MIT has admitted 1,533 students from 50 states and 66 countries to the Class of 2011 in an unusual year that saw both an increased number of applicants and an increased freshman class size, with nearly 60 more students admitted than last year. The target size for the incoming freshman class is 1,020--up from 1,005 last year.
The Institute's acceptance rate fell to an all-time low of 12 percent of applicants, who numbered 12,443.
"It was very, very hard to select such a small number of students in such a large and stellar applicant pool," Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones said.
The admissions office is anticipating a yield of 66.5 percent--consistent with last year's yield--which will allow them to admit 10 of the 519 students who have been placed on the waitlist. Forty-eight percent of those now admitted to the Class of 2011 are women and 21 percent are underrepresented minorities. Of students ranked in their high schools, 49 percent are valedictorians and 90 percent are in the top five percent of their class.
Last year, the acceptance rate was nearly 26 percent for women and 10 percent for men. The acceptance rate for all applicants was 13 percent in 2006, with the number of male applicants nearly tripling the number of female applicants. Acceptance rates for the classes of 2008 and 2009 were similar to those in 2006.
MIT does not have quotas for the number of male or female students accepted. The only quotas the admissions office employs are for international students: Foreign students are limited to 8 percent of the incoming class.
When Jones first began working in the admissions office in 1979, the undergraduate population was 17 percent female. That number rose to 39 percent by 1998 when Jones was named dean of admissions. The Class of 2010, which entered last fall, was 45 percent female.
Jones said that MIT continues to recruit women and other groups through a variety of methods, including directly contacting target students who have good standardized test scores. "The problems of the world need to be solved by people who are from many different places and of both genders," she said.
Jones is a member of the Enrollment Management Group, a committee of administrators with ties to undergraduate education. The committee, which is chaired by Dean of Undergraduate Education Daniel Hastings and reports to President Susan Hockfield, recently recommended an increase in the size of the incoming class. Although there was a slight increase in the incoming class size, a large increase will come following the conversion of Ashdown House into an undergraduate residence, since the goal is to keep undergraduate crowding at a minimum.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 4, 2007 (download PDF).