Early action applications up 13%

12.1 percent of EA were admitted; total applications over 17,800

MIT received a record 6,405 early-action applications this year, up 13 percent from last year. According to Dean of Admissions Stuart Schmill ’86, 772 applicants (12.1 percent) were admitted, 3,887 (60.7 percent) were deferred, and 1746 (27.3 percent) were rejected. Decisions were released on December 15.

After regular action applications are counted the number of total applications, early and regular, is expected to top 17,800, about a 7 percent increase from last year.

Schmill said that MIT is seeing a shift towards early action as opposed to regular decision.

“Our early action applications have risen in the last several years at a higher rate than our regular action applications,” Schmill said. “It is a general trend that more students are applying early somewhere when they apply to college.”

Though the number of early applicants has increased, the admission rate for these applicants has also increased. This year, MIT accepted 12.1 percent of those that applied early action. In comparison, MIT accepted only 10.4 percent for the class of 2014 and 10.8 percent for the class of 2013.

In an MIT Admissions blog post on Jan. 7, Admissions Counselor for Communications Chris Peterson said that he believes part of the increase may be due to the shift towards early action, particularly among domestic applicants.

Peterson explained that historically, only one-third of domestic applicants apply early action. “Today, however, almost half of our domestic applicants chose to apply during Early Action,” he explained. “So the number of students whom we accepted in Early rose accordingly.”

Part of the increase in early acceptances is also due to the opening of Maseeh Hall, MIT’s newest undergraduate dormitory, which will open next fall. MIT’s undergraduate population will increase over the next few years to about 4,500 students, roughly 200 more than there are currently.

“We are planning a smooth ramp up to that number, taking three years to get there,” Schmill said. “For next fall, our target enrollment for the class of 2015 is 1120, just 50 students more than the class of 2014.”

A record 1,746, or 27.3 percent, of early applicants were rejected outright, continuing a two-year trend to offer a “final decision (admitted or not admitted) to many more students,” Peterson wrote. Last year, MIT rejected 988, or 17.4 percent of its early applicants. However, in years prior MIT had consistently rejected only around 10 percent of its early applicants.

The format of the application remained the same as that of last year, when MIT changed from requiring a single 500-word essay to three 250-word essays. Schmill said that they liked the change and thus kept it in place.

The demographics of those accepted early are similar to that of the current undergraduate body. Twenty-seven percent of those accepted are underrepresented minorities (African American, Hispanic, or Native American) and the gender ratio is nearly fifty-fifty.

Some competitive universities also saw increases in the number of students applying early. In particular, the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, and Duke University observed an application increase of 19 percent, 12 percent, and 11 percent, respectively, in their binding early decision programs. Binding programs require students to attend the college if they are accepted.

Some universities, however, did not see an increase in their applicant pool. At Yale University, the number of early applicants remained nearly identical to that of last year. At Brown University and Cornell University, the number declined 2.5 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.