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MIT and the admissions office will be closed November 24–25 for Thanksgiving break, and will open on November 28.

MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

Soothing Words About Deadlines From Joanne Cummings by Ben Jones

She's both the director of the freshman admissions process *and* Evie's mom, so you know this one is worth reading.

This is the time of year in which people start worrying a great deal about deadlines. Rather than give you my own “don’t panic” advice, I thought I’d give you the words straight from Joanne, who oversees our entire process from the moment your application arrives at MIT through the mailing of admissions decision letters.

Joanne writes:

Having worked in the admissions office for a million years, currently serving as the director of the freshman process (as well as Evie’s mom), let me share with you some wisdom surrounding deadlines and missing application pieces.

Let me say right off, don’t panic! A decision on your application will not be made if we do not have enough information. While it is important to file your Part 1 in a timely manner (as close to November 1 as possible), materials received after that date are accepted and will catch up to your file.

Around the deadline, our office assistants are processing, with tremendous care, thousands of pieces of mail a day. Between the US mail and processing delays, please be patient and allow two weeks, from the time you think something was mailed, for the tracking system to be accurate. If on November 14th the tracking system still shows missing items, fax the materials to 617-258-8304. Again, be patient, as faxed materials take a day or two to process. As you know, November tests are acceptable for Early Action, but the scores will not reach us until late November. If by December 1, the tracking system doesn’t reflect your test history, fax your score report to the aforementioned number.

Easy for me to say “relax,” I know – but truly, materials received a week or two after the deadline will be reviewed and will not make or break an admissions decision. Rest assured we have your best interests at heart and will treat your case with great care.

While we’re on the topic, let me clarify something I said on the road about December test scores and Early Action. I mentioned that the November 1 application deadline doesn’t apply to scores, as we begin selection committee around December 7th, and any scores we have at that time will be considered. While this is true, I’d optimistically thought that scores from the December 1 testing date might be able to reach us in time, but I’ve been told recently by the data entry folks that the testing service traditionally can’t turn things around that quickly. So unfortunately, it sounds like my hope that scores from the December 1 tests would reach us in time for EA selection committee was a bit too optimistic.

If we are missing required scores at the time of EA selection, we’ll simply defer an applicant to Regular Action (with no penalty, of course) and consider him/her at that time, once the scores have reached us.

70 responses to “Soothing Words About Deadlines From Joanne Cummings”

  1. Taylor says:

    Is there a deadline for the midyear grade report? It says to turn it in as soon as the grades are available, and says that you realize some won’t be available until January 1st. But I can’t get my grades until January 21st. Should I turn in first quarter grades instead of first semester?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I have that question as well. Here, our semester exams are in late January.

  3. says:

    To answer the first question:

    “Early Action applicants on quarter-based systems often ask if it is okay to send in their first-quarter grades. This is not required, but it’s certainly okay. Please note, however, that you must still send in the mid-year report after the second quarter grades have been released.”


  4. Eric says:

    I sent an email regarding this very same question, but hopefully here it will be a little more public and accessible as I’m sure I am not the only individual with this anxiety.

    My name is Eric and I live in San Diego, CA. Our public schools have been closed for over a week due to the devastating fires in the region. I do not know if our counselors have had the opportunity to send out or even work on our secondary school reports. I know that mine has not yet been entered into the MIT app. tracker. Will there be some leniancy for the postmark deadline for this portion of the application if they are not mailed in time for the EA deadline?

    Thanks so much,

  5. Hunter '11 says:

    @Taylor – EA applicants need to turn in midyear reports whenever they’re available, but MOST EA applicants won’t have a midyear during selection time (like when I was applying), so don’t worry about it. “…” above covered what to do about quarter grades, but essentially, they’re optional ^.^

    @Eric – There was a post a couple entries back that covered the CA fire. I believe, in summary, it said MIT would be lenient on time considering the situation.

