Skip to content ↓
MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Early Action Season by Matt McGann '00

Some advice for the EA deadline. (Relax. Be patient. Don't stress. Don't procrastinate!)

*Update as of 2015: Early action is available to both domestic and international students.


Tonight is Thursday, October 30th. That means tomorrow is October 31: Halloween. And the next day is November 1: the MIT Early Action deadline.

We've been getting a lot of questions here in the office about the deadline, so let me take a moment to answer some of those questions, and to provide a bit of advice as well.

Please be patient with the application tracking system. Allow two weeks from submission date for documents to show up in the tracking system. We have buckets and buckets of mail to open and process already — and the deadline hasn't even arrived yet.

Please do not harass your teachers or counselors if you don't yet see a recommendation on the application tracking system. They will submit everything in due time, and we will have it processed in plenty of time to make decisions.

When we start reading, we begin with the applications that are the most complete. We will provide lots of time for delayed documents. We are happy to be flexible with individual circumstances.

November 1 is a postmark/submit-button deadline. We are happy to accept forms submitted any time up to and through November 1. Yes, you can submit documents up to and through midnight on November 1 — but really, if you're clicking submit at 11:59:59pm 11/01/08, you're doing it wrong.

I recommend clicking submit before the Halloween festivities. Your Halloween will be much more enjoyable and much less stressful if you submit things before Friday night.

There is no need to fax materials at this point. Use traditional methods of submission. If something is missing in mid-late November, then the fax will be a good option.

We are flexible with word limits on essays, but don't push it.

Don't worry if your essay doesn't format as you'd like it to. We're reading for content, and we're used to seeing the formatting errors from the computer uploading process. No worries.

…and, while you're thinking of it, go thank your parents for their support over the years: they deserve it.

So, who is done and has submitted both their Parts 1 and 2? Doesn't it feel good to have finished the application?

100 responses to “Early Action Season”

  1. Molly (13?) says:

    I submitted my application last night! But I made a mistake and selected Essay B when I actually wrote about Essay A. Who do I contact about this?

  2. Karen says:

    Yay Parts 1 and 2 turned in!

  3. Molly (13?) says:

    Yay, I was first!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wrapping up part two as I browse…the…blogs?

  5. madmatt says:

    @Molly: No need to contact anyone. We’ll have figured it out. Have a great Halloween and a great weekend!

    @Karen: Double yay!

  6. Ilyanep says:

    Yesssss I submitted last week. Now I just have to finish my other EA app and I can rest for a little bit.

  7. Molly (13?) says:

    ^ Thank you! I guess it’s pretty obvious from my essay which topic I meant, anyway.

  8. Isadora says:

    Yes! I’m finally done with the application.
    Now comes the hard part…waiting for the decision.

  9. hamsi says:

    hahaha yayyy i submitted both parts, but this wait is so hard…ever since I submitted it, I’ve been having dreams about MIT. For some reason, Baker House and the movie 21 seem to prominent aspects of my nighttime fantasies…

  10. Mickey says:

    One of my explanations for my activities is 43 words and it would be very difficult to cut it down to 40. Is this okay, or should I attempt to fix it?

    Can I submit a resume in addition to filling out the awards/activities section on the application? If so, how?

    Thanks so much! :D

  11. Lexy says:

    All submitted! I’m so glad that’s over with… now time to play the waiting game.
    I keep on telling myself it’s only a school, it’s only a school… and then I laugh at myself because that’s the most ridiculous thing anyone has ever said to me.
    Can’t wait ’til December…
    Good luck everyone!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I plan on submitting both parts of my application at around 2am tonight/tomorrow morning. i’m just more of a night person that’s all.

  13. deng says:

    wish I was doing ea.. I’m basically done with all my essays anyways… then I could know by december
    but I still have to take SAT IIs in december. raspberry

  14. Coleen says:

    I must say, it does feel quite rewarding. Now I just have to take the subject tests Saturday, my Halloween festivities will consist of some hard-core Biology studying, it is worth it though.

