About 750 of the 1,632 high school seniors admitted to the Class of 2005 participated in Campus Preview Weekend (CPW) last Thursday-Saturday, visiting departments and laboratories, touring UROPs, interviewing faculty, sampling Toscanini's and quizzing current students.
"MIT students always are our best recruiters," said Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones.
Among them is Diana L. Bolton, a sophomore majoring in biology. "I've had a lot of experiences in my first two years here, and being able to share that with potential students is a great feeling," said Ms. Bolton, who was one of eight undergraduates who answered the visitors' questions during a panel discussion Thursday evening. "It's not often that you get to influence a decision that could change someone's life, but I think that's what every person on the panel had a chance to do."
Ms. Bolton, who is from Concord Township, OH, decided to attend MIT after discovering during Preview Weekend that students here are well-rounded and interesting as well as bright. "The classes and the student life were amazing," she recalled, "and after experiencing the environment firsthand, I decided there was no other place I would rather spend my college years."
Preview Weekend was restricted to women and minorities when Brian Pasquinelli entered MIT in 1998. He believes it would have been helpful and was pleased to be part of it this year as a panelist and tour guide. "I enjoy meeting the prefrosh and sharing with them my personal experiences while at MIT," he said. "I think most MIT students are really proud of being at this institute and they enjoy speaking about their MIT experiences."
Mr. Pasquinelli, a junior in economics from St. Marys, PA, was impressed with the caliber of the high school seniors and their knowledge of MIT. "I got some very specific questions about freshman classes, UROPs and other MIT related issues that I know I was not familiar with as a senior in high school," he said. "I think it's great that the prefrosh are so well informed and I feel that CPW gives them the exposure to campus that will allows them to decide if MIT is the right school for them."
"I really enjoy selling MIT to prospective students, mostly because I believe in MIT so much and I truly believe that MIT is one of the most incredible places to be in the world," said physics senior Damien Brosnan, who also was on the panel. "Therefore, I take any chance I get to help convince others of that sentiment. The residential and social scene I experienced during my CPW, especially that in the fraternities, was the final and biggest aspect of MIT that made me decide to come here. I'm glad that we continue to portray that side of MIT to prospective students." Mr. Brosnan is a former president of the Interfraternity Council.
16 PERCENT ACCEPTED
The 1,632 students invited to join next year's MIT freshman class represent 16 percent of the 10,511 applicants. They have until May 1 to accept. The target for matriculation is 1,000, matching the size of the Class of 2004.
Three out of four in the group who attend schools in the United States go to public schools. The rest are divided between independent and religiously affiliated schools. Eight were educated primarily at home.
They include 789 women (48 percent of the class) and 843 men. Among them are 461 Asian Americans, 118 African Americans, 94 Mexican Americans, 37 Native Americans, 36 Puerto Ricans and 102 foreign citizens.
They come from 55 foreign countries and more than 1,000 high schools in 49 states (none from Mississippi, which provided few applicants). The most fertile territories were California with 14.8 percent, New York with 10.1 percent, Massachusetts with 8.0 percent, Texas with 7.3 percent and New Jersey with 5.6 percent.
Twenty-one students were admitted from Peter Stuyvesant High School in New York City and 20 from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a magnet school in northern Virginia. Other schools in the double digits were Lexington (MA) High School with 12, Phillips Academy (Andover, MA) with 10, and Illinois Math and Science Academy (Aurora, IL) with 10.
Ninety-three percent of the accepted students are in the top 5 percent of their high school graduation class, and 47 percent will be valedictorians. The mean SAT scores were 724 in the verbal exam and 760 in mathematics.
The group includes 588 admitted as early-action candidates and 296 who applied for early action and were placed in the regular pool.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 11, 2001.