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MIT staff blogger Kim Hunter '86

Yes,The New App…It’s Really Here by Kim Hunter '86

Or Why This Year's App is "Cooler" Than Last Year's.

If you’ve visited the MIT campus you know that throughout much of the year (when we’re not reading applications, basically) admissions officers do daily information sessions. This summer they have been in Lobdell in the Student Center (a building otherwise know as W20). It feels odd for me to do the session there since I ate quite a few meals in that same room as a student, especially on weekends when the Baker dining hall was closed.

But I digress…last Friday morning I was assigned to do the session. Now, I knew that the application was due to be go live this week but we hadn’t announced yet precisely what day it would be. I did however get to give to those 250 lucky (?) people in my session a preview of what was to come. As I made my big announcement, the shock wave rolled across the room. There were looks of surprise, happiness, and even some frustration as those present absorbed what I had said. I watched in interest as potential applicants looked at their families and then looked at each other. It was an interesting thing to watch. For, as you see, we have made that most interesting of changes to this year’s application…we have decided that for our purposes that the long essay is obsolete…

When you look at the new app (yes, I know, many of you already have) we really hope you’ll like what you see. It will look familiar, obviously, but there are some interesting changes and we hope you’ll like them. We spent a lot of time this spring thinking about how to make it more interesting for you and helpful to us. We understand that condensing your life onto just a few pages of paper is tough so we decided to try and make it easier for you to tell us, in your words, exactly who you are. Yes, the basic things are much the same: grades, scores, awards, activities, short answer questions. Those things are all there as they help us to understand who you are. But the exciting part is that there really is no long essay this year, nor is there the need to decide whether or not the “optional” essay is really optional. Instead what you will find are three short essays (200-250 words) which ask about a time you used your creativity, ask you to describe “your world”, and a significant challenge you’ve faced. We’re looking for honest answers, what first comes to your mind when you see the questions…we want to know who you are and your application to us is your chance to tell us.

So, if you haven’t done so yet, now is the time to get your account and get started! Oh, and by the way, don’t forget to check your account for your Educational Counselors name and contact information while you’re at it. They are looking forward to meeting you so set up that interview soon. You’ll be glad you did!

53 responses to “Yes,The New App…It’s Really Here”

  1. i think i might have been the first person to download and view the whole application after being put online ..
    as last night i just opened mymit to check if the application was yet online or not and it wasn’t so i turned off my computer ..just then i remembered about an important mail and restarted my pc and opened gmail and mymit on separate tabs and there it was ..EC information and the new application …for a moment i really cudnt believe my eyes …tat it was finally here …

  2. EAK says:

    @Kim: When will the EC’s contact information be up? Because I can see my EC’s name and the word “Phone”, but I see no number…

  3. Cam says:

    :( no more long essay.

    I liked writing the long essay, for MIT, it was my favorite part of my (moderately limited) college application process.

  4. Ooooohh, this is so exciting!! smile I’ve been waiting to apply to MIT for YEARS; I can hardly believe it’s finally time.

    I was really surprised to see the new Part 2. To be honest, I think it’s even more difficult to present oneself thoroughly in so many short essays; concision is daunting. Still, I appreciate the creativity question. It’s a lot less stressful than the optional essay!

  5. Julio ('14?) says:

    It has begun. smile

    Good luck everyone!

    ~ Julio (’14?)

  6. I can’t believe it’s finally time. Actually, I expected the app to come out much later as it had in previous years.

    Woo. Here’s to hoping!

  7. Garrett '13 says:

    R.I.P. end of the world long essay :(

  8. I’m with you Natalia, I can’t believe it. It’s so exciting! I like the idea of short essays though… even though I had looked at least years application and had general ideas of what I wanted to write, although they’re similar.

  9. VAL '14? says:

    I, for one, LOVE the new short essay style. It will make us compact our writing, focus on one (or two) topics per essay, and use CONCISE words. This is really my kind of essay.

    Good luck everyone!! :D

  10. Anonymous says:

    Woot! Application! Two months and 13 days until it’s all over!

  11. JDK says:

    Is the long essay going to be gone from the transfer app. as well?

  12. MIT '12 says:

    Wow. I’m so glad I applied two years ago (omg I feel old). I don’t think I could have gotten in without my long essay. It really allowed me to explain a lot about who I was, where I came from, where I was going. None of that would have fit into 250 words.

  13. '13 says:

    I wish this had been my year’s app!

  14. I like the new questions you are asking. That should make things a lot better especially not making people wonder about the optional part.

    It would be very helpful for the prospective students to put the actual essay questions on the app page so students can start planning before they go to MyMIT.

  15. Su ('14?) says:

    I’m excited about the app. I’ve been dwelling on creative ways to tackle these 3 250word questions and I think I’ve finally hit the jackpot! Then again, an idea I deem creative may appear sub par to others so I’ll need to ask my parents and friends their opinions. I CAN’T BELIEVE THE APP IS LIVE!
    Good luck other prospective 2014s!

  16. I’ve been pretty much checking every three days since summer started, and a few days ago, I was just checking it out of habit and was about to close the window, and then I realized “Hey the application’s actually up!!”

