Strategizing Your MIT Application
CollegeAdvisor.com presents “Strategizing Your MIT Application” Series in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A, featuring CollegeAdvisor Admissions Expert Lisa Lozano. Lisa will share their insider perspectives on how Apply MIT is different than other application portals, so that you can make sure you put your best foot forward. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-09-07 – Strategizing Your MIT Application
Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar Strategizing Your MIT Application. To orient everyone with webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the side bar, you can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab.
Now let’s meet our panelist. Looks like it’s just me. Okay. So my name is Lisa Lozano. I graduated from MIT into 2017. So it’s been about what five years? Um, I did neuroscience. We call ourselves brain and cognitive science. I loved my experience and I’m so excited to be here. um, yes. So real quick, we’re just gonna do a poll, so, yeah, sorry.
Uh, what grade are you in? Eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th, or other. And other can be if you’re a transfer student or taking a gap year, and if you’re a parent on call, you can, um, select the year that your student is going into. And while we wait for that, Lisa, can you tell us what was your favorite class you’ve taken at MIT?
What was it? Um, You know, I think it was early, uh, childhood cognition. Um, so it’s how babies learn to understand the world. It talks about theory of mind, about how kids have a difficult time understanding that you have your own opinion, which is super cool. Um, and so kids are like very self-centered in a way.
Uh I mean, they’re adorable, but they think that if they like peanut butter, everybody else must love peanut butter. So I love that. Oh, that sounds adorable. That sounds like my major kind of, and it’s looking like we have 3%, eighth graders, 3%, ninth graders, 13%, 10th graders, 31%, 11th graders, 44%, 12th graders and 6% other.
And I’ll be adding some information into the public chat, which y’all can, um, copy and paste. I don’t think it gets saved with the webinar, but the webinar is being recorded if you would like to do it again later. And so, yeah. Uh, you can control. awesome. Okay. So let let’s get into it. Um, so the MIT application portal, what is it?
It is not the Common App. It is not Apply Texas. It is not the UC application. MIT has their own thing going on and it’s for first year applicants and transfer students. Um, so this it’s very much like a Common App in a way where you’re submitting everything that you need to, um, you’re gonna put your extracurriculars here, your essays here.
Um, but it’s its own website. okay, I’m gonna go ahead and move on. When does it go live? It already went live. So if you’re a senior, um, and you’re considering MIT, you should, um, create an application portal as soon as possible. Um, so again, it usually opens around mid August. So I think one year was like August 13th, another year, maybe August 15th.
So always. The mid time and it’s open until January 1st. Uh, they have a few options you can do early action, which is non-binding, which means that you can apply to the school and hear back early about your decision. Um, it’s due November 1st, but they do allow you to add up test scores into your portal until November 30th.
Um, and then decisions you hear back around mid-December. I think I heard back December 15th, my year I did do early action. Um, and then we have regular decision. This year is due January 5th. Last year was due January 1st. I think this year, maybe they changed it so you can enjoy your, your New Year’s Eve and your New Year’s maybe.
Um, and you can add your test scores up until December 31st. So unlike early action, when you have a month after the application is submit your test scores. Um, in this case, you don’t, you have to submit them, uh, before your application is due. And then you find out if you’re admitted on pie day 3.14159.
Um, I believe March 14th at I think 3.1415, 1:50, no, that the time is also equivalent to pie as well. So they match the date. They match. The MIT application fee is $75. But if you, um, come from a low income background, or maybe you have free lunch at your school, if there’s other indicators that you may need the support, uh, MIT’s very generous with fee waivers.
Moving forward, the different sections. They have so many sections. They wanna get to know all of you. Um, they have the introduce yourself section. So demographics. Uh, where are you from birthday? Um, mom and father’s guardians work, applic, uh, work, occupation, uh, identity. So they wanna know your pronouns, uh, sexual orientation, your cultural background, uh, your religious affiliation.
Uh, some of these sections have hidden essays. I tell my students they’re hidden essays because if you Google MIT essays, you typically get the five core essays that we haven’t touched on yet, but there are like shorter, hidden essays throughout, um, the cultural background. I think one of the prompts is like, talk more about, uh, your cultural background and, and just where you’re from.
And even though they’re optional, you wanna do them. You want MIT admissions to know as much about you and your past and how you got to where you are as possible. Uh, they also wanna know your application information. So your major, why are you interested? I believe that one’s required. Why, why do you wanna do this certain major and what cycle you prefer, whether you wanna do early regular.
They want family information. So this is where they have your caregivers and their jobs, whether you are a first generation college going student, um, whether there are any, any family circumstances they should know about. So for any students that have had hardships in their families, maybe a parents passed away, maybe a parent lost a job, and these things impacted your candidacy as a student, you had lower grades, you were struggling. You wanna note that just so admissions officers know, like looking at your grades, that you were going through it and to. Like they’re generous people. They have a heart , they’re not gonna try to penalize you for every hardship you had out of your control.
Um, and so it’s important to be honest about these things they wanna know about schools. You’ve gone to a lot of students who apply to MIT, tend to have done dual enrollment or have taken classes at community colleges. You have to input that information and, and state what schools besides your high school you have attended.
They want your academic history. So just where you’ve been enrolled, if you have a diploma or not yet. Your disciplinary history. Um, and I believe, yes, there is another like optional, but not optional essay. If you do select that you had disciplinary history at your school. Um, you also have to put self-reported coursework.
So the classes that you’ve taken, uh, so your, your transcript have it in front of you have it printed out and you’re gonna have to kind of copy and paste. Uh, you took calculus this semester. Great. You took, uh, biology this semester. Great. Um, more about your school’s grading system. Some schools run on a 4.0 some schools run on the 100 system.
