Deferred [EA] here; Should I switch to ED2 Chicago or stay in the RD pool?

So I recently just got deferred from both MIT and UChicago EA, and I’m wondering whether I should switch to UChicago ED2 to increase my chances of getting into a t10. As a school I love UChicago; I toured the campus and talked to a lot of students and the school seems like a near perfect fit for me. The problem is that MIT has been my #1 dream school from day one, for many reasons (irrelevant here). As a result, although it’s improbable, I really, really want to avoid a scenario where I’m accepted ED to UChicago but also to MIT and am forced to turn down an MIT offer for UChicago, in which case I’d spend the next four years at UChicago completely miserable. I wanted to ask you guys for advice on what to do, based on the strength of my application. Should I switch to ED2 UChicago and take the risk, or should I remain in the RD pool and take my chances? My stats are listed below:

Intended major: Chemistry/biochemistry

GPA: 4.0 UW (probably 3.95 after this year), school doesn’t do weighted

SAT: 1570 (790 M, 780 EBRW)

PSAT: 1490 (740 M, 750 EBRW), qualified for nat merit

AP tests taken: 12 after this year

Volunteering: Gold pres award, participation in and founding of benefit concerts, volunteer orgs, etc

Awards: Top 47 in the national chem olympiad (high honors), ~16000 participate per year;

AIME qual 4 years in a row starting freshman year, 1000 out of ~150000 taking prelim round get in each year;

AMC 12 Distinction senior year with a score of 108 (distinction was like 103.5 this year or something idr)

Lots of solo piano awards, some at nat level, + some awards won by my piano trio;

Finalist at GMTK game jam;

Mathworks math competition first round finalist;

A bunch of random school awards lmao

Activities: Internships at two startups, one full time and paid, another part time and paid, both related to biotech;

Internship at stanford on biochem but that went kinda badly;

Minor research paper on bioinformatics, results weren’t very good but were backed by a prof reference letter and 6 months of work to get to that point. For contributions to the project my name will be included on the company product’s patent;

Piano and chamber obviously.

Camps: UCSC COSMOS sophomore year and AwesomeMath freshman year

Please let me know what you think; really stressed out by all the deferrals I received :frowning:


This might sound like a bit of a dumb question, but why do you want to attend a “top 10” university?

Also, since you applied EA to U.Chicago and were deferred, will they even let you switch to ED2?

Also, what are your safeties and matches, and can you and your parents pay for any of these universities without taking on any debt?

I got my B.Sc. at MIT, so I am quite familiar with the school. I am mostly trying to get more information in the hopes of being able to give useful advice.

I mean if you get in ED2 to chicago you would have to withdraw your application to MIT so you would never know if you got in or not so you would never be in that situation


Yes, a big chunk of UChicago applicants who are deferred EA immediately switch/reapply ED2 before the January 3rd deadline. It is a common UChicago applicant strategy/practice. You may get in EA, and if you do, you didn’t have to commit to do it. But if you are deferred EA, UChicago allows you to apply ED2 with its inherent commitment. It’s kind of a “2 for the price of 1” sale :joy:.

UChicago also allows applicants deferred ED1 to immediately pivot and reapply ED2.


Of course you should not switch to ED2. Bcuz you want to see MIT through. Your own words answer the question.

Why do you need to go to a top 10 and why are they top 10 ? Just bcuz a magazine said so ?

Your only miscue is needing to turn down MIT because by rule you’d never know.

Your logic of top 10 is - to me - silly. If it’s the right school then great. But never fall in love with a school. And a US News rank is no reason to choose a school.

What are your targets and safety?


Read the above. I think you also need a list of schools where your chances of acceptance aren’t below 10%. Do you have those as well?

You are a very strong applicant, but thousands of strong applicants don’t get accepted to MIT or Chicago. Please have options!

Yes, why “T10”? What do you think it’ll get you?

To be honest, I really don’t see much in your profile that makes you a good fit for Chicago. You seem much more like an MIT candidate. Did you apply EA to MIT and get deferred?

Do you have any hooks? If not, and you don’t switch to ED2 your chances of acceptance at Chicago in RD are going to be very low. That’s just how they operate, sorry. So you’ll need to decide which school is more desirable (and of course, prepare for the possibility that neither school accepts you).


@DadOfJerseyGirl this is what the OP wrote…

Oops! Sorry I missed that.

If you want to maximize your chances of being accepted to UChicago you will need to change to ED2. I think you would have a good chance of being accepted if you do that (otherwise, I think it is unlikely you’ll get in as that is the way they roll). If you go that route, as others have said, you will need to withdraw your MIT app so you will never know whether or not you got in. If MIT is the strong favorite, though, you may as well ride it out knowing that there is no guarantee of acceptance despite your wonderful HS record. Please make sure you have some more realistic matches/safeties on your list because odds are not great at hyper competitive schools no matter how strong the applicant. You don’t want to be shut out (and we see it every year).


You don’t have to withdrawal the MIT app unless you are accepted to UChicago. Good luck, as both are exceptional schools. (Not sure why the one person mentioned that you don’t seem like a UChicago type. I think the opposite; you are a very good fit off of the limited information you gave us)

1 Like

Thanks for all the wonderful replies! I just have a few follow up responses/questions:

Yes, why “T10”? What do you think it’ll get you?

I should clarify and say that I only really want to get into a good biotech/molecular engineering program. I think it’d give me a head start in my career path and would help me go towards where I want to be in the next ten years. To that end, UChicago and MIT are my top choices as Chicago’s MENG program is very good, and MIT’s chem program is #1 along with Berkeley (which I’d prefer not to attend since I like the private school environment much more).

