Gender Differences in Submitting
Admissions Maker Portfolios
To The Faculty Newsletter:
I just read “Gender Imbalance in MIT Admissions Maker Portfolios” (MIT Faculty Newsletter, Vol. XXVIII, No. 2). I’m not sure of the actual application rate for men versus women at MIT, but the numbers in the chart seem to indicate 12,750 and 5,556 respectively for year 2013. I find on another Website that 46% of your undergraduates are women, which if correct implies that the women applying have a much higher probability of gaining admission. A rough calculation says the odds are 1 in 10 versus 1 in 20 for men. So male applicants in my opinion would be much more inclined to submit a Maker Portfolio because they don’t want to leave any stone unturned in their quest for admittance.
Of course, that doesn’t explain the total difference in disparity between the male/female Maker Portfolio submittal rate, but it could be the reason for some of it.
Chris Peterson and Hal Abelson respond:
We thank Mr. Noga for his comment. However, his hypothesis does not account for the significant gap between the rate at which women submit Maker Portfolios and that at which they submit other kinds of portfolios (e.g., art and music), which is the primary phenomenon we are seeking to explain, especially in the context of contemporary initiatives to engage women in STEM.