Fresh Faces on Campus

Published in MIT News: Sept 7, 2011

Members of the class of 2015This past April, when many accomplished high school seniors were pleasantly surprised to find themselves with multiple college acceptances, Tessa Green faced a different choice: whether to attend college at all.Having been offered the much-publicized Thiel Fellowship — an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to forgo college in exchange for $100,000 and mentorship on developing a business idea, established by PayPal founder Peter Thiel — the 18-year-old from Westport, Conn., weighed her options, which also included a spot in MIT’s Class of 2015. For two years she had been refining her invention, a modification to a flow battery that enables it to act as a transmission system, even enlisting a lawyer who liked her idea so much that he worked pro bono to help her secure the necessary patents.

Though she called the Thiel Foundation’s offer “very tempting,” Green ultimately decided to turn down the fellowship and matriculate at MIT. “I didn’t feel like I was ready for it … I don’t feel like I have the education and experience yet to take my project and my ideas where they need to go,” she says. “MIT will give me that.”

Here in Cambridge, Green joins a group of freshmen that represent one of the MIT’s most accomplished classes yet. The Institute received 17,909 applications for the Class of 2015 and admitted 1,742 students, for an acceptance rate of 9.7 percent. Of those, some 1,126 have matriculated, a yield of 65 percent.

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