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Incoming Freshman Number Fewer Than in Past

By Jeffrey Greenbaum


This fall, 985 students will arrive at MIT as the Class of 2006. This number exceeds the target of 980 chosen for dormitory decrowding purposes by only five students.

The Class of 2006 will contain approximately 30 fewer members than the Class of 2005, but the number of women matriculating is greater than it was for the Class of 2005.

Fifty-seven percent of those accepted as part of the Class of 2006 have chosen to enroll. The matriculation rate is down by only one percentage point from last year. The decrease “should relieve crowding in the dorms,” said Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones.

The percentage of women in the incoming class has increased from 41 percent to 43 percent. Because “the Class of ’06 will be smaller, with a higher percentage of females, [this] might affect the choice of living groups,” Jones said.

Although fully thirteen percent of the incoming class hails from California, the Class of 2006 has representatives from 48 of the 50 states, up from 46 last year. Only Idaho and Kentucky are not represented. Ten percent of the class will come from New York, followed by eight percent from Massachusetts and six percent each from Texas and New Jersey. Seventy-nine members of class are international students, nine of them from Canada.

Jones said that this composition is not substantially different from that of prior classes.

In addition to the international students, the class is 34 percent Caucasian, 28 percent Asian, seven percent black, seven percent hispanic, and two percent American Indian. The total proportion of underrepresented minorities remains constant from the Class of 2005, at sixteen percent.

More valedictorians enroll

Jones said that the academic statistics of the Class of 2006 are nearly identical to those of the Class of 2005. “They are just as terrific as ever,” she said.

The average SAT scores have increased slightly from 756 in math and 711 in verbal to 757 and 712, respectively. Similarly, the percentages of valedictorians and of students ranked in the top five percent of their classes have increased from 41 percent to 43 percent and from 90 percent to 93 percen.

Of the 985 enrolling freshmen, the MIT Admissions Office admitted 28 percent of the class through early action, 68 percent through regular decision, and accepted 32 students, or three percent, off of the waiting list.

Upon submitting their applications, 23 percent of the class stated an interest in majoring in electrical engineering and computer science. Fourteen percent declared an interest in engineering in general, nine percent in biology, and seven percent in physics.

Students who declined MIT’s offer of admission were most likely to attend Harvard University instead. “Far and away, the school our admits choose to attend, if not MIT, is Harvard,” Jones said. Bette Johnson, associate dean of admissions, said that Harvard is consistently the top choice, followed by Stanford University.

Jones added that financial concerns were among top reasons for not enrolling. She said it has been one of the top three such reasons since the Admissions Office began studying those reasons in the 1950s.