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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Some notes for applicants by Matt McGann '00

Thoughts for both EA & RA applicants.

While reading applications, I’ve thought of a number of things of interest to early and regular action applicants.

For Regular Action Applicants

  • Schedule your interview now.* The deadline (December 1) to schedule your interview is fast approaching! You can find the contact information for your interviewer (Educational Counselor) on the MyMIT website.

    *Even if you are applying elsewhere via an early decision or single choice early action program, you should still schedule your interview now, since the interview scheduling deadline falls before most schools notify. Having an interview with MIT does not violate early agreements. You do not need to have submitted your application Part 1 by the time you interview, but you must have registered for MyMIT.

  • If you qualify for a fee waiver, please request one. Requesting a fee waiver does not negatively impact your application. And if you qualify for a fee waiver, your family needs the $65 more than we do.

  • If you are interested in playing on a varsity sports team at MIT, please contact the appropriate coach or fill out the recruiting form. If you are interested in our music community, consider sending in a music recording. If you are interested in our art community, considering sending in some of your work.

  • Be sure your standardized test scores have been sent to MIT. Our College Board Code (for SAT and TOEFL) is 3514 and our ACT Code is 1858.

  • If you haven’t yet given your teachers their MIT recommendation forms, what are you waiting for? Teachers get very busy this time of year, respect their time!

  • Try to get your application components to us in advance of the January 1 deadline, if you can. It will save you and us some angst in the long run.

For EA Applicants

  • I hope that if you haven’t already done so, you’ll begin working seriously on the applications for other schools on your list. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that, in all likelihood, more than 6 of every 7 early action applicants will not be admitted when EA decisions go out in a few weeks. This includes many really fantastic students. Some applications will be outright turned down, and others will be deferred to regular action for further consideration (and some of those will be admitted during regular action). It’s not easy or fun for us to have to give bad news to so many students, but it’s a reality that we all must live with. So, do yourselves a favor this weekend and work a bit on your regular action applications. As I like to say, plan for the worst, and hope for the best.

  • As the year draws to a close, start talking with your parents about financial aid applications. For more information about this, check out the Financial Aid website and also Daniel’s blog.

I hope you’re having a great Thanksgiving weekend!

30 responses to “Some notes for applicants”

  1. Sharat says:

    Hey Matt, quick question about supplemental materials. If we’ve already applied early, and we feel that we should have explained certain circumstances in an optional essay, what should we do? Is there a way of contacting you or any other admissions officer, and submitting something, or should we do that only if deferred?

  2. Oh, this atrocious wait.

    If I get deferred, I guess I will send in a musical composition, though I have already sent in some artwork.

  3. moi says:

    while most colleges dicourage fee waivers (strongly at times), it’s nice to see MIT actually incouraging them… well, for the ones who qualify, of course.

    i’m not applying (though i read the blogs regularly! :D), but good luck to all you applicants!

  4. moi says:

    i meant “encouraging” above..

    btw, i had my MIT interview because the EC actually insisted on it. it was fun though! smile

  5. Sam says:

    Thanks for the reminder Matt, I hope reading the applications isn’t as tedius and painstaking as writing them. I still got about 9 more to go. Hopefully I won’t have to send them out.

  6. Anonymous says:

    While so few EA applicants get admitted, even fewer get denied. So what does it take for an EA application to get denied instead of deferred?

  7. Kevin says:

    Referring to EA applicants, are the Mid-year grade reports necessary for the applications to be considered? I had called the admissions office and was told that EA applicants need not send in the Mid-year reports because the semester was not yet over.

  8. Mattttt!

    My friends and I visited MIT and we stayed with friends in Baker for two nights. Our Random friends showed us the real way to Baker house and they were so surprised we actually walked to Baker after! It was an awesome time.

    Have fun with that beastly turkey.

  9. >>Referring to EA applicants, are the Mid-year grade reports necessary for the applications to be considered? I had called the admissions office and was told that EA applicants need not send in the Mid-year reports because the semester was not yet over.

    I heard the same thing, though not over the phone.

    Oh, the anticipation…

    Enjoy your vacation, Matt!

  10. Victoria says:

    Wow. I scheduled my interview when you came to San Diego… since my EC was there… I’m sort of surprised that other people haven’t scheduled theirs earlier.

    For the music thing,… my instrument doesn’t work very well (it’s well over twenty years old, for one thing… and it’s got lots of cracks and leaks…) so can I just photocopy a copy of the program from my school’s concert and just send in the page that lists me, what position I play, and what instrument I play? The recording isn’t very impressive. Thanks!

  11. Eric Johnson says:

    Hi Matt. I talked to you back in October and so told me how you also are a fan of J-pop. Since you probably use I-tunes I figured I would mention that they have a special link (Music of the World: Japan) with some great J-pop hits. Some of the stuff is really different, you listen to the Music of Japan Shuffle. I downloaded some songs like Beni- True Figher. Well, I hope you find some stuff you like.

    See ya,


  12. Hi, Matt. I applied EA, and I’ve noticed that my secondary school report and transcript haven’t shown up as processed yet. Is this something to look into, or is this just normal?



