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MIT student blogger Bryan O. '07

Deep Breaths by Bryan

Perhaps wisdom, perhaps not. See for yourself.

I’ve been reading a lot of the comments about the applications that are due on Jan. 1.

And while what I’ll say now is just my opinion:


Definition (source

chill·ax: /tʃɪlæks/ :
to calm down; to release oneself from inhibition, worry, tension, etc.

I agree that it is easier said than done, but I’m in the same boat as you right now. I’m about to submit the application to my top choice graduate school, and there are a million questions running through my head, but I got hit by a jolt of admissions reality just now.

1. The deadline means as much as I’m afraid to press the submit button, in order to have my application read, I have to press it.
2. I don’t own a time machine to go back in time and correct mistakes or retake tests.
3. A little bit of faith and optimism can go a long way.
4. I’ve tried my hardest, and that’s all I can ask for.

Don’t start the new year stressed out about applications. Put your best foot forward heading into 2007.

I can try to respond to any logistical/last minute questions you may have, but I’ll only be near my computer for a little while longer before I head out myself to treat myself to some sushi and then celebrate the arrival of 2007.

Happy New Year and Good Luck!

49 responses to “Deep Breaths”

  1. Zay-Yar says:

    First comment…

    Which graduate schools?

    I just submitted my MIT app..

  2. Bryan says:


    I’m applying to a few schools on the east coast and a few on the west coast. I’ll let everyone know what I end up doing in May.

    – Bryan

  3. Jimmy says:

    My online application tracking shows I’m missing teacher evaluations, and school reports. Should I be concerned?

  4. Jigar says:

    Hey Jimmy,
    No need to be concerned. Its all kewl, I mailed mines on Dec 19th, Mit recieved them on Decm 23rd [I had track service on my mail]. I still don’t see my online application tracking saying we got them. As Matt has discussed earlier that please allow 2 weeks to process Teacher evaluations and school reports. Lets do the MATH raspberry
    8000 applicants and each applicant sends 2 teacher’s recommendation letter, and school report and PARTII of application
    8000 * 4 = 32000 pieces of documents to be processed.

    Hope this answers your question wink raspberry

  5. Anonymous says:

    What are you going into? (Law, med, etc..?)

  6. Bryan says:


    I’m applying to Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering PhD programs.

    – Bryan

  7. Bryan says:


    Jigar’s response is completely right.

    – Bryan

  8. Lindsay says:

    Apparently, I’m not near stressed out enough to be a good MIT applicant. Less than twelve hours to the deadline and I haven’t even started the app. The whole thing was a very last minute decision, but hey, I work well under pressure. (All procrastinators say that, but maybe it’s actually true.) Best of luck to everyone else + happy new year… and honestly, calm down, people.

  9. Anonymous says:

    wait, less than 12 hours to the deadline?
    isn’t it due at 11:59:59 PM eastern US time on Jan. 1st?

    Hmm… do you know if we don’t submit our app by the deadline time, will it automatically be discarded/ rejected by the server?

  10. let me rephrase that so it is grammatically correct…

    Do you know whether or not our application will be given full consideration if we submit it a bit after the deadline?

    (-that Anonymous ^)

  11. Bryan says:

    I’m not completely sure that it’s due 11:59:59 eastern US time. I think as long as you submit it online on Jan. 1 or have it postmarked by Jan. 1 then you will be fine, but I’m not an admissions officer.

    – Bryan

  12. Nora says:

    finally finished my application *sigh* A load has been lifted off my shoulders. Now on to financial aid/ scholarship apps…:(
    Best of luck with your applications Bryan!

  13. Sarah says:

    Hah, I just finished applying everywhere (except for one safety, because their directions are incoherent to the point of ridiculousness). I am simultaneously excited yay! and terrified ohnoez D:

    Good luck to you too, sir!

  14. ME says:

    lol…confession time….I read the last minute questions for entertainment everytime I need a break from my application…but yeah, Bryan’s right, you guys should chill. I’m willing to forego a little entertainment for the sanity of our bloggers.

  15. James says:

    How do we get stuff postmarked by Jan 1? New Years Day Holiday, right? and Jan 2 is Ford’s funeral so no mail… So if all the other forms (transcript, recommendations, school report, etc.) are postmarked Jan 3, is that alright if the app itself is submitted on time?

    I’m not really sure if they’ll mail it tomorrow or tuesday if you bring it to a post office or not, so I don’t know…

  16. Bryan says:


    I took my application material to the post office at my hometown airport because they didn’t close on New Year’s.

    I don’t know what the exact policy is, but I do believe the admissions office will grant some flexibility granted the situation. Just try your hardest to get it postmarked tomorrow.

