How to Write the MIT Essays 2020-2021

Recorded Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 12:00 AM

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About this livestream

School information

Massachusetts Institute of Technology | MIT

Cambridge, MA

Learn how to write the MIT essays and distinguish yourself as an applicant that is the right fit for MIT.

Hale Jaeger will provide an in-depth breakdown of each of the essays, discussing how to optimize and tailor a response to each one by breaking down the purpose of the prompts.

He'll also open up the floor to answer any and all questions about the MIT-specific essay prompts. If you’re not sure where to start, this livestream will help you figure out the best plan for you.

Video Transcript:


In today's presentation on writing the MIT application essays for the 2020 2021 cycle, I am a current senior at Yale University. So while I am not an MIT student, and can't necessarily answer all of your questions about what it's like to go to MIT, this is my fifth year working with CollegeVine through the admission cycle. So I have lots of experience with writing these kinds of essays. So I'm really prepared to answer those questions. So please, please feel free to throw those questions into the chat box on your screens throughout the evening. I will try to answer the questions as we go. But if not, if I don't get to your question, in the moment, we are going to end with a q&a session. So if I don't get to your questions in the beginning, I'll try to make sure to answer them by the time we wrap up for the night. Without further ado, though, I'm going to jump right in to the presentation. And so that starts with just what we're going to be covering today. We'll start with a little bit of background about MIT and about the college applications process. And then we'll take take a deep dive into each of the essays that you will be asked to answer and asked to write for the MIT application. And like I said, we'll end with opening the floor for q&a.


So just to jump into the background, MIT is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge is contiguous to Boston. It's also the home of Harvard University. So it has a lot of connections with Boston and with other institutions, namely Harvard, and you can actually take some classes at Harvard if you're an MIT student, and vice versa. It is a really highly regarded institution as well as ranked number three and a tie. US News and World Report's for 2020. And it's especially well known for its STEM programs, though it is also really highly regarded for its business program. It's definitely a selective school, and it offers an early action rather than early decision. But if you're not ready to, if you haven't already submitted your application, if you're watching this presentation, you're likely headed for the regular action deadline, or maybe you're prepping for next year. And so that early action is something to keep in mind.


Just a quick overview on what's important to know about college essays is that these are part of the holistic application process, they are not necessarily going to be considered for exactly 30% of your application, but they do get a pretty heavy weight, because they are the best place for a reader to get to know you and your personality. So usually, these essays are about 700 words or fewer anywhere between really 100 to 700. And some schools ask you to write several and other schools only asked for one or two, as you saw MIT is on the longer end, and that they ask for more than one essay, but they're all fairly short. And these are a great place to reveal something about yourself who you are, again, this is part of that personal component of the application. And so you want to be sure to convey something meaningful about your personality and who you are beyond your grades and your test scores. And whatever else is on your resume. It's important to know that MIT is not on the common app. It has its own application. And so for that reason, they asked a bunch of questions. And none of them is a personal statement per se, but they have questions that span the entire spectrum of what a college might ask. And so they're fairly straightforward. But that doesn't mean you can give generic answers, you definitely want to make them personal to you and to MIT, in order to build a connection with the school as we go forward. And so make sure you are using authentic reasoning and specific details that added personal dimension to your writing, and helps you to stand out.


And the case of a school like MIT that has so many essays, you have to treat them sort of as a portfolio. What that means is that they shouldn't all be considered in a vacuum. Each of them is going to be one facet of your application and the same reader is going to look at all the essays you submit. So they'll have some context that That being said, they don't necessarily read them all. In order, so you don't want to rely on one or site one in another essay, they should each stand alone, but they should provide a different dimension of your cohesive application, they should complement one another, not be repetitive.


