I am currently a Junior in High School and I plan on applying for MIT. I wanted to know what some requirements are so I can make the best of my senior year. One big thing I'm worried about is that I have pretty much no Extra Curricular activities and I think this might really hurt me. If the need is that great I might take Academic Decathlon and Guitar (I think that one counts) next year and if I have to, one other one.
I know MIT likes well-rounded students and I consider myself pretty well-rounded excelling in arts (both computer and physical), music (I play guitar and compose music on the computer), math and science (Of course), and although I am not especially fond of english and history, I'm not bad at them. My computer skills are well above any of my peers including self-taught computer programming, graphic design (2D and 3D incl. Animation), audio and other computer related fields and my knowledge in Science and Math extends well above my school's current curriculum (always has) so that should be a plus.
Anyway, I was also wondering if community service play a role. My CAD teacher (Who is practically a career counselor) has told us countless times that it is a must so I have somewhat decent amount done, but if it's really important, I'd like to get some more. As far as my classes go, I have taken 2 AP sciences and I plan on taking AP Physics next year (Chem I and II I'll have taken). I am currently in Pre-Calc which is too easy, but my teacher wants me to take Calc-1 and get me to take the BC exam next year since I'm ahead of the class (waaay ahead). I have been in AP English all 3 years and will be in it next year. I also plan on taking AP Government (My first and only AP social studies). I am currently in Spanish I and will take Spanish II so I was wondering if a minimum of a 3rd level foreign language is required. If it is, I don't know what I'm going to do...
My accumulative GPA is going to be 3.958 unweighted and 4.208 weighted by the end of this year (At least that's what I speculate) and by my senior year I predict it should be about 3.969 unweighted and 4.344 weighted if all goes well. I'm not sure how much those extra decimals matter but if they round up it should be a 4.0 unweighted. My class rank is currently 6 out of 275 and I'm hoping to move up a few places by graduation. One thing I'm worried about though is the fact that my High School (Belen Senior High) in New Mexico is not exactly considered to be the most prestigious of the lot to give an understatement on the situation, but I'm hoping my being in the AP program might help out.
I have taken my PSAT's and have not received scores yet and I'm not sure if will be anytime soon. I will be taking my ACT's soon and I plan on taking the SAT's. My competency exams are well above the norm of even the high ranking students so I'm hoping those tests will be the same. I will be taking several AP exam tests before I graduate such as the English, Chemistry, Calculus, and any other related ones. So that's no worry. My academic performance is excellent but I want to be sure I have all the things it takes to have a chance at being accepted to MIT. I'm one of those kids always at the top of every class who everyone thinks I can get into any college I want, but I'm not letting that get my hopes too high so I need to know what it takes, especially with how hard I've heard it was to get into MIT.
I would like to know if there is anything else I should cover before it's too late. I would especially like some insight as to any Scholarships and/or Financial Aid programs that MIT offers. I'm not in the best of financial situations to put it lightly so any financial aid info/requirements would be of interest especially since I'm applying out of state. Thank you for your time, any info would be greatly appreciated.
P.S. While I'm here, I'd like to hear some opinions about how you guys think I will do over there and what I expect. I am a very academic student and I ALWAYS get my work done so I'll most likely be able to bear the huge amount of work I'm expecting. 12 hours a day isn't THAT bad I guess. Then again, I've always been that student that understands everything when it's taught and almost never has to study for tests, but that might not be so much the case in such a challenging school, especially considering the High School I'm in... On another note, I might be getting an apartment outside the school rather than I dorm if I could so I was wondering what the pros/cons of that would be...
I don't know how much of a difference I'd make (probably none at all), but don't pin your hopes on one college - there are plenty of GREAT schools out there for what you want to study. Of course, you have a shot at MIT, but you already know how hard it is to get in. So instead of molding your life into what you think "MIT would want" (and possibly ending up very disappointed - regardless of if you get in), why not live your life and let the colleges do the worrying?
