And to put a different spin, some people are unable to give great answers to some of the kinds of questions asked. Many applications ask hypothetical type questions, which may be strange in nature, and I would say slightly ridiculously so. Personality engineering only goes so far, because at the end of the day, an essay response is a short, potentially skewed fragment of a person's presentation (not even necessarily the reality) of how he/she is.twofish-quant said:It can be, but one problem is that once people figure out what the "right answers" are, they tend to mold themselves to give the right answers.
It can depend -- I think if you really tailor your application carefully and do a lot of the things right which people from the well-represented schools do, then you're more likely to get in. I think on the flip side, some schools just do send more students to MIT, and the "right things" to get in are probably more a subject of discussion in the right schools, plus doing really well in the school can mean more. Doing nothing to tailor your application to top schools, even if learning lots of good stuff on the side and developing oneself, tends to mean kissing them goodbye. For someone of high intellectual ability, who can do a lot of the things which might boost his/her chances, and thrive in one of the well-represented schools, it's probably a good idea to attempt. For a student who will be overshadowed by the crowd there, maybe not.It can be, but one problem is that once people figure out what the "right answers" are, they tend to mold themselves to give the right answers.