MIT Interview waived - good or bad?

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I am applying to MIT (among other universities) for undergraduate studies under "Regular Decision" and I have been assigned an interviewer. My friend also applied to MIT, but under Early Action, and his interview was waived. I was wondering what this meant for him and me (his admissions result hasn't come yet). I was previously under the impression that all applicants had an equal chance of being offered an interview, and that the primary reason for not getting the opportunity to put this personal touch to the application was usually the unavailability of an MIT EC (education counselor) in the applicant's local area. My friend lives a stone's throw away from me. So what could be going on here?

On a side note, how should I approach the interview itself? I've contacted my EC a few days ago and I've not heard from him yet. I'm getting butterflies in my stomach ever since I emailed him. I REALLY want to get in (despite knowing that it's is basically crapshoot and it doesn't matter what "stellar" achievements you've earned), but I'm still nervous and unsure as to how the whole thing will go. Tbh, I've never done such an interview in my life, and I sometimes find myself in a pessimistic state, questioning my stupid desire, wanting to toss my useless title of "national topper" into the trashcan. I'm afraid I'll screw up and not be myself, and I definitely don't want the EC to walk away with a bad impression. I want him to know that I have a burning desire to make my existence worthwhile. I want him to know that I will pursue my interests with all the ferocity and zeal in the world, that I'm not all flash no substance, and that I will relentlessly keep working towards my aspirations and dreams to turn them into reality and leave my mark behind.
But I doubt I'll have the nerve to say all this under that massive pressure :cry:
What do I do?
 

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  • #2
Student100
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What do I do?
Stop caring so much? It's one school, it isn't going to define the rest of your life. If you manage to tell yourself that, most of the fear and insecurity you feel will go away and your interview will feel much more normal and fluid.

Right now it seems like your desperate to get in. That's the wrong attitude to have.
 
  • #3
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  1. Is it not possible that someone is available in December who was not available in October?
  2. Worrying about someone else's admission experience is a very un-MIT thing to do. Have you visited campus? Have you experienced the environment.
  3. If you are tying your self-worth into being accepted at one school, that's unhealthy. If you consider admission a "crapshoot", that's even more unhealthy.
 
  • #4
radium
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It is very probable that interviews matter very little if at all for college admissions. I don't have any hard evidence for this, but I get this impression from personal experience and talking to other interviewers.

The way it works is that schools have alumni do these interviews. Some interviewers have been doing interviews for over ten years, some literally just graduated the past spring. For the schools I know of, there is no training involved at all, you literally just sign up, interview the applicant and submit a report summarizing the interview. In this report you can talk about what stood out, compare the applicants strengths to other applicants, and provide your opinion about them overall and whether or not they should be accepted.

The problem is that even though schools have been able to interview more and more applicants by year, the process is in no way standardized, so honestly it really is just an opportunity to learn about the school. I actually was talking to an MIT alum once who used to do interviews. The only person he interviewed who got accepted (he interviewed at least 15 applicants) was someone whom he gave a pretty poor report.
 
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Sorry for the late reply, I've been extremely busy with my common app.
Stop caring so much? It's one school, it isn't going to define the rest of your life. If you manage to tell yourself that, most of the fear and insecurity you feel will go away and your interview will feel much more normal and fluid.
You're right. Maybe if I don't think a lot about how my admission chances are being affected by the interview, I'll be better off.
Right now it seems like your desperate to get in. That's the wrong attitude to have.
If you are tying your self-worth into being accepted at one school, that's unhealthy.
I think I've been misunderstood here. I'm not pinning all my hopes on getting into one school (I'm applying to plenty of other institutions as well) - I know that having the "MIT or nothing" attitude will only set me up for disappointment. But that does not stop me from wanting to get into MIT, and I believe these are mutually inclusive feelings.
Is it not possible that someone is available in December who was not available in October?
That did cross my mind, but I did not assign a high probability to it. Someone must have been available at that time, right? A Skype interview could be conducted, but it was still waived. That's what is bugging me. I guess I'm still not able to understand the exact circumstances under which an interview is waived.
Worrying about someone else's admission experience is a very un-MIT thing to do.
Why is that? Do people who get admitted into MIT not care about how their friends are doing?

Have you visited campus? Have you experienced the environment.
No, unfortunately. I've not yet had the opportunity of experiencing the northeast.
If you consider admission a "crapshoot", that's even more unhealthy.
I'm just trying to be realistic. Almost everyone who applies to MIT is a valedictorian with near perfect SAT/ACT scores, has outstanding recommendation letters and has written literary masterpieces for essays (not to mention the social work of building huts in Kenya and having conducted landmark research with a PhD holder). There isn't much room to standout here.
It is very probable that interviews matter very little if at all for college admissions.
That is in contrast to what I've been given to understand.
mitadmissions.org said:
Interviews are strongly recommended. In fact, last year, of eligible applicants, we admitted 10.8% of those who had an interview (or who had their interview waived) but only 1% of those who chose not to interview.
 
  • #6
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Why is that? Do people who get admitted into MIT not care about how their friends are doing?
There is a difference between caring about your friends, and worrying about your own admission because somebody else is not going through the same process as you.
 
  • #7
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I think you need to visit MIT. Based on what you have posted, I think you would hate it. Better to find out now than a week after you've enrolled.

Almost everyone who applies to MIT is a valedictorian with near perfect SAT/ACT scores, has outstanding recommendation letters and has written literary masterpieces for essays (not to mention the social work of building huts in Kenya and having conducted landmark research with a PhD holder).
Completely false.

There is a difference between caring about your friends, and worrying about your own admission because somebody else is not going through the same process as you.
Exactly. The whole thing sounds like "This! Is! Not! Fair!" And that's really not the MIT way of looking at it.

That did cross my mind, but I did not assign a high probability to it. Someone must have been available at that time, right? A Skype interview could be conducted, but it was still waived. That's what is bugging me. I guess I'm still not able to understand the exact circumstances under which an interview is waived.
It really sounds like you're upset that MIT waived it for him, but not for you. As has been pointed out to you before, interviews are conducted by volunteer alums. It's just not true that "someone must be available". One year I was assigned 33 new interviewees at the very last minute. That just wasn't going to be possible, so a bunch of them got waived. The "exact circumstances" is that the person at MIT in charge of waiving interviews decides to waive it.
 
  • #8
radium
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Vanadium is absolutely right. The MIT environment is meant for a very specific type of person. If you are not that type of person, you will likely hate it. I say this based on what I've heard from several friends who are MIT alums and people who are currently grad students there.

I actually didn't mention that I interview applicants for my alma mater, so I actually have experience with how interviews work. The comment on MIT admissions didn't refer to the importance of the interview, it is just saying that it is viewed negatively if you decline the interview. If you are offered an interview, you should absolutely except it. However, it is very unlikely it will affect your admission.
 
  • #9
symbolipoint
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The last few posts about the interviews are interesting but give no clear meaning of the purpose for those interviews. What is the point?
 
  • #10
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The interview is there to provide information to the admissions committee that is not present in the application, grades, test scores, or letters.
 

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