MIT Supplemental Essays Workshop
Ready to write and edit your supplemental essays for MIT? Get tips and tricks with CollegeAdvisor.com.
Former Admissions Officer Arianna Pagan will share her insider knowledge on how to write your supplemental essays during a 60-minute webinar and Q&A session.
In this webinar, you’ll have all your questions answered, including:
- What are the MIT supplemental essay prompts?
- When can I do to write a great supplemental essays?
- How long should I spend writing and editing my supplemental essays?
Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-12-19 – MIT Supplemental Essays Workshop
Hello everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar MIT Supplemental Essay Workshop. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start with a presentation, then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start sub MIT ting your questions in the Q&A tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists.
Hello everyone. My name is Arianna Pagan. My pronouns are she and her. I have been in college admissions since 2014. And I primarily work in colleges around the northeast. So MIT is right up my alley. I currently work at Northeastern University in Boston, and so I’m excited today to, to share this information with you all.
So I’ll turn it back over to Lonnie before we get started. Okay. Thank you Arianna. So before we get started, we wanna get a sense of what grade you are in. So let us know, I already started the poll. So we have the results coming right on in. I’m gonna give you one more second to get a few more responses.
Nice. Okay. So we have 33% that are in the 10th grade, 29% in 11th grade. Actually 29% in the ninth grade as well. And then we have just 12% that are in the 12th grade. So we have representation from each high school grade level this evening. So I’ll turn it back over to you, Arianna. All right. Thank you.
And that’s wonderful. It’s great to have people who are at different stages because we can all learn something from each other no matter where we are in the process. And so for today’s presentation, we’ll go over what are the MIT application requirements, and then we’ll jump into how do you. A strong supplemental essays and really what a supplemental essay is supposed to be for your application and how that’s specific to MIT .
And then I’ll also share with you all what are some common mistakes that are found in students as they’re writing their essays. Nothing bad. We all make mistakes of course, but as you go writing, it’s always good to hear the feedback from officers and so that’s why you’re here. So jumping right into the MIT application process.
So MIT has its own application. It’s a $75 fee. They do have waivers available for students. And that application specifically focuses on your general information, you know, information about your high school. You know, if general information that would typically be found in the Common App. And so it also includes activities.
So if you’ve been involved in high school, that’s wonderful. We’d love when students are involved. That is what would be on the application as well. In addition to MIT ‘s own application, students will need two letters of recommendation, one from a math or science teacher, and one from a humanities, social science or language teacher.
Now that is specific from MIT . So you know, if you’re asking for a teacher recommendation that doesn’t come from within one of those categories, just know it should be considered supplemental to the other two letters of recommendation. MIT really wants students to have two letters of recommendation from those specific.
After that you have the secondary school report. And so the secondary school report shares important information about your high school with the admissions com MIT tee. Things like what percentage of students are going to college, if the high school has a specific curriculum how they grade in the high school, and it also includes your academic trans.
So all of the courses that you’ve taken throughout high school, including any APs or IB courses as well. Next we have the SAT or the ACT scores. MIT strongly recommends English proficiency exams for certain non-native English speakers who plan to apply. And there’s more information on that that you can find on their website.
But they do require SAT and or ACT scores February mid-year report. So as a senior, when you apply to college, later on in February, the colleges will actually request a mid-year report just to see how you’re doing so far. And also to make sure you’re not getting senioritis. It’s really easy to say, well, I’m so close, I could end this.
But this is an opportunity as well for the colleges to see that ideally you’re ending your high school career strong with good grades in a, in a rigorous curriculum. And finally essays, including your supplemental essays which we’ll get into now.
So some of the questions around MIT relate to cultural or family background. You know, please tell us more about your cultural background and identity in the space below. Please tell us if aspects of your identity have been a barrier to educational access and opportunity. And if you think additional information about your family will give us a more thorough impression of your background, please include it here.
