MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Matt McGann '00

Aug 26, 2008

MIT Admissions Statistics 2008

Posted in: Process & Statistics

Trivia: This year's admit rate was 11.9%. What was the admit rate for my class, the MIT Class of 2000, when we were admitted in 1996?
[answer at the end of the entry]

Probably the most popular questions asked at any information session are statistical. What is the average SAT score? How many students were admitted Early Action?

Luckily, I can refer most folks to our website, where we offer a plethora of numbers for any statistical junkie. Recently, we updated the admissions statistics page for this year's application cycle. Here's a quick summary of what you'll find...

Freshman Applications 13,396
Freshman Admits 1,589

Early action
Applicants 3,925
Admitted 522
Deferred to regular action 2,903
Deferred applicants admitted during regular action 279

Regular action
Applicants 9,471
Total considered during regular action (including deferred students) 12,375
Admitted (including deferred students) 1,032
Waitlisted 741

International students
Applied 3,052
Admitted 119

Middle 50% score range of admitted students:
SAT Reasoning Test - Critical Reading [670, 770]
SAT Reasoning Test - Math [730, 800]
ACT Composite [31, 35]
SAT Subject Test - Math [740, 800]
SAT Subject Test - Science [710, 800]

There are lots more statistics available on on the freshman class profile and the admissions statistics pages.

Trivia answer: The MIT Class of 2000 admit rate was 24.3% -- more than 2x this year's rate. That could mean that if my admissions colleague McGreggor Crowley '00 and I had applied this year, perhaps only one of us might have been admitted!

Comments (Closed after 30 days to reduce spam)

Wow, the international pool's gotten a lot more competitive year, and I thought the ~5% admit rate of the previous year was low.

Posted by: Bethan on August 26, 2008

*competitive this year

I really need to read before I post. >.*competitive this year

I really need to read before I post. >.<

Posted by: Bethan on August 26, 2008

Does MIT look at SAT writing scores?

Posted by: 0 on August 26, 2008

Excuse me, does anyone know if registration for a recruitment meeting is required? ^^

Posted by: Arantxa on August 26, 2008

Just curious as to how many males vs. females applied and how many of each were admitted? I remember reading that there was more than a 12% increase in applications from females this year. Any stats on those numbers? Greatly appreciated!!

Posted by: anonymous on August 26, 2008

The SAT writing score remains controversial; it hasn't been talked about in awhile, but in the past, Stu Schmill wrote an article (or was quoted in an article) about this (search "The Tech" archives).

Posted by: neuron39 on August 26, 2008

Between 750 and 800 on the SAT Scores, could we see what the admission rate was at a higher level of precision? Perhaps a line graph that had the full range of SAT scores on the x-axis and admission probability on the y-axis. . . It seems that the higher your SAT score is, especially in Critical Reading, the more substantial a difference each point increased makes – in other words, it’s roughly exponential. Just wondering if a perfect score in Critical Reading makes the difference between a 27% probability of admission and perhaps a figure much higher. . .

Also, could we see statistics on the relationship between (successful) participation in science fairs and admission probability? The statistics provided just seem to show that the quantitative factors represented have a relatively weak correlation with admission rate. Is there, like, a secret (measurable) factor that has a surprisingly strong correlation? Or do you feel that it is better for the final decision to be a qualitative description of the psychological make-up of the applicant? (Sorry if I sound querulous, but the comment on “statistical junkies” energized me into action.)

This is tangential, but I’ve been dabbling a bit in 3D computer graphics and animation with open source software called Blender. This probably will be helpful in engineering visualization. My renderings and a few short pieces of creative writing are on my blog: Go Open Source!

Posted by: Tautologizer on August 26, 2008

I must say, I'm likin' this new trivia thing you've got going on.

Posted by: Kasey on August 26, 2008

Good news! I'm a 12th graders and I'm beginning to forget my SAT scores!!


Posted by: 0 on August 26, 2008

the male female question is a good question.
doesn't MIT have one of the lowest admit rate for male applicants?

Posted by: mynameiscabbage on August 27, 2008

glad to see the middle-range sat hasn't changed... :] mit stays mit

Posted by: JU on August 27, 2008

I am giving my A levels right now.I would like to graduate from MIT.I wnt to know the criteria and the financial details.

Posted by: Kishan on August 27, 2008

@mynameiscabbage and anonymous

Females are more self-selective in the admission process. They take themselves out of the pool more often then males. For further reference, there was a famous lawsuit against Berkeley about their grad school discriminating against gender. (or you can just take a Statistics class) Basically, it doesn't help your admission probability if you're female (or just list yourself as female).

There isn't really a "secret free-admission ticket" even though everybody wishes there was one. MIT admissions (and almost all college admissions) looks at the whole applicant.

