Often when a written response is “optional” on a college application, especially when the admit rates are 3.96%, like at MIT, students accustomed to following every direction, and seeking every advantage in such a low probability admissions process, usually pause to consider, “How optional is ‘optional’?”
Yet, after talking with admissions officers at MIT, optional really is optional. MIT admissions officers advised students to consider how to portray their experiences, not simply follow a mandate to frame themselves.
In relation to questions about culture, MIT admissions officers first state:
And, conversely, NOT answering the questions, according to the MIT admissions officer, will NOT impact their application either. Admissions officers want students to choose how to reveal their cultural identity or not.
Thus, when considering the following question:
Please tell us more about your cultural background and identity in the space below. (optional; 150 words or fewer)
students can determine, first, how they define “culture” for themselves, and second, how they identify themselves.
Lastly, knowing the culture of MIT where everyone is accepted for who they are, who they think they are, or who they are gaining confidence in being, every applicant must determine for themselves how to share their experience from their own perspective.
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