Thoughts after being deferred by MIT Early Action

It was on early November that the waiting started for me. I had already sent my application to the best engineering college, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All my dreams were based on receiving an acceptance letter from that university; after all, I had been working for it since I was 12. I didn’t receive much encouragement from the people around me, but I was encouraged by the faith I had in myself and my abilities. The only thing that made me feel uncertain was the fact that I am not the student with perfect SAT scores or a 4.00 GPA. I come from the west part of Puerto Rico, were 99% of the students are encouraged to study a bachelor degree and be proud of themselves, and not going farther than the local public college. Having my target in another way of living I was looking forward to apply to the best colleges in the field I wanted to study, even if it meant moving to another country. That way I first knew about MIT and by visiting its website, reading the Blogs on it, and attending the MIT Information Session in the other side of the island I fell in love with MIT and its culture, people and history. I decided that there is no best combination for me than living in Cambridge and studying at MIT. My motivation kept growing as I read daily about the college. That’s how I decided to fill my application as soon as it was available in early August. I filled the application and without letting anyone criticize and/or read it, I sent the application. By early November the MyMIT website reflected that they had received my whole application, now I had no other choice than wait.

One minute after I knew that MIT had received the application, and that I could make no change to it, questions started popping in my head. Did I give my best filling that application? It was right to send my essay without waiting for someone else to revise it? Is my GPA of no more than 3.8 going to matter more than my schedule? Have I taken the right decision applying early? As the number of doubts inside me started to grow my self-confidence disappeared, I was sure that all of my dreams were going to remain as dreams. I was doomed to do nothing more than studying in the community public college and then working somewhere near my parent’s house. As time approached the EA notification date, I felt emptier and without breath, I refused to have that life many expected from me. What scared me the most wasn’t getting a decline letter from my perfect college; it was the fact that I had no time and/or money to apply to other colleges out of my island. My frustration grew as I was reading the news at the MIT blogs, only 12% of the students who applied EA had been accepted. Knowing that many of those would be the ‘perfect students’ I hated myself for not having read any prep books before taking the standardized tests I took and for not having taken classes with the ‘easy’ teachers, that way getting at least the ‘perfect’ 4.00 GPA. But oh no, my GPA had dropped after taking hard courses and, trying to do good in those courses, there was no time for preparing for some standardized test or taking a course for doing good on them.

The date finally arrived; there were comments on the blogs of students that had been accepted and their profiles. Predictable, students with more than 4.00 GPA (impossible in PR) and with almost perfect scores in the College Board tests had been accepted. Three days had passed and still there was no package for me. I soon knew that if you were accepted you would receive a tube with confetti inside! MIT people are awesome, was the only thing I could think. After almost one week, I had the opportunity of calling MIT to know the admission decision. Knowing that, I decided to call when my mother informed me that there was nothing on the mail. A voice on the other side asked me for my name… then my birth date… and finally said: “you’re calling from Puerto Rico, right?”. “Yes”, I replied as my heart and breathing stopped and waited for the admission decision. After what seemed as an eternity for me (I was about to collapse with nervousness) the kind voice on the other side softly communicated my admission decision: “All I can tell you right now is that your application has been deferred to regular action…” as the man on the other side finished the worst thoughts came into my mind. “Thanks” was all I could say when the soft voiced man finished speaking. As I hang up the phone, I could only imagine myself having the same life that I had been trying to evade since my birth, now I felt unrealistic and foolish, why hadn’t I applied to all of the other great colleges out there? Maybe they could be almost as good as MIT and I could feel as if I had achieved my dream by attending one of them… at least I could go to study out of my country!

Desolation invaded me as I realized that there was no space in such a great college for a person like me. How foolish I was in thinking that I could get in, and worst, in EA!

Soon I went to a friend of mine and informed her about my deferral, and to my surprise, SHE CONGRATULATED ME! I was shocked by her reaction and she knew it, so she hugged me and said: “You weren’t declined, and I trust that you’re going to be accepted in regular action, I trust in you”. I was almost shaking, all the pressure I had been feeling for the past hours for nothing, after all a deferral was not a decline after all! So I started cheering up and doing better. But after a couple of hours I just found myself writing this… and why am I writing this? I’m simply trying to put my thoughts in order and start living my normal life and working hard so I have the opportunity of getting into the college of my dreams, MIT…

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