So jumping into the MIT essays, as I said, they're not using the common application, they use my MIT their own proprietary application product. And so what that looks like is five unique supplementary essays, plus one additional optional essay that I'll talk about at the very end. And so as you're starting those off, we're just going to read through what the prompts are that you're going to be asked to respond to. The first prompt is describe the world you come from, for example, you're fed family clubs, school, community, city or town. How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations 250 words or fewer. The second prompt asks you to pick what field of study at MIT appeals to you the most right now and tell us more about why this field of study appeals to you in 100 words or fewer. The third prompt asks, we know you lead a busy life full of activities, many of which are required of you tell us about something you do simply for the pleasure of it in 200 to 250 words. And then the last two prompts here are at MIT, we can bring people together to better the lives of others, MIT students work to improve their communities in different ways from tackling the world's biggest challenges to being a good friend, describe one way in which you have contributed to your community, whether in your family, the classroom, your neighborhood, etc. 200 to 250 words. And lastly, tell us about the most significant challenge you faced or something important that didn't go according to plan. How did you manage the situation 200 to 250 words. Like I said, there's also that optional essay at the end, which asks you to in 150 words, or fewer talk about your cultural background if it's been important to you.


So jumping forward into the first prompt, as we do that, I want to throw a question to you guys. So I'll be launching a poll, it'll be great to get some feedback from you just to understand where everyone is in the cycle. So I'll be asking you some questions throughout, please do give me some answers there, because it'll be really helpful for us. But without any further ado, we're going to talk about the first question about the world you came from. Whether that means your family clubs, school, community, city or town, and they want to know how it shaped your dreams and aspirations. So what this essay is asking you to do is reflect on your past and your present, to see how it's shaped your future. And so this is a pretty common essay type. It's asking you about your community and the place that you call home. So start maybe by thinking about your aspirations, and working backwards, what are your goals? What do you hope to achieve, especially after college, and how has your community helped you to realize those goals to understand and recognize them. You can also work you know from in a chronological kind of way, rather than working backwards from your aspirations. You can think about it in terms of what is a community that's really important to me, which community is really formative in my life? And what has it taught me and which goals and aspirations because has that influenced, so you can work at it from either direction. But as this last bullet says, you're reflecting on the past and present, to take a look into the future, that's going to be something that you hear me say a lot in this presentation. And in every other one. It's all about taking your past experiences, and seeing where they're headed and seeing where they're directing you to.


So, to give an example of what this kind of essay might look like, we have an example here about breathing fresh air. Okay. So maybe you are somebody who has grown up in a very smoggy city like Los Angeles or Beijing. Beijing is a really interesting example because it's a place where the air quality is so bad, a lot of the time that people are often seen wearing masks, even pre pandemic. And so, you grew up in this place, or maybe you spent a couple years there, and it made you realize how important it is for us to transition towards green energy and that has sort of fueled your passion for sustainability and green technologies and eco friendly practice. And so now you want to study environmental engineering, and architecture. And that's what you're interested in pursuing as a career. It doesn't necessarily have to be a career goal that you explore here, especially because you do answer a question about your major in the next product. But that's a usually a pretty good concrete place to pin an aspiration, you don't necessarily have to stick to what this is, this is not asking you to set your future in stone, of course, but it's an example for you to keep in the back of your mind.


Another example of an essay, responding to this prompt might be about a children's hospital, for example, if your parents work as pediatric nurses at the Children's Hospital nearby, and you spent a lot of time there watching your parents work with these kids. And to the point where the hospital is basically your second home, and you're observing, and you're learning and you're taking it all in, and maybe you grew up and you started volunteering at the hospital. And you could focus on a lot of different things. Why, for example, you know, if it was really painful for you to see kids suffer, but you also get to see this glimpse of hope, and people who really care about getting better and making other people better. And seeing how much joy The staff was able to bring to the patients to their families, and the community around you. So maybe this is, you know, undercutting your, or underscoring your motivation to go to medical school or to become a nurse yourself, like your parents and spread hope, you know, in this kind of setting.


So just sort of in conclusion on this type of essay, and this particular prompt, every one of the examples that I mentioned here is recreating or retelling an important story, and maybe a moment a single anecdote that analyzes how the world that you're talking about, led to the realization of the goals and aspirations you have for the future. So it's that it's that future look that forward facing direction, towards personal growth, that shows what this essay is really asking you to do, which is to reflect on what your dreams are, and where they came from. And while this, this says, preferably tied to your career, and missions, partly because that's an easy way to put it in perspective of your own future. But it doesn't necessarily have to be related to your career, it can absolutely be a more personal goal, especially if you're like me, and you had no clue what you wanted to do when you graduated upon applying to college.


