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MIT and the admissions office will be closed November 24–25 for Thanksgiving break, and will open on November 28.

MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

This week’s Questions Omnibus by Matt McGann '00

As I started putting together the latest Questions Omnibus, I realized that there are many, many questions. I hope you’ll understand if I am brief and to the point with my answers!

Questions answered by helpers

A.M.C. asked, “Just to make sure: Have you received my CD-ROM that contains the supplemental materials by now? The disc is labeled with my name, my date of birth, and the words ‘supplemental materials.’ ”

Fabrice replied, “A.M.C., they might not know you by your pseudonym. It’s easier to just email them and not post on a blog :) ” Thanks, Fabrice, that’s exactly right!

Carlos asked, “Just one question, The Processed tag on each of the items in MyMIT means that someone has alredy read that part of your application or is just say that the Admissions Office has it?”

Prashant replied, “I think it means they have it (rather than they read it).” That’s exactly right, Prashant. Carlos, processed means that our records office has processed that item.

Anonymous wrote, “Anna’s Taqueria vs. Chipotle. Discuss.”

mudfud (recent MIT grad, who would have made a great admissions officer) replied, “Anna’s is way, way better than Chipotle. Tastier, cheaper, faster…I miss Anna’s now that I’m in ohio and all I have is chipotle.” I’ve never had Chipotle, so I’ll go with mudfud on this one.

just wondering wrote (and Jane W and Megan were also wondering), “I was just wondering if you knew anyone at MIT that is vegetarian. Are there any special arrangements for vegetarians??”

mudfud again comes to my rescue: “There are plenty of vegetarians on campus, and plenty of vegetarian options on campus, and of course in boston. Vegetarian/vegan restaurants are only a walk or a T ride away. And with the abundance of ethnic food in the area, you can get quite a wide variety of vegetarian food (and nonveg for that matter). Every dining area has vegetarian options of varying quality (Anna’s veggie burrito is amazing!). And of course, certain dorms (like mine, East Campus) have really nice kitchens, so you can cook for yourself as well.” She hit the nail on the head with this reply.

Swetko wrote, “I am asked for a MIT ID number. Do I have such , or how could I obtain MIT ID.”

Michael helped me out by answering, “MIT sent you a letter after you submitted your application that contained your MIT ID. If you lost it (as I had), give them a call tomorrow between 9 and 5 (EST) and they’ll get it to you lickety split.” I might also add that the MIT ID # is a nine-digit number beginning with 9.

Questions without helpers

sreraman muralidharan asked, “I would like to know if my research accomplishments would be a major asset for me in the admission process.”

In the admissions process, we value creativity, initiative, risk-taking, excitement, and curiosity, all of which are frequently shown by those who engage in scientific research in high school. I hope, though, that you’re doing the research because of your scientific passion and not just to get into college.

Nick asked, “In one of your last posts you said that you needed supplemental material by this week if it was to be considered before the application went to council. I was wondering it that applied to the midyear report as well?”

We’ll take the Midyear Reports whenever we can get them. If we really need them and don’t have them, your counselor can expect to get a call from us.

Adriana asked, “I applied as an international student because I don’t have my green card yet, but I will be getting it very soon (I am being interviewed for it tomorrow!). Is it too late in the admissions process to switch to a domestic applicant if I get my green card late February?”

Hope your interview went well! To be considered a domestic applicant, you must have your Green Card or the stamp in your passport by the time decisions are final. If you realistically believe you will have your Green Card in hand within a few weeks, you should email our office now so that you can be considered along with the domestic applicants.

El Frito asked, “I was looking through the course listings in your previous blog entry, and I was wondering if you guys offered Martial Arts courses like Taiji Quan or if that is strictly where student formed clubs come in.”

MIT offers dozens and dozens of Physical Education courses each term, and martial arts courses are among the options. In my experience, people who are more serious about martial arts tend to work with one of the groups at MIT; I count at least a dozen different martial arts groups here, all quite popular.

Questions – spree asked, “Hey Matt any comments on this years applicant pool??”

It’s a quite strong applicant pool, as usual. About the same number of applications as last year.

ABCDEF asked, “I sent in my first Trimester transcript along with the rest of them with my Secondary School Report. I am sending them in again along with the Mid-year report form now. Would this be ok?”

That’s fine, though if we already have your trimester grades, you don’t have to send them again just to get us the midyear report form. It’s all good.

Confused in Chicago asked two questions, First, “I’ve got into MIT early and I have also applied to Harvard. I’m trying to decide between the two. Could you maybe put up a post about the main differences between the two schools, especially in terms of social/student life.”

MIT and Harvard have very different student cultures. Best thing to do is to visit both if you’re admitted and experience both cultures for yourself. More on this after April 1, perhaps.

Secondly, Confused in Chicago writes, “I’ve heard from friends that MIT is pretty much work all the time. Is that the case?”

Ah, the stereotypes. Well, it is true that MIT has rigorous academics, but it is certainly not true that it is “all work all the time.” I’d recommend reading some student blogs like Mitra’s or Kevin’s to get some more insight into student life (and I occasionally talk in this blog about my experiences as an MIT student 1996-2000). It’s hard to imagine a school where people only worked all the time would have 300+ student activity groups and 41 varsity sports!

Amelia asked, “How often does MIT rescind acceptances, and for what reasons? Do you have do something along the lines of get suspended or start seriously slacking off, or can MIT just say ‘whoops, we didn’t mean that’?”

Marilee (the Dean) deals with these cases, and I’m not involved, so I don’t really know the ins and outs here. We won’t, however, “just say ‘whoops, we didn’t mean that.'” Keep getting good grades and stay out of trouble, and you’ll be fine, really.

Jordan asks, “Matt, what kind of camera is this that you seem to have on you at all times? Cameraphone or something?”

Nope, it’s one of the Admissions Office’s cameras, a pretty old school one. I asked yesterday if I could get a new, small, snazzy one next year, and it looks positive. If you really want to talk about snazzy cameras, though, you should cruise on over to Ben’s blog.

Sumith P Mathew had many, many questions. I’ll try and answer a few here, Sumith!

“I have already sent in my application for undergraduate admissions to MIT. If I have lately won some international, national, or regional award or recognition like being accepted to the GYLC (Global Young Leadership Conference), etc.. Is it possible for me to somehow update my application?”

Yes. You can email our office with the update.

“I have been taking 3 IB HL subjects and 1 SL subject in 12th grade. I already took the IB exam for an SL subject last year. Can I get a junior year credit and start off my college in the sophtmore year?

I’ll rephrase your question as, can I get credit for IB (or AP or A Level or…) classes I have taken? The answer is Yes, and this question is more thoroughly answered on the MyMIT website.

“If u can only select one more candidate for admission and you have a massive tie between two candidates. How would u choose one candidate from the two? Would you ever toss a coin to decide, in this case?”

I get versions of this question all the time. The answer is, we don’t have “ties” in our admissions process. People are too different, too unique to have “ties.” We use the same criteria to evaluate each applicant individually. We would never, ever flip a coin or roll a die to determine admission. You have put in too much effort into the process for us to disrespect you like that. We treat every application with the time and care it deserves.

I hope this is helpful, everyone! And thanks for the hand, Fabrice, Prashant, Michael and mudfud =)

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