MIT offered admission to 1,467 students out of the 18,306 who applied to be members of the class of 2019, making this year’s admission rate 8.0 percent. This is an increase from last year’s 7.7 percent and marks the first time the rate has gone up since 2003’s admissions cycle, when 16.4 percent of applicants were admitted.
Although the target class size increased from 1,050 to 1,100, according to Dean of Admissions Stuart Schmill, slightly fewer students applied than last year, when the admissions office received 18,356 applicants. According to the MIT Common Data set, the number of applicants had been increasing fairly steadily before this year.
Of the 1,467 admitted students, 625, or 42.6 percent, were early action admits. This number has not changed much from last year, when 43.1 percent of the Class of 2018 was admitted early.
Of the 18,306 applicants this admissions cycle, 3.6 percent, or 652 students, were offered a spot on the waitlist. Students who choose to remain on the waitlist may be offered admission in May if MIT has not yet met its target class size. Last year 28 out of the 555 students accepting a spot on the waitlist were offered admission.
This year’s admitted students represent 67 countries and over 1,000 schools, according to Schmill. Women make up 48 percent of the class, 25 percent identify as an underrepresented minority, and 17 percent will be from the first generation in their family to go to college.
“By all measures it is an enormously talented group of students,” Schmill wrote in an email to The Tech. “We are very excited to welcome them to campus.”
MIT expected to increase admission rates through 2014 after Maseeh Hall reopened in 2011, according to Schmill. The closure of Bexley Hall and fluctuations in the number of students living on campus, however, prevented admission rates from increasing until this year.
“One of the factors in determining class size is housing capacity,” Schmill said. “Housing’s occupancy forecast takes into consideration how many students graduate and how many are expected to continue in the campus housing.”
This year’s admissions decision date fell on a once-in-a-century “super Pi Day,” with the first five digits of Pi, 3.1415, being reflected in the date, 3/14/15. Admissions decisions, which are normally released at 6:28 p.m., were set to be released at 9:26 a.m. as a nod to the next three digits of Pi, 3.1415926.
Minutes before 9:26, however, the admissions website decisions.mit.edu experienced technical difficulties, causing many applicants to miss out on the anticipated “Pi minute” as they found “Database connection error” where their decisions should have been.
According to Schmill, there was “a technical issue related to the configuration of the web server.”
Or as assistant director of admissions and MIT admissions blogger Chris Peterson put it, “the once-in-a-century alignment of Super Pi Day appears to have fired a cosmic EMP directly into the heart of our server farm.”
Open thread discussions on the admissions blog page reflected the frustration that many students felt at having to wait to see their decision. Comments ranged from angry to amusing, with one commenter asking, “What did Caltech do this time?”
Schmill said that MIT is working to remedy the problem. “Going forward, we plan to reconfigure the web server environment to correct this issue and ensure a more robust system.”