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MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

Countdown To Mail Drop by Ben Jones

I'll update this post over the course of the day as we get closer to mailing the letters.

Today is mail day.

I’ll save my emotional post on this topic for a later entry and instead use this one to give you progress reports over the course of the day. I’ll update this entry whenever there’s something to share.


The good news: we worked late last night and made a big dent in the pre-mailing tasks. The letters have been printed (I held the stack of admit letters in my hands; it was sublime). I was on the team that assembled the admit packs (what you guys affectionately refer to as “the big envelopes” – although that’s not entirely accurate this year). The folks downstairs in the records room were simultaneously working on the deferred and denied letters. Today we will finish the admit packs and then call the post office for pickup. So to summarize, we’re on schedule to mail today.

The bad news: I woke up to a blizzard this morning. This is what Killian Court looked like 10 minutes ago:

I’ve heard conflicting weather reports – some say 4 inches; others say up to a foot. Start praying for the 4 inches. :-)



It has temporarily stopped snowing. Woot.



Soon after my last update it began to snow again. :/

The good news is that production is going well and we will almost positively mail today. I just hope the weather doesn’t slow the post office down.



Everything is ready and we are just waiting for the postal service to come.

It has stopped snowing.



It’s been snowing like CRAZY for over an hour. Wind, thunder, and lightning. I haven’t seen a storm like this is ages – it’s like the universe knows that something is up.

Oh wait, something is: the letters are in the mail.

I’m not sure of the exact number of admits, but it is very close to last year (383). We had 3098 applications for EA. Our admit rate therefore fell from 14% to just over 12%.

As the post office carried the envelopes out the door, we popped a bottle of champagne. Led my Marilee, we toasted all of you. Whether admitted, deferred, or denied, we celebrated you.

Here’s a pic:

Have a great weekend everyone. Congrats to the admits, and to the other 88% – have faith that you will find a wonderful place and be happy – whether here or somewhere else. Things just seem to have a way of working out.


100 responses to “Countdown To Mail Drop”

  1. mike axiak says:

    you’re so cool.

    on this end, snow is welcomed grin

  2. Merudh says:

    I had school today despite the hail….so when does NJ recieve letters?

    By the way, good job smile

  3. Christina says:

    No school for me! My car has about five inches of snow covering it. smile

    I had a really wild dream about MIT last night. I was in the admissions office and you said you were going to read me the two best essays EVER. But you had retyped them onto multi-colored paper in a bunch of the most ridiculous fonts you could think of. I don’t remember anything about the essays, except that they were the craziest most abstract things I’d ever heard. …You read them out loud to me.

    And then (hahaha) we all (you + me + the other officers) went into the lobby and sprawled out across the couches with folders on our laps. Just like in the pictures from your last post. HAH.

    There were also lots of stuffed animals being thrown around. I don’t know the significance of that.

    Anyway, SCORE on getting to handle the admits rather than the deny/defers. Was that senority at work or did you choose straws!?

  4. Ryan says:


    I have to give you props for the extra effort you’ve given to keeping us updated. I know from past experiences that accept/deny/etc, actually waiting for the mail is the hardest part. I have friends who have called their respective EA schools over the last couple days asking for a mailing timeframe and been told that that information was not yet public. While I totally understand the amount of pressure on the admissions departments at these schools (from the heads to the guys working the mail room) I of course sympathize with my friends. Thanks for the extra effort!


  5. Lipei says:

    Hey Ben, thanks for keeping us updated. Best of luck with those folks over at the post office.

  6. me? says:

    “(what you guys affectionately refer to as “the big envelopes” – although that’s not entirely accurate this year).”

    Any chance you can expound upon this? grin

  7. Adnan Esmail says:

    Thanks Ben for the updates!

  8. whoa… you lied to us on cc!!! you said that the big envelopes weren’t a lie!!!!

  9. Ben says:

    No, I just said that admits won’t get small envelopes. wink

  10. wait… wouldn’t that mean they get big envelopes? i’m confused, big is the opposite of small haha

  11. unless you’re trying to be tricky wink wink… oh well, 99% sure i wouldn’t get in anyway (atrocious gpa) so i have to hope for a deferral… and then, just maybe i’ll slip through the cracks during rd!