    – Bryan

  17. James says:

    Thank you, I will

  18. Bryan says:

    Hi Melissa,

    Majoring across schools (ie double majoring in an engineering discipline and a science) can be challenging, but if it’s what you want to do, then if you plan appropriately you can do it. Getting a minor in my experience is a lot easier than getting a second major.

    Check out this blog entry that I wrote a while back:

    – Bryan

  19. Melissa '11 says:

    Thank you, Bryan, I will! I have one more question, if you don’t mind =) If you’re going into biological engineering, are you allowed to get a biomedical engineering minor?

  20. Audrey says:

    MIT is my first choice because of the availability of Double Majors. I wanted to have a major in biology and studio art, I hope that they aren’t too much for me. But yeah, all these application deadlines are getting me anxious. One thing that keeps me going is that I will be the most relaxed I have ever been in (hopefully) March, or April.

  21. Bryan says:


    I’m pretty sure that you can’t do that one.

    – Bryan

  22. Bryan says:

    Alright folks, I’m out for New Year’s festivities. I’ll respond to all additional comments in 2007.

    Happy New Year.

    – BDO

  23. Melissa '11 says:

    Thank you, Bryan! Happy New Year!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t you do course 20 and biomed?

  25. Aki says:

    Woo. Just clicked on that “Submit” button. I’m calm enough now– I guess the reaction will kick in as soon as I get into bed (just spent the whole night writing and editing my essay…) Oh, well.
    Happy New Year 2007 people!! Chill and be happy!
    I also wanted to say congrats to MIT, to u, Bryan, and to all other bloggers. These blogs are awesome. Way cool smile It really helped me loads of times. Thanks thanks thanks!

  26. Sha says:

    Hey, I have a time machine that will transport you a week into the future. But it takes a week before it works.

  27. Anonymous says:

    What would you suggest to someone who wants to do 2 minors (just one major) or even 1 minor? When to start planning this, taking classes freshman year..?

  28. Anon1729 says:


    I can’t believe it – its gone and I cannot make any more changes. I worked on my essays for months, but at the last moment (5 days ago), I deleted one of them, and wrote a completely different one. Surprisingly, I finished this essay in one sitting, and I found it to be the perfect choice for expressing myself.

    Now, it going to be a long wait still March (I hope I get the good news on my birthday, or the bad news after Einstein’s)

    Good luck to all the ’11 applicants

  29. kanika says:

    heya bryan
    i think i have big blunder in my secondry school report which also incorporates kind of an evaluation by my principal..the problem is that i asked her to fill out the form but in the field that asks for the academic accomplishments of the applicant she put a check on the average box ..i was heart broken to see that because i stood 3rd in my class in the first quarters and i was awarded the best student award after grade 9 and i have alwayz maintained great grades ,,,so i requested her to correct that because it was giving a false impression of me ..a really degrading one for me to be called ‘AVERAGE’ so she used a blade to rub off that check and tick on the ‘outstanding’ or whatever was the exact word for a very good form looks like it has been tampered with..could that result in something serious like my application not even bein considered ???? i dont want that to happen
    please help

  30. Elizabeth says:

    You know, maybe all the regular action applicants are freakin’ out about their applications, but now I’m freaking out about approximately March 18th because now, amidst all the other applications I’m doing, I’m finding myself just wishing MORE for MIT. And I’d been free of tension for almost three weeks since getting a deferred letter… Alas. According to someone, only 92 days left… but I don’t know, haven’t they not announced what day it is this year?

  31. Bryan says:


    You can’t do course 20 and the BME minor because the idea behind a minor is that you get exposure to a different field. Course 20 and the BME minor just have too much overlap.


    As far as planning goes, it always helps to have an idea of what you’d like to do, but in general, your first year, you’ll be getting your general institute requirements out of the way. You may have the opportunity to take an elective or two here or there.


    The only thing I know for sure is that they plan on mailing in mid to late March.


    I’m not an admissions officer so I don’t know the answer to that question. But like I said earlier, I think they are understanding within reason as long as you make a good faith effort to get your material in on time.


    If you’re really worried about someone questioning the integrity of your report, I would possibly consider having your principal write a little note to the admissions office explaining why or possibly just send the one you have now, print out another copy, have your principal will that one out, and send that one as well.

    – Bryan

  32. Kevin says:

    This entire date for application is odd, why Jan. 1?
    The post office is always closed that day. Even FedEx, and UPS!!! They are also closed just about every other day before, I know I have tried 2 other days before.

    I did find one way! To get it in postmarked Jan. 1 SonicAir. Guaranteed to get there in less then a day anywhere in the world fast and only direct. We are talking 12hr or less shipping in the US!

    They pick it up from your door in 60min or less, send it by air direct flight, have some one pick it up and hand deliver it directly without other stops. Only bad part it costs $200-$600!!!

