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Learn more about how MIT Admissions is responding to COVID-19 in this blog post from our Dean and new dedicated FAQs.

MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

More For Deferred Students by Matt McGann '00

FAQ and advice.

So, if you’ve been deferred, you may be asking, “What now?”

Is it all over for me?

At MIT, a deferral isn’t just a “polite rejection.” Your application will once again be considered by the committee during regular action. You are at no advantage or disadvantage versus the regular action applications. We will admit the best applications we can during regular action, regardless of when the application was submitted. (A little historical data: last year, we admitted 295 deferred students during regular action, 267 the year before, and 326 the year before that)

What should I do now?

I recommend spending the next few weeks before January 1 working on regular action applications for other schools. You should still put the same energy and thought you put into your MIT application into your other applications.

[But MIT is my dream school, I can’t imagine being happy anywhere else!]

[This doesn’t apply to everyone, but occasionally some students become so focused on MIT they can’t see all the other amazing schools that are out there. For those students who are really attracted to MIT’s campus culture, I’ve found these students often are also happy at many other schools, including Caltech (January 2 deadline), Carnegie Mellon (Jan. 1), Cooper Union (varies), Harvey Mudd (Jan. 15), Olin College (Jan. 1), RPI (Jan. 15), and the University of Chicago (Jan. 2). For those students who particularly like the Boston area, you can also look at Boston College (Jan. 1), Boston University (Jan. 1), Brandeis University (Jan. 15), Harvard University (Jan. 1), Northeastern University (Jan. 15), Tufts University (Jan. 1), and Wellesley College (Jan. 15), among others.]

Should I send in extra materials?

The only thing we ask that you send in is the midyear grade report. You can download one off of the MyMIT website if you need one. Your semester grades are very important so keep working hard. We’d like this report as soon as possible after your grades are available; by the beginning of February would be great, but definitely by the end of February.

You may also want to keep us up-to-date with any news in your life. This is not required nor is it expected, but if anything exciting happens definitely let us know. It’s best if you send any such letter by the end of January, but you may keep us in the loop through the time we mail regular action decisions in mid-March.

Should I send in a whole new version of my application, or all new essays?

No. You do not need to “improve” your application, or redo/edit/modify part or all of your application. You were deferred because your application was already strong enough to make you a contender in the Regular Action round. Let your application stand.

What about extra essays, recommendations, etc?

You may send along anything (such as…) that you feel would be helpful to the committee. We do not expect or require any of these things. Simply sending in additional materials does not by itself increase your chances of admission.

What other advice do you have?

You should check in with your guidance/college counselor. Often, their years of experience provide wisdom and insight into your particular situation. They’re more than welcome to give our office a call if our decision isn’t consistent with their experience, or just to talk about the process.

Can I call admissions to find out The Reason why I was deferred?

If you call in, we will not be able to tell you “the reason” why you were deferred, or “what needs to be improved,” simply because things are much more complex than just one reason why you were deferred. Usually, when I take a call from a deferred applicant, there’s nothing that I see to be lacking or needing improvement — most of our deferred students submitted very strong applications, the kinds of applications any school (including MIT) would love to have in their student body. Honestly.

I’m glad to see from the comments that most of you, while understandably disappointed, are remaining upbeat, continuing to work on other applications, and knowing that one year from now, you’ll be getting ready to take a holiday break from some really amazing school (maybe MIT) to spend some quality time with loved ones. Being an optimist, I know that things always turn out well in the end.

100 responses to “More For Deferred Students”

  1. K says:

    Ugh. Deferred. But it’s not like I didn’t expect it. I officially hate my mailman now, though.

    How many days until March?

  2. james says:

    A lot K…I’m guessing you didn’t check online? Or you would have hated your ISP…

  3. I really appreciate how the admissions committee has and continues to keep the application process very transparent (even for the deferred kids).

    Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t particularly hate the mailman-I got mine online. What I hate is that we actually have T1 now, so the site just kinda’ popped up- unlike when we had painfully slow internet and for checking, like, SAT scores, I got a good suspensefuly moment before the display. But nope-it just popped up-ten minutes early too. Oh well, now I’ll expect such speed in March! And April for other schools…though I am one of those who have trouble imagining other schools.

  5. helen says:

    @Avishek
    I wholeheartedly agree, it’s great that the blogs are so informative and encouraging ^.^ Thanks so much admissions committee for making the application process easier, and more meaningful.

  6. I was deferred, so I’m considering sending in some stuff I otherwise wouldn’t trouble the admissions office with.

    I’ve been in dance for about 15 years and I have studied ballet, jazz, modern, tap, acrobatics, lyrical… a whole bunch of dance every week for most of my life. I was wondering if a DVD of my dance performance or choreography would be a good contribution to my application. Is there anyone there who would even consider watching such a thing, or would I be better off simply submitting 2-D artwork to showcase artistic talent? I have some of that, too, but I’d need to get some newer pieces finished if I was going to be sending it to colleges.

    Also, if my team wins our regional finals and I make the county Academic Olympics Team in February, should I bother letting MIT know? It doesn’t seem like a huge feat, but by the time we’d get to state, the application process would be over.

    Is sending any of the above items just going to make me “the annoying kid”?

  7. Sarab says:

    You know, its funny. Had I got an accepted, I would have been tearing up all my other apps and sitting and partying! But instead I’m writing more and more apps……………

  8. Thank you very much Math. At first I was distraught because I really wanted a decision now, but then I started to consider the postives of being deferred: 1 I still have a chance 2 I still have a chance 3 I still have a chance. I try to cheer myself up like that everyday because my nerves are just going bizarre on me. I cannot wait till March, and I believe that whatever happens, happens for a reason. I must tell you I was quite surprised to be deferred and not rejected when I look only at my SAT scores compared to other applicants. Well for all the other applicants out there who were deferred: BE STRONG and enjoy life. Whatever happens, life still goes one. And since life IS short, ENJOY it!