    Now for the waiting part…oh the agony smile

  15. Aimon says:

    Good luck everyone! This is so exciting! smilesmile

  16. rob says:

    out of curiosity, how many of you (anyone reading this) wrote both optional essays? or just one?

  17. Lexy says:

    To Rob – I wrote both. I had come up with a few ideas for each one and I e-mailed my guidance counselor. She suggested I write both of them, so I did.

  18. Coleen says:

    “out of curiosity, how many of you (anyone reading this) wrote both optional essays? or just one?

    Posted by: rob on October 30, 2008 09:04 PM”

    -I wrote the first one, about something I have created.

  19. madmatt says:

    @wesh: Supplements are welcome, but you need not submit certificates.

    @rob: There are not two optional essays. There is one optional essay. There is also a text box; it does not call for an additional essay. (It’s fine if that’s what you use it for, but that’s not why we put the text box there)

  20. reading blogs and wrapping up part 2 seem to compliment each other pretty well =]

    @rob..i just wrote one optional essay, i just took the advice from the MIT Application Guide, “this essay really, truly is completely optional.”

  21. Banerjee says:

    Happy Halloween everyone!!!

  22. TBOL3 says:

    I wrote the one optional essay. And for the second part, I actually split it into two short essays.

    Anyway, I would like to know some of the cool things that you guys made. I wrote about an audiobook that I recorded for LibriVox.

  23. Lexy says:

    Matt – I’m a little confused. Questions 13 and 14 were both marked completely optional and both had a prompt… I wrote an essay for both. Is this a problem?

  24. Lexy says:

    Hi – just read your above comment again and realized that you already answered my question. Thanks smile

  25. Vincent says:

    Haha, finally finished pt 1 and 2! smile
    Time to relax!

  26. Becca '12 says:

    @Anonymous: You need to have official test scores sent from the testing agency. The ones schools send don’t count.

  27. Rebecca says:

    Matt, I have a problem! I am a Questbridge applicant, but I can’t apply EA because I can’t take any SAT Subject Tests until December 6. When I got on my myMIT account, the tracking thing showed I was applied as Early Action…how do I fix it? I wanted to apply EA, but extenuating circumstances prevented that, :(. Also, since I got chosen as a Questbridge Finalist, can I still apply with the MIT application if I want to? or can I only forward the Questbridge app? Please let me know!

  28. Matt A. says:

    Finished mine last week, it’s going to be a long month and a half…

  29. TBOL3 says:

    Matt, I also have a problem. I was looking through the pdf file of part one of the application. Anyway, I noticed that it said that my mother was dead. But she is very much alive, and in college right now. Does this hurt me?

    Thank you.

  30. Mickey says:

    Is there any way that I can send in a supplmentary resume, in addition to filling out the activities/awards section on the part 2? Would that be okay?

  31. rob says:

    @Mickey I’m no expert on the matter, but the application clearly wants you to choose your 5 most important activities

    @TBOL3 I wrote about the computer I spent an entire summer building

  32. Kasey says:

    I’m done! It’s such a relief.
    It’s a little scary though to think that it’s all out of our hands now.
    Good luck everyone!

  33. Katy says:

    i sent my part 1 and 2 in last week.
    i’m so excited/nervous! =D

  34. Kiran says:

    DONE!!!… actually I sent in everything like a week ago smile… Worked on this application for over a month… I don’t know if I can work this hard on any other app.

  35. Lin² says:

    I just clicked the submit button and guess what??!!

    “The MyMIT web site is down temporarily for extensive maintenance. It is scheduled to be back up at the end of today. We apologize for any inconvenience.” !!!!!!!!

    Ahhh! What do I do?

    –also, is it ok if a science mentor sends in his recommendation later than Nov. 1st?

  36. Lin² says:

    i almost forgot.

    Good luck everyone, and congrats on beating procrastination!

  37. Ben says:

    AH! I am the epic fails! I haven’t yet turned in my full application for EA!!!

