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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

EA Deadline: Your Questions [Updated] by Matt McGann '00

With the Early Action deadline fast approaching, I'll try to answer some last minute questions.

The Early Action deadline is fast approaching — it is this Sunday, November 1.

I’d like to field some of your last minute questions here in this entry. I’d like to be helpful as you prepare to submit your application.

However, before you submit your question, I’d like to ask you to really look for the answer here on the site — there’s no need to ask basic questions, for example, about standardized test requirements or statistics. If you have a question though that doesn’t seem to already have been answered, though, I am more than happy to help.

A few FAQs:

  • The deadline is November 1, meaning you can submit your application any time on November 1 or before. (I don’t recommend waiting until the last minute, though)
  • It is okay if your teacher recommendations are later than the deadline. We are very flexible with your teacher recommendations.
  • The MyMIT Tracking is up-to-date, but please recognize that processing can take 1-2 weeks. You do not need to worry at this time about documents that are not showing on MyMIT; we currently have a backlog of materials in our processing center, and expect to have that backlog into November. Do not worry.

Ask away!


Keshav asked: “Please offer your advice on the following: I am contemplating applying early to MIT without attaching a research abstract. However, my research will be finalized in November. Should I wait until the regular deadline to apply with the research abstract? Is there a competitive edge in applying early action?”

Matt ’00 replies: I would recommend applying early, and sending your abstract along when it is complete. We will be able to add it to your application.

Jeff H. asked: “I live in Canada. I have a question on the self-reported coursework section. It states it should be completed by students in US or US based schools. I’m not sure if my Canadian high school is considered US based. We don’t have AP classes or many of the other types of classes listed. Should I fill this section out or just submit the transcript?”

Matt ’00 replies: You do not need to fill out the self-reported coursework.

Anshu asked: “If my application is deferred until later, will I still be able to edit my application or at least add accomplishments and test scores?”

Matt ’00 replies: You will not be able to edit your application, but you are invited to supplement your application with any updates.

Jeff C. asked: “I am applying from Hong Kong and I am an American Citizen but I go to a local Hong Kong school which doesn’t have any AP classes and the like, so should I apply as a US citizen or as an International student? Also I am retaking my SATs this November should I leave my SAT scores blank or should I put the best scores I have as of the day I send in my applications? Many thanks!”

Matt ’00 replies: Since you are an American citizen, you are considered a domestic applicant. However, we will evaluate you considering your context in Hong Kong. We are quite familiar with the schools and curriculum in Hong Kong, along with many places in the world.

As for the SATs, you may do either — either way, we will be using the official scores reports and the best results in each section.

Anurag asked: “I was wondering why does MIT, with its awesome international applicant pool, not offer Early Action to its international applicants. […] Also, there is a cap on the maximum number of international admits. Why is this so? […] Are we discouraging international applicants? If not, then what purpose does this serve? […] If MIT is my first priority school(since grade 6! ha!), why can’t I know if I’ll be going to MIT next fall or not, early?”

Matt ’00 replies: Like most American universities, MIT has a quota for the number of international students it can enroll. MIT is more open about this quota than many schools. The quota is not set by the Admissions Office, but by senior officials at MIT.

Considering that the admission rate for international students is very low, we have chosen to only have one admissions round for international students to allot these limited spaces. It is not a question of EA vs. RA, but rather a question of having one round or two rounds. Since the admission rate for domestic students is not as low, we feel comfortable having two different admission dates for this group; however, given how few spaces there are for internationals, we want to give out these limited spaces at the same time, in the same process.

Remember that at MIT, Early Action is not designed as a program to indicate MIT as your priority or first-choice school. We do not consider “demonstrated interest” in admissions decisions. We care about your match with MIT — and that will be the same no matter what deadline you apply for.

Anonymous2 asked, “The registrations for the SATs I have done did not include my middle name or the suffix of my name. I remember reading that we should type our name exactly as it appeared on our SAT registration so that the scores will be matched with the account. Do middle names or suffixes matter for your system to match registrations with applications, or should I leave them off of Part 1 of the application?”

Matt ’00 replies: You should use your formal, legal name on your application, including middle initial. Even with the mismatch this will cause with your SAT registration, there’s a reasonable likelihood that our matching algorithm will figure it out. To be safe, though, you should email admissions -at- mit -dot- edu and provide the helpful information so that we can ensure that your records are matched.

International Anonymus asked, “In the application form you ask whether or not we have already tried to enter MIT before. Will the fact that you have sent the application the year before and are trying again hurt your chances? If not, why is it important for the admission staff to know it?”

Matt ’00 replies: Having applied previously to MIT does not by itself impact your admission. It is interesting to see how the application has changed since the prior application — these changes can make the difference, as few reapplicants are admitted on the second try (though some of our most notable students were reapplicants).

“Class of 2010” wrote, “For the additional information section, I’d like to submit the longer version of an essay I wrote for Part 2 of the application. The essay that specifically addresses the essay prompt is about 250 words, but I feel that the 500 word version is more interesting and gives a deeper look into the topic. The 250 word version gives a good overview of the topic, but I feel the 500 word version does it more justice. Would the admissions office see this as redundant? Again, the two essays present essentially the same ideas, but the longer version does it on a deeper level.”

Matt ’00 replies: As you describe it, it does sound redundant, but if you truly believe that it will help, by all means submit the additional, longer response as well.

James asked, “With regards to financial aid, do we need to fill out the css profile on college board or can we wait until Jan 2010 for the fafsa application?”

Matt ’00 replies: You do not need to submit any financial aid documents now. The deadline for financial aid applications for all students — EA and RA — is February 15. All students — again, EA and RA — who apply by the deadline will receive their financial aid package in March.

Emily asked: “When you have to list your APs, A-levels and O-levels/GCSEs would it give the wrong impression if I listed only a few of my GCSEs? There isn’t enough space to put all of the high school qualifications that I have and I was wondering whether listing a few GCSEs would cause admissions to think that I had only done those. I took all of my GCSEs at the same time so choosing the most recent ones is not an option. Would it be simpler to just list my A-levels and let the transcript cover my GCSEs?”

Matt ’00 replies: I know that there aren’t enough lines for all A-levels and O-levels. My recommendation is to combine onto one line multiple O-level results. Maybe something like this:

Maths, Economics, Drama A*, A*, A
Latin, Geography, History A, A, B

…and so on. How does that solution look to you?

Matt asked: “If applying early action, is there any leniency on the submission of music portfolios? I’ve been having trouble finding decent recording materials. : “

Matt ’00 replies: I can’t say much more than what’s on our website: “If you are thinking about submitting a music portfolio, please try to submit it by November 1 if you are an Early Action applicant or by January 1 if you are an Regular Action applicant.”

“Anonymous” asked: “If I’m South American, am I given the under-represented status like African Americans, Native Americans, etc.? I’ve been in contact with the MIT Men’s Tennis Coach for a little over 2 years now..how helpful is getting recruited by a sport in the admissions process?”

Matt ’00 replies: At MIT, we consider African American, Native American, and Hispanic students as underrepresented minorities.

For athletics, MIT works a bit differently than the “recruitment” that other universities do. Certainly, we will recognize your athletic talent as a special talent that you will bring to MIT. This will help you in that we are interested in bringing students into the class with special talents like athletics, music, art, and more. However, we do not “lower the bar” for athletes or have separate admissions criteria for athletes. If you get in, it will be because you are a good match for MIT, not because we like how well you can throw/kick a ball. And you’ll enter a community of student-athletes who are not only great at sport, but also great at academics and research.

Byce asked: “I too was wondering why scores to submit on the early application part 2. I have my sat scores from june earlier this year. But I am also getting my new scores back on the 29th of October. This is scary close to the EA deadline and i do not want to wait unitl then. What should I do? I am given the options of submitting my earlier SAT scores (which need improvement), wait until I recieve my more recent (hopefully better) scores, or leave them blank with the date of the test and let MIT recieve the scores in the mail.”

Matt ’00 replies: Your scores can come in to us after November 1. Feel free to wait until October 29 to make your decision.


