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Class of 2003 Most Selective in History

By Sanjay Basu

As MIT prepares to welcome prospective freshmen to the largest Campus Preview Weekend ever held at the Institute, the Admissions Office has also released figures for the number of students admitted to the class of 2003. The 1,740 admitted students were chosen from 8,786 applicants in comparison to the 1,890 students admitted from 8250 applicants last year.

The overall admit rate dropped by three percent this year . Of this year’s admitted students, 47 percent are women and 18 percent are minority students.

“All the different populations in the pool have gotten stronger,” said Director of Admissions Marilee Jones. “There are many more [applicants] in the pool that are very compelling and very easy to admit.”

Of the admitted applicants, 40 percent are valedictorians and 90 percent rank in the top five percent of their high school class. The SAT-I verbal mean for the group is 714, and the math mean is 756.

This year, “recruitment has really become an institutional process,” Jones said. In the past, alumni have reported to the admissions office the names of high school students they feel are a good fit for MIT. While admissions directors could not previously track all of these requests, Jones said that a new database system has allowed the office to send applications more effectively to these recommended students.

In response to the high achievement of incoming students, Jones said that “our competitor schools are going after our kind of student now.”

Students earn distinction

Of the admitted students, one-fourth have received distinction at the national level and 78 percent have received distinction at the state level in extracurricular. co-corricular or academic activities.

“This [incoming] class is very much like this particular year’s freshman class,” Jones said, “especially in terms of national-level distinction.”

The Admissions Office has also been tracking the number of admitted students planning to major in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science or in Biology. Those reporting an interest in EECS accounted for 21 percent of admitted students, while 12 percent indicated an interest in Biology. The figures represent only a slight change from last year, when 22 percent indicated a planned major in EECS and 10 percent in Biology.

CPW broadened

Unlike previous years, all admitted students will be invited to the campus preview weekend event this year. Over 600 students, 300 parents, and 100 alumni will visit the Institute for four days.

Admissions officials report that a low number of males in dormitories are hosting students this year.

“We would really love to have more men,” Jones said. According to Jones, there is a particular need for male students in dormitories to host prefrosh.

But Jones also believes that the office will be able to place many of the male prefrosh in ILGs and fraternities.