  38. anonymous says:

    wht if we send scores from 2 different test administrations(for example: one test was in june and the other one was in october)for SAT1 then which score will be considered by the admission council.

  39. Ahmad says:

    guyz im not a US resident…can i apply EA?

  40. EJ Bensing says:

    I finally hit the submit button last night and it is definitely a relief to finally be done. It is nice knowing that I won’t have to revise the essay again.

    At the same time, it is still a little nerve-racking waiting for December to come.

  41. Anonymous says:


  42. Evan says:

    Rob – “out of curiosity, how many of you (anyone reading this) wrote both optional essays? or just one?”

    I wrote the optional essay as well. I think I am the ultimate FAIL student as I forgot to set up an interview until today…. I believe I deserve the loser award for worst attempt at EA to MIT.

  43. rob says:

    @Lin¬≤ I know that guidance counselors get a few days leeway, so I’d assume (or hope) teachers get the same. After all, if you do your part, you shouldn’t be held accountable if your teacher is a day or two late.

    I’m in the same boat, my science recommendation comes from a teacher known for his procrastination with college recs..

  44. Nate says:

    I finally muster the courage to click the submit button- only to find that the site is down. Gahhh smile

  45. Evan says:

    You’d think that with all of the money from tuition, the website would be stable enough to handle all of the applications. Ha!

  46. Kelsey says:

    Why is the site down?! I am so ready to get this out of my hands and just wait :D

  47. Megan says:

    Matt — Do I have to rush my SAT scores for EA? Collegeboard says that it takes 2-3 weeks for my scores to reach the school without them being rushed.

  48. Jon says:

    ahhh the site is down, I guess I’ll try again tomorrow morning or something.
    Definitely rockin the lab coat for Halloween tomorrow.

  49. Bobbi says:

    Yes it feels so nice. For once in my life I didn’t wait until the very last minute! Now I can study for my SAT subject tests haha. Anybody else taking them saturday?

  50. Alice says:

    I previewed my application, and some punctuation stuff is missing from my uploaded main essay. Um, anyone else finding this?

  51. Reena says:

    About supplementary materials… how can we confirm that they’ve been processed? And does the architecture faculty know which students are applying EA, so that those portfolios get reviewed on time?

    On one hand, my nerves are as unstable as a rising thermal when the ELR > DALR (sorry, horrible meteorology joke raspberry I just had to do it.)
    On the other, it *is* really reassuring to know that everyone reading my app is nice and friendly and won’t frown at the lack of tabs in my essay.


  52. Evan says:

    Bobbi-“Yes it feels so nice. For once in my life I didn’t wait until the very last minute! Now I can study for my SAT subject tests haha. Anybody else taking them saturday?”

    Yes, I am taking them as well! Oh what a fun morning after Halloween!

  53. Emilia says:

    Any info on when it’ll be back up? Thanks to a project I won’t be home tomorrow to finish, and I was RIGHT about to send it.

  54. Hilary says:

    Procrastinate? ME?! I’d NEVER! Of COURSE I have my essay done. Yessss…

    (frenzied typing and much tearing out hair ensues)

  55. Colton says:

    Bobbi: I, too, am taking them on Saturday. Taking both Physics and Math Level 2. It was rather humorous watching my Physics Teacher’s face go white when she realized how much I had to learn on my own.

    Note: We only learned kinematics in physics because of time constraints.

  56. Anonymous says:

    i am an international student. i haven’t submitted the application yet. smile

  57. hiral patel says:

    the above 1 is me. smile

  58. Colton says:

    Evan: My hometown held our Halloween celebration on Wednesday. No problems here!

    Am I the only one that barely had time to work on the application between work, school, and athletics? It’s always fun to finally get a chance to finish the application and find that the site is down.

  59. Sravya says:

    Hey, I wanted to apply Early Action, but I am neither a citizen nor a permanent resident. But my guidance counselor mailed my recommendations and all that good stuff already.
    Is there a way that you can put those things on hold until the Regular Deadline?
    P.S. I am not done with my application yet.