And then if you had any circumstances during school, so I believe this was another optional prompt. Um, Again, if there are any, anything that hindered your academic performance. So for a lot of students that might be COVID, you can state that there, that your school wasn’t on par when we transitioned to virtual learning and your grades or your academics, something took a hit, um, lastly test scores.
So you’re gonna put your, any IB scores, SAT, ACT, and any circumstances again, they just love circumstances. They wanna make sure that. You are telling the, the full story. So let’s, I think I had the flu when I took the SAT, so it was not a good score. Um, and so I noted that I, I believe I put, like I had the flu or it wasn’t a good day.
And, uh, fortunately, my, ACT scores were better. Uh, so that compensated took them on a good day. But you wanna note that these things happen and they do, um, okay. More sections. So we have jobs. If you had any jobs in the past, you should list them here. And this is distinct and separate from activities and distinctions.
So there’s another section where you’re gonna put your extracurricular activities. Um, they asked for, uh, scholastic and non-scholastic. I did a little bit of work because I didn’t know what that meant. Turns out. Other students are confused and admissions had to put a blog post out. Um, distinguish some so scholastic, you’re looking more at like your STEM things, your math, science research, non scholastic you’re looking more at the humanities things, things that are not academic focused, your music, dance, um, other work and any circumstances again, what circumstances may have prevented you from extracurriculars.
Now we have there’s another section short responses. This is where you have five short essay prompts. Um, the fifth one is gonna be additional inform. Um, so I guess it’s more so four and then the fifth is optional. So additional information you’re gonna put any information that you couldn’t squeeze anywhere else in the optionals and in the required recommendations. Um, one counselor, two teachers. Believe it was once, uh, one math or science and one humanities, um, certification.
You’re gonna type your name. Uh, for me, it’d be Lisa Lozano. And I’m gonna say, like, I have been honest and truthful on this application. Um, there’s another section where you can request a fee waiver. I believe you checkmark boxes that state, whether you’ve qualified for free lunch, whether you’ve qualified for a way of standardized exam.
And then. Last we’re here, review and submit this page will tell you if you’re missing any required sections, uh, required, not optional. So it’s gonna tell you if you’re missing a section and you cannot submit until that required section is filled, which is great. Um, this keeps tracked for you. Okay. I’m trying to click.
So the different essays, the first one, what do you do for fun? Um, it’s 225 words. You wanna be honest. Um, but the year that I applied, I remember, uh, I think it’s Stu his name was Stu and he stood in front of all a thousand of us 2017, future 2017’s. It’s our first week of school. And he said only one of you said you play video games for fun.
One out of the, I think nine, 1000 of us who were sitting in the crowd, only one person enjoyed playing video games is that’s kind of sus. Like so that person, they stood out and, um, from memory that student actually stood up and it’s like, it’s me. Um, and it’s wild. So if you do something for fun, write it be genuine.
Um, you could be that one student that is honest and genuine and you stand out because of it. Um, the next we’ll ask you to describe your community, describe the world you come from, like your family, your clubs, your school, and how has this shaped your dreams and aspirations? Um, the 225 word max. It, um, it’s tough because you want to say so much, but you have to be very concise and precise about what you’re going to say, um, contributing to your community.
So MIT’s very like, uh, people focused, the people who attended my team want to help the world make it a better place. And that’s something I loved about attending MIT. Um, so in. Prompt it’s asking you essentially describe one way you have collaborated with people who are different from you to contribute to your community.
MIT’s big on collaboration. They’re big on you being able to work with somebody else and collaborate together. They don’t want people who, um, they’re in it for themselves, or they’re more focused on just them and their own successes. They want people who can work in a team in a group because that’s how we get better.
Um, Challenges and opportunities, almost every school asks about this. Um, so tell us about a significant challenge you face that you feel comfortable sharing. So you ha you can feel comfortable. It’s okay. Don’t feel, uh, pushed to write something uncomfortable that didn’t go according to plan. And how did you manage that situation?
And then lastly, they have an additional information. Um, so this is a place that if you feel like you weren’t able to address your background or qualities anywhere else in this application, this is where you would put it. Okay. So. We have a poll. Yes. So, um, real quick. Okay. So where are you in the application process?
Haven’t started, I’m researching schools. I’m working on my essays. I’m getting my application materials together, or if you’re really lucky, I’m almost done. And so you mentioned that, um, MIT is, uh, just has their own application portals. So, uh, can you use other application portals to apply there? If so, are there other better options to submit or is it just their portal?
Yeah. I mean, it’s just their portal. it’s really just theirs. That’s a good question. Was that from a student? Uh, no, it was just fill the time, but it is looking like we have 18%. Having started 24% are researching schools. 42% are working on their essays. 11% are getting their application materials together and 4%, the lucky you are almost done and you can control the slides.
Awesome. Thank you. Okay. So what other materials are included in the application? There’s more so. um, MIT also allows you to submit creative portfolios. This is kind of newer in the admissions realm. Um, I know that there are now some other schools that allow you to submit supplemental materials. So for example, you can submit abstracts of papers you’ve written or posters that you have created.
If you’re into music and theater arts, you can send your composition scores, your recordings. Um, if you’re into visual arts or architecture, somebody from the department can look at that. Um, and then I’ve had a few students who are into more so coding the computer science side. And so they’ve done the maker’s portfolio where they summarize, um, maybe a game they’ve created or an app they’ve created or a bot they’ve created on Reddit.
