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Reminder: No one, not even me, can give you an accurate chance at MIT!

MITChrisMITChris College Rep Posts: 1,657 Senior Member
Hi folks -

This is around the time of year when a lot of people begin asking for "chances" - that is, for complete strangers on the Internet to gauge the likelihood of their admission to MIT.

I can't speak for the hundreds of other schools on CC, but I can tell you this:

No one on this forum, not even me, can give you a meaningful chance at MIT.

Why?

- Because the factors of admissions that can be readily apprehended in a forum post (GPA, SAT scores, etc) are in many ways the least important in our process.

- Because listing the school you go to or ECAs you are involved in does not communicate the degree to which you are a vibrant member of the community, does not communicate what your coaches or teachers or mentors will say about you, and those are the things we care about.

- Because it does not include any information about the interview, which is another critical insight into the candidacy of any prospective applicant.

- Because a forums post cannot communicate the complexity of an applicant's life story, circumstances, and so forth; even if they were to replicate all the answers to their essay questions, we still have additional data external to the application that we consider in understanding an applicant's context.

- Because of a billion other reasons along the way.

I understand that chancing may be fun, or a way to blow off steam, or just something to do because we haven't made the app available yet.

However, from my own time on forums for undergraduate and graduate programs, I know that people can take chancing quite seriously, that it can affect where they apply, that it is ripe for mockery (or can itself be used to degrade the self-esteem of others), and so forth.

I don't want anyone who isn't aware of this to be misled into thinking that CC chances are accurate or meaningful in any way (they aren't and could never be!). I want to be completely transparent and honest with all of you and let folks know this up front.

Here's what you need to know:

If you:

- Have taken, and continue to take, challenging courses (not necessarily all the hardest), and have done well in them (you don't need straight As, but you shouldn't be able to spell anything with your grades either), and;

- Have taken either the ACTs/SATs and two SAT IIs (one math, one science), and have done reasonably well (for us: scoring around the 700 range or higher on each subsection of the SATs or 30 and up on each subsection of the ACTs, though these are guidelines, and every year we accept people with lower and reject people with higher), and;

- Are interested in studying science and technology in conjunction with the liberal arts, and;

- Would like to attend a university with the following mission:
The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.

The Institute is committed to generating, disseminating, and preserving knowledge, and to working with others to bring this knowledge to bear on the world's great challenges. MIT is dedicated to providing its students with an education that combines rigorous academic study and the excitement of discovery with the support and intellectual stimulation of a diverse campus community. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

then you should apply to MIT.

Because no matter what your chances are, the only way to have a 0% chance is to not apply.
Post edited by MITChris on
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Replies to: Reminder: No one, not even me, can give you an accurate chance at MIT!

  • InklingInkling Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
    "Because the only way to not get in is to not apply."

    Probably should read "Because the only way to not get in *for sure* is to not apply."
  • MITChrisMITChris College Rep Posts: 1,657 Senior Member
    good point - fixed
  • MikalyeMikalye Registered User Posts: 1,337 Senior Member
    I would also recommend the quite excellent thread on this forum A http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/massachusetts-institute-technology/770701-guide-chancing.html

    Heck, I have been an EC (interviewer) for MIT for quite some years now, and I can assure you that only in a very few occasions can I have the slightest clue as to whether someone will be admitted even after the interview.
  • junhugiejunhugie Registered User Posts: 350 Member
    I might be able to spell "baa" with my freshman grades
    @#$!#%!
  • edoardoedoardo Registered User Posts: 334 Member
    You are right, but I think that when it will be my time I would like to have advices, I don't want to lose 60$ xP
  • KajonKajon Registered User Posts: 4,234 Senior Member
    Nice posts MITChris and Mikalye, thank you.

    As a parent I glance at the chance me threads from time to time and just shake my head. I worry that this causes unnecessary stress in some kids.

    Here is what we tell our kids: Do the very best you can in all aspects of your life, present yourself the very best you can, and come to terms with the fact that whether or not you are accepted is really out of your control. And above all, be very proud of what you have accomplished in 18 short years.
  • momfirst3momfirst3 Registered User Posts: 1,156 Senior Member
    That's exactly what we did Kajon and when my son found out on the 2nd that he didn't get into MIT from the waitlist, he was just fine with it.....
  • therazor302therazor302 Registered User Posts: 186 Junior Member
    I'm not going to lie when I first came to CC chance threads scared the living hoohaa out of me. My stats aren't as stellar as some of these kids and how could I even compare. But posts like this and a few in other forums have kept hopes high. Everyone's situation is different and there is no magic calculator that will tell you where you will and will not get in.