This question. all of these questions, as you can see, it’s 150 words or less. So really what the admissions com MIT tee is looking for when you’re sub if, if you’re going to sub MIT a question like this is, why is this important to who you are? How is your cultural background or your identity important to you?
And how can you tell us? So very, very concise. And if you feel strongly compelled to answer one of these questions, just know it might take one or two rewrites. 150 words or less is not a lot. It’s less than some of the other supplemental questions out we’ll get into. But really just know if you don’t feel compelled to write one of these supplemental essays, it doesn’t it, it doesn’t look negatively on you. Ultimately, a lot of students do apply and have very, you know, very specific identities that are important to them and have impacted their education, and so to be fair, we want to give students an opportunity to explain that and share that with the admissions com MIT tee.
If there’s, you know, again, if there’s anything you want the school to know about your grading system, course offerings. Oh, did we? Okay. Yep. You know, if there’s anything we should know about your school’s grading system or course offerings, please use the space below. Again, this is optional. What I have seen is that these questions, this one specifically, is most relevant to international students.
For example, does your school not offer AP or IB credit? Is the maximum number of credits you’re allowed to take different compared to what is considered a full course load in the us? Did you study abroad? Did you take courses elsewhere? Did you take courses at a local community college? And why, how does that impact your school’s grading system?
Some schools are very specific, and I’ve noticed that some charter schools are independent schools and most relevant international students really have this opportunity to just kind of explain what the grading system is, if it’s not typically what is found here in the U.S. grading. And the next one.
You know, we understand that sometimes things outside of your control impact your ability to complete tests to the best of your abilities. If you have an extenuating circumstance such as an exam, cancellation or illness, please let us know. This is really necessary for students who have had to miss school for extended periods of time, maybe due to an illness, maybe due to, you know, having to take care of family or an extenuating circumstance.
And really this can actually be seen if it’s reflected on your transcript. So, for example, if you. a semester or a year where there was a dip in your GPA because you were struggling with mental illness or you, you know, found out something, you know, that had that, where you were required to take time off from school if you had an illness.
Anything like that where we can see it reflected on your transcript and you want an opportunity to explain what. This is an excellent opportunity. What I will say is that this question in particular is not specific to Covid. So Covid has impacted everybody’s education, it has impacted everyone’s activities, and you know, The way that we interact with our, our, the world around us and our academics, and so don’t feel compelled to say, you know, to use this as a space to explain how Covid impacted you.
That is an opportunity that is offered elsewhere on the application.
Include. Here we go. So another question is if you had have or had any extenuating circumstances regarding your activities including disruptions to Covid 19, please tell us about them here. So, as I mentioned, the pandemic disrupted activities for everyone, athletics, part-time jobs, community service.
they are looking for is what the disruption was, but also how else was your time filled? So for example, if you were an athlete and you weren’t able to play sports, how did you fill your time? Instead, what was that time filled doing? Because ultimately what the admissions office wants to see is that you’re making the most of the situation and that you’re making the most of what is within your control.
So we understand that Covid was beyond anybody’s control Based off of your situation and your academic experience and your activities, how were you able to fill your time for some students? I, I’ve seen this written a few ways. Some students write about how, you know, they weren’t able to hold meetings for prom, but it brought them closer to the students in their student council and they were able to develop more meaningful relationships.
I’ve seen other, I’ve seen athletes say it offered them an opportunity to spend more time with their family, you know, their, their, their younger siblings. I’ve seen other essays written about students talking about how it gave them an opportunity to actually find another interest and find another hobby at home.
So, you know, it, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that, you know, for example, I wasn’t able to play sports because of Covid. It’s, I wasn’t able to play sports. But what did you do instead with your time?
Okay, we’re gonna take a short pause. Arianna, these are some really great tips that you are providing our audience. But we wanna get a sense of where you are in the college application process, because it doesn’t just begin when you get to 12th grade so let us know where you are. Perhaps you haven’t started or you’re in the research phase.