  17. GAR'14? says:

    Yeah , I think that the short essay helps a lot to give some consistent ideas.

    Good luck everyone smile

  18. Mehmet '14? says:

    I was dwelling upon the topic of my long essay a few days before the app went live. The short answers came as a surprise and as a relief because now I can present more of my personality to the admissions staff.
    Thank you and good luck to all the applicants!

  19. @Su

    Creative jackpot sounds good, lol smile Have fun!


    Lol, the beginning of the end makes it sound so grim…hopefully it’s just the beginning!


    I have a question. Are the word limits strict, or are they more like guidlines? I think one of my short essays may require more words than that, but it’s definitely the topic I want to write about…

    Thanks for your help smile


    Good luck everyone! This is going to be fun :D

  20. jennyqiu'13 says:

    this kind of makes me sad because it wasn’t on my app. I did all the essays on my app and that was a LOT of work!

    On a lighter note, good luck to all of you applicants.

  21. Louis (14?) says:

    This really is an exciting change. It looks like I’ll be spending less time stressing out trying to come up with a cool storytelling gimmick to catch attention and more time actually answering the question, which is probably what you were aiming for. I’ve been excited for this ever since I heard about it at Questbridge and it’s great to see that MIT is the school that’s not afraid to shake up the formula. Even the really short answers look fun to write about. Great Job on the app.

  22. Kim '86 says:

    @JDK: I haven’t heard of any substantial changes to the transfer application.

    @EAK: The info should be there so if there is no contact information please send an email to: [email protected] with your name and we’ll figure out what is going on.

    @Olivia: Those words limits are pretty strict…we really only want to see 200-250 words on each of the topics.

  23. Oasis '11 says:

    I thought the long essay was one of the most personal essays I wrote throughout my application experience (and I wrote a lot too, having applied to 15 colleges -____-)

    Although I definitely applaud the Admission office’s effort in streamlining the application and making chances where necessary, it does feel a little bit sad that that essay is no longer there.

    ps. Wasn’t Caltech’s also a series of short essays?

  24. I prefer to write one or two long essays and it makes my head ache to write a lot of short essays. But actually, the questions are kinda exciting and I really wish to be accepted to MIT. :( :(

  25. '13 says:

    yeah, caltech’s supplement consisted of short essays, though they still had the common app main essay

    i’m so excited about this change~
    i know in a lot of my friends’ essays, as well as my own, the long essay got a bit “dramatic” and, as a result of our efforts to increase the depth (+ length) of the message, veered away from what we would have wanted it sound like if we could have figured out some other tactic for filling up that many words

    i imagine the change makes it easier for the admissions office too smile (heheh could it be prompted by the ever-increasing number of applicants?)

  26. Anon says:

    I actually think the short essays are a lot less intimidating than the typical long essays smile and I like how they seem to be asking us about ourselves rather than our high school achievements (especially the creativity one vs. the old one about something you built). :D 250 words is pretty short, but even the “long” essays were too short, so… it’s not much of a change, in my opinion.

  27. Luka ('14?) says:

    This is the beginning of the end XD

    Good luck everyone!

  28. Personally, I have mixed feelings about the loss of the long essay. I do hope there remains a place for a longish optional response, but at the same time I feel that the short answers afforded a broader chance to show who I am. I think I might have been less stressed if not for the long essay that I struggled to fill. :-D

  29. @Su (14?)
    The more quirks and personality you show, the more likely MIT is to find you an interesting person. And ONLY interesting people get in here. So write what you feel best shows your individuality! grin

  30. Justin says:

    Haha, I’m 13 and I’m totally intimidated by the application. smile I mean I haven’t entered any international competitions (yet) or any outstanding acheivements, most of mine are in-state…*sigh*

    I guess I’ll have to emphasize my amazing, a little rural and extremely small hometown in my app when it comes then. smile WHOO Class of ’19!(Malaysians go to ‘college’ for 2 years after high school, and then boom, undergraduate studies.)

  31. I’m so glad that it’s out – although I’m not sure yet how I feel about the lack of a long essay. Good luck to all the other applicants! =)

  32. Olivia says:


    okey-dokey then…thanks! smile

  33. The Mit Application seems so exciting to me, how exciting would it be to study from the brightest minds on our planet and joining the race to revolutionise the world !!
    It will be the best experience i hope… and we all are one step closer to make the world a better place to live…

  34. alexandria says:

    Ok. Can anyone help my nervous state of mind, atleast for the moment?
    On the newest application (it’s cool, and kind sucky all at once), the question with the whole creativity, have you led anything, I sort of haven’t done anything super-amazing at this point in my life. I have done little things, and I generally lead the brainstorming and discussions in my classes, but I fear that that is not enough. Can anyone offer something good?

  35. Rowen (14?) says:

    Hmm, sounds easier, but at the same time it must require the same amount of personality and time to construct 3 good short answers offering admissions counselors as much personality and interest as a long essay would. Very interesting…

    But I was also wondering ( I’d be grateful if anyone could answer this) if it is still possible to apply ED here if one of your SAT Subject tests were scheduled for November 7th…

  36. Olivia says:


    Yeah, if you take a standardized test in Nov. you can still have it in on time for EA admission, but that’s the deadline.

