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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

More on deferrals by Matt McGann '00

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

First, you should know that 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. In each of the past few years, we have admitted hundreds of deferred students during regular action; last year, we admitted 326 deferred students during regular action, and I’d guess that number will be in that neighborhood again this year.

The only thing we ask that you send in is a midyear grade report. You can download one off of the 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.

In my experience, I don’t find extra formal essays to be particularly helpful or insightful. I generally do not encourage additional letters of recommendation. I know some of you have asked if you can still send in music or art or a response or Question 13, and the answer is that you certainly may.

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. We’d prefer to take phone calls after the holidays, as many admissions staff (including myself) will take a much needed vacation soon (for me, starting next week).

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. A frequent line to come out of my mouth: “I have no idea why you weren’t admitted.”

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 some time of 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.

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