MIT becomes only QuestBridge partner with non-binding admission

Over 100 undergraduates sign petition requesting that MIT continue non-binding policy

MIT is now the only QuestBridge partner with non-binding admission through QuestBridge’s College Match. Dean of Admissions Stu Schmill ’86 wrote in an email to The Tech that the admissions office has “no plans to change” this policy.

For all QuestBridge partners but MIT, students are required to attend their match school. Students who are matched to MIT may apply to other schools regular decision. The other three schools that had non-binding policies last year — Princeton, Stanford, and Yale — recently changed their policies to be binding. 

Princeton University spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss told The Daily Princetonian that the non-binding policy differed from most QuestBridge schools, citing that the change allows Princeton’s policy to be “consistent with most other QuestBridge partners and the original design of the National College Match program.”

Schmill wrote that MIT first implemented a non-binding policy because “committing to a college in the fall of their senior year is too soon” for many students, especially low-income students who have less access to knowledge about the college admissions process and may not have been able to visit schools.

MIT QuestBridge scholars wrote a petition signed by over 100 undergraduates and alumni requesting that MIT continue its non-binding admissions policy. The petition writes that many QuestBridge scholars “would have never applied to MIT if there was a binding admissions policy.”

Mohit Dighamber ’23, president of MIT’s QuestBridge chapter, said in an interview with The Tech that it is important for first generation and low income students to “have that extra time to go to admissions events” such as Campus Preview Weekend and receive more information before making “a life-changing decision.” 

QuestBridge scholar Eleane Lema ’21 said in an interview with The Tech that the non-binding policy is more similar to the normal college admissions process because it “equalizes and gives low income students the same flexibility” to choose whether or not they want to attend a particular school.

QuestBridge’s National College Match program matches low-income students to 42 U.S. colleges by partnering with the schools “to identify and support students who otherwise may not apply to leading colleges,” the QuestBridge website writes.

The match program’s application is separate from colleges’ usual application portals, such as MyMIT and the Common App. The QuestBridge process allows students to apply early, by November, to several colleges using a single application with additional supplements varying by school. 

QuestBridge student finalists rank up to 12 QuestBridge partners through the program and are matched to at most one school Dec. 1. If matched, a student receives a full four-year Match Scholarship from the school. 

According to Schmill, MIT typically admits 10 students annually through the National College Match program, and “most, but not all,” of those students choose to attend MIT. From the entire QuestBridge program, MIT enrolls about 90 students each year.