Admissions Office Gets Set to Welcome the Newly Admitted Class of 2015 at Campus Preview Weekend

Kris Guay, Communications Manager, Admissions

The Admissions Office announced the admitted class of 2015 at 9:26 pm on Pi Day – March 14th. The record number of applicants of 17,909 resulted in MIT’s lowest admit rate ever at 9.6% despite the increase in next year’s class size to 1,120.

“Academically the class is very strong,” said Matt McGann, Associate Director of Admissions and Director of Recruitment. “The students are innovative and creative. And looking at the numbers, the SAT scores are as high as ever, as are the number of students with academic distinction, valedictorians, and those graduating in the top 5% of the class.”

Outside the classroom, the students are equally impressive.

“We also have a nice increase of the number of students identified as having special talent in athletics, music, or art,” said Stu Schmill, Dean of Admissions.

This year, Admissions added about 1,000 students to the waitlist. There is no rank to the waitlist. In some years the office is able to add back as many as 160 students; some years none; last year the office took 65. Decisions about the waitlist will take place in May. Transfer student applications are currently being reviewed and decisions will be available on April 2nd.

“Our goal is to use the transfer pool to bring in kids who have interesting perspectives and can add to our community,” said McGreggor Crowley, Associate Director of Admissions, who oversees the admissions process.

Now that the students have been admitted, the office’s work has shifted toward encouraging them to join the MIT community. Two telethons took place immediately after Pi Day with close to 100 undergraduate students making calls to over 700 newly admitted students to congratulate them. MIT Alumni Clubs and alumni/ae in the Educational Council who serve as Regional Chairs and Vice Chairs have been working hard over the past couple of months to plan Admitted Student Meetings during the week of MIT’s Spring Break (March 20-27). And this year the office is flying in nearly 400 low income students to take part in Campus Preview Weekend (CPW) on April 7-10, 2011.

“We expect there to be over 1100 students on campus for CPW,” said Lauren Avalos, Senior Assistant Director of Admissions and CPW Coordinator, during a special CPW webcast for admitted students. Several new features related to CPW this year were discussed during the webcast that took place on March 19th. A new online searchable tool on the CPW website (and also accessible to smart phones) was designed by Chase Lambert '14 and Sashko Stubailo '14 to aid in pre-planning for the over 750 events that will take place ‘round the clock during the four-day event.

Also a new host-matching algorithm is being tested this year. The algorithm was written by two students, Rafael Oliveira ’11 and Yiwen Zhan ’11 for their UROP under the supervision of Professor David Karger and developed with Karen Johnson in the Admissions Office.

“It’s very exciting to see when our current students can contribute to our efforts with creative ideas,” said Crowley.

Previously, the work of matching admitted students with their student host was done by hand in a very time consuming process. Now through the efforts of students and staff, the algorithm is making it possible for an expert match of interests and personality fit between students and hosts in a matter of minutes.

Other highlights of the Campus Preview Weekend this year include featured MIT faculty speakers: Dr. Neri Oxman, architect, designer and Assistant Professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab; and Dr. Tyler Jacks, David H. Koch Professor of Biology and Director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Registered admitted students and their families will also attend sessions on dorm life and UROPs, tours of the campus, classroom visits, and lots of hosted meals and fun from all members of the MIT community.

“But I always like the first day of CPW at the registration table the most,” said Avalos. “The prefrosh are SO excited.”