Tag Archives: MIT

Dawn of a New Admissions Era

by Cassandra Martinez

The college that once told high school seniors to stop cramming so many extracurricular activities on their resumes has taken another step toward making applications less stressful – MIT has done away with the traditional, and much fussed-over, long essay.

In an article written in the October 4th issue of the Boston Globe, Tracy Jan reports on the changes the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is making to their admissions process.

The college essay detailing the most influential person in your life or the biggest decision you have yet to make has become one of the biggest cliches and stresses for high school seniors across the country, but MIT is taking a stand against this ritual that seems to them, archaic.

According to Stuart Schmill, MIT’s dean of admissions, it is almost impossible for a possible student to be able to fully articulate in an essay dealing with just one particular topic enough information for the university to make an informed decision on whether or not an applicant is a suitable fit for their institution.

Schmill is proposing that instead of one mammoth essay being the deciding factor as to whether or not a student is allowed entry into their prestigious institution, they should answer 2-3 short answer questions, such as how one approached a significant challenge in their life thus far.

These shorter and more specific questions are designed to garner a more candid response from students, which I totally agree with. Instead of getting canned responses that seniors have been trained to answer with, applicants must pull from their past experiences that have shaped them into a good addition for MIT.

These days getting into a prestigious university has become more of a game based on connections and training than on skill and intellect. By making these small changes to the way colleges accept students admissions are beginnnig to take a step back in the right direction where future students are accepted because they truly deserve it.

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Generating People Skills at MIT

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Leadership Program aims to develop, among others, the following skills:

  • Ability to assess risk and take initiative.
  • Willingness to make decisions in the face of uncertainty.
  • Urgency and the will to deliver objectives on time in the face of constraints or obstacles.
  • Resourcefulness and flexibility.
  • Trust and loyalty in a team setting.
  • Relating to others.
  • In a recent article by my reporter Tracy Jan which was published on October 25th of 2009 by the Boston Globe the subject of interpersonal skills in one of the most impersonal fields, engineering, was put under the microscope.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has created a program for their seemingly introverted student engineers to devlop their communication skills so when they do graduate and enter the workforce they are able to compete with say their more charismatic and confident competition adequately.

    According to MIT, the program offered to upperclassmen was intended to help those that are not “comfortable seeking leadership opportunities within companies.” It is believed that through leadership activities and elevator speech exercises MIT grads will be able to leave school fully able to compete and take control of situations where there needs to be a leader.

    This article by Tracy Jan is yet another example of her stories concerning higher education for the Globe. Jan publishes at least once a week and informs her Twitter followers whenever she has a new article through tweets.

    In Jan’s news articles she always has a broad range of personalities and people she interviews so she can get a wide array of responses on any of her given subjects. In this story on MIT she talks to students of the leadership course but also makes room to have quotes from the man who’s donation to the school made the classes possible.