  6. Eric says:

    thanks Hunter I missed it.

  7. Brian says:

    My question might not be related to the subject of this blog, but I would like to ask one question about the Application Part 2 question Number 8. For the AP, IB, and GCSE section, I found out that I should write the name of the courses that I took. My school does not provide any AP courses, but I took the AP exams.

    In question 8, Should I write the name of AP exams instead of the AP course names, or should I just leave everything in blank and only send the AP scores through College Board?

    I also sent an e-mail regarding this question, but I hope posting this question here will be helpful to others, too…

    Thank you!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Well, here’s what I did. I began listing the AP exams that I took in previous years and their respective scores. Then, I listed the current AP courses I was taking this semester (and next semester). However, my school integrates certain AP topics, such as AP Spanish, AP English, etc. etc. But come May, we can take either the French Language test, the Literature test, or both. Since I haven’t made a decision, I am just listing AP Spanish.

    Sorry if that didn’t make sense, but to sum up, I would just list all the past exams taken and current AP courses you’re in the process of taking.

  9. Applicant says:

    @ A’non Imus: What could you possibly be thinking? Of course 25 words is a big deal. Once the committee reads your essay and they realize there are 25 past the 500-marker, there goes your entire application into the paper shredder, $60 app fee and all.


    Your essay sounds completely fine in terms of length. I don’t think MIT makes 500 the strict cutoff, and besides, this is a pretty flexible and accommodating school we’re talking about here. Anyway, I find it hard to package myself with 500 measly words. Good luck with your application!

  10. Anonymous says:

    when it says “application materials” can be turned in a few days late, does that include the essay?

  11. Anonymous says:

    what about 800ish words… ack, i have no idea what to cut!!

  12. Stephanie says:


    I have been able to book for the SAT1 on the 1st December. The next test date for SAT2 is in January. I found out that MIT accepts January SATs on a case by case basis. I would like to know how and to whoI could send my explanation for this so that I am considered as on of those case by case bases.
    Thanks for your help.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I got a 570 on critical reading in satI but 108 on 120 in toefl ibt….so do i need to retake the sat??????????

  14. Applicant says:

    @ Anonymous: Ooh, you may be dancing on a very obscure line. In the essay directions, MIT says not to stress out over 50 words, but that they look down on 1000-word essays. 800 is pushing the envelope a little, but since I don’t know what you’re writing about, I can’t say for sure that it’s a bad thing.

    Are all of the words necessary? Can you delete some irrelevant adjectives to make it sound more concise but still get your point across? (One thing I did when proofreading was reading some of my sentences out loud to see if I could read it in one breath. Nothing is worse in writing than rambling.)

    Use your sensible judgment. I would try to narrow it down just a bit, but if you feel confident with it, don’t delete a thing. Most of the time, if you feel awesome about what you’ve written, that’s a good sign you’re done. =) Good luck, may the hideously mind-wrenching process that is college applications treat you well.

  15. Anon says:

    It took me 25 words extra on the long essay to say what i needed to say. Bad? Good? Indifferent? These have got to be the most stressful 25 words of my life. raspberry

    A’non Imus

  16. Anonymous says:

    thank you smile I’ve brought it down to 620, so hopefully that’s close enough…

    p.s. i know this has been mentioned in other blogs, and it happened a couple of days ago… but YAY RED SOX!

  17. Jacob says:

    Regarding the following:

    “If we are missing required scores at the time of EA selection, we’ll simply defer an applicant to Regular Action (with no penalty, of course) and consider him/her at that time, once the scores have reached us.”

    does this mean that we automatically get deferred if you don’t have our test scores? I’m not able to take the November SATIIs due to (what I consider, at least, to be) extenuating circumstances…but I’d still really like to apply early, despite the fact that MIT seems to recommend against it in this circumstance.

  18. molly says:

    How do you attach a resume to an online application?

