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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

More Information on the Waitlist by Matt McGann '00

Some answers for those offered a place on MIT's waitlist.

I know that folks on the waitlist have lots of questions; hopefully this post will be helpful.

How does the waitlist work?

We are aiming for a class of about 1,075 students this year. Based on our estimates of the percentage of admitted students who will attend (known as the “yield”), we admitted 1611 students. However, it isn’t possible to exactly predict how many student will attend this year. To help with the uncertainties, we also keep a waitlist of students.

Is the waitlist ranked?


How many people are on the waitlist?

We offered 722 applicants — approximately 4.3% of applicants — a spot on the waitlist. Not all of those students will choose to remain on the waitlist.

Can you tell me where I am on the waitlist?

As I’ve said, the waitlist is not ranked. We will reconsider all of the waitlisted students again in May, when we know how many students remain on the waitlist, and how many we wish to take from the waitlist.

How many people will you admit from the waitlist this year?

It is impossible to know. We will have no idea how many people, if any, we will take from the waitlist until after the reply date of May 1.

What has the waitlist looked like, historically?

Last year we admitted 78 students from the waitlist. The year before that, we admitted 35 students from the waitlist, and the year before that we admitted 20 students. However, the four years before that, we didn’t take anyone from the waitlist. But there was another year in this past decade where we admitted more than 100 students from the waitlist. So, it’s hard to know how this year will look. Over the past few years, the “waitlist admit rate” has ranged from 0% to 18%.

What are the realities here?

I know that while we plan for the worst, usually things don’t go quite so badly. Thus, it’s likely that most people on the waitlist will not be admitted. I hope that you will have another great choice to fall in love with, so that no matter what happens with the MIT waitlist, everything will still turn out well for you in the end.

Who do you admit from the waitlist? For example, if someone from state X or major Y declines, are you likely to look for another student like them?

If we go to the waitlist, we will consider what our class looks like as one factor in choosing students. But we’re not strict about it. So, if an oboe player decides to go somewhere else, we may, or may not, try to take another oboe player.

Are domestic students given priority over international students on the waitlist?

No, but we do consider whether admitting international students from the waitlist would put us over our 8% international quota.

I’m still very interested in attending MIT. What should I do if I hope to be admitted from the waitlist?

Certainly, you should return the postcard coming in the postal mail with your waitlist notification (decision letter). This letter was mailed yesterday. Additionally, I would recommend sending us a letter in mid-late April with an update on what you’ve been up to since our last contact. You can also feel free to provide any other information you think would be helpful.

What should I not do?

Here are some things you should not do: Fly to campus to make the case in person. Send us ridiculous items or bribes. Submit a whole new application. Bombard our office with way too much stuff. Be pushy. Be sketchy. Let your grades drop. Not choose another college to attend by May 1.

What should I do about the May 1 reply date for other colleges?

You should accept the offer of admission from another college before May 1, even if it means making a deposit. After May 1, when all students have sent their replies, colleges will determine if they need to go to their waitlist or not, and if so, how many students they need to admit. At this point, colleges will begin admitting students from the waitlist. Students who accept this offer will “unenroll” at the first college and enroll at the second. This shifting can lead to a second round of waitlist admissions. All of this is a standard part of the admissions process. We colleges recognize and accept this.

If I’m admitted off of the waitlist, do I have to go to MIT? What about financial aid?

You’re not required to enroll. We’ll give you a financial aid package and you’ll have time to consider your decision before letting us know one way or the other. It is in your best interest to complete your financial aid application now, so that if you are admitted from the waitlist, we’ll have a financial aid package ready to go. Our waitlist process, like our entire admissions process, is need blind, and we will meet full need for all admitted students.

Okay, what should I do now?

If you are still interested in MIT, you should stay in contact with us. A letter, a phone call, notes from people who know you well… these are good things to provide. Please always be very nice in all of your interactions with us! Keep us up to date all the way through May 1 and beyond if you remain interested.

And in the meantime… be patient. There won’t be any waitlist news until after May 1.

17 responses to “More Information on the Waitlist”

  1. Jochi Pochi says:

    I wish that the international students quota would be 1% more :(
    oh btw Second!!!!

  2. ~A says:

    Wowowowowo Matt!

    Here thou cometh, hahaha!!

    Oppsss haven’t yet read the post though but did not want to miss out on saying something…

    ….. 1st Yaaayyy!!

  3. Dillon says:

    Thanks for this post! I’m on the wait list, and I’m going to do everything that I can to make it on the admit list.

  4. Nathan says:

    Are students on the waitlist allowed to stay overnight?