One key thing here, as is going to be important for pretty much every essay you write from here on out, specificity conveys authenticity. So the danger of writing a generic essay is that it doesn't actually share very much about you personally, as but so the more detail you can include, the more if this feels like you, this feels like your voice. And I can get a sense as a reader of who you are and what you'll bring to my campus at MIT. And so that's a really good rule of thumb, that you should be thinking of whenever you write a personal essay like this, you know, am I being as specific as I can be? I haven't stopped to check for questions yet. So I just want to take a quick moment to see if you guys have any questions. So far, I'm not seeing any. So I'm going to keep on going I'm also going to throw another poll your way, just to see where we are in the process. Prompt two is a why major question. They're asking you which field of study that MIT offers is going to be appealing to you right now. And tell us more about why this field of study appeals to you. So it's really just asking you, why do you want to study what you want to study. And the key phrase here that a lot of schools don't include, but which everyone implies is right now, this is not something you are signing with. In blood, these are not writing this in stone, you are 100% free to change your major. Most people change their major at least once during their college career. I changed my major twice in the last couple years. So you are absolutely by no means committed to the major that you write this essay about.


And you'll notice you'll know only got 100 words maximum to write this essay. So you have to really condense what you want to say down into this and while specificity is still important or A lot less room here for detail. And in the other 200 to 250 words that MIT is asking you to write. This is a really standard, straightforward question. None of MIT's questions are kind of out to get you or fool you or trick, you may just want to know, what are the reasons that you want to study this field. And you want to give something that we call authentic reason? These are not things related to prestige, or post graduation salary. Or just because what's what your parents want you to do. They want to know what you're passionate about, and why. What are the past experiences you've had, that have influenced your decision to pursue this further in the future? How have you interacted with this in ways that have been meaningful to you. And so you want to be able to tie this from your past into your future at MIT. And MIT actually has pretty distinctive majors, I think they call them courses rather than majors. So you're gonna want to check out what their programs are called, because they do have unique titles. And as a result also might have some interesting curricular emphases that aren't necessarily common at every single school. So you want to check that out for sure. So you want to see what resources they have on offer, and talk about how you'll be taking advantage of those. So this functions primarily as the Why Major essay, but it's really asking you why do you want to study this at MIT? So you want to make sure that it's not a generic essay, it's specific to MIT programs and what they have on offer. If you're undecided at the moment, that's totally okay. Like I said, most people change their majors a couple times, I actually gave another presentation a little while ago, about how to write a wide major essay if you're undecided. And so I won't go too much into it here. But basically, you just want to find a couple things, one or two things that you're interested in pursuing or exploring, maybe you're not, you know, committed to, but you want to check it out a little more. And talk about why you think these might be potential areas of interest for you. Even if they're not things you want to solidly say, this is what I'm studying. And again, as always, specificity is going to be your best friend here.


So for example, with MIT, you might want to study electrical engineering, and computer science or eeks. Because that's going to really help you start a startup in your future, and helps you look at both the hardware and the software sides of things. And it has a new curriculum in place at MIT with more flexibility and interdisciplinary study and independence for the undergrads. So you have the opportunity to explore eeks, as a department, specifically at MIT. And you also might want to talk about entrepreneurship, Since launching a startup obviously, takes some business acumen. And so, as I said, at the beginning of the presentation, MIT has a very strong business program and economics program. So you might want to be able to connect with those programs, and see what's going on, and the Sloan School of Business. And that'll really help you to get yourself off the ground with this kind of essay.


