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MIT student blogger Mitra L. '07

The most important blog entry ever by Mitra L. '07

This is probably the most valuable entry ever written... not kidding. Bookmark it. Class of 2011, you're welcome.

So philosophical entries with advice on the right strategies for conquering MIT are really great, but in my humble opinion, the most helpful thing I can do for you is to connect you with things that will give you a richer college experience. You’ll figure out for yourself how you want to live the next four years, what you want to do, whether you want to care about x or y, etc. The least I can do is try to make your research a little easier. Here goes:


Subway map:
Campus map:
Transportation (subway passes, shuttle info, plus parking info for visitors):
ShuttleTrack (see which shuttles are where so you don’t have to wait outside in the rain):


Get certificates (super important):
MIT-supported software (download stuff for free, post pictures to your webspace, etc.):
Athena clusters & printers:
Email list management (check which lists you’re on, add yourself to other lists, etc.):
Directory search:
SIPB (students who help with computer stuff):
TechTime, MIT’s Calendar system (you may prefer another calendar system for personal use, but register for this too since nearly 5000 faculty/staff keep their public schedules on it):


Association of Student Activities (ASA) database, which has all officially-recognized groups:
Reserve a room:
Student Life Programs (SLP) support:
What’s going on? Events Calendar:
Independent Activities Period:
Group accounts:
Tax exempt forms:


General (hours, locations, menus):
Boston restaurants:


Undergraduate housing:
Dormitory Council:
Interfraternity Council:
Panhel (sororities):
Independent living groups:


TechCash (money for dinner, laundry, textbooks, etc.):
MITPAY (tuition):
Timesheets for campus jobs:


UROP (undergraduate research):
Public Service:
First year info:
Course catalog with times:
Your personal Academic Record:
Committee on Academic Performance (CAP) petitions to add/drop stuff late:
Academic Calendar 2007-2008:
Study abroad:
Undergraduate exchange with Cambridge:
MIT International Science & Technology Initiative (MISTI):
My #1 love, MIT Libraries:
Course Administrators:
Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences (HASS) Concentration (which, at this time, is still required):


Zesiger center hours:
Physical Education (required!):
Varsity sports:
Club sports listing:
Club sports council:

Arts (selected)

Student Art Association:
MIT Symphony Orchestra:
MIT Radio:
Concert Choir:
Chamber Chorus:
Concert Band:
Wind Ensemble:
Free tickets to the Symphony (BSO):

After MIT

Applying to Grad school:
Careers Office (very good resume critiques!):
Alumni Association:
Alumni Career Services:



Scanner for free at Rotch:
Subject evaluations:
How to use the MIT logo properly:
Get on the homepage! (probably the best way to advertise anything ever):

Let me know what I forgot

34 responses to “The most important blog entry ever”

  1. Fimus '11 says:

    You don’t have permission to access /acadinfo/sse/courses/course6.html on this server.

    I have certificates installed.

  2. Mitra says:

    Yup, I get that too. Sometimes it doesn’t work while they’re updating the evaluations. Check back in August when you’re picking classes, and if it doesn’t work then, shoot me an email

  3. milena '11 says:

    I bookmarked this entry, I think I’m gonna need to come here pretty often. Thanks!

  4. Wings '11 says:



    Thank you.


  5. Wings '11 says:

    Wait. How do we install certificates?

    Sorry =)

  6. Wings '11 says:

    Nevermind. I saw it. Sorry for yet another comment =) Thanks again for this incredibly useful blog!

    Can someone do a Mac vs PC comparison soon?

  7. Mitra says:

    Start out here:

    First, you have to get an MIT CA (Certificate Authority)

    Once you’ve installed that, you get your personal certificate (next link on the page). Do you have your email address yet?

  8. Mitra says:

    Heh, okay I was too late. Good work raspberry

  9. Anonymous says:

    thanks so much, mitra!

  10. Anonymous says:

    How about a Linux vs PC comparison?

  11. Robin says:

    …I think I love you. ^^ A major thanks for all of this information. I will probably be viewing this blog entry compulsively for months to come.

  12. Sam Jackson says:

    Haven’t tested it out yet but apparently the new google mapping transit feature is live for Boston… try that out, too!

  13. Lulu says:

    Ah, I think I’ll be referring back to this entry quite often. Thank you! :D

  14. Ali says:

    I want to ask this question that has been bothering me for last 2 years…. so here it is:

    I was very good in Biology during my high school (got silver and golden medals in international Biology Olympiad). Then I got enrolled to the university where I graduated as an average student with 2 majors (Business Administration and Computer Science). It has been 2 years since I have graduated. Now I want to apply for MIT undergraduate program in Biology… as I think I will not qualify for a graduate program.

    1. What are my chances in your opinion?
    2. What would be your advice?

  15. an '11 says:

    Mitra, thanks so much!

    I don’t understand something.. what are the certificates for? Do I download them to any computer I want or only to the laptop I will be using at MIT?

    Also.. does MIT provide some programs for free? Such as operating systems, MATLAB, MS office, etc? Or are students expected to buy them?

    Thanks so much for your time. And sorry for the rather *basic* questions.. smile

  16. Mitra says:

    Hey An, no, these are great questions. Certificates (from what I understand) allow the website to identify you, and MIT uses them for both ID and security purposes. In general, they tell the website that you are MIT-affiliated so you can access private documents. They will also come in handy when you want to vote in class elections, sign up for classes, enter the PE lottery, etc.

    You will need to download them on any computer you want to use for this sort of activity. I have them downloaded on my personal laptop and on my Athena account, but not on my parents’ computers at home.

    MATLAB and word processing programs are provided for free on Athena, the campus-wide computing network. I don’t know anyone who bought MATLAB

    What kind of computer do you have? The software website has tabs at the top for Macintosh, Linux, and Windows downloads. The Windows one for sure has word processing programs (XP professional & Office Add-ins).

    Okay hope this helps!

  17. jenn'11 says:

    should we have set up our MITPAY account yet and made it available to our parents? all it said in the parents’ book was that we should have received information on how to do that…

    thanks so much! this is truly a great entry!

  18. Rach '11 says:

    AWESOME!!! Thanks so much!!

  19. Rach '11 says:

    AWESOME!!! Thanks so much!!

  20. An'11 says:

    Thanks so much, Mitra! smile

  21. An'11 says:

    Oh, Mitra… I have one more question! Is there a software that can help us select classes? Like..we enter the class names and it generates some reasonable schedules? Or am I dreaming too much? =)

    And when do you think is it a good time to seriously start considering which classes to take?

    Thaaankksss! You rock! smile

  22. nile says:

    hey mitra ,
    i mailed u once …n u replied wit som real helpful sites thnx.
    its nile frm bangladesh

  23. nile says:

    r ya registered in facebook can i addya?…plz do reply.

  24. Wings '11 says:

    Another idea for a blog entry: What would you guys suggest, starting at MIT? Tips on what we should do, and unexpected things you faced =)

    Sorry. I just love reading your blogs =)

  25. Wun Min '11 says:

    Great, thanks a lot, Mitra! This really helps. smile

  26. mingfatang says:

    thanks for your information!

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