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Early Applications Rise While Acceptances Fall

By Frank Dabek
News Editor

The college search could be over sooner than expected for 510 high school seniors who were admitted by early action to MIT to form part of the class of 2003.

The other 1,678 members of the 2,188 member applicant pool will continue the college admissions process after being deferred to regular action, said Associate Director of Admissions Elizabeth S. Johnson.

In a change this year, all of the admitted students will be invited to the Campus Preview Weekend in April, pending administration approval, Johnson said. The weekend had previously been restricted to women and underrepresented minority students.

Johnson said that the change came about because many of MIT's peer institutions offer similar programs.

The admissions office "didn't want to lose the specialness [of CPW] for underrepresented minorities and women," however, Johnson said. As a result, women and minority students may be invited to the event a day earlier than other students.

Early acceptance rate down

The 23 percent acceptance rate is lower than in previous years as the number of applicants rose by 104 this year and the number of admitted students declined slightly, Johnson said.

Those students who were accepted may choose to come to MIT but are not required to do so, and can apply to other institutions. Other schools offer early decision programs that require freshmen to enroll upon being accepted. Johnson said that such programs are "not something that we won't think about" but said that she was "reluctant" to move to such a system.

Historically, around 70 percent of students offered early admission choose to enroll at MIT, according to Johnson. She said further that the office is always conservative in offering early admission to students but this year the office was "even more conservative." A similarly high yield among the group of students who apply for early action but are admitted with the regular admissions (also around 70 percent) makes this policy possible since few candidates are lost when deferred at the time of early action.

The past several years have seen an increase in the number of students choosing to apply early. The number of applications is up to 2,188 from just 1,669 in 1995. Johnson said that "a lot of students feel that they want to apply early [and are] encouraged to apply early" by guidance counselors.

Underrepresented minorities represent 14 percent of the early acceptances, a figure on par with previous years. Johnson said that the minority section of this pool was "as strong as it normally is."

The deadline for regular admission has recently passed. The admissions office has not processed most of the applications but Johnson said that initial indications are that the number of applications is up slightly although the numbers "don't seem dramatically different."