  37. LucidLunatic says:

    Interesting choice. I’m not so sure that this will make applying any easier, but it may very well give you more information about applicants.

  38. alexandria says:

    I guess i have the same question as the one above, im having a bit of a difficuly time scraping together the money for the test, which is now in december. does that mean EA is out of the question?

  39. Umair says:

    Hey I have a question… I missed the chance to apply for MIT for the class of 2013.. now I am thinking of applying this year… but I am about to begin my first semester in october in another univeristy so can I apply as a freshman because i seriously don’t want a transfer

  40. Olivia says:


    OK, another question (sorry to be bugging you so much!):

    I would like to list Ninjutsu as my “something” I do for enjoyment, but it’s also going on my transcript as P.E. (I’m home schooled, btw). Can I still use it, or do you prefer not to see something that is also on my transcript?

  41. Bob says:


    So if I have 290 words for one of my responses it count against me? I realy can’t cut it down beacause then it would be cutting into the design and removing vital parts that make it feasible.

    …And let the madness begin…

  42. Anonymous says:


    I am an international student (my colloquial english is okay but my essay writting is a disaster) and I am really really glad to hear that…. its gone!

    for years the only thinking of it made me shriver…
    yes I know it might be tough for the ones who got an excellent writting but… resuming my life is definetely not very comfortable … at least for me.


  43. where can i download the fee waiver form? can i email it or do i have to mail it? im an international student from romania and i fear it might get lost on the way. i have also created an mymit account seven weeks ago and still haven’t received the materials by mail.what should i do?

  44. Najneen says:

    Hey Kim!

    I got information about my educational counselor on my mit page. I want to contact him for an interview. But I’m not sure whether I should be doing the interview this early. In fact, I personally want to do the interview on october. Is that ok? Besides, I also want to know something very trivial but what exactly do I write in the e-mail that I send to my EC? I’m not exactly sure what to write and I haven’t written to him yet and I also want to know whether I can ask him to schedule the interview in October. Also, how long does a typical interview last?

    Your blog is really helpful. Thanks!

  45. Kim '86 says:

    @alexandria: Being creative doesn’t just mean doing something “super amazing”. Creativity exhibits in a variety of ways. For me, being creative is doing a beadwork bracelet or designing a hand knit sweater. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

    @Olivia: Sounds like it can easily go in both places.

    @Bob: The field will only allow you so many words. Do the best you can.

    @Rowen (14?) & @ alexandria: November test dates are fine for Early Action. December, however, is too late for EA.

    @Umair: Once you start a program elsewhere you would need to look at us as a transfer applicant. For more on that look at the transfer info:

    @ Najneen: It’s not to early to contact your EC. If you’re applying EA you’ll want to do it sooner rather than later as the deadlines come up quickly. I would identify who you are, what you want, tell the EC where you go to school and where you live. Also what might commonly work into your schedule. I’ll do a blog entry on that soon which should also help. A typical interview should be about an hour long.

    @gaby: The materials are all online. That’s what your account is for grin

  46. Chiung Chan says:

    i am a student from mainland China. i’ve registered mymit account, but the interview information shows “Unfortunately, there is not an Educational Counselor assigned to your area; your interview has been waived.” i live in Xiamen, southern part of China. i wonder if i can have an interview in other city in China, such as Shanghai.

  47. Anon says:

    I have a question about the Teacher Evaluation forms:

    I am currently in the 12th grade, and I joined my current high school last year, out of which approximately 3 months were used up in exams and study-leave and around 3 months in vacations. Thus my total time of interaction with my teachers at this school has been not more than 6 months. At my previous high school however, I spent 5 years and so, I feel that teachers from my former high school would be better suited to fill out the teacher evaluation forms as they know me better, due to the prolonged period of interaction I have had with them, as compared to teachers at my current school. I’d like to know if it’s possible for them to complete the teacher evaluations or is it compulsory for it to be completed by teachers at my current school, and if this is the case, then can I add a letter of reference from my former school on my application?


    (sorry if I posted this in the wrong area!)

  48. Umair says:

    @kim :I read about the transfer but is it necesarry for me that i apply for Transfer… Can’t I apply as a freshman?

  49. Azeem says:

    hi there,

    Also I want to ask,

    1. Can my teachers fill the evaluation form online ?

    2. I had been doing research for a year now, so is it recommended to show the research work to the EC ?

    I am sorry for bugging you but I am just getting more and more inquisitive about MIT procedures, hope you will understand.

  50. Azeem says:

    Hi there,

    I have an question, Last year I applied for MIT and at that time I was in my high school, but now I have finished my high school and I am ready to join university, till now I have NOT joined any university, so am I still eligible to submit my form as freshmen……….please let me know ……..

  51. I don’t know if you reply to your responses or not, but I have a question: Is it absolutely necessary for me to take the subject tests? Does an applicant still have a chance without those scores?