In a seesaw effect that reflects a growing trend for early-admission decisions by high school seniors, MIT received 194 fewer regular-admissions applications to MIT this year compared to 1996, but the number of early-admission applications rose by 149.
The Admissions Office reported receiving 7,828 regular applications for the Class of 2001 (targeted for 1,070 students), compared to last year's 8,022 for the Class of 2000, which had a 1,080-student goal.
The 2 percent drop in general applications compared to an 8 percent increase in early admission applicants (MIT Tech Talk, January 15) from 1,751 a year ago to 1,900 this year. MIT accepted 511 last year and 524 this year of the early applicants, who have until May 1 to decide about MIT.
"This is generally a positive trend for MIT, in that we get more early applications from students who are focused on what we offer, and we have fewer later applications from those who might not have as strong an interest in MIT," Director of Admissions Michael Behnke said.
"On the other hand, this trend is not necessarily a good thing for the national college admission process as a whole. Some students feel pressured to make early applications before they have done the serious thinking they should do about what's best for them."
Ivy League schools reported similar trends in a report in the Boston Globe of February 8. General applications went down at Harvard by 8 percent, while the number of early applications remained the same. At Cornell, applications went down by 5 percent and early applications were up by 4 percent. This seesaw effect was also observed at Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown. Columbia, however, went up in general applications (+9 percent) and also in early applications (+18 percent), while the University of Pennsylvania went down in both general (-3 percent) and early applications (-11 percent).
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 26, 1997.