Maybe you’re getting an early start on those essays. And working on your essays could mean you are exploring what different topics are that you can write about or like today if familiarizing yourself with the supplemental essays or are you getting your application material together because you are almost at the place where you’re sub MIT ting or you are almost.
Okay, here are the responses. Arianna. So 55% of our audience is in the research phase, so they’re researching schools. We have about 25% that haven’t started. 13% getting their application material together, and then 9% are working on their essays. Awesome. Love to see it. The researching schools is one of the most important parts.
It, it should take a long time. There’s, you know, close to 2,500 schools across the, the United States alone, so definitely take some time and, and it’s great to have you here so you can hear a little bit about, you know, what the process is like. So great. Glad to have everybody here and for those of you getting your application materials together.
Keep at it. Stay consistent. I promise it gets better. Okay, so you know, short responses. What do you do for fun? We know you lead a busy life full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us something you do simply for the pleasure of it. Students sometimes assume this is a trick question, it they don’t wanna hear more about your major.
They don’t wanna hear more about why you’re interested in, you know, biology or biomedical engineering. MIT is genuinely interested in what you do simply for the pleasure of it. And the only wrong answer is an insincere. And the reason for that is because supplemental essays are meant to be an opportunity for you as a student to highlight who you are in addition to your application.
These are supposed to be a way for the admissions office to get to know you as a student, how you interact with your environment, what you do for fun. To some it might seem like, well, why is that relevant? If they should care about my grades, if they should care. My activities, those things are relevant, but in order to make sure that you know students are a good fit for the university, it’s important for us to know you, to see if you would fit here and better understand what we can offer you as well as what the col you can offer to the college.
So talking about what you do for fun is important, and for some students, if you’re not sure, ask yourself truly what brings you great pleasure and happiness. You could talk about your dreams for the future. You could talk about moments of introspection, or maybe it’s fun for you to just sit and, you know, have philosophical thoughts or talk with a friend or maybe you’ve developed a new hobby.
The only, again, the only wrong answer to this question is an insincere one. And as you go you know, as you enter the brainstorming, just make sure to turn off your resume mode setting. Instead allow yourself to embrace the limitless possibilities of this essay.
Short responses. Describe your community you know, describe the world you come from, for example, your family, school, community, city, or town. How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations? So in this question, community can come in any form. It could be ethnic, it could be religious, maybe it’s family, neighborhood, a club, a sport, a service project, even online communities.
I’ve read very compelling supplemental essays about students who have developed really great online communities, whether that’s through social media or video games. Third party platforms, whatever it might be. And so everyone, you have to understand, everyone applying to MIT is deeply involved in a number of communities.
So we don’t just want to, we don’t want you to just describe the community. You have to show the admissions office the impact that your role in the community has had on your dreams and aspirations, and essentially what we’re looking for, How, how has this community shaped you? What have you contributed to this community that makes it so compelling for you to write about, you know and you could talk about how you know and discuss maybe you’ve engaged with your high school or local community and what you learned from interacting with people from a different religion or gender or ethnicity.
Draw on past experiences if you have to, and of. and past evidence of your commitment to being a positive member in your community, and then think about how that is likely to manifest on MIT ‘s campus. How does being a part of this community relate to being at MIT and being a part of the MIT community?
Contributing to your community. MIT brings people with diverse backgrounds and experiences together to better the lives of others. Our students work to improve their communities in different ways. From tackling the world’s biggest challenges to being a good friend, describe the one way you have collaborated with people who are different from you to contribute to your community.
how you interact within your present community is going to be the strongest indicator of how you will interact with your future college community. So this question is asking you, how do you relate to others? What is your value system? Do you have a charitable nature? Do you like to, do you have philanthropic, you know, pursuits?
