You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers by Chris M. '12
I know an atomic particle's speed, AND position!!
Wow. You guys asked some hard questions! And a lot of them. No worries though, I’ve transcribed here every question someone asked me, (unless they specifically asked I not post about it) and my best answer. If you don’t see your question or if you have another one, feel free to email me and I’ll get to it when I can. Please put “Question about MIT” in the subject line (it helps Google sort my mail). Read through, enjoy, and soak up all the trivial goodness that is:
Are MIT students very stylish or are jeans and a sweatshirt a common outfit?
There is a huge variety in what people wear to class and to what extent people care about how they look. (Specifically this number is 5.77 X 10^65, it’s calculated using an arbitrary combination of color choices and the amount spent on clothing vs. time spent getting ready in the morning. This is known as GQ’s constant*) Personally, I like fashion, and I usually wear a dress shirt, tie, slacks, and a coat to class. But that’s certainly not the norm, but that’s the beauty of it. There is no norm. I’ve seen people wearing anything from geeky T-shirts, kilts and blue hair, to Hollister hoodies, Ug boots, and expensive jeans. Some people dress like they walked straight out of a clothing ad, and others dress like Mardi Gras vomited all over them. We have an article in our newspaper, The Tech, that talks about fashion guidelines for people interested in that stuff, but I’d say that for the most part, people dress how they want to dress, there is very little pressure here to look one way or another. That being said, I think no matter how much you like to look good, there will be at least one pset on one night that will coerce you into going to class the next day in sweatpants and a hoodie…..not that I know from experience……
Are there any abnormally good looking people at MIT?
Why yes I am, thank you.
Seriously though, there are certainly some people here for whom every gene is apparently made of winning. Not that looking good matters.
I was wondering for the question 6 in the part 2 application about the thing we created. It’s quite difficult to visualize my invention only by explanation. Is there way I can send along a picture of what I created?? Do I need to contact admission office? If yes who. And for the essays I was wondering if writing humorous essays are not a disadvantage since the humor of every person is not the same especially if I’m an international student?
As far as I can tell you, the Admissions Office is pretty flexible about sending in supplementary materials if you feel like they help better represent you, just make sure you don’t abuse that privilege. So I believe you can send in a picture of your invention, the place to send it would be the same place you send your application. For your essay, I’d say write what feels natural, I cracked a few jokes in my essay and it turned out fine for me, but above all your writing should feel natural to you. If you don’t normally write in a humorous manner, it may seem akward and forced, which is not how you want to appear. So the short answer is, writing a humorous essay in and of itself is not bad. If that’s how you feel confident, go for it.
“When the cosmic battle of Catnarok takes place, who will win–Longcat or Tacgnol?”
Definitely Tacgnol. Unless the battle takes place in a mirror, then who knows. Ceiling Cat will have to sort it out.
I noticed that you are a Course 15 student. I applied EA and also want to do Course 15. I was wondering what are your favorite things about Sloan and why?
To clarify, you don’t actually declare a major until the end of your Freshman year. That’s partially because the large majority of freshmen will take classes that fulfill what’s known as the GIRs (General Institute Requirements). The GIRs are foundation classes like Calculus, Physics, Chem, Biology etc. I’ve been working hard to try and get all (or most) of my GIRs out of the way so I haven’t taken any strictly Course 15 (Business Management) yet.
Is there anything close to a major or serious study about nanotechonology? I’m really fasicanted by it and I think that’s what I want to study and later do in life. Is there a majore for it? Minor? Any courses in nanotechnology?
I don’t think there is a specific major in nanotechnology, just because nanotech is a very diverse field. That being said we do have Nanomaterials Labratory that I believe is used by people in Course 3 (Materials Science and Engineering). Materials Science may be something you’d be interested in, though really you could find applications to nanotechnology in any field you go into.
How’s the humanities side of MIT? And are MIT students into politics/current events? (not worded as a question but…) I hear the food is awful.
1. Humanities are awesome, I absolutely love my Intro to World Music class. It’s a welcome change from the continuous stream of math and differentials in the rest of my classes. People have mixed feelings about the humanities courses and your requirement to take them, but that’s more because of a personal opinion on humanities than it is the quality of the courses.
2. Some students are into Politics, some think McCain is what old people use to help them walk. I haven’t met too many people who are super-interested in politics, but that’s not to say they don’t exist. It’s interesting the number of people who try and find a newspaper to subscribe to, or a podcast to watch to stay in touch with current events, because MIT is like an entire world to itself, it’s easy to lose touch with the real world if you’re not careful.
3. I don’t think it’s fair to say that the food is awful. There have definitely been things I’ve eaten from the Dining Hall that I swear had already been eaten before, but there are also some things that are really delicious (*cough* Chicken Quesadilla *cough*) Besides, if you don’t like the food from the cafeterias, there are a whole plethora of other options available to you, from delivery, to *gasp* cooking for yourself. And if you don’t like the food you cook yourself, take it up with the chef.
