The Krebs Cycle of Creativity, by Neri Oxman, MIT Media Lab, January 2016

When Makers Apply to College

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Apr 19, 2016 · 4 min read

Are Portfolios Practical?

In 2013, when MIT announced the maker portfolio, Dr. Dawn Wendell anticipated a common fear among administrators. How practical is it to review portfolios from thousands of applicants? She addressed this question by sharing some of their own numbers. MIT receives about 20,000 applications a year and they budget about 15 minutes per application. They frame the portfolio prompt to be optional and intended for students with exceptional skill. This removes pressure for everyone to submit something, which would just create noise. Of those who submit a portfolio, about 3 minutes is allocated for review — any combination of images, video, code-samples, and narrative to summarize the Maker project. MIT isn’t looking to inspect all the details, but rather a see curated summary of one important project. She likens this to an elevator pitch. If clearly presented, it provides a remarkably efficient summary of that person’s passions and what makes them unique.

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Thoughts from the makers of SlideRoom