Please make sure you have some more realistic matches/safeties on your list

I have CMU, UMich, JHU on my list of high-end targets and BU, NYU, CWRU on my list of low-end targets. Is this a solid list? Are there any other schools which might be a good fit? I realize I’m asking for a lot here :stuck_out_tongue:

Also, would someone mind chancing me for MIT RD, UChicago RD, and UChicago ED2? I feel like that’d really help me make a decision here. Thanks so much!

CMU, JHU and NYU will be RD reaches. UMich, BU and NYU will be high targets/low reaches.

Many of the best engineering schools are public, but looks like you didn’t apply to any in EA?

As I asked above: do you have any hooks?
If not:
MIT RD - possible, but a reach (as I’m sure you know)
UChicago RD - unlikely
UChicago ED2 - likely

MENG parent here. The research opportunities for MENG students is impressive and their success rate for top PHD programs is also very impressive. Good luck!

Thanks for the additional information.

First of all, I do not see a safety on your list. I think that you should make sure to apply to at least one and preferably two true safeties. These might be in-state public schools. Admissions at top schools in Canada also tends to be more predictable compared to US universities (eg, McGill or Toronto might be worth thinking about).

I do not know Chicago particularly well. One friend of a daughter went there. He and my daughter were the two top students in math through middle school. He is a very smart and very strong student (straight A’s, both parents are doctors). From what he said about U.Chicago, it did remind me somewhat of MIT. Both schools are very demanding. Both schools are most appropriate for very strong students who want to work very hard and learn an enormous amount. To me it sounds like you are a good fit.

It would not particularly surprise me if you end up at a highly ranked graduate school. For the purposes of looking for a job, or for the purpose of applying to the top graduate programs, both MIT and Chicago will be very highly regarded, and the difference between the two will not matter.

MIT does not give a lot of spots to athletes, and does not consider legacy status. Therefore you are not harmed by not being either of these. Your stats and activities are great. This is probably true of 85% of MIT applicants. My wild guess is that your RD chances are no worse that the overall 4.1% acceptance rate, and could be marginally better, but only marginally. I doubt your RD chances at Chicago are much different from their 6.5% overall acceptance rate.

I am leaning towards the conclusion that ED2 at Chicago probably does make sense for you.

If you do get to either MIT or Chicago, expect to suddenly become average the day that you arrive on campus. Classes will be a lot of work, and you will be surrounded by students who are a lot like you. Doing well in a tough class that you like can be both tough and thrilling at the same time.

I also think that you are likely to do very well regardless of where you end up. Whatever it is (probably brains, hard work, and common sense) that led to your success up to now is still going to be there when you get to university.

But make sure that you have applied to safeties.

Also, I have not seen any discussion of budget. I am assuming that you and your parents can handle the cost of any of these schools, but you should make sure that this is true.


Curious about something. Do some students use UChicago EA as an opportunity to get a signal (deferral) that it would worth switching to ED2? Or is your estimate of ED2 being a likely admit based primarily on the OP’s specifics?

1 Like

Folks, no unhooked applicant has a ‘good chance’ or is a ‘likely’ admit in Chicago ED2….calling @hebegebe to assess whether the ECs are hooks.

With that said, I agree applying ED2 maximizes chances there relative to RD.


Thanks @Mwfan1921 for bringing me into this discussion. The math competition results, while quite strong, do not rise to the level of a hook (for that you really need USAMO or USAJMO). The chemistry award might, but that’s not my area of expertise.

@amnesiac2004, our family knows both UChicago and MIT really well. My D recently graduated from UChicago and loved it. I went to MIT, but more recently my son was accepted to MIT but chose to go elsewhere (and he spent a lot of time on the MIT campus for research during high school).

Both place are outstanding for the right person. Both are academically intense, but of course MIT is tech focused whereas UChicago has slightly less strength in the sciences but more in the liberal arts. If you want a place where science and technology rules, MIT is it. But if you want a place where science is strong but you will also have peers who are very much into literature, UChicago is great as well.

Well, I don’t think this scenario is possible at this point. If you are accepted into UChicago ED2, you are notified in mid-February. You must then immediately withdraw from other places, including MIT. Therefore it is not possible to know if MIT would have accepted you on Pi day in March.

In terms of maximizing your chances to attend an academically intense school (which is why I assume you like both MIT and UChicago), you would ED2 to UChicago. But if you want to roll the dice on MIT you would simply stay in UChicago RD. But realize that only a tiny percentage of UChicago EA-deferred students get admitted in RD.


no unhooked applicant has a ‘good chance’ or is a ‘likely’ admit in Chicago ED2…

I am bisexual, if that counts for something, but I doubt it does… I didn’t write about it at all on my app, only selected “bisexual” under sexuality choice. It has been an obstacle for me in terms of my mental health after I came out, but other than that my sexuality hasn’t seriously impacted my life in any way.

Other than that, I’m a relatively high-income Asian male from the Bay Area, so about as unhooked as you can get. Tbf I was lower-end income until recently (about freshman year of HS) but again I don’t think colleges will care much. Like with the bisexuality thing, just throwing it out there in case I’m wrong.

And thanks again for all the wonderful and incredibly helpful replies! I thought about it some more, and I’ve always sort of had a soft spot for the humanities, so I think I’ll apply ED2 to UChicago. Only thing that’s holding me back is the location. A lot of my family is from the NYC/Boston area, and my cousin attends BU. Visited Boston a while back and absolutely loved it, also am one of the few people that actually likes the MIT campus somewhat (though UChicago campus is still better). I have no such connection to the Chicago area.


Most likely result of that application list is getting shut out and going to your default safety of community college. In California, this is not a bad option, but if you will be advanced in any subject, you will have to wait until transferring to a UC or CSU or other four year school to take upper division courses.