Applications for early-action admission to MIT's class of 1999 rose by 33 percent over last year, while early indications are that regular applications will be up by around 15 percent, according to Michael C. Behnke, director of admissions.
The proportion of minority students in the early-action applicant group was also substantially higher than last year. Applications from African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans and Native Americans rose by 65 percent to 107 this year. From that group, 59 were admitted compared to 45 last fall, Mr. Behnke said. Thirty-seven percent of all admissions were women, about the same proportion as last year.
As of last week, the Admissions Office had received 1,657 requests for early-action admission and had accepted 555, Mr. Behnke said. Last year, the office received 1,246 requests. The office expects to act on a few more applications which are not yet complete because of a delay in receiving test scores.
The increase in early-action applicants constitutes "a very substantial increase," Mr. Behnke observed. Furthermore, that rise is apparently not reflected at other colleges and universities. The number of such applications is up at some schools and down at others; MIT's experience is "extremely unusual," he said.
Students who apply for early-action admission to MIT must have their applications in by November 1. Admissions personnel mailed notifications in mid-December to those who were accepted. Students who were not offered early-action admission were placed in the pool of regular applicants which is acted on in March. Last year, 79 students from the deferred pool were admitted in the spring.
Last year, the total number of American students who applied to MIT was 15 percent higher than the year before. This upward trend was also generally true at other universities, "so clearly a lot of what was going on last year had to do with the economy," Mr. Behnke said. This year's early-action increase may be a result of the Admissions Office's new recruiting package, which has been phased in over the last three years and is fully in place this year. The changes include an updated viewbook, a video and changes in mailing strategies.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 11, 1995.