How Do I Get MIT Brochures?

Question: I am asking for an AVID project. We are to research a certain college outside our state (California) with a partner. I am in middle school currently and for our project, we think an effective way to gain such information is to receive informational brochures regarding the college. How would we receive such brochures in the mail? Please provide me with a direct Inquiry link to the MIT Connection site. This would help us very much.

Usually the best way to get brochures from colleges is to go on the school's admissions Web site and look for a heading that says something like “Join our mailing list." But that can sometimes be a confusing treasure hunt (maybe with no pot of gold at the end!) and it may be easier to locate the “Contact Us" link and write to request materials that way.

BUT ... colleges these days are cutting way down on the number of paper materials that they print and distribute. They've come to recognize that providing information online will ...

  1. offer the fastest way for students to access it, rather than waiting for the mail carrier to arrive. (It's called “snail-mail" for a reason!)
  1. be most suited to the way that teenagers absorb information these days (i.e., on a phone or computer screen ... often with other screens flashing nearby!)
  1. Save a tree or two ;-)

MIT, in particular, perhaps because of its high-tech focus, puts a big emphasis on online materials. You can read here about how to get on the mailing list, but I think that your purposes will be best served by focusing on the online resources instead.

You can also check out the MIT visits schedule that you'll find here: Maybe you and your project partner could meet an MIT admissions representative in person if someone will be touring near you.

Meanwhile, here are some additional suggestions on how to gather information about colleges ... not just MIT but others you may be considering for yourself in a few years. When you're doing this sort of “research," it's wise to get a balance of opinions ... ranging from the “propaganda" that the college itself provides and which inevitably shows the school in the best possible light, to more diverse opinions that come from students, parents, etc.

So try some--or all--of these approaches:

-Visit the campus if you can! Ideally, you will go where there are students there and not during vacations. If you can't get to campus, look on the admissions Web pages to learn when admissions reps will be holding programs in your area. Since you're just in middle school now and MIT is on the other side of the country, a meeting close to home seems more practical than a road trip.

- Visit the schools' websites. These will be helpful when you are looking to see what majors (and sports, activities, etc.) are offered but, other than that, the Websites tend to look a lot alike. MIT, however, is more helpful than a lot of colleges when it comes to providing information about the preparation and application process.

-Read about the college in an "anecdotal guidebook" like Princeton Review's Best 382 Colleges, The Fiske Guide to Colleges, or The Insider's Guide to Colleges. These books don't cover EVERY college, but for those schools included, you will get information that goes beyond just the dry facts and figures.

-Check out comments about the schools on the College Confidential website. See

-Talk to anyone you encounter (teachers, coaches, family friends) and ask if they have info on the college in question. Don't be shy. If you're waiting in line at a movie or market and you see someone in a Syracuse sweatshirt or Connecticut College cap, start asking questions!

-Do a Google search of the college's name to see what turns up besides just the school's Web site.

When soliciting input on College Confidential or from students, parents, alumni, etc., never take subjective opinions as gospel truth. Bring along a healthy dose of skepticism since one person rarely speaks for everyone affiliated with any school. Yet, if you keep hearing over and over again that classes are hard to get into, that the dorms need repairs, or that the food is amazing, then you can put some faith in this consensus.

Hope that helps and good luck with your project.