Haha, 6 is the answer to the admissions formula? Did you have some supercomputer figure that out for you…perhaps with the name Deep Thought? Hey Chris, have you never seen Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?? The ulimate answer to the universe is 42, not 6!
I put those two questions together because they were similar. Yes I have READ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, and undeniably the ultimate answer to the universe is 42. BUT! MIT is but one part of universe, thus it follows that it is one part of 42, one factor. As it turns out if you divide 42, the ultimate answer to the universe, by 7, the luckiest number, you get the answer to the ultimate, luckiest, place in the universe!**
I was wondering if you would know the details on how you start a project to enter into an Intel fair? Do I just start randomly or do I work with another teacher to help me?
I unfortunately have no idea as I’ve only been impressed by projects from the Intel fair, not actually done any myself. Their official website may be able to help though, and lucky for you all you have to do is click here.
everyone hears about MIT hacks, but what are some of the non-hack “institutional charm” elements you like? Just wondering what quirks about MIT you personally like aside from hacks.
My favorite part about MIT is without a doubt the people. You get here, and at first nothing seems unusual, you’re talking with people about the olympics, or TV or whatever, and then someone busts a calculus joke, and then the really surprising part happens. EVERYONE LAUGHS! At that moment, you realize that the people around you are a lot like you, there is a huge fundamental common interest among students. Sure there are people you meet who you don’t like, and there are people who don’t like you, but as a whole the MIT community is what’s most charming to me. I also really love everyone’s passion, pretty much everyone is the best at something they do, and seeing those people in their elements is awesome, it’s humbling and inspiring to see your friends fly planes, play cellos, work on cars, design clothes, paint pictures, and write programs. MIT is a hotbed for talented individuals who are capable of producing some incredible work.
how would i go about describing my passion in a way MIT admissions will understand?
MIT is vastly diverse, and prides itself on being an open-minded community. That being said, I feel like essentially any medium you choose to express yourself with will be accepted. I’ve known people who have made videos, wrote computer programs, put together powerpoint presentations etc. There is some fine print to that freedom though, namely you have the responsibility not to abuse it. Don’t make a 80 minute documentary about yourself, and certainly don’t feel like you have to do something supplementary to the application. Most of the people accepted are those who just filled out the accepted applications.
For the extra space provided at the end of the application (pt 2), can we just write about an experience without explaining what we’re writing about at first, leaving it up to the admissions officers to read through to figure it out?
That’s really a judgment call to make yourself, as long as the unorthodox format of your essay adds something to the story and doesn’t take away from the reader’s ability to understand, I say go for it. Life favors the bold.
I would like to know how classes taken as a senior affect admissions. If I applied ea, wouldn’t I know if I got accepted before I know my final grades?
You my friend have stumbled upon the conundrum that is the leading cause of Senioritis. You are correct, you would know the status of your acceptance before your final grades, but there is a tricky caveat known as the “Mid-Year Grade Report” as well as the “Final Grade Report”. These reports are mailed to MIT and include your grades even after you’ve been accepted. If all of a sudden you start doing poorly in classes, MIT can rescind your offer of admissions.(In fact, many colleges have similar policies, so no way you’re getting around that). In short the answer to your question is yes, but they’re onto you.
I understand what you said about not everyone being happy at MIT etc, but what can I do to get my mind off things! Any suggestions?
Go camping, see a movie, have a picnic, eat lunch with someone new, play an instrument (even if you’ve had no training whatsoever, you’re playing for yourself, not for an audience). Soak up the town and culture you live in, because regardless of where you end up going to school, it will be different than where you are right now. Eat at local restaurants, go to quirky small museums. Stop in at a hotel and go to the visitors booth to find all the cool things around where you live that you never do because you live there. Act like a tourist. Photograph everything. Listen to new music Build something (this is my favorite site for finding cool fun projects). Most of all enjoy this time of your life, senior year post college applications is an amazing, unique period of your life that you’d do well to take advantage of.
do you think I can send some certificates depicting that I won/participated in a regional science camp?
You certainly can, though it may not be necessary. Just listing your involvement in the activities you got awards for in the appropriate section of your application is enough for the Admissions office, they believe you.
How do you get to be so cool?
In the interest of homeostasis, I can’t really say I’m that cool, but I can give you other more meaningful questions to ponder: If a tree falls on a mime in the forest, what was he doing there? Why do you drive on a parkway and park on a driveway? Why are the alphabet letters arranged the way they are? Why does a house burn up until it burns down?
The world may never know.
*GQ’s constant has a related formula in which fashion is directly proportional to time and money, and inversely proportional to the square of homework. it is F= G[($T)]/H^2 Where $ is in dollars, T is in hours, and H is in number of sheets. The units, Dollar-hours per sheet, are known by their S.I. unit “Style”.
**Ask me if I still agree with this during finals week.