[Wednesday 10/28 4:30pm update]

DifferentAnonymous asked: “Is it acceptable that MIT receives my academic teacher Evaluations A and B a few days after November 1st? My teachers are busy and cannot guarantee that the evaluation forms can be submitted early enough.”
Peixuan asked: “What if one of my teachers accidentally send in their recommendations after the deadline? Will that kill all of my chances of being accepted?”
Joseph asked: “I applied under early action but my teacher recommendations have not yet been submitted by both of my teachers. I have taking the ACT test with writing and submitted all other required documents. I will also be taking the SAT subject tests in November. Will my application still be reviewed under Early Action?”
Justin H. asked: “My History teacher who wrote my letter of recommendation and the Evaluation B form submitted both a little over a week ago by mail, and it has not yet reached MIT even though I live in Shrewsbury, MA which is only about an hour away from MIT. Is it okay if her letter reaches the Nov. 1st deadline a little late, since it should have reached MIT by now?”
Louis asked: “I turned in my school forms to my guidance office over a week ago, and they probably should have gotten there already. However, I know the application says to give it 1 to 2 weeks to show up on my account. How do I know whether the materials got there or they got lost along the way and should be resent.”

Matt ’00 replies: It is perfectly fine if, through no fault of your own, your teacher recommendations come in after the November 1 deadline. We are much more understanding of late documents from teachers than from late documents from the applicant.
If you have already sent in the documents and they haven’t yet appeared on your tracking (like Justin and Louis above), please, please, please be patient. Please allow significant time for processing. Do not send a second copy of any document at this time. Also, you do not need to call MIT Admissions at this time to check on any such documents (there is a time for this later).

DifferentAnonymous asked: “I am in the process of getting my music supplement together, and it is unlikely that my music teacher will be able to provide me with a letter of recommendation by November 1st. Should I submit the music supplement without this anyway, or should I wait until after the deadline?”
Henry asked: “For the music supplement, can any music teacher write the recommendation? For example, private teacher and school orchestra teacher/conductor? And like DifferentAnonymous’s situation above, my recommendation letter may not be ready in time. Should I send what I have by November 1, then send the recommendation letter afterwards? And how should we prove the teacher actually wrote it since it is a digital file without a signature?”

Matt ’00 replies: For the music supplement, send in what you can before November 1, and get the recommendation as soon as possible after that. And yes, any music teacher can write the music supplement recommendation.

VAL asked: “I have a question about the time of submission for the online application. Must the application be submitted on or before 11:59:59 on November 1st or on or before 11:59:59 on October 31st?”
Cassie asked: “I promise I did look through the website and can’t find this, so: if November 1st is the EA deadline, does that mean we can submit the applications online any time before 11:59pm on November 1st or does that mean before 11:59 on October 31st?”

Matt ’00 replies: You can submit your application any time on Sunday, November 1. I wouldn’t wait until the last minute, but you certainly may.

Katherine asked: “I completed 9th grade and 1st semester of 10th grade in Hong Kong, and the rest in the US. I’ve sent an e-mail earlier regarding the self-report course work form, and here’s their reply: ‘Go ahead and do your best to fill out the self-reported course work form using your transcript from your US school.’ What about if the transcript from my US school does not fulling show the courses that I’ve taken in Hong Kong?”

Matt ’00 replies: That’s okay. You can just list the courses you took in the US.

Mike asked: “1) How long should the optional section be? I have around 250 words describing my research experience over the summer. I feel this may be a bit long though, as it’s about another essay.
“2) The first quarter of the year does not end until this Friday, and teachers do not have to submit grades until the following Wednesday. Would you like me to mail my first quarter grades after they are released, or submit my interim grades so they are postmarked by the application deadline?
“3) How should envelopes containing teacher evaluations be labelled and sent?”

Matt ’00 replies: 1) The optional section can be any length from 0 (it is optional, really) to one page. Anything more than one page will not show on the application. But anything under this length is perfectly fine.
2) We do not require first quarter grades. We will ask for midyear grades from RA applicants and EA deferred students in January. If you would like to submit first quarter grades, you can mail them to us at any time.
3) Any application materials being mailed, including recommendation letters, should be sent to: MIT Office of Admissions; 77 Massachusetts Avenue; Room 3-108; Cambridge, MA 02139; USA. It need not have any special code on the envelope. All application materials, though, should have your full name and other identifying information, such as date of birth.

Emily asked (see above for earlier question): “Unfortunately, your suggestion doesn’t solve the problem as there is also a character limit. Is it not enough for admissions to have this information from the high school transcript? Or should I mention my GCSE grades in the additional information part?”

Matt ’00 replies: I would love to see whatever O-Level information you have room to fit. If you can’t fit it all, that’s fine — as you note, we will have official documents confirming everything.

John asked: “Is there any way to submit a video supplement. I’ve seen the info for submitting other supplements(I’m actually sending in an art supplement), but there isn’t a clear word on things outside of art, architecture, music, etc. I know its probably not a common request, but its a video I made using clips from my wrestling matches, I gave it to the coaches before, but the team no longer exists :( Can I submit it to the admissions committee; I feel like showing my involvement in the sport, and my video-editing abilities would give admission officers a better picture of me.”

Matt ’00 replies: I recommend posting it online and providing us with the URL in your application.

Justin H. asked: “Also, I am retaking the SAT in November so im going to leave that part blank on my application, but will MIT just hold my application until they receive my Nov scores or will they just look at my not-so-good May SAT before getting the Nov scores?”

Matt ’00 replies: “We don’t need to have SAT scores for the initial review if scores are coming; do not worry.

Amethyst S. asked: “So, I AM submitting an art portfolio, and know what to do with that. But I had also wanted to submit a small poetry portfolio as well. I tried asking the Admissions office but they didn’t say whether I should send it any place in particular, leave it out altogether, or include it with the rest of my physically-sent materials. Any help/advice you can give me on this one?”
Sarah asked: “My EC saw a story I wrote and suggested I submit it as a creative writing supplement. What is the procedure for this or is it not of interest to the admission counselors?”

Matt ’00 replies: You can either cut and paste your writing into the optional section in Part 2, or mail hardcopies to the Admissions Office. If you mail it, be sure to include your full name and other identifying information, such as date of birth.

Louis asked: “Also, how strict is the essay word count, and do you specifically count words? One of my essays, while it’s not a 500 word essay, is somewhat over the 250 word ‘limit.’ However, I feel it is written succinctly, shows up on the application in fairly large font, and both me and a teacher I gave it to to read over both agree that it can’t be significantly cut down anymore without losing the essence of it. Will this work against me in any significant way?”
Bryce asked: “I was wondering how specific MIT will be on the word count. Will you still read my short answer if it was hypothetically 101 words instead of 100?”

Matt ’00 replies: Should be fine.

Michael C. asked: “I was about to submit part one when I noticed in the preview an unchecked box asking whether I had arranged/completed an interview, which of course I had. But I can’t find that check box on part 1, only on part 2 (where I did check it). Is it just a mistake? Do I need to worry about it?”

Matt ’00 replies: You will find this section in Part 2. Online, it is on Page 8; in the preview PDF of the Part 2, it will be on Page 5 for most students.

Jennifer W. asked: “Is it possible to make two selections under which field interests you the most right now if you are equally interested in two? Should this be indicated in the extra information field?”

Matt ’00 replies: You can only select one field in the Part 1 question, but feel free to tell us about both in the short answer question in Part 2.

Kranti asked: “DOES MY ONLINE EARLY APPLICATION NEED TO BE SENT IN and/on RECEIVED BEFORE MY INTERVIEW?”

Matt ’00 replies: NO.

JF asked: “I come from a technical high school and half of my GPA is attributed to my field of study. My problem is that it doesn’t really fall into any specific category of coursework except additional courses, yet to date I have more than 5 final grades, and due to the importance to my GPA I don’t want to omit any of these grades. Is it okay if I list them under another section, say Math, since my field of study does have a pretty math intensive portion.”

Matt ’00 replies: You don’t need to put it only in additional courses; fit your classes in wherever you can, however it makes sense. So yes, it is okay.

Yixing asked: “Is it okay if my music supplement is about 14 minutes instead of 10minutes? I know it says to keep it around 10 minutes but I didn’t know how much leeway I got with the ‘around’ part.
“And if an employer wanted to send a recommendation letter, where would she send it to?”

Matt ’00 replies: Yes, I think you’ll be okay at 14 minutes.
And any application materials being mailed, including recommendation letters, should be sent to: MIT Office of Admissions; 77 Massachusetts Avenue; Room 3-108; Cambridge, MA 02139; USA. It need not have any special code on the envelope. All application materials, though, should have your full name and other identifying information, such as date of birth.

Miriam asked: “I have taken a lot of classes that aren’t in the main academic categories, and there isn’t room for all of them in the application. Is it okay if I just leave them out, since they’ll appear on my transcript?
“Also, if I apply Early Action and get deferred, can I send a music portfolio in December?”

Matt ’00 replies: Try to fit as many interesting ones as you can into the slef-reported coursework form; the less interesting ones you can leave out if space doesn’t allow.
And: yes.