  13. Shikhar says:

    hi matt,

    Hows the application season going. I just read that MIT respects music recordings…I am an active singer at school but I dont have any access to a recording studio and the best I can do is record a song in hindi or English on my computer and that too without any background music.. although I can manage to pull of some of the hindi songs without the music will it still be you know ‘enough’ for the music community to evaluate me.

  14. Shikhar says:

    also when is the next question omnibus coming out.

  15. Dear Mr. Mcgann

    I have an urgent problem. I have just tried to contact my EC here in Oslo, Norway, but recieved an email saying that my email could not be delivered to my EC’s address, as his username was unknown. I then contacted to company in which he is ’employed’, only to find that the receptionist does not even know of my EC.

    Therefore, I would like to ask you what you think my next course of action should be?

    Kind Regards

    Michael B. Berthelsen

  16. anonymous says:

    If we have applied EA, and we have supplemental materials that we feel could help our application, especially if deferred, should we send them in now, or wait until we receive a letter from MIT?

  17. Timur Sahin says:

    384 students were admitted early action. These students make up ~26% of all the students admitted to MIT.

    Students who are deferred to regular action are treated exactly like regular action applicants, and don’t receive any sort of preferential treatment. Thus, 74% of MIT’s class came from the regular pool.

    The fact that 44% of the admitted students were early action is a testament to the quality of students whose precollegiate experiences were so good they felt comfortable applying early.

  18. Oren Hazi says:

    Erm… how did you get 44%? I’ve played with those numbers for the past 5 minutes and I can’t seem to get 44…

  19. Oren Hazi says:

    Oh… got it… you’re dividing by the total admitted pool. But yeah… Timur’s right. Once you get deferred, you get put into the regular decision pool. You’re treated as if you had applied normally, so the 30% doesn’t apply anymore.

  20. Alex says:

    In your opinion, is a 780 Math Level 2 worth retaking for the 800?

  21. Ah yes I see what you mean. It’s like they’re not EA anymore once they’re deferred…I gotchya. And yes, Oren Hazi, I forgot to include the total 1,495 admitted that year in my question, for clarification.

    “The fact that 44% of the admitted students were early action is a testament to the quality of students whose precollegiate experiences were so good they felt comfortable applying early.”

    I was thinking the same thing.


  22. Clark Poland says:

    “In your opinion, is a 780 Math Level 2 worth retaking for the 800?”

    No. But… we’ll find out in a couple of weeks whether or not my opinion is valid. (I got the same score)

  23. Alissa says:

    I remember Matt saying he told a girl who got 760 on Math2 to not re-take the test and go on a picnic instead…can’t remember where. I’ll try to find the link.

  24. Alissa says:

    heh I found it

    read the story about “Artemis”

    …and never mind it was for the 1…

  25. Anonymous says:

    “2794 students applied early action

    384 students admitted early

    2240 students deferred to regular action

    267 deferred applicants admitted during regular action”

    that’s almost 44% admitted EA


    “We are committed to taking no more than 30% of our total admitted freshman class under Early Action.”

    Am I missing something?

  26. Statistics is a paradox. It doesn’t matter with the individual trial, yet it matters with all the trials put together.

    I got 770, and I retook it during another seating (after two other subjects)… and I still got 770. That makes for statistical significance =(. I didn’t study so…. I suppose if you spend another month studying it, it might be “worth” it.

    10, or 20 points arn’t that big of a difference. Then again, you don’t know how the committee thinks of you.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

  28. anonymous says:

    do you really think all that statistics matters? we can play around with numbers and what not but it still comes down to YOU as an individual, not the 3000 or so others that apply. just a thought…

  29. Kirat Pandya says:

    Dear Matt,

    I am a 16 year old from India. I have a Green Card and will be shifting to Los Alamos, NM this Jan. In India, we have 11th and 12th grade as Junior College, to gain admission into which, we have to clear a national examination. In this exam, I have secured 91 percent. Now, I am currently in the best college in my state. However, ii will have to continue my 11th grade from the second semester in USA. The school will not allow me to take AP classes for that remainig part of my 11th. Do you think that will have a negative impact on my application for MIT? I am also lost a to whether i should get my teachers here in India to fill the Evaluation forms (and my principal to fill the two reports). If yes, then since 10th grade is school and 11th grade college, which teachers and principal should fill those out for me? OR should i just have my future teachers in USA to fill up the forms? OR should i submit both (Indian and USA)? I really am LOST :(

    Just so that you can evaluate me (as to what chance do i stand to get into MIT.[disclaimer accepted]), i am pretty good at Phy and Maths, and computers are my strongest point. I recently participate in a Ethical Hacking competetion organised by our national cyber safety organization, against the engineers from the top companies in India, and secued second position. MIT is really the first option that i have ever considered.

    I agree that your judgement on my chances is strictly personal and you (or MIT for that matter) are not in any way bound by it.

    Eagerly awaiting a response

  30. Yi says:


    Man, now my dreams are all crushed, o well. As another member of this swarm of sycophants, thank you for the info. but to all those whose really down right now from this sad “reality”: as a great man whose name i do not remember once said, “Reality is something you rise above.” Anything is possible.