  9. Thank you very much Math. At first I was distraught because I really wanted a decision now, but then I started to consider the postives of being deferred: 1 I still have a chance 2 I still have a chance 3 I still have a chance. I try to cheer myself up like that everyday because my nerves are just going bizarre on me. I cannot wait till March, and I believe that whatever happens, happens for a reason. I must tell you I was quite surprised to be deferred and not rejected when I look only at my SAT scores compared to other applicants. Well for all the other applicants out there who were deferred: BE STRONG and enjoy life. Whatever happens, life still goes one. And since life IS short, ENJOY it!

  10. Anonymous says:

    help please….anyone who is online!!!!!!!

    secondary school report:the part where we have to mention what AP/IB courses we have taken:
    after we check the part saying that no AP/IB courses are offered ,do we have to check the other boxes about what subjects we take anyway?…i’m an indian..under the ISC system…help plz…i’m on my way to school right now and i’m supposed to tell my principal what to do there

  11. Colton Myers says:

    Thanks for the info Matt, it made me feel a little better about my deferral!

    When I went to a recruitment seminar last year, I asked if there were any advantages (besides the additional slot availability) to applying EA. The admissions representative told us that we would be given pointers on how to improve our application if not admitted EA. I’m aware that you said we don’t need to improve our applications (above), but I expected this additional application tutoring. I think that future recruiters should make this more clear.

    Thanks!

  12. MD says:

    @Kelly
    Yeah, I applied to RPI…and the Cooper Union…lol…feels so good to have applied to a school an MIT admissions officer talks about
    Thanks Matt!

  13. Anonymous says:

    @ kelly
    yup, i just finished off my app to RPI (i had the candidate’s choice app so it took literally 15 minutes). umm also caltech and carnegie mellon. ditto MD

  14. Tara says:

    Haha, I just finished my Boston College and Tufts University applications…but I didn’t apply EA to MIT…I wish I did. My applications are offically done and I am jumping with joy =)!!! I’ve lived in Florida WAYYY too long, and I’m ready for a change. Did any one do EA to Boston College?

  15. K says:

    @Kelly
    I’m applying to RPI, too. Somehow, though, it just can’t compare to MIT.

    Oh well. *sigh* Cross your fingers, I guess.

  16. John says:

    gahhh. being deffered is much too foreboding. As confident as I know I should be of my application, I can’t help wondering…what if Florida (yes, tara, Florida) becomes my home for yet another four years?
    but, on the bright side, Anjanie’s 1, 2, and 3 are all true. hang in there guys, we’ll make it somewhere. wink

  17. theresa says:

    @nicole reilly: yeah, I’m thinking of submitting a music cd now that I have more time to prepare pieces .. before during EA I just started lessons for the year and started learning all this new stuff — but now I have “perfected” (not really, but close) one, and I still have stuff from last year – so hopefully it all works out… good luck w/ your dance stuff tho

    as far as other schools go — yay wellesley smile

  18. Anonymous says:

    I believe the acceptance rate for deferred applicants last year was close to 40%. I could be wrong though.

  19. anonymous says:

    i’m sorry, i meant i meant 14%..

  20. Ben Williams says:

    I think i liked 40% better smile.

  21. JT says:

    Matt

    Thanks for the transparency provided during the entire EA process. It is not an easy task.

    However having seen the EA results I must say there are a lot of grey areas that could have been overcome. I know it is easier said than done but here in this case it is not something that one wishes and forgets. I am writing this because it is MIT an Institution for Math & Science Students primarily.

    I am quoting you “most of our deferred students submitted very strong applications, the kinds of applications any school (including MIT) would love to have in their student body. Honestly.” When you say there are very strong applications that have been left out – I don’t understand. To say “Yes” or “No” there must be a rationale however insignificant a thing or object or matter is and more so in this case when an application (which by no means is an insignificant matter) is being considered. What was the rationale? Please do not say it is so complex that we cannot explain. If it is complex all the more reason that there should be a logical deduction.

    If everyone accepted is well qualified above the others deferred then there is some logic. I have come across certain students, not only the ones that I know, but also from others in four other states and, it is difficult to comprehend their acceptance at the cost of some good students.

    The figures quoted below are from the Blog (may or may not be true):
    I am aware all that is written here is not true. Students with 600 and 650 on SAT II math have been accepted. I am not here to discuss SAT scores. How different and strikingly stupid can an essay be that you base your judgment of deferment on this one factor knowing fully well that the student has an 800 on SAT II Math? Is a GPA of 3.5 better than 4.0, is a SAT score of 2390 better than 1950? If this is not true then it must be the essay – how stupendously brilliant was that essay the student who wrote that got the better of the student with 4.0 GPA and 2390 on SAT? – The student is a great writer and would be a good fit at other institutions. Why deny a brilliant Math & Science Student the opportunity of studying at MIT? I have no clue.

    Is MIT producing writers, essayists, poets etc? Isn’t MIT the Premier Institution for Technology where Math & Science should count much more than anything else? We have so many other colleges in the nation to provide writers etc. Where does a student, who excels in Math and wants to pursue it and be challenged, go to other than MIT? They find that just because they are not good writers, the door is closed. Future engineers, scientists are being put to the sword every time MIT takes this approach to selection.

    We hear day in day out that the rate of Engineers being produced in our Nation has declined and is declining exponentially. Should we look elsewhere for the reason?

    For quite sometime we have been hearing that the admission process is a complex one and that not one factor decides anything. It is time to provide a metric for the selection process. We have been gullible to this talk and it is little wonder that China and India are approaching the frontline in Technology. We will be left far behind the other nations soon at this rate.

    Do you need Engineers to graduate out of MIT? If not, your responses are satisfactory. Please change the name of MIT to MIGS (GS- General Studies). I still regard MIT as a Great Institution and please don’t make me eat my words and let the reputation of MIT erode.
    JT

  22. Tara says:

    John:
    Where in Florida do you live? I only applied to one FL school…I’m ready for a big change. Different weather, big city, new people, new opportunities!!! I sure hope FL does not become either of our homes for another 4 years! Depressing! I’m sure everything will turn out well…we can only hope =)

  23. Anonymous says:

    matt,

    assuming he’s not too busy, i was wondering if daniel would grace us with some more blog entries, and maybe talk a little about the entire financial aid deal for those of us who haven’t been through it before….

