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Articles / Applying to College / Using English and not Korean Name on MIT Application

Jan. 8, 2012

Using English and not Korean Name on MIT Application

Question: I want to apply MIT. MIT has the special admission system called MyMIT. When I tried to register on MyMIT, they requested my English name, but I'm Korean, so I haven't English name. What do I do?

MIT just wants your name translated into the English alphabet. They aren't looking for an actual English name like "Alex" or "Andy," although some Asian applicants do have them ... or seem to acquire them once they make plans to attend school in the U.S.


After you've translated your name into the English alphabet, be sure to spell it consistently each time you fill out any college-related form. Also make sure that you carefully read instructions for where you put your "family name" (often called "surname" or "last name" in the U.S.) and your "first name" or "given name." (In Korea, the family name/surname usually precedes the first/given name. In the U.S., it's the opposite.)

So MIT is simply asking for you to use the English spelling of your name. You don't actually have to make up an American name for your application … and you won’t need one when you get here either. Americans seem to be getting better about properly using and pronouncing (and remembering!) foreign-sounding names, but I do think we still have a way to go.

(posted 1/8/2012)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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