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MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

Regarding Online Decisions by Ben Jones

A brief update.

I am excited to let you know that things are looking fairly good for releasing RA decisions online this year. I had a meeting with our tech peeps yesterday and they seem optimistic. Please note that it’s not definite at this juncture. I’m hesitant to post this because I don’t want to get your hopes up if something falls through, but I’ve received at least 40-50 emails or blog comments about it in the last month, so I figured it was a hot topic and that you’d appreciate the update. All I can say is that we’re trying, and things look good, but we need a few more weeks to be sure.

Due to the obvious need for exhaustive testing and the nature of the admissions cycle (and the cycle-dependent status of the MyMIT database), we will not be making an official announcement until March 6. Please hold your questions on this topic until that time, as many of them will likely be answered then.

In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed! I know mine are.

75 responses to “Regarding Online Decisions”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This would be SO much better than waiting for the mail to “not” arrive! We’re keeping everything crossed-thanks for the update.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Guess what! even our toes are crossed! smile X

  3. Christina says:

    You caved!

    (Thank God.)


  4. Sam T says:

    Sounds good, but to be honest as long as the letter says “accepted” I don’t care how it’s sent. E-mail, snail mail, teleportation, whatever.

    But I still like that you guys are thinking of ways to make the proccess go more smoothly for us applicants.

    Good luck with the reading!

  5. Jill says:

    Am I the only one who’d rather find out the old fashioned way? Waiting anxiously for the mailman to arrive, running out to the mailbox every day… Guess I’m just a traditionalist (masochist?)

    Of course, if it’s offered online, no way I’m going to opt out in preference of a hard copy days later, haha. Thanks for all the work you guys are doing!

  6. That would be a lot better. If you can’t post it online than atleast e-mail the decision. You really don’t know how tense we are right now!!

  7. Alexandre says:

    That’s Great! I don’t know when/how/if I’ll log on to myMIT account to check, but it’s great that I’ll have that option!

    Thank you!

  8. Minh says:

    Thank you to all you guys at MIT, for making our lives much easier in March. (Or will they be?)

  9. I’d definitely use the online option. The mail service in my country is rather unreliable, and a letter will take at least three weeks to arrive. If it is a tube, it might not arrive at all. If I find out I’m admitted, it would be the happiest day of my life even without the confetti.

  10. Aaron says:

    Does this mean no tubes?

  11. renuka says:

    That is very exciting. Does that mean no tube with confetti for the lucky RA applicants?

  12. It would be perfect to have RA decisions on-line! It means no more painful waiting. I think it is the best way because it’s faster and MIT can also save a lot of money: No DHL or UPS or FedEx for sending the letters. Thanks for your hard work.

  13. zoogies says:

    I don’t know if I would…check online, I mean. It seems too impersonal…it would be a huge temptation, but…I want to go out into the woods and be a hermit for a week, waiting for the letter while cutting myself from outside influences and other people who have already gotten theres.

    So no Jill, you’re not the only one who wants to find out the old fashioned away.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The online is a great option. It provides greater flexiblity and also clears up the tense atmosphere fast for all applicants waiting for their decisions. Cheers for the MIT crew for their hardwork and dedication!

    Suggestion: How bout having a countdown clock on the mit website, counting down to the notification of the decision date… smile

  15. Vivek says:

    I wont see it onine i will wait for the mailman indeed:-)

  16. Alexandre says:

    Sandy, I’m so jealous…I had the same experience, except mine lasted for a week and it turned out to be a deferral (after the lady in MIT admissions on the phone mistakenly told me I’d been rejected, no less)! smile

  17. Christina says:

    You all SAY you won’t check it online…but I’m betting that decision will last for _about_ 24 seconds before you DIVE to your computer. :-D

  18. Virzhiniya, since I have very strong reasons to believe that we are from the same country, I can support enthusiastically what you said about the postal service here.

    Which means that I am also glad that an online notification *might* be available. After all, I do not want to learn my fate three weeks later than the guys in the US…

    Go MIT Tech-Team!