Valerie asked: “My school does not offer classes in the social sciences. In the “Social Sciences” section of the reported coursework, should I just list my history courses, since there is no room for them elsewhere?”

Matt ’00 replies: You should list history courses in the social sciences section.

Geoff asked: “How important is it to have a math class in your senior schedule? Our school only offers up to AP Calculus AB, and I took that course Junior year. I am also looking into the possibility of taking a math course during the summer.”

Matt ’00 replies: It is important for us that students challenge themselves in math, and that they do math through calculus. We do, however, evaluate coursework within the context of courses offered.

Daniel asked: “I am sending an architecture portfolio along with my application, and I don’t know whether it should be post-marked by november 1 or if it should be in your addmissions office on november 1?”

Matt ’00 replies: November 1 is a postmark deadline.

Lawrance asked: “My school doesn’t have any SAT Request for Waiver of College Application Fee forms. My counselor wrote a letter saying that I meet the financial criteria for the SAT Request for Waiver of College Application Fee. Will MIT accept that?”

Matt ’00 replies: Yes, absolutely.

Hanjoon asked (read comments to see full question): 1) “I was wondering whether I should take a more recognized class like AP Statistics instead of Capstone Math or AP Computer Science instead of Capstone Chemistry.”
2) “…for the application, would it be allowed to just send in my plans for the research project (if I’m able to finish the plans by October)? Or if I’m not able to finish it, will it be recognized if I just explain my plans?”
3) “Also, do you advise me to take additional AP’s during senior year?”

Matt ’00 replies: 1) There’s no need to take an AP just because it’s an AP. The Capstone sounds pretty exciting, I’d go for that. 2) Yes, that would work just fine. 3) It doesn’t sound like you need to, but if you’d enjoy it, go for it.


[Thursday 10/29 12:15pm update]

Tani asked, “I know that the best scores from the SAT 1 are looked at individually, is this the same for the ACT as well or does MIT look at the best composite score to date?”

Matt ’00 replies: We will look at the best section scores for both the SAT and the ACT.

Sam asked: “Are recommendations from persons other than teachers and school faculty accepted? If so what is the best way to insure their timely and accurate delivery to admissions?”

Matt ’00 replies: We can accept supplemental recommendations. There is no special form for supplemental recommendations. Any supplemental recommendations being mailed should be sent to: MIT Office of Admissions; 77 Massachusetts Avenue; Room 3-108; Cambridge, MA 02139; USA. It need not have any special code on the envelope. All application materials, though, should have your full name and other identifying information, such as date of birth.

Shynggys asked: “Can I send SAT scores after deadline?”

Matt ’00 replies: You can send SAT scores up until the November testing date.

Kenneth asked: “I am applying as an international student from Hong Kong, which practice the A-Level system. So, we actually graduate twice from our secondary schools. However, we have a so-called Early Admission Scheme which allows students doing well in their O-Level exams to enter the local universities without taking the A-Level exams. So I am applying as a F6. But then I encounter a question is Part 2 of the MIT application: Are you graduating from secondary school early or without a diploma? Should I answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’?”

Matt ’00 replies: I would answer “Yes,” so that we understand you are doing the Early Admission Scheme and so that we know not to expect A-Level results.

Nicholas asked: “There are parts of the application that ask for the things you do inside and outside of school. For example, one part asks for a list of summer activities. Do these sections want only activities from within the last year? activities for all of high-school? activities/achievements for my whole life? I don’t want to list more or less than is relevant!”

Matt ’00 replies: For summer activities, there is no rule, but I would look to mention notable summer activities from your past 2-3 summers.

JF asked: “1-The sibling major thing. What’s the format for that because you can’t quite fit ‘Bachelor’s of Computer Science.’ Also one of my brother’s received a bachelors degree and is currently going for his masters. Do I list him twice, only mention the one he has, or mention the masters because it’s highest education.
“2-I Have SAT scores but am retaking in November. Should I send the past report anyways or wait for the new one. I don’t want my application to be hurt because the scores I list are lower, when I’ll most likely score higher this time around.”

Matt ’00 replies: 1) You can abbreviate. For example,

S.B., M.Eng. in CS
or
BA & MA in CompSci

How’s that look?
2) Either way will work fine. Remember, we will only consider your highest scores.

Natalia asked: “I sent in three forms last week (both teacher evaluations and the fee waiver form), and it appears that the evaluation has been processed but the request for a fee waiver hasn’t. Is it processed separately?”

Matt ’00 replies: Yes, it is processed separately. I wouldn’t worry at this time.

manis404 asked: “About the ‘something you do for the pleasure of it’ question, NOTHING other than one of my hobbies makes me so excited and passionate. But as I already mention that hobby in the ‘Activities’ section, should I talk about it again in the 11(a) question?”

Matt ’00 replies: Sure, why not?

Alex L. asked: “I was talking to my guidance/college counselors and they suggested that I send a package to MIT with the application/other supplementary materials. Included is a DVD with videos of my community service project, and me doing various other things (i.e. inspirational speaking) that could not be conveyed in any other way. Will this be seen by MIT Admissions? Also, they suggested hand-delivering it to the admissions office. Is this a good idea?”

Matt ’00 replies: It is more likely to be fully considered if you post the video online and provide us with the URL. You should not deliver anything personally, as it will only serve to waste your time and will not benefit you in any way (which isn’t to say that visiting isn’t worthwhile, but you certainly don’t need to come here just to deliver a DVD!).

Landon asked: “I was accepted into the Duke TIP program during middle school, but I have continued an active membership in it since. I am assuming that since it was not awarded during high school it cannot count as an academic distinction that was won during high school. Would that be correct?”

Matt ’00 replies: Feel free to list it as an academic distinction if you like.

Udit asked: “I am applying early the Nov 1 deadline, but taking the the 2nd subject test, physics, on Dec’09. Will that be accepted?”

Matt ’00 replies: The last acceptable date for standardized tests for early action is November. December tests can count for regular action.

jialing asked: “For the music supplement, it says to attach the teacher rec as a pdf or microsoft word doc- does that mean that I am the one emailing it? Also, if the the whole email with all the files becomes too large, am I allowed to compress the files into a zip folder?”

Matt ’00 replies: I would recommend for the teacher to email it directly. Also, I would not recommend a ZIP file. For more information, click here.

Quantum asked: “Is there any way to track or confirm that a supplementary recommendation letter has been received?”

Matt ’00 replies: We do not track supplemental letters on the tracking system. EA applicants can call MIT Admissions starting in mid-November to see if we have received supplemental letters.

Robert asked: “My son, a high school senior here in Florida, just took the SAT a second time and received the following scores: critical reading 630, math 730, writing 560. He’s doing very well in AP Calc and AP Physics and I’d like to encourage him to apply to MIT. Does he have a chance of admission?”

Matt ’00 replies: Anyone who applies has a chance of admission. I can’t comment beyond that without the benefit of a full application. As for the scores, you may find our admissions statistics helpful.


[Saturday 2:00pm update]

anonymous asked: “Is the writing portion of the SAT considered more or less than the other sections?”

Matt ’00 replies: At this time, we are still evaluating the SAT Writing Test; it is not considered.

Robert J. asked: “If I submitted all my teacher recommendations and my transcript via mail; will your office of admissions indicate on my MIT account that you received those necessary materials?”

Matt ’00 replies: Yes, you can track these materials on the MyMIT Tracking System. Please be patient, though, as processing takes 1-2 weeks.

Lindsay asked: “I was wondering if it would be okay to approach the optional essay in a jocular manner if the other ones are more serious.”

Matt ’00 replies: Absolutely!

monk2010 asked: “1) Last week, I heard that MIT does not accept any early action applicants with a C. Is this really true? 2) Also, what should I do when what I need to put in is longer than what the given textbox can hold? For example, I could not specify the years in which I did certain activities in ‘Past Summer activities’ section.”

Matt ’00 replies: It is true that a C isn’t good, but it is false that we don’t accept students with a C; we have no rule about it, and have accepted some applicants with a C in the past.

Rohit asked: “Our school does not offer AP courses. I have taken 11 ap tests on my own. Should I fill them in self report ap courses and test dates or it is only for the ap courses taken in school?”

Matt ’00 replies: In the AP scores section, you should report both self-study APs as well as APs taken in school courses.

Nicholas asked: “If I send in my EA application on time, but my teachers don’t send their recommendations in by the EA deadline, will my application be defferred to regular action, or simply thrown out all together?”

Matt ’00 replies: Teacher recommendations do not need to be here by the deadline. While we would prefer it, we will accept teacher recommendations past the deadline. Your application will be considered for EA.

