|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 07:59 pm: Edit|
We went to the Admission info session at MIT last Sunday. It was a very sunny day and students were out on the lawns. The session was held in Kresge Auditorium. There were desks where people who had signed up to attend could check in and be given pamphlets. Lemonade and chocolate chips cookies were available. A sizeable number of admission officers, alumni interviewers and students were on hand to field questions.
The information session was from 2 to 3:30, followed by tours conducted by students.
Kresge auditorium was packed to the rafters. People came from all over NE and some were from the Midwest (it was a Sunday). Before the formal session began, one of MIT's 9 a capella groups performed 3 songs. Then Marilee Jones began her presentation. It was very smoothly presented with powerpoint. Since much of the information covered is available on the website, I won't repeat it here. She did emphasize something that caught our S''s attention, as he is more of a theoretical kind of guy. MIT is an engineering school, which means that it is very focused on hands-on, on problem-solving, on doing. She also stressed that learning happens cooperatively and questioned MIT's reputation as being competitive. She asked how many people were taking APs and most hands shot up. A few were taking IB (not very popular in NE) and a fair number were taking college courses. Marilee Jones said that they were looking for students with As and Bs ("we don't like Cs") and SATs of 680+ (hmmm). She stressed that students were accepted on merit:"We don't care where your parents went to school,whether you gave a little money or a lot of money or even if your name is on one of our buildings; we don't care where you go to school, where you are from, what gender you are, what race you are." She also expressed dismay at being quoted out of context on the issue of mental health, and wanted to correct the record. Students on medication are not unwelcome (I'm not quoting verbatim here). Jones mentioned that the interview is an important piece of the application process and called on the alumni interviewers sprinkled in the audience to stand up. She urged applicants to set up an interview soon.
During the Q&A she was helped by two students, one Indian young woman who is a sophomore in Biology and Political Science, and a junior who is concentrating in Chemical Engineering. The Junior mentioned taking two Government classes at Harvard which he described as "amazing." The sophomore talked about her small classes, her study group and research opportunities available under the UROP program.
After the session, there was a tour on which I did not go. While my S and his Dad were on the tour, I talked to an adcom officer who told me that her child goes to a high school that does not rank not even in terms of percentile. Later, I was able to talk to Marilee Jones. I mentioned that my S was unable to take part in many ECs because of his afternoon classes. She shook her head and said no problem. The important thing was: "Is he having fun? Is he enjoying himself?" She herself has a child who is a high school junior, so this is a concern of hers.
According to my S, the student took the tour all over the campus, including inside the new Stata building from which they were ejected because a conference was in progress, into some dorms, and a large number of corridors. She described various famous pranks and talked quite a bit about UROP. The tour lasted some two hours.
|By 1moremom (1moremom) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 08:12 pm: Edit|
H sang in one of those a capella groups-- the Logarythms. Another is the Chorallaries!
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 08:15 pm: Edit|
|By Farawayplaces (Farawayplaces) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 08:40 pm: Edit|
That is a very good report on MIT. You bring up an important point that our son didn't think about at all before applying to MIT, and that is the engineering emphasis. Our son is a theoretical math/science guy. He is still happy at MIT, but is aware he's not in a majority.
One other thing I'd like to emphasize is the apparent lack of cutthroat competition. Kids work together on problem sets.
Also, we checked out with coaches if they could give a "boost" to an applicant. They said no. They said that legacies and athletes might get a second look from Marilee if they're rejected, but there's no boost. We really like that!
|By 1moremom (1moremom) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:05 pm: Edit|
An article in Tech Review last year (Who Gets In) said Marilee Jones reviews the legacy apps to be sure they are treated "appropriately".
|By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:14 pm: Edit|
I think your S's problem will be deciding which school to apply to, whether binding or open like MIT. I'm glad you got to speak directly to M Jones; such an advantage to living close to the school. Did she ask you your S's name?
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:26 pm: Edit|
Yes, she did. I don't know whether she will remember it, though! There were a number of S's friends (both summer and school year) at the info session.
My S is behaving like a ping-pong ball right now, first preferring one then another of the various schools he is interested in.
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:28 pm: Edit|
Another tidbit from the info session, which I forgot to include, though it made it wince:
"We're very focused on the future, we don't spend a lot of time dissecting the past." Ouch!
|By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:29 pm: Edit|
Your S is such a prize, but his schools really are different. Can he spend 2-3 days at each? Only P would be inconvenient, in that he'd miss school days. He just needs more info
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:42 pm: Edit|
Thanks Bookworm. Unfortunately, he cannot spend any time this fall. His Physics class will be starting sections on sundays.
He did go to Princeton for a day and a half last spring and has been in touch with a couple of profs. He also has a good friend who, he knows, is applying there early.