  60. Evan says:

    Colton: I too had trouble finding a chance to finish it with work, school, and homework

  61. Tiffany says:

    I’m pulling an all-nighter so I can go trick-or-treating tomorrow. It’s gonna be painful (my eyes) but when I think about all that candy…

  62. Hilary says:

    @ Colton: I sort of have no life, my problem is I’ve been so busy stressing over it and trying to figure out what to say that I boxed myself into a narrow space of time. I JUST finished. But now I have the common application to fill out.

    I wish the site were up again, there are a bunch of things I really need to change now that I’ve done a bit of soul searching.

  63. Hilary says:

    @ Tiffany: Same here!

  64. Colton says:

    Evan: Aye, homework does indeed make the situation of time much worse.

    Hilary: I also couldn’t figure out what to say. Now that the site is back up, I’m just going to write as I would write essays, blog posts, articles, and etc. normally.

  65. Fiona says:

    Hi Matt! Glad you’re back at MIT smile

    -Fiona from Singapore

  66. Is anyone else having trouble paying? The payment site won’t accept ANY of the five or six cards I tried to pay with.

  67. Monorina says:

    @Sravya: Internationals cant apply EA. Most of my stuff’s done,tho. I’m yet to click submit on part 2 altho I’ve done it.
    I used both the optional text boxes for essay. The thing I wrote abt in the 2nd essay is pretty important to me, and I had to put it in somewhere.
    I gotta wait till end of march. I will check admissions only after my 12th board exams are over( maybe by 30th march/1st april or something) as I don’t want a possible rejection to upset my exams. I’m Although I don’t know if I’ll be able to stick to that. I must. I must. I’m already training myself by foregoing temptations.
    Good Luck to all EA applicants.

  68. Hmmm… to hit submit now… or to print it out and have someone review it and hit submit tomorrow…

  69. Anonymous says:

    Just a note. My school, John Foster Dulles high school, in Sugar Land, Texas includes test scores on the back of the transcript. My tracker said the transcript was received but not the scores. Do the admissions officers check the back? Just a possibly unnecessary heads up to the admissions staff.

  70. Colton says:

    Matt: I’d recommend having someone check over for spelling errors and just to see if they can make sense of your application.

  71. Tiffany says:

    @ Emilia: Same thing happened to my dad’s discover card. Try using a mastercard.

  72. Colton says:

    Tifany/Emily: MasterCard should work. I used my mother’s for my payment. Heck, I have the card memorized.

  73. Rhymo says:

    just clicked submit

    good luck to all whom have submitted and more luck to those still working

    Whatever happens happens, but success will find those who find it

  74. Anonymous says:

    I’m a bit worried by the large amount of people who wrote the secondary essays. If I don’t write them, will that negatively affect my application?

    I want to tell the admissions committee everything they need to know about me, but at the same time I don’t want to overkill. Is there such a thing with the optional essay(s)?

  75. Yangrui says:

    I’ll have three essays this year:

    1 about my personal perspective
    1 about my research experience
    and 1 about my passion and future plans

  76. hmmm…most of the ppl are done with their applications…and still a large no. of ppl(international applicants) are waiting..i think MIT chould open EA for international students as well…

  77. Tina Wang says:

    For the EA ,I got everything done but the Standard Test.I will stil take them on Nov..Do I have any disadvantage?

  78. Sahk says:

    If i mail something after the nov.1st deadline,would my application be denied or simply deferred? Does anyone know? :(

  79. Navdeep says:


    I clicked the submit button, ZOOM!! it goes into the Black hole.
    I feel so so so so so so… excited.

    GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE (of course EA applicants).
    We will all share pictures of our MIT tubes with each other in December.

  80. deng says:

    about mit tubes… do you only get that if you’re accepted? is it just a letter if you’re denied?

  81. Ala says:

    early action is for those who live in the u.s … right?