    Should I just mail it in?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Is it still alright to send in the second part online on Nov 1st? Like can I send it an hour before midnight before Nov 2nd?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Sir,it has been more than 3.5 weeks that I sent my Secondary school transcript but MIT has not yet recieved it.Should I wait for more time?

  21. David Herman says:

    Regarding deferring EA applicants if scores aren’t in: Will the same happen if a teacher recommendation is sent later? The teacher I asked to write the recommendation is swamped with other students as well, but would like time to write more than just a generic recommendation for me. If she turns it in late, will they wait, defer my application, or reject it?

  22. Inshaf says:

    Hey Ben I am an international student hoping for the class of the 2012.I need to know whether January test scores(TOEFL) are accepted by without any penalty imposed on the applicant

  23. I am a International student from Jamaica. This is now my second year in college in the US and i am strongly cosidering transfering to MIT for fall 08. My last SAT score was not strong and i’m scheduled to retake them December first. Also, I will take the SAT 2s (math and physics) In january.
    -Will the SAT 2 scores be accepted at the end of January?
    -It will take a while for me to go back home and get my secondary school transcripts from jamaica. How flexible is the due date for these transcripts?
    -My secondary school GPA is not very strong, but i have excelled in the leadership and co-corricular activities. Also, Since my college experience in the US, I have performed superbly academically and have done summer projects and research. Will MIT consider my average high school performance a problem, or will they consider my current performance more heavily. My major is Aerospace Engineering and my GPA is currently 3.7.
    Thanks in advance

  24. BB says:

    Is it ok if i submit BOTH part 1 and part 2 on oct 31st? Or did part 1 have to be submitted earlier? Thanks so much!

  25. BB says:

    oh by the way, when i say submit, i mean online (sorry)

  26. @BB
    matey just get it done by Nov. 1st. Keep in mind that tomorrow everyone else is doing the same thing.

  27. donaldGuy says:

    Am I correct in assuming that if everything is listed as processed except for the teacher recommendations [(both of which I know have been mailed.. though they could always become hopelessly lost in the mail system) (and of course mid-year grade report)] that I am in great shape?

    (I assume this and yet I still will worry until they appear as processed)


  28. Ruth Hilton says:

    I am wondering exactly what they mean when it says: “Most applicants do take at least one science subject test during senior year, after completing only a portion of the given course; our Admissions Committee recognizes this and judges the scores accordingly.” How do they know that I am only halfway done with that class?

  29. Duane says:

    Whew, that’s a relief! Still got all my teacher rec forms missing (I believe they just mailed them today).

  30. Kisha says:


    I just wanted to know whether MIT accepts SAT II scores from the January SAT for regular decision applications? If its on a caser to case basis then is an exemption from my counselor enough?

    Thank You.

  31. Natalie says:

    Hi, I’m an early applicant and heard a rumor that the CSS Profile is due the same day as the early deadline. Is this true???

  32. add says:

    Hey. I know you guys review applications even when some material is missing, but is this still true if the application fee waiver has not arrived yet?

  33. Brittany G says:

    hey one of my teachers sent in a recommendation a couple of weeks ago – but it says the admission office hasn’t recieved it. Should I get him to send in another copy?

  34. If I wanted to send a copy of my resume to the admissions office in addition to my Part 2, do I still have time, or is it too late? And, should I have my guidance counselor fax it, or should I just mail it?

  35. Anonymous says:

    Hey Donald, Ruth, Kisha, and Natalie – I answered your questions in the comments of my latest entry – sorry for the misplacement! grin

    Add – yes, still true.

  36. Brittany says:

    It’s hard to believe the deadline has already passed. I have to say that I was a complete nervous wreck while I was trying to receive all my recommendations from teachers, etc. yesterday. So now all we have to undergo is the waiting. How would you give advice for calming of the nerves until the day that will change all of our lives (decision day)?