You might also want to be talking about specific researchers that you want to work with, or specific classes that you're excited to take. So you don't want to necessarily pin yourself down if you're undecided. And they get that. But there are lots of ways to make this specific without feeling like you're committing to something you're not passionate about. Again, I want you to make sure that you're talking about this in a way that shows how clear your passion is. Whether that's for research, or for entrepreneurship, or anything that you're thinking of pursuing a major and because prestige and clout are not going to translate as passion, it's going to be really easy to tell. So if you are interested in something it makes for a great story, make sure you just focus on those long term goals and what you are hoping to get out of this program at MIT and tie it back to your past experiences. I know that that's a really tall order to place into a very short essay. So the art attire, there's not a ton of room for detail, but you can make sure that you get some good information in there.


The next piece of the application puzzle that we're putting together here is about question about something that you enjoy. You know, what is something that you do not because you have to, but because you want to 200-250 words is a pretty generous margin here. And it lets you really explore something, this is probably one of your extracurricular activities. But it also might just be a hobby. So what do you do in your free time. And you're going to want to use this opportunity to discuss something you haven't talked about in other essays. And that goes back to the idea of essays as a portfolio. And again, like with the major, you want to be honest, here, you don't choose something that sounds impressive. You rather you'd rather put something forward that demonstrates your genuine, authentic passion, or something.


That being said, being honest, doesn't necessarily mean using an idea that isn't reflective of who you are, and what you will bring to MIT, you still want to be putting your best foot forward. So for example, you want to choose something that is going to show that you can think meaningfully and maturely about something, scrolling through your Tik tok, or looking at memes all day isn't going to be something that resonates really strongly with an admissions reader. You probably want something a little more substantive here, volunteering, maybe if that's meaningful to you, it might be a job that you have, it might be babysitting for your younger siblings or cousins, this can be one of those things that you just love to do. And you do it without being asked, because it's something you want to do. And so you can approach this essay structure, once you have a topic in your mind, you can take it in one of two directions, okay? Either stick to the moment in time method, which is you know, a brief anecdote about a specific episode in which you were doing this activity. And you want to just tell that story recreating a single moment in time, I can raise how much you love it, or you want to look at it from a longitudinal method, you know, saying, This is what I love. This is how I discovered it. This is how I've engaged with it and how I've grown through it, this is what it's taught me, and this is how I hope to continue doing it in the future. Um, you're going to want to incorporate some elements of both, for example, even if you're doing the longitudinal method, you want to include details of a meaningful moment, to give authenticity to it. But the moment in time also has to have some context to it some explanation, you can't just drop yourself right in the middle of the story and never explain how we got there. And so I want to give an example to show what this might look like. So if your passions when you love to do is sunset photography, maybe you want to tell a moment in time story about when you were sitting on a pier, and watching the sun go down and you lift up the camera. And as the colors on the sky just sort of turned this gorgeous gradient and the sun hits the horizon, you take a photo, and you hear the click and you just feel all your stress melt away. That's a great moment in time that shows what really vivid imagery, something that makes you feel right.


But maybe you want to approach it a different way. Talking about the first time you ever took a photo personally ever had a camera in your hands. And you went on this sort of long journey, taking pictures of lots of different things until you finally settled on sunsets. And what does that mean for you? You know, what have you gotten out of this? Maybe it's a question of understanding balance and perspective. Either way, no matter what direction you're taking this, you want to be telling us what you do that you love, why you love it, and while how this activity has shaped you and what you've learned from it, what you've gained from it. Okay, so the lessons you've learned are going to be important here. And make sure again, try to throw in some good details here. It makes it seem really authentic and meaningful and personalizes the essay and makes you stand out. A second option here Another example might be to talk about Rubik's cubes. You love doing Rubik's cubes, you've been doing them forever, you know all sizes from the force side. Now four sided the two by two grid, two things that are huge. Maybe not even cubes at all. So you just love to solve puzzles, you love challenges, and you love trying to do better than you did last time. And so you can do this again moment in time focusing on a single solve. Or you can make it more of a narrative from growing and from the basic Rubik's cube to the more complex ones and how you see challenges. And you know that there's some method, and you're just trying to figure out what that looks like and how to make it work. And yes, this is kind of a nerdy thing. But again, this is the MIT application after all, so you're in good company, if you are worried about it being too nerdy. Just to summarize, you want to use good imagery, good details to tell a compelling story. This is a very show don't tell, because this isn't a new love. This is something you're passionate about, you shouldn't have to describe it. And then bullet point kind of way, this is very pathos filled essay, ideally.


