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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

The mail, and more by Matt McGann '00

Happy IAP! Today’s events (sadly, I missed the Experimental Chocolate Truffle-Making, and am currently missing the OrigaMIT Paper Folding)

I’ve just returned from the records office downstairs, and boy do they have a lot of mail. At least a dozen buckets of mail came in this morning, on top of yesterday’s already heavy mail . The records office staff are processing that mail as quickly and efficiently as they can, but be patient. When your application pieces are processed, they will be posted on the MyMIT Tracking System, though this could take upwards of a week. We make no distinction between those applications that were submitted weeks before the deadline versus those submitted on the deadline day. The bottom line — no worries if you don’t see your Part II or a teacher recommendation or whatnot on your tracking system yet. As Quinton says, “She’ll be apples.”

At the same time, the records office is processing those extra supplemental materials from deferred students. The admissions officers will be reviewing these extra materials as they reach our desks.

Catching up on some questions…

Pia writes, “Last summer I interned at a Neuroscience Lab. What happened though was that while the professor did choose me he promptly assigned me to the grad student whose study he thought I’d be most helpful with. As a result, I got to know her incredibly well instead of him. She knows my research capabilities as well as what I’m like as a person far better than the professor, though offered to write me a rec. My question is, would her reccomendation be taken seriously?”

Absolutely! The content of the recommendation is much more important than how famous the recommender is. I remember this fall reading some recommendation letters from professors, and one of them read: “X worked in my lab this summer. She worked for graduate student Y. Graduate student Y wrote this about X’s performance: [insert Y’s recommendation paragraphs here]. Sincerely, Prof. Z” We still learned a great deal from that letter. Another time that applicants like to get their boss’ boss (or boss’ boss’ boss) to write the letter instead of their actual supervisor is when they work in a political office (say, Senator Foo or Congressman Bar). It’s rare for these letters to say anything substantial, and usually the student would have been better off asking the aide in that politician’s office that they worked for to write the letter.

Phil writes, “I was deferred from early and since then I have taken 2 more SAT IIs. Do I need to resend my scores are will you automatically receive them?”

If you designated your scores to be sent to MIT, we will recieve them. If not, you must designate them to be sent to us from the College Board.

Mike asks, “Matt, if I mail a cassette tape of my singing, because I couldn’t get a CD, does anyone have an old-school cassette player to listen to it? :p” Relatedly, Arvind asks, “Matt, for the section 13 of the part2 (application form) I have written about a software I have created. Will it benefit if I mail the admission office a CD containing the software, or can I send it as an attachment with an email?”

It is best to mail supplemental music/art/etc. to us on a CD. I’m told, though, that cassette tapes are okay for music, and actual slides are okay for art. Email attachments are not a part of our process.

Eujin asks, “For UROP do I have to do research connected with my major?”

No, not at all! I’ve known plenty of people who have done UROPs not in their field — sometimes in a related field, sometimes a not at all related field. My friend who I just spent New Years with in Virginia, for example, was a Chemistry major who had a UROP in the History department.

Off to look at the first applications of 2005… (!)

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