Tina asked: “Can the optional question at the end of part 2 be anything at all? Is it okay if I paste one of my blog posts that might give a more clear impression about who I am?”

Matt ’00 replies: You can put whatever you want in this section. A blog post sounds great.

Lydia asked: “I am taking all of my courses this year at a local university. Unfortunately, the transcript from the university does not include courses until they are completed, and I am not even allowed to send a transcript until the end of the fall 2009 semester. Is it okay if my current courses are not listed on an official transcript?”

Matt ’00 replies: Send in the transcript when it is available at the end of the semester. In the meantime, be sure to list all of your current year courses on the self-reported coursework form.

ashley asked: “does anyone know if mit wants a physical copy of our transcripts, or if an electronic copy through a service like docufide is ok!”

Matt ’00 replies: We are happy to accept electronic transcripts through Docufide.

Cassie asked: “When we list our awards/accomplishments, do we need to send in actual physical evidence, like copies of certificates, signatures from sponsors, and such, or is typing it into the application enough?”

Matt ’00 replies: Listing awards that you have received is sufficient. We do not need certificates. Do not lie or be deceitful, though.

Lydia asked: “The names of my classes are very, very long, and won’t fit as they are in the name box. Is it okay if I put the university they were taken at in the grades box and not the names box?”

Matt ’00 replies: If that fits and doesn’t displace the grade, it would be fine. However, I might recommend using abbreviations. I am sure that “6.01: Introduction to Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology” wouldn’t fit, but it would be fine to list it instead as “Intro to EECS @ MIT.”

anonymous asked: “1.) I just found out that my counselor may have sent the resume I gave her for use in writing my recommendation. i was planning on sending an updated and improved version, but now there might be two. can i still send the other, and should i label it anyway? 2.) I don’t remember if I signed off to waive my rights to see the teacher recommendation. I know this is crucial, but I don’t recall doing it. what should I do?”

Matt ’00 replies: 1) Sure, feel free to send it if you like. Remember that we will primarily use your Part 2 and not your resume. 2) There’s nothing to be done now, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

Mary asked: “Is there any way to get superscripts into the essay section of the application? I need sin^2 x.”

Matt ’00 replies: Sadly, no. Do your best.

Eden asked: “I have a question about the self-reported coursework section. I asked for my transcript from my school earlier and had planned on using that to fill out the application using that. However, it has come to my attention that there was a glitch in the system and my transcript was incorrect. How should I fill in the self-reported coursework section? Should I just leave out the grades and let my official transcript confirm the grades?”

Matt ’00 replies: We would prefer your self-reported coursework to be as complete and accurate as possible. I would report as much of the transcript as you can that you know is correct.

Josh asked: “I took several courses in middle school for which I was awarded high school credit and, thus, appear on my transcript. However, the Self Reported Coursework section does not allow for grades under 9. Should I report these courses without a grade, or as grade 9?”

Matt ’00 replies: Either way would be fine.

anonymous* asked: “I have a question about the musical supplement. Would it be alright if I mail a hard copy of materials to MIT, or does the supplement have to be in pdf format?”

Matt ’00 replies: The music supplement page very clearly says, “music supplements may ONLY be submitted via email.” So, a hard copy would not be considered for the music supplement.


[…and some extra questions answered from Dave’s comments]

Justin H asked: “I already submitted my application, but is it okay if our teachers submitted their evaluations more than a week ago and MIT has not processed them yet, even though I only live like an hour away from MIT? Is there like a very large pile of application supplements waiting to be processed at the moment?”

Matt ’00 replies: Yes, we are still processing documents. Please be patient.

Lauren asked: “Does anyone know when it says the deadline is Nov. 1, if it means we can submit our apps online ON Nov. 1, or does it have to be done BEFORE Nov. 1–ie, (the night of) October 31st?”

Matt ’00 replies: You can submit your application any time on November 1.

Allie asked: “Does anyone know if I need to send in MIT’s secondary school report form, or if I can just use the one from my school?”

Matt ’00 replies: We prefer our form, but we will accept your school’s form.

Yixing asked: “what happens if my employer sends a supplemental recommendation to MIT except all it contains is my full name as identification? I’m pretty sure I’m the only Yixing S. applying though… but what should I do?”

Matt ’00 replies: If it’s already been sent, do not worry; I’m sure with your name and context clues we’ll figure it out.

Tim asked: “Do the teacher recommendations have to be postmarked Nov 1st as well?”

Matt ’00 replies: We would prefer it, but we are very flexible with late teacher recommendations.

mcYunBaconBitz asked: “I signed up for MIT 2 other colleges, and a scholarship service to recieve my SAT scores when I tested this month. Now (the day before my application’s due,) I check on collegeboard and it says I only sent it to the scholarship service. What do I do?”

Matt ’00 replies: We will need an official score report. Assuming your scores don’t show up on your MyMIT Tracking, I would talk to the College Board about it.

AHHHH asked: “I sent my sat II scores two days ago through collegeboard. I figured it would be okay, since it says that scores from the november test date make it on time. But now I’m freaking out, even though I have a towel. Should I stop freaking out, or continue freaking out, or go back to collegeboard and sent a rush report, or what?”

Matt ’00 replies: Do not freak out. You will not need to send a rush report. If College Board shows you having sent scores to us, we probably have them; it could be a matching problem between your registration name & address and your application name & address. If College Board does not show you having sent scores to us, then send us the scores again. You will not need to use Rush Reporting.

Clara asked: “I submitted part 2, and I just realized that I made a stupid mistake on the app! I had put “Baseball” for Athletics section, and I have nothing to do with it. What do I do?”

Matt ’00 replies: Feel free to email us a quick note about it. Sorry for the error.

AnotherAnon asked: “Do we have to mail in proof of our accomplishments, such as certificates or signed statements from club sponsors, or is typing it into the application sufficient?”

Matt ’00 replies: Listing awards that you have received is sufficient. We do not need certificates. Do not lie or be deceitful, though.


[Sunday 4pm update]

Eden asked [see above for earlier question]: “1) Just to follow up, I can’t be sure of the validity of any of the grades on the transcript, as I was only told that it was inaccurate and given no specifics as to how. The only grades I can be positive about are grades from my last years report card. Since I can’t be sure, should I estimate based on my performance in the class? 2) Additionally, I took some high school classes (Math A, Earth science) etc in middle school. Do I report these under the coursework section as well?”

Matt ’00 replies: 1) Report your accurate grades for 9-11, and leave this year’s blank. 2) You can, but you are not required to.

Mir Ali wrote a long comment.

Matt ’00 replies: We’re happy to help, but I don’t exactly understand your situation. Feel free to email or call us directly and we’ll do what we can to help.

Joe asked: “I am currently studying in an ‘American School’ in a foreign country and am a bit confused of the Self-reported course work aspect. If our school tries to use a US based policy but deviates considerably from it (for example, it includes at least 10 other classes which are non-US based), should I still type it in? If so, if there are some final grades which truly lack confirmation, is it okay if I leave the Final Grades box empty so that they can appear in the updated transcript?”

Matt ’00 replies: I would recommend including all classes on your transcript, and all confirmed grades.

Su asked: “I realized that my school sent my supplementary materials (teacher recs, transcript etc.) to MIT Undergraduate Admissions Office; 77 Massachusetts Avenue; Cambridge, MA 02139; and left off the room number.
Do I need to resend it? or will it get to the admission office?”

Matt ’00 replies: It will get to us, no worries.

Anonymous asked: “My 100-word ‘interest’ essay is largely redundant with another essay. Would it be more helpful to write about something different, even if it is less important to me?”

Matt ’00 replies: I don’t have any great advice here. Do what you think is best.

Matt P. asked: “I was planning on sending a supplement with my research abstract and a letter from my mentor. My mentor just wants to know exactly what the purpose of the specific recommendation is, and who / where exactly to send it to. and any other relevant info.”

Matt ’00 replies: The purpose is to recommend you, and to give us a sense of the research work that you did. Your mentor should send it to the admissions committee at the usual address, being sure to include your full name and other identifying information, such as date of birth.

Kari L. asked: “There is no open post office today, and tomorrow is sunday, when none are open either. I got a sculpture back from a gallery it was being stored in, and tomorrow is the deadline to send in an art portfolio, but I have no means to send in the pictures of my work. Can a portfolio be postmarked one day later, if the circumstances are like this?”

Matt ’00 replies: You should be fine, I wouldn’t worry.

Olivia asked: “I have my early action app ready to submit; however, my recording time for my voice & piano submissions was delayed until this coming Friday. Am I better off submitting the app now and following up with the music supplement next week or waiting to send both in at the same time? Thank you for being there for us procrastinators.”

