Note: all stories below are unedited accounts of current and former students’ MIT acceptance moments, prompted by a pre-Pi Day email thread.
We had a snow day and when I called my grandmother to tell her, she screamed loud enough that the person on the other side of the living room heard her (she was not on speaker).
(Early Action) I bought a large quantity of ice cream the night before. If I got in, I would eat the ice cream to celebrate; if I did not, I would eat the ice cream to make myself feel better.
I had just finished the morning milking and was setting up some electric fence for the cows when decisions came out. I could get 1 bar of wifi on my phone in one corner of the field, but not enough speed to load my decision before the server timed out, or so I thought. I found out later that the server had pretty much quit for a few hours after decisions came out, and had to wait about 90 minutes before I could get the page to load.
Oh yeah, my mother screamed. I didn’t.
I just got off from McDonald’s and sat by myself in the parking lot to open the letter. I almost crashed the car driving home because I was crying so much, and when I got to my house my parents were waiting to ask if I got in or not, and then they were crying, too.
I had just gotten rejected from Caltech earlier that week and was feeling pretty down. I was so confident I’d get rejected, I didn’t even check that morning since my friends and I were going to a math competition that day. Not with a teacher or a team or anything, just none of us had ever experienced much non-classroom math, so we thought we’d go for the heck of it. We had no experience and no clue what we were doing, but a lot of fun.
In the car on the way home I pulled out my phone to check. I tried to be all nonchalant about it so my mom wouldn’t see my look of sadness when it came. I figured, MIT is for those other kids at the math competition that actually know what they’re doing, not silly me. When I saw those magical words, I immediately read them three times to make sure they were real. Then I screamed, my mom screamed, and somehow she managed to half hug me while driving. I rolled down the window and put my arms and head out the window and screamed some more, and it was the most amazing feeling.
(not pi day; early action, but still)
I was alone in my room with my dog on my bed. I had her there for reasons similar to M.B. ‘17’s ice cream: if I got in, she’d get hugs. If I didn’t, she’d still get hugs and I’d feel better.
I was absolutely convinced I wouldn’t get in because I wasn’t even in the top 10% at my school, and most of the other schools I applied to were art schools anyway. My family walked in while I was tearing up and hugging my dog, and it took me about a minute to get the words together to tell them the good news.
My dog didn’t know what was going on but she was down to party anyway.
Early Action story: The decision came out a couple hours after school ended, and I had homework to do, but I was too stressed out to concentrate. I decided to play video games to distract myself and, as it turns out, it worked too well. About an hour after the decisions came out, my parents came home and were all like, “hey so did you get in?” and I was like, “OH RIGHT MIT LET ME JUST SAVE MY GAME AAAAAA”
and then came the screaming and the excitement and the frantic emailing of friends and relatives etc. etc. etc.
Did EA, decisions came out around 12:15pm. Went to bed super late so I didn’t have to wait once I woke up. Woke up right before they came out, checked, felt happy, went back to sleep for a few more minutes. \o/
It was Pi Day. I was sitting on the couch at home and hoping I’d be able to load the website before having to head to orchestra rehearsal. I loved MIT, but I tried to keep my hopes really low after applying. I was convinced I “wasn’t [x] or [y] or [z] enough for MIT”.
When the website loaded and I skimmed that page for the result, I yelped and burst into tears. My dad was downstairs and wasn’t able to tell if I was crying cause I got in or not, until I managed to get a complete sentence out through the tears.
IHTFP but that was a special day.
I was working on a final project in my room. My girlfriend was helping because my hands were shaking too hard to cut the paper cleanly, and I was talking loudly about anything and everything that would distract me. We had made a bet – if I didn’t get in, she owed me dinner, and if I did, I owed her. I checked at like 6:24 ”””just to make sure it was working”””” and read just the first line and couldn’t believe what happened. I told my girlfriend that I owed her dinner. It took her a second to figure it out. We freaked out as quietly as possible so as not to alert my parents who were home at that time “for no reason.” I wore my hoodie downstairs, my parents saw and freaked out, etc.
I went to my robotics team meeting later that night – my robotics coach (talking about the best time for sending some email) had mentioned earlier that week that he felt like “the stars were going to align,” so I confirmed when I got there that the stars had IN FACT aligned, and he should send his email now for optimal results.
I had to pull an all nighter to finish the project because I couldn’t stop freaking out enough to focus, and fell asleep the moment I got home the next day.
I was early action.
I was afraid to look it up because I knew I didn’t get in.
I figured that if the tube didn’t come by Christmas, I would double check that I had gotten rejected and leave it at that.
It lasted about two weeks before the college guidance counselor came up
T: Hey I heard you haven’t checked to see if you got into MIT.
T: Okay. But someone from MIT noticed and wanted to know if you’re excited.
Me: Either I in, and I’m excited, or I didn’t in which case why would MIT even care about me in the first place?
(it still took me an hour to open the decisions page)
I didn’t talk-tell what my parents: I sewed “MIT” onto the back of a red sweatshirt and wore it that night, so they figured it out that way (I was staunchly anti-periphenalia before that)
Maya K. ’19
The website crashed when I tried to check on pi day, so I went to take a shower. While I was in the shower the website loaded, so my mom yelled “you got in!!!” through the bathroom door. I heard her and continued to shower.
(December vice pi day, but…) I was on a weeklong school trip, staying at a hotel in Okinawa, Japan. (My school was a DoD school, also in Japan, so this was not as cool as it sounds.) I didn’t have a smartphone, so I had to check on one of two hotel lobby computers, both of which had Japanese keyboards that were really hard to figure out. When I saw I got in, I involuntarily screamed, which, for the record, I don’t think I’ve ever done before or since. (It was my first acceptance anywhere, so that played a part, too.)