Moving on to the next of the essays, I want to ask you guys another quick question. So feel free to answer in the polls again. This essay, number four here is about your impact, and your community and the people around you, and how you work to improve the lives of those around you. And whether that's your community, family, classroom, neighborhood, whatever that means. And so this is a really broad question asking you to talk about a time or a way in which you cared about other people. And so, if you look at the examples, they give family, classroom neighborhood, big challenges being a good friend, you don't need to go with something massive, it doesn't have to be I have created lasting peace in the Middle East. Like that's not really what they're going for here. They want to know, what human interactions Do you have, that you use to improve the world. And so you don't have to panic if you haven't cured cancer, you're okay. It can be as simple as being a good friend having the ability to support people who need to be supported in your life. That's totally okay. So just think about a time where you made a positive impact in the world around you and the community around you in the lives of the people around you. Show that you're generous that you want to make a difference that you work hard to make a difference, and put in good emphasis on what that outcome looks like. What did you do? And how did it pay off for the other people involved? In addition, this is another essay where you want to have gotten something out of this experience. We want to know what it changed about you. Why does this matter to you? And how did you grow is really sort of the key here. So maybe you volunteered with the Red Cross or at a local retirement home, maybe you found it a club at school that was about bringing education to children in need, it doesn't matter what your cause is, or how it word you can take. Maybe it was just a time that you stood up for someone who was being picked on. Um, do you just have to give meaning to it? If it's meaningful for you that'll come across? Maybe so tying in that personal significance that personal development is going to make it seem like it matters in ways that we might not get otherwise from such a short essay. So give that act personal meaning, and we want to know what we're supposed to learn about you from this, you know, maybe you'd want to compare yourself before and after. But that might be a stretch given the length of the essay.


So an example here might be you tutored a teammate or a friend, somebody on your varsity sports team was struggling in math, for example, worried about failing and didn't really see the point. Just thought that they were bad at math. And that was it. So you decided you were going to help to tutor that friend and do it for free every week, and just help as in any way you can? Because it's something that makes sense to you. And maybe you work with them every week for a month or two months and finally they get their first a on a test or a homework. And they're really excited by that they are not just getting it not understanding Getting the concepts but understanding why they're important. And maybe they even start to like math, maybe they don't. But just what is the outcome there? And then what did you get out of it, maybe you learned that you really like to teach maybe that maybe you gained a new appreciation for math or learned new study tactics, that help you to understand concepts in ways that bring other subjects together in ways you hadn't anticipated. So maybe was a What do you get out of it, but in a way that is very spiritual and not material. Make sure you're emphasizing your generosity here in a humble way, by getting that outcome and what you got out of it as well. Um, so that's one example.


A second example might center on food waste, for example, perhaps you realize that your school has just a huge amount of food waste going on. So you work with administration, and maybe the student council and sustainability group and you push for composting as a system within your school. And you help to reduce waste in that way, and you work with the principal and the school board, and you make it happen, not just in your school, but all over the district, you know, and this sparks, you know, an interest in sustainability and environmental engineering or environmental studies, it doesn't have to start that it doesn't have to jumpstart it, per se, but maybe it furthers it, or it gives it a new perspective. Now, which one of the ways in which you've grown? Okay, so the situation, the way you did the outcome, and what you how you grew from that.


Um, we have one more of the main essays here, before we get to this sort of optional secret essay that they've hidden on their application. And this last one is about the most significant challenge that you faced, or something that didn't go according to plan and how you manage that. Cuse me, I'm sorry. So it's asking you about either the most significant challenge you faced, or something important that didn't go to plan. Either away, you can't, you're not going to go wrong with this essay. I will say you don't have to necessarily focus on the most significant challenge that you faced, okay. But you do want to focus on something that has some weight, some gravity to it. Because you want to make sure that you're not trivializing this. They're trying to figure out how you handle truly difficult situations, and what you take away from them, and what you put into them. So as you go through it, make sure you are describing the significance of this situation, why it's important to you. Because, again, if it is too trivial, it'll look like you're not taking it seriously, or you don't know how to engage with real challenges.