Matt ’00 replies: You should submit your EA app by the deadline, and send in your music supplement as soon as it is ready.

AZ asked: “For section seven of part 2, should we list our senior year first marking period grades?”

Matt ’00 replies: You may but you are not required to do so.

Anonymous27 asked: “I was supposed to have my interview today, but some confusion was involved and we could not meet. If I have an interview after November 1st will it not be considered for EA?”

Matt ’00 replies: It will be considered for EA as long as you reschedule it in a timely fashion.

Frank asked: “When I started the application I checked off regular action but now I realize I am all ready and would like to change to early action but the section is locked. Can I change to early action.”

Matt ’00 replies: Yes. Submit the application by the EA deadline. Email us at admissions -at- mit -dot- edu to request the change from RA to EA and we’ll make it happen.

Anonymous asked: “When you say that the writing section of the SAT is not considered, do you mean that admission officers don’t look at it at all or is it considered a little bit, like a tipping factor?”

Matt ’00 replies: We do not consider it; it is not a tipping factor.

Jeff asked: “I just submitted a music portfolio for drum kit about an hour ago. On the music supplements page, I now see that it says, “At the moment we are only able to evaluate supplements in the fields of classical, jazz, and world music performance.” My performances I sent in do not particularly fall into any of these genres, but my music resume does address that I have experience in them. Is my music supplement now null and void?”

Matt ’00 replies: My guess is that it will be considered.

Ehsan asked: “1) Does MIT focus only on grade 12 marks or do they also pay attention to previous grades? 2) What would you say is a larger factor grades or SAT scores?”

Matt ’00 replies: 1) We very much pay attention to previous grades. 2) Grades are certainly more important.

Nick asked: “1. How much will I be penalized for exceeding the word limit on one of the essays by 25 words? I do not think I can abbreviate my writining any further without comprimising valuable content. 2. For the self-reported coursework, should we submit grades by quarter or semester?”

Matt ’00 replies: 1. We do not have any formal penalties for such things, nor do we count words. However, we do believe that good answers can be provided within the word limit. 2. Either way is fine; I have a slight preference for just the semester grades.

Vedha asked: “I am an American citizen currently attending high school in India. My school does not offer AP or IB courses. We follow the CBSE curriculum. I, however, am in an accelerated program at school which preps students for engineering entrance exams conducted in India(IIT-JEE, AIEEE). Hence, my Math, Physics and Chemistry courses are on par with the AP curriculum. How would I get that across in my application?”

Matt ’00 replies: You’d be surprised about how much we know about schools in India, but you can feel free to send in extra information about your school.

Southpaw asked: “I’ve already submitted my application. I’d been hoping to submit an essay I wrote for a contest in the optional question but I didn’t have a copy of the essay. I later emailed the essay contests people who sent me the essay, but unfortunately I’ve already submitted the app. What do I now? Should I forget about it, or is there a way to get it to admissions?”

Matt ’00 replies: Feel free to email (plain text, no attachment) or snail mail it to us.

Dion asked: “Is it bad that I personally mailed my teacher recs and secondary school report? They are all individually sealed but enclosed in the same manila envelope…”

Matt ’00 replies: That’s fine.

Eden asked: “My dad has never really been a part of my family, he completely disappeared from our lives when I was less than 2 years old. All I really know is his name, I don’t know whether he is alive or dead, or anything about his education. My mother suggested, putting N/A in his section, since I really don’t know any of the information. What would you suggest?”

Matt ’00 replies: I would put his name and either leave the other fields blank or put unknown.

Larry asked: “Can an applicant list more than one URL in the “box” for URL’s? If so, what is the best separation?”

Matt ’00 replies: Feel free to list extra URLs in the additional information box at the end of Part 2.

Clarinetist wrote: “So if I send my music supplement over as an attachment, the attachment would be around 20 MB so I was wondering if the email address I’m sending it too have some kind of attachment limit when if an email with an attachment over a certain amouint would be automatically blocked…”

Matt ’00 replies: I’m not aware of any such limitation.

Cassie asked: “In the self-reported coursework section, where it asks for the grades in which you took science courses, are we to put the grade that we took the Honors science or the grade that we took the AP science? I the AP grade down, but I want to be sure.”

Matt ’00 replies: Where it askes about Calc/Phys/Chem/Bio at the end, you can list either grade level; I would recommend the most recent grade.

Jen asked: “If I am accepted EA, do I need to send my grades from senior year at all?”

Matt ’00 replies: Yes. We require final grades from all enrolling students.

100 responses to “EA Deadline: Your Questions [Updated]”

  1. Keshav Kohli says:

    Please offer your advice on the following: I am contemplating applying early to MIT without attaching a research abstract. However, my research will be finalized in November. Should I wait until the regular deadline to apply with the research abstract? Is there a competitive edge in applying early action?

  2. I live in Canada. I have a question on the self-reported coursework section. It states it should be completed by students in US or US based schools. I’m not sure if my Canadian high school is considered US based. We don’t have AP classes or many of the other types of classes listed. Should I fill this section out or just submit the transcript?

  3. If my application is deferred until later, will I still be able to edit my application or at least add accomplishments and test scores?

  4. Jeff Chiu says:

    I am applying from Hong Kong and I am an American Citizen but I go to a local Hong Kong school which doesn’t have any AP classes and the like, so should I apply as a US citizen or as an International student? Also I am retaking my SATs this November should I leave my SAT scores blank or should I put the best scores I have as of the day I send in my applications? Many thanks!

  5. Hi Matt, I wrote to you sometime back regarding EA. Since you didn’t reply, I’ll assume that you were busy. Anyway, again.
    This is not exactly yes/no/you-should-do-this/these-are-the-statistics question. It is about the entire admission policy as a whole.

    I was wondering why does MIT, with its awesome international applicant pool, not offer Early Action to its international applicants.

    MIT is expected to do things other universities/colleges do not even think of doing (in a good way). Yet I find it a little disturbing that EA is not offered to International Students – most of which have MIT as their first priority school (Am I right?). Also, there is a cap on the maximum number of international admits. Why is this so? There are lesser known (no offense intended to anybody) institutions, and some more known institutions that do not have this cap and also allow EA/ED for IAs (I know ‘other institutions’ are not MIT, but still). Both of these are not-so-pleasant facts. Are we discouraging international applicants? If not, then what purpose does this serve?

    If MIT is my first priority school(since grade 6! ha!), why can’t I know if I’ll be going to MIT next fall or not, early?

  6. Anonymous2 says:

    Hello, I have a kind of silly and embarassing question. The registrations for the SATs I have done did not include my middle name or the suffix of my name. I remember reading that we should type our name exactly as it appeared on our SAT registration so that the scores will be matched with the account.

    Do middle names or suffixes matter for your system to match registrations with applications, or should I leave them off of Part 1 of the application (yeah, somehow it slipped my mind that I needed to submit that earlier…..>_>)? I couldn’t find the answer to this elsewhere after searching a little while.

    Thanks!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sorry for the double post, but I thought I should clarify that what is written on the registration tickets that I printed do not include my middle initial even though the registration ticket I have yet to print for my November tests does include my middle initial.

  8. In the application form you ask whether or not we have already tried to enter MIT before.

    Will the fact that you have sent the application the year before and are trying again hurt your chances? If not, why is it important for the admission staff to know it?

    Thanks

  9. @Anurag
    Where are you from?
    What are the top universities that do not have limited seats for internationals?

  10. For the additional information section, I’d like to submit the longer version of an essay I wrote for Part 2 of the application. The essay that specifically addresses the essay prompt is about 250 words, but I feel that the 500 word version is more interesting and gives a deeper look into the topic. The 250 word version gives a good overview of the topic, but I feel the 500 word version does it more justice.

    Would the admissions office see this as redundant? Again, the two essays present essentially the same ideas, but the longer version does it on a deeper level.

  11. James says:

    Hello, with regards to financial aid, do we need to fill out the css profile on college board or can we wait until Jan 2010 for the fafsa application?

  12. Emily says:

    When you have to list your APs, A-levels and O-levels/GCSEs would it give the wrong impression if I listed only a few of my GCSEs? There isn’t enough space to put all of the high school qualifications that I have and I was wondering whether listing a few GCSEs would cause admissions to think that I had only done those. I took all of my GCSEs at the same time so choosing the most recent ones is not an option.

    Would it be simpler to just list my A-levels and let the transcript cover my GCSEs?