  12. mike axiak says:

    um…snow? speak again tongue laugh

  13. Dawei says:

    Hi Ben,

    Can you comment on how many EA applicants were accepted this year?

  14. lulu says:



  15. yay for snow… we have a teacher who says he’ll never stray from his calendar, lucky for us, today was the final for econ and a 7 chapter test to boot… i.e. cancellations around the board, he better stick to his words

  16. random question… why does your door read e. jones^2? i assume it’s been asked, but jones^2 because of marilee… but the e…?

  17. Anthony says:

    marilee jones is in 3-108

    3-107 has e. “ben” jones, and edmund jones smile

  18. Peter says:

    I just ran into my physics class and yelled that MIT letters are mailed. It’s curious that all four of the early applicants from our school are in my physics class.

    NOW THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS. I’m elated until… Monday? Tuesday?


  19. brian says:

    ahhh… anxiety

  20. Jeddy says:

    Ah yes, the “snow”… well down here on Long Island we got about one inch of it before it turned into rain, which effectively turned everything into slush and then… nothing. But the funny part is that my school district still called a snow day and right now it’s sunny and not a bit chilly. Best snow day without the snow, ever.

    Praying for some sunny MIT news too! (uhhh, so corny I know)

  21. George says:

    Thanks Ben for the updates. Good job! I do hope my son’s letter is among your pile. God bless!

  22. Sam says:

    Thanks for the info Ben. I hope I got in or atleast got defered.

  23. Jeena says:

    Thanks for the update!

    I’ve been pretty much hovering over the site for the past two days.

    Although…I really shouldn’t get my hopes up here.

  24. Zach W says:

    I know what you mean, Jeena… I really don’t think I was accepted, but there’s still that tiny (12%, I guess) chance that I was… I guess that makes the constant hovering justifiable.

  25. Japanther says:

    I really wish the decisions were also sent by email, or at least checkable through the site.

  26. Colin says:

    I second Japanther emphatically.

  27. Joanne says:

    thank you so much for this post :]

  28. Dave says:

    I also agree with Japanther.

    Ben, thanks for bearing with all of us psychotic MIT hopefuls and keeping us updated so well. Even if I don’t get accepted, it’s still great that you put so much work in to trying to keep all of us applicants from going totaly insane. We didn’t get as much snow here on the coast, but it’s still raging outside.

    PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE elaborate on the Big Envelope vs. Small Envelope situation. It seems that you are trying to be a bit mysterious, bear in mind that many of the kids you are trying to confuse are most likely approaching homicidal as of now. Make the right decision and please tell us what size means what.

  29. hey i’m not suicidal…! but double rejections… oh my!

  30. lol… Make the right decision and please tell us what size means what.

    my interpretation of that was so skewed for the past minute, i read over it multiple times

  31. CFang says:

    Lol Dave. Ben said that admits won’t be “small envelopes” — that means if you get a small envelope it’s either DEF or REJ.

    This is it. Thanks for the updates Ben; to everyone else — Good luck. God speed.

  32. Christina says:

    I don’t know, but I heard it’s NOT AN ENVELOPE AT ALL.


    (I’m lying.)

  33. what you guys affectionately refer to as “the big envelopes” – although that’s not entirely accurate this year

    that’s the thing*

  34. Grace says:

    Thank you Ben and the rest of the admissions committee!

  35. Anonymous says:

    I was thinking the same thing as Christina. Is it a box?

  36. BT says:

    Oh god, scary.

  37. Anonymous says:

    its definitely an envelope…admit letters will be nice and big…*shudders*…deferrals will be normal sized ones. let’s hope for a big one guys

  38. it would be SO mean if they made the reject envelopes big and the admit ones small one year…

  39. BT says:

    It would be SO mean if they didn’t just admit all of us.

    Nah, I’m just poking. Good luck all and whatever form the admit may be in (big envelope, box, giant octopus, cryptic message, Christmas card…), hope you get it.