  19. Darth Adoous says:

    It’ll be great if you announce decisions online…you’ll avoid the ‘EA mail fiasco’…and give international applicants the honour of reading their decision at unearthly hours of the night so we can wake everyone up with our screams of joy/despair …… sounds just like SAT to me…..but its a great development (if it happens) …itll be convinient for everyone…but dont put it right on maybe those who want to get it by mail can still use withough accessing their decision and hug the mailman when they get ‘da tube’

  20. Sandy says:

    If it was online for EA, I would have checked. But the mailman was so much more fun.

    On December 12th (Monday after decisions were mailed), we had a 6th period Physics test. I was so anxious to get home, I couldn’t even concentrate on the test. I got home, and I got no mail from MIT. What a dissapointment.

    So, the next day 6th period I learn that I recieved a 33/50 on the test. I was like “great. fat lot of good the anxiety caused me.” But I wasn’t fazed by the score…I was too anxious (again) to get home and check the mail. And I got home…drove up my dead end street to check on the progress of the mailman…then sat in my bedroom staring out the window for half an hour waiting for him to make his way down the street.

    When, finally, he pulled up at my mailbox, I was SO nervous. But then he got out of car with a package…a tube. Elation.

    Old Fashioned = Hella Fun

  21. tc says:

    Oh. I found out today that a couple of teachers and a neighbor, upon finding out that my app had been deferred, had taken it upon themselves to send letters to you about me. And I submitted add’l mat’l. So now you have a pile of extra stuff about me.

    So sorry! How do you get through it all? Or do you just say, after reading 3 extra pages, “Enough!” and toss the rest?

  22. tc says:

    *you* = MIT admissions

  23. Brittany M says:

    I think an online decision sounds cool but I really would love to get a tube.

  24. Gee whiz, I’d love to receive a tube too. Think about the confetti that pops out of it (haha, okay, that isn’t the main point… it’s that I’d love to see the personalization that MIT provides to all accepted applicants). The tube would be a nice thing to keep as a memoir too. Perhaps they should release the decisions online at *just* about the time that the mail *should* be in. Or perhaps not, to save some paper. Which ever, I’m keeping my fingers crossed…

  25. zoogies says:

    Christina: “You all SAY you won’t check it online…but I’m betting that decision will last for _about_ 24 seconds before you DIVE to your computer. :-D”

    This is why I’ll have to find a hermit house to live in for a week. Maybe I’ll somehow remove myself from the computer and the internet.

  26. Hey Ben,

    Oh My God this is just what I’ve been talking about! Although I shouldn’t be completely optimistic but seriously I keep getting college mail one month or more delayed…which is completely ridiculous because that means I’d be getting my decision around the end of April. Of course I am with those who favor finding out by mail, but online would be faster, and yes I’d like to know if international RA applicants get tubes too!

    Thank you so much Ben! you have no idea how much you are easing the admissions process for us, even if you don’t post them online, but just by being honest with us I am so much more relieved..

    Thanks again and good luck with reading those applications!

    Abdulaziz (Aziz) Albahar [Kuwait]

  27. Tom says:

    Neither my son or I will ever forget the moment he came running into the house shouting “Dad, I think I got” —- he was too excited to finish the sentence, The waiting was over and he was standing in the kitchen fumbling to open a really realy big envelope from MIT. I don’t see how, after waiting all these years, and after all the hard work, you would not want to wait one or two more days and get the descision in the mail. To hold it in your hand and read it over and over is a once in a lifetime moment. I was hoping that MIT would not cave-in to this one.

  28. dyzzy says:

    As long as I get a tube filled with confetti, I’ll be happy. =)

  29. Edward says:

    This is great!

    Yay for the tech guys.

    I usually get college mail a few weeks delayed so this is great.

    Thanks for the update.

  30. Anonymous says:

    nothing beats the excitement of snail mail… espcially when its English last period and you’re discussing Dante’s Inferno while trying to stop yourself from knocking over your desk with anticipation

  31. I can surely understand the impatience of many applicants to know NOW RIGHT THIS MINUTE. That’s sort of what technology has enabled for all of us, after all. But like Tom, I will remember all my life the look on my son’s face when he walked into the kitchen and saw the Big Envelope from MIT at his place at the table last year. He found out about his other acceptances online and while he was proud of them, they did not have the impact on him that the MIT mail decision had: it was qualitatively different. I secretly hope, even if they’re able to provide you with online notification through MyMIT this year, that some of you will wait and have That Moment with the big envelope or tube.