    =)

  24. EG says:

    JT,

    I couldn’t agree more with your discussion. It seems that avery thing, includes MIT, is a moving target. It is easy for a student with experienced coach to get the target, while other talented ones have to depend their luck!

  25. TO says:

    It’s basically a known FACT now…
    MIT is the TOUGHEST school in America to get into!

  26. Sarab says:

    Harsh words JT, and most of them, (to my mind) untrue. Firstly, SAT scores arre not the perfect indicator of how good your Science or Math is. Second, they are used to decide if an applicant can survive at MIT. Then, the decision is made to see what the applicant is like. I presume you consider engineers to be human beings as well. Finally, if you want a place that believes only in grades than apply to the Indian Institutes of Technology, ranked 51st in the world and which has a acceptance rate of 0.001% (seriously!) And finally, I would suggest a book to read called the Class; by Erich Seagal. It should clear up your rather dumb misconceptions about college.
    I hope you liked the advice, esp. from a student who is 3000+ miles away and applying to the US after having not seen it for 13 years!!

  27. Ben Williams says:

    Just think of how bad it could be we could be waitlisted on top of being deferred. I know I have such a positive view on things don’t I. At least for now the best thing to do is not to worry about it and just accept whatever happens. Hope for the best but expect the worst. Good luck to all and I hope we all get in.

  28. Elizabeth says:

    Hey Matt-and any admissions officers-
    I’m just curious what you guys do between now and Jan. 1- do you have plenty of apps to go over and organization and stuff? Just curious what the average day is like;)

  29. Ben, good advice with Harvey Mudd, I’ve found it (from my impressions as an applicant) to be an awesome school with a cool culture (who stole Caltech’s cannon first?).

    To everyone who got deferred/rejected: don’t let one school monopolize your hopes and dreams. Be in control, keep your options open, and don’t let your happiness and self-worth rest on MIT’s decision. Nothing in life is worth that.

  30. ^ s/Ben/Matt/g :(

    Embarrassment, I shouldn’t post anything on less than 5 hours of sleep. (I should also sleep more than 5 hours a night.)

  31. Kristin says:

    I want ALL OF YOU to be admitted in March! Cyber-cookies for everyone!!

  32. Parcelsus says:

    Well, someone on the last deferred thread said they crunched the numbers and came up with a 12.6% chance of deferred students being accepted the second time around as opposed to a somewhere around a 9% chance for regular applicants straight off. Someone also said the odds were higher, more like 15%. In any case, deferral is the middle road and it means that we also have a pretty good chance at other places, I’d surmise.

  33. Anonymous says:

    i would imagine that they spend some quality time with their family during christmas.

  34. Anonymous says:

    anxiety=(March-t)^(-2)

  35. Yossarian says:

    This was a very practical and useful post…I’m glad to see that you aren’t shamelessly advertising MIT as the greatest school in the nation [even if it might be…smile], and yuor advice was very helpful. I’ll definitely look into some of those other schools you suggested!

    What may be considered too much stuff? Obviously, another 5 recs, 10 essays, and a DVD may be too much, but what’s a reasonable amount of stuff to continue indicating your interest in MIT? An essay or two? Maybe another recommendation?

  36. Parclesus says:

    anxiety=(March-t)^(-2) (accidentaly posted as anonymous 1st time)

  37. Amanda says:

    To throw my opinion out there about JT’s comment concerning essays: essays show who really are. It’s the only time you truly get to express yourself. If you write a dry essay, the college is not going to be very happy. If you don’t grab the admissions council’s attention with your essay, what else are you going to grab it with? Your test scores? All those show is that you are smart. So is everyone else applying (hopefully). The essay is your chance to separate you from the rest.

  38. Victoria says:

    For those Seattleites (whether inner-city or greater area) who commented, I’m in the Class of 2010 and I was deferred last year too. If you have anymore questions about MIT or want other advice about college, feel free to email me at [email protected]. Oh yeah, for Josh V, I am a MITES 2005 Alum.

  39. Victoria says:

    I’m from Beacon Hill and attended Garfield btw.

  40. This post is about luck in the admissions process. It also contains a little bit of advice. I’m not an applicant, and my only association with MIT is that I’m the parent of an applicant. But I’ve served on an admissions committee at Berkeley, and I’d like to say a few things that haven’t been said. You are clearly a talented, wonderful group of students, and for many of you, there is probably no clear reason for your deferral.

    Last year a student at my daughter’s high school was deferred and ultimately rejected by MIT, then accepted by Harvard. He’s now a freshman there. His case illustrates the point I hope to make, so here’s his story. His application described his national recognition in math competitions and his longtime presence on the math team. He was a valectorian at his high school. He was a national merit semifinalist. He also had attained state recognition as a gifted pianist. Now as it happens, at his high school, out of 500 graduating students, 18 participated on the math team. Of these, perhaps 6 or 8 attained national recognition. Of these, 6 became valedictorians, 18 became national merit semifinalists, and at least 3 were talented pianists. So talented in fact, that they had won awards in state competitions. As someone whose been on the deciding side of the admissions process, here’s what happens sometimes. You read the first application with this profile. “Great! Admit!” You read the second, with the same response. Perhaps you also admit the third. But by the time you encounter the fourth applicant whose a gifted mathematician and gifted pianist, you start to ask yourself, “How many pianists can play in the orchestra?” And so perhaps you defer a wonderful, talented student, a student who will certainly succeed elsewhere, and who will prevail in life.

    Don’t give up. Now here’s the advice. As you work on your applications for other institutions, practice thinking about how you would complete this sentence: “I am the only person at my high school who …” Think about the unique perspectives, gifts, and talents you bring to the table.