  37. Xaq says:

    I had my counselor fax in some material due to my inability to have it officially sent. This was done last Tuesday, yet it still is shown as not received. Is this just due to the high traffic of incoming material at this time?

  38. zatomics says:

    I had my AP scores sent in about two weeks ago, but in the detailed view of the application progress, it only lists my SAT scores – are AP scores displayed there once they are received, or is that area only for SAT scores?

  39. Xaq says:

    I sent my fee waiver, trascript/school report, and my two evaluations in the same manilla envelope, yet my account shows only my fee waiver has been received. Has the other material just not been processed yet?

  40. Kaan says:

    I have a simple question,
    Would there be any problems if i take my TOEFL-IBT at December 8?
    Thanks in Advance

  41. oppong evans says:

    please sir i have requested environmental science but am please askinking for tution scholarshipbut my question is ,do you please have sports scholarship?and if SAT result requested what is the averag?

  42. Anonymous says:

    Is there a set date yet for when we can find out decisions? I know its probably a little early to be asking, but its kinda all I’ve been thinking about.

  43. Anusha says:

    My guidance counselor faxed in my Green Card copy on Oct 30 and she received the confirmation letter; however, on the application tracking, it still lists this aspect as unprocessed. Who should I contact to get this straightened out?

  44. Sij Hemal says:

    I have turned in my application but I was concerned that my activities aren’t really clarified well enough through the information I have provided about my community service & reasearch. Should I send like an email to MIT admissions telling about what I did and all that stuff?

  45. A'non Imus says:

    my second. school report was sent on the 1st and has not yet appeared on the tracker. Anyone else with a similar issue?

  46. When I took the ACT, I put down on the test that scores should be sent to, among other schools, MIT. On the online application tracking, it only has the SAT scores that I sent a week ago with no trace of the ACT. What should I do?

  47. Anonymous says:

    My teacher sent in my recommendation about 2 weeks ago, but it still says it hasn’t been processed. Should I have her fax it?

  48. Anonymous says:

    My Secondary report was also sent 2 weeks ago (October 26th)
    but is still haven’t been precessed yet, should I be worried?

  49. Olivia Milam says:

    I am confused on the mid-year grade report. Does it need to be sent in after I get two sets of grades in for this semester, or when I get my final grade and begin the second semester? I thought it was the latter, but after reading a response in the blog I am not so sure…

  50. Anonymous says:

    Am I correct in that the Mid-Year grade report is to make sure seniors are still trying hard in school? If so, could MIT reject someone who was accepted on early action, but whose first semester grades were bad? Do you have any statistics on how often that happens, or what grades are bad enough for someone’s acceptance to be revoked?

  51. Anonymous says:

    my school report was sent on the 26th.
    It still haven’t show up yet.
    Should I ask school to fax? then call?

  52. Brittany says:

    I too had my transcript and secondary report sent on the 1st, and it still doesn’t say it has been processed but mostly everything else has. My standardized test results have not yet been received by MIT, but I had them sent by the college board online. Should I be concerned that they still haven’t been sent?

  53. Johonaton says:

    My teacher evaluations, letters of recommendation, and a supplemental letter of recommendation was sent on October 29th I believe, and it still has not shown up on the tracking system…a postcard was also included to be mailed back to me when these were received, and I haven’t even gotten that back.

    Now, the school has backups of all the materials I believe, EXCEPT for the supplemental recommendation, which was from a professor at another school in another signed, sealed envelope that was mailed with these other materials…

    so I’m kinda tweaking out about having to get my supplemental letter of recommendation AGAIN…

    what should I do? Is there anybody I can call BEFORE I have to go faxing everything?

  54. i wanted to know that is there any correspondence course runned by u if any please enlist those to me

  55. is there any sat exam in the month of may or june please respond me as soon as possible

  56. Molly says:

    If my teacher sent in her only copy of her recommendation and it still isn’t in (I checked and she didn’t back it up), is it cheating to have her fill out a completely new one to fax?

