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Admit Rate for 2010 Smaller Than Usual,One in Eight Gets In

By Angeline Wang

Only 13 percent of MIT’s applicants got in this year — a recent low for the Admissions Office, which expects that an even higher percentage of admitted students will enroll this fall than last.

Out of 11,373 applicants to the Institute, only 1,474 have been accepted, but MIT hopes to admit students from its waiting list as well, something it hasn’t done for the last three years. Last year, 14 percent of the applicants were accepted, and in 2003 and 2004, 16 percent were accepted.

Of those accepted, the percentage who actually come to MIT, known as the yield, has steadily increased in the last few years. It hovered around 55 percent in the late 1990s, but jumped to 60 percent in 1999 and hit a high of 67 percent in 2005 for the Class of 2009.

“We are planning for an increased yield [of 68 percent] this year, and therefore we did admit fewer students,” Senior Associate Director of Admissions Stuart Schmill said.

“The key for us is doing two things: admitting students who are a great match for MIT, who are interested in the things we do here, and not letting finances drive their decisions,” Schmill said. “If we do those two things, students will choose to come. For students who want an analytical education, there is no better place than MIT.”

Another lure for prospective students is the Institute’s new financial aid initiative, where MIT will match Federal Pell Grants for all eligible students, Schmill said.

Harvard last year and Stanford this year have also announced plans for increasing financial aid for students from low income families.

The 1,474 acceptances includes 377 applicants admitted early, as well as 107 international students. There were a total of 2,575 international applications.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia are represented, as well as 61 foreign countries and territories, Schmill said. This year’s admitted class is 52 percent male and 48 percent female, according to Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones. Twelve percent of the deferred applicants from the early applicant pool were accepted during regular admissions.

The Institute also raised the admission of under-represented minorities back up to 19 percent, which is close to the 20 percent accepted for the Classes of 2006 through 2008.

According to e-mail from Jones after Early Action decisions were sent, the Admissions office “redoubled our recruitment efforts for this cycle” after getting only 14 percent under-represented minorities for the Class of 2009.

Instead of waiting for the decision letters which were mailed out Friday, a majority of the applicants checked for their decision online Saturday.

“Within two hours of the decisions going live, approximately 7,000 of the 11,373 applicants had checked the site,” Schmill said. “More have been checking through the weekend.”

Earlier this month, the College Board discovered errors in the processing of October 2005 SAT tests, resulting in the miscalculation of at least 4,000 students’ scores, of whom 28 had applied to MIT. Colleges were immediately notified.

All of the applicants were being considered in the regular action candidate pool, Schmill said. Their applications were re-reviewed, but no admissions decisions were changed.

“The College Board problem did not affect the cases of the 28 applicants involved,” Jones said. “I can only wonder, though, about the students applying to Early Decision programs at other places who might not have been admitted in December because of the score change,” Jones. “It certainly shakes your trust in the College Board.”

The writing section of the new SAT test was not a requirement for this year’s applicants, as not all students have taken the new test. According to Schmill, the scores from the writing section were collected but not used to evaluate students.

“We’ll do some analysis on the scores with this year’s group and know how to use the scores next year and in the future,” he said.