The third in a series… With fewer than 10 days to go until the May 1st postmark deadline for your college decision, I figure now is as good a time as any to the students who are still undecided: How can we help you make your decision? What more would you like to know about MIT? What are your lingering concerns? Etc. I’ll answer as many as I can this morning before I have to run…
Ariadne wrote, “The only thing holding me back from MIT is the music. Classical guitar has been a part of my life for almost ten years and I’ve participated in national competitions and festivals. I’m having a hard time finding an adequate teacher so far in the Boston area, but I’ll keep looking. The other alternative is Yale, which has a great guitar teacher but a mediocre engineering program :].”
Ariadne, I’ve arranged for you to be contacted this weekend by Nicki ’07, another national level classical guitarist and engineer. I hope this will be helpful!
Tianren, Daphne, Carly, Afsah, Fernando, and another anon all wrote in inquiring about financial aid. I have contacted my usual financial aid contact to inquire further, but may not hear back until Monday. Also, another anon, the email address doesn’t seem to be the one in our database, so I can’t identify you — can you try again?
I should also note that if your financial aid award comes late (near or after May 1) — from MIT or your other choice university — or you need to appeal your award, you may request an extension of the May 1 deadline until your financial aid is resolved. We want you to be able to make the best decision you can, with all the information in.
Dominic ’10 and Kathleen ’10 both asked about their status… and as you can see by the ’10s after their names, we have received both replies and you are both official members of the Class of 2010 =) The confirmation postcards seem to be a bit slow this year!
Syed wrote, “I’ve sent my Admissions Reply form to MIT with a ‘yes’ :)…could you tell me if there’s any way I can email/fax the form to MIT as well, as a backup to the courier messing up???”
We do require the Reply Form itself, but you can also doubly confirm with an email to admissions at mit dot edu or a fax to 617-258-8304 (don’t forget the country code, too, Syed!). Look forward to seeing you in the fall!
Confused wrote, “I love MIT, but I do have 2 questions.  How accessible are the professors? Especially for big lecture classes, if you need more personal attention, what can you turn to?  Also, do MIT students tend to be pretty involved in extracurricular activities? In other words, is there enough time to handle the workload while still pursuing other passions?”
First,  I definitely found my professors accessible, when I wanted to access them. I was tutored in physics by a future Nobel Prize winner, had long conversations about museums with my Literature professor, and helped change and shape MIT policies with a Chemistry professor. MIT’s student-to-faculty ratio is 7:1, and I never felt like just a statistic at MIT. Don’t expect to have famous faculty members checking on you daily in your dorm room, but if you seek out the faculty, you will be rewarded. I didn’t always seek out professors at MIT, but when I did, I was always welcomed.
In lecture (and other) classes, there are many places to turn for help, and the professor isn’t always the right first place to turn. Lectures are broken down into smaller recitation sections where questions are answered in greater depth; professors and teaching assistants have office hours; and there’s always the Tutorial Services Room (TSR), available to all students at MIT.
But perhaps the best academic (and social) support I received from the upperclassmen in my dorm. I really appreciated that MIT had dorms for all four years worth of students instead of freshman dorms; the mentoring that I received from upperclassmen, and the friends I made, was perhaps the best part of my transition to college.
Second,  my colleague Mikey ’05 wrote in response:
I thought I’d post about this ever-common question regarding “If I go to MIT, will I be able to do extracurriculars AND have a social life AND do well in all my classes?”
I had the exact same question 5 years ago when I was making the same decision. Actually, it wasn’t so much a question but rather, I KNEW (or thought I knew) that if I went to MIT, I would have to study virtually 24/7 and would not have a life whatsoever.
FALSE. SO FALSE.
In my 4 years here, I was incredibly involved in an a cappella group (the Logs), spending 15-20 hours a week doing stuff for the group. I also participated in the Asian Christian Fellowship for a decent amount (a few hours a week), and still led a healthy social life (yes, I had friends, and we hung out quite a bit, if not too much at times…conversations about life til 6am w00t), and still graduated, passed my classes, and with a pretty darn good GPA if I don’t say so myself (let’s just say it’s very close to 5.0).
I had an absolute blast here participating in student life, making lifelong friendships with some very amazing people, and simply being part of an Institute and a culture that – literally – changes history every single day. Were there times that the work was really stressful? Of course. But in the end was it all worth it? Most definitely. What’s great about MIT is that they realize that a college education isn’t just about the classes – it’s about educating the entire mind and body. Research, extracurriculars, leadership, service, the arts, athletics, fitness, a social life, community…all integral to being a student at MIT.
Sorry this post is so long…it’s just that I had the EXACT same concern 5 years ago, and am so incredibly glad I still decided to come, because it wasn’t at ALL what I thought it would be. Best 4 years of my life. I wouldn’t go back and change a thing. : )
I hope that is helpful!
It’s Saturday morning, and I have a day trip to New Hampshire and Maine planned with some friends for today, so unfortunately I must go now. I will address the two food questions (Anonymous and another mom) tomorrow, as well as Ploy‘s question and Zi Wen‘s question. I’ll answer those questions and more tomorrow, assuming the Maine lobster doesn’t leap off the plate and kill me!