    Good luck to all of you.

  32. shikhar says:

    i am keeping my fingers crossed…..

    Imagine one day i just log onto my MyMIT and there is see in big big letters “YOU HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED”


    *just drooling around in my thoughts*

  33. Emilia says:

    I think that releasing the decisions online is great! I’m a US Citizen living abroad and at times the postal service in Ecuador is REALLY bad. I’m an EA applicant who didn’t get the deferral letter until late January!

    Even if the mail were normal, it would still take about a week to get here. So I think that online decisions are a VERY good idea.

  34. Anonymous says:

    This is kinda like Santa posting a list on December 22nd of who got what. This is not progress, it is denying students one of the most memorable moments of a lifetime in the name of expediancy.

  35. Siddharth says:

    im with jill and zoogies and vivek and the rest: love my snail-mail! its kind of like the diff btwn talking on the phone and im’ing ppl. the phone is SO much more personal! (plus u dont have to deal w/ sarcasm coming over too heavy on the internet, etc., except that doesnt apply in this case). of course, nothing beats have a good face-to-face…. i just KNOW all those ECs have to be good for SOMETHING wink

  36. Dapo says:

    I have waited for years before I applied to MIT, the few days between receiving the news online and via mail is but a fraction of the time I endured all this while. For me, I would derive more pleasure from eating slow cooked food from the stove than that from the microwave. The potential joy that could be obtained from opening that mail box can not be measured to the few seconds it takes for the system to verify you password, at least for me

  37. Anonymous says:

    Geez, if u guys are so against online decisions, then U DON’T HAVE TO VIEW THEM. You can wait until you get your decision in the mail. MIT is just offering another alternative for people like me who would prefer online decisions. You guys can keep the personal touch of receiving the tube by simply not checking online decisions.

  38. Fadl says:

    Hi. I strongly applaud Mat and team for this effort. You guys who are grumbling about admission decisions becoming less ‘personal’ have no idea how long it takes mail to reach certain parts of the globe (if at all). I understand that you want to get a tube full of confetti( so do I) but if I can get my decision a whole MONTH earlier I’m sorry but that’s a lot more important to me. So thanks again Mat for thinking of ways to help us through these tough times. smile

  39. Ben and friends,

    This actually makes me a little sad. One of the things I really loved about the MIT admissions process was that I could relax a little bit and know that I would get it in the mail when I got it and didn’t have to sit there infinitely refreshing a page twice a second like I had to for all of my other schools. I could check my mail once a day and be done with it for the day.

    Then when I got that envelope, it just meant so much more to me than any of the emails or websites accepting me. It was just that much more personal. I could read about what would be going on, there was a packet of information; I could really dive into MIT as soon as I got that big package.

    I don’t know; something just doesn’t feel right. Maybe I’m old fashioned.


  40. Leah says:

    The way I feel right now, I

  41. Ben says:

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for your comments both in favor of and opposed to online decisions. Personally, especially when recalling my own experience of getting my letter in the mailbox – I’m not in favor of finding out one’s decision online. But as we’ve debated this internally, I’ve come to realize that I can’t force my personal opinion on everyone, nor should anyone else.

    I’ve also been careful to remind myself that I had the luxury of receiving my letter 2 days after it was mailed. For some applicants, especially the thousands who have applied from other countries, the delay can be three weeks or more. It simply is not fair to not provide a faster option, and we’re doing everything we can to be able to do so.

    That said, we are adamant that it should be a personal choice for each applicant, so you won’t be emailed your decision. If we are able to provide it online, you’ll need to log in to the server to receive it. Those who wish to receive their decision via postal mail will still be able to do so.

    More details will follow as I have them.

  42. anonymous says:

    hi every body

    do the mail to admitted students arrives in tubes

    wish you very very big luck in decisions and wish gooooooooooooood luck also to me

  43. anonymous says:

    hi every body

    do the mail to admitted students arrives in tubes

    wish you very very big luck in decisions and wish gooooooooooooood luck also to me

  44. danish says:

    well all I have to say is that the MIT tech team really deserves a big round of applause..

    Go MIT tech team..