And so that's not to say you have to write about something that is really difficult for you to talk about still. But you shouldn't be writing about getting a B on a calculus test, you know, it should be something that does have some meaning, some significance to it. And so you want to think about what happened, what you did, and the steps that you took, and you want to show what came with it, you know, what was the outcome in general? And also, how did you grow? Again, just like the last essay and some of the other ones before that. We want to know what happened in your past? And where is it leading in your future? Why was this challenge so important to you? You know, what was your reaction in the moment? What was your reaction leader and how did you approach a solution? And how did this challenge you to grow and mature in important ways. Again, common mistakes include choosing something that's just far too trivial, like doing poorly on one task is not really going to help here. You also want to avoid things that are really cliche. For example, a sports injury. Okay, that's something that lots of readers have read a million times. And so you want to be able to put a unique spin on something like this. Something that you definitely want to try to avoid often includes romantic relationships and breakups, those are often a little too personal and difficult to make serious and mature. So you want to stick to something a little more workable.


For example, if you didn't want to do something about the sports injury, so it's a really significant challenge, you want to spin it in a new way. Maybe instead of classic story, which you can picture as, like a training montage in your head, no, I got injured, I couldn't play in a big game, I had to go through rehab and physical therapy, eventually, I got back on the field the next season, and we and I was, was able to lead the team to a state championship title, that story is a little played out. A more unique approach might be you got injured, and then you were forced to stay away from the sport. And so you picked up a new hobby, like writing. And now you love English, and you want to go into journalism. And so, you know, maybe, or maybe you got injured, and you started to sell on the sidelines a lot and you love realize you love the strategy and sort of the philosophy of the game more than you actually like playing it. And that's how you got into political science, or chess or something new and different, you know, so it's, you're skipping the cliche, and you're going in a new direction, something that is surprising to a reader.


Another example might be something, we have the Bandung Conference. If you went to Model United Nations, and you were on this panel, in this conference, you showed up, you've been preparing for months and months and months, but one of the other delegates couldn't make it got sick. So you needed to suddenly switch sides, you had to be on the opposite side from the one you'd prepared for. This could be very scary. But instead of panicking, you get as much information as you can in a short time. And maybe you get there and they call on you and you still blank, you still have no idea what to say you ask them to come back to you. And so they circle back and you still make, you know, a confident, articulate argument. And even if you don't come out on top, in this situation, you've learned something about the importance of preparation, but also the importance of being flexible, being adaptable to new situations and changing conditions.


a different example might be about a robotics club experience, where you start the competitive Robotics Competition club at your school, you get the interest in students together, and you get it approved. But for some reason, the administration decides they don't want this club around. And they reject your proposal. And then you get other people to rally around you, you get support from other peers and maybe faculty, and you figure out exactly why this would be beneficial to your school community. Maybe they still say no, even if you don't persuade this school board, maybe you realize you enjoyed the research of it and the debate. And so you've gone now and joined the debate club instead, and you found your people there. And something has been really important to helping you discover this new passion that you wouldn't have otherwise realized. So this is a sort of way to spin a different type of essay out of something that could be a really typical question.


