Sal Khan has conversation with MIT Dean of Admissions | Summary and Q&A

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August 14, 2015
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Khan Academy
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Sal Khan has conversation with MIT Dean of Admissions

TL;DR

College admissions prioritize students who will succeed academically, are a good fit for the institution, and can make meaningful contributions to campus life.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Are high SAT scores and numerous AP classes necessary to be a competitive applicant?

While these factors are considered, they are not the only criteria for evaluation. Students should challenge themselves academically in areas of interest, and there are multiple ways to demonstrate readiness for college, such as independent projects.

Q: Can homeschooled students be evaluated similarly to traditional college prep school students?

Yes, homeschooled students can still be evaluated based on their ability to succeed academically. Standardized tests, taking classes at local colleges, or participating in competitions like the American Math Competition can provide evidence of their capabilities.

Q: Can pursuing rigorous coursework and extracurricular activities hinder an applicant's chances?

Overloading oneself with coursework to the point of not having time for other pursuits is seen as a disservice. While challenging oneself is crucial, leaving room for independent projects and pursuing passions is also valued.

Q: What factors contribute to a strong college application?

A strong application includes evidence of academic capability through SAT/ACT and AP scores, along with a portfolio of substantive projects that showcase the student's passions and creativity.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Stereotypical factors like high SAT scores, numerous AP classes, and leadership positions in clubs are considered but not the primary criteria for evaluating students.

  • Academic and non-academic accomplishments are both valued, with a focus on challenging oneself in areas of interest.

  • Students can demonstrate their readiness for college through various means, such as independent projects or alternative pathways like homeschooling.

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