As a rule of thumb, I’m usually very happy to receive emails from people who visit my website, and I’d love to hear from you if you wish to work with me or collaborate with any of the organizations that I am currently a member of. I’m also happy to hear from you about any feedback or comments you may have about my writing and also (especially!) if you have discovered any errata or dead links somewhere on my website, which I would be happy to try to fix as soon as possible.
However, of recent, I have been receiving a lot of emails and messages that overlap a lot in terms of content, and it isn’t really possible for me to reply to everyone with the same answers within a reasonable span of time. So before messaging or emailing me with any queries, I would appreciate it if you could read through this FAQ, especially if your questions are rather personal in nature.
How did you get into MIT?
In all honesty, I don’t know.
Even as an admitted student, I do not have any more access to information on how admissions work than somebody outside of MIT. I was admitted the same way as the rest of my class, after completing my application, the requirements for which are listed on the MIT Admissions website. These requirements may well be very different now than from when I applied. Please refer there for information on how to submit an application.
As for how to submit a successful application, I have no more knowledge of what works than anyone else, and I do not know what made my application successful. As I was not present when the admissions committee was reviewing my application, I have no way of knowing this information, and I feel it would be unwise of me to answer questions about something I don’t know.
As for what was on my application, well, everything I am comfortable with sharing about myself is already listed on my website and my blog. Also, a large part of the application process (at least for me) asked questions that had answers unique to the person applying - I don’t believe knowing my answers to those would help anyone in any way.
What should I do to get admitted to MIT/other institutes?
Once again, I don’t know.
Throughout high school, I participated in events, competitions, and extracurricular activities in fields that interested me. I was successful in some of those endeavors. I was not as successful in others. As I do not know why I got admitted in the first place, I cannot, with full honesty, claim that doing any particular activities will help you get in. Also, admissions criteria change year-to-year, as do applicant pools, and whatever may have worked for me cannot be guaranteed to work for anyone applying in the future.
For other institutes, I will most likely be totally unfamiliar with how they work, as I am an outsider with no special knowledge of admissions there. I highly recommend consulting the specific admissions websites of these institutes or contacting their admissions offices. For MIT, the MIT Admissions blogs are a good resource to understand admissions, as well as general life at the institute. A few of the ones I really liked were It’s More Than A Job, Bleary-eyed, Applying Sideways, and There Is No Formula. Perhaps you will find those helpful.
Can you help me with any other queries I may have about the college application process?
Sadly, I cannot, even though I would love to. As the application process itself is ever-changing, I cannot do any better than redirecting you to the institute/organization’s own websites. Furthermore, the number of such requests that I have received prevent me from helping anyone effectively. I don’t have any more useful or unique information about college applications than what is listed on this page, so even though I wish I could, I cannot help anyone here.
How did you make this website?