If you’ve been deferred, you may be asking, “What now?” Luckily, I’ve got some answers (updated for this year’s very competitive EA pool).
Is it all over for me?
At MIT, a deferral isn’t just a “polite rejection.” Your application will once again be considered by the committee during regular action. You are at no advantage or disadvantage versus the regular action applications. We will admit the best applications we can during regular action, regardless of when the application was submitted. (A little historical data: last year, we admitted 289 deferred students during regular action, 295 the year before, 267 the year before that, and 326 the year before that)
What should I do now?
I recommend spending the next few weeks before January 1 working on regular action applications for other schools. You should still put the same energy and thought you put into your MIT application into your other applications.
[But MIT is my dream school, I can’t imagine being happy anywhere else!]
[This doesn’t apply to everyone, but occasionally some students become so focused on MIT they can’t see all the other amazing schools that are out there. For those students who are really attracted to MIT’s campus culture, I’ve found these students often are also happy at many other schools, including Caltech, Carnegie Mellon, Cooper Union, Harvey Mudd, Olin College, RPI, and the University of Chicago. For those students who particularly like the Boston area, you can also look at Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, Tufts University, and Wellesley College, among others.]
Should I send in extra materials?
The only thing we ask that you send in is the midyear grade report. You can download one off of the MyMIT website if you need one. Your semester grades are very important so keep working hard. We’d like this report as soon as possible after your grades are available; by the beginning of February would be great, but definitely by the end of February.
You may also want to keep us up-to-date with any news in your life. This is not required nor is it expected, but if anything exciting happens definitely let us know. It’s best if you send any such letter by the end of January, but you may keep us in the loop through the time we mail regular action decisions in mid-March.
Should I send in a whole new version of my application, or all new essays?
No. You do not need to “improve” your application, or redo/edit/modify part or all of your application. You were deferred because your application was already strong enough to make you a contender in the Regular Action round. Let your application stand.
What about extra essays, recommendations, etc?
You may send along anything (such as…) that you feel would be helpful to the committee. We do not expect or require any of these things. Simply sending in additional materials does not by itself increase your chances of admission.
What other advice do you have?
You should check in with your guidance/college counselor. Often, their years of experience provide wisdom and insight into your particular situation. They’re more than welcome to give our office a call if our decision isn’t consistent with their experience, or just to talk about the process.
Can I call admissions to find out The Reason why I was deferred?
If you call in, we will not be able to tell you “the reason” why you were deferred, or “what needs to be improved,” simply because things are much more complex than just one reason why you were deferred. Usually, when I take a call from a deferred applicant, there’s nothing that I see to be lacking or needing improvement — most of our deferred students submitted very strong applications, the kinds of applications any school (including MIT) would love to have in their student body. Honestly.
I’m glad to see from the comments that most of you, while understandably disappointed, are remaining upbeat, continuing to work on other applications, and knowing that one year from now, you’ll be getting ready to take a holiday break from some really amazing school (maybe MIT) to spend some quality time with loved ones. Being an optimist, I know that things always turn out well in the end.