And it’s super cool. Um, so the fee is $10 per, uh, per portfolio. So this is on top of the $75. Um, could be waived if you, again, if you meet the financial need. Um, so if you’ve had projects you’ve done, this is a way for someone else to get a look and see that, see your scholarly work. Um, this is newer to me. I don’t believe we have this when I back in my day.
Um, but I know of a lot of admissions officers within CollegeAdvisor.com that do have experience. And sometimes I have forwarded my students to them just to make sure that their portfolio is ready to go. Okay. So I’m trying to switch. There we go. So what materials in the MIT application do you request from other people?
How is that done? Um, you need two recommendations total. You need one from a math or science teacher and then one from a humanity, social science or language teacher. So I hope you’ve made some, some friends, some, uh, tight connections with teachers along the way. Um, And you all, your counselor will also submit a secondary school report on your behalf.
Um, when I worked for, I did work for MIT admissions as an undergrad, uh, way back when, and I remember the admissions officer said something like they get a menu of the classes that you have available at your school. So your counselors give them this menu. It shows you had AP biology, regular biology, biology honors, and it, they compare your transcript to the menu and they say, did this student challenge themselves.
Given the classes they had available so that counselor will send them that information. Um, you can also submit an optional supplemental letter. So I’ve told my students get an extracurriculars advisor who knows you really well, a supervisor at your job. Somebody who’s seen you research, uh, somebody who knows you outside of academia, they could be in academia.
It could be a research, someone in research, but just somebody who can speak to your qualities outside of being a student at school. Um, Additionally, the portfolios are submitted through a portal called slide room and it’s connected to MIT too. It’s um, so it’s like MIT dot slide room, or slide room MIT.
Um, so it’s not submitted through the MIT portal directly. And okay. How can you keep track of other applications in, um, of other applications and other application portals? The MIT application portal is only available to support the MIT application. So no other applications are going through. Similarly, you can’t complete the MIT application, um, in the common app, I do know that there are some schools like maybe UT Austin, for example, that you can do common app and you can do apply Texas, not the case here.
Um, So it means to you to keep track of your progress on MIT addition to other schools you’re applying to. So your progress on common app, if you have UC schools, your progress on the University of California, if you have applied Texas schools that too. So it can become very overwhelming for some students.
And as an advisor, I help my students keep track of all these different portals too, cuz it, it can get a little, uh, just wild cuz some of these portals ask for different. Um, another question, is there a section on financial aid in the MIT application? So the MIT application will not directly ask about your financial status.
Um, that is more so for FAFSA to do, um, probably you probably have another webinar on that, right? Or okay. Um, but there are places on the, that mission. Um, the application where they can get idea of your socioeconomic status. For example, they ask you about your parents’ occupation. They’ll ask you if you’re legible for free or reduced lunches, um, to describe circumstances that may have prevented you from extracurriculars.
Maybe you couldn’t afford to be on the dance team or the football team or whatever team. Um, so MIT is also a need blind school, meaning that they don’t take your financial or SES situation into. When determining whether you should be accepted. Um, and that may seem like common sense for you when I was in a senior, I thought so too.
I was just like, well, why would they? But the fact is that some schools, they need to be, um, mindful of how many students they accept. And so they are looking at whether or not, um, you can help pay some of the bill. Most of the bill, all of the bill, not MIT. Another reason I liked my school, um, just because they weren’t biased on income.
So how can you get familiar with the MIT application? so students can get familiar with the vibe of MIT, uh, by reading the MIT admissions blog. I loved the blog. Uh, a lot of students who applied to MIT my year used the blog, the, the blog. It was, um, real, um, religious text for us to understand what these students are going through.
Um, and just what kind of students get accepted to, um, more often than not, it’s just students who are genuine and true to themselves, and again, want to help other people and serve the community. Um, if you are eager to get started, you can create a dummy account. I have a dummy account to support my students.
If you are a junior, uh, sophomore. You can create one, a dummy account is just an account you use to see the application. So you’ll create a user name. You create a password. You say that you’re applying, uh, but you’re not applying. You’re just getting a feel for the application. Um, you can start building your resume and creating a thorough list of your achievements.
So I have my students personally start writing their resumes as soon as they get connected with me, as soon as soon as they get connected, we’re building a resume and. When we get to the application process, it’s very easy for us to copy tweak and then paste into the applications. Um, and then start considering your Loor really.
Start thinking of which teachers are gonna dedicate the time to write a really good letter about you. Because some teachers have to write a letter for 50 students and they don’t have the capacity. The letter may be very generic. So the earlier you can click with the teacher, uh, tell ’em what you’re doing.
Get them, get to know them, let them know you the better. Um, there is a page. Dedicated to an understanding the MIT application. You could take a screenshot of this or not, but I love that MIT has a resource for students and parents and educators and transfers, um, to help them separately individually in their own stages, understand the application.
And so we’re in the application. Can you shine? Where can you stand out? And the answer. I don’t know if you wanna hear it it’s anywhere. And it’s everywhere. Um, MIT’s looking at students holistically, the whole student. Um, they wanna make sure that you are bringing a personality. You are bringing experiences, you are bringing, um, maybe whether extracurricular, whether personal, uh, you are bringing passion.
Um, additionally, prospective students. Are you are the accumulation of your identity, your extracurriculars, your academics, uh, your test scores, your jobs and your essays. So they’re looking at all of that. Um, though, many students fill up the activities and distinctions, like when you apply, you’re competing with a lot of students who are standing out.
You’re often competing with Stu uh, students who are in the top 10% at the very least, um, in their classes. , it was scary for me when I applied to knowing that, um, however, the essays also provides just a space for you to distinguish yourself because a lot of people are gonna have their extracurriculars or jobs or something filled out.
