MIT Reports to the President 1995-96

MIT Reports to the President 1995-96


Applications for admission to the freshman class exceeded 8000 for the first time in MIT's history. An element of uncertainty was added to the process by changes in procedure at three of our four major competitors. Princeton and Yale changed from Early Action programs to Early Decision, and Stanford started an Early Decision program. Students who are admitted Early Decision to a school are obligated to attend. We predicted an increase in yield in view of the fact that some students who might have applied and been admitted to MIT but who then would have chosen to enroll at one of those three schools would have been admitted Early Decision to one of those schools and hence been precluded from applying to us at all. Indeed, the percentage of admitted applicants choosing to enroll at MIT increased from 53% to 56%. The increase in applications and the increase in yield resulted in a decrease in the percentage of students admitted from 26.5% to 24% making this the most selective year in MIT's history.

Our special efforts to enroll women and minority students continued to meet with success. For the second year in a row, women will make up over 40% of the class, 42.2% to be exact. African, Mexican and Native Americans along with Puerto Ricans will make up 17.7%, the second highest representation of these groups.

There appeared to be another increase in the level of concern expressed by applicants and their parents over financial aid. Some institutions are using what is called "econometric modeling" of financial aid packages. They give extremely generous awards to those students their research suggests are least likely to enroll. These are often the very bright students we admit. Consequently, our awards do not look competitive or fair. This obviously has not effected our yield; we are increasingly successful at enrolling the students we admit. But it may be effecting good will.

Faculty participation in the selection process recovered somewhat from last year's all-time low. The number of faculty members reading admissions applications increased from 10 to 13, and those reading more than thirty cases increased from two to eight. We continued to have good lines of communication with individual members of the faculty who helped us to identify students with exceptional accomplishments in specific areas. The drop in the number of application folders read by admissions staff members was due to the fact that two staff members were assigned close to full time to reengineering. The gap was made up for by increased use of paid outside readers. We were very fortunate in having the services of Diane Proctor, the former Dean of the Faculty at Hotchkiss School, who spent a sabbatical year with us.

Number of Reads

Admissions Staff
Administrative Staff
Athletics Staff
Paid Readers

Our very successful publications program grew to include a new piece directed at parents of applicants. It also refers them to special sections of our WEB site. With respect to the World Wide Web, we worked on having a version of our application on the WEB and hope to have that project completed for use in September of this year.

In this second year of our new policy on international students in undergraduate admissions, we were not successful in limiting the percentage of aid going to international students to ten percent or less. While the number of students did not increase, they were more needy. We will have to reconsider our approach for next year.

Members of our staff were very active in MIT's reengineering efforts. Vincent James served on the Student Services Redesign Team, and Marilee Jones served on the Assessment Team. Vincent is now captain of the Co-curricular Team, and Marilee may be captain of a Graduate Admissions Team. Their absence has put a great strain on the remaining staff members. I don't believe that we have been as responsive as we have been in the past or that we have made as much progress as we usually do on our own improvements, but we still had a very successful year.

When we were not chosen as an area to be reengineered in the near future, we turned our attention to areas which needed improvement. The most pressing has been graduate admissions. We have made significant improvements in the past two years, but the need for an entirely new system has become more apparent. At the same time, MITSIS became operational, and it became clear that we need to modify our system to be more compatible with it. Finally, this is the time to move toward an electronic application. To meet these needs, we started an Admissions Discovery Effort which will lead to a redesign of the technology environment for the admissions process.

Michael C. Behnke


The Educational Council included 1725 alumni/ae this past year, representing MIT in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands, and 47 foreign countries. This group included 370 women and 55 minorities (34 Blacks, 8 Puerto Ricans, 11 Mexican-Americans, and 2 Native Americans). The Educational Counselors conducted 7444 admissions interviews, and held countless conversations with prospective MIT students and with local school personnel. Of all MIT applicants who were eligible for an interview, 92 percent (93 percent within the United States) were interviewed by a local Educational Counselor.

New this year was our reduced presence in local college fairs. Less than twenty college fairs were attended by Educational Counselors (down from 180 last year). The Admissions Office has used a successful direct contact approach to qualified high school students as a way to develop an applicant pool.

Project Contact is a program which puts current undergraduates in touch with applicants, Educational Counselors, and school personnel. This past year 500 students, representing 200 different geographic areas (including 27 foreign countries), participated in this program run by the Educational Council Office. Effective next year, this program will run from the Admissions Office.

MIT Open House Meetings were held throughout the United States in the fall. Local Educational Council members assisted members of the admissions staff in arranging for 109 central meetings in 92 cities. Attendance at central meetings was up sharply at many locations due to a change in the layout of the invitation and the use of a direct mail service who handled our invitation production and mailing.

Meetings for newly admitted students were held in 40 cities throughout the United States by Educational Council groups. Thirty-six of these meetings were held during MIT's spring break. Kathy Breland organized panels of current students to speak at each meeting. Dianne Goldin from Resource Development assisted in arranging the meeting at the MIT Faculty Club. Ms. Goldin's involvement was the second successful joint effort by our offices.

Another program supported by the Educational Council office was the AMITA High School Visiting Program. Marti Ward runs this program, and coordinated the efforts of 70 volunteers, all women professionals (from AMITA, SWE, AWIS, or other women's professional organizations) to make 31 visits to 28 high schools throughout the greater Boston area. They spread the word to young women (and in some cases young men) about the importance of continuing to study math and science in order to keep career options open. Next year, this program will be running out of the Admissions Office.

The MIT admissions videotape continues to be extremely popular. Requests have come from 126 high schools (up from 74 last year), 5 colleges, 13 Educational Counselors, 43 prospective students, 20 MIT offices, and four current MIT students. Twenty-four copies have been sold.

The MIT Alumni Award program is in its sixth year. The award, given to high school juniors for outstanding achievements, especially in areas of math and science, was sponsored by three alumni (two Educational Counselors) this year. MIT alumni/ae and/or MIT Alumni Clubs can sponsor an award for $25. The award winners receive a certificate in a leather MIT case and a year's subscription to Technology Review.

Two Personnel changes should be noted: Marti Ward was promoted to Assistant to the Director for Administration in the Admissions office, and Brian Ellis was promoted to Administrative Assistant for the Educational Council. Marti has served in the Educational Office for 17 years. Her promotion is well deserved. Brian formerly served as Senior Staff Assistant in the Admissions office. All the best to Marti and Brian in their new positions!

Vincent W. James

MIT Reports to the President 1995-96