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517 early action students admitted from larger pool

By Brian Rosenberg

Despite an 8 percent increase in applicants, MIT has admitted 26 fewer early action students than last year. The decrease reflects a shift in emphasis away from early acceptance, explained Michael S. Behnke, director of admissions.

"We were pretty sure that the number of [early and regular] applications wouldn't change that much, which made me nervous about going too heavy on the early applicants," he said.

"In the past, we accepted about 400 early action students and many deferred students. Last year we admitted more early action and fewer deferred students. This year we're sort of splitting the difference," he said.

"There seems to be a general trend of people applying earlier," Behnke continued. "I'm not sure why [the trend] showed up more this year, but it may have been because of news of smaller enrollment at other competitive schools."

Test scores increase

Of the 517 students accepted into the Class of 1996, 180 (35 percent) are women, up from 33 percent last year. One hundred ninety-six (38 percent) are minority students, including 157 Asian-Americans, 15 African-Americans, 15 Mexican-Americans, five Spanish-Americans, and four Puerto Ricans.

Some students submitted incomplete applications and may still be accepted when their applications are completed, Behnke explained.

This year's accepted students fared better on standardized tests than their counterparts from last year. The average Scholastic Aptitude Test verbal score rose nine points to 655, and the mean SAT math score climbed from 748 to 753. These scores are in line with those of the early admitted students from the Class of 1994, which were 658 and 754, respectively.

This year's American College Test composite score was 32.

One hundred seventy-four valedictorians (34 percent) were admitted. Students with a class rank made up 79 percent of those accepted. Of those with a rank, 379 (93 percent) were in the top 5 percent of their class.