You’re not the only one who’s filling all of it out, or who’s worked 20, 30 hours. Aside from school and their extracurriculars. Um, so in the essays, that’s where they wanna see your personal side. That’s where they wanna see. You tell a story about yourself. They wanna see you talk about something that you’re passionate about.
Um, I’m moving forward. How do students submit finish applications through the MIT, um, application? So there are all these sections and again, the last section was review and submit. And this is where you will. All the information. It will not let you pass until every required box or check box or open-ended response is complete.
Okay. So just some advice, I think we’ll, I’ll stay here a little bit longer, um, to, in terms of navigating the MIT application and for my senior. I really hope that you are copying and pasting the open-ended questions into another document. That is the kindest thing you can do for yourself. Um, so that way you’re working from the document instead of going back and forth in the application.
and for some of you, this may be common sense for some of you, you may have known this or you may have done it before for other students. They don’t know. And that’s okay. I think I was that student, um, until I had a, a mentor explain, like, maybe you should just copy and paste things and then we can work from there.
Um, so be honest. Be authentic. They can see that, um, it, and even you as a person, you, you know, when you’re friends or when people around you are being true to themselves and real and genuine, when you are doing your application and you are writing an essay, um, I have seen for my own students too, which essays really are just really passionate, which essays come from the heart and which essays look like.
It’s what they wanted admissions officers to. I have had students, uh, ask, like, should I write an essay about robotics because that’s gonna make me stand out and I’m like, well, are you passionate? Are you gonna write this an essay that describes why you love robotics? Or do you wanna write an essay on robotics because you think it’s what they want?
Um, it could be both, um, ideally you’re passionate and it makes you look like a stronger candidate or like it sells why you wanna do the major. You wanna. um, but be honest, uh, be honest about your self care activities. Be honest about what you do for leisure, what you do for fun. Uh, MIT also wants students who know how to take care of themselves.
They know that you’re, that you’re hardworking. They know when you come to MIT that you’re gonna continue being hardworking and the pressure’s gonna be harder. So they wanna make sure that you have some coping mechanisms, some skills, some hobby that centers. That relaxes you. Um, additionally for my students, I always tell ’em if there was a rough semester because you were sick because something happened in the family because, um, maybe your extracurricular got canceled, write it, please write it because otherwise it looks like you purposely took a nose dive and people can assume anything.
We can assume that you weren’t trying, we can assume. You didn’t care that semester when in actuality you were burnt out or there was something going on at home, please be honest. Um, additionally, many students who have who’ve been accepted, and I mentioned this before, a lot of my peers, a lot of people who attend, they have this, I wanna save the world, drive to them.
I wanna help other. And again, that’s what I loved about my school, my Alma mater, um, when you’re doing this application, think about how you can use your skills to better the world in some place. So how can you use the skills that you have now, and that you will build an MIT to contribute to society later on and improve stem, improve, um, other.
And last, um, start early this application, it’s a beast they all are, uh, the MIT in particular with considering all the optional essays. I think it adds up to like at least nine optional and required, uh, at least so it’s a lot, 225 to 400 words per each. Um, it can be overwhelming. So the earlier you start the better, I know that my student.
We got started as soon as possible. As soon as that application opened, I said, go we’re we’re getting started. Um, Yeah. So that is the end of the pre. That was perfect timing considering we started a little later that that was amazing. That was a lot of information, but , that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar.
I hope you found this information helpful. And remember, especially with this being a lot of information, you can download the side from the link in the Hannahs tab, and this webinar is being recorded. If you like, um, To watch it again later on our website at app.CollegeAdvisor.com. Moving on to the live Q&A I’ll read through your questions.
You submitted in the Q&A tab and read them aloud before our panelists give you an answer as a heads up. If your Q&A tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just make sure that you join the webinar through the custom links in to your email and not from the webinar landing page. Also known as the website or else you won’t get all the featured up BigMarker.
So just make sure you join through that custom link. Now let’s get on with the Q well, just before we get onto the Q&A, I have put in some different information about MIT into the public chat, but just in case you didn’t see it or you didn’t save it. Um, MIT private land grant, you know, uh, Research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 7% acceptance rate though this past, um, cycle, it was 4% just because there was more applications being submitted.
Um, there are more links in the public chat, if you would like to go to those pages, um, you can find out what they’re looking for in a perspective student at one of these links, MIT as well as Ivy leagues, uh, MIT isn’t one, but, uh, as well as Ivy leagues, Is, uh, does not offer merit based, uh, scholarships. It is just needs based financial aid.
So if you are looking for scholarships on athletics, academics, or performing arts, you will not get it here. Um, those merits you have help you get into the school, um, in terms of. Um, but your financial situation, uh, is what determines how much money you get in terms of sports for my student athletes, MIT is a D3 school, which means academics come first.
And, um, MIT would you say MIT sports programs are funded? Pretty good. I thought so I love the rec center there. okay, cool. So it is pretty well funded, but with most D3 schools, that means you’re a student before you’re an athlete. Um, so yeah, if that is, if you’re looking to play D1 MIT isn’t at the place, um, and for financial aid, uh, FAFSA and CSS profile, which is a more tedious version of FAFSA are required.
Check out our other webinars for more information on those. Yeah. And then they have a page on their AP credit policies, as well as, um, the slide room link that, uh, Lisa was talking about. So yeah. Still check those out in the Q um, in the public check, but, um, moving on to the live Q&A. So you mentioned how big and grand the application process is.