Before we go into the last, sort of what we've labeled the secret essay. I have a cup and one more poll for you for now. Another one's coming soon. Don't worry, I know you were worried about more polls. So please do give us a little bit of feedback. But as I'm going into the secret prompt, what I want to say about it, is that we call it the secret prompt because it's not listed on their website. Rather, it only appears on the application and it's an optional prompt. Please tell us more about your cultural background and identity in the space below 150 words or fewer. And so it is optional, technically here and there is some overlap with prompt one. But you should still consider answering this question. We like to say the most optional things on these applications are not truly optional, you should still consider them as mandatory. There are very few exceptions. For example, Duke University asks about being a member of the LGBTQIA plus community? And if that's an important part of your identity, and if it's not, you should definitely not answer that question. But this kind of question is one that a lot of applicants can relate to, you have something in your background that's meaningful and has had some influence on your life experience. So this might relate to your minority status in some way, your religion, or your ethnicity or your nationality, but it could also relate to other aspects of your identity. And so you don't want to rule it out just because it says it's optional. And again, here, you have the option to do more moment in time or more longitudinal. Now, is there one example of a story that really helps display why your background is important to you? Or is it something that's easier told, by talking about the entire course if your life, you know, either approaches valid, you might want to think about, you know, your weekly family dinners, say, if you, you know, have lots of big families, and within your larger extended family, you have lots of cousins and aunts and uncles, and they all converge for dinner every Sunday. And you get to tell stories, your you know, your older relatives tell stories about the old country, and they have celebrations that are specific to your culture, maybe that's something that's really important. And you want to focus in on something like that. But again, narrative show don't tell specificities, your best friend and these kinds of things.


And that does bring us right towards the end, I want to summarize, before we move to the q&a portion of this call here of this presentation, the most important things I want you to take away from this presentation are that you want to be articulating your active role, your past and present in something and how it points to your future, the ways you've grown from what you do, and where you are and who you are. You want to use specific details so you can show and not tell and convey your passion in an authentic way. And you want to, you know, get feedback throughout the process. Ask the people around you, teachers, advisors, parents, or you could use college vines free tools to get your essay peer reviewed. So feel free to get other perspectives on this, throw other eyes at these essays, once you've written drafts, because you want to be able to give these the best you can and show off who you are.


And that does sort of bring us to the end of this presentation. So I'm going to stop sharing my screen. And I am going to open up for questions from you guys. Because I want to be able to answer the questions that you have about these types of essays and these options here. And what that looks like. I know I've talked a lot at you in the last 45 minutes or so. So I don't want to keep blathering at you if you have specific questions or specific specific things that you want to know. So please start putting those questions in the chat box. I haven't seen any just yet. So I'm really excited to see what you guys are interested in learning about writing these essays. A brief note is that the presentation that I've just given here is being recorded. And so you'll be able to access it at any point in the future. Just by going back to this website, you'll be able to share it if you would like or you can just revisit. And that same that same thing is true for all of the presentations that we give here at CollegeVine. They're always free and they're always available. So if there's anything that you are interested in, that you think there might be another presentation about already, for example, writing the Why major essay, especially if you're undecided. You can go back and check that out. Um, and it will be in our archives You can also go back and check out our college fair from a couple weeks ago, where we had students from all different universities, giving panels and talks about what their student experiences like. You can go back and see, you know, what do MIT students have to say about being at MIT? So these are things that you can absolutely investigate further for free through CollegeVine. But at the same time, I'm here live right now to answer questions that you have. So please, please do give those questions up to us. Or if you have any feedback on how this presentation went for you what you're hoping to see more from CollegeVine in the future, you can put that in the box as well. And we'll review it and we'll take it into account. I am going to continue talking until I have some questions.


Great. We have one question here. Because these prompts are on the shorter side, should students aim to write in a narrative style or to summarize events so that there's more room for the meaning? This is a great question. And one that's not necessarily confined to these essays, you know, short essays, I think, are some of the most difficult ones to write. Because you have so much to say, I would still recommend using anecdotes here, because they are much more personal, and can show a lot about you and how you think and what your voice sounds like. You should definitely be reserving room for explicit analysis, you know, so in a 250 word essay, you should be devoting at least 50-75 words to analysis here. And that's not a hard and fast rule, it's rule of thumb, you should be telling a story, and then telling us why that story is important and what it means for your food. And that might take a couple tries to write something and then cut it back and then cut it back and then cut it back. But it's always easier to write more and then cut stuff out than it is to work with a skeleton and try to flesh it out. Because if you think about the word count, you might leave out the most important thing because you just don't get there. So I recommend writing everything you have to say. And then cutting out the fluff and making things more concise and condensing it from there rather than working the other direction. That's a great question.