    Best of luck!

  41. EG says:

    Yes, essay shows who you are if it is written by you, as the essay on SAT 1!!!

  42. Siddharth says:

    Interesting comment Sarab.

    The acceptance rate for Indian Institute of Technologies is 0.5% to get into the your preferred department.

    The results on the Entrance Tests determine whether you’ll get in or not. The test contains mostly very hard questions from Physics, Mathematics, and Chemistry.

    Here’s an opportunity for everyone to share his/her thoughts on this integral question:

    Should entrance tests be the primary criterion for admission? (keep in mind, for a country with a population of 1 billion+)

  43. EG says:

    U.C. Berkeley alum,

    Great comments and advice.

  44. Sarab says:

    Nice advice. I can’t imagine many schools confident or ‘caring’ enough to give a list of schools for applicants to also try. It’s really nice. And one more reason I want to go to MIT! And yes, I am working on my other apps,but I still want to go to MIT!

  45. Meara says:

    So here’s a question: I wrote this awesome essay for my common app schools and University of Chicago. I think it’s a lot better than the essay I wrote answering the MIT prompt, and gives a bit more insight. As a deferree, should I submit it to the admissions office? It’s not like I won a Nobel prize between my EA app and now, but it’s a pretty good essay.

    Would the admissions committee’s reaction be more along the lines of, “What an interesting essay!” or “Curses, another 600 words to get through!”? Obviously this is difficult since you haven’t read my essay, but as a general rule…?

    By the way, I love these blogs. They’re very helpful.

  46. Sarab says:

    And yeah i am applying to RPI, like in 10 minutes. Candidates Choice for me too!

  47. MS says:

    I agree with EG. Personal essay shows who you are if it is REALLY written by you. Everyone says app is vital, but in fact in app the only thing that depends on you is the essay which nobody knows whether it is yours or not. But there is other information such as color, gender, place of residence, parent background and finacial background which should not matter, but actually does. That is also part of your personality, though not depending on you. It may sound unfair, but it MAY BE an explanation for taking a guy with 1910 and not taking a guy with 2390.
    Anyway, when by applying to MIT, you have showed agreement with the “rules of the admission game” You do your best, and hope for luck. That’s all! Anyway, life will continue smile

  48. Josh V says:

    anyone here from seattle?

    man…march cannot come soon enough! (haha, but i def still have to turn in like all of my applications…)

  49. Josh V says:

    ps: any of you apply/do the MITES program?

    that would have been such an amazing experience (if only had i been accepted. hahah.)

  50. Josh V says:

    UC Berkeley Alum,

    i like your post. i think that luck in the admissions process, especially at a school like MIT where all the applicantions are amazing, is something that is not recognized by many applicants. That was one of the biggest things my guidance counselor has been telling me. she said that even if i am on par with the everyone else, chances are that pretty much everyone has very competitive applications. it really can just come down to choosing a handful of students from a pool of equally competitive applications.

    Victoria,
    it’s nice to hear from someone at MIT from my area! do you think that not getting into the MITES program will reflect negatively on my application? (ps: i think it’s hilarious how we have a Beacon Hill here and there is one in Boston, but they are so different from each other)

    JT,

    Here’s my two cents. Yes, MIT is a math/science school and yes, SAT scores do play quite a significant role in the selection process, but i agree with others on this blog that say that scores are not everything and that essays show MIT the “real you”.
    believe me, i have been a math/science kid since elementary school, but i do think that there has to be something said for writing and literature.
    very early in middle school, i remember being frustrated with lit because i just did not enjoy it as mjuch as science (even now, subjects like lit and history are my biggest hurdles). however, one of my teachers impressed upon me the importance of english and lit in a way that i will never forget. She said told me to imagine that am the greatest scientist in the world. i just found the cure for cancer. then she asked me how i was going to let the world know of my discovery. that is when i saw the point she was making: you could be the smartest person in the world and be the best scienctist at MIT, but if you cannot express your ideas in a thoughtful, eloquent way, then that knowledge is lost because no one else will ever be able to know it.
    so i think it is fitting that MIT considers good essays (and this is coming from someone who doesn’t usually write good ones). MIT needs to know that academic excellence is not just concentrated in math and science; that its students have at least a solid grasp of grammar and rhetoric.
    and as for SAT scores, what’s wrong with a 1950?! maybe some people just don’t test well. mabye some people don’t have 750-800’s in their subject test. i still think these students can have something to offer the school…and that can be seen in their essays.

  51. JT says:

    SAT Scores are not the true indicator, agreed, but an imporatant metric……..Sarab…Good UR 3000 miles away, stay there!!!!!

    There will be great essays one after the other as mentioned above so what do you base your selection on? You need to a differentiator and what best from what we have.. SAT (your actual individual effort). You could have bad days while taking the test and that would mean getting 720 or 740 and not 600 if you really know your stuff.

    We will keep presenting ourselves better with essays and creating an impact and when it is time to work Differential Calculus, send it to China. This is what is happening to day as we run elsewhere to solve our problems (from s/w development to manufacturing and so on)

    Good luck

  52. Josh V says:

    JT,

    i see your point with the SAT’s being a differentiator…but essays can be as much a differentiator as SAT scores if everyone has similar scores…and that comment to sarab…harsh. haha.

    but anyways, good luck to you too
    (and to everyone else who’s been deferred…and to those like me who have yet to submit their application…hmm, maybe i shouldn’t be writing in this thread. oh well, whatever.)

  53. Yossarian says:

    hey Josh. I’m from around Seattle. Bellevue, to be more exact. what bout you?

    I definitely have to agree with Meara’s statement…MIT’s not so presumptuous as to assume that we didn’t apply to any other schools…and I feel that the essays I wrote for some of those other schools give a better picture of myself, one that may have been lacking in the MIT essays I sent. Could I send these?

    wow. I…basically just repeated his/her question. XD

  54. Kevin says:

    I’m also applying to RPI Candidate’s Choice, as I’m a medal-winner and it would be ridiculous for me not to apply. Should have the application out by the end of the week, and it will be nice to get that decision mid-January so everything won’t pile up in the spring.