  82. Alim says:

    Parts 1 and 2 = done baby!

  83. Anonymous says:

    Tubes have been sent traditionally to EA acceptees only (not for RA). Don’t know why, except there were twice as many accepted RA as EA last year.

  84. Andrew says:

    The scariest thing about this whole admissions process was re looking over part 1 and realizing I had spelled business wrong…twice.

    I’ve gone over my part 2 application literally about 8 times – every sentence, every word, every’s been quite hectic and stressful haha.

    But from what I’ve read, I don’t think the admissions people at MIT are the type of people to deny me because of ..two.. misspelled words? hopefully? :/

  85. Anonymous says:

    so uh, what’s the purpose of listing your vacations in your summer activities section? could it really help/hurt?

  86. Sam R says:

    Just submitted Pt. 2. After freaking out over the still-empty checkbox and a strange error message, I logged out and came back a few minutes later to be greeted by a big row of check marks. It feels wonderful.

  87. Eric Carlson says:

    Hurray for procrastination! Meh, panic is my muse. Finished part one and supplements in September, finished everything but the essay by October 10th, now it’s October 31st and I’m only 200 words in.

    On a completely unrelated note, what are people dressing up as? I had trouble deciding between Frankenstein or his monster. Finally went with the monster (it helps being 6’4″ with a bass voice).

  88. Tom L says:

    Finishing up last minute details tonight since I spent my day at the Phillies parade lol =D GO PHILLLIESSS!!!

  89. Ehsan says:

    Remember all International Students that we cant do early action!

  90. Mgccl says:

    “but really, if you’re clicking submit at 11:59:59pm 11/01/08, you’re doing it wrong.”
    It is really hard to know the exact server time at MIT. I have to have complete knowledge of the server time and has a machine can synchronize with it.
    There are also internet delays one have to think of. A submitter should investigate the internet traffic data and come up with a model to predict the amount of time it would require for the submitting process.
    If I submit at 11:59:59pm 11/01/08, there might be a possible delay, or my clock is 0.2 second too slow and other unpredictable making it actually get recorded in the database at 11/02/08.

    I would suggest
    11:59:50pm 11/01/08
    for click the submit button.

  91. Oasis '11 says:

    Oh man this is really sad. My essay blog will not make the EA deadline =(

    Oh well it definitely will make the RA deadline!

    boo to being hosed :(

  92. I submitted my application around October 10th and mailed my essay separately…so now all I can do is wait.

    I’m pretty much at peace with it, though, although it is quite exciting that after so many years, MIT will send *me* a response to *my* application.

    Exciting! Good luck to all my fellow applicants!

  93. TBOL3 says:

    Yes, it’s so good to be done with it. It’s much less stress.

    But I must laugh. Because I had already been ‘harassing’ my counselor to send in the recommendation, only to find that he had mailed it two days ago, oops.

  94. wesh m says:

    Err… Hi Matt,
    Can I (an international applicant) submit some extra material with my application?
    Namely a participation com merit certificate from a regional science fair and such like.

  95. Gah. I’ve finished part 2 but can’t make myself click submit, just in case I come up with a better essay topic during school tomorrow.

  96. D says:

    I got this error when submitting my application.

    An application error occured at approximately Fri Oct 31 21:25:58 EDT 2008 (…UnresolvableForwardException).

    Anyone else have this error?

  97. Chris says:

    Isn’t it a little late to be reminding people not to procrastinate? wink

  98. David says:

    Turned in my application this morning!
    Best of Luck to everyone else! Although once you click submit, Fate will no longer be in our hands.

  99. Anonymous says:

    Just submitted! It feels so good! Thanks for all your help through this process Matt-your blogs really make it easier.

  100. Colton says:

    I’m half done with my essays here, but should probably worry about the SAT Physics and Math Level 2 tests here. It’s a pain to only have learned kinematics in my school’s physics courses. Ah well, I’ll just have to try my best. I’d like to make it in on EA, but the SAT Physics might be the only thing that will kill that.