How are you interacting with the world around you? Students at MIT are very involved on their campus. They’re curious. They have a lot that they want to research and a lot that they contribute. And so as admissions officers are reading your applications, this is an opportunity for you to say how, how you will be in your future college community and what you can contribute to MIT.
And it sh same as the rest of the essays, it should be sincere. And it, it should be something genuine and open. Ultimately, you know, the MIT admissions committee, you know, wants to know how you will contribute to their campus community. And so you have to draw the link between your past efforts and your future aims in order to make that connection.
And it’s not an easy feat. You know, these supplemental questions, they’re, you know, 150 words, 225, you know, 200. They’re meant to be concise, so it takes a little bit of effort and rewriting to get the word count down while also making sure that you’re answering the question to the best of your ability.
Another short response relates to challenges and opportunities. So tell us about a significant challenge you faced, one that you feel comfortable sharing or something that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation? You know, of course some teens have lived more challenging lives than others.
MIT is not looking for a tragedy or an extreme here. They’re looking for vulnerability and authenticity. Don’t and, and don’t focus on writing a story. You wanna focus on showing what the challenge says about your character and who you are as a. You know, focus on your challenge and not comparing a struggle with somebody else’s.
You know, of course you know some students, you know, have dealt with mental or physical illness, you know, learning or attention challenges. You know, while other students have had smooth sailing in in their high school education, but admissions committees know that education at the high school level and even at the college level is not always equal or equitable.
And so the important thing to keep in mind is that the challenge or story itself is less important than what it says about your character and personality. Even if you end up writing about a common topic, like getting cut from a sports team or maybe struggling in a particularly advanced course, that is perfectly fine.
any story told in an emotionally compelling, honest and connective manner can really resonate with an admissions officer. So the bottom line here is that there is no small topic or bad topic. And given the fairly tight 250, 225 word limit, you know, it, your essay needs to be extremely tight and polished.
So that’s just something to keep in mind.
And this is a question essentially allowing students an opportunity to just add any additional information that they feel is relevant to their application. So no application can meet the needs of every individual. If there is a significant, if there is significant information that you were not able to include elsewhere in the application, you may include it here.
Many students leave this section up blank and that is okay. Please note we may not be able to access all links you share. If you have supplemental materials you would like to sub MIT, please refer to our optional creative portfolios. Something to note. I think students sometimes assume that if an essay is optional, it means they have to answer it.
If you don’t have a sincere open and honest answer for something, it’s okay to leave it blank. Admissions committees would rather see and read something that is authentic rather than something that sounds like a resume builder or something that sounds like what you think we want to read. So this is an opportunity for students to highlight something about themselves.
Was there something about yourself that you want the admissions officer or the admissions committee to know that is important and relevant to your application? So, you know, for example, if you are looking to major in psychology and you wrote about, you know, you know, volunteering and you know your own struggles with mental health, this isn’t where you would add in more information about the mental health challenge.
This might be an opportunity to say, you know, I really found that playing the clarinet is something that brings me a lot of. Wow, that’s great. I had no idea the student liked to play the clarinet. So it’s a, in that way is how you should think of it, where it’s an opportunity for you to share a little bit more about yourself in an open and honest way, but how that connects to your application.
And this is just some, a advice that I have given to students over the years especially when we talk about you know, some of the brand name colleges like MIT is first and foremost, don’t compare your life and experiences to others who may have more dramatic experiences, you know, the college application process, it’s really easy to say, well, what did you write about and what did, what did so-and-so write about?
And, you know, well, this person got into MIT, what did they write about? And compare and contrast whether our experiences are good enough and whether they, you know, matter. We’re not looking for the most tragic situation. We ultimately just want students who are going to be giving us an authentic look into who they are.
So don’t think that because you know you haven’t suffered a tragedy or maybe you haven’t had anything super exciting or amazing happen in your life yet that your experiences aren’t valid because they are. The supplemental essays are just that they should supple. Your application, MIT wants to know something about you that they can’t already find in your application.