Um, How long, um, would you say that it takes to the, to do the application? How long was it for you and when should a student start? And then also, if you could just talk about your own experience with that. Oh, geez. Okay. We have a few questions there. Okay. Um, so how long does it take a student, right? Yeah, that was one of the questions.
Um, I’m thinking of one of my advisees through the program and I think we worked on it for. yeah, three months, but that student was also a student, so he would dedicate maybe five or six hours a week, um, for about three months. And we got it done on time. Um, so I say that because you are a student in your senior year, more often than not, you’re also doing, um, what is it?
AP and Ivy’s. And you are overwhelmed. I know that five, six hours may seem like nothing. Um, but when you also have. One, even one or two or three or four at some students with like six APS. Um, it’s overwhelming. And so for this student, we broke it down and we said we’ll work five or six hours a week. Um, all together.
Ooh, that was a lot of hours. Uh, cuz three months, maybe four, uh, 12, 6, 12 times 6 72. Think it 70 yeah. Yeah. 72 hours. Uh, probably. And. With the resource with CollegeAdvisor, he also had hours so that someone else can help read his essays aside for me. So we have the college essay team, which, what college essay teams lit love them.
Um, so that application could be really long. I probably, I applied to MIT through QuestBridge, so like little nuanced, if you know what QuestBridge is great. If not, it is an application for low income students. It asks a lot of very personal essay questions. Um, but that’s how I got in through early action to MIT.
Um, and I think I had to do the application as well. I don’t remember why. Um, and I remember spending hours on it too. I probably also dedicated from memory maybe six to seven hours a week on. The MIT app, not just the MIT, um, that doesn’t count the Common App. I think the Common App could have been another five or six hours a week.
Um, it’s stressful altogether. I probably was working at least 10 hours a week on applications on top of at six AP classes. Um, it can be overwhelming. So I do hope that seniors out there, like please find something to distress with, like that, that it’s a hard year, but it gets better after January. Uh, ju we do have other webinars on time management and de-stressing especially with stressful applications.
So if you would like to find out more information on that, do check that out. Uh, going on to the next question. Um, is there an advantage, uh, to applying to MIT early action compared to regular? I think so. Um, and here’s why. So when, um, they still do this. However, when you apply early action, they look at your application then, and when you apply, then they make three decisions.
One you’re accepted two, I think it’s deferred three. You denied. So there’s a one and third chance you are denied. And then there’s a one and third chance you’re accepted. And then we have the deferred, which means you get put into the regular decision. So this means that you weren’t accepted yet. Um, but you also weren’t denied.
So you have the opportunity to be looked at again. And so just so people can disagree, but I think it is an advantage to apply early action. So you may be seen twice if you don’t get accepted or denied, at least you are seen again, uh, going on to the next question. Oh, and did you apply EA or regular? Oh, I did early action.
Um, and I love that it was non-binding. So I did apply to other schools on a common app and in Texas as well, but I love that MIT doesn’t bind you because it gave me the opportunity to feel like I had a choice and I could decide to go there or not. Yes. I also applied, well, I applied ED for Cornell and early action for Howard university.
Um, and so applying early action, we do have more webinars on all the different decision timeframes. So there’s early action, early decision and regular decision early action is basically the same as regular decision where you can apply. Mm-hmm so as many other schools though, different schools have different stipulations, so do check out our other webinars, but it does mean that you have to get through the application.
A bit sooner. Do you think you were able to manage, um, doing the application for early, um, in that shorter timeframe? Somehow? I don’t know how I did it. but I did. uh, going on to the next question you mentioned that, uh, students will have to, um, well actually, before we get to that, uh, is, um, where was it? Is MIT test.
Oh, are you required to submit your SAT scores? And, um, they’re also asking what if your score is less than a 1400? Okay. So I don’t know if MIT’s on that bandwagon right now on whether or. Um, SAT tests are optional. They’re not, they are requiring it for the coming year. It’s in it’s, there’s more information on the public chat, but it is required.
okay. And then in terms of the other question, um, if you have an SAT less than 1400, right? Mm-hmm , um, you wanna make sure everything else is really strong, and again, maybe like you had a bad day, maybe you were sick, maybe you had to test nerves. Um, ideally you should be shining in other areas like other areas should be compensating for that.
It is a high score for a lot of other schools. Uh, but again, like a large percent of the students who are applying are in that higher range too. So you wanna make sure that if you don’t have a shiny SAT score, that other things are compensating and it could be that maybe you’re so involved in extracurriculars and you’re stellar at your AP classes and you’re shining everywhere else.
And they’ll see that, um, ideally you are. Too, too low in the SAT range, because then it becomes questionable. But, um, I’ve told students in that 1400 range to be, to be hopeful and to make sure that we strengthen all the other areas of their app. mm-hmm uh, going on to the next question, we get this question a lot about like standing out, but here I’m seeing a lot of, um, top achieving students asking about their specific situations.
Um, so, um, what would you say is the Um, most important thing in the application. What is MIT looking for, um, in their application? Um, from the AO perspective, since she said you worked in the office, um, students are asking about like, I have this high score and this, um, this, this profile taking these courses, what are they looking for?
What do I do? Okay. Uh, let me clarify. I was a student worker in admission, sorry. Yeah, yeah. Not an AO, but, uh, that’s how I got kind of on just what they prioritized. There is a page and I don’t remember where it is, but it’s what they look for in a candidate. And I remember maybe one of the things is, um, willing to take risks or willing to.
