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Applications Jump 16 Percent to New All-Time High

By Karen Robinson

Undergraduate applications are in, and more students than ever before have applied for admission to MIT. The pool of applicants this year consists of 10,641 high school students, which is 16 percent bigger than last year’s pool of 9151 students.

The number of applicants has risen steadily for the past few years, said Elizabeth S. Johnson, Associate Director for Information Services and Research in the Admissions Office. Johnson noted that this partially reflects a national trend, as the number of high school students in the United States is also increasing.

The good economy in recent years has encouraged people to consider private colleges, Johnson said. Additionally, as computer engineering and other technological fields have gained wider recognition, more students have become interested in MIT.

The increase in applications has not been limited to domestic students, however. This year, the admissions office received over 2,000 applications from non-U.S. residents, which is up from 1625 applications last year. Therefore, international applicants comprise a somewhat larger proportion of the application pool this year (19 percent versus 17 percent in 1999 and 16 percent in 1998).

This does not, however, mean that more international students will be accepted, as MIT tries to keep the international enrollment close to eight percent. This will require accepting a significantly smaller proportion of international students, as the matriculation rate for international students is somewhat higher than for domestic students, Johnson said.

Minority rates constant

The proportion of applications from women and minorities has not changed significantly from previous years, according to the Admissions Office staff. This year, 30 percent of applicants were female, compared with 27 percent last year and 31 percent two years ago.

This year has seen the highest number of minority applicants ever, said Yvonne M. Romero of the Admissions Office. However, the percentage of minority students in the applicant pool is roughly the same this year, she said.