So something, think something outside of your academic and extracurricular responsibilities if you, you know, talk about volunteering in your activity section. You don’t really need to write a supplemental essay on your volunteering unless it’s an experience where through volunteering you learn something about yourself.
You learn something about how you interact with your community, how you contribute to your community, and how that will impact you on a college campus. So drawing those connections to kind of, to supplement what’s already been written is super important and is ultimately what sets students apart from acceptance and denial.
, you know, for example, the question that talks about what you do simply for the pleasure of it. If you’re the captain of your basketball team, they already know that since you put it under your activity section. So this supplemental essay, should men mention something additional that you do just for the pleasure of it.
Be authentic and open in your experiences. Of what you’re thinking and feeling. I think it’s very easy to just write out an answer, but to actually walk admissions officers and committees through what your mental process is, through what you’re thinking and feeling is harder. You know, don’t just tell us, show us.
And additionally, you, you don’t need to be the superhero in the story. I read a lot of essays of students trying to. You know, put, show how, show how they can be a superhero, how they save the day. You know, you can just be an ordinary human trying their best to learn, to navigate what is a challenging world around us.
So just again, be authentic and don’t compare your experiences and right from right from a level of openness and let the admissions committee into who you are and what you have to bring to the table.
Okay. Thank you so much, Arianna. That now concludes the presentation portion of our webinar. We are not done yet because now is a time that you all can ask questions directly to Arianna. So what you need to do is. Go ahead and place your questions into the Q&A tab. I will read them out loud. And then I’ll p I’ll paste them into the public chat so that you can see them and Arianna will respond accordingly.
Okay. So we’ve already started to get some questions in, so thank you to all who’ve already submitted your questions. So the first question we have is someone wanted to just know so are you saying that the college essay essay can be on anything? You wanna clarify that for the person to ask the question?
Sure. So we’re talking about supplemental essays, which means that typically you’re. What we call a personal statement can be on anything. There usually are prompts to guide you through. And I know MIT has their own set of prompts that change every year. So the, your college essay is what’s considered to be your primary essay, and that can be on anything.
What we were talking about are supplemental essays, which are additional essays aside from your, your traditional college. Okay, so the next question reads what will make a candidates essay stand out? That is a great question, and the first answer would be the answer that is open and honest and authentic.
So, you know, for example, the question about what do you do simply for, if you’re applying to be a biology major. Writing, you know, well, I really love stem cell research. I really love, you know, science. We already know that. So writing about something because, you know, well, this is what I wanna major in and I want MIT to know that I really, I really want this major.
We already know that what we’re looking for is authenticity into who you are. So what makes a good essay is being open and honest and letting us into the experiences that you’ve had.
Okay, so this next question, this reads from our questions that were submitted when you all registered. Let’s see. Okay, so how does one avoid sounding like the, you know, pick me student someone who acts like they’re not like other kids so that they can stand. Again, I would say make sure you’re writing about your experiences and not trying to be the superhero in the story.
Admission, the admissions officers have been at this for a very long time, so it’s not like we can’t read through that. So the best way to avoid that is to make sure that you don’t compare your experiences to somebody else. Make sure that when you’re writing your. .Don’t write about what you think we wanna hear, because that is how you come across as the annoying person.
Don’t write what you think. We wanna read what you think is the right answer. Write about your experience, because that’s always going to be the most interesting thing to us. Great. Great. Okay, so next question reads should your s a b close to the word limit or go or go or go slightly above the limit or going slightly above the limit is fine?
Great question. Stick to the word limit. Do not go over the word limit at all. What will make a candidate’s essay stand out in a bad way? .So what would make a candidate’s essay stand out in a bad way is if they don’t answer the question. So, you know, again, if Susie, you know, has been volunteering since she was in the fourth grade and all she’s writing about in her regular essay in her primary college essay is her volunteer experience, and then she’s answering the supplemental questions about her volunteer experience.