  45. molls says:

    Having a choice is good!

  46. sly says:

    i really think its a nice idea cuz it would have taken age for the mail to reach students outside the us

    so im rili looking forward to it

    pls can we still send additional materials?

    if yes,when does this close?

  47. zoogies says:

    I like Dapo’s allegory. Microwaved food is just not the same, you know? But as Anonymous and others have pointed out, we don’t *have* to view online decisions. It’s just a matter of shutting ourselves from the temptation of the online world. Choice is good.

    Perhaps in the future, MIT can, like Harvard, have a checkbox whereby we can decide if we want an emailed decision or not. *shrug* It’s rare, but sometimes Harvard does have a good idea or two. =P

    I’m old fashioned too, but MIT may not have a choice. It has to bow to the demands of such a resounding chorus, and besides, it’s very good for the international applicants.

  48. Martin says:

    I see an opportunity for some really nice flash art! Imagine logging in and seeing an animated tube exploding, filling the screen with pixel confetti! My left mouse button clicking finger quivers in anticipation….

  49. Anonymous says:

    So do it electronically for the overseas applicants and don’t tempt the rest of us out of one of lifes sweetest memories.

  50. Dapo says:

    The Great Compromise of 2006-(sounds good)

    I agree those who want online can get it and those who prefer snail mail can wait.

    Admissions Office, keep up the good job. To everyone else, good luck.

  51. Hey, Momchil, it’s great to find another Bulgarian who is applying to MIT

  52. uren says:

    i agree with Fadl – it makes life a lot easier for us across the atlantic and DHL in Oman is usually in a mess, so i guess i fully support the MIT tech team! Btw… anyone from Oman or any other Middle East country reading this? if so, pls reply.

  53. Nina Toleva says:

    It’s great to find two “country-mates” applying to MIT this year! I speak of Momchil and Virzhinyia =) Good luck with the Online desicion and enormous quantities of luck with the Bulgarian Post Offices and the delivery! grin

  54. Jill says:

    As leftcoast mom said, I wouldn’t think of depriving other people of the option, but I think, after reading these responses, I’ll be waiting for snailmail. I can totally understand why some folks shouldn’t have to if possible. Thanks again to all the MIT Admissions staff dealing with this!

    Now, it’s just a matter of not giving into the temptation once that time rolls around…

  55. Sachit says:

    yeah.. online is the way to go!!

  56. Fadl says:


    Uren I’m glad you agree with me. You see I too live in the Middle East (UAE actually) and the fact of the matter is that waiting for the mail would be simply drive me crazy. I know that the mail service in the US is great but that is not necessarily true elsewhere. I would really like a quick answer instead of waiting for three weeks not knowing when my decision letter would be coming. That would be almost unbearable. So to sum it up MAT &Team; you guys have been wonderful; even if you reject me I’ll still appreciate everything you’ve done for me and hundreds of others. So three cheers for MAT!!!!!

    PS: I’m assuming that even if we check online we still get a mailed copy. smile

  57. Mridul says:

    And guess how many trees will be saved if online method is preferred.

    But if it is Online + Mail then; waste of resources.

  58. Ben, why not make it an option that we can select on the MyMIT portal?

  59. Wenhao Sun says:

    Hey, so while I was being lazy and using the ‘up’ function on the google toolbar to get back to the MyMIT site (which brought somewhere else), I got to this site from last year:

    So wasn’t this already done? Why is it so controversial as to whether or not to release online decisions? Just curious!

  60. No, this was not already done. The decisions were mailed March 11th last year. On March 18th, one week later (when Ben wrote the blog entry you pointed to), the MyMIT portal changed for admitted students to offer them further content relevant to their admission, and presumed that the intervening week offered plenty of time for the mailed decisions to arrive for most applicants. So no, it’s not really the same thing.

    As you can see reading the comments on this blog entry, some folks want to learn their results immediately online, some need the option because of unreliable mail service where they live, and some would prefer to receive the momentous mail in their postal delivery. I don’t think anyone is arguing that applicants should not have the *option* to check their MyMIT portal for a decision. Several students and parents were saying they prefer the thought of the once-in-a-lifetime moment when The Big Envelope might arrive from MIT. Ben, your statement that decisions would not be sent in email is reassuring and well-reasoned, and gives both sets of folks an option they can live with. I’m sure everyone will be glad when the option exists: thanks for the careful work on this!