  40. Anonymous says:

    lol they would never do that…but that would be awful, except for the people who are admitted. i’ve noticed that as the notification date approaches, ben’s blog turns into more of a chat room for applicants.

  41. yea… sometimes i wish applied to columbia or dartmouth early, just to shave off 3 days of waiting, but then i realize i don’t really want to go there

  42. Bryan says:

    I think I might need some serious sedatives to knock me out for a few days until that letter comes. Good luck everyone!


  43. Masha says:

    Are you saying that everyone gets a big envelope by any chance? cause that would just be mean…

    It is pretty funny that we’re discussing envelope size, becasue I was just talking to my friend/fellow applicant that it would be kinda funny in a mean way if we got big envelopes and then it said “sorry”…

    But Ben and people are really cool, so I’m sure thats not what’s going to happen. right?

    *biting nails*

  44. Evan says:

    I’m so happy I live right next door in Rhode Island… less of a wait time. Good luck to all those who live on the other coast, the suspense is probably getting to you more than to me.

  45. it would be cool if they did singing telegrams, that way even bad news seems happy

  46. Anonymous says:

    if i got a singing telegram and i was deferred/rejected, i would beat the singer

  47. manuel says:

    is it true that the international people recieve the letters through DHL?

  48. Matt H says:

    singing telegram, anyone?

  49. Sam says:

    You know what would be even funnier. If they sent everyone an acceptance letter, just to hype them up. Then about a week later they would send all the people that got rejected or defered a letter that would basically say that they were just kidding. That would be really evil.

    But thankful no one at MIT is that evil. Or so I hope.

  50. i bet you when ben reads these he’ll be shaking his head throughout

  51. Bryan says:

    What I should have included for optional material: next day air envelope and postage



    “Led my Marilee” should read “Led by Marilee!” OMG OMG OMG


    Thanks for all your hard work Ben, and the rest of the admissions committee. Tough decisions were probably made, but I’m sure you had your reasons. I look forward to applying RD. Congratulations to the MIT class of 2010, and best of luck to the “other 88%”

  53. Merudh says:

    God bless the MIT Admissions Team.

    Your hard work and keeping your prospective applicants is amazing. You guys rock. If I could, I’d come and give you all a hug no matter what my decision turned out to be.

  54. Merudh says:

    keeping your prospective applicants updated on the process*

  55. Merudh says:

    by the way…any particular reason for the sepia tone on the picture ben?

    looks nice…but there’s gotta be a reason behind everything

  56. Justin says:

    The volume of posts is going to get ridiculous next week as everyone posts their admissions decision and proceeds to ask “What do I do now?” if either accepted or deferred.

  57. Sandy says:

    Oh my god! It’s a…T-SHIRT!

    (Okay – I promised i’d give it up with that)

    I’m sure we’ll see the first ones tomorrow or monday. Not long to wait before we know what mystery they are mailing out to the Admits.

  58. gopack says:

    you’re all crazy…the only thing we need to worry about is the packers-lions game this weekend…

  59. April says:

    if get a small envolope? i refuse to open it…well..i will…and then promptly make it unreadable…my tears will blurr it

    giant octopus? that would be cool…

    the accept pple should get a DVD w/ all the admission staffers toasting them…

    assuming 7 inches of snow doesn’t stop the mail…i’m going to hybernate until monday

    WHY did it snow today? NJ never got this much snow this early’s a sign…

  60. Christina says:

    Most realistically, the deny/defer letters should include a Zoloft. tongue laugh

  61. Emi says:

    Hi Ben!

    Thank you for all the updates on the selection process. Any thoughts on when international students might get their letters?

    The suspense is killing me…

  62. April says:

    i’d rather poison than zoloft in mine…that way i could hate MIT for killing me

  63. Anonymous says:

    Approximately how many people a year get rejected in the EA process?

  64. Raghav says:

    What’s with all the talk about international EA applications? Isn’t EA only for US citizens or did I just make the dumbest mistake of my life?

  65. Timur Sahin says:

    @The nonny mouse:

    The only way you typically get rejected is if your application could in no way make it past the RD round, so they don’t bother giving you false hope. If you stand a remote chance of getting in, you’ll just end up deferred.

