Kristin - MIT - Class of 2011

student photo

I used campus visits as "PR" in order to talk to admission people. I think it helps to talk to them directly about how you will fit in.

I attended an all-girl high school, and I can count on one hand the number of people in my class who liked math. My friends and I became so fed up that we decided to teach ourselves calculus the summer before our junior year. We didn't get very far, but it was still a lot of fun. I should be quick to add that I use both sides of my brain. I adore theater and reading—and I love equations and relativity.

Hometown: Dallas TX

High School: Private

GPA: 3.96/ 4.26 (weighted)

SAT: 2340

ACT: 35

Major: Biological engineering

Goal: Decide whether to go into engineering

College

Status

MIT (EA) Attending
Rice University (EA)Accepted
Texas A&M University (EA)Accepted
University of Chicago (EA)Accepted
Freshman Year Update

College is FUN! First semester was a huge adjustment, academically. I was used to playing the minimum work, maximum grade game, but you really can't do that at MIT. You have to work as much as you possibly can, and even then you may end up with a C! But second semester is going much better. (I even aced my first vector calculus test!) The rest of my time is devoted to varsity fencing, and I also pledged into a service fraternity this semester. I can't wait to spend three and a half more years here.

Sophomore Year Update

It's hard to believe I'm nearly half done with college! I definitely don't feel ready for the real world! Sophomore year is definitely tougher than freshman year, but I'm still managing to have a great time at MIT. My goals, however, are totally different now. I switched my major to biological engineering, and I'm thinking more and more of going to medical school. It just goes to show you that it's okay if you don't have your life planned out senior year of high school. I've also discovered that MIT is a tough place to be for four years straight. I'm spending next spring in New Zealand! I'll miss my friends, but it'll be worth it for the experience and the fresh outlook I'll have when I return.

Junior Year Update

Last semester I began taking classes in my major, bioengineering, and I became pretty discouraged. I didn't do very well, even though I cut back on the extracurriculars I love. But this semester, I couldn't be happier! I improved my study habits by setting aside "homework time" and scheduling around it. I'm involved in meaningful extracurriculars such as a trip to Nicaragua with my "Medical Devices for Developing Countries" class, which was like nothing I've ever experienced.

I can hardly believe that next semester, I'll be a senior! I feel way too young for that. That also means I only have two more semesters here—but there are so many classes I want to take! Life's tough... but oh so much fun.

Senior Year Update

It hasn't always been easy—I've been stressed out by school, I've cried, I've wished I had gone to some easier school, but it was worth it. I've learned a lot about myself, both from my friends and from the challenges I've faced. My favorite class was Biological Engineering Senior Design, where I worked with a student team to design a product to treat cancer. And I traveled to three different countries for free! After graduation, I'll spend a few months abroad on a medical mission trip. After that, hopefully I'll be in medical school! I have no idea what specialty I want to pursue. I don't even know which medical school is my top choice! So I have a vague idea of the future, and the details are still unknown. How exciting!

I dream of MIT

MIT has been my dream school ever since I had stumbled across its admissions blogs in my sophomore year. I was impressed by how open MIT is about their admissions process. Its student blogs gave me insight into the MIT environment, such as the different dorm cultures, the outgoing and wacky students, and the frank opinions about how very hard the place actually is.

Abandoning my own ranking system

I knew there were no guarantees I would get into MIT. So at the beginning of my junior year I set up an Excel sheet ranking everything I wanted in a college. It should have about 4,000 undergrads and offer engineering degrees. I wasn't sure if I wanted to be an engineer, but it was a definite possibility. I later added other objective "requirements," including location (northeast), environment (urban), and male/female ratio (50-50). I kept track of all of the schools I was interested in, and how they compared to these standards.

As more time passed, however, I began to make more exceptions. Fewer and fewer of the schools were actually in the northeast and many were located away from a city. It even got to the point where one of my top choices (University of Chicago) didn't even offer engineering. It seemed that my ideal college had transformed from a mere list of objective parameters to something far more abstract and subjective.

I was looking for a fun yet academically challenging environment. I was looking for a friendly place where I'd be surrounded by fellow nerds with whom I could commiserate about how hard school was. I was looking for a school that would support my desire to learn, where it was okay to obsess about physics or linguistics or Japanese. I finally ended up with ten schools. But I wanted to apply early so I limited my first applications to four early action schools.

My ups and downs

The essays! Those were so painful. Some of the questions were so strange, it was difficult to think of anything to write. Others were so general I couldn't narrow it down to just 500 words! Not to mention that the whole thing coincided oh-so-nicely with incredibly busy weeks filled with theater and homework. I don't know how I found time to write these essays, and yet I did. There was one upside. University of Chicago had an essay prompt I loved: describe yourself as a mathematic equation. I liked that essay so much I used it for MIT and my scholarship applications.

I had a little counter going in the corner of my computer counting down the days/hours/minutes until my MIT decision. When the clock ran out at 11 p.m. on decision day, my sister and I were glued to the computer. When we saw the word "Accepted," we started screaming!

What I learned

I used campus visits as "PR" in order to talk to admission people. I think it helps to talk to them directly about how you will fit in. But the visits did help me get a feel for the atmosphere. At Princeton everyone seemed serious. At MIT students seemed friendly, calling out to me, "hey pre-frosh!"

The money factor

I am very fortunate to have such generous parents who are able to support me in college.

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