Posted by: Albert Wang '12 on August 27, 2008

@ Tautologizer
It's been stated many times that great scores and other statistics get you consideration only. Everyone who applies to MIT looks good on paper. It's the other parts of the application - essays, the interview, an in-depth extracurricular or two, that distinguish successful applicatants.

Posted by: 0 on August 27, 2008

@ Albert Wang '12
I guessed that was the subtext of giving those statistics, but my point was that there may be some measurable factor of an applicant that just *happens* to exist very often in acceptable applicants, like successful ISEF participation or something. I am very anxious because it otherwise seems (in practicality) random: only about twenty to thirty percent of applicants with near perfect SAT scores were accepted, and the qualitative factors that the admissions personnel *do* look at seriously are indelible personality traits. To change these would be contrived (not to mention humbling) and would tend to make you undesirable, but to leave them the way they are leaves your undesirable character traits the same. Doh! I guess I'll just work on whatever is in my control to improve and go to whichever college is okay with that.

Posted by: Tautologizer on August 27, 2008

@ Tautologizer

Maybe this post from Ben will help you understand that some things can't be categorized or quantified. Some items that might shine on an application have nothing to do with scores or accomplishments. There might be a revelation as to why an applicant is the person he/she is because of a childhood experience or even a family tradition. These types of things are immeasurable, but they speak loudly about the applicant and shed light on the individual. Here's Ben's post -

Posted by: anonymous on August 27, 2008

Math Problem!

If the admit rate continues dropping at the present pace, what will be the percentage of students admitted in the year 2013?

Actually, I'm not sure I want to know!

Posted by: Claire on August 27, 2008

@ anonymous
Thanks, that clarified things. I was thinking about it in totally the wrong framework.

Posted by: Tautologizer on August 27, 2008

@anonymous, Tautologizer

Thanks anonymous. You got the reply out before I could. The reason why MIT likes people who do ISEF (and win) is because they're smart. They don't like ISEF people just because "its ISEF." I don't know about you, Tautologizer, but there's a fair amount of people who just look at the profiles of admitted students and copy them (just go to collegeconfidential). They try for 2400 just to get into college, join science fairs just to get into college, etc. whether or not they themselves want to or like to. MIT admissions looks for smart people (characterized by prizes, good grades, high scores, etc.) but more importantly, they look for people who have passion: (not necessarily science/engineering) people who join science fairs for the thrill of discovery and who try for 2400 because they want to see how good they are.

I can't speak for MIT Admissions but that's what I've gathered since I started looking at college admissions more than a year ago.

Posted by: Albert Wang '12 on August 28, 2008

Hey Claire from up above,

Way to be named Claire and be a prospective '13. By no effort of your own, and simply because some of your traits match mine, I deem you cool for life.

The end.

Posted by: Claire (another one) on August 28, 2008


Posted by: MALAY on August 28, 2008

The number of freshmen admitted won't increase substantially even if the applicants increase.

Posted by: Tristam on August 28, 2008

i am an international student and i want to apply to MIT. but the percentage of student admitted is very disaponting. i am an excellent student, i am head in a world wide project. you will hear about it after. i take part in NASA and many other competitions. can you say me, if i can hope to be admitted to MIT?

Posted by: Dimitris(hopefully class of 2015) on August 28, 2008

Thanks Matt!

Posted by: Aditya on August 28, 2008


I think you've got to have a minimum TOEFL score...

Posted by: Aditya on August 28, 2008

In today's issue of The Tech, Stu Schmill gives the female/male numbers -

9,464 male applicants - 828 admitted @ a rate of 8.8 percent
3,391 female applicants - "a double digit percent increase" from last year with 761 admitted @ a rate of 22.4 percent

"The female applicant pool remains more self-selecting," Schmill said. "We admit the best students regardless of gender, and we are pleased that this turns out to the as balanced as it is."

Considering that the overall undergraduate population in the U.S. is 60% female and 40% male, studies have shown that overall females have a much more difficult time getting admitted to selective universities across the country. Typically, females experience a much lower percentage of admit rates than males. MIT may be the only selective institution where this not the case. I have no doubt that the admitted females have equal qualifications as the admitted male students.

Besides, what incoming freshman male students would want to attend a university where the ratio was 65/35 male to female? That is what would occur if admit rates of males/females were equalized. Your current freshman class would have 681 males and 367 females. That would just be no fun at all.

Here's the article:

Cheers to the increase in female applicants!!!

Posted by: anonymous on August 28, 2008

@ Aditya

this is the easy part, the toefl. i know about the scores.SAT i think is a bit difficultier.
something else. i know someone called aditya who won NASA aeronautic competition this year. is it you?