I think the biggest issue for him is whether he wants to be in a setting where everybody is more or less the same as he and where he could easily find others to work with, the way he did in summer, or whether he should go to a more liberal arts college, where he would be stretched intellectually by mixing with non-math/science types but where being part of a study group would entail more of an effort.
The two MIT students talked about their Humanities and Social Science classes (some of which can be taken at Harvard) with a great deal of enthusiasm. And the faculty at MIT is stellar in these fields. It's more a question of the student body. And so far, he has not reached a closure.
|By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 10:51 pm: Edit|
Our information session this summer was much smaller (in 10-250 where I had endured physics a hundred years ago...)..and there was no Marilee and no student along with. I thought the content of our session disappointing-I don't think it gave the flavor at all about what was special about MIT, and while you did not, evidently, have to put up with all the "cool stuff" that we did, I think you got the same flavor of-- down playing the extreme competitiveness of the admissions.... really, we don't like to see C's....680+..c'mon. How can this be logically reconciled with 99% of students in the top 10%ile and astronomical SAT averages...
But I would like to say something about the whole practical vs. theoretical element being discussed a bit in this thread. I think MIT students are a very pragmatic lot...but even with that- there is nothing they like better than a theoretical problem. To this day, my husband and some of his former frat brothers(now engineers, lawyers, doctors, financeers) and other buddies share stories of "elegantly solved" math problems. ((I am not sure there is another school in the country where the words frat brothers and elegantly solved math problems would be in the same sentence)).
I am sure that with your guidance your son will wade through the thicket of information and see what needs to be seen about all his excellent choices.
|By Coureur (Coureur) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 01:12 am: Edit|
>>Marilee Jones said that they were looking for students with As and Bs ("we don't like Cs") and SATs of 680+ (hmmm)<<
Yeah, right. In the session I attended last year they said said that a math SAT I of 700 or higher would make you "competitive" for admission to MIT. (They never mentioned verbal at all). But when the stats for the admitted class came out I recall that the mean math score was around 760 - 770, so it looks like they were focused less on the 700s and more on the "or highers"
|By Ellemenope (Ellemenope) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 02:18 am: Edit|
Coureur--average probably raised by the scads of accepted applicants who got 800 on the math!
|By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 07:56 am: Edit|
You all picked up on my skepticism regarding those As&Bs but no Cs and 680 SAT scores!
Roby: I agree that elegance is an important concept, but it can also be very applied. One of S's former schoolmate is a junior at MIT. The quintesential engineering type; he struggled with his math course in his freshman year because it was too theoretical for his liking. My S, on the other hand, does not care much for the plug and chug character of the MV Calc and Linear Algebra courses he took; they were aimed more at science and engineering students than prospective math students. He loved his math proof course (which he would not have needed to take had he taken a more theoretical version of the MV-Calc and LA classes, but they were not available to him). Anyway, he knows that as a pure math person, he's bound to be in a minority, whether at a liberal arts school or at an engineering one.
We're taping the presidential debates as all of us will be attending different events, all scheduled well before the debates. For S, it's the Ig Nobel Awards ceremony.
|By Achat (Achat) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 08:05 am: Edit|
Marite did your son win the Ig Nobel Award? It's about someone who makes your laugh and then makes you think...at least that's what the website says.
p.s Or did he buy a ticket? I wouldn't be surprised if the answer is he won, kids on this forum are amazing. But if the answer does give away his identity, then don't answer!
|By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 08:14 am: Edit|
I wrote long post last night, but didn't go thru.
Anyway, will talk to my friend, who got PhD in math at P, and taught there until few years ago.
FYI, my S never interested in the engineering stuff, but taking an elective working in Darpa challenge car. His school requires 12 classes in SS/humanities, which I think is a lot for an IT school.
Your S has a month before deciding for ED or EA, right?
|By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 08:23 am: Edit|
No, no, no! It's for experiments that should never have been undertaken or whose results are of little interest to others. One (from a book of Ig Nobel awards) involved the British Royal Navy trying to save money by having the sailors shout "Bang!" every time they did practice shots instead of actually firing ammunition. Another was an experiment conducted by a Smith College prof to find out why shower curtains are sucked inward when you take a shower. They are plenty more and make for hilarious reading.
The winners are announced by a presenters, some of whom are actual Nobel Prize winners. And some awardees good-naturedly show up at the ceremony at their own expenses.
