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MIT Admits 1,632 Applicants For Freshman Class of 2005

By Eun J. Lee

ASSOCIATE FEATURES EDITOR

The recent admittance of the incoming class of 2005 is a harbinger of a new generation of nerds who will make MIT proud.

Only 16 percent of the 10,511 students who applied to be part of the fall 2001 freshman class, or 1,632 students, were admitted.

The newest MIT students-to-be come from a wide range of geographic and ethnic backgrounds.

“We look for the best students of our kind in the world. Some are intellectuals, some are doers, but all have expressed self-initiative in their own ways,” said Marilee Jones, Dean of Admissions. “Self-initiative is a key characteristic of MIT students.”

An estimated 750 admitted students will attend Campus Preview Weekend, which begins Thursday and is open to all admitted students.

“CPW is a key enrollment event,” said Jones. “MIT students always make the best recruiters.”

At 1,000 students, the target size for the class of 2005 is the same as the target for last year. This year, fewer applicants were admitted in hopes that new improvements in financial aid packages will increase the yield of matriculants.

“This year’s changes in financial aid should help us a lot because over the years we had gotten less competitive in our financial aid offers relative to our need-based peers,” Jones said.

Outreach programs for incoming freshmen include overnight trips with student hosts for anyone who wants to visit the campus. Also, applicants are contacted throughout the year by students and alumni in their region who can answer questions for them.

Underrepresented minority students (including American Indians, Black, Mexican, and Puerto Rican Americans) are invited to visit MIT in the fall.

“We have tried to be conservative in the number of admitted students. We don’t want too many so that we can prevent overcrowding,” said Bette Johnson, Associate Director of Admissions. “The wait list will be an instrument to fine tune this process.”

Early action numbers stay steady

Five hundred eighty-eight students, or 36 percent of the total number of admissions, were admitted early action. This is roughly the same number as have been admitted early action in previous years.

“A number of schools are relying more heavily on early admissions, but we have tried to stay consistent,” said Johnson.

Of the number of students admitted during regular decision, 296 of these originally applied for early admission.

“Traditionally [early admissions] helped the less elite colleges book the core of their classes early and that made sense, since without that commitment, more elite schools would admit and enroll their best students,” said Jones.

In the past few years, even the most prestigious schools have moved to admit large portions of their incoming classes early.

“Prestigious schools -- those with the highest enrollment yields -- ought to be able to enroll a class the old fashioned way,” Jones said.

MIT has offered early action admission for several decades. Over the past 30 years, early enrollment has consistently been limited to 30 percent of the class or less. The admissions office plans to continue this plan in the future.

Students come from all backgrounds

The only quota for admissions is a restriction on the number of foreign citizens who are not permanent residents of the United States. This group is limited to eight percent of the freshman class, or approximately 100 students.

“We don’t admit geographically,” said Johnson.

The 1,632 students admitted this spring represent 55 foreign countries and 49 states.

“There were no students admitted from Mississippi because we had very few applicants from this state,” said Johnson.

The states with the most admitted applicants include California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, and New Jersey.

In the past, many admitted applicants who do not choose to attend MIT have attended Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and Princeton.

Applicants faced tight competition

Academically, competition for admittance was tight. Forty-seven percent of those admitted who were ranked by their high schools are valedictorians of their class. Ninety-five percent of those admitted are in the top five percent of their class.

“SATs are up again, as are grades in general,” said Jones. “The high school students we see these days take more difficult subjects and do better than their predecessors.”

The mean SAT verbal score was 724, and the mean math score was 760. The admitted mean composite ACT score was a 32.

Only 326 of the admitted students provided ACT scores on their applications.

“Most people who are planning to apply to selective colleges will take the SAT,” said Johnson in response to the low number of reported ACT scores.

“One of the hardest things about this job is the quality of the applicants. The applicants are hard to choose from because most of the people who apply here have good grades and test scores. We try to choose people who we think will not only contribute to the school but get something out of it when they come,” said Johnson.

“MIT students continue to be the best in the world. I know that for a fact, and we don’t tell [them] that often enough,” said Jones.

The deadline for acceptance of admission is May 1, 2001.