  13. Matt says:

    If applying early action, is there any leniency on the submission of music portfolios? I’ve been havnig trouble finding decent recording materials. :—–
    COMMENT:
    AUTHOR: Matt
    EMAIL: [email protected]
    IP: 167.93.53.250
    URL:
    DATE: 10/27/2009 02:44:12 PM
    COMMENT_BODY:
    If applying early action, is there any leniency on the submission of music portfolios? I’ve been having trouble finding decent recording materials. :—–
    COMMENT:
    AUTHOR:
    EMAIL: [email protected]
    IP: 67.226.46.231
    URL:
    DATE: 10/27/2009 02:45:13 PM
    COMMENT_BODY:
    If I’m South American, am I given the under-represented status like African Americans, Native Americans, etc.?

    I’ve been in contact with the MIT Men’s Tennis Coach for a little over 2 years now..how helpful is getting recruited by a sport in the admissions process?

  14. Anurag '14? says:

    @ Pratyaksh (‘:|):
    Well, my name makes it pretty obvious, doesn’t it? smile Yes, you guessed it right. India.

    About other ‘top’ universities/colleges, some homework and you will find out. Look up the websites of the schools you are interested in. They always have these statistics/facts on their pages for international students (in addition to a lot more useful information). That would be time well invested. smile

    I don’t think the MIT blogs would be the best place to discuss the topic; it deviates from the main idea behind this post. Catch me on my blog and we will discuss. smile

  15. Byce says:

    I too was wondering why scores to submit on the early application part 2. I have my sat scores from june earlier this year. But I am also getting my new scores back on the 29th of October. This is scary close to the EA deadline and i do not want to wait unitl then. What should I do? I am given the options of submitting my earlier SAT scores (which need improvement), wait until I recieve my more recent (hopefully better) scores, or leave them blank with the date of the test and let MIT recieve the scores in the mail.

    Thanks!

  16. Hey Matt. I am in the process of getting my music supplement together, and it is unlikely that my music teacher will be able to provide me with a letter of recommendation by November 1st. Should I submit the music supplement without this anyway, or should I wait until after the deadline?

    Also, is it acceptable that MIT receives my academic teacher Evaluations A and B a few days after November 1st? My teachers are busy and cannot guarantee that the evaluation forms can be submitted early enough.

    Thanks!

  17. Peixuan says:

    What if one of my teachers accidentally send in their recommendations after the deadline? Will that kill all of my chances of being accepted?

  18. VAL ('14?) says:

    I have a question about the time of submission for the online application. Must the application be submitted on or before 11:59:59 on November 1st or on or before 11:59:59 on October 31st?

  19. Joseph says:

    I applied under early action but my teacher recommendations have not yet been submitted by both of my teachers. I have taking the ACT test with writing and submitted all other required documents. I will also be taking the SAT subject tests in November. Will my application still be reviewed under Early Action?

  20. Katherine says:

    Hi Matt, I completed 9th grade and 1st semester of 10th grade in Hong Kong, and the rest in the US. I’ve sent an e-mail earlier regarding the self-report course work form, and here’s their reply:

    “Go ahead and do your best to fill out the self-reported course work form using your transcript from your US school.”

    What about if the transcript from my US school does not fulling show the courses that I’ve taken in Hong Kong? Thanks.

  21. Mike ('14?) says:

    1) How long should the optional section be? I have around 250 words describing my research experience over the summer. I feel this may be a bit long though, as it’s about another essay.

    2) The first quarter of the year does not end until this Friday, and teachers do not have to submit grades until the following Wednesday. Would you like me to mail my first quarter grades after they are released, or submit my interim grades so they are postmarked by the application deadline?

    3) How should envelopes containing teacher evaluations be labelled and sent?

    Thanks

  22. Emily says:

    Thank you for the quick reply Matt.
    Unfortunately, your suggestion doesn’t solve the problem as there is also a character limit.

    Is it not enough for admissions to have this information from the high school transcript? Or should I mention my GCSE grades in the additional information part?

    Thanks.

  23. John['14?] says:

    Is there any way to submit a video supplement. I’ve seen the info for submitting other supplements(I’m actually sending in an art supplement), but there isn’t a clear word on things outside of art, architecture, music, etc. I know its probably not a common request, but its a video I made using clips from my wrestling matches, I gave it to the coaches before, but the team no longer exists :(

    Can I submit it to the admissions committee; I feel like showing my involvement in the sport, and my video-editing abilities would give admission officers a better picture of me.

  24. Henry says:

    For the music supplement, can any music teacher write the recommendation? For example, private teacher and school orchestra teacher/conductor? And like DifferentAnonymous’s situation above, my recommendation letter may not be ready in time. Should I send what I have by November 1, then send the recommendation letter afterwards? And how should we prove the teacher actually wrote it since it is a digital file without a signature? Thanks smile

  25. Jennifer says:

    This is so helpful.
    Is it possible to make two selections under which field interests you the most right now if you are equally interested in two? Should this be indicated in the extra information field?

    I second Michael’s question.

    Thanks! smile

  26. This is so helpful.
    Is it possible to make two selections under which field interests you the most right now if you are equally interested in two? Should this be indicated in the extra information field?

    I second Michael’s question.

    Thanks! smile

  27. Oops, sorry for the double post. It said it didn’t go through the first time.

  28. Cassie says:

    I promise I did look through the website and can’t find this, so: if November 1st is the EA deadline, does that mean we can submit the applications online any time before 11:59pm on November 1st or does that mean before 11:59 on October 31st?

  29. Kranti says:

    DOES MY ONLINE EARLY APPLICATION NEED TO BE SENT IN and/on RECEIVED BEFORE MY INTERVIEW?

  30. JF('14?) says:

    I come from a technical high school and half of my GPA is attributed to my field of study. My problem is that it doesn’t really fall into any specific category of coursework except additional courses, yet to date I have more than 5 final grades, and due to the importance to my GPA I don’t want to omit any of these grades. Is it okay if I list them under another section, say Math, since my field of study does have a pretty math intensive portion. Thanks in advance

  31. Hanjoon '16 says:

    @Mariana and Justin L.:
    Of course I’m taking the class, (and I do enjoy Calc, why would I have skipped so many classes to reach it?) but some colleges prefer AP classes over unrecognized courses. Also, I know I’ll enjoy AP Statistics, maybe not as much as persay Multivariable Calculus, but you can’t have everything in life right?
    And because I’ll probably taking Capstone Math in Junior year, (I’ll probably take Multivariable) I can take another one in Senior year (for which I’d take Linear). And don’t worry, I think if your disillusioned, I’d be on the same boat as you :D

    Sorry Matt for the non-question comments. Don’t think there is a way to speak to other commentors privately.

  32. Sarah says:

    My EC saw a story I wrote and suggested I submit it as a creative writing supplement. What is the procedure for this or is it not of interest to the admission counselors?

  33. Yixing says:

    Is it okay if my music supplement is about 14 minutes instead of 10minutes? I know it says to keep it around 10 minutes but I didn’t know how much leeway I got with the “around” part.
    And if an employer wanted to send a recommendation letter, where would she send it to?

  34. Bryce says:

    I was wondering how specific MIT will be on the word count. Will you still read my short answer if it was hypothetically 101 words instead of 100?

    Thank you!

  35. Miriam says:

    I have taken a lot of classes that aren’t in the main academic categories, and there isn’t room for all of them in the application. Is it okay if I just leave them out, since they’ll appear on my transcript?

    Also, if I apply Early Action and get deferred, can I send a music portfolio in December?

  36. VAL ('14?) says:

    @Valerie: I believe that history is a type of social science, even if they are not classified as such by your school.

  37. Valerie says:

    My school does not offer classes in the social sciences. In the “Social Sciences” section of the reported coursework, should I just list my history courses, since there is no room for them elsewhere?

  38. Geoff says:

    How important is it to have a math class in your senior schedule? Our school only offers up to AP Calculus AB, and I took that course Junior year. I am also looking into the possibility of taking a math course during the summer.

  39. Daniel says:

    I am sending an architecture portfolio along with my application, and I don’t know whether it should be post-marked by november 1 or if it should be in your addmissions office on november 1? Thanks.

  40. Lawrance says:

    My school doesn’t have any SAT Request for Waiver of College Application Fee forms. My counselor wrote a letter saying that I meet the financial criteria for the SAT Request for Waiver of College Application Fee. Will MIT accept that?

