One thing I like to talk about with prospective students is the fact that there are all sorts of folks at MIT.
For example, there is no majority ethnicity. MIT is about 35% white, 25% asian (of some persuasion), 15% Hispanic, 10% African-American, 1% Native American, and 9% International, and our minority community provides all of the cultural resources that make MIT feel like home to anyone.
We also have terrific socioeconomic diversity. 75% of MIT students graduated from public high schools, a rate that is much, much higher than many select private schools, and even a good deal higher than many state schools. Additionally, 15% of MIT students are the first generation of their family to go to college.
We also have terrific gender diversity for a science and engineering school. The MIT student body is composed of about 55% male and 45% female students (and a great LGBT community, I might add). While MIT is disporportionately male when compared to the college-going population as a whole (in 2005 57% of college students were female), we’ve come pretty close to gender parity, certainly much closer than most science and technology schools. I’m not going to name any other schools here, because many of them are trying their level best to encourage more wonderfully geeky young women to apply to their schools, but if you look around out there, you’ll see numbers like 20% for women, if even that.
MIT women rock. (This you know, of course, from our many awesome blogger women). They’re a strong and self-selecting group, who absolutely love science and math (as well as, like Natanya, HASS!) They include (as we’ve mentioned in the blogs before) blogging PhD candidates and biochemist models.
All of which is really just a pretext for me to post this. Flight of the Conchords fans, enjoy!