And I think that’s really meaningful. They want somebody who’s willing to challenge himself who is okay. Failing and who is okay. Growing and learning from that experience. Um, What else? So I’m gonna be kind of cheesy and just mention qualities. They want somebody who’s creative. Um, they want somebody who’s like self disciplined, who like, you don’t have to push them to do the AP classes.
They’re doing it because they want to, uh, you don’t have to push them to do, um, AP robot, not AP robotics, like the robotic squad. They’re doing it because they really love working with circuitry and, and it keeps them up late at night and it makes them excited. Um, so they want somebody who’s genuinely excited about what they.
Um, and who can collaborate. They love collaboration. Um, MIT was very, when I attended people are helping people all the time on problem sets and on projects. And, um, I hope you go in with that ability or strengthen it before you get there. uh, there, I did add to the public chat, um, which I call it, uh, the link to that page where they literally list out what they’re looking.
Yeah. Thank you students. Um, it’s at the bottom of the chat now. Um, but pretty much with applications, um, which well kind of going off of that, what do you think was a highlight from your own admissions experience? When applying, what do you think made you stand. Perseverance perseverance. So my essay was raw.
Y’all my essay. Like I was really, it was a personal statement. I was personal. I was very honest about just my back. My background about being low income, about being raised in a single family household, um, about. Working hard aside from that. So like I talked about how I had all of these things going on at home, but how I was still taking all these AP classes and I was still in the math team and I still wanted to be a doctor.
Um, and I wasn’t letting my adversities bring me down. And I think perseverance showed, um, I never said it directly. I never said. I am persevering and I’m like, I’m great. Um, I showed, I didn’t tell them. I showed them the story of how I went through a really hard time and I succeeded as regardless. Um, and I demonstrated perseverance and I think that is my defining quality that made me stand out.
great. Um, going back to general application questions. Okay. Um, so does MIT look for extracurriculars such as robotics or honor societies on a student’s application? I mean, yes and no of yet. They’re gonna look at it. they’re gonna look at that list of extracurriculars. Um, however, they also wanna to see that there’s a passion and they keep bringing up that word.
Um, They wanna make sure that you are doing these things because you love them. So if you write robotics in extracurriculars and one of your essays, uh, is about robotics and how you you’re, you do good at it. That’s I don’t think that was right. You do well in robotics, right? Like you are a state champion.
You’re a national champion. You’ve succeeded in this. Um, but you don’t talk about why you love. That’s a that’s weird. Um, why would you be doing these extracurriculars activity that you don’t feel emotionally connected to? That aren’t helping you reach your goal? If you are gonna list extracurriculars, ideally it, it fits, it fits with what you’re saying in your essays.
You wanna make sure they are congruent because if you’re extracurriculars are saying that you are in, let’s say HOSA, um, you’re in HOSA and your essays are. I’m gonna, I wanna be a doctor, but then you don’t talk about why you wanna be a doctor. Um, it doesn’t make sense and they’re gonna see that. Yes. And I wanna echo that.
Okay. Um, there was a student asking about like, what should they do now? They’ve done all the activities. They’re in a good place with their scores and grades and everything. Don’t worry about looking good to the admissions officers in a sense of like only doing stuff to impress them. Mm-hmm, worry about doing stuff that you like.
Cuz if you’re doing stuff for the sake of impressing someone, when you’re not, you probably won’t like it. And two, you can never tell what’s gonna impress somebody else. Yeah. So just do stuff that you enjoy and then it. Being able to express that in your essays, in your letters of recommendation from other people’s point of views saying you do stuff that you enjoy, that you do well at, um, that’s, what’s really going to set you apart or help you to stand out in the application process for every school.
Um, not necessarily, oh, you have all these merits and credentials. Those are great. And those are wonderful. Those get you, um, outside scholarships, maybe not scholarships at these need. Needs needs based schools, uh, and they do help in your application, but really the meaning behind why you’re doing all this stuff.
And your interest is really what’s going to make them interested. And then also being able to show why you would be a good fit for their school, but also why they would be a good fit for you. So. Everybody wants to apply to an Ivy league, but not every Ivy league is meant for you. If that makes sense. Um, every school is going to be different and have different things that they have to offer.
So it’s not only, you are trying to say like, oh, I’d be, um, a perfect student for you, but it’s also the admissions officers looking at your application and being like, okay, I can see them doing here, here and here, fitting in here. I think we have all the resources to support them, to do their passion. So like really.
Show who you are in the application. And then from that, even if you get. Um, deferred or a rejection. Uh, it can, um, still show you like, okay, maybe you’re not a bad application, but maybe they saw something like they didn’t have something that would be best for me take it like that. Um, but yeah, so that was my 2 cents.
Uh, but going on to the next. Question, um, a student is ask, this is a bit niche, but a student is asking, does being a legacy matter. Like, um, their brother went to MIT, usually legacy implies that your parent or grandparent went, but, um, does it matter if family members, when does that affect your admissions?
Oh, no, not at MIT. I , they’re not a legacy school. So you have to get in through your own hard work and blood, sweat, and tears. Not, hopefully not blood, just sweat and tears. uh, going, go to the next question. Does admissions value Non-academic extracurriculars such as working or athletic? Yes. Yes. If you have those qualities, um, and you genuinely are that person, you love soccer, you love knitting, you love babysitting cats, whatever it might be.
Um, put that because that is you. And so again, that goes to like, they’re looking at the holistic student, they’re looking at the student who, um, loves making code, but then also goes home and plays video games. So. That’s cool. Um, that’s you that that’s who you are. And so that’s what you want. That’s what you want them to see.
