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Frequently Asked Questions

Application Requirements and Checklist

Current Senior Grades

Application Types

Standardized Testing

Extracurricular/Supplemental Info

Letters of Recommendation and Essays 

Application Requirements and Checklist

I submitted my application and all the required materials, but some of the materials are not marked as “Received” on my application checklist. What should I do? Should I re-send the materials?

While some application materials will automatically update your checklist upon receipt, other materials must be checked over and manually processed by staff members in the Office of Admission and Financial Aid (e.g. all teacher letters of recommendation, current senior grades). Due to the high volume of application materials that we receive around our application deadline of January 1, this manual processing of your materials can take up to a few business days, so we ask for your patience during the weeks just before and after our deadline. If you know that your materials have all been submitted by you, your counselor, and your teachers, it is highly likely that we have already received them, so there is no need to re-send or to contact our office to confirm receipt. You may check back on your Olin Applicant Status Page in a few days to ensure that all required materials are marked as “Received” on your checklist. 

Current Senior Grades

My semester at school doesn’t end until after Olin’s application deadline on January 1st, so my mid-year/semester grades will not be available until then. Can I send you my current senior grades after the deadline?

We do not need to have your official mid-year report; we will accept a progress report or first quarter report card to satisfy the current senior grades requirement, so please have your school counselor send us your current senior grades in any format as soon as possible. Since Olin has a unique, two-stage admission process that includes our Candidates’ Weekends in February and March, we have a very short reading period—all applications will be read and evaluated in the month of January. That is why we need to have your current senior grades by the beginning of the month to complete your application.

How should my counselor submit my current senior grades to Olin?

Your school counselor may upload a progress report or first quarter report card to your Common Application as an Optional Report or to your Coalition Application as First Quarter Grades, or may email the grades to us at apply@olin.edu. If you already have your official mid-year grades available, your counselor may upload the grades to the Common Application or Coalition Application as a Mid-Year Report.

I have a copy of my current senior year grades/access to them online. Can I email the copy to you? Can I send you a screenshot of my grades?

No, but you can ask your counselor to send us a copy. All transcripts and grade reports must be submitted to Olin directly from your school in order to fulfill our application requirements. We cannot accept self-reported grades or copies of grade reports submitted by the applicant.

I didn’t have my current senior grades sent to Olin, and now my school is closed for the holidays and I won’t be able to reach my school counselor until after Olin’s January 1st deadline. What should I do?

As long as your Common Application or Coalition Application has been submitted by our application deadline, your application will be on time and will still be considered. We can wait a few days after the deadline to receive your current senior grades from your school, so don’t worry about reaching your counselor over the holiday break, but please have your grades sent to us as soon as possible when your school is back in session. 

Application Types

How do I submit an application to Olin?

You may apply to Olin through either the Common Application or the Coalition Application. We do not have a preference for one application type over the other, and the required questions are the same on both applications. Our application deadline is January 1.

Do you accept transfer students at Olin?

All interested students are welcome to apply to Olin, but we do not have a formal transfer application process. All applicants to Olin must apply as first-year applicants, including students who are currently enrolled at another higher education institution or have completed some college coursework. All students who are admitted and enroll at Olin should expect to start our curriculum from the beginning when they arrive. The academic program at Olin and the courses we offer are unique to our institution - they are highly interdisciplinary, collaborative, and project-based. Because of the unique nature of our curriculum, we are typically unable to take transfer credits from courses completed at other institutions. 

 

Standardized Testing

Which standardized tests do you require?

All applicants are required to submit either the SAT or ACT. We do not have a preference for one or the other (we promise!). If you live in a country where the SAT and ACT are not offered, please contact apply@olin.edu to let us know.

Do you accept self-reported test scores?

Yes, but only from students who attend high school within the U.S. Students applying from a high school within the U.S. will be reviewed using either self-reported or official SAT or ACT scores. Students who are admitted to and choose to enroll at Olin will be required to submit official test scores at that time, if they were not submitted with the application.