  5. Mary says:

    Thanks Matt!! as always, your posts are extremely helpful!! thanks!! smile
    I’m really sorry if this is a silly question, but I wasn’t quite clear on this… do we have to send updates on what we are doing frequently? and whom do we email them to, if so? i remember another nice blogger saying that she was waitlisted last year, and was admitted after keeping in touch with MIT by keeping on sending emails…

    I haven’t given up my dream of studying alternate energy and engineering at MIT with fantastic teachers smile

    btw, hello fellow waitlisters!!!!!!!!!! smile

  6. @Mary:

    I’ve been reading up on absolutely anything I could find about the waitlist, and here’s basically what all of them say:

    Return the wait list card as soon as you get it (you’ll get it in physical mail, I got mine yesterday).

    Absolutely do not spam them with stuff, turn up in person, etc. (same as was said for EA and RA).

    As the blog post suggests, a letter or email in mid-April would probably be a good idea. On a personal note, I’m planning on sending one update within the next week, one in mid/late April and one more if I wind up in the latest part of the waitlist. You probably want to keep each update nicely condensed, not a mess of everything you think might help you stuffed in.

    And finally for where to send it to, I’m pretty sure [email protected] for email, and the mailing address at the bottom of this page for physical stuff. I think they can find the right file from your full name, but it wouldn’t hurt to make sure your full address (whatever you used in your application, both email and physical) and your date of birth are all in the update.

    If you want to find any of this for yourself, I found most of the stuff by poking around the site and searching the blog archives for waitlist 2009, 2008, etc.

    Good luck to all of us on the waitlist, I hope to get in & see many of you at MIT, and congratulations to the ~1600 who got admitted!

  7. Daniel says:

    Brick walls are only there to separate those who don’t really want something from those who do.

    I know I do :p

    My school just started a crew team! It came as a surprise, and I joined and fell in love with the sport. Is there a chance to speak with the rowing coach, even though it’s after the decisions? Do you send scouts for crew?

    Hey Mary =] Hope we make it!

  8. Elias says:

    Matt, will you be announcing how many people actually chose to stay on the wait list at some later point, so that we know what the total actual pool size is?

  9. Mary says:

    Thanks Alex!!!!!!!!!!!!
    That was really kind of you smile
    Yes, I’ve also read most of that, poking around the blogs since Sunday…lol That was an excellent summary too smile Are you going to contact your interviewer? I think Hamiska advised that we do so… (though I dont remember where i read everything…lol)

    hmmm you see!!!!!!! MIT ppl are so sensible, kind and friendly-like Alex and Daniel, here, and Matt and all the other compassionate bloggers… That, you know, is what finally fixed MIT as my dream school…reading the website-especially the blogs gave me the feeling that MIT is as much a family-like University, as my secondary school:)…
    yes, congrats to all those who got in smile You all are in for a wonderful experience smile

    hey, Daniel!! smile and every1:) I do hope we make it happily and safely to whichever University lies on each of our paths smile None of my other results have been released yet- Cornell and Notre Dame results come out in April, I think. What other schools have yall applied to? and have any more decisions come out yet? smile Does any1 else wish to study Alternate Energy, btw? smile

  10. Mary says:

    btw, Daniel, I’ve always wished to row too!!!!!! It always looks like so much fun! and if rowing a dinghy is fun, I can hardly imagine the real thing!!!! smilehmmm maybe, we’ll both meet up in crew in MIT smile

  11. No problem! And yep I had forgotten about that. I contacted my interviewer the evening I got the decision, and I might again in my mid-April update. Even if it might not up your chances, all the interviewers are MIT alumni. They’ve already been through the whole application process, and if you have any questions about MIT they can probably answer them.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Please tell me what could be a good SAT score for reasoning test and subject test for international applicant. please let me know.
    And how can the secondary school reports, teacher evaluation forms be sent online.
    What could be a good 11th class marks to make chances alive.
    can it be 80 percent
    Thank you

  13. craze says:

    how can one know that he/she is waitlisted? Is it shown in or is received in mail?

  14. craze says:

    rejected applicants will received any documents via mail or not? plz anybody

  15. Hania ('14?) says:

    @craze (1st)
    Yes, in was written “we have placed you on our Wait List”

  16. Alan says:

    Hey fellow waitlisters, I’m also on the waitlist.

    When we ask our teachers for letters of recommendation, do we use the same form we used when applying? Or do we just ask them to write a letter? If its the former, could anyone link me to the forms? I can’t seem to find them.

    And, do we send the letters to the same place, or would MIT prefer us to ask our teachers to email the letter of recommendation to the admissions team?

    My captcha says “fixation offensive” perhaps, that means being obsessed with MIT and spamming them with updates is offensive?

    Getting waitlisted sucks, but lets not give up guys and gals! :D

  17. Mary says:

    Hi every1 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! smile
    i hope yall are holding up ok smile
    I just got a rejection letter from Notre Dame… I think that they said that I can’t be accepted because they don’t have sufficient funding…
    I’m really grateful that they gave me a reason, though…
    This is kinda scary, though, because that’s the second non-acceptance letter… I’m now waiting 4 the 3rd and final one from Cornell on april 1st…
    well, good luck fellow waitlisters smile take care smilehave a fantastic weekend smile