<p>Can they estimate whether an applicant has a good shot of being accepted or not to MIT? Im sure they won't tell the applicant, but I am curious to know . . .</p>
<p>We can tell obvious cases (which are actually quite rare). We have a strong indication of the decision if we are about to write an extremely negative interview report. We cannot tell most of the time. In particular, we cannot tell, even if we write an extremely positive interview report.</p>
<p>In general, people don't apply to universities, application folders apply to universities. The role of the interview is to try to inject some more of the person into the process. But the interview is blind to the rest of the application. If I interview a candidate I do not see their transcript or test scores, I do not read their essays, I do not get to see for example that their teacher claims that they are absolutely brilliant, or that they are a grade-grubbing suck-up. I meet the person but not the application folder. That is as it should be. But what that means is that I never actually know who is going to get in.</p>
<p>What does an obvious case look like?</p>
<p>Several of Mikalye's excellent posts over the years here will give you an idea on the negative side. You may want to take a look at this one:</p>
<p>and the quite informative "How to blow the interview" post:</p>
In general, people don't apply to universities, application folders apply to universities.
This is a great observation, and something that I think more people need to recognize.</p>
Several of Mikalye's excellent posts over the years here...
Aw shucks mootmom, you are making me blush. You too mollieb. </p>
<p>This community works because there are a significant group of informed and intelligent people who understand the process and its frustrations and are able to make useful contributions from their experiences. From the MIT side, none more so than the two of you with 10 times and 20 times my post count, respectively.</p>
<p>To the specific points raised. kysuke, my view on obvious cases is very similar to US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's famous definition of obscenity: "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. ** But I know it when I see it.**"</p>
<p>I know obvious cases when I see them, whether it is a candidate who cannot string a sentence together who asks at the interview the best way to explain away 27 D's on their transcript in their personal statement, or the candidate who has never encountered soap. I do know the obvious cases on the extremely rare occasions that I encounter them.</p>
<p>As to the observation that application folders, rather than people, apply to universities, this is the single most important reason why I sooooo dislike "chances" threads. Without seeing the letters of recommendation, the personal statements, and indeed the interview reports, I can have no way to assess the match, and hence no clue as to whether the student will get in.</p>
<p>I have met some extremely talented, in some cases possibly brilliant candidates who were, nonetheless, poor matches for MIT.</p>
<p>Can you elaborate a little more on this :</p>
<p>'I have met some extremely talented, in some cases possibly brilliant candidates who were, nonetheless, poor matches for MIT.'</p>
<p>I mean what makes those candidates not matches for MIT?</p>
<p>Diversifying an institute comes to mind when mikalye says that quote listed above...
Obviously there are multiple types of talents and different shades of brilliance... being super bright and talented yet socially awkward, calculated-risks taker, comes to mind when i see "Extremely talented and brilliant candidates"... but if you can't sell yourself, those things don't really help... You can be smart but not super talented, have a passion, tried your best, and had fun in life, and express that in your interview.. that's probably a match... you should read the MIT's "prospective students and what we look for in a student" under the counselors section.</p>
<p>The greatest people on earth didn't necessarily take "Calculated-Risks"... they put their life on the line... MIT wants similar people like that... to jump into a huge ocean, when coming from a small pond... sure its a risk... but it just might help to find out... rather than taste the bland salad you know, why not try the exotic soup you've just discovered?</p>