    If you want specific numbers, go to and click “Who’s at MIT?”

  66. Anonymous says:

    April… girls have it easier than guys, since MIT wants to balance out the numbers. =P

  67. April says:

    lol..thanks anonymous…i don’t think it’s a big advantage..if any…there’s prolly bout the same # of guy as girl applying

  68. April says:


    *guys as girls

  69. Clark Poland says:

    I was thinking about this earlier, and I’d have to say that I’d prefer not knowing just by the envelope size. Mail everyone the same size decision letter, then the next day mail out admit packs. At least that’s how I’d prefer it.

    And as to availability on the website, I’d prefer to be crestfallen with some physical object in my hands than to have to suffer with the decision online. I wouldn’t want to start sending nasty emails or smash up key computer parts.

    Am I the only one that kind of enjoys the suspense? It’s prolly just me taking a sick pleasure from it, but really, it’s kind of fun. It seems to me that the longer I wait, the less real it all seems. It becomes more game-y.

    Yet, I still want to be a robot when I get the letter. A robot so that I can turn my emotions off and be uneffected by the news. A robot so that the next day people asking me “any news?”, “have you been accepted”, or whatever just say “Oh ok” instead of “I’m so sorry, you’ll find what’s right for you” and other pithy replies. Oh how I should’ve been even more secretive with my decisions.

    On a completely different and dissonant note, do you guys ever secretly try to beat other schools to mail EA/ED letters first? I know I’ll be having a mini competition to see if my MIT or CalTech decision comes first. I know which one I’m rooting for smile

  70. Victoria says:

    …I’m kind of glad I was forced to apply RD now… letter of rec

    I’m sort of glad it will be a paper notification. It’s cheaper to tear up an envelope than to bash in a monitor. Particularly if the monitor is not one you own…

    Clark, you’re not the only one that keeps getting asked. When people ask me where I’m going, I usually say the local community college. Hey, I’m not lying. I’m double-enrolled.

    As long as Zoloft doesn’t actually increase the incidence of suicide in teens, I’m fully in support of adding it to the defer/reject envelope. Did anyone else notice the article about how antidepressants may actually increase the suicide rate?

    Thanks for doing such a great job letting us know about the process from the inside. Kudos to the whole Admissions team, but particularly the bloggers and Marilee Jones.

    Good luck to all you EA people, RD people, and Adcom staff.

    No snow in San Diego! Whee!

  71. Sandy says:

    You say that too? So do I!

    I pull out my Diablo Valley College thing and show it to them. They’re usually like “uh…okay.”

    I just don’t like talking about the places that I applied to before I get in.

  72. Clark Poland says:

    Victoria, Sandy…

    Whenever people ask me, I say Washington University. But still, I’ve told my friends and occaisonally they’ll be walking through the hall and be like “Hey Clark, how’s MIT going?” then a bunch of other people’ll say, “What, you’re applying to MIT?!” and stuff like that. Or another was some project about our future we had to present to the class. Naturally as a senior, everyone talks about colleges. I say “I’m looking at WashU” then my friend yells “Clark, tell’m where you’re really going, stop lying” at which point I’m forced into it. Oh well.

  73. Sam says:

    Did anyone get their decsion yet?

  74. Anonymous says:

    I did! oh wait, that was just in my head…

  75. Raghav, EA is only open to US citizens and permanent residents (green card holders), but some of those citizens may be living outside the US.

  76. Would it be considered harassing the mail man if I sat out by the mail box in a lawn chair from now untill the decision arrives?

  77. Catherine says:

    I drew a comic about the whole early action decisions. I thought you and the other admissions officers and applicants might appreciate it. The penguin’s name is Orestes, Oreo for short, and he lives in my head.


  78. Clark Poland says:

    Catherine, I must laugh at the filename of your cartoon. It seems like something Pfizer might use to help convince guys that Viagra can help or something. :-D

  79. Dan says:

    Ben is real tall

  80. 1 of the 88% says:

    my friend and I were joking that the admissions has a “Lightning round” where they try to shred as many apps as possible in 60 seconds.

    still waiting for my postcard that says “wish you were here” on the front, and then “not really.”