The Ig Nobel prizes began at MIT and moved to Sanders Theater at Harvard when the ceremony outgrew its MIT location. Every year, it's pretty packed. S will have a chance to fly origami airplanes (which he has not done since 6th grade) as the audience is encouraged to fly paper airplanes throughout the ceremony. I will be attending parents' night at his school. Much less fun.
|By Achat (Achat) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 08:26 am: Edit|
Thanks for the answer (and sorry for the OT question). I'd have loved to see it too.
|By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 08:35 am: Edit|
Yes, indeed, he does have another month to decide. The pressure comes from having to request recs from teachers a few weeks ahead of the deadline for applying. But since they will likely have to write recs for his RD applications anyway, he might as well give them the forms for the top 3 schools on his list now. Another pressure is thinking about what kind of person he is. The knowledge that he would be happy at a variety of schools actually makes the task harder! He may resort to the strategy followed by Coureur's D, deciding which mugs to give his teachers.
|By Coureur (Coureur) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 11:03 am: Edit|
>>average probably raised by the scads of accepted applicants who got 800 on the math!<<
That's my point exactly. It was the 800s they were taking scads of -- not the people down at 700.
|By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 11:15 am: Edit|
Marite, last fall my d fretted and wondered just like your s. Finally, she said the problem was...she wanted to go to *all* the schools she was interested in! She didn't want to face having to give up any of them!
|By Ohio_Mom (Ohio_Mom) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 11:45 am: Edit|
I've been to two info sessions - a local (Cleveland) one last fall, and one at MIT this April. Both sessions emphasized getting all A's in the toughest possible courses - maybe a B or two was ok. Marite's post indicates that maybe the admissions grid is shifting slightly away from perfect grades in everything. I believe that they were at 99% from top 10% last year, and down to a much more flexible 97% this year.
For the record, MIT is off my son's list - but its such an interesting school to follow.
|By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 12:58 pm: Edit|
The thing that was not said is that many of the applicants walk on water. I don't know if they would have all As, but some have spectacular achievements beyond the classroom. What Marilee Jones was doing was making MIT sound quite accessible.
When I went to a Harvard information session, it was much more low-key (it was one of two per day) and it was more along the lines of explaining Harvard rather than trying to "sell" Harvard. I cannot even recall whether the question of scores came up either in the presentation or the Q&A. Very different tones.
|By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 12:59 pm: Edit|
That's my S's problem, exactly, especially since he has good friends in all places.
|By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 05:11 pm: Edit|
I'm wondering if the geography of school is one of 2 tops priority (#1--IT school or general). Living in Cambridge, H and MIT might not seem college-y enough. He could count on you for meals, supplies, etc. He knows he could come home to study.
I recall not wanting to be near my parents, nor with many kids from HS. Looking back, this was a mistake. i could have lived an independent life.
Anyway, just a thought.
|By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 05:38 pm: Edit|
Either way, he'd be living on campus, and coming home as often or as seldom as he wished. We're going to a Stanford admission session next week, so we shall see if he is interested. As for being with kids from hs, he knows kids at both and likes them all (he is actually quite close to the kids at MIT).
The real difficulty is that he cannot really make up his mind between an engineering school where everybody would be pretty much math/ science type like him, or a liberal arts school where he would be in a minority,. For so long he has been somewhat isolated from his age peers because of the advanced classes he's been taking, so being in a college with like-minded students is very attractive. But he also sees the attractiveness of being among people who have different intellectual interests (and some of his hs friends are quite diverse in terms of ethnicity, SES and interests). Complicating everything is the knowledge that if he attends either H or MIT, he can take classes at the other school.
He does have a good friend applying ED to Princeton who is pretty sure of being admitted there. But given his own state of uncertainty, he does not want to commit himself by applying ED. I suspect he will apply RD, though.
I find it interesting that we cannot use the criterion of "fit" or Rhonda's criterion of "prestige" to help him decide. And of course, all the schools are equally expensive.
|By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 08:56 pm: Edit|
Your S would fit in any of these schools, and would easily find friends. Truly, like choosing from a dessert tray.
Please correct my facts. I thought MIT & Caltech are EA, P is ED, but not sure H & S. His chances at P are definitely higher applying ED. If H now EA, he could apply to all EA, but that pushes P back. Still, this option would give him more time to consider.
$$$, Caltech is a lot less, because of endowments. Plus, they have summer SURF program, which pays minimum $5000. FYI, at a general college, my S would have been housed with people in same major. Given that friendships form from class, study groups, and living quarters, i don't know how many people he'd meet in other majors. I get the impression there still exists a tremendous diversity among student body
|By Ellemenope (Ellemenope) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 09:55 pm: Edit|
H and S are single choice EA, which means that if Marite's S applies EA to either one, he cannot apply EA anywhere else.I know MIT is non-restricted EA, don't know about Caltech.
|By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 11:44 pm: Edit|
Caltech is also non-restricted, so lots of overlap with MIT. Most NE kids prefer MIT
So, Marite's S either applies MIT EA, and everything else RD, or he has an epithamy in next month and goes with his current favorite. Truly, I think he'd do well at any of these schools, and he could flip many times betw now and April.
