report will also talk about why you would be a good addition to the MIT community. ECs know MIT, went to school here, know what it was like and what kind of people and personalities enjoyed their experiences as a student here. They tell us how you would fit into the lifestyle, culture and community here at MIT. Sometimes they’ll say they would love to be your lab partner or roommate if they were to be a student at MIT today. While they don’t compare you to themselves or to their friends, they do try to envision you here on the campus, walking down the infinite corridor, going to classes, swimming at the Z-center, working in the labs or playing ultimate frisbee in the Great Court. It’s pretty cool, actually.

What the reports also don’t say is if you should or shouldn’t be admitted to MIT.
ECs know that they don’t have enough information to tell the Admissions Office what to do. Nor can they tell you if you will be admitted so please don’t ask them what they think your chances are. Getting admitted is not like handicapping a horse race or buying a ticket for the lottery. The only similarity to a game of chance is that you “have to play, to win”. ECs can’t tell you your chances because they don’t have all the details about you when they write their reports or meet with you. The interview is just one piece of the puzzle that shows us who you are during the selection process.

And now for today’s helpful hint :-) Regular Action applications are due on January 1. The deadline to contact your EC for an interview for Regular Action is December 10th, but I’d recommend you contact your EC much sooner than that and try to have completed your interview by December 10th if possible. You’ll be glad you did!

34 responses to “The Interview…Part IV”

  1. Tiffany says:

    Uh-oh, I don’t think my interview was that in-depth and it felt more “well, what do we talk about now?” than a true bonding experience.

  2. Ivan says:

    @ Kim,
    Great post, when and on what subject do you plan to post again?

    1. I sent an email to [email protected] a few weeks ago, but I did not receive a reply from them yet (I asked if I could be interviewed by an EC closer to my city).

    Should I send them another email or wait another week?

    2. I applied to MIT last year and I wanted to know if I am allowed to have an interview with my EC from last year? (He suggested having the interview again, I would like to but I am not sure if I am allowed?)

    Thank you in advance

  3. Anonymous says:

    If the Interview report does not display in my Application Tracking list yet, should I contact my Interviewer, or just assume it’s coming? My interview was 2 weeks ago?

  4. ANONYMOUS says:


  5. otra 12 says:

    Share thyself. Be thyself.Hmmmm.

  6. Colton says:

    Sometimes the ECs you get can actually blow one’s mind. For example, the EC I got was a Civil Engineer. We performed the interview at his office in a hardware store, which I presumed he was the branch manager of (there are, I think, 4 other stores in the chain). What stunned me was that I ran into a person who was running the registers of the store a few nights later at Kennywood’s Phantom Fright Nights. He told me that my EC was an extremely intelligent man (this I already knew from the interview) but also informed me that he was the owner of the whole company. I honestly want to meet with my EC again, even if it isn’t for an interview. He’s a rather cool man, is a true genius, and is a stunning individual.

  7. Max says:

    I met my EC a couple of weeks ago. I researched him and it gave me great ideas for possible topics, that’s my one piece of advice.

  8. Ehsan says:


    Thanks for excluding us international students by writing “hope all of you applied…” (just kidding)

    I personally think that international students should also be allowed to apply for EA. Anyways why is it like this in the first place.

  9. Fiona says:

    With so many international applicants for so few places, it doesn’t make sense to admit any early. I think it’s good that the adcom will consider all international applicants

    Every year about 4 people are admitted to MIT. If say, 2 get admitted early, the acceptance rate for RD would be astronomical.

  10. josh says:

    @ tiffany. yeah, same here.

  11. Ahana says:

    I spoke to my interviewer on Oct 14, and he advised me to contact him again once I submit Part 1. I have done that a week ago and emailed him then immediately. So far, he hasn’t replied. Should I wait more or write to him again? ( I was thinking of email-bombing his ID, but that doesn’t seem a very good way of making a first impression on someone.)

  12. I’m glad MIT puts more emphasis on the interviews than essays. Mine was pretty fun and I think its easier to show your true personality talking to someone than writing an essay.

  13. Adedolapo says:

    Even saying something now with my name feels insecure but I think from the start I have learnt to be myself and I hope this will help me get on with my EC. I play chess a lot, with a lot of passion but I do not think I have seen anybody say something on that. Is it so insignificant over there?. Also in one of my essay where I was asked about what I do for the fun of it I do not think my response was clear enough. what do I do?

