The Uninteresting Chronicles of a High School Student

January 10, 2010

How NOT to do your RSI application

UPDATE: I just noticed that I posted an early draft instead of the autosaved latest one… Sorry! Some of my incoherent rambling must have been hard on the reader’s eyes and mind. Should be fixed now.

I have noticed recently that a large portion of my blog hits came from Google searches like “rsi teacher recommendation”,  “rsi application 2010”, “mit rsi application”, “research science institute rsi acceptanc[sic]”, etc. Note that it is now January 10th. The application is due January 15th (not the postmarked date). The US Post Office typically takes 2-3 days to send Priority and First Class mail, so it means you have somewhere around 1-2 more days to actually do the application and get the recommendations if you haven’t already done so. That’s assuming that USPS actually gets your application to CEE on time. It’s not like USPS screws up on a regular basis or anything, right?

Just no. Procrastinating so much for an important application like this can be extremely bad for your chances, and when you send in the application at the same time as about over 9000 other applicants, chances are it’ll get lost in the frenzy, and you’re left to wonder why your self-addressed postcard hasn’t been returned yet. A lot of people applied early (some even started as early as August 2009).

Now, I’m assuming that we got past the programming fail in the application (mirror, .pdf) and finished the individually completed sections without much trouble. Let’s say your credentials look like this:

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January 5, 2010

Application Breakdown: RSI (Really Selective Institute)

RSI (Research Science Institute) is one of MIT’s three main residential summer programs and apparently one of the most competitive and prestigious in the nation according to Caltech. Hmm, not bad. Not only does the program only accept 80 students, only 50 or so are actually from the US with the 30 remaining slots allocated for foreign students and DoDEA members. College Confidential forumers (who are obviously infallible and omnipotent) claim that about 5% of RSI applicants are accepted annually (does that mean only 1000 people bothered to apply to it in ths US?). That does seem quite formidable for an optimistic estimate, considering that you’re more likely to get into Harvard with their 7% acceptance rate

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