I would agree with pebbles, a lot of very very qualified people get rejected from schools because there is not enough space. I went to a talk with Marilee Jones this week and the process at MIT is very hard to pin down. She specifically stated that "MIT likes well rounded students" is a myth. Rather, they pick people that they think will match and thrive at mit. You never know what they really want in admissions, why worry about it?
on a second note, I would not get an apartment outside of the school until at least your second year. at MIT, you are required to live on campus your first year. This is the best time to make networks. One thing I"m learning quick in college is that networks are just as important as what you know. Friends can get you into a company faster than the classes you're taking. As much as I hated having a roommate and sharing a bathroom originally, I wouldn't give up the friends (and study help) that I have now
First of all I'm no expert, but I don't think MIT is looking for "well rounded poeple". I think they are looking for exceptional people who have a long-standing, true passion that they can demonstrate in an interview, in the essays, and in their letters of recommendation. In other words, yes, take all the highest level math and science courses your school offers, but get yourself prepared to demonstrate that you might have a level of passion about something that is close to 1 in a million.
Second, as others have suggested, develop a list of 7 to 10 schools that you will apply to. I'm sure you already know of the concepts of "reach", "match", "safety", and "financial safety". MIT is like no place in the world. But there are many schools that you should be able to find a comfortable "fit" and success. Also, it would be good if 1 safety school has rolling admissions; getting an acceptance letter from someplace by January makes the process less stressful.
Third, I'm surprised you haven't taken the PSAT yet. One little secret I learned too late, January of the JR year is a great time to take the SAT I. There's a rumor that because of the low turn out, it's easier to get the high end scores on that date. But in any case, you will have taken it with enough time to take it 1 or 2 more times again and prepare better if there's a section that could be improved with some SAT prep.
Lastly, 1 *optional* essay for MIT will be to describe "something you created or invented" - this could even be a score of music. You have 10 months notice. ;-)
I think they are looking for exceptional people who have a long-standing, true passion that they can demonstrate in an interview, in the essays, and in their letters of recommendation. In other words, yes, take all the highest level math and science courses your school offers, but get yourself prepared to demonstrate that you might have a level of passion about something that is close to 1 in a million.
If you meet this description and have reasonably good scores (650-700 and up on each section or subject) and grades, you have an excellent shot at MIT. Feel free to attach extra, unsolicited supplemental essays or documents if you think they will further express your passion and character.
" If the need is that great I might take Academic Decathlon and Guitar (I think that one counts) next year and if I have to, one other one. "
Don't do it just for the sake of college application. They can see right through you. Also, I think what MIT want in a student is paradoxical. They want a very angled student that excelled in one subject but who is also relatively good in other areas. For example, you can excel in research (RSI, INTEL, S/W, etc) and you paint and write short stories whenever you're not in the lab. Just have passion in whatever it is that you do.
Ok, I understand your points. I also plan on applying for places like Stanford, Caltech and New Mexico Tech, but I would really love MIT because I love hands-on things, especially when it comes to science, technology, and engineering. I've always been the type to study outside my curriculum. Like, when my Chemistry teacher taught us about hybrid electron orbitals, the curiosity on the subject drove me to go home and start studying about the quantum wave theory and what-not. Why? Not to help me on a test or anything, simply because I was curious. To tell you the truth, more than half the knowledge I have now I would say is from my own personal studies. I'll often look at a certain phenomenon and have to find out why it works the way it does (ie. Magnetism, AC Current, etc.)
MIT appealed to me because it seems to be a place where you can apply yourself to hands-on and real-world projects, and since science, math, and technology are my strong points, there couldn't be a better place. I've always worked hard in school, just because I wanted to be the best I could be, which is what I always strive to do. I guess your right, I shouldn't try to hard with EC's and what not but I want to be able to get into another college of at least close to the rankings and prestige of MIT. Thanks for your posts.
Remember, the most selective schools have to turn away far more people who are qualified than they have slots. Therefore you should find a number of schools that you would be satisfied with. Cal Tech and Stanford are excellent; also look into Harvey Mudd, Carnegie Mellon, Rose Hulman, UC Berkeley, and Case Western. Another tip, apply Early Action (EA) at schools that offer it (MIT & Case do). EA does not require a commitment, like Early Decision (ED), so you are able to compare merit scholarships and financial aid, etc.