From the Rejected Essays Pile

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Discus: Individual Schools: US News Top 25: Massachusetts Institute of Technology: 2004 Archive: From the Rejected Essays Pile
By Memememe (Memememe) on Sunday, December 14, 2003 - 03:08 am: Edit

So I wrote an essay, right? Then I ditched it, in favor of a more serious essay. So instead of being in my app traveling to Cambridge, Massachusetts, here it is. And just now, I realize that this essay is better than the one I sent. Feel free to copy and put your name on it. ;-)

Choose essay A or B. Please keep to a 500-word limit.

Essay A: Life brings many disappointments as well as satisfactions. Could you tell us about a time in your life when you experienced disappointment, or faced difficult or trying circumstances? How did you react?

Essay B: An application to MIT is much more than a set of test scores, grades and activities. It's often a reflection of an applicant's dreams and aspirations, dreams shaped by the worlds we inhabit. We'd like to know a bit more about your world. Describe the world you come from, for example your family, clubs, school, community, city, or town. How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations?

Choice: Essay A

The first ten moves were executed from mechanical memorization. I did the next two steps and was doing just fine. Or so I thought. Just as I was taking a breath, the board started to wobble out of control, and I panicked. Crash! My heart sank so low that the nitrogen gas in my blood vessels would have become dangerous had I not picked myself back up in a couple of seconds.

With a sigh, I had to return to the queue of the hopefuls, all of whom had tried many times and in failure had proven equal in becoming stars at the Metafield Maze at the MIT Museum. But by and by, one by one, our queue shortened, until it was down to just two. It was getting late, and the other students from Research Science Institute had returned to East Campus.

Only one corner kept me from my victory. But at that point, the board swerved out of control and I was robbed of my victory. What was wrong? Was it my white shoes, my black hair, my glasses, or my personality? On a humbler level, was it my lack of timing and skill? Maybe perseverance was all I needed, but the night kept mocking my persistence. Although I was almost there many times, I never finished the maze.

Walking back to East Campus after my Herculean effort, however, my disappointment melted. I had not completed the maze, but I tried my best. I even took the liberty of doing my customary echo under the Building 7 dome to commence my walk along the Infinite. As soon as I met my fellow campers, they asked me, ``Did you do it?'' I responded, ``No.'' They answered with a sympathetic look, ``That's too bad.'' I replied, ``Yes, it is too bad, but look, I got a shirt, and it spells MIT!''

In my life, I have faced a number of other disappointments and trying circumstances as well, which I have overcome one way or another. In seventh grade, I had a tendency to miss the lay-up. Picking up math solved that problem for me, although not in an altogether direct manner (when one does not attempt lay-ups, he does not miss them). I had a problem focusing on things. So I got glasses. I used to be short, hovering at about the third shortest in every classroom I entered. However, after many years of hard work, I grew. In many ways, I have learned to be resilient and bounce back after each and every stumbling block.

The truth is that I do not get disappointed over setbacks. I have learned to move forward and not to look back. So I really chose the wrong essay, because as the other essay prompt explains, my application to MIT is really much more than a set of test scores, grades and activities. That is, I wish to convey that I am a determined, disciplined, and delightfully delectable person. And I love science.

By Mrowry (Mrowry) on Sunday, December 14, 2003 - 12:22 pm: Edit

I don't think it matters which essay you chose... that fact that you went to RSI should get you in. ;-)

By Memememe (Memememe) on Sunday, December 14, 2003 - 01:38 pm: Edit

But if you were the admissions officer, wouldn't you just hate somebody who thought that RSI should get you automatically into MIT?


By Dumplings (Dumplings) on Sunday, December 14, 2003 - 02:23 pm: Edit

does RSI also nearly guarantee an acceptance to other schools... say Harvard or Yale?

By Memememe (Memememe) on Sunday, December 14, 2003 - 02:30 pm: Edit

Not Harvard.

By Bmckn (Bmckn) on Sunday, December 14, 2003 - 04:48 pm: Edit

Memememe, will you go to Harvard if you get accepted there?

By Bmckn (Bmckn) on Sunday, December 14, 2003 - 06:39 pm: Edit

Oh, wait, by you saying "Not Harvard," and with Harvard decisions being released, does that mean you didn't get in? If so, I'm very, very sorry man.

By Memememe (Memememe) on Sunday, December 14, 2003 - 10:03 pm: Edit

I did get in... :-) but anyways, RSI doesn't guarantee Harvard. But then again, the 6th place national Siemens Westinghouse Competition winner got deferred, so I should feel lucky.

By Memememe (Memememe) on Sunday, December 14, 2003 - 10:05 pm: Edit

As for the other question, I'm really stuck between Harvard & MIT. I love MIT, but have this notion that Harvard may be nice too. Their math program is awesome, and so is grade inflation. I think I'd like it either place, and it's on the same street anyways... :-)

By Bmckn (Bmckn) on Sunday, December 14, 2003 - 10:17 pm: Edit

Retract your MIT application!


You steal my spot. So bad.

By Bmckn (Bmckn) on Sunday, December 14, 2003 - 10:17 pm: Edit

Oh. And congrats on Harvard :-)

By Penguin (Penguin) on Sunday, December 14, 2003 - 10:31 pm: Edit

Memememe: I had thought you were applying to MIT EA - guess I made that up. Oh well, don't mind me...

What's so great about grade inflation? IMHO, grades are of more value if they exhibit a meaningful spread; employers and grad schools will understand what an MIT student had to do for his marks. Well, at least I <i>hope</i> people in the world at large think that way; maybe I've been steeped too long in the surreal, grade-deflated world of my HS.

Incidentally, does the presence of clipart in a post seem to screw up anyone else's HTML tags?

By Memememe (Memememe) on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 01:27 am: Edit

What's great about grade inflation is that I want to take really top-level courses during my time in school. I don't want to be discouraged from taking a graduate level class just because I don't want bad grades. I agree that you should work for your grades, but up to a point. At another stage, it's all about learning, not about grades. The argument seems circular, but not really. It takes away grades from your consideration whether or not to challenge myself.

Grade inflation is bad for the student who slacks to get As, but it's great for someone who wants to challenge himself and reach the fringes of his ability without worrying too much about GPA and possible reproach from misunderstanding parents.

There was no point to applying to MIT early. I'm sure you've seen the E3 card somewhere on this board. Of the things on the right, I have Siemens Westinghouse Semifinalist, USAMO, 100 on AIME, and RSI, four traits which combine to make MIT a safety school. However, another reason why I applied to Harvard early is because you can't apply early at MIT if you're a foreign national. Though I've been here 8 years, I still am considered international.

So please don't worry guys. I don't steal spots from anyone unless you yourself are international. If I weren't international, I wouldn't even stress about MIT, but they do have kind of an informal quota for internationals... oh well, we'll see.

By Binks (Binks) on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 01:58 am: Edit

Well, another thing about Harvard is that they are very humanities oriented. Even for math and econ, they have to write many many papers. Guessing from your posts that you're interested in Math as a major, I suggest you ask the math majors at each school and figure out which is more what you're looking for.

By Memememe (Memememe) on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 02:18 am: Edit

Harvard is better for math, I heard. More theoretical and difficult. However, for my other interest, CS, MIT is loads better than Harvard. So therein lies my dilemma. I really want to see what math major is like though, before I get too deep into it.

By Dumplings (Dumplings) on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 08:26 am: Edit

I just wanted to say Memememe:


By Mrowry (Mrowry) on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 04:52 pm: Edit

Harvard is boring and has boring people. You don't want to be boring, do you? :-P

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