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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

The Reading Commences by Matt McGann '00

The applications are in, and now we're reading them.

Things are starting to get quite busy! Now that the Early Action deadline has passed, the admissions officers are spending the bulk of our time evaluating the thousands of applications we’ve received. This evaluation process will continue throughout the month of November.

Here’s what a stack of application folders looked like on my table yesterday:

…and a similar scene from my office this time last year:

Yes, still big stacks of folders to evaluate, still with summary cards (or “E-3 cards,” don’t ask why), but this year, the E-3 cards are not green but rather canary yellow! Okay, so this might not be so exciting to you, but anything is better than year after year with the Pepto-Bismol Pink E-3 cards.

There will be much more to say about the reading process as November progresses, but I did want to take a quick break to at least give you all an update. Your applications are in good hands. Stay tuned.

22 responses to “The Reading Commences”

  1. Michael Doo says:

    excitement! i’m sitting on the edge of my seat.

  2. Oren Hazi says:

    I’m assuming you start with the applications that have had all the components processed already, right? So far everything has shown up on my MyMIT account except the Secondary School Report and Transcript. I’m pretty sure this was sent in exactly on the original deadline (11/1).

    I shouldn’t be worried that it hasn’t been processed yet, right?

  3. Sendie says:

    Hrm… how many apps do you usually evaluate per day?

  4. Huh. Year year?

    Good luck.

  5. Sirius says:

    Would you detail your process and include us into the adventure too? smile

    How many early actions are you expecting?

  6. Nabil says:

    Victoria Wong, that is so weird. I didn’t know what you were talking about and then I went back and found that “year year” and I realized that my mind had processed that as “last year” just because of the context. I’m pretty spooked, who knows how many times that has happened?

  7. Mike says:

    Just out of personal interest…

    Is each admission officer assigned applications from a certain geographical region? Or are they random? I mean, will officer A only read applications from Texas, and officer B only from California?

  8. Fudge says:

    Those look surprisingly thin, for each individual app; somehow I remember mine to be a little fatter–though I could be wrong? lol

  9. s says:

    WOW! Keep us posted (if u can of course)

    I’m from India where colleges dont care two hoots about you as a person as long as your percentage makes the cut-off list.

  10. Ej says:

    Wait just a second… I think I see mine! smile

  11. Ej says:

    Note: I love it that iTunes is playing in the background. (Nice touch)

  12. Nabil,

    Did you ever read that article about comprehension that starts with “Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy…”? I can’t find my original source… it may even have been an MIT blog, but I think it was in my psych class. Anyway, same phenomenon.

  13. Ajit says:


    I have a question regarding Standardised Testing Dates – i.e I will be appearing the SAT Subject tests in January 28 test date for regular submission of my application. Will you consider my application?Can you please explain me what does CASE BY CASE BASIS for consideration of test scores mean?



  14. AndersoN says:

    I wish you lots and lots of patience, Mr. McGann ! smile

  15. *is nervous*

    Have fun reading smile

  16. Shikhar says:

    Hi Matt hows the admission process going on. Did you come across any MIT match students,yet.

    Anyways here’s another question:

    I have served my local community service center (a mix of oldage home and underpriviliged children and mentally impaired people) for a very long time. I cant exactly remember the number of hours as they’d go in 1000’s I suppose.

    However, what I want to ask is that do you want proof of my work there in the form of a letter of reference or is my noting this fact in the application good enough for the admission commitee.

    (the letter is not any form of reccomendation but just something which the Chief officer wrote for my appreciation and sort of just explains what all I have done there…which is quite a lot)

    as I do not intend to write an essay about this. I was wondering whether that letter will be of help as that will explain my activities at the centre without me having to write about it.

  17. Nabil says:

    Victoria, that’s really crazy. I haven’t read that article, and I never took psych, but jeez, I wish there was a way to purify your brain from making automatic assumptions. I guess it’s kinda like reading applications, isn’t it?

  18. zoogies says:

    Here’s something completely unrelated to applications: I just saw the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the one whose music was made into a really cool arrangement for concert band) on TBS…how crazy is that? It’s November 12th!

  19. Haha, Nabil, Victoria,

    The brain’s subconscious is really interesting. One says context, the other says conclude, all within a short timeframe of those few milliseconds.

    I didn’t know there’s psychology class in US high schools. That’s so cool… We only have those classical sciences (Bio Chem Physics) and Computing as science subjects here, but you can’t take all four, coz you need to take Math in replacement of one. So much for freedom to choose in JC. Then again, the rigor in Singapore……

  20. vivek says:


    As far as i think You can always send any letter to MIT if you think that better represents your voice but i think its better written by you in your eassy since it represents your view points your passion and desire in your own words about something for which you feel and which has been a part of your life

    no letter of appreciation can give a more correct image of you than your own words

    anyway thats my personal opinion ,Matt shall be able to shed more light upon it.

  21. Hey Eric, nice to hear from you again.

    Nabil, try re-reading. Or reading in a different language for a while. If you’re reading in a different but similar language (like Modern English and Middle English), you’ll eventually start to pick up things that you never noticed before. Like year year. wink

    Only some schools offer it… to my knowledge, most don’t. My school offers lots of science classes because we’re in the middle of a biotech concentration (kind of like Silicon Valley, but we’re more like Organic Molecules Valley)… like

    Marine Science, Bio, Chem, Physics, Environmental Science (New, and I’m in it!), Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Computer Science, and Earth/Space (being phased out)… we were going to offer a biotech class but the school decided there wouldn’t be enough interest.

    Most of them count as electives, though. We also have a bunch of math classes, but they’re mostly low-level, like business math and integrated math.

  22. shyang says:

    Hi Matt!

    I have two questions regarding the early action applications. First of all, my transcript was somehow messed up and the woman in charge of fixing is on vacation and won’t be back till sometime later this week. I went to the admissions office to tell them about it, but is there anyway of knowing for sure that the officers reading my application know what’s going on? Also, I sent in an additional letter of recommendation from the conductor of my orchestra. How can I find out if you’ve gotten it?

    Thank you,

    Shyang Puri