  55. Ruth '07 says:

    Whoa kids, relax. I mean, I’ve had 4 years to forget about the pains of deferral, but it’s not the end of the world. Go enjoy hanging out with your friends, because someday you’re going to miss them regarding you as the degree of normal you currently enjoy. That will change when you get in.

  56. Sarah says:

    Hey, I’m a Seattleite too!

    I know, I’m doing the whole “I’m not disappointed, I am happy :D” thing, but I’ve been totally certain MIT is My School for years and years, so this is all a tiny bit traumatising.

    (PS: Thank you, Matt! Having the blogs here for explanation makes this whole deferral thing so much easier to handle. Just tossing applications into the void freaks me out.)

  57. Parcelsus says:

    Well yeah, I think MIT is the only school for me too, but I know that I will get in one way or another, whether by straight admission or transfer.

  58. Josh V. says:

    hey Yossarian.

    i’m straight up seattle…beacon hill. i go to seattle prep. where do you go to school?
    (let me guess…eastside? or do you go to a public school?…and i only say eastside because hella people in WA go to private school…)

  59. Prashanth says:

    Thanks for the info!

  60. K says:

    JT:

    Yes, standardized test scores are an indicator of what your level of knowledge and your abilities. But, as others have said, most people who apply to MIT have ridiculously good scores. If I were an admissions officer and this sort of situation arose, I would pick whoever wrote an essay that made me think of them. I should be reminded of them throughout my day by their essay.

    But these two factors aren’t the magic keys to accepting a student. You’re forgetting that you have a life outside of school, too. What you do outside of school (whether you’re in sports, clubs, community service, hanging out with friends, travel, employment…) is an even better indicator of who you are than just SAT scores and an essay alone.

    Good luck to all of you!

  61. Meara says:

    JT–I understand where you’re coming from, and I can see why you think that it’s unfair that MIT accepts people with non-fantastic SAT scores, but I think you are making a bit of a mountain out of a molehill.

    The reason colleges use SAT scores, as far as I understand it, is to have some kind of objective standard that helps them determine that an applicant can do the work. Who cares if someone got a 600 on the Chemistry SAT II? Maybe they took the class a few years ago and only just realized they needed a subject test; maybe their chemistry teacher left out something important and they missed a bunch of questions because they dealt with a topic they’d never learned. (My physics teacher, for instance, never taught us relativity.) That doesn’t mean they’re bad at science, or that they wouldn’t do well at MIT. Same thing goes for school transcripts–an A in math at one school might be the equivalent of a B- at another school.

    However, I don’t completely agree with the people who think that an essay is the most important indicator either; I doubt anybody bares their innermost soul in a college essay, and really you can’t fully describe anything in 500 words or less. That said, essays and interviews and the answers to all those random questions on the app are all important glimpses of who you are, maybe even more important than how you did on the SAT.

    Basically, colleges have to make their best guess based on the information they’ve got; maybe they’ll guess wrong, maybe they’ll take a chance on somebody and be proved right. There is no perfect test that can tell if somebody is a fit for MIT. I for one feel a lot better knowing that my entire future isn’t going to be determined by my score on one test, or even several tests.

    As for exporting differential equations to China, or some other such apocalyptic future–I think you need to relax. Just because somebody knows how to write or how to present themselves doesn’t mean that they can’t crank out a Jacobian or two. Being a good communicator and being good at math/science are not mutually exclusive.

    Sorry this is such a long post–didn’t mean to write a treatise.

    @Yossarian: Great minds think alike! And I am female, by the way. Just thought I’d clear that up.

  62. Amanda says:

    Nice post Meara, however, I did pour my soul-at least part of it-into my essay (I’m a writer, sorry JT).
    Here’s my views about the SATs:
    How well of an indicator your SATs are depends on where you are from. I come from a one traffic light town in the middle of nowhere Florida and have been in public achool my entire life. My scores will be weighed differently than someone from a college prep-school. JT, you said if you’re having a bad day your score should be a 720, well, that was my bio score. To put it in perspective for you: my biology teacher was not allowed to teach evolution. People do not all receive the same type of education. So for me to get a 720 with the educational background I have is more impressive than the same score from a prep-school student who has had the info drilled into his head (I’m not meaning to offend, you could be from a public school for all I know, I am just trying to make a point). My guidance counselor never even heard of the SAT Subject Tests, neither did she know what Early Action meant. And I was still good enough to be deferred and not rejected.

  63. Meara says:

    By the way–if anybody cares about statistics, there’s loads of numbers on the class of 2010 in box 11 at the top of this page; just click on Admissions Statistics.

  64. Kelly says:

    Hey, lots of RPI people! I have candidate’s choice too, but I can’t decide which essay to use, so haven’t sent it off yet.

    Matt — I know you said there was no need to “revise” our application, but would sending in another essay be acceptable or would it be too much to read?

  65. Kelly says:

    haha, never mind…just saw the extra essays/recs part. Must have accidently skipped over that. Sorry!

  66. Ben Williams says:

    does anyone know what the acceptance rate is for students that were differed until regular action

  67. Kelly says:

    Thanks Matt, you’re amazing. smile

    Anyone else here applying to RPI?

  68. GRP says:

    This will probably seem stupid and many of you probably noticed already but for others: Have you tried holding up the letter that you got in the mail (telling you that you were deferred) up to the light? -I just thought it was interesting.

  69. theresa says:

    just another comment about SAT’s: sometimes they aren’t the best measure of ability. for example, I’m stronger in science than in math. yet my math sat was a lot higher than my science sat. This is only because of the question formatting – the types of questions I receive in class are different from the ones on the test. everyone tests differently – obviously MIT can’t rely on SAT’s alone (as a differentiator) because of this. Also, writing does measure an aspect of academic quality. For example, I got a 5 on my AP history exam, but barely managed to get a 700 on the sat II. I feel that the only reason I got a 5 was because of my essays. Even in a math and science institution, good academic writing is important. Such things as lab reports and proofs do exist, you know.

