The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 32.0°F | Mostly Cloudy

Class of 2005 Statistically Similar to Previous Class

Incoming Freshmen Hail from 46 States and 57 Foreign Nations; Yield Slightly Lower Than Last Year’s

By Jennifer Young


We all did it.

We built our resumes. Wrestled with applications. Wrote essays. Interviewed. Waited anxiously for acceptance letters. Received one from MIT. Decided to come here.

And now, we will be joined at the end of the summer by a group of people who did the same thing: the class of 2005.

Big fish hit the big pond

What’s the common denominator among incoming freshmen?

“They take your breath away,” said Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones. “They are strong, brave students who aren’t afraid of a challenge.

“We look for people with passion -- self-initiated, self-motivating individuals who get stoked up about something. We seek the people whose success comes from their own drive.”

High school valedictorians make up 41 percent of the class of 2005. Another 49 percent were ranked within the top five percent of their class.

The mean SAT verbal score for the class is 711, and the mean math score is a 755. The class of 2004 had a mean verbal score that was two points higher, and a mean mathematics score that was two points lower.

“A common trend we noticed was a diversity of activities within individual applications, which reflects the challenges of applying to college today,” said Associate Director of Admissions Elizabeth S. Johnson.

Class makeup changes very little

Statistically, the class of 2005 looks a lot like the class of 2004.

Of the 10,495 applicants to MIT, 1,709 were admitted, and 1,039, or 58 percent of the admittees, have decided to come here. That percentage is down only one percent from last year’s yield.

The proportion of women in both last year’s and this year’s incoming freshman classes holds steady at 42 percent. Interestingly, 48 percent of the admitted freshman class is female, reflecting that the lower percentage of incoming women is more a result of their choice than the Institute’s.

Another unchanged statistic shouldn’t surprise anyone: Twenty-four percent of both the classes of 2004 and 2005 indicated an intention to major in Course VI (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science).

Moderate geographic variety exists

The top four home states for the incoming class are California (12.3 percent), Massachusetts (10.7 percent), New York (10.1 percent), and Texas (7.1 percent). However, these states also produced the most applications, with 1381, 902, 618, and 660 applicants respectively.

This year, students were admitted from every state in the United States except Mississippi. However, no one from Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, and North Dakota chose to enroll in the fall.

From Argentina to Zimbabwe, 57 foreign nations will send 9.1 percent of MIT’s freshman class -- a total of 94 students -- next year. Canada, China, India, Kenya, and the United Kingdom provided the most enrollees.

Decision reasons under study

The “why” behind a student’s choice whether he or she chooses to attend MIT or a different school next fall is being carefully examined by the admissions office.

The Office of Admissions is largely satisfied with the numbers they have seen. “For an institute of technology, we have no peers in the admissions business,” said Jones. “That’s a testament to the kind of place and the kind of students we have.”

At the same time, the office carefully analyzes the responses they receive regarding the reasons for choosing other schools.

One major possibility for a student choosing to enroll elsewhere is the cost of an MIT education. “We had [some concerns] about the role that financial aid would play this year,” Johnson said. “We’ve lowered the self-help part of financial aid, but several of our competitors have done the same thing.

“People may have been enticed by merit awards from many different schools, and that could be a factor” too, she added.