Students applying from high schools outside the U.S. are required to submit official test scores at the time of application. To be considered official, test scores must be sent to Olin directly from the testing agency or be reported on the transcript sent by your school.

If I don’t want to include my test scores on my application, are there any other ways I can self-report my test scores?

Yes! If you attend high school within the U.S., you may upload a copy of your score report to your Olin Applicant Status Page (which will become accessible after you submit your application to Olin). Students applying from high schools outside the U.S. are required to submit official test scores at the time of application.

Will you accept my test scores if they’re on my official transcript?

Yes! If your test scores are included on your official high school transcript submitted by your school counselor, Olin considers them official and you do not need to send the scores from the testing agency.

I already took the old version of the SAT prior to March 2016. Will you accept my scores from that test, or will I have to take the new version?

If you are applying for entry to Olin in Fall 2019 and you already took the old version of the SAT, we will accept those scores. There is no need to re-test and submit the new version if you do not wish to do so. Please note that we cannot accept self-reported scores from the old version of the SAT; scores from prior to March 2016 must be official in order to satisfy the testing requirement.

I scored better in Math when I took the SAT in June than when I just took it this fall. Do you take the best score from each section regardless of test date?

Yes, we do. We evaluate your application with your best score in each section and disregard the others. However, please note that if you took the old version of the SAT prior to March 2016 and the new version of the SAT after that, we cannot take the highest score from each section because they are different tests. We will concord your old version scores to the new version, and then look at the highest scores in each section.

Do you require scores from the SAT II Subject Tests?

No. The SAT Subject Tests are optional in the Olin admission process. If you have already taken or plan to take SAT Subject Tests and would like to submit your scores, you may self-report them in your application or send an official score report. These can provide further context for your application, but they are not required.

Do I need to request an official AP or IB Score Report?

We do not require AP or IB scores for admission and therefore don’t need official scores. You may choose to self-report these scores since they do provide us with a bit more context to your application, but they are not required. AP or IB scores may be self-reported in your application or sent to us from the testing agency.

Does Olin accept AP or IB credit?

No. (It’s another reason we don’t expect you to send us an official AP or IB Score Report.)

Should I request rush delivery of my SAT or ACT Score Report?

No. If you attend high school in the U.S., you may self-report your test scores to us by reporting them on your application or uploading a copy of your score report to your Olin Applicant Status Page (accessible after you submit your Common Application or Coalition Application). For all applicants, any scores you request to be sent to Olin at the time of the test for a test date prior to the January 1 deadline, we will receive your official test scores in plenty of time to make our decision, so there’s no need to pay for expedited delivery.

Please note that the latest test date for which scores can be considered is the December prior to our application deadline on January 1. Scores from standardized tests taken in January, after the application deadline, will not arrive in time to be considered with your application.

I am an international applicant. Do I need to submit TOEFL scores?

No. The TOEFL is not required as part of the application process, although those scores can be helpful when reviewing applications of non-native speakers. We do not have minimum score requirements, but many of our strong applicants score above 260 on the computer-based test, above 600 on the paper-based test and above 100 on the internet-based test.

Extracurricular/Supplemental Info

What are some of the types of activities that most students include in their applications?

Some of the most popular activities include school clubs, sports, music, summer programs, youth groups, community service, part-time jobs, and hobbies. You can include anything you deem relevant on the activities list if you think it will let us get to know you better. Keep this in mind: What makes you stand out?

I participated in WXYZ in seventh through ninth grades. How should I put this on my Extracurricular Activities list?

First of all, please let us know what all those acronyms mean! But otherwise, you may arrange your activities chronologically, by activity type or any way that makes sense to you. Also, please limit the activities you list to those in which you participated in high school. If you played piano for grades 2-12, go ahead and include it! However, if you played soccer in grades 6-8, leave it off.

I wasn’t able to participate in a lot of sports or music groups because I spend most of my time working after school. Does that go on my Extracurricular Activities list?