  41. Hanjoon '16? says:

    Hey Matt, I can see you’re busy with a lot of questions. Hope you don’t get too overworked. smile

    I’m a sophmore in High School, and because I’m taking Calculus BC this year, I’ll be offered a Capstone class next year. The capstone class program is a program at our school that allow students to take a specific field and profoundly study it, compared to an AP class. For example, for my next year’s Capstone Math class, I can choose to study Linear Algebra, Multivariable Calculus, or Differential Equations. I was wondering whether I should take a more recognized class like AP Statistics instead of Capstone Math or AP Computer Science instead of Capstone Chemistry (I’ll be taking AP Chemistry next year, so the teacher will accept me). The Capstone class does go more in-depth into a subject and attracts me more than an AP class but, the AP classes will be more widely recognized. I’ve also heard that colleges like students who take multiple AP courses. I’ll have six under my belt entering Junior year, but you can never have too many. :D

    My senior year is a different story. My senior year consists of 5 Core Capstone courses with an optional Senior Research Project. For the Senior Research Project, (which I plan to do) the student is able to go anywhere around the world to do original research. They must come back and present it in front of the entire school. The only problem is, this takes up March, April and May. So for the application, would it be allowed to just send in my plans for the research project (if I’m able to finish the plans by October)? Or if I’m not able to finish it, will it be recognized if I just explain my plans? Also, do you advise me to take additional AP’s during senior year? A lot of schools tend to be really big on AP classes taken in Senior year, and I won’t have any. But, I can take a couple AP courses(with the complication of missing 3 months of the class, filled in by self study and emails with the teacher).

    Sorry for the long exposition and the copious amount of questions. Thank you for reading and anwsering!

  42. Tani '14?? says:

    I know that the best scores from the SAT 1 are looked at individually, is this the same for the ACT as well or does MIT look at the best composite score to date?

  43. Sam says:

    Are recommendations from persons other than teachers and school faculty accepted? If so what is the best way to insure their timely and accurate delivery to admissions?

    Thanks,

    Sam

  44. Nicholas says:

    There are parts of the application that ask for the things you do inside and outside of school. For example, one part asks for a list of summer activities. Do these sections want only activities from within the last year? activities for all of high-school? activities/achievements for my whole life? I don’t want to list more or less than is relevant! –thanks

  45. Shynggys says:

    Hello Matt! Can I send SAT scores after deadline?

  46. Mariana says:

    @Hanjoon ’16?

    Warning: this is coming from a completely unreliable and somewhat disillusioned high school senior, so take my words with a grain of salt.

    Your school offers Multivariable and Linear Algebra and Differential Equations? If you seriously like calculus (I do!) and advanced math, take the courses, for heaven’s sake. AP courses are probably more “recognized,” but AP Stats over Multivariable? (Unless you’re a Stats person, which is different.) Stop taking classes because “the colleges will like it” and start taking them because “you want to learn the material” and it genuinely interests you. Don’t try to cram in AP classes when you could take classes that attract you more and are more in-depth. The colleges will understand.

    Also, I am extremely jealous that your school supports research projects like that.

    (Again, none of this is hard and fast advice or anything.)

  47. This is DifferentAnonymous from above.

    @ Hanjoon: above all else, remember how incredibly lucky you are that your school offers so much for you. In my school, I am forced to take AP Statistics senior year because my school stopped offering Multivariable calculus.

    Clearly because you have so many amazing resources and opportunities at your school, my advice for you would be to take the classes you absolutely LOVE the most. This way, you will enjoy learning more and you will naturally do better in your classes. If you will enjoy Multivariable Calculus more than statistics, then by all means take it over statistics (that is surely what I would do if I could).

    The goal is not to impress colleges with as many AP classes as possible unless it truly reflects who you are and what you want to do in the future. Don’t worry whether AP classes are “more recognized.” While a high quantity of APs may impress other schools you are looking at, keep in mind that MIT wants students who are motivated by their own dreams, passions, or curiosities….these people will make the most of their 4 years.

    Sorry for the long post. Consider my take on this “unofficial” as I am in no way related to the MIT admissions office.

  48. JF('14?) says:

    So,
    1-The sibling major thing. What’s the format for that because you can’t quite fit “Bachelor’s of Computer Science”. Also one of my brother’s received a bachelors degree and is currently going for his masters. Do I list him twice, only mention the one he has, or mention the masters because it’s highest education.
    2-I Have SAT scores but am retaking in November. Should I send the past report anyways or wait for the new one. I don’t want my application to be hurt because the scores I list are lower, when I’ll most likely score higher this time around.

  49. Hi! I sent in three forms last week (both teacher evaluations and the fee waiver form), and it appears that the evaluation has been processed but the request for a fee waiver hasn’t. Is it processed separately?

  50. manis404 says:

    About the “something you do for the pleasure of it” question, NOTHING other than one of my hobbies makes me so excited and passionate. But as I already mention that hobby in the ‘Activities’ section, should I talk about it again in the 11(a) question?

    This hobby is electronics BTW.

    (Thanks for helping us Matt. I can imagine it can take quite a lot of time to answer all these questions!)

  51. Alex Lin says:

    Matt,

    I was talking to my guidance/college counselors and they suggested that I send a package to MIT with the application/other supplementary materials. Included is a DVD with videos of my community service project, and me doing various other things (i.e. inspirational speaking) that could not be conveyed in any other way. Will this be seen by MIT Admissions? Also, they suggested hand-delivering it to the admissions office. Is this a good idea?

    Thanks!

  52. Landon says:

    Matt, I was accepted into the Duke TIP program during middle school, but I have continued an active membership in it since. I am assuming that since it was not awarded during high school it cannot count as an academic distinction that was won during high school. Would that be correct?

  53. Justin L. says:

    @Mariana

    Totally completely agreed. Dude, if you like calculus, TAKE the Capstone class. =) Multivariable is seriously fun, from what I’ve seen of it. But I’m still young and not going to college anytime soon so haha.

  54. Justin Hess says:

    Hello, my History teacher who wrote my letter of recommendation and the Evaluation B form submitted both a little over a week ago by mail, and it has not yet reached MIT even though I live in Shrewsbury, MA which is only about an hour away from MIT. Is it okay if her letter reaches the Nov. 1st deadline a little late, since it should have reached MIT by now?

    Also, I am retaking the SAT in November so im going to leave that part blank on my application, but will MIT just hold my application until they receive my Nov scores or will they just look at my not-so-good May SAT before getting the Nov scores?

    Thanks a lot for the help!

  55. So, I AM submitting an art portfolio, and know what to do with that. But I had also wanted to submit a small poetry portfolio as well. I tried asking the Admissions office but they didn’t say whether I should send it any place in particular, leave it out altogether, or include it with the rest of my physically-sent materials. Any help/advice you can give me on this one? Greatly appreciated… smile Thanks

  56. Louis ('14?) says:

    I turned in my school forms to my guidance office over a week ago, and they probably should have gotten there already. However, I know the application says to give it 1 to 2 weeks to show up on my account. How do I know whether the materials got there or they got lost along the way and should be resent.

    Also, how strict is the essay word count, and do you specifically count words? One of my essays, while it’s not a 500 word essay, is somewhat over the 250 word “limit”. However, I feel it is written succinctly, shows up on the application in fairly large font, and both me and a teacher I gave it to to read over both agree that it can’t be significantly cut down anymore without losing the essence of it. Will this work against me in any significant way?

  57. I am applying as an international student from Hong Kong, which practice the A-Level system. So, we actually graduate twice from our secondary schools. However, we have a so-called Early Admission Scheme which allows students doing well in their O-Level exams to enter the local universities without taking the A-Level exams. So I am applying as a F6. But then I encounter a question is Part 2 of the MIT application: Are you graduating from secondary school early or without a diploma? Should I answer “Yes” or “No”?

  58. I was about to submit part one when I noticed in the preview an unchecked box asking whether I had arranged/completed an interview, which of course I had. But I can’t find that check box on part 1, only on part 2 (where I did check it). Is it just a mistake? Do I need to worry about it?

  59. Anonymous says:

    @Matt and DifferentAnon:

    Thank you for your anwsers and comments, I’ll be sure to keep that in mind when I choose courses next year :D

  60. Hanjoon '16 says:

    @Matt and DifferentAnon:

    Thank you for your anwsers and comments, I’ll be sure to keep that in mind when I choose courses next year :D

  61. Robert says:

    Matt, my son, a high school senior here in Florida, just took the SAT a second time and received the following scores: critical reading 630, math 730, writing 560. He’s doing very well in AP Calc and AP Physics and I’d like to encourage him to apply to MIT. Does he have a chance of admission?

  62. Udit says:

    I am applying early the Nov 1 deadline, but taking the the 2nd subject test, physics, on Dec’09. Will that be accepted?

  63. jialing says:

    Matt,
    For the music supplement, it says to attach the teacher rec as a pdf or microsoft word doc- does that mean that I am the one emailing it?
    Also, if the the whole email with all the files becomes too large, am I allowed to compress the files into a zip folder?
    Thank you.