  57. I sent my Evaluation B at the same time that I sent the Secondary School Report. However, according to the app. tracking, you guys haven’t received the Secondary School Report, but you HAVE received the Eval. B.

    What should I do?

  58. Kyle says:

    I’m still waiting for my Teacher’s evaluations to be posted. They mailed them on Oct 31. The website mentioned to fax them on Nov 14. Is that the last day the forms should be faxed? Or can I give it another day or two for the backlog to catch up. Everything, else is in, except of course for the mod-year report.

  59. A'non Imus says:


    I think a bunch of people’s SSRs have not been posted yet. I know mine still has not been posted yet it was sent on the 1st. I think they have a HUGE backlog so give it a few more days i think.

  60. Javi says:

    @ A’non Imus

    You were right — the day after I posted on this blog the good ol’ check mark appeared next to the SSR. As soon as I saw that checkmark, an elephant-sized weight was lifted off my shoulders!

  61. Kelvin says:

    Currently, I have all items processed but Evaluation A and the Mid-year Grade Report. I have checked in with my teachers, and both of the recommendation letters have both been sent out. On the 12th, Evaluation B processed. However, my Evaluation A still hasn’t been processed. Should I be worried? What should I do?

  62. Cody says:

    I’m applying early action, but outside the U.S. school systems. My application tracking shows that everything is processed bar the Mid Year Grade Report, but as per the instructions, I don’t have to submit it…so I didn’t.

    Probably a bad move, I should’ve submitted it empty. My question is, will be application still put through without that box being checked? If not, who should I call / email?

    Thanks for any assistance =)

  63. Andrew says:

    Both of my teacher recs were sent out at the end of October, but neither is checked off as having been processed. I realize there’s a large backlog, but I have friends whose recs were sent out a day or two earlier that have been processed. It’s really worrying me, and I’ve asked both teachers to fax the recs as soon as possible. Is it too late now?

  64. Jim says:

    My teacher recommendations were both sent out before the Nov. 1st deadline. One of them was processed but the other one is still unchecked. It’s been almost a month now and it’s quite a while after the November 14th fax date. Is there still a backlog or should I have my teacher fill out a new one to fax?

  65. Anon9 says:



    This I got off Mr. Matt’s Blog “You Complete Me”

    “MidYear Grades: We do not expect to see first quarter grades. If we need them, we’ll call your school. We *do* want your first semester (or trimester) grades as soon as they’re available…”

    >>> In other words, you do not need to send your MidYear Grade Reports (I didn’t) until January or whenever your 1st Semester grades come out.

    And yes, your EA MIT App. is “complete” and will be “put through” if all your other boxes (others except the MidYear Grade Report) is checkmarked.

    Hope that helps!

    @anyone who is missing letters of Rec/Evaluation:
    I do not know if it is too late per se (I am applying EA’12 also raspberry) but definitely go ahead and fax it QUICK would be my suggestion, and it would probably be a very good thing to call and ask–much quicker that way–GOOD LUCK to ALL OF YOU!!!

    (sorry for long-ish post)

  66. Anon9 says:

    er… that would be EA’08… my bad… (don’t know why I put ’12…)

  67. Rebecca says:


    My name is Rebecca and I’m a permanent resident of the United States. My green card is under a different name than the one I am applying under, but I mailed in a copy of a court order confirming that “Xingwei” and “Rebecca” are indeed the same person along with a copy of my green card in the middle of October. Because this was not processed by November 14, I faxed a copy of my green card along with a copy of my court order. It has been a week, and this fax has not been processed either! Should I keep waiting, or should I try to fax another copy of these documents over?

    – Rebecca

  68. Cody says:

    Thanks Anon9, much appreciated.

  69. Cody says:

    Re-reading my first post I just realized how many typos I had, apologies to anyone who read it.

    Ah well, that’s what late nights and little sleep do to you.