MIT Admissions

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Jun 24, 2008

Waitlist Wrap-Up 2008

Posted in: Process & Statistics

This afternoon, we notified the 64 students remaining on the waitlist that we do not have any more room in the class, and will not admit any additional students from the waitlist this year. The decision not to admit any more from the waitlist was especially difficult, as there were many really great students on the waitlist who we wished we had room for. We appreciate your having been able to wait with us into the early summer.

This was an extraordinary year across the admissions landscape, with some of our peer institutions needing to admit greater than 200 students from their waitlists. Large waitlist movement at a few schools has ripple effects, requiring longer waitlists at many colleges this year. We're glad that things have now settled down enough that we can conclude our admissions for this year and let the remaining waitlist students focus on their schools for the fall.

To those of you who stuck with us on the waitlist, thank you, and we wish you all the best at your college in the fall -- we know you will have a terrific and successful experience.

Best wishes,
MIT Admissions Waitlist Committee

Comments (Closed after 30 days to reduce spam)

beat

Posted by: Joey Greenspun on June 24, 2008

Bye Bye MIT!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous on June 24, 2008

As a parent of one of these sixty-four waitlisted students, I would offer MIT these thoughts.

Given the credentials of these students, you must have had difficult decisions to make. Up to this second waitlist process, I am impressed with how transparent and efficient the admission process was at MIT.

Yet, to drag along the waitlist.2 process without any notification since mid-May, reflects poorly.

Next year, think about calling it something other than a waitlist, if you do not intend to take any students. Call it a standby list or some title whereby students understand that none will be offered admission, unless unforseen circumstances arise.

It was implied that the reason for the list was to select additional students. Not taking anyone from the list, when so many invested additional time and energy updating information, not to mention the continued suspense, seems ridiculous at this point.

To not take any students gives the appearance that waitlists are exclusively for the University's benefit, with no consideration of the students and the student's additional effort, expense, and complication on schedules and planning. Had students known this result, I doubt any would have invested the additional effort, merely for the benefit of giving the university a safety net.

Fortunately, all these kids have great places to go and will do great things. Unfortunately, MIT has limited admission spots and not all who wish to attend will be offerred admission.

That being said, MIT's handling of waitlist.2 was sub-par when compared to how well all other aspects of admission, notification, and communication were handled.

Hopefully it will work better next year and no students will be in "Limboville" for an extra five weeks, only to find out it was all for nothing.

Thanks again and good luck to all!

Posted by: happy parent on June 24, 2008

Well, it's finally over. To all the students lucky enough to make it, congrats. And to all those who almost did - you will certainly do great elsewhere.

@happy parent - Some students did make it off the waitlist, as far as I know. Also, the purpose of the waitlist is to fill otherwise unfullfilled spots. The waitlist dance is an ongoing one because as students get into some schools, they leave the other schools, and those schools in turn seek to fill the spots with students from their own waiting list. MIT has made it clear that in the past there have been times where no one was accepted at all, and that the process is a long one. It's a frustrating but needed part of the entire admissions process. I'm not sure what MIT could say. "Hey guys, still waiting" won't satisfy many, but sometimes that's the answer.

Posted by: Piper on June 24, 2008

@Happy Parent:
1. Waiting lists ARE SUPPOSED TO benefit the institution. That's why colleges have it, isn't it? Colleges don't have waiting lists to be a second deferral; they do it because no one has any idea how many of the admitted students are going to enroll. It's a safety net for the institution, not the student.
2. You can write this to any school with a waitlist. I don't deny that it's a good criticism of the waiting list system but it is so generalized that it does not pertain specifically to MIT. Accepting the harsh reality is a lesson most of us learn from the admission process, and wait list "Limboville" is by far one of the least problematic practice compared to other admission controversies.

That said, I still want to wish your son/daughter as well as all those 64 students the best luck in the future. I don't know about you, but I felt honored being wait-listed at some of the colleges I applied to. So cheer up! Maybe you'll come to teach at MIT one day!

Posted by: Tong '12 on June 24, 2008

@Happy Parent: Being a waitlisted student myself, I totally agree with your thoughts on the waitlisting process.

However, MIT was good to announce so early. I am waitlisted at one institution and do not find out the answer until Late August/Early September(After MIT's Orientation). Don't worry everyone, I'm still coming to MIT =D

Also, it is the student's choice to go through with it, and they are all warned that very few people get off the waitlist (Penn put that in their waitlisting offer to me as well). And, considering it is MIT, the most part of students actually do accept to enroll, so the chances to get in off the waitlist are very scarce.

Posted by: Enas'12 on June 24, 2008

Hehe. Still waiting on McGill Enas? Yeah, you best not be leaving us!

@ happy parent: I think I can sympathize with your son/daughter, being so close to something so desirable, and working so hard for it, just to be disappointed and let down. In life, things like this happen from time to time, so it's important to be optimistic, and yet always aware of the fact that things might not go your way.

