Non-classical university entrance

    The story of how curiosity, knowledge and a timely published post on Habré can give a pass to ITMO University

    / Photo CC-BY

    How it was

    The hero of this story is Ilya Glebov, a schoolboy from Monchegorsk, a small town in the Murmansk region. There are several secondary schools, a gymnasium, a lyceum and not so many good tutors in the forty thousandth city - therefore, when the family talked about preparing for the exam in computer science, Ilya decided to rely on Internet resources. And, as it turned out, he did not lose - he scored 97 points in computer science. But in this story, the preparation process was even more interesting than the result:

    Everything really happened when I was preparing for the exam in computer science. There was task number 27. The point is that it had a lot of parameters - x1, x2, x3, x4, x5 and so on. It was necessary to try, sort out.

    And I'm so tired of doing it that I just decided to take my mind off and read something. I came across an article about a vulnerability on Facebook and decided to try this method on VK

    - Ilya Glebov in an interview with ITMO.News

    It worked - Ilya really managed to find a critical vulnerability that affected not only Vkontakte, but also ICQ. An example of an attack and the entire process of searching for vulnerabilities Ilya described in detail in his post on Habré :

    • We send a request to send SMS to subscriber A with session_id C, he receives a code 1234
    • We send a request to send SMS to subscriber B with session_id C, he receives a code 1234
    • Now, if subscriber A knows the telephone number of subscriber B, he can restore his page.

    It was possible to restore only the page to whose number the last SMS with a similar session_id came.

    The first thing Ilya reported vulnerability in the report on HackerOne. Vkontakte reacted promptly and eliminated the vulnerability after 17 hours, after which the Mail.Ru Group holding, which includes Vkontakte, paid Ilya $ 3000 - two thousand for finding the vulnerability and another thousand - according to the bug bounty program from ICQ (messenger used the same ilbverify library as Vkontakte).

    From a post on Habré to university entrance

    In July, having already passed all the exams, Ilya wrote about the vulnerability on Habré. This material became his debut on the site, collected almost 70 thousand views and, of course, interested ITMO University:

    Ilya’s post very quickly got to the top of the Habr’s day, and then the week, and I, like many of my colleagues, regularly visit specialized resources. Therefore, the very next day after the publication, we discussed in the telegram chat of the department both the recording itself and one of Ilya’s comments, where, when answering a question about choosing a university, he listed the universities of St. Petersburg, but did not mention ITMO.

    - Nikolay Pshenichny, Head of the Department of Career Guidance and Talent Management, Department of Strategic Communications

    In a conversation with Ilya, it turned out that the problem was only in his 60 USE scores in mathematics - Ilya believed that because of this he would not have the opportunity to study at ITMO University, except on a fee basis. However, a misfire in one exam should not be fatal, especially when it comes to a student who demonstrates non-school knowledge in a specialized subject.

    Ilya wrote a post on Habré on July 9. Four days later, he met with representatives of the Admissions Committee and the dean of the Faculty of Information Security and Computer Technology  of ITMO University.

    Danil Zakoldaev (dean) noted that Ilya is not inferior to other strong applicants in terms of knowledge. Moreover, he understands such disciplines as "Software and hardware information protection" and "Web programming" at the level of a 3-4 year student:

    Ilya's knowledge in some subject areas significantly exceeds the requirements for children of his age: an interest in reverse engineering and a desire to develop, including independently, are obvious. We hope that he will withstand the serious load of basic disciplines in the first year of study and will be able to reveal his talents in the field of information security.

    - Danil Zakoldaev

    At ITMO, Ilya was recommended to apply for training in the educational program "Information Security Technologies" of the mega-faculty " Computer Technologies and Management ". Since the sum of USE points did not allow the student to go to the budget, the university administration suggested that he study at the university’s expense, and in the future, if Ilya studies “well” and “excellent”, transfer him to free tuition.

    Alexey Itin, Danil Zakoldaev, Ilya Glebov, Natalya Glebova (mother of Ilya) and Nikolai Pshenichny. ITMO University Photo

    “Ilya is not the first applicant to whom ITMO University offered to study at the expense of the university. Proactive work with schools and the search for talented, purposeful schoolchildren who are not winners of olympiads or high grades is one of the strategic tasks of the university. As part of the development of a single community of ITMO.FAMILY University, next year it is planned to implement a separate program for the search and support of such applicants. We are waiting for new "stars" on Habr ", - says Anna Veklich, First Deputy Chairman of the Admissions Committee, Head of the Department of Strategic Communications of ITMO University.

    Talent Search

    The ITMO University team is carefully studying the materials that go to Habré. Unfortunately, organizing a talent search by habraposts is not easy:

    A systematic search for applicants in Habré is impossible for objective reasons: although IT competencies are obedient to all ages, but most often the youngest hawkers, if they participate in discussions and publish entries, do not focus on the fact that they are still studying at school [...]

    It is important to understand that the story of Ilya’s admission to ITMO University is a coincidence, which became possible due to the fact that employees and students of our university regularly read this blog. If you want, then we can say that the post fell into the right hands of an employee of the Admissions Committee. Seriously recommend such a path in the future, perhaps we would not. But it is also impossible not to encourage such achievements of motivated students. As always, you need to look for a middle ground.

    - Nikolay Pshenichny

    If you regularly share your ideas and best practices with the community, you can, firstly, get feedback from other hawkers - people who are sometimes equal in level of knowledge to your teachers will tell how relevant the topic is and how it can be developed. . And the experience of creating strong materials and community feedback will help to prepare reports for scientific and practical conferences, such as, for example, the ITMO University Young Scientists Congress . By the way, participation in the Congress is one of many individual achievements for which we give additional points to the exam.

    So, how to declare yourself to a talented applicant:

    1. Try to go beyond the "comfort zone" - that is, in the case of applicants, outside the school curriculum. The story of Ilya is an excellent example of the fact that not only USE scores are important for entering a university, but also your curiosity, perseverance and hard work - as well as your interests in those areas that are not part of the school curriculum.

    2. Pay attention to what you are really interested in - in addition to solving “mandatory” tasks. Develop your hobbies, find friends in thematic communities, participate in specialized online activities, do not be lazy to spend energy on olympiads, the results of which can be counted in the universities of your dreams.

    3. Do not be afraid to declare yourself on specialized resources like Habr - share your knowledge and experience, not paying attention to age. To hide that you still study at school, too is not necessary - remember that ITMO University appreciates and carefully reads Habr.

    4. Unfortunately, just high karma and a large number of posts on Habré for entry will not be enough. Ilya’s case in this case is a rare and successful combination of circumstances. On the other hand, your post on Habré may turn into a report at a specialized conference - and this is a significant and guaranteed contribution to entering a university.

    5. In many universities, upon admission, individual achievements are valued - they can play a role in admission. For example, ITMO University has a list of achievementsfor which you can add points to the results of the exam. Among them - the Olympics "ITMO.Vkontakte", "Tournament of two capitals", language certificates, achievements in sports and much more.

    6. And most importantly - choose what inspires you. If it is IT, new technologies, robotics, photonics, bioengineering - we will be glad to see you among our students!

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