It turns out Japanese hotel lobbies are very quiet, and acceptance screams are very loud. I was afraid I was going to get kicked out, but I guess happiness outbursts transcend language barriers, because the staff congratulated me.
Matt C. ‘15
I was driving on the fast lane on the Freeway and couldn’t help but check. Almost crashed, definitely not my smartest idea. tl;dr do not try at home kidz.
My dad was driving me to a robotics scrimmage. Recovery by Frank Turner was playing on the radio. I cried happy tears while reading the letter.
I got to the scrimmage, found out my then-boyfriend had been deferred, and proceeded to feel incredibly guilty and cry a lot of sad tears. We almost broke up every week or so for the next several months.
I was working after school on a project (on the west coast), when I realized it was almost time. I told my friend (who also applied) this, and we both went outside with our laptops. I vividly remember sitting outside the computer lab underneath the awning so as to avoid the bright sun’s glare, my back studded by the stucco wall.
At 3:28, we both checked.
I got in; he did not.
We both got back to work.
I was accepted early, so not actually on Pi Day. On the day of, I was in the middle of a week-long visit to see my cousins/extended family in Florida and I hid in their spare room to check results. I cried silently when I saw that I had been accepted; my cousin accidentally walked in and thought I had been rejected. Once I regained composure (which took quite a while) I went back downstairs to tell everyone. They were all gathered in the living room pretending not to be waiting for me, and they had planned dinner somewhere fancy with the idea that it would be celebration if I was accepted or consolation if I was rejected.
Well, I woke up from a three-hour nap and I was going to start writing my Hamlet essay. I was certain I’d get rejected.
Anyways, I’m in the kitchen with my mother and my sister, and I check. My phone was blurry; I could only see exclamation points, so I deduced that I was probably not reading a rejection letter. Apparently, my face was a sight to see.
So yes I’m screaming and in much disbelief. My parents and sister proceed to contact everyone in the familia™. I think I held 4 phones in this time span which looking back does not make much sense.
A few hours later I was “working” on my Hamlet essay. We then hear the door bell. My mother thinks it’s some neighbor complaining about my sister’s tuba playing. Then we hear it again. My mother then thinks it’s some creep and demands that everyone stay away from the first floor. A few moments later I receive a text from a friend that she was at my house and wanted to eat cookies to celebrate our college acceptances. The cookies were pretty good.
D. G. ‘21
i remember my parents were convinced i wouldn’t get in and forcibly tried to not make a big deal out of pi day to lessen the inevitable pain by making me watch a movie with them during the announcement
As a nice little contrast… I was the one who didn’t want to make it a big deal, so I only told my parents and sister about applying to MIT and when the results were coming out. Yet that day I was staying with my grandma, and when I screamed, she almost had a heart attack and rushed to the room I had locked myself in. When I told her, she was super excited and jumped with me for a couple of minutes before asking “So….. what’s MIT?”
(for Dec. 15th, not Pi day, but w.e.)
F. M. ‘17
I found out that my parents put me in a “future MIT graduate” onesie as a child but never showed the pictures in case it would be pressuring. Then they gave me a baby-sized stuffed rabbit with said onesie.
My dad and I were judging an FLL tournament in December 2013, and I didn’t get my lunch break until a few hours after decisions came out. I asked a random parent who was probably intimidated by my judge’s shirt to borrow her phone because I couldn’t get mine to connect to the internet and my dad didn’t have a smartphone yet. My dad gave me a congratulations handshake when I told him I got in because he doesn’t know how to handle his emotions.
(early action) I was at a math competition with a few friends who also applied to MIT. The decision would come out during the competition, but we decided that we would not check until after we got home, so that it wouldn’t affect our mood and impact our performance.
(EA but) I was studying for a final the next day with a friend who also applied. We both checked at the same time. I got in, he got deferred. I had to go to the bathroom so that I wouldn’t be too excited in front of him.
(oh I forgot about the more exciting part) I drove to Starbucks to congratulate myself and as a study break and then took a single wrong turn that ended up having no cross-streets or turnaround areas, which took me halfway to the next town over and got me super lost and eventually I just did a semi-sketchy U-turn.
It was a snow day and I forgot what day it was. My parents were shoveling and came back in to where I was working and were like “it’s 6:28.” It took me way too long to figure out why that was significant and then I couldn’t quite believe the thing when I read it.
I got my decision on Pi Day — I did not have my life anywhere near together enough to do EA. Even though it was the very last decision I would receive, and I’d been rejected from literally every other school I’d applied to (except our state college), I was foolishly confident I might have a chance — primarily because I’d only applied to MIT on a whim when my mom had suggested it; I’d barely heard of it and thought it was a medium-tier school or so. All I knew is that I didn’t have to write any long essays, so I was all for that.
Then my best friend (already a year out of high school) came over on Pi Day to hang out for a bit, and I casually mentioned that the MIT decisions were coming out later. He proceeded to get really excited and started going on and on about how MIT was the best school in the world and that I would certainly, *definitely* get in. I’d had no idea that it had the reputation it did — needless to say, this thoroughly convinced me that I had zero chance whatsoever. He’d brought one of his college friends I didn’t know too well, and they were going on and on about how cool it would be if I got in, and around Tau o’clock I decided to log in a couple of minutes early just to see. They were arguing about something random when I saw the words on the screen and just said, “…hey guys?”
My best friend screamed and threw his arms around me and wouldn’t let go (or stop screaming) for several minutes. When he finally did let go, I saw on my phone a notification that he’d somehow tagged me in a congratulatory Facebook post. Apparently he’d had it prepared to post mid-hug.