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Early Action Deadline Extended After MyMIT Web Site Shutdown

By Brian Keegan
STAFF REPORTER

For the second time in its two-year existence, MIT’s new undergraduate admissions portal crashed on the eve of an application deadline. According to a notice on the MyMIT portal, the deadline for Early Action applications has been extended from today to Friday, Nov. 4 as a result of technical issues that occurred over the weekend.

Meredith E. Walsh, associate director of admissions for IT, wrote in an e-mail, “We have not definitely identified the source of the problem yet. This is not at all related to the problems we experienced last year.”

In a posting on his admissions blog, Ben Jones, communications manager for the admissions office, cited “load bouncing issues … coupled with 4000 [applicants] doing their apps at the last minute” as factors contributing to the technical issues.

The MyMIT portal had technical difficulties last year when a bug caused shutdown for two days. An inappropriate configuration setting had allowed “prospective students to inadvertently see another registrant’s information,” of which there was one known case, Walsh wrote. There has been no such security breach this year, she wrote.

Jones said in an e-mail that he does not believe that the outage will affect applicants’ image of MIT. “Whenever we run into problems, we acknowledge them immediately, take appropriate steps to correct them, and then share as much of the process as we can with the applicant community via the MyMIT blogs,” he wrote.

“This openness — which mirrors that of the larger MIT culture — shows our applicants that we not only care about them but want to include them, and they respond with thanks and appreciation,” he wrote.

Eric Asava-Aree, who will be applying for admission to the Class of 2010, wrote in an e-mail that although his application status was not affected since he is applying regular decision, he “couldn’t access the portal to read the updates.” In spite of the problems, his “impression of MyMIT hasn’t changed much,” he said. “I still think it’s one of the best admission portals around, for it has provided a much deeper insight into MIT than what other universities’ portals and Web sites have been able to do.”

The MyMIT portal is only used for undergraduate admissions; the outage did not affect graduate applications.