While it would be ideal to award students for putting so much time and extra effort into updating their applications and digging in at the end of their high school career, and to treat these people as more than numbers, unfortunately, it is sometimes simply a numbers game. Also, it's important to keep in mind ahead of time that the waitlist is meant to be a kind of safety net, as selfish as it may sound.

I'm sorry, and I hope your son/daughter will find another great home away from home.

Posted by: Jeremy '12 on June 24, 2008

OK, I know it's been said countless times already,but I'd like to say something. Dear happy parent, I understand that something like the waitlist is rough, to say the least, but it shouldn't be such a surprise. Yes, it's unexpected, but we as applicants are warned of this occuring every year. For you to have posted, I'm sure you must be at least slightly familiar with the blogs. Blog posts have said numerous times that sometimes none have been taken, sometimes near none, and that usually, it does take a long time, urging you to have a back up. I don't consider the amount of time taken as a bad thing. That means they were seriously considering the apps. From what I've gathered, these guys take these apps personally, they don't just see them as names and numbers on a page. Tell your son/daughter that they may not have gotten in, but that shouldn't stop them from pursuing their passion. Making it to the waitlist is a serious accomplishment, and shouldn't be taken lightly. I mean, how many people do you know who can say they came that far. Trust me, I know hearing "no" after a long wait bites (I was deferred and denied) but don't let it go to your head. That's just my opinion, though. Godspeed to your family and son/daughter.

Posted by: De Petagma Saru Clemson '12 on June 25, 2008

Thanks for the comments, but please, no need to offer apologies or condolences to my son. He is going to a great Ivy League peer school and all will be fine.

In my original post, I was not referring to the original waitlist. I was referring to the second round of waitlisting, or waitlist.2, as we called it at our house. In your replies, some of you seem to be unaware that MIT waitlisted the waitlist this year, something I have not previously heard of here, or at other universities.

My son, was fully aware of waitlist process. Nothing was expected.

I do think it is fair to question the time delays MIT created by taking the first waitlist of 629 students, accepting 35, and then offerring 64 others a place on the second round of waitlists. Why even have the second waitlist, and the hassle of updating admission information, if no students were to be taken?

The first waitlist is understandable, and common in the admission process. The second round, seems a bit wasteful, and from the perspective of a family feeling strung along, does not reflect all the other great aspects of the MIT admissions process.

No hard feelings here. You will all do great things, as will those, like my son, going to other great universities.

Good luck to you all!

Posted by: happy parent on June 25, 2008

just wondering, how come it took til june 24th to find out that the class of '12 was full?

Posted by: random '11 on June 25, 2008

as opposed to, say june 1st or june 15th

Posted by: random '11 on June 25, 2008

Hi random '11,

A big part of the problem is that all of our biggest "overlap schools" still have active waitlists. Usually, there is much smaller waitlist movement among this group, and that movement usually concludes in May. This year, the waitlist movement was much bigger (over 200, in two notable cases), and has stretched well into June. This game of waitlist "musical chairs" impacts all schools. That waitlist movement among the schools has slowed, allowing us to have more clarity on our class size.

Posted by: madmatt on June 25, 2008

Took you long enough hmmm
Kinda sucks really. I sent in my application at the end of November last year? So like 7 months?
Also, all of you tagged with '12, don't pretend that you know what it feels like.

Posted by: Anon on June 26, 2008

Anon, I was rejected from Harvard mid-July. Why I was on that waitlist, I can honestly say I have no idea, but the point is, June 24 is hardly late.

Posted by: rko '11 on June 27, 2008

It seems to me that they made it pretty clear the majority of the waitlist, and especially the second waitlist, were not going to be granted admission, especially when the remaining 64 were pretty obviously vying for spots opened up by the results of the first waitlist (which seems like an unlikelihood to me).

I understand that waiting this long to be ultimately let down would be pretty brutal, but I would hardly qualify it as being "strung along".

Posted by: Yasha on June 28, 2008

Its not so much the rejection as the lack of information in the weeks since the first part of the waitlist ended. A simple "it looks extremely unlikely that anyone from the second waitlist will be admitted" the first week of June would have been enough to make me happy.

I called the admissions office numerous times after the deadline for the first waitlist applicants, and every time they said "we are still deciding" or something of that sort. That gave me hope that someone would still get in. Really I'm over the fact I didn't get in, but a little bit of information along the way would have been welcome.

Like someone said on the original waitlist post for this year, "MIT, you defer me in EA. You waitlist me in RA. You’re probably going to make me fight an ogre come late May to see if I’m worth admitting. Seriously now, most girls I’ve known haven’t led me on this badly. You should be ashamed of yourself." How true that is...

Posted by: Deferred, waitlisted, waitlisted again on June 29, 2008

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