Affirmative action: the perspective from admissions
Every student admitted deserves to be at MIT
In response to the recent discussions taking place in these pages, where a lot has been said about the admissions process, I want to take this opportunity to add to the conversation with a few comments.
First, I want to make clear that every student we admit we have chosen to join our community for their academic excellence and personal match with MIT’s mission. We have an extraordinary applicant pool, and have the luxury of being able to admit the best students from all backgrounds, with diverse interests and talents. Every student we admit deserves to be here, and was selected to create a student body that is uniformly excellent and that best serves MIT’s mission to educate leaders for the future. Indeed, we feel deeply privileged to have each of you on our campus.
Second, we consider many factors in our admissions process such as socioeconomic background, geography, personal interests, specific academic talents, and non-academic skills, as well as gender, race, and ethnicity. We do this because it is important for us to consider a student’s background when we are assessing their potential: we have to consider a student’s resources, opportunities, and context to understand what their potential might be. Indeed, we are not trying to assemble the best freshman class, but the best graduating class. And we see it all the time: students who grow up with the talent, but not the resources, excel once they get here to MIT. Furthermore, a diverse class serves the interests of all of our students. Every student’s education is enhanced in a diverse community.
Third, to offer a fuller description of what we do and why, I’d like to point you to our website, where we have not been shy about hosting these very discussions in an open way. These links are of particular interest:
MIT is indeed a special place, and it is so because of the people that make up our community.
Stu Schmill ’86 is the Dean of Admissions