  14. Wendy says:

    To anonymous: I would assume the interview report is coming, but if it doesn’t show up by the end of the week, check with your EC. I wouldn’t mind a student checking in after an appropriate length of time. I tell the students I interview that if they don’t see the report by the beginning of November to feel free to contact me. But note that often the ECs are busy in their “other life”. My husband and I are both ECs – we did 10 interviews in September and October. We have full-time jobs and are raising a family, so sometimes it takes a while to get the reports done!

    To all: I think Kim has summed the process up well. We look for the interesting and different things about you – what really sets you apart. For me the interviews are a lot of fun, I really enjoy meeting the applicants.

    Good luck to all of you.

    –Wendy ’87

    P.S. Hi Kim!

  15. Narce says:

    Also, am I the only one who had never been to an interview or had a mock interview before MIT? I don’t remember screwing up at all, but I felt like everything I say should be as candid as possible.

    … I know they’re not meant to necessarily be formal (as the website says), but I had to buy a new set of clothes just for my interview because everyone said you have to dress formally for one~ I had never even dressed formally for a science fair before! ^.^”

  16. Alex says:

    Hi everyone!
    Could someone explain the reason MIT has that AMC/AIME question on the app.?

  17. Question :) says:

    Good day. My name is Joanna Marie. However,
    the name registered in my SAT account is only Joanna. 1) What must I do? 2) What are the
    consequences that I would probably face? Thank you very much.

  18. Narce says:

    … I have to admit, I was surprised at how little my interviewer seemed to care about me as a person.

    But if your only objective through the interviewer is to learn about me through the way I talk about the activities you heard about in my app anyway, I guess it went fine.

  19. Eric '89 says:

    @Narce: Your friends and teachers may have been thinking of a job interview rather than an MIT interview. Yes, you should dress somewhat formally for a job interview, at least if it’s an office-type job. For MIT that’s not strictly necessary, though you can certainly do so if you like. If you know what “business casual” means, that’s what you should aim for, and obviously you want to avoid looking like a total slob. On the other hand, if you don’t feel comfortable wearing a suit and tie, you’re probably better off with something a bit less formal.

    @Adedolapo: What you do for fun is a topic that should come up in your interview (at least, I try to ask that question in my interviews). If you are passionate about chess, that is a good time to mention it; your interviewer may not play chess, but (s)he will be interested to hear that you enjoy it. The key thing to get across is that you are a real person with real interests, not just a name on an application, and not just someone with straight As and perfect test scores.

  20. Narce says:

    I wore a tie, but not a jacket…. And no, this was my college counselor, so while she wasn’t thinking “MIT interview”, she was certainly thinking “college interview”.

    Hahahah, I don’t feel like I appeared to be a slob. But I still had my afro and prefer how I look without shaving, so who knows how that ex-military guy felt about me? (Though considering his let’s-talk-strictly-functional (in a nice way) attitude, the formal clothing I wore probably helped.)

  21. Kim '86 says:

    @ Ehsan: Actually I believe I said, “I hope all of you who applied for EA…” there was no slight intended for international students grin

    @ Ahana: I would avoid the email bomb, that wouldn’t be terribly helpful but contacting him again would be fine.

    @Ivan: Not sure yet but I think it should include pictures. If you’re having trouble reaching your EC and let us know we’ll try to find someone else if possible. We are a bit backed up though so you need to give us time. It might be more helpful to interview with someone else if there is another EC in your area but it’s your choice.

    @ Wendy: Great to hear from you (note: Wendy and her husband suggested I become an EC many years ago grin

    @ All: If you don’t see the indicator noting that the report has been received, use the link on your account to let us know that your interview has been conducted. We’ll take care of the rest.

    @ Question grin Send admissions an email, we can solve it from there.

    @Alex: Lots of kids take AIME and AMC so its helpful information just like grades and SATs but if they are not offered at your school we don’t hold that against you.