You should want a school that wants to authentic you. Why would you want a school that wants a fake version of you? Mm-hmm uh, going on to the next question, does a student need research experience to get an MIT or need to compete in stem competitions? No. And I say that because, um, I did, I don’t think I did, um, No, you, if you show passion or you show other experiences that kind of have led you in this direction, I believe the question was about if you need research experience, I didn’t have research experience.
So like, uh, from my perspective, oh, MIT also knows geography. So they know where students are applying from. Um, my location, my area, where I was raised, we didn’t have very many, uh, research opportunities. And so when I’m applying without research opportunities, they know that my area. Genuinely doesn’t have them.
Um, I have seen other students get in without research experience, but they show other qualities. They show self-determination, they show curiosity and those other values that you may have, that aren’t necessarily research experience. Uh, they’re gonna help you as well. So you may, maybe you have the skill set or some of the abilities or the mentality that it would take to be a researcher.
And that’s enough. yes. And, uh, Lisa mentioned the counselor school report. Um, you do need to notify your school counselor, that you’re applying to schools and as well as your other recommenders, um, when you’re applying where you’re applying, where your major is general information, especially if you’re applying early so that they know to submit your stuff, but, um, in that school report, it does send like a list of everything available to your.
Your class, what the average student was doing. Um, so you’re being compared more so to what other students at your school that also apply to that university? Um, did, but even if your school offers like a million ApPs, that doesn’t mean you need to take a millionsAPS. Never. It’s never that deep personally.
Um, but, um, they just wanna see that you challenge yourself within the context that you had available to you. Mm-hmm , but also doing stuff that you enjoy. Um, Uh, going on to the next question. Uh, I’ll kind of take this one, but a student is asking how, um, how to get, uh, your own mentor to help us with the MIT application.
I know MIT does have a little program, so, um, but. For those in the room who aren’t already working with us, we know that the admissions process is overwhelming for parents and students alike, especially when applying to top universities such as MIT, especially if it’s your dream school and this is the place you wanna go.
Um, our team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts are here to help, um, net help you. Um, with navigating the admissions process and one-on-one advising sessions. And, um, the best thing about CollegeAdvisor is that many of our advisors attend or were accepted into or attended the schools that you are interested in, such as Lisa attending, uh, having attended MIT, uh, as well as other schools that are advisors have gotten into.
And so you really get that, um, insider support. Um, from our advisors through the application process, they can give you insights into the schools, into the programs, into their own application experience. And even if you aren’t matched with someone who went to the specific school that you’re interested in as a member of CollegeAdvisor, you can get access to our whole network of, um, advisors who can give you more insights.
And. Perspectives into these different schools, uh, as well as you’ll have access to our financial aid team who can help find schools that offer the resources that you need, our college list building team to figure out what other schools, including MIT you would want on your list. Uh, and our essay review team, as Lisa mentioned, who are great, who help with giving extra eyes onto your essays to make sure it’s really giving off the perspective and lens of yourself that you really want it.
And they, um, your advisor will be able to help you in these sessions to really make the application the strongest. It can be to really reflect who you are as a person, as a student, as a family member, community member, etcetera. Um, whatever you want to show off in your application, they will help you do that in the best way so that you can stand out in the application process.
So you can sign up for CollegeAdvisor by scanning the QR code where you’ll be taken, um, to a page to schedule a free strategy session with an admissions expert who can, um, who will go over your current situation with you and your parent, uh, or guardian. And then they will be able to recommend different packages and give you more information about rates and different things that CollegeAdvisor offers.
So, yeah. So just scan this QR code, but now back to the Q&A, um, going on to the next question, you mentioned that there are a lot of essays, uh, and including optional ones. Students do the optional essays. Oh yeah. ideally, sometimes you, maybe there’s nothing to say. Um, there is one essay in there. I, and I forgot the page, but it says this is optional.
Some students choose not to do it. And if there’s no other circumstances that prevented you from doing well, like maybe you. Nothing happens in your high school experience to prevent you from being your best self. You don’t have to say anything if nothing genuinely happened to you. Um, ideally you do want to give this picture of yourself that you wouldn’t get otherwise from the essays cuz the essays are gonna, are learning more about your qualities or learning more about maybe how you handle challenges.
Um, I think one is talk more about your background. If you can give them an optional piece about your culture or your identity, any, any little nuggets that you can give them that. Tell them more about you as a person, um, your personality, um, who raised you, how were you raised more about your city? What factors made you?
The, the individual you are today, the better, um, they wanna get to know you and they wanna see a person, not a robot who is doing all APS or just just school, school, school, school. And I, again, that was another good experience about my going to MIT that everybody around me just had, um, these awesome personalities.
Some people were quiet, loud, uh, quirky, but it was, it was great. Uh, cuz it was just so diverse and people were so authentic. Yes. And also going back to the mentors question, I believe one of my friends that attends there mentioned that there’s like a. I don’t remember what the program is called, but it does focus on high school students and helping with getting into MIT or getting into a specific program.
Mm-hmm check, just go to Google and type in MIT high school programs or MIT high school support, something like that. And you should be able to find it. I am not sure of the name at the moment. Um, but going on to the next question, um, so. With letters of recommendation. Does MIT care if it’s a recent teacher like your junior or senior year, or can it be from any year?
It can be from any year. Ideally you want someone from high school, nine, 10th, 11 or 12. Um, but this person should know you very well. Maybe it was your ninth grade teacher. Um, but you stayed connected with them. And over the years you met with them, maybe they became a mentor. Maybe they helped you edit your essays.