  61. hasan says:

    i wonder if there are any bangladeshis out there viewing this blog other than me..

    onlines cool for ppl who live abroad like me. its not fair tht locals get to know abt their decisions earlier than us. i wud still like to get da tube though.

  62. Wenhao Sun says:

    Ah, thanks leftcoast mom for the clarification.

  63. Phil says:

    Having the both options sounds great! Altho, as u said, im not getting my hopes up!

    Although, I remember having a conversation with my computer programming teacher (he coincidentally worked at MIT long time ago) last year, and he said it wasn’t an easy job at all getting the online site secure. The MIT techs must be really doing their job. :]

    Thanks again Ben for all your hard work. It must be gratifying. grin

  64. sweeeeeeeeeet

    i might be in Germany when the letter (or tube) online is soo much better for me

    but i’d like a tube!

  65. Anonymous says:

    That’s awesome! So much better than waiting for those EA deferrals… Well, even if it doesn’t work this year, it’ll work the next, right?

  66. Anonymous says:

    Whether or not my son gets in, I have truly enjoyed watching him go through the process. We both talk daily about what’s going on in Boston — by the way, how’s life in the blizzard? – but we try to keep things in perspective. This is a life-changing opportunity for all of you. If you get the tube your life is going to spiral in a completely new direction. If you don’t, you still can go to another school — no, it’s not MIT caliber but it will still offer you a chance of higher education — and proceed from there. And don’t forget — there’s always your post-graduate work that can be completed at MIT. All that said, I’m not really in favor of finding out online. This is your one shot at MIT for your undergraduate studies — would you want to find out whether or not someone would marry you with an online login?

  67. Chris says:

    Man, the pain of having to wait those long weeks during December for my MIT EA deferral was really painful. And now, having to wait another 2-3 weeks for my second letter? Well, I’d rather take it online just to get it over with. I’d hate to have my spring break spoiled with the MIT decision looming over my head.

  68. Eliot says:

    Hey Ben. I just had a question. I was deferred MIT EA. I’m planning on sending an update package. Would it be too late to send this week?

  69. mom says:

    Just like someone said before,my son and me also enjoyed applying to MIT.It has been a pleasure.In fact this is the first time in my life that I have posted in any blog.(No I dont even chatt)Whoever the credit goes to Matt,Ben or MIT I dont know.Yes Fadi we are from UAE too.Would like to know your emirate and school.

  70. WooHooo Middle East :D hey guys yeah I’m from Kuwait and applying. To all those locals, let me explain: i got notification from a university that my application was received but I had missing materials that needed to be sent immediately by mail. This notification was dated December 22nd…When do you think I received it? Late January!! That’s a MONTH after…now I don’t know about you guys but can you wait a month knowing that everyone else received their decisions already? I already spoke to my counselors and was surprised to know that the two people from my school who got accepted last year found out online…Hmm..Now that leftcoast mom kindly cleared that up I discovered that the mail didn’t get here in time and that animation that popped up on the site about a week after decisions were made WAS in fact the acceptance for those students, so whether they liked it or not they found out online! Now I ask you to reconsider your opinions of online decisions, especially for internationals. We are all being given two options…pick the one you prefer everyone smile Ben, Matt, and all the other Admissions officers…a warm thank you to you and the MIT Tech Team! I hope those decisions will be available!!

    Abdulaziz (Aziz) Albahar

  71. U 3 says:

    All Hail the power of Democracy!!! The Public Gets What It Wants!!

  72. Sarah says:

    I’m glad they might do this. I got deferred and it was very hard waiting, calling, and then finally getting my letter (about three weeks later). I don’t even live in another country. I live in Colorado. Besides, some scholarships (esp. SWE) require that you be admitted before you can even apply, so the sooner I know, the better.

  73. Momchil says:

    “Due to the obvious need for exhaustive testing and the nature of the admissions cycle (and the cycle-dependent status of the MyMIT database), we will not be making an official announcement until March 6.”

    OK, so it is March 6 today… Any announcements ready?

    (Sorry for my impatience!)

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