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MIT Admits Fewer Students After Record Numbers Apply

By Kwong H. Yung
Staff Reporter

MIT received a record number of applications for the incoming Class of 2000, but admitted fewer students than last year, the admissions office announced this week.

From the 8,023 completed applications, only 1,894, or 23.6 percent, were admitted. Last year, 2,102 out of 7,955, or 26.4 percent, were admitted.

Even though the number of applications received increased, fewer people were admitted to "make absolutely sure that we do not exceed the class size target," said Director of Admissions Michael C. Behnke.

Last year, 1,130 of accepted students, or 53 percent, chose to attend, far more than expected.

"Extra caution was called for this year because three out of four main competitors for students -Stanford, Princeton, and Yale - had Early Decision programs for the first time this year," Behnke said

The admissions office is unsure how these early decision programs will affect the the number of admittee that choose to enroll this fall.

"Because we are being so cautious, we do expect to admit some students from the waiting list later in May to bring the class up to the 1,080 target," Behnke said. "We will also be admitting about 40 transfer" students, he added.

This year, the percentage of under-represented minorities among admitted students increased to 18 percent. Last year, the number was 14 percent. Under-represented minorities include blacks, Mexican Americans, Native Americans, and Puerto Ricans. In all four individual categories, the actual number of admitted students also increased.

Women comprised 43 percent of this year's class, a slight decrease from last year's record 45 percent.

Test scores remain unchanged

The mean SAT verbal score and mean SATmath score were 712 and 752, respectively. Last year, the mean verbal and math scores were 649 and 747.

Although the change represents a significant nominal increase in the verbal score, the numbers cannot be compared directly. This year, the SAT verbal scores were re-centered. If the same re-centering were applied to last year's verbal score average, the two verbal scores would be nearly identical.