Posted by: Dimitris(hopefully class of 2015) on August 28, 2008

@ 2nd Claire

Thank you. Maybe this was misunderstood, i would technically be a prospect '17er. i was hoping for some admissions statistics for entrance year 2013.

Am i still cool for life?

Posted by: 1st Claire on August 28, 2008

A close friend of mine got a 2390 on the SAT (800 Math, 800 Critical Reading, 790 Verbal). We were talking, and I was wondering, to what extent (if any) does this "guarantee" his acceptance?

Posted by: Anonymous on August 28, 2008

Wow, sorry about above, I meant 790 Writing (because Critical Reading and Verbal are the same thing).

Posted by: Anonymous on August 28, 2008

@The Anonymous poster above me:

As people have said before, there is no formula for getting into MIT. 2390 is a great score, but ultimately, just because your friend has a 2390 doesn't mean he's guaranteed acceptance.

Every other part of his application will matter too, it's all taken into consideration.

I hope that helps. =]

Posted by: Bethan on August 28, 2008

As Bethan said, a 2390 on the SAT I is in no way a guaranteed in. Scores are important, but probably not as much as some people would like you to believe - and really, there is no formula. What matters is what you're like as a person and a scholar.

Posted by: Paul on August 28, 2008

@ Anonymous
None at all. Lots of people with perfect scores are rejected, and lots of people with much lower scores are rejected.
It's all in context :]

Posted by: - on August 28, 2008

Oops - that was supposed to say "and lots of people with much lower scores are accepted."

Posted by: - on August 28, 2008

Hello to everyone!

I have a question, when someone's name is "Someone '11", this means what? His/her entrance year might be 2011 or he/she will graduate in 2011?

Posted by: Vangelis on August 29, 2008


I am an international student from the most populous country in the world who made it to Intel ISEF 2008. How much will that help me in admission to MIT?

Posted by: KongZi on August 29, 2008

@ Vangelis - That's the year of graduation.

@ KongZi - A lot, I imagine. It shows strong interest in science and engineering, skill, determination... congrats, by the way! But it doesn't guarantee your acceptance, of course. Make sure the rest of your application supports what your Intel achievement says about you, too.

Posted by: - on August 29, 2008

what do you think about the IAO (International Astronomy Olympiad) for international students? should that go on my application?

Posted by: ao on August 29, 2008

If I don't have an ISEF award but have an equal-level engineering project(Not every students in my country have equal chance to participate in the fair), will it help? I'm afraid that only a project speaks less.

Posted by: Yangrui on August 29, 2008

If I don't have an ISEF award but have an equal-level engineering project(Not every students in my country have equal chance to participate in the fair), will it help? I'm afraid that only a project speaks less. Thanks very much.

By the way, I'm reapplying freshman this year. Sorry for the e-mail regard with your decision that I was a bit emotional.

Posted by: Yangrui on August 29, 2008


I'm a foreign student from Brazil. I would like to know if MIT has some visiting program for students from another college. A program to course part (like 1 year) of the graduation at MIT.


Posted by: Romulo on August 29, 2008


The web page on international students says that anyone who is not a US citizen or permanent resident must apply as an international student.

I've been in the states for 8 years and am in the process of obtaining a greencard- I have an A Number; do I have to apply as an international student? If so, what do I do if I obtain my greencard during this upcoming school year?


Posted by: YT on August 29, 2008

Very competitive...

Posted by: Davo on August 30, 2008

I've got 2 and a half more years for the international acceptance rate to rise.
What are the chances of that happening? =-----
DATE: 08/30/2008 11:44:37 AM
Yangrui: it absolutely will! Talk about your project in that optional section of the application that says "tell us about something you created."

Posted by: Helen '15 on August 30, 2008

Thank you!

Posted by: Yangrui on August 30, 2008

Now that statistics are up, I can't believe the next early application is only few(2?3?) months away...

Posted by: Roman K. on August 31, 2008

I want to RSVP for Information session at Shady Side Academy Sept 20th. The link sent to RSVP does not work. Can you give me a phone number or workable link. Please test the link( I tried several times, with and without the "s" after http.

Posted by: Calvin Griffin on September 2, 2008

I study in First year of a regional college in INDIA. Is it okay if i apply for Freshman Application instead of Transfer Application. I dont want any tranfer of credits..

Posted by: Dhvanit on September 2, 2008

I am trying to rsvp for the fall session at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. I am having the same problem with the rsvp link. I have tried numerous times and i keep getting an error message.

Posted by: Alan Chestnut on September 3, 2008

i m expecting ur experiences with talent but poor international students.

Posted by: ashis on September 4, 2008

u r responding to it soon aren't u?

Posted by: ashis on September 4, 2008

Comments have been closed.