  81. Colin says:

    If I were an admissions officer, I’d probably do something really sadistic, like sending acceptances in bland, boring, small envelopes. That way it would be an even bigger surprise when the applicant opened it up. I guess you could go the other way and send rejections in big, shiny, colorful envelopes, but I think that’s a surefire way to be condemned to hell — it’s just too cruel.

  82. hmm… to nj… 2 days, does today count as one?

  83. Sandy says:

    Actually, unlike what most people think, the mail hubs and bigger post offices process on Sunday. More people will get their letters on Monday than you would think (even people out here on the west), unless the storm delays them.

  84. Ben says:

    I was hoping to write my big Q&A entry today but the snow didn’t cooperate. Grrrr. It is coming soon!

    Some quick answers related to this post…

    Merudh: the color version just looked weird for some reason and changing it to B&W looked even worse, so I tried sepia & thought it was the best of the 3. Other than that, no reason. grin

    All: the deferred and rejected letters are a small, simple, white envelope. The admit packs are anything but. Believe me, you *will* know the difference right away. That’s all I’m going to say about it – geez, it’s a surprise! I should never have said anything here, my bad. grin

    Last year we mailed on a friday and people in MA got their letters on Saturday. I think pretty much the whole east coast got theirs by Monday (or Tuesday at the latest). Parts of Cali got them Monday; other parts of the west coast and the rest of the country got them Tuesday or Wednesday. How the snow will affect all of this I don’t know. I think Logan was closed much of today, or at least seriously delayed.

  85. small white envelope… gotcha, hiding right behind my full ride to montclair state university *sulks into hands* wink

  86. if i tell myself i’m gonna get rejected, i won’t feel bad in any scenario… my math teacher freshman year actually told me not to aim too high, because i’d always be disappointed…

  87. Sandy says:

    Just tell yourself you never applied. It’s seriously the best in either scenario. Either MIT is crazy and just randomly sent you a reject letter or they accepted you for no reason.

  88. April says:

    i’d be a bad admission’s officer..i’d be to evil

  89. Iggy says:

    Is it just me or does it seem ironic that MIT, an institution on the cutting edge of technology, uses the old fashioned US postal service to send out its decision letters?

  90. Dave says:

    Ok, the rumor is that the acceptance letters will come in some sort of tube. Or perhaps a large box, who really knows. It is true that if someone sent me a singing telegram telling me I’ve been denied I would beat them. There are so many responses to this blog entry, and it definately is just a conversation between everyone.

  91. Connie says:

    A friend got The Tube this morning. *does a little dance*

  92. Hamster says:

    The tube thing is a really cool idea, but it adds a layer of suspense to the waiting game.

    Monday when I go home to check my mail, there will be the moment of suspense before just opening up the mailbox. And if I’m disappointed when I crack the door and don’t see any tube, I’ll be hoping NOT to find a letter from MIT amongst the magazines, bills, etc and that my acceptance just hasn’t arrived.

  93. Justin says:

    Leave it to MIT to send acceptance letters in some crazy innovative method like a tube. If all they did was email our decisions would we really want to go there? The tube or whatever package is another way for MIT to show us its different from everyone else and that the difference is what makes people so passionate about it. (MIT better send acceptance packages in an interesting way. How much of a letdown would it be to receive an envelope?) It would also be cool if they showed more creativity with the deferred and denied letters but money is probably a factor there.

  94. me? says:

    Olin sent me a poster in a tube. Maybe MIT is trying to be cool like them? ;]

    Hopefully i’ll get another tube? Shame there’s an 88% chance I didn’t.

    Anyway, great work on getting all 3098 of the applications done in such a short time, Ben & Co.

  95. Shaheer says:

    So Ben..exactly what did they serve in those 2 aluminum trays?….Cheers!

  96. Colin,

    The problem with that idea is there would be plenty of people who wouldn’t even open up the letter due to lack of wanting to read a rejection. I have a friend who almost did that with one of his schools, before I forced him to open it, heh.


  97. April says:

    it’s too COLD to sit by the mail box..or else i’d do it…who cares whether it’s considered harrassing?