This is my first post so please forgive any mistake of mine. I will be applying to MIT this year. However, I have a question mark in my mind. I will be greatly pleased if you help me out!
The previous summer (2011), when I was a sophomore, I have participated Harvard Summer School and got 8 credits from Physics. But my grade was a B. I don't want to be snobby, but it really was hard, class had 80 people in it and we were only 10 high school students. The rest were grad students and undergrad students (%50 of them were Harvard students ). As they made curve, it was impossible for a sophomore who didn't know %90 of topics that time to get an A with a bunch of Harvard students...
So, should I write my grade (B) or only say "I passed principles of physics and gained 8 credits?"
Would it hurt my application because I do have significant achievements and I just don't want to ruin my MIT application with this...
The purpose of taking expensive college classes while still in high school is to either show interest in a given school - not your case, getting a feel of the college life, or showing college admissions officers that you can excell at college courses and are really for it. If you have a 4.0 and high class rank in high school, or something close to a 4.0 - this might hurt you. What would you think? This kid probably came from a not so challenging high school since he cant even get an A in a college course. This kid might not do so well at a challenging college such as ours. I would do the latter option, since a B in a college course can hurt you just as much as a B in high school.
I kind of agree with loyamann, but I feel that MIT admissions doesn't think that way in terms of penalizing people for B's. Just about any other top college would, though.
The OP does bring up a good point. If you don't put a grade, people are going to assume that it is not an "A" (unless you took it pass/fail, and that is pretty unusual to do at Harvard Summer School, a fact that top colleges probably already know.) So it's not really a disadvantage to explicitly write "B."
Frankly, it's more likely to hurt you with MIT if they get the sense you are self-conscious about grades.
Still, my original point stands. I thought you had to submit all transcripts from high school, community college, and universities. Ask your guidance counselor, or MIT admissions.
The OP was a 15-16 year old high school sophomore taking a college course and by most accounts, a difficult one. I personally see no shame in a B. He will be 2-3 years older and more educated when he begins college. I don't expect that this grade will be held against him in anyway, although obviously an A would be better.
You do have to submit a transcript of any college credits earned, so it is a moot point. They will know what your grade was.
Thanks a lot for everybody again, I would like to indicate that my GPA is 5.0/5.0 -of course without Harvard Summer School- I didn't do any AP courses, but I'm doing IB and my high level courses are Physics and Mathematics... I do great on them, actually on every high-school course.
However, this "B" thing really made me self-conscious. My SAT physics subject test is also 800. I hope they won't kill my app because of that B...
I wouldn't worry so much about it. I would bet that MIT admissions is familiar with the environment at the summer school at Harvard and will understand the context of the grade. I don't think they will assume you got an "A" if you don't put the grade down - they'll probably think that you got a grade you didn't want to disclose.
I would just mark down the grade with all your other ones if you're planning on putting this in the coursework section of the application. It won't be factored into your GPA if you didn't take it for high school credit. If you're not putting it in coursework, and only in summer activities or something, then you could leave off the grade probably and just say something like "Harvard Summer School College Physics Class" and list the dates.
MIT admits students with multiple B's in fairly ordinary high school science and math courses. Their admissions philosophy is different from what you might expect. The best advice I can give you, atomicmango, is to look through the results threads from recent years. You will see quite a few students with exceptional qualifications in terms of SAT I and II scores, AP scores, math competitions, and GPA being declined (even with some pretty strong extra-curriculars), while others that you might not expect to be admitted, are admitted. MIT admits students who then fail freshman physics in the fall, at MIT. I doubt that the MIT physics course is significantly harder than the Harvard course.
atomicmango, I think that you can form as good a hypothesis about that as I can. I do suggest that you look through several years of results threads for MIT on CC. You can also read the admissions blogs, and posts by people affiliated with MIT admissions, to see how they tend to view things.
Two pieces of advice I can give you, though:
1) Don't put too much stress on the 5.0/5.0. That will be interpreted as a sign of an unhealthy obsession with grades. I am serious that MIT admits students with multiple B's in quite ordinary science/math courses. If I were in charge of admissions, I would do that only in the most exceptional of circumstances (I could imagine a few), but they seem to do it rather often, in my opinion.
2) If they ask you to describe a situation in which you have failed, it is a bad idea to say that you failed to become the AP Scholar for your state, or the Siemens scholar for your state. They are trying to see whether you are resilient enough to deal with a genuine setback, not looking for non-failures cloaked as failures.
I don't want to be the bearer of depressing news, atomicmango, but I think you should look through the results threads carefully, to see the statistics of the students who were rejected, as well as those who were admitted. In particular, I'd suggest looking for piccolojr and hopelesslydevote. I think you will find them in the results thread for 2008, but look around.
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your qualifications are much better than those of many students who were admitted, and therefore you will be admitted. You cannot count on this. MIT admissions has the philosophy that no one deserves to be admitted to MIT. I think this is incorrect, actually. However, they really believe it. You should ponder what it implies.