MIT released its undergraduate admissions decisions for the Class of 2018 on Friday, March 14 at 6:28 p.m., with a target class size somewhat smaller than those of the past few years due to the closure of Bexley Hall.
As a result, the Institute admitted only 1,419 students this year, compared to 1,548 last year. Of the 1,419 who were admitted, less than half (612 students) were admitted through early action in December. A total of 18,357 students applied, setting a record-low admission rate of 7.7 percent. According to a MIT News Office press release, the target class size for the incoming class is about 1,050 students.
According to the Dean for Undergraduate Education’s office, the number of undergraduate students was expected to increase over three years, starting with the Class of 2015 and ending with the Class of 2018, due to the additional housing capacity afforded by the reopening of Maseeh Hall in the fall of 2011.
According to enrollment statistics from the Office of the Registrar, first-year student enrollment increased for the Classes of 2015 and 2016, but the current freshman class actually experienced a slight decrease in first-year student enrollment. The number of first-year students to be enrolled for the 2013-2014 academic year is expected to fall even lower than this year’s.
The loss of accommodation provided by Bexley Hall, which housed 116 undergraduate students, is significant and long-term. Bexley was closed on June 8, 2013 after the building was deemed unsafe for residents due to structural problems. Plans for Bexley’s demolition, or what will be built in its place, have not yet been determined.
“Housing capacity is an important consideration in determining our target class size,” Dean of Admissions Stuart Schmill ’86 told The Tech.
He continued, “Our target this year is about 70 fewer students than last year.” There were 1,118 first-year students enrolled in the fall of 2013.
According to Schmill, the decreased target class size was not the only reason that MIT admitted fewer students to the Class of 2018.
“We admitted fewer students also because our yield has been going up. If a higher percentage of admitted students choose to enroll, we have to admit fewer students so we do not over-enroll,” Schmill said.
Currently, it is unclear what the target class size will be in the coming years.
Adjustments in admissions data
This year, MIT made adjustments to how it counts the number of applicants. In the past, all applicants who paid an admissions fee or received a fee waiver were counted in the final applicant data. This year’s total number of applicants includes only students who both paid the application fee (or received a fee waiver) and completed the entire student section of the application.
According to the MIT News Office, the total number of applicants this year represents a 2.5 percent increase from last year’s when counted with the previous methodology — the most in MIT’s history. However, with the switch to the new counting method, the total number of applicants reported by MIT this year is slightly lower than that reported last year.