Absolutely! Part- or full-time work and volunteering should be included, as well as working on a family farm or caring for siblings. We want to hear the details about your jobs, including when (the months and years) you worked.

I won an Olympic Gold Medal/Nobel Prize/Pulitzer/Academy Award. Is that something I should put in my application?

Yes! Please include any regional, state or national awards or commendations you have received, along with the date of your award. This can be listed in the Honors section or in the Additional Information section of your application. Published or acclaimed works are also important to mention. 

I do a lot of extracurricular activities. There is no way they will fit within the application form. May I use the Additional Information field to submit a résumé? 

Yes, but please keep in mind that your most important and meaningful activities should still be listed in the Extracurricular section of the application. Please try and keep any content you place in the Additional Information field to one to two pages. Note that we’ll also see a transcript from your high school with your classes and grades, so you do not have to include this.

The Extracurricular Activities list doesn’t really show what I like to do. May I send in supplemental materials like an art or engineering portfolio?

Yes. We want to learn as much about you as possible from your application, so please submit whatever you feel will help us do that. Please realize, however, that we cannot promise that all optional materials will get reviewed, so make sure that you also mention your most meaningful activities in the Extracurricular Activities section. Supplemental materials can be hosted on a website or blog page, and you may include a hyperlink in the Additional Information section of your application. You may also email supplemental materials to apply@olin.edu

Letters of Recommendation and Essays

May I send additional recommendations? 

Yes! But don’t go overboard; we don’t need letters from every teacher you’ve ever had or the principal of your school. It’s about the quality of the letters and how well the people know you, not the recommenders’ titles.

If you submit an additional recommendation, it should add dimension to your application, rather than repeat or reinforce information that has already been presented in other parts of your application. And since it’s supplemental, it doesn’t have to be academic. So ask your boss or Scout Master; consider your band director or coach—any adult mentor in your life. Remember, an extra letter of recommendation is just that: icing on the cake! We do not require it and you won’t be at a disadvantage if you don’t submit an additional recommendation.

Can I have my Math/Science letter of recommendation come from an Engineering/Electronics/Tech/Computer Science teacher?

We require that your Math/Science letter of recommendation comes from a teacher of a core math or science subject. Acceptable subjects include Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Calculus, Geometry, Trigonometry, Algebra, and so on. We will also accept a letter of recommendation from an AP Computer Science teacher as your math/science recommendation (only if it's the AP class!). 

Letters of recommendation from teachers of engineering, other computer science, or tech elective courses can be counted as your Teacher of Choice recommendation, but we will still need a letter from a core math or science teacher. 

Do you prefer a science or math teacher for the Teacher of Choice recommendation?

We encourage you to consider asking a non-math/science teacher for the second letter of recommendation. Think about asking your English or history teacher, even if you didn’t make your best grades in those classes, since those teachers can provide us with a different perspective. But if you’d like both of your letters to come from math and science teachers, that is perfectly fine!

My teachers said that they submitted my recommendations, but on my Olin application checklist the letters are not marked as "Received." Do my teachers need to re-send the letters?

While some application materials will automatically update your checklist upon receipt, other materials must be checked over and manually processed by staff members in the Office of Admission and Financial Aid (e.g. all teacher letters of recommendation, current senior grades). This means that it may take a few business days for these credentials to be marked as received on your checklist. Due to the high volume of application materials that we receive around our application deadline of January 1, this manual processing of your materials can take somewhat longer, so we ask for your patience during the weeks just before and after our deadline. If you know that your materials have all been submitted by you, your counselor, and your teachers, it is highly likely that we have already received them, so there is no need to re-send or to contact our office to confirm receipt. You may check back on your Olin Applicant Status Page in a few days to ensure that all required materials are marked as “Received” on your checklist. 

How strict are the 500 and 300 word limits on the essays? 

In the past, we have not been too strict about the essay length but we do expect you to abide by these guidelines as closely as possible. If you go over by a few words, it’s not an issue. However, we ask that you adhere to the word counts as closely as possible.