I'd love to see some other questions as well, about this or about the essays in general for MIT, or just the college applications process? Um, what are the questions that you have about what this might look like and what is expected from you? I definitely want to be able to give you guys the answers that you're looking for. In whatever realm that is that you feel you need guidance in. In the meantime, launching the very last poll while I wait for questions, that's the thing, love. If you guys don't ask me questions, I have time to ask you questions. So we're going to need you to put in some participation here to make sure that we're getting everything shipshape here and answering the questions that you guys feel we haven't yet addressed.


I'm not seeing any new questions rolling in at the moment. So I'm going to give it another minute. I'm going to let it keep keep and keep tabulating and keeping you know, pulling in the things that you guys are putting into the box. But I'm not seeing too much. So it looks like we're sort of drawing to the end of our presentation. I know every time I say that I'm going to wrap it up. That's when the questions start flooding in, because it's just how the karma of the universe works out for these things. But even though I've said the words wrap up, I'm still not seeing lots of new questions. So I'm just going to give it another minute. Before I do call it a night. And again, you guys totally have the option here to come back and watch later. You can also check out which live streams we have coming up and register for those. For example tomorrow we have a live essay review. We have another how to write essays kind of presentation coming up for Georgetown. So I'm going to show you guys that one in case you were hoping to register for something like that. Um I'm sorry if that pulls is coming up for you again, you can feel free to ignore it the second time. But, again, if there's anything that you guys feel was missing from this, please put it in the box. And I'll try to answer it now or we'll take it into consideration for the future. Alrighty, I am still not seeing any new questions coming on in. So I am going to Oh, here we go.


There's one. Usually you're told not to write about personal issues such as politics. What about talking about specific companies that you want to investigate or that you admire? So I'm not exactly sure what context you're thinking of this end. But it's always okay to be talking about the experiences you've had. Um, so if you worked at a company, and it was a really formative experience for you, it changed what you want it to do in the future, for example, that's a really valid experience to write about, because it shaped you into the person who is applying to college today. If you're thinking about it in the future, where you're saying, okay, I had this one experience. And I think I like consulting, for example. And so now I want to explore x consulting firm, that's not necessarily the direction I would take it, you want to think about more resources that are available at MIT, you know, maybe they have a campus consulting firm that you want to explore or business clubs or economics clubs, or things that, you know, are being operated through the Sloan School for business. So you have MIT specific opportunities there. So if that's answering your question, I hope it is, if it's not feel free to put a follow up in the box, and I'll try to address it. But the my general advice is, feel free to talk about your past experiences as they've influenced your future. When thinking about the future, think more in fields and sub topics, and not so much in specific companies, unless that company's doing something truly unique. But you can think about it in this way. And for years, a lot is going to change by the time you graduate from college. The odds that that company is the only one doing what they do is pretty those odds are pretty slim. So maybe I would talk more about the field or the research or the work rather than name dropping a company, especially if it has nothing to do with being a student at MIT.


Right, What other questions do we have? Is there anything else that's sort of outstanding, that we haven't had the opportunity to discuss together? I want to make sure that I'm getting you guys the answers that you're hoping to hear, or that you are excited to hear or need to hear, though those aren't always the same thing. Is there anything else that you guys are missing that you feel we haven't yet touched on that you are hoping to hear more about? Alright, I'm not seeing any new questions. But I'm going to talk pretty slowly. So that I'm making sure not to miss a new question right at the buzzer. Because I know that you guys are hearing me a little bit after I'm talking. So I want to account for that lag. But otherwise, it seems like I can go ahead and wrap this presentation up and bring us home. So thank you guys for asking your questions. Thank you for tuning in tonight. We're always excited to be able to bring you some information that's going to be helpful for you and your application process. As always, best of luck. You guys are excellent and I hope to see you in the future at some of our other streams. Have a great rest of your night.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology | MIT

Cambridge, MA
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Undergrad College: Yale University '21

Work Experience: I am a senior at Yale and excited to begin my fifth admissions cycle working with CollegeVine. After four years of working directly with students, I can't wait to engage with the people and the process in new and innovative ways online.

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