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MIT student blogger Jessie L. '07

You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers by Jessie L. '07

I have enough of a questions backlog now that I think it’s worth dedicating an entry to answering them. Please, if you have questions, feel free to ask! If I can’t answer them, I’ll tell you so!

Drew asked: “Could you tell us more about what happens during Orientation? I think I pretty much understand the housing lottery now, but what else happens during Orientation?”

You know, to refresh my memory, I created a thread on College Confidential asking people what happens during Orientation that’s useful and not Dorm Rush, and the only answer I got was from Mollie, jokingly saying “You mean there’s something other than Dorm Rush?” Or something to that effect.

Anyway, stuff that I remember…

– The Academic Resource Center holds an event that tells freshmen about different options for their Science Core classes. It’s a pretty good event.

– There’s CityDays, which you should already know about if you’re an incoming frosh. You get to spend half a day working on community service projects around Cambridge and Boston.

– There’s the Presidents’ Convocation, where you get to hear MIT’s President Hockfield and the MIT Undergraduate Association’s President Andrew Lukmann ’07 speak.

– There are Orientation groups, which are little groups of freshmen led by an upperclassman (all incoming frosh are assigned to one), which often go to non-student-run Orientation activities together, and go out to eat together at least once.

– There’s the activities midway and the athletics midway, where you can visit booths of different student groups and sports, pick up information, and get your email address put on their mailing lists.

Other upperclassmen should add to my list.

Anonymous asked: “Advice about HASS and HASS-D classes?”

This is going to vary, because different people have different HASS interests. If possible, I’d say take something that’s both a HASS-D and a CI-H first term, and kill two birds with one stone.

Anonymous asked: “A lot of my friends got into great universities, but ended up attending local community colleges because they simply couldn’t afford a four-year college (apparently the universities thought otherwise and calculated unrealistically high expected contributions for their families). How can a student of extremely limited resources procure the funds to attend MIT? Could you please discuss the type of jobs available for freshmen (and other students)on campus and other things MIT students do to afford college. Does MIT offer sholarships to students who have demonstrated exceptional academic merit?
Thank you.”

MIT gives only need-based aid, no merit aid. It meets 100% of demonstrated need. However, there are numerous outside organizations that give scholarships for everything from exceptional academic merit to female computer science majors to left-handed people. Try Googling for “scholarships”, and reading Daniel’s blog for more info about MIT financial aid. Also, look into the ROTC program – for many students, this is a great way to make MIT affordable.

Sriram asked:

i think u remember me,i sent u comment a month back but i have no replies iam wondering why i think u feel very much harder to accept persons like me outside ur community as a member or as friend
or there may be other reasons for u to not even sending a reply ok doesn’t matter atleast now can u identify me. please atleast now send me reply
from miles away
sriram a student from India

Sriram, I’m not quite sure what you want. If there’s something MIT-related that you want to ask or chat about, feel free to contact me. I’m certainly not averse to talking with my readers or even making friends with them, though in my opinion it is generally easier to make friends with someone you know in person.

Christine asked:

Hey Jessie, I have a question for you.

How was your experience like with being on crew for a year? Did you like being on a varsity sport? Did it take up more of your time than you wanted? Why did you quit?

I guess that’s more than one question, but they’re all related. I’ll be a freshman next year and am currently on the fence about whether or not I want to do a varsity sport come fall (and yes, crew is one of the options I’m pondering).

I did like being on crew, but there were other activities I liked more, or was interested in, and I quit because I wanted the extra 15 or so hours a week to pursue those other pursuits. Crew is a great sport to do if you really, really enjoy it and make it a top priority, but if not, it’s kind of a time sink. In my opinion, of course. I think most of the other varsity sports require a little less of “this needs to be your top priority”, but they are substantial committments.

Erer asked:

I noticed in the admissions stats that because of the high number of men who apply (and the low number of women) and the roughly equal numbers of men and women who are admitted that its much easier to go to MIT applying as a female. So I have to as, as a female, are women as well prepared as the boys, to they do as well, do they sign up for science courses or are they thought to be there to fill seats in the humanities courses, are they taken as seriously as the boys, do they graduate in the sciences at the same rate as the boys? Have to ask.

While I can understand wondering about the admissions rates, I’m kind of astounded that anyone would doubt even for a second that women at MIT sign up for science courses, or think that they are just there to fill seats in humanities courses. Last year, at the undergraduate level, 36% of engineering majors and 51% of science majors at MIT were women (as were 51% of humanities, arts, and social sciences majors, 50% of management majors, and 64% of urban studies and planning majors).

I can’t find actual numbers, but I think the graduation rates for men and women at MIT are very similar. And female students are very much taken seriously – honestly, I see a lot more sexism in the outside world (including among prospective MIT applicants) than I do within the MIT undergraduate community.

I think you’re overlooking the fact that female applicants to MIT are an extremely self-selected group, which contributes to their higher admissions rate. I believe that Ben has some stats on this.

In short, don’t worry, people will take you seriously here if you get in. :)

Anonymous asks:

“I read your thread on CC about the problem with just looking at stats. It’s a wonderful post, but I have a question. Do you have to get a high score on standerized testings?

I love to work. I’m a hard worker. But I’m not so smart when it comes to these tests. I saw the average scores on Matt’s Blog. What if you’re not in that range? Is it hopeless for you? MIT is my dream, but I’m afraid that I won’t be considered as a worthy applicant because of my scores. Thank you for taking the time to read this.”

The funny thing about “average” scores of a class is that by definition, some percentage of the class is below that average, and most likely, close to half is below that average (I’m assuming that average means arithmetic mean here – if it’s the median, than by definition half the class is below the average). If you’re really far out of range, you might consider retaking the tests, but for the most part, if your application is strong, weaker test scores than the average accepted MIT student won’t hurt you.

And, not really a question, but, from Little Miss Demosthenes…

i noticed you have one comment, but your blog still lists that as ‘comments’. i’ve always been upset with blogs that don’t bother adding a few lines of code to separate between 1 and the rest of the postive integers. just trying to rectify a grammar error.

actually, i just wanted to make a new friend.

Well, hello. Nice to meet you. :) I enjoy seeing that people are actually reading this thing.

2 responses to “You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers”

  1. Mollie says:

    “I can’t find actual numbers, but I think the graduation rates for men and women at MIT are very similar.”

    Ben has told me that the graduation rates for women are actually higher than they are for men.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for answering my questions! You’re really quick! smile