What to do while you’re obsessing about decisions

Back in the day, the stress of waiting for EA results caused me to psychologically regress to being five years old.

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What does it really mean to be deferred?

Deferrals cause a lot of angst, mostly because of the uncertainty of what it means. Was your application not good enough? Well, that can’t be 100% the case, because you weren’t rejected. If they liked me, then why didn’t they just accept me?

Obviously, deferred -> accepted and deferred -> rejected are both possible outcomes, not to mention deferred -> waitlisted. But which of these outcomes is more likely?

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So you didn’t get in EA. What next?

One of the most brilliant people I met at HYPSM was deferred Early. He was taking the hardest courses in all subjects, and rocking out in a band on the side. I was shocked, because it seemed like he was excelling freshman year whereas I was struggling to stay afloat, but I was admitted EA. He seemed to take his rejection in stride – “I’m here anyway, so whatever, it’s in the past.” Hopefully, that’ll be you in a few months. Like everything else in college admissions, it’s ultimately a toss-up, and not being admitted could just be a function of where you’re from.

So breathe. It’s going to be okay no matter what and there’s still Regular Action. Here’s what you should do in the meantime:

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Feeling sad because you didn’t get in? It’s going to be okay.


When I was in high school, I thought college admissions made or break my entire life. Whenever I would read posts on MITAdmissions about my life was not over and how I would still be okay, I would cynically think, “How would you know? You go to MIT. Would you still be saying the same thing if you didn’t?” I know my personal words may ring hollow, so here’s some profiles of people I know who were rejected from HYPSM, and they’re happy with their lives now.

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