  64. Quantum says:

    Matt,

    Thanks for this blog post. It’s been very helpful.

    Is there any way to track or confirm that a supplementary recommendation letter has been received?

  65. anonymous says:

    Is the writing portion of the SAT considered more or less than the other sections?

  66. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, this post is immensely helpful to us. Thanks for your effort.

  67. Justin says:

    A little off-topic, but still:

    Good luck to all of the EA applicants! You’re already awesome in the first place because you’re enthusiastic about applying to MIT. =)

    @monk2010: I’m nearly sure that that’s not true. C’s do not look good on an app, that’s for sure, but it shouldn’t kill it, I think.

    Good luck again, and remember that you’re awesome.

  68. Rohit Jain says:

    Our school does not offer AP courses. I have taken 11 ap tests on my own. Should I fill them in self report ap courses and test dates or it is only for the ap courses taken in school?

  69. I was wondering if it would be okay to approach the optional essay in a jocular manner if the other ones are more serious. Thanks!

  70. monk2010 says:

    Last week, I heard that MIT does not accept any early action applicants with a C. Is this really true?

    Also, what should I do when what I need to put in is longer than what the given textbox can hold? For example, I could not specify the years in which I did certain activities in “Past Summer activities” section.

  71. Nicholas says:

    If I send in my EA application on time, but my teachers don’t send their recommendations in by the EA deadline, will my application be defferred to regular action, or simply thrown out all together?

  72. Tina says:

    Can the optional question at the end of part 2 be anything at all? Is it okay if I paste one of my blog posts that might give a more clear impression about who I am?

  73. Lydia AK says:

    Thank you Matt for taking our questions so late into the season.

    I am taking all of my courses this year at a local university. Unfortunately, the transcript from the university does not include courses until they are completed, and I am not even allowed to send a transcript until the end of the fall 2009 semester. Is it okay if my current courses are not listed on an official transcript?

    Thanks again!

  74. Val'14? says:

    I have the same thoughts with Lindsay ’14.
    don’t want to sound like a serious person while I’m not.

  75. Anonymous27 says:

    @Lindsay’14

    Just wanted to know, what optional essay are you talking about?

  76. ashley says:

    hi, does anyone know if mit wants a physical copy of our transcripts, or if an electronic copy through a service like docufide is ok! thank you!

  77. If I submitted all my teacher recommendations and my transcript via mail will your office of admissions indicate on my MIT account that you received those necessary materials?

  78. Anonymous27 says:

    @ Ashley

    I’m sure they want a physical copy of the transcript. You’re counselor is supposed to send one in with the secondary school report.

  79. Cassie says:

    One more question: when we list our awards/accomplishments, do we need to send in actual physical evidence, like copies of certificates, signatures from sponsors, and such, or is typing it into the application enough?
    (I’m sorry if this is a stupid question, but I cannot seem to get a definite answer!)

  80. Lydia AK says:

    Another question:

    The names of my classes are very, very long, and won’t fit as they are in the name box. Is it okay if I put the university they were taken at in the grades box and not the names box?

    Thank you!!!

  81. Mary says:

    Is there any way to get superscripts into the essay section of the application? I need sin^2 x.

  82. Eden says:

    Hi Matt, I have a question about the self-reported coursework section. I asked for my transcript from my school earlier and had planned on using that to fill out the application using that. However, it has come to my attention that there was a glitch in the system and my transcript was incorrect. How should I fill in the self-reported coursework section? Should I just leave out the grades and let my official transcript confirm the grades?

  83. Josh says:

    I took several courses in middle school for which I was awarded high school credit and, thus, appear on my transcript. However, the Self Reported Coursework section does not allow for grades under 9. Should I report these courses without a grade, or as grade 9?

  84. anonymous says:

    1.) I just found out that my counselor may have sent the resume I gave her for use in writing my recommendation. i was planning on sending an updated and improved version, but now there might be two. can i still send the other, and should i label it anyway?

    2.) I don’t remember if I signed off to waive my rights to see the teacher recommendation. I know this is crucial, but I don’t recall doing it. what should I do?

  85. anonymous* says:

    Hi Matt, I have a question about the musical supplement. Would it be alright if I mail a hard copy of materials to MIT, or does the supplement have to be in pdf format?

  86. Eden says:

    Just to follow up, I can’t be sure of the validity of any of the grades on the transcript, as I was only told that it was inaccurate and given no specifics as to how. The only grades I can be positive about are grades from my last years report card. Since I can’t be sure, should I estimate based on my performance in the class?
    Additionally, I took some high school classes (Math A, Earth science) etc in middle school. Do I report these under the coursework section as well?

  87. Mir Ali says:

    Hi,Matt. I am an early applicant for MIT.It is my dream college and University as I’m looking forward studying there and getting my Double PhD’s from MIT. But my question is it’s only 2 years for me in the U.S.A and i have encountered a lot of domestic violence, for that now I’m living in a domestic violence shelter and I can’t afford the SAT’S and ACT’s as I’m currently on welfare and barely supporting myself and my mom with that money. My Counselors are not supporting to me at all because of my poverty and they don’t believe that i can get accepted and go to a college like MIT. I barely arranged the money for the SAT on Nov.7th and SAT subject tests on Dec. 5th. As I can’t afford the Prep for these tests there is a less bit of chance that I will get good scores as i have no clue about the tests and it’s materials. So for my application will the scores have an effect and will the scores get accepted if they are sent to MIT admissions in Jan? Should I take the tests as i signed for them and can I send the scores in Jan? Will the scores affect my acceptance at MIT even after having all these difficulties and challenges in my life or will MIT accept me for my motivation for being a true student and for my commitments for pursuing my dreams at any cost and difficulty and earning my PhD’s even though I’m poor? Or will I end up having a “No” in my application?

  88. Joe says:

    Hey Matt! I am currently studying in an “American School” in a foreign country and am a bit confused of the Self-reported course work aspect. If our school tries to use a US based policy but deviates considerably from it (for example, it includes at least 10 other classes which are non-US based), should I still type it in? If so, if there are some final grades which truly lack confirmation, is it okay if I leave the Final Grades box empty so that they can appear in the updated transcript? Thank you!

  89. Su ('14?) says:

    I realized that my school sent my supplementary materials (teacher recs, transcript etc.) to
    MIT Undergraduate Admissions Office
    77 Massachusetts Avenue
    Cambridge, MA 02139
    and left off the room number.
    Do I need to resend it? or will it get to the admission office? (I’m an EA applicant)

  90. Anonymous says:

    My 100-word “interest” essay is largely redundant with another essay. Would it be more helpful to write about something different, even if it is less important to me?

  91. Matt P. says:

    Hi, I was planning on sending a supplement with my research abstract and a letter from my mentor. My mentor just wants to know exactly what the purpose of the specific recommendation is, and who / where exactly to send it to. and any other relevant info.
    Thanks

  92. Kari L. says:

    There is no open post office today, and tomorrow is sunday, when none are open either. I got a sculpture back from a gallery it was being stored in, and tomorrow is the deadline to send in an art portfolio, but I have no means to send in the pictures of my work. Can a portfolio be postmarked one day later, if the circumstances are like this?

  93. Olivia says:

    Matt,
    I have my early action app ready to submit; however, my recording time for my voice & piano submissions was delayed until this coming Friday. Am I better off submitting the app now and following up with the music supplement next week or waiting to send both in at the same time? Thank you for being there for us procrastinators.

  94. AZ says:

    For section seven of part 2, should we list our senior year first marking period grades?

  95. Anonymous27 says:

    I was supposed to have my interview today, but some confusion was involved and we could not meet. If I have an interview after November 1st will it not be considered for EA?

  96. Frank says:

    When I started the application I checked off regular action but now I realize I am all ready and would like to change to early action but the section is locked. Can I change to early action.

  97. Anonymous says:

    Hi Matt,

    When you say that the writing section of the SAT is not considered, do you mean that admission officers don’t look at it at all or is it considered a little bit, like a tipping factor?

    Thank you so much for your help.

  98. Jeff says:

    I just submitted a music portfolio for drum kit about an hour ago. On the music supplements page, I now see that it says, “At the moment we are only able to evaluate supplements in the fields of classical, jazz, and world music performance.” My performances I sent in do not particularly fall into any of these genres, but my music resume does address that I have experience in them. Is my music supplement now null and void? :(

  99. Ehsan says:

    101st!!

    Sorry, just had to.

  100. Ehsan says:

    Does MIT focus only on grade 12 marks or do they also pay attention to previous grades?

    What would you say is a larger factor grades or SAT scores?