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MIT staff blogger Chris Peterson SM '13

For those impacted by Hurricane Michael (and other disasters) by Chris Peterson SM '13

clarifying our policies for applications affected by catastrophic events

Hurricane Michael, which struck the United States last week, has deprived thousands of  people of power and property across the American Southeast. Meanwhile, according to ReliefWeb, there is flooding across Latin America, tropical cyclones (and military conflicts) in the Middle East, and an earthquake in Haiti. And, while our Early Action deadlines are approaching, these catastrophes have left many of our prospective students in these regions with much more immediately important things to worry about than their application to MIT.

These kinds of events happen,01 And, with accelerating climate change, they happen more often, and with greater severity. and so earlier today, we published an FAQ to explain what to do if your application is disrupted by catastrophic events. We have blogged about specific disasters before, such as Elizabeth’s post regarding Hurricane Maria last year, but we wanted to clarify our standing policy for any applicants around the world whose timely and complete applications are prevented by crises beyond their control.

In brief, we want to make sure that any applicants so affected, now or in the future, remember that:

  • You should focus on taking care of yourself, your family, your community, and your safety. You will not be penalized in the application process because of delays caused by catastrophic events.
  • We try to be as flexible as possible in these situations. When you’re able to do so, reach out to us at 617-253-3400 or email us at [email protected] We’ll be here to talk to you and figure out a way to make sure we get your application and supporting materials.
  • If the application fee poses a financial hardship, we’ll waive it.
  • There is no benefit or advantage to applying to MIT Early Action, and you should feel at ease waiting until Regular Action if that allows you to get the rest of your life in order first.

On behalf of everyone at MIT Admissions, I want to reassure you how much we want you to take care of you, and you loved ones, before you worry about college applications. As Stu once wrote, “we want young people to be students and community members first, and applicants second.” Everyone here wants to make sure our application process is as fair as possible, and we’ll do what we can to accommodate you in dire circumstances.

Take care, and all best.


  1. And, with accelerating climate change, they happen more often, and with greater severity. back to text