MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Chris Peterson SM '13

Sep 10 2018

Open Thread: The Final Countdown

Posted in: Miscellaneous

As you probably remember, we are launching the new soon! As in: this Thursday, midmorning.

Right now, we are finishing up migrating over 5,491 old blog posts. Also, our venerable blogging platform, ExpressionEngine, is, like my mom's 16 year old minivan with 250,000 miles on the odometer, finally showing its age, and throwing some bugs that are making it hard to blog right now.

So, in order to not have to migrate n + 1 blog posts, and avoid throwing our laptops collectively into the Charles in frustration over these EE bugs, this post is going to carry us through launch as an old-school open thread. We decided this was the worst idea and therefore the best idea.

Join the bloggers in the comments below and experience the Internet as it was before group chats: a noble tradition of infinitely long, rambling, nothing-is-offtopic-because-everything-is-offtopic asynchronous discussions with strangers on the Internet.

Come post with us. You can use the Disqus... read the post »


Aug 16 2018

Sneak peek at the new admissions and SFS sites

Posted in: Miscellaneous

As I've mentioned here, here, and here, I've been spending my summer leading a project to redesign the new and Although we are two separate offices, we report to the same Dean (that would be Stu) and share a communications team, and are working with Upstatement, the agency that helped design the new and

We're coming up to launch on both sites and so I wanted to take this chance to blog a preview and talk about some of the design decisions we've made. These aren't final -- things will change before we launch -- but you can get a sense of the basic design direction. 


Student Financial Services (SFS)

SFS is the office at MIT that combines the function of assessing and providing financial aid with billing and collecting tuition and other payments. Their processes are very complex and highly regulated by institutional, state, and federal policy. And, while we offer generous financial aid, anytime money is involved... read the post »


Aug 11 2018

The Making of Embrace

Posted in: Life & Culture

A few weeks ago, Ayomide F. 18, better known to longtime blogreaders as our own personal Riri Williams, sent me a copy of a new video she had helped choreograph, perform, and produce. 

It was (and is) incredibly arresting and compelling video, and I asked Ayo if she'd write up how it came to be so I could post it. She did, and I have reproduced it, unedited, immediately below. 


I put my first pair of heels on when I was 6. Maybe even younger. I charged into my mother’s shoe closet and beelined for these crimson-colored wonders that I’d been eyeing for a while. I strutted around for a bit before my ankles buckled and I knocked over a jewelry box. The clatter of pearls and gold sent my mom rushing into the room, ready to scold me. But when she saw the mess I made, she only laughed. “So when is the fashion show?” I smiled up at her as I struggled to get back on my feet and cheekily replied, “Tonight! After dinner.”

She beamed radiantly at me with her makeup... read the post »


Aug 3 2018

College Admissions and the Public Interest

Posted in: Miscellaneous

In 1966, B. Alden Thresher, an economist and the first ever Director of Admissions at MIT, wrote a short book called College Admissions and the Public Interest. It's a longstanding handbook of the admissions profession, and one of those texts that reads basically as true today as it did more than 50 years ago. What I love about CAPI (as it's called) is the honesty and integrity with which B.A.T. wrote, which values I hope (and think) still guide our office today. I know it's been a big influence on Stu, and on many other people in our office too.  

The book has been out of print for decades, but for our new website, the College Board agreed to publish it as a free PDF for anyone who wants to read it. Now that it's up, I wanted to direct people to it.

The foreword sums it up well: 

College Admissions and the Public Interest continues to help admissions professionals grapple with the central questions facing them every day: Who should be admitted to college, and why?... read the post »


Jul 28 2018

Our 2018-19 Application Essay Questions

Posted in: Miscellaneous

We've gotten some questions about our essay prompts for the forthcoming cycle, so I'm posting them. I want to be clear that there's no reason to start on them now, but some people like to begin thinking and planning ahead of time, which I respect and value (maybe the most underappreciated thing a good college applicant can do is make sure everything is done on time!).

As you may know, we have our own application, with 5 short-answer essay questions (I've blogged about the philosophy behind that here). Sometimes we change the prompts between cycles, but this year, we've kept them the same as the last few years, to wit: 

  • We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do simply for the pleasure of it. (100 words or fewer)
  • Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why? (100 words or fewer)
  • At MIT, we bring people together to better the... read the post »