You’re not really answering the question because we don’t know anything about you. Besides the fact that Susie likes volunteering and it’s a part of who she is, we see that in the primary essay. What makes an essay stand out in a bad way is when you don’t answer it in a way that adds more to who you are to your application.
When you’re not writing it in, when you’re not answering the question to add to your application, that’s what can really, you know, make the difference between a good essay and a bad essay. Does MIT care about other interests besides stem? Yes. Oh, what a great question. Yes, that is why MIT has these supplemental essays is because everybody applying is obviously interested in MIT, is obviously interested in STEM, is passionate about STEM, so how do universities determine and figure out who really should be here and who is just supplying because MIT is a good.
So you always wanna make sure that you are, you’re answering the questions in a way that is sincere and honest to who you are. And yeah, I, I think that would, that’s the best advice that I could give. They are, they are definitely more interested than just stem. And that’s why these essays exist.
They wanna know what you do for fun. They wanna know how you interact with the world around you outside of STEM. Okay. So kind of adding on to getting to know things you do outside of stem. Someone wanted to know where can I say like the things that I like to do? Yeah, so the, the la usually the last question will say something along the lines of, you know, we understand that, you know, not everybody’s educational experience is the same.
Or some people have a, an identity that’s, you know, Closely tied to them or even the question about, you know, what do you like to do for fun? What do you do simply for the pleasure of it? Whatever you like to do, talk about why you like doing it. That would be a good opportunity. When you know, what do you do for pleasure?
Great. You already know what you like to do. Tell us all about it there. Year. Next question reads, how old slash what grade should I be in to start the supplemental? So the supplemental essays change every year, so whatever year you’re applying is the year that you would start filling out the supplemental essays.
So if you’re applying for college in 2023, you would fill out the 2022 to 2023 essays. So what, once you’re ready to apply and start filling out the application, that is when you would start writing your supplemental.
is the supplemental essay written in a narrative? That’s a good question. They don’t have to be written in a narrative. The supplemental essay can just be straight to the point. And the reason for that is because it’s such a small word count. So you know if when you have a word count of 400, 500 words, you can definitely add in a little bit of.
But what I see happen with some students is they get caught up in writing a narrative, and then they don’t actually tell us anything about themselves. So focus on telling us about you before you focus on a narrative. Okay, so we’re gonna take a short pause from our questions and answers so I can share with you, you know, more about CollegeAdvisor.
So for those who are in the room who aren’t already working with us, we know how overwhelming the admission process can be. Especially for competitive applicants like yourself, you are already getting an early start on understanding supplemental essays and that is really impressive. At our team of over 300 former admission officers and admission experts are ready to help you and your family.
Navigated all in one-on-one advising sessions. Take the next step in your college admission journey by signing up for a free consultation using the QR code on the screen. During the consultation, a member from our team will review your current extracurricular list, discuss how it lines up with your college goals, and help you find opportunities for growth in leadership.
After scheduling a QR code, you’ll be able to select a date and time to have a phone conversation with a member from our team. And then also, I wanna share with you all, especially for those who are seniors or maybe have a sibling who is a senior, we are also introducing our new essay editing packages. And so how this package works, it is designed for seniors who haven’t yet worked with CollegeAdvisor.com.
During the application process. And so what will happen is with this package, you’ll receive two rounds of unbiased and expert review within 72 hours or less. We know that a good amount of deadlines are happening in the next two weeks, so this is a great opportunity to utilize our essay editing package.
By using the QR code on the screen, you can sign up for an se editing package to improve your college essays and press submit with more confidence. Okay, so we’re gonna go back to the Q&A. All right. So next question that we have, let me sort through the questions.
Okay, so someone wanted to know is a, what should I do or what are the next steps if you happen to get deferred or rejected? That’s a great question because it happens of course. So if you get deferred, essentially what that means is that compared to the rest of the applicant pool, it doesn’t mean that you weren’t a good candidate.
