Much is expected.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, thought or uttered some portion of that phrase over the course of the past few weeks. I can tell you with a fair level of certainty that it is just as true in college admission circles as it is anywhere else that it might be used.
Let me be frank. Any serious applicant to MIT has been given much. That does not mean that everyone has received in equal measure, but that each and every applicant has been given a lifetime’s worth of opportunities and has made choices about how to use those opportunities. I won’t belabor the point, as my position on the matter is well established. Suffice it to say, we may look just as favorably on the trajectory and distance travelled as we do on the heights achieved. I think our admission decisions reflect this value.
In short order, our decisions will be released and the inevitable armchair quarterbacking will begin. I don’t begrudge the post decision analysis, as much as the post decision paralysis. I know that the analysis is a big part of trying to process the outcome of a journey that a great deal of emotional energy has been invested into. Regardless of the outcome, the real work is just beginning.
An admission decision, as accomplished as any applicant may be, is ultimately less about what has been achieved and more about what is likely to be achieved. If you receive an offer of admission from MIT or any of the other excellent schools that you have applied to, you have an obligation not simply to avoid squandering the opportunity, but rather to fully capitalize on it.
As much as I would like to say that you need to validate the faith that the admissions officers showed in you when they selected you for admission, it is not really the admission staff that you owe a debt of gratitude (although it probably wouldn’t kill you to say thank you). Just as you have poured yourselves completely into this process, to help us identify who will most benefit from and contribute to this community, so to have the people in your lives poured themselves into you. Inevitably, the range of one’s personal support network is going to vary, but I don’t think that you could have made it this far if you didn’t have someone in your corner. For some it is a parent, sibling or other relative. For others it is a friend, teacher, coach or neighbor. For you it could be someone else entirely.
Regardless of who your advocates are, let them know that you appreciate what they have done to help you get to where you are, not only by telling them so, but also by demonstrating that you understand that much is expected from those to whom much is given.