  70. Edward says:

    I’m sorry,but just lend me a little space.I’m Edward, I want to tell my three friends:bpx,James,and Anna(I haven’t replied you yet) that my email addess has been stolen and please contact me by [email protected].I am eager for your mails!I am waiting here.I hope you will see it.

  71. Sarab says:

    I see that subtle sarcasm isn’t really your strong point, JT, so lets leave it like that. And yeah everything is getting outsorced to China and India.(No mention??) Shall I tell you the reason why? It’s because
    1. There are a BILLION people + in each country. Out of whom everyone knows that the way to a better life is an Enginerring or Medicine Degree.
    2. However, I see no answer to the fact that even as an engineer you need to interact with people. I mean chaps like you may want to spend your entire life working, but then on your deathbed you’ll sit and say what a waste……
    3. And do you mean to tell me, that MIT should become only a science school? Then Johns Hopkins and WashU should become only Med. schools? And then, you’ll have the situation there is in India. MIT will take barely half a percent of the applicants. 3000 out of 60,0000+ will get to do engineering. JHU will take a glorious 50 out of 30,000 and then everyone will scream about admissions being so difficult….
    4. And if you’re so keen on Engineering at MIT, TRANSFER. Don’t waste your fingers typing out inane replies, apply to another college, and do your Graduate studies at MIT!!

  72. theresa says:

    (trying to stray the boards away from admissions-talk (because I’m starting to get sick of it), but sorry if it seems too random) is anyone else sick w/ a cold? or in a place where a lot of people are sick? The strain I’ve gotten sucks — not only the normal stuff like throat and nose, but it also includes higher temperature and chest/back pains when I breathe or move a lot. I’m in NJ, and you guys sound like you’re farther away from here — so I’m just wondering if people in other places are getting sick too.. ?
    sorry for the random-ness.. smile

  73. Meara says:

    Hey, let’s all be nice. Nobody wants this thread to turn into a forum for personal attacks.

  74. Brian says:

    What must I do to get into MIT? I go to a prestigious high school and this year, MIT deferred everybody! People who were high scorers in USAMO, people who were on the Chemistry Olympiad Team and all these geniuses got deferred! What must one do to get into MIT these days?

  75. theresa says:

    @brian: I think MIT wants something more than math and science – b/c keep in mind everyone applying to MIT will have math and science under their belt – but they want to see that you have a life outside of academics (and I can’t say I know about your situation, but from what you’re describing it doesn’t sound like it)
    maybe they want something you’re passionate about that it isn’t tech-related.. and for everyone it’s different – I do music, but others may do sports, politics, art, etc.
    well anyway, hope that answers — smile good luck w/ RA smile

  76. JT says:

    To All,

    These discussions are fine and we have had some good insights to it. I am closing.

    Don’t get me wrong – Selection is a whole process made up of a lot of elements. But some elements must be differentiators. I am not saying it should only be SAT scores (please read carefully what I wrote).The elements that you need to define as differentiators depends upon the College and what it offers. So MIT, in my opinion, should look at the strengths in Science, Math and not so much on essays (I am not saying don’t pay importance but the degree of importance). The differentiators will be different for different institutions.

    Essays – who wrote them? So you should not be placing “Out of the way emphasis” on it, some are good at expressing themselves in writing, some good at talking (We have specialized speech writers just for this) and it goes on…… I read in the blog about how would a Doctor tell the world about his/her work …True, BUT you have to be “DOCTOR” First.

    MIT is a unique Institution – set aside all that is said here, Science and more importantly Math retain prime positions. If this is difficult to comprehend, Forget MIT.

    Josh this is a blog and I never felt you attacked me – your comment is on my opinion and not on me (Thats teh way one should see it). Each one to his opinion. Sarab or whoever you are learn some etiquettes – you comment on the opinion and not the person. Stay away if you can’t do this.

    Enough has been said and Good Luck to all of you!

    NO MORE

  77. JT says:

    To All,

    These discussions are fine and we have had some good insights to it. I am closing.

    Don’t get me wrong – Selection is a whole process made up of a lot of elements. But some elements must be differentiators. I am not saying it should only be SAT scores (please read carefully what I wrote).The elements that you need to define as differentiators depends upon the College and what it offers. So MIT, in my opinion, should look at the strengths in Science, Math and not so much on essays (I am not saying don’t pay importance but the degree of importance). The differentiators will be different for different institutions.

    Essays – who wrote them? So you should not be placing “Out of the way emphasis” on it, some are good at expressing themselves in writing, some good at talking (We have specialized speech writers just for this) and it goes on…… I read in the blog about how would a Doctor tell the world about his/her work …True, BUT you have to be “DOCTOR” First.

    MIT is a unique Institution – set aside all that is said here, Science and more importantly Math retain prime positions. If this is difficult to comprehend, Forget MIT.

    Josh this is a blog and I never felt you attacked me – your comment is on my opinion and not on me (Thats the way one should see it). Each one to his opinion. Sarab or whoever you are learn some etiquettes – you comment on the opinion and not the person. Stay away if you can’t do this.

    Enough has been said and Good Luck to all of you!

    NO MORE

  78. JT says:

    To All,

    These discussions are fine and we have had some good insights to it. I am closing.

    Don’t get me wrong – Selection is a whole process made up of a lot of elements. But some elements must be differentiators. I am not saying it should only be SAT scores (please read carefully what I wrote).The elements that you need to define as differentiators depends upon the College and what it offers. So MIT, in my opinion, should look at the strengths in Science, Math and not so much on essays (I am not saying don’t pay importance but the degree of importance). The differentiators will be different for different institutions.