It doesn’t mean that you weren’t qualified. It just means that based off of the applicant pool, You, your application wasn’t as strong as other people’s applications. So if you’re deferred, it might mean that maybe they need an extra letter of recommendation. Maybe they wanna wait to see what your mid-year grades are.
Maybe they want, maybe it’s an opportunity for you to retake the SAT or the ACT. Sometimes that is an extreme. So if you’re deferred, just know, you know, ask and see what the admissions office needs additionally from you to help strengthen your application. That’s all that means is that they’re, they don’t know if they wanna accept or reject.
They just want more information from you to help them make a more informed decision. And if you’re denied from a school, it’s the same thing. It doesn’t mean you weren’t a good candidate, it just means that the applicant pool this year was very, very strong and, you might be an excellent candidate somewhere else.
So you know when one door closes, another one opens. So always make sure you’re doing your research as well when you’re applying to colleges to make sure you’re applying to the ones that you know would be a good fit for you. Really, really good advice. Very great advice. So next question, how long should I spend writing and editing my supplemental essay?
That’s great. And this answer is kind of varied. It really depends on how much time you have. Some students can sit down over a Saturday and write three to four essays. Some students like to work on them little by little. They work on them one at a time while they’re also working on the rest of their applications.
But I would say that a good time to start working on. Supplemental essays is when you’re working on the application for that college. So, and the reason I say that is because if you’re, you know, preparing your application and essays for Harvard you can’t just also at the same time be filling out the supplemental essays for MIT. And the reason for that is because when you’re preparing your application, you’re already in the zone. You’re already like in the mode, you know this college, you know what you like about them. You, you like, have done your research. And so it’s easy to to just already be in the flow in the workflow.
So when you’re writing your application for that specific college, that is a good time to start looking and answering the supplemental questions as well. Okay. Let’s see. So how does one write about personal experiences like mental illness without sounding cliche or like they want a mission officers to feel bad for them?
Well, again, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it, right? And so the way you write about a personal experience is by writing about how you felt writing about not just describing what happened, but show us. And that takes a little bit of time. So sometimes it might mean you write one version, and then maybe you, you think of something later on and write a second version of the essay.
So it really takes time before you start writing the, start reflecting first and think how has this experience impacted my interaction with the world around me? How has this experience going to always answer this? How is this experience going to supplement my application? Because that is ultimately what they’re looking for.
So if you talking about your experience with mental illness is going to strengthen your application, then write about it however you feel comfortable writing about it, because how you feel comfortable writing about it is going to come across as the most authentic form of writing. And so that’s how you kind of avoid the like, oh, well, you know, how do I know it’s a good essay?
Or like, how do, how That’s how you avoid sounding quote cheesy.
Okay, so I heard that people with good essays were picked over people with good grades. Is that true? No, that is not true. When students are applying to colleges MIT in particular especially takes a holistic approach. So if you have good essays and good grades and good letters of recommendation and an excellent gpa, and you know, like if the whole application together is an excellent application and can truly showcase who you are and what you bring to the table.
that’s what’s going to get a student accepted. But if a student has, you know, kind of not, you know, grades that don’t meet, the minimum, but then they have excellent essays. Okay, well, it’s still the same process of, well, what do the letters of recommendation say? What are the SAT or ACT scores? What what does the transcript say?
How, how rigorous is this curriculum? So it’s not about whether you have good grades versus good essays. It’s about the whole application together. That ultimately is what will decide whether a student is accepted or denied.
Okay. So this question reads, if you didn’t have a big challenge that was in the way for you or a challenging experience, will you have a smaller chance of getting in? This is a really good question, and the answer is no, because all of these questions are supplemental and optional. So if you haven’t had a very challenging experience, again, you know I said they’re not looking for tragedy.