    Thank you again for reiterating this Chris. I once posted a chance me thread and got massively different answers and many angry posters. It was not a pretty picture and it was something I wish I had never done. Some things were said that were offensive, but luckily apologized for, and it was just an overall degrading experience. CC has a bad rep for these kinds of things and often times i wish I had never found these forums on the other hand there are days where I'm filled with joy over all the information I've found.

    The application process starts less than a month from now, for me anyway, and I no one can tell me where I will or will not get in, minus maybe the auto-admissions state flagship, and I hope all goes well for me and everyone else applying.

    Thanks again Chris, this should stave off some people.
  • tmanneopentmanneopen Registered User Posts: 1,647 Senior Member
    This is a great post, and I do feel really good after reading this. I have one question though. You said that the interview is a critical insight. Does it mean that it really can help an otherwise seemingly normal applicant for MIT? I just think for myself personally, that an interview is the best way to communicate anything about myself.
  • PiperXPPiperXP Registered User Posts: 2,856 Senior Member
    ^ tmanneopen - You should almost certainly get an interview :)

    @therazor302 - If I had been on CC before applying to MIT, I wouldn't have applied. Keep the hope :)
  • mathboy98mathboy98 Registered User Posts: 3,752 Senior Member
    Another thing to those who felt like therazor, which reinforces what Piper says - people with all these good things behind them can be intimidating to read about, but guess what - chances are, they knew about a lot of things before you did. Knowing how to be intimidating and making it your priority to do the required achieving is a huge part of it. Remember that you're young and (hopefully) have a long life ahead of you, and that it's possible to better yourself a lot as you get older. Arguably your most meaningful achievements will be when older.

    A school like MIT is tough to get into for almost anyone, so there's really no reason to let CC get one down.
  • momfirst3momfirst3 Registered User Posts: 1,156 Senior Member
    I would hope that one's peak in life would not be admission to MIT.... :-)
  • therazor302therazor302 Registered User Posts: 186 Junior Member
    "@therazor302 - If I had been on CC before applying to MIT, I wouldn't have applied. Keep the hope "
    Oh I immediately dropped MIT after first being on CC but eventually I looked in between the cracks and found that although no one is guaranteed admission into MIT or any top college for that matter that I still had a fighting chance and I shouldn't let the negativity of others bring me down.

    At the end of the day I'm going to be the second person ever in my family to go to college, first being my brother who went to community college and then the state flagship(KU), and either way you look at it getting into a college period will be a huge accomplishment .

    Like everyone else has said, chances on CC can't tell you much for the top schools. Just keep your grades up, try your hardest and follow your passions and APPLY. You lose every battle you don't fight and there is no way to compare yourself to others. Just put all your best cards on the table and let colleges choose.

    The greatest analogy I heard for college admissions was on these forums it went something like "College is like a play, an adcoms job is to cast for certain rolls. There can be hundreds of qualified actors but not all of them are best fit for the parts they are trying to fill. Don't take a rejection as a sign of inadequacy." If anyone has the specific person/post that said it I'd love to have it for future reference. I just paraphrased best from my memory.
  • mathboy98mathboy98 Registered User Posts: 3,752 Senior Member
    Therazor - your positivity is good, I only slightly nitpick at the <<and there is no way to compare yourself to others>> bit - I think the better way to say it would be that absolute comparisons really don't exist, but relative ones do. My own philosophy about admissions has always been that the more concrete indicators of potential and fit should be favored. If someone knew what they're doing before you did, chances are they're more immediately prepared.

    However, like momfirst3 said - applying to colleges shouldn't be the highlight of your life. I think any adcom would find it really sad if that were. I agree you should apply and see what happens, but I also believe in respecting when people have simply done things making them more directly prepared for the initial step of attending a great university. I do think a direct comparison can be made. But the point is you have a long time ahead of you, and after 4 years at the university, you may for all you know have things better figured out than those stellar high school applicants do. That's just how life goes.

    Short message: I think "applying to school is more than just intimidating accomplishments, there's no way to compare you to others" is the wrong message, and "applying to schools is just one step, focus on developing yourself for the long term, master fundamentals, and figure out what you like to do" is a better one in my humble opinion.
  • therazor302therazor302 Registered User Posts: 186 Junior Member
    Thanks Mathboy.

    I'll agree with you on most of what you said. When I said the whole "it's not possible to compare yourself to others" the main point I was trying to get across is to not put too much weight on chance me threads and the statistics.

    Overall, like you said, everyone needs to look towards the long term. Although certain colleges can open certain doors it's important to remember that you are there to learn for the future.
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