MIT has accepted 390 students, or 11 percent, of the 3,493 applicants for early admission to the class of 2011.
"This was by far the most competitive year in the history of admissions at MIT. My jaw hit the floor in response to some of the students we had to defer," said Ben Jones, communications manager for the Admissions Office.
The number of applications received marked a 13 percent increase in early applications over 2005.
Early admits to the Class of 2011 resemble recent MIT classes, with 54 percent male and 46 percent female students. The admitted early applicants will make up about 30 percent of the whole class. The accepted students come from 44 states and 322 different high schools.
Of the 3,493 students who applied for early admission in the Class of 2011, 319 were denied admission. The other 2,784 were deferred and will be considered for acceptance along with the pool of general applicants. Early acceptances have until the regular reply date of May 1 to decide whether to join the Class of 2011.
Early admissions policies at schools have come under scrutiny lately with Harvard University deciding in September to do away with early action in 2007.
Some universities admit close to half of their freshman class through early action, and many require an immediate commitment from students that they will attend in return for early acceptance.
Many university officials have argued that such programs put low-income and minority applicants at a disadvantage in the competition to get into selective universities.
"ED (early decision) disadvantages low-income students because they need to apply to a variety of schools and see who gives them the most financial aid--thus they cannot enjoy the traditional 'bump' that applying ED generally gives," Jones said.
Since MIT's policy is neither binding nor single choice, "our early action policy does not disadvantage any students in our pool," Jones said.
Jones added that he expects Harvard's decision to end its early action program will increase MIT's number of early applications in 2007. "Many of the students who would have applied early to Harvard will now apply early to us," he said.