We’re not looking for, you know, a superhero story. We’re not looking for, you know, a story of tragedy. We just want to know who you are and what you bring to the table. You know, if you haven’t had anything challenging or, or a challenging experience, that’s fine. It’s totally okay and acceptable to just be a human being.
Learning to interact and navigate. What is a challenging world?
Okay, so shall I in how to con contact slash communicate the admission office after getting deferred? Great question. So usually if you’re deferred, you’ll either get an email or a letter in the mail. And in that email or letter is usually contact information so you can contact the admissions office.
And you can even call and ask, you know, what led to me being deferred? Or ask what additional information would help in making, you know, my application strong? You don’t wanna say, well, what do I need to do to get accepted? Like, you wanna ask, what can I do to make my application strong? And sometimes they might say, you know, well, you could submit another letter of recommendation, or they might say, well, you know, your grades were kind of, you know, right on the line.
So we wanna wait to see your mid-year grades. So you can always call the admissions office and ask, you know, what, if you’re deferred, what do you need from me in order to help make my application stronger? What if your grades are amazing, but SAT and ACT scores are average. However, the essay is good.
again, it’s the whole picture. And I feel like it’s being asked, well, you know, if this is good and this is good, then like, is it an 80% chance, a 70% chance, a 40% chance? And yeah, and you know, and that’s hard. And we understand that it’s difficult for students to understand. what is considered holistic and a whole picture view, because for four years you’ve been told your grades matter.
Your grades matter. You need to get a’s. You need to get A’s and so to get to this part of your life where you’re applying to college and we’re saying, well, your activities matter and your experiences matter. You know it. It’s really hard to comprehend how that connects, so you know. You always wanna make sure that you’re meeting the minimum requirements.
If you wanna know if you even have a chance of getting into any school, you wanna look at what their admissions requirements are, and if you don’t meet the admissions requirements, then that’s a good indication. Okay. It doesn’t look like I have a strong chance of getting in. If you meet the admissions requirements, okay, then I have a chance and it’s worth it to.
Okay. And then our last question, unless someone has another question, feel free to ask it now. What do I need to secure my spot at m I t? If I had that answer I think I’d be making a lot more money. But ultimately I think, you know, when you talk about needing to secure your spot at m i t, you wanna do your research.
You wanna research MIT and first figure out what do I like about this school? Why can I see myself here? What does MIT have that I want to be a part? . And then the second part is what can you bring to MIT? What can you offer to the MIT community? And so, When you do that, and then you also look and see and make sure you meet the admissions requirements, then it becomes easier to write your essays and to focus your application on the school itself and why you like it, why you think you would be a good fit instead of just trying to get in.
So make sure you’re doing your research on the school. Make sure you’re figuring out why you like, what you see about MIT that makes you want to apply and convey that in your essays and in your application. Okay, so I got a couple more questions in. Thank you for those who submitted. Would MIT rather see a great weighted GPA with a poor unweighted GPA or a great unweighted GPA with an average weighted gpa?
This is a good question. MIT wants to see a great weighted GPA with a great unweighted GPA period because usually your weighted GPA and your unweighted GPA, there’s not that much of a difference. You don’t see students who have. You know, a 4.0 weighted GPA, and then like a 1.8 GPA unweighted.
It’s usually like a 4.0 and maybe like a 3.8 unweighted. Both of which are great. So honestly, you wanna have a great weighted and a great unweighted GPA to, to get into MIT. Awesome. Okay, well that now closes our question and answers. So thank you Arianna, for leading this really informational workshop on MIT supplemental essays.
And thank you all for participating and asking really great questions. Last thing that I wanna say before we sign out is our upcoming December webinar. So we have one more webinar that is happening for the month of December, and that is a UChicago Supplemental Essays workshop. And that again, will be on Wednesday, December 21st, and then every month.
And every week we do host a variety of webinars, so please check it out on our website, CollegeAdvisor.com. Okay everyone. Thank you Arianna. Have a great evening. Goodnight.