MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXXI No. 4
March / April 2019
The Proposed New Review Process
for Outside Funders and MIT's
Governance Problem
A 21st Century Education at MIT
March 4, 1969 Scientists Strike for Peace:
50 Years Later
An Open Letter to the MIT Corporation
FNL Elects Four New and One
Returning Editorial Board Members
Open Access Task Force
Draft Recommendations
The Octopus
Progress Towards an Improved
Undergraduate First-Year Experience
Update on the Academic Climate Survey
Undergraduate Admissions:
A Recommendation
Public Forums at the
Center for International Studies
International Collaborations and
Donations to the Endowment
Faculty Responses to the
2019 Academic Climate Survey
Printable Version

Undergraduate Admissions: A Recommendation

Alan White

Each year faculty are invited to participate in the undergraduate admissions process and this year I decided to do this.

If you have been at MIT for a while it is likely you’ve been asked how a daughter, son or friend might successfully apply for undergraduate admission. I now feel I can accurately say to anyone who asks me about being admitted, “It is practically impossible.”

Last year MIT received some 21,000 applications and admitted approximately 1500. How does MIT accomplish this task?

Reading the applications is a humbling process and I felt “Who am I to decide on such excellent applicants?” Fortunately, faculty inputs are only one of many inputs.

Most applicants are interviewed world-wide. This is accomplished by alumni volunteers. And then, a very impressive MIT Admissions staff takes over and committee meetings are held to reach consensus on candidates. Faculty who have read applications are invited to attend these committee meetings.

The time commitment to participate in the admission process is minimal. Faculty attend a one-hour orientation and then are asked to evaluate applications. The evaluation is accomplished on line.

I found the process gave me a new appreciation for MIT's undergraduates. They are all remarkable in academic achievement, but their life stories are the compelling differentiators. You are left with a desire to get to know them better.

I fully recommend faculty consider participating in the process. Like many areas of MIT, you open a portal (in this case Undergraduate Admissions), and enter a new area of discovery.

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