I think its important to know how many of these schools take juniors. Clearly, MIT & Caltech do
|By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Friday, October 01, 2004 - 12:04 am: Edit|
Marite, I enjoy reading your son's quandries because I could practically substitute my early graduating daughter with his story and substitute elite BFA musical theater programs with the elite schools for math. Even the issues with friends at each school as well as many friends applying to same programs has entered into the fray just like with your son. She can join his ping pong game. Pretty much same dilemma in our house this week, though the deadline to decide the early route is pretty much tomorrow and I don't think she is going to do it. Also, rolling app to other first choice is very close to all done.
|By Marite (Marite) on Friday, October 01, 2004 - 06:32 am: Edit|
I can well imagine that your D has the same quandary!
I had a talk with S's teachers yesterday evening at Parents'night. They're willing to write several recs, so he has a reprieve as far as making a decision (they also all advise him to apply to one specific school, but he shrugged his shoulders when I reported). I sure hope that my S has an epiphany in the next couple of weeks!
So is your D not going ED/EA? My older S did not.
|By Dadx (Dadx) on Friday, October 01, 2004 - 08:31 am: Edit|
It seems that Princeton or Yale would be a great set of candidates for him. Princeton with a more established history in math, science and engineering, and Yale with a tremendous desire to increase its exposure in those areas. Both filled with competent students in history and english. Princeton with a bit more of a middle atlantic demographic than Yale, which is a bit more New Englandish.
The size of Cornell and its location and strengths in the sciences would also make it an interesting possibility to investigate, it seems to me.
|By Marite (Marite) on Friday, October 01, 2004 - 09:13 am: Edit|
I did not mean for the MIT info report to turn into a conversation focused on my S, but it seems to have done so! I do thank everyone for their advice.
Dadx: My S is very seriously considering Princeton and Yale. Right now, he is more focused on which school to apply to early, but he does have a longer list. He had great visits at both places; he talked with some profs, attended some lectures, talked with enthusiastic undergraduates. He did visit one dorm room at Yale that is about the size of a closet, though! Cornell is a great place for both math and physics. It has two Nobel prizes in physics, I believe; and one of his math friends has just started there. He is a bit worried about transport as there's no easy or fast way to go from Boston to Ithaca. USAIR announced that it is cutting service to Ithaca drastically (it may even pull out altogether; in winter, travel can be iffy, and it is bound to be expensive. So... I think Cornell is on his list, but not at the top.
|By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 09:35 am: Edit|
About those As, Bs, and Cs, my DS had some Cs from 9th grade, and definitely some As and Bs from 10th and 11th. He had a 2 on the French AP and a 5 on the Physics and Calc BC; he also had excellent SATs (which he's asked me not to post) and killer ECs. NMS finalist. He applied during his junior year in HS; MIT took him; CalTech waitlisted him. I really do think these schools care about the SATs--which they see as objective--and about what the kids do "for fun." They really do want kids who think engineering is a LOT of fun and would rather do that than anything else.
As for the humanities courses, MIT considers both economics and game design as humanities courses. Some architecture courses also fall into that category.
|By Marite (Marite) on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 09:54 am: Edit|
I hope your S enjoyed the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony and his B-day party. My S had a great time.
Many colleges discount 9th grade grades, so the fact that your S had some probably mattered very little. And since MIT does not require foreign languages, the 2 on French AP would not be held against him. What struck me at the info session, though, is that the statement about As and Bs ("we don't like Cs") was not balanced with a statment regarding ECs. From what I know of MIT, I agree with you that ECs that show kids love to be involved in engineering projects are the kind that MIT wants. My S's friend has just begun at MIT. He was so involved in ECs that his grades suffered a bit. BUT he was the captain of the ROV team that beat MIT's two years ago at the national competition to win first place. That is certainly something to crow about in an application to MIT.
|By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 04:46 pm: Edit|
Thanks, Marite. Yes, the Ig Nobels were fun! I thought Sylvia Earle's 24/7 speeches were fabulous, and accurate. I could have done without the pouring rain when we walked out though! We were stupidly unprepared. (The weather was great otherwise. I'm not complaining.)
We had a very busy three days in Boston and now I'm catching up again at home. (I was glad too to make it to the jeweler that made our wedding rings: my DH has lost so much weight his ring needed to be resized, it's been falling off!)
Report an offensive message on this page E-mail this page to a friend
|Posting is currently disabled in this topic. Contact your discussion moderator for more information.|
|Administrator's Control Panel -- Board Moderators Only|