On Monday, March 14, MIT made its undergraduate admissions decisions available online to applicants for the 2016-2017 academic year. The Institute admitted 1,485 students to next year’s first-year class.
“Choosing among so many great candidates is always difficult because of we have such outstanding students who apply to MIT every year,” says Stu Schmill, MIT’s dean of admissions. “Those offered admission to the Class of 2020,” Schmill continues, “exemplify all the qualities that distinguish an MIT student: [a] strong match with MIT’s mission and the ability and desire to make an impact in the community, and in the world.”
Again this year, one-third have won national or international academic distinctions and many are athletes, artists, or makers. Admitted students come from 49 states, 65 countries, and from diverse backgrounds: A quarter identify as members of underrepresented minority groups, and 15 percent will be the first generation in their family to attend college.
“The new class brings incredible diversity, both geographically and socioeconomically, but also in talent, perspective, and interest. It has been an honor to learn about their lives through their applications over the last several months, and it’s so exciting to now welcome them all to MIT,” says Emily Sheldon, senior assistant director of admissions.
Decision day video
In keeping with tradition, the Admissions Office produced a lighthearted video to alert students to check their decision screen on March 14 (also known as Pi Day), the day that the office typically releases decisions. This year’s short video announced, “These are the droids you’re looking for.” The fictitious video depicts BB-8 from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" as the droid travels down the halls of MIT, through the Stata Center, asking for directions from Tim the Beaver in Building 10 and finally into the Admissions Office where Schmill hands the robot a silver tube.
“We chose 'Star Wars' this year for its timeliness and just because it’s fun,” Schmill says.
“I think 'Star Wars' is something that, like MIT itself, has captivated and inspired generations of people who like science and technology,” says Chris Peterson, senior assistant director of admissions, “and 'The Force Awakens' really reanimated that fictional world. So this video is a bit of a magical realist take on how decisions might be delivered in a world, much but not entirely like our own, that sits between our universe and the 'Star Wars' universe; where people and droids and cannons and holographic projections work together to admit each new class to MIT.”
Welcoming admitted students
Admissions officers are planning telethons with undergraduate students who will be making calls to the newly admitted students to congratulate them. MIT alumni in the Educational Council are planning Admitted Student Meetings during the week of MIT’s spring break (March 21-25). Continuing its efforts to support low-income students, the Admissions Office will once again reimburse the expenses for students of modest means to take part in Campus Preview Weekend (CPW), MIT’s open house weekend for all admitted students.
“I can't wait for CPW this year. It's a wonderful opportunity for new admits to meet their potential classmates and get to know the vibrant community that is MIT,” says Brenna Heintz, senior admissions counselor and CPW coordinator.
Current students, faculty, and staff across the Institute are in the process of planning the over 700 events to take place throughout the weekend.
After admissions decisions were released, applicants were able to share their elation, or their disappointment, and get their questions answered by admission staff and current student bloggers by posting in the Admissions Office’s open blogs for admitted, waitlisted, and denied students.