Notes on the MIT Class of 2012

by Stu Schmill, Dean of Admissions

We received a record number of applications (an 8% increase over last year) for the Class of 2012, which will number approximately 1040 students. We admitted fewer than 12% of the 13,396 applicants, our lowest admit rate ever.

Due to changes in other schools' early application programs and financial aid programs, this year was the most competitive climate ever in the yielding of top students. Thanks to a variety of initiatives, including the most successful and well-attended Campus Preview Weekend in the history of the program, MIT's yield held strong at 66%, only a small drop from last year and our third highest yield ever.

The incoming class will be 46% women, 25% under-represented minority students (10% African American, 14% Hispanic, and 1% Native American), 18% first generation to college, and will represent 49 states and 56 countries.

And what an amazing class it is! MIT '12 includes:

  • MIT's first set of quadruplets!

  • A student coming from Gaza, who has thrived despite a severe lack of opportunity.

  • A woman who won a gold medal at last year's International Math Olympiad, tied for #7 in the world.

  • A student who, after helping his grandmother in her tomato garden, completed a two-year study of the long term effects of exposure to pyrethroids, commonly found in household and agricultural pesticides. He won 2nd place in the Intel Science Talent Search (STS) for his project. The third place Intel STS winner, whose project involved developing new types of solar cells, is also enrolling at MIT.

  • A student who owns a company that has built 300 houses for low-income families in Guatemala using "green cement" and schools he has built in China have reached 1.5 million students. Another student created a community based micro-finance program for transgendered individuals and intravenous drug users in Delhi.

  • A radio DJ with a large following both in Los Angeles and across the internet, a leader of Future Farmers of America who raises goats and pigs, and a 6' 11" basketball player who has taken multivariable calculus.

What stood out to me this year was the increased depth of the applicant pool. While we have always had strong students applying to MIT; this year there were simply more of them. It made our decisions in selection committee extremely difficult - I would say more difficult than ever before.

The entire admissions staff is very excited about the students who are in the Class of 2012, and we can't wait to see them on campus in a few short months.