    Well there is one other way, go find where the postmaster lives, knock on his door and ask him to postmark your mail before the deadline. NOTE: Possibly a federal crime.

    Any ways, I made a full re-do of the entire application online.

    But, I would like some one to answer: What they will except as far as deadlines or what will happen if part is not in by the postmark?

  33. Guyomar says:

    Well, it certainly was a relief to submit my essay. I waited until only a couple of days ago to send it off. Somehow, even if I’ve prepared something well in advance I can never hand it in until deadlines are close. I suppose I want to make sure that I’ve made the most of the time given to me, and be able to change things if I get new ideas.

    Happy new year to everyone, and all the best. smile

  34. Guyomar says:

    Oh and it was interesting to see that I wasn’t the only one worrying about her application, and going over her essay a thousand times…

  35. bhushan says:


    need not to worry about time-machine

    i am going to invent it in MIT

  36. Jennifer says:

    I’m getting sorta worried. I’m doing the app, and I’m not entirely sure what eastern time it must be submitted by. I know it’s due today, but I don’t know by what time!


  37. Adam S says:

    Jennifer – It is ‘probably’ due at
    11:59:59pm Eastern
    10:59:59pm Central
    9:59:59pm Mountain
    8:59:59pm Pacific
    for easy reference.

    I’d recommend getting it in ASAP though. Lots of people will be submitting now, and you don’t want to find out that their server crashed, and its impossible to submit, or something.

    Of course, the Admissions officers seem to be generally lenient about things like submission deadline.. They won’t reject you just because you submitted it an hour late. Don’t worry too much, but don’t procrastinate, either.

  38. Nick says:


    I noticed you were in course 2 and BE but are looking fo BE PhD programs. How popular is course 20 at MIT? Also, I’m curious to know why you aren’t continuing with course 2 related PhD programs?


  39. Bryan says:

    Hey Nick,

    Course 20 (as an undergraduate major) is relatively new, but it’s fairly popular. The reason I’m pursuing BE PhD programs is because I selected mechanical engineering to gain an understanding of how biological systems functioned as machines. Since I hope to gain a broader understanding of the complex functions of biological systems, I’m applying to BE PhD programs instead of course 2 PhD programs. I still hope to use some of my course 2 background to study some of the things that I am interested in.

    – Bryan

  40. Melissa '11 says:

    How hard is it to get multiple majors or multiple minors?

  41. Adam S. says:

    Milena –
    Yeah, I applied EA and was deferred. I’m trying hard to be accepted RA, though. MIT is definitely my favourite school, by far.

    Yes, I did intentionally spell favourite that way. I think that the British have it right. grin

    Milena – What’s your application status now? Just curious.

    -Adam S.

  42. where do i send in a project in visual basic as a supplement to my application ..i mean the it to be sent directly to the admissions office or somewhere else..and some art (sketches) that i want to be considered ..and the certificates that are rpoof to my accomplishments..
    happy new year all!

  43. If you are wondering about deadlines:

    I submitted for Early Action and this is my experience. I live in a central time zone, so I decided to submit by 11:00 Central, 12:00 Eastern. I did my application quite last minute and tried to submit 2 minutes before the deadline. I didn’t realize that my stuff was over the char limit, so I had to frantically decide what to delete from my additional info page and also my “Creation” essay.

    I managed to click submit about 3 seconds before the deadline (11:00 Central). I thought I was okay, then I reviewed the application file that was generated and it said Nov. 2 (for those of you who don’t know, Early was due Nov. 1). I realized that it took the application about 5 seconds to generate, which would put my submission about 2 seconds late. So either the date recorded is when your application finishes generating or my clock was off, but you should submit at least 5 minutes before the deadline to be safe.

    Lessons: The deadline is really 11:59:59 Eastern time, but if you submit a little late, I wouldn’t worry. I remember a question answered in one of Matt’s blogs to a person who also submitted a little late. Matt said something to the effect of: If we really cared about the deadline, you wouldn’t be able to submit after the deadline. Try not to submit late, but if you do, it should be okay. I’m not an admissions officer, but I don’t think a late submission hurts your application too much.

  44. Jennifer says:

    Wow…I submitted mine..7.5 minutes ago, at 8:59:x PM, Pacific Time.

    I’m never doing that again.

    Doggone it…

  45. Jeff says:

    Don’t worry Jennifer, mine was 3 minutes late. It’s now 12:10ET and my heart is still beating furiously.

  46. Procrastination is going to kill me one day, or am I too young to say that still?

  47. milena says:

    Adam S….

    I think you applied EA. Did you get in or or deffered or am I just imagining this!? lol

  48. Mike says:

    I just submitted mine, wrote out the last two essays in record time. Time for a sigh of relief.

  49. Joe says:

    I hope 2007 goes great for you Bryan! Good luck on your applications!