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MIT staff blogger Chris Peterson SM '13

Next Steps For the Deferred by Chris Peterson SM '13

what to do next

On Saturday we released decisions for Early Action (EA) applicants. There was a definitive resolution for those students who were admitted or denied in EA. Deferred students, however, will have to wait a little longer as we reconsider their cases in Regular Action (RA).

I’ve had a number of deferred students write in with questions so I wanted to post a quick entry that answered some of them publicly.

What new stuff should I send?

The only “new” thing you need to send in is the February Updates and Notes form. You’ll use the FUN form to tell us your midyear grades and anything new that has happened or will happen. As always, you can send us stuff via email or mail, but the FUN form is the best way to update us. The FUN form is due by February 15th.

You may still submit a supplemental portfolio, but you do not need to; I would only consider this if you were planning to do so during EA but ran out of time. If you are retaking tests in December or January, you may also designate MIT as a score recipient and we’ll add them to your application.

You may not rewrite your essays, redo your interview, redo your entire application…anything like that. We deferred you because we want to reconsider your application (the one you have already sent) in RA.

What are my chances in Regular Action?

Once we defer you, you are automagically reconsidered when we reconvene the admissions committees for RA next spring. You are at no advantage nor disadvantage for having been deferred in EA.

Nobody, not even me, can accurately gauge your chance of being admitted to MIT. With that said, in the last few years we have admitted between 150-300 students in RA who were initially deferred in EA. That’s a small number, but to be honest, so is the number of RA applicants who are admitted. It’s hard to get into MIT.

Being deferred means you’re going to get another fair shot. Bloggers who were deferred and then admitted (and blogged about it) include Hamsika and Lydia, and I would recommend reading about their experiences.

Can I call / email / owl in to find out why I was deferred?

No. We won’t tell you, because we can’t. We make decisions collaboratively, in committees, and no one person has access to the reason (or set of reasons) why anyone was deferred as opposed to admitted or denied. Having done this for some time now, I can tell you it is almost never one thing which, if only it had been otherwise, the decision would be different.

I understand this ambiguity can be difficult, but most selective processes are characterized by this kind of complexity. My advice would be to send in the FUN form and then focus on anything other than MIT (other college apps, your classes, your clubs, your navel, whatever) until we release RA decisions.

As Lydia commented in the deferred open thread: “I actually do agree that the best thing you can do is to focus on things that are not MIT (or other college) admissions…If I could do things over, I wouldn’t think about MIT at all in the months between getting deferred and March.” 

Do this thing, this thing that Lydia said (hint: this is good life advice generally).

I’m an RA Applicant, but I read this post anyway; what do I do?

You are very sneaky.

Just follow the instructions and deadlines as we’ve written them. Please note that at this point the deadline to schedule an interview has passed.

How can I contact the office if I must?

Same ways as always (this goes for RA applicants too).

You may comment on this entry, where I’ll try to answer new questions (and perhaps update this post) over the next couple of days. You may also call us (617.253.3400) or email us (admissions [at] mit [dot] edu).

I’ll be on vacation for awhile starting this Wednesday to rest my eyes and brain. From Thursday, December 25th, to Monday, January 5th, the entire office will be shut down for the holidays, which means our reception center in 10-100 will be closed and our phones will be off. Some of our staff will be working overtime to answer emails during that period, but there may be some delay due to the holidays, so please be patient.

Looking forward to (re)considering your applications in January!