Like there’s some sort of long term connection, just somebody who knows you. Um, I think that’s, that’s what I did too. I didn’t pick the teacher that would look the best. I didn’t pick, uh, the physics AP teacher because they were the physics AP teacher. I picked them because they knew me the most. I was in there for tutoring from four to six.
I was in there from morning tutoring from seven to eight. I went to lunch. Practice AP physics. That teacher got to really know me because I was always in there asking questions about, um, electricity magnetism and trying to understand it. So you wanna go for the teacher that knows you really well and knows what you’re passionate about.
You, you can give ’em a resume, a list of qualities you want them to talk about. Um, just somebody who’s not gonna write a generic letter on your. Mm-hmm uh, and yeah. Um, and we have more webinars on letters of recommendation, asking for them what they should, what you should be looking for in a recommender as soon as asking can the supplement or additional recommendation be a, from a science teacher as well.
It could be, um, as long as you have met the first criteria of math or science, and then, um, Um, humanities, humanities, cause I just came out of a counseling class. humanities. Uh, you can have an additional science teacher. Ideally, they’re talking about you in a different lens. You want all these people to talk about different qualities of you.
Um, ideally, right? You don’t want them all to talk about how you’re yourself D. And that’s like, that’s all they get. You can have one teacher talk about your self-determination and your creativity. Another teacher talk about how you problem solve very well. And how you like to sit with a challenge and another, another teacher talk about how you’re a kind person and you help in the community.
Ideally I, and I tell my students this, ideally, they are all talking about different qualities about you from their specialties. mm-hmm and also with letters of recommendation, it doesn’t need to be the teacher. You got a, a plus in mm-hmm , uh, just a class that you put effort into it, not the class that you failed, because you didn’t do the work, but a class that you put effort into, whether that was like trying to improve your grade, or like Lisa said, going to, um, study hall and office hours as they call ’em in college.
Um, or like really putting an effort, whether that’s helping around the classroom, um, taking more initiative, raising your hand more often. Being putting effort into a class can mean different things. And then also just getting to know the teacher too, especially if they like know you from sports or other things also, uh, going on to the next question.
What if you have more than five activities or awards, where do you, um, put them if only five options are available or five slots? Yeah, so they, they do have a limit and it sounds like that student already may have either a dummy account or a real account. Um, you only get five slots for, I believe it’s extracurriculars and honors and maybe jobs.
Um, where do you put them? That could be something you put in the, um, optional, supplemental essay. I think it’s like essay number five, uh, where it’s like, talk about anything else that you. Weren’t able to talk about that could be the place. Uh, it, it’s kind of weird to put a list. Maybe that could be the place to talk about how you’re passionate about that club and like kind of expand subtly on all of those successes.
Um, but it does limit you. And so I have told my students put the ones that are the most significant and that correlate with your essays and that are most meaningful to you. A students asking, do letters of recommendation have to be from a teacher. I can they be from a robotics coach? That is not a teacher mm-hmm yes.
Um, teacher, teacher, and an optional from anybody. Um, it could be your extracurriculars coach. It could be a sports coach. Um, I had my math coach write one. So who, whoever else knows you, that is not a teacher is allowed to write that essay, that letter recommendation on your. Yes. And just to, um, reiterate, um, the teacher as well as on other applications, when it says teacher that usually is gonna meet core, they do specify.
Science or stem and then humanities. Um, but when it says teacher, that means somebody that gave you a grade, you were in their class, additional ones usually applies to coaches, employers, um, religious figures, mentors, other things like that. Um, okay. So the webinar is coming to a close. Is there any last advice you wanna give to students?
Breathe, breathe and just know that, um, it’s getting more competitive. Um, My heart broke. Uh, my, my heart breaks for like students when they don’t get in. And like I could see they were passionate MIT. Should be more accessible, right? Like if they could, they would be granting more student spots, but it’s so small that Kevin is tiny and they just don’t have the space, um, to expand outside of Cambridge and Boston.
Um, if you’ve been to Boston, you know that it’s tight, there’s no more space to grow. um, there’s, there’s no more room for extra students. So if you don’t get accepted, it is not a reflection on you. It could be that there just wasn’t enough space. You are still awesome and you, if you’ll be successful anywhere else, wherever you end up going to school, whether it’s MIT or not, you, if you are, are the type of student who makes the most of your opportunities, you will flourish anywhere you go.
Mm, I really like something off of MIT’s website on what they’re looking for in a student, they said that you should be taking this as a sideways, um, process or something like that. But basically they’re saying MIT, applying to MIT, shouldn’t getting into MIT. Shouldn’t be your goal in a sense. Okay. Like that, shouldn’t be your goal going to a place where you’ll be able to learn and grow and get all the experiences you need should be your goal.
Just for the sake of getting into a school. Their name is MIT, um, should not be your goal. Yes. And then also there is no space on MIT. Harvard took up all the space but, um, yeah, so that is the end of the webinar. Um, I hope you found this information helpful and thank you to our wonderful panelist, Lisa, for all this great information.
Again, remember that this webinar is being recorded. If you wanna view it again, later on our website at app.CollegeAdvisor.com, the information in the chat will not be saved. So if you would like. Please try and get it quickly now, before I log off. And then also that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab, so that you’ll be able to check back and reference this information again, later.
Here’s the rest of our September series, where we’ll have different webinars on various schools. We just had a webinar on Brown University about 30 minutes or an hour ago. um, and we’ll have different webinars on, um, writing your essays and other parts of the application as well as former webinars on different parts of the application.
And there are other webinars on MIT. And I believe there are some blogs on our website, a blog post on our website about MIT as well, if you would like to check those out. So thank you everyone for coming out tonight and goodnight. Goodnight.