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MIT admits 8.2 percent of applicants, marking record low acceptance rate

Posted by Your Town  March 15, 2013 05:20 PM

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MIT admitted 8.2 percent of students who applied this year, marking the lowest ever acceptance rate in the history of the university.

Stu Schmill, the dean of admissions, said the Massachusetts Institute of Technology received 18,989 applicants, and accepted 1,548. The admittance rate has been cut in half over the past ten years, Schmill said.

“In ten years we’ve gotten twice as competitive, which is really something,” he said.

The number of applicants to Boston-area colleges and universities continued to rise this year, with one prominent exception – Boston College, which made a strategic effort raise its requirements and saw its applications drop by 26 percent. MIT saw a 5 percent increase from last year to this year.

Among other local colleges:

-A record 35,022 students applied to Harvard, a 2 percent increase from the previous year.

-Applications to Northeastern University increased 7 percent, to 47,321.

-Numbers also rose at the state’s public flagship, UMass Amherst, where figures show that more than 36,000 have applied, a 5 percent increase.

At MIT, Schmill said that another reason the admittance rate is at a record low is because the institute’s yield rates, or number of accepted students who choose to enroll, have been increasing. Last year, MIT retained 70 percent of accepted students, he said. To prevent over-enrollment, the institute accepted less students, and put about 4 percent of applicants on the waiting list.

Schmill said that this year was also the most competitive applicant pool, and it was difficult to send rejection letters to extremely qualified students.

“It’s the disappointing reality of it - we have such little space, and we turn away a lot of really great students,” he said. “These are top students who are being turned away.”

MIT continued its tradition of releasing admissions decisions on March 14, or 3.14 - which is the ratio of the circle’s circumference to its diameter.

Last year, the institute chose to send out the applications at 6:28 p.m. on March 14 to celebrate the mathematical figure tau, which is the ratio between a circle’s circumference and its radius, or basically two times pi.

This year, the applications were released again at 6:28 p.m., Schmill said. MIT plans to continue the tradition next year.

Katherine Landergan can be reached at klandergan@globe.com. For campus news updates, follow her on Twitter @klandergan.

Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

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