    Essays – who wrote them? So you should not be placing “Out of the way emphasis” on it, some are good at expressing themselves in writing, some good at talking (We have specialized speech writers just for this) and it goes on…… I read in the blog about how would a Doctor tell the world about his/her work …True, BUT you have to be “DOCTOR” First.

    MIT is a unique Institution – set aside all that is said here, Science and more importantly Math retain prime positions. If this is difficult to comprehend, Forget MIT.

    Josh this is a blog and I never felt you attacked me – your comment is on my opinion and not on me (Thats the way one should see it). Each one to his opinion. Sarab or whoever you are learn some etiquettes – you comment on the opinion and not the person. Stay away if you can’t do this.

    Enough has been said and Good Luck to all of you!

    NO MORE

  79. Yossarian says:

    I wonder if admissions officers check these boards, and cross reference e-mail addresses with applications….o.O

    =P

    @Josh V – I AM on the eastside…but not a private school. Bellevue High School. heck yeah. haha

    @meara: oh, the irony. great minds get deferred too. *sigh*

    ^.^

    juuust kidding. hahah

  80. AZ says:

    The deferral note: it made me cry! Ahh! But, then after reading this note and talking to my brother (who is currently attending MIT), I feel a little bit better about the situation. At least I still have UW Madison, and I’m trying for Harvard. Who knows what shall happen with me and MIT now. Geez, I’m not going to know where I’m going to school until like April. Fun waiting.

  81. Victor says:

    Theresa,

    I think you’ve hit it right on the head. This is my first time posting on these blogs, dispite the many, many hours I’ve spent reading them. I too was deferred. I was waiting to post until I was accepted, but I felt compelled today.

    SAT scores are just that–SAT scores. They measure how well you did on a particular day on a particular test. I myself did no preparation for any SAT test. I went into the physics subject test completing the only physics offered at my school: old school mechanics. I had no idea that anything besides mechanics would be presented. Needless to say, I scored a 690 doing the best I could with the knowledge I had.

    But a score is just a score on a given day. I could have prepared more and improved. I could have done nothing, taken the same test again, and improved by 30 points. Or done worse by 30 points. The College Board recognizes this when they state a range of scores, +/- 30, to truly represent your score. If they recognize that a score can vary in a person for a variety of reasons, then it makes sense that MIT recognizes this and doesn’t elevate having perfect SAT scores to a divine level.

    Virtually everyone that applies to MIT is smart. Someone doing D level work with and SAT I score of 1680 doesn’t apply to MIT. Every year the admissions office is presented with thousands of qualified applicants to fill a class of a little over a thousand. What they have to do is narrow it down by character qualities, which cannot be expressed numerically, through ways such as essays. I admit, an essay is not a perfect indication of a person. It is 500 or so words. But taken in context with test scores, grades, etc. it can provide a clearer picture of the person.

    MIT wants persons of integrity. Persons of passion. Persons of ingenuity. People who can and will be leaders. And this is best seen through mediums like essays.

    Today I was coming back from a school board meeting. It was 9:30. It was raining. I was tired and hungry. But I saw people having car troubles on the side of the road. It would have been esay to keep on driving, but I stopped and asked if they needed help. I ended up helping them push a Jeep over a curb onto the hilled roadside. During the few minutes this took, I thought about the hundreds of people that drove by, not even considering stopping. Hell, one person nearly hit my car, which had the emergency flashers on! But I stopped and helped anyways. Now, I’m not trying to make myself seem perfect or better than I am or anything, but is this something that can be expressed in a number? I’d like to think that MIT alumni would stop and help me if I was ever having car troubles, or any similar problem.

    It sucks being deferred. It’s going to be a long three months until March. But in the end, whoever MIT chooses to admit, they admit. Sure, a perfectly qualified student may be turned down. Many are. But having MIT-caliber scores is not the same as having the MIT outlook on life, as I understand it. MIT values respect for and responsibility towards others, towards all of humanity. And the essay, as well as interview, are ways to find out if an applicant shares these characteristics. We shouldn’t forget this simply because we are mad that we were deferred.

  82. Meara says:

    @Brian: If you go to a school where a lot of people are likely to apply to MIT, maybe they want to hold all the applications from your school until regular action so they can consider them all together. I suspect that’s what they’re doing with my school, since everybody I know got deferred too. I wouldn’t worry too much.

    @Yossarian: This is getting creepy. I was just wondering the same thing about these boards and the admissions office. I kind of doubt they do, though–they seem a very above-board bunch. And it’s not like admissions officers want EXTRA stuff to read.

  83. Josh V says:

    so to sum up what has been said about sat’s, essays, and extracurricular activities, i think it all boils down to what we all know about admissions: there are many factors that go into the decision and no one aspect of the application is can determine admission.

    thanks Victoria for your info.

    yossarian–go washington! haha. i really hope we both get in…
    …then we can start an “i love starbucks” club. hahaha.

    ps: i agree with meara…that whole discussion seems to have gotten a little heated, and it seems like it has been directed toward jt (just because his post started it). so sorry to jt if it sounded like i was attcking you. i wasn’t.

    people…calm yourselves. we all just need to chill. the fact that you guys/girls are even blogging here shows that you seriously want this. everyone here sounds like they would be perfect for mit, so just leave it at that. we’ll all know in march.

  84. Felix says:

    Things are made too complicated when they don’t need to be. Saying that though, here is a complication of thought…
    My take on things are there are guidelines that are followed and the process is rather holistic in nature. Someone is chosen because that person seems to “fit” with MIT better than some others. For something like this, dealing with so many people, it is impossible to use an exact measuring system, only an estimation. Its a hunch of mine that after close examination and comparison, those that seem similar are determined by hunches of which would be better suited for MIT: how things were written, linking among separate parts of the information recieved, these would cause slight judgement changes in the sub-conscious, if you will, mind and thereby give a hunch of who is “better” in the sense that “better” is better for MIT, not better for something else. Everything does not simply add up, but act as tuning on say an etch-a-sketch to make a complete picture.
    I think the components are important, but it is how they come together to make the whole that counts in the proccess. So then the question becomes more of why I want to go to MIT and if that correlates well with what MIT would like out of its students. Like a jigsaw puzzle.