    My thanks to the ECs who chimed in. You not only get advice from me but from my EC friends too. Thanks to all of you for following along–Kim

  22. Question :) says:

    @Kim ’86
    Thank you very much! smile

  23. Question :) says:

    @Kim ’86
    Ms. Kim,
    We don’t have 11th and 12th grade in our school (what we have are 7th, 8th,
    9th, and 10th). In the Application Part 2, the choices are 9th, 10th, 11th,and 12th. I will only have the chance to check 9th and 10th. Will this affect my chances for admission?
    Thank you very much.

    (Forgive me for having another question smile

  24. Monorina says:

    My EC said we’ll be having the interview in the 1st week of December. I’m looking forward to it,again. He is pretty nice. When I emailed him with a question about the meeting, he CALLED me back and cleared up my doubts. That, in my opinion, was really nice of him.
    I guess I’m lucky to have such a nice Plus, he also remembers my name.:D
    @Question:): I think you have to complete 4 years of High school(starting 9th grade) for admission to MIT. Where are you from? Do you not have 11th and 12th in any school in the country? If you do, then you have to enroll in another school and complete two more years.

  25. Questions... says:


    Um…I’m an international student(China), and I’m planning to register for SAT Subject Tests.

    I am quite clear that MIT requires one in Math and one in Science. But I think it’s probably the best to take three together… So my question is that, is Subject Tests related to the major you are going to pick in MIT? If so, how relevant?

    The case is that I want to study Biology but getting 800 in Bio. is way harder than in Math, Chemistry or Physics(Well I know I’m Chinese… And normally we take M,C & P)

    I’m sorry that I don’t really know if I should ask these stuff here or elsewhere…

    Thanks anyway~

  26. Eric '89 says:

    So my question is that, is Subject Tests related to the major you are going to pick in MIT? If so, how relevant?

    Although you may state an intended major on the application, this is not binding at MIT. You would be admitted to MIT in general, and you would typically not be asked to declare a major before the end of your first year (and even after that, you can change your mind). So no, as far as MIT is concerned it doesn’t matter which science subject test you take. If you think your preparation in biology is enough for you to get a good score, then go ahead and take the biology test, but don’t feel that you have to if your preparation for physics or chemistry is better.

    However, if you are applying to other universities in the United States, they may have different rules. Some larger universities will ask you to declare a major on the application and consider you to be majoring in that subject from the day you arrive on campus. If it would make a difference on your application to another university, let that guide you.

  27. Raj says:

    Well, I’ve wanted to mention it on a thousand occasions but I should I should mention it now. Don’t you people at the MIT think there should be an international student as a blogger. Please don’t get me wrong but the hype that the MIT has created in countries like India, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa is huge. Therefore, I suggest you people get an international blogger right away.

  28. Resume? says:

    Is it a good idea to bring a resume to the interview in case you get nervous and forget everything about yourself? Should you give a resume your EC?

    ~A bit confused, a byte unclear

  29. Wendy '87 says:

    As an EC, I appreciate having a resume to look over while we are talking; it helps me make sure I get names and dates correct. You should not include grades or test scores! As indicated earlier, it is not the job of the EC to look at grades and tests.

    However, it is not a big deal if you don’t have a resume. I’ve learned to take good notes! smile

    –Wendy ’87

  30. Angela says:

    Chris is…sort of…an international blogger. Given the relatively small percentages of the student body that are international students and that are MIT admissions bloggers, asking for another international blogger seems sort of unlikely.

  31. Charlie says:

    I’m wondering whether I should contact my EC early, just to have someone to talk to about MIT, say over aim or something before having my interview.

  32. @ Kim,
    I had talked to my interviewer, and she had said that she would interview me sometime in November. We corresponded through email several times, and once she called me up to talk in general. But after 20th Oct, I think, I haven’t got any reply to my emails, and when i call her number, someone says she’s not here and they don’t know when she will be back.
    What should I do? I had talked in great detail to her, and the interview was going to be done soon! Now, the deadline’s closing in. Can MIT contact my EC somehow? (Should I mention the name?)

  33. Wendy '87 says:

    I wouldn’t mind a student checking in after an appropriate length of time. I tell the students I interview that if they don’t see the report by the beginning of November to feel free to contact me. But note that often the ECs are busy in their “other life”. My husband and I are both ECs – we did 10 interviews in September and October.

  34. Yay! I got an email from her; she’s coming back in a week from abroad