    Victor, you beat me to the thought…. ^_^

  85. Sarab says:

    My aplologies JT, had a bad day; sorry!

  86. Sarab says:

    And to everyone else, if you felt my commentts were personal, please don’t think so, at the time, seemed allright. on Rereading,…. well lets just drop it.

  87. Dennis says:

    I have read about SAT and essay, but have not seen transcript.
    I believe this should be the most significant component.
    SAT scores shows how you performed in a 4,8,or 12 hours of your life – enough said.
    Essays are valuable but also vulnerable to fraud and other outside forces.
    The transcripts shows how you consistently performed over the past 4 years, and they are all judged within the same frame as your peers.
    As many colleges state, “While there is no hard and fast rule, it is safe to say that performance in school is relatively more important than testing. A very strong performance in a demanding college preparatory program may compensate for modest standardized test scores, but it is unlikely that high standardized test scores will persuade the admissions committee to disregard an undistinguished secondary-school record.

  88. MD says:

    Quite warm here, wasn’t it?
    Good Luck once again to all!!

  89. Kelly says:

    @Dennis – I agree.
    @Theresa – I’m sick, too (in Va).
    @Sarab – Your comments didn’t seem too personal to me.

  90. Lana says:

    i was deferred last year and i thought for sure that i wouldn’t get in regular admissions. good luck for those deferred (don’t give up!) – things will work out and i hope i’ll see most of you around campus next year:)

  91. Meara says:

    @theresa: I’m sick too (north of Chicago). My school actually has a whooping cough epidemic going around–we made the national news a week or two ago, I think. Hopefully, though, I just have a cold.

    And I agree. I think we’re beating a dead horse, here. Let’s talk about something less depressing than how we’re all not going to get in during regular action and how unfair it was that we got deferred.

  92. Anonymous says:

    theresa, i’m sick too =) upstate NY.

    for the rest, i think MIT means it when it says applications are evaluated holistically. my interviewer told me, after a 2.5-hour long interview, that since the applicant pool is so self-selective grade-wise, the whole thing basically comes down to the writing parts — your recommendations, your essays, your interview report etc. it seems pretty logical that it would be so.

  93. Anonymous says:

    cal tech early came out today for some people in the mail

  94. Anonymous says:

    MIT must be doing something right because they still are one of the top schools in the country and world. Yes some of us may be upset with the decisions that we received, but maybe it’s for the best for both us and MIT.

  95. Anonymous says:

    is the CC page down right now?

  96. Victoria says:

    Josh V,

    Applying to MITES shows your interest in MIT and won’t reflect your application negatively in any way. I know peers who weren’t admitted to MITES but were admitted to MIT. Good luck! =)

  97. Matt T. says:

    JT

    I completely understand your logic, and it is true that SAT scores can be considered as differentiators. BUT, only at a certain point. SAT scores will surely help the admissions committee make the difference between a 500 and a 800. Fine.
    Then, in my opinion, one would have to take too many factors into account for scores between… let’s say 650 and 800. It’s easy for one person to spend the summer studying for Physics and Chemistry, which are basically questions on material stuff. I myself had no clue of what SAT II tests were before August, as I moved from France in September of 2005 to a high school not necessarily known for sending students to amazing schools such as MIT. By September I had a job (30+ hrs a weeks), varsity soccer, a really really tight schedule with tons of AP classes, clubs, and yadi-yada. Basically, I had no time to study for the SAT physics, and I honestly do not have innate knowledge of magnetic fields or current properties, despite loving physics as much as…eating cheese and striking I guess. My score was 730, and I feel extremely happy about it, considering the small time I put in studying for the test. I am sure that most, if not all, early applicants, with a decent of time, tons of practices, tutoring-coaching or whatever, would receive 800s.
    My point is: after a certain score, SAT cannot be THE indicator of someone’s intelligence in math or physics or anything.

    Furthermore, mathematical or scientifically logic is somewhat related to any other logic, even …”literature logic” or “artistic logic.” Think about Da Vinci and all the Greek geeks — nice alliteration-assonance — who brought so much to mathematics, science, philosophy, etc., and all at the same time. Obviously, no comparison between us, or me at least, and those amazingly smart super-humans can be made. But the way one writes assists the admission committee in comprehending the way the applicant thinks.

    Anyway, if the number of engineers is falling in the United States, I doubt MIT has anything to do with it. It might be the premier institution in the world, but there are many many many others around the country that can form relatively good engineers. From the perspective of someone who was educated in a foreign country, I personally think that the average education an American education receives is one of the major reasons why less engineers graduate every year. Hasty generalization? maybe…

    I have so much more to say, but hey, this discussion thread isn’t about the importance of SAT scores.

    “God Bless America,” I mean, GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

  98. anon says:

    to jt….

    future engineers aren’t being put to the sword every time they aren’t accepted by MIT. after all, there are lots of great engineering schools out, something ben pointed out. also, there is more to an app than essays and scores: what about your transcripts, your interview, any supplements you send in, and your recommendations? The blogs have said over and over again that while the SAT’s are a good indicator of academic strength, they aren’t nearly as important as the overall person an applicant seems to be. They also stress that making decisions are incredibly hard, and there isn’t always a cut and dry reason as to why one person gets in over another. To infer that outsourcing could be significantly decreased if MIT started accepting only students with exceptional math/science scores, regardless of their other qualities and attributes, seems sort of ridiculous – not to mention bitter. Obviously, MIT wants strong math and science students, but they also want students who will make an impact on the world, and this is not always indicated by a superior SAT score. The incredible people that graduate from MIT every don’t necessarily need to be engineers to make a difference. Denying a student simply because they don’t have near-perfect math/sci grades and disregarding all their other qualities might sound good to you, but it obviously doesn’t work that way, and for good reason.