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MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

The Waitlist by Ben Jones

This is not an easy entry to write so I'll just keep it short. No waitlist this year.

This is not an easy entry to write so I’ll just keep it short.

In a nutshell, we’re not going to be able to admit anyone from the waitlist this year. Our yield was simply too high – unprecedented, as a matter of fact.

Because last year’s class was significantly overenrolled, we admitted 200 fewer applicants this year – fully intending to use the waitlist in order to meet our target class size. With that figure in mind, I was convinced that we’d have to admit at least a few from the waitlist. I was wrong.

To those of you who were on the waitlist, particularly those of you with whom I’ve been corresponding these past couple of months – I share your disappointment today. I wish I had brighter words to share, but the truth is simply that this journey has ended.

My only consolation in all of this is that it would have been impossible to choose between you had we been able to take a few, because each of you has a ton of heart, creativity, and passion, expressed 500 different ways. And knowing that, I know that you will do wonderful things in the world, wherever you end up.

I hope that you will keep in touch, and I wish you rewarding, safe, and fun adventures in the years to come.


25 responses to “The Waitlist”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The yield rate… definitely a positive consequence of these blogs and the chat. You’ve convinced me to go for MIT above any other school.

    I wish everyone on the waitlist much luck!


  2. amrik says:

    What was the yield this year?

  3. Ben says:

    Thanks for your awesome post Katie. grin

    Amrik, we won’t know the exact yield until we see ramifications of other schools going to their waitlists, but I’ll let you know as soon as I know. grin

  4. Mike says:

    Man, if MIT keeps getting unusually high yields, applicants will be facing numbers closer to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

    On the other hand, it’s kind of flattering isn’t it? It shows people are more interested in the school.

  5. Meder says:

    aww… so sorry about all waitlisted people…

    keep your heads up and Good Luck!

  6. Niraj says:

    Thanx guys for all this good wishes. I am disappointed in a way, but I do believe that all the applicants that were accepted are extraordinary students and outstanding human beings.
    I have certainly enjoyed my time on these blogs. From these blogs, I have learned many important things about the admissions process and college life and many other things about life.

    Thank you
    Ben and every one associated with these blogs.

  7. Kelly says:


    my bad…


    (Ben is it enough for a nose ring?)

  8. SHABIN says:

    Dear Ben, from my heart I feel the gratitude for you and Matt McGann. Words will fail if I try to say it.

    Dear Ben, for all the things you have done for me, and others, I have only one word to say.

    And that is :




    Yours Truly,

    May 11, 2005.

  9. Laura says:

    Haha yeah, what was the nose ring cutoff? I seem to remember some percentage in the 60s….but then, CPW memories are fuzzy because of all the 3 million things that went on…

    Being waitlisted sucks majorly. I went through that for a summer program. I feel your pain, guys.

    I hate the whole college process. Even if MIT made it enjoyable. Mostly because the collegebaord now owns my soul and all that….yuck.

  10. SHABIN says:

    I would like to express my gratitude to the following people as well whom I had met on the MIT blogs and who had touched my life with their kindness and generosity:

    Your advice and help were of very high value for me.

    – FIONA
    Thanks for the offer you had made earlier on “THE BURNING QUESTION PART 2.”

    You have the power in your hands which has been denied to many of us. Use it wisely and for the betterment of the world.

    – Alias#x
    I shall remember your words forever and I shall never let any misfortune interfere with the virtues, qualities and the character of mine.

    – AMRIK
    Once you had asked me “Shabin what are your current plans?”
    I don’t know exactly, amrik. There aren’t any options before me to pick one.

    – PAMOM
    Very rarely do people show such kindness and empathy, as you have shown.
    How shall I thank you, dear Pamom?

    I will remember all of you people forever, or as long as I live. And I will be grateful to you till death. Trust me on this.


    May 11, 2005.

  11. So not only were we the hardest class to get in to, numbers wise, but the next class will be even harder?

  12. What I posted on Matt’s latest entry goes for you as well. Check it. smile


  13. First says:

    Ben, I’m sorry you had to be the bearer of bad news.

    But please, please keep blogging in the future.

    To all MIT 09 hopefuls, best of luck in life. You’re all great people and don’t let this hold you back.

  14. amrik says:

    Wow Shabin I am deeply grateful that you remembered me! Best of luck in whatever you do!

  15. Fiona says:

    Shabin (and anyone else in a similar situation who’s interested),
    The offer I made earlier still stands. There are American universities whose deadlines for applying still have not passed, although many will be passing in the next few months. I’d be happy to help in the search/application process, if needed. Just send me an email!


  16. Prashant says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with intleyes.

    And Shabin, thanks!

  17. intleyes says:

    Ben thank you for having the ability to deliver your message in such kind and positive words.

    I too am saddened for all on the waitlist. Yet, I know that each waitlisted individual has such tremendous talents that they will find their magical place and continue their personal journey. Everyone’s journey will be different, but I take great comfort in knowing that other parts of our world will be sprinkled with the same caliber of people that will journey for awhile at MIT. Thank you to all the waitlisted people. Our world needs you, wherever it is that you decide to brighten lives. Good luck.

  18. lulu says:

    oh… :(

  19. SHABIN says:


    ~Ben: “the truth is simply that this journey has ended.”

    Dear Ben, you are wrong!

    It is not the end of the journey, it is just the beginning.
    It may be the end of the road, but not the end of my journey.
    The road may end here, but my journey will begin here.

    My life couldn’t stop me and my life doesn’t stop here.
    My world couldn’t stop me and the stop doesn’t come here.

    I shall tread jungles. But I will not stop.
    I shall swim across rivers. But I will not stop.
    I shall cross valleys. But I will not stop.
    I shall climb mountains. But I will not stop.
    I will persist the challenges my life has to offer me. But I will not stop.
    I will endure the difficulties my world has to gift me. But I will not stop.
    I will resist the setbacks my future has in store for me. But I will not stop.
    I will persist and I will not stop until I reach the gates of my hopes: MIT.

    The gates may be closed. I shall jump over the walls and will reach the mansions of MIT.
    The doors may be locked. I shall climb in through the windows and will reach the altars of MIT.
    The lights may be off. I shall light a candle. A breeze may blow it off. But the rays of my hope shall light up the halls.

    With the keys of my will and resilience, the doors will be opened, and the gates will be opened.
    With the power of determination, and education from MIT
    – mountains will be tunnelled
    – valleys will be covered
    – rivers will be bridged
    – jungles will be crossed
    and a new road will be built.
    A road of hope, to those who have none.
    A road of love, to those without love.
    A road towards peace, to those in war.
    A road into the future, to those without future.
    A road that will witness the beginnings of many journeys.
    A road that will be the beginning, not the end.

    Dear Ben, so you see, you are wrong. The journey hasn’t ended. The hope isn’t dead.

    I have nothing to lose, but my chains. I have a world to gain. I have a hope to be won. I have a dream to conquer. I don’t end here. I begin here.

    May 17, 2005.

  20. Ben says:

    Shabin, when I said “this journey has ended” I was talking only about this particular MIT admissions cycle, nothing more. As you know from our *many* offline conversations, I’ve encouraged you to reapply next year. I’ve told you that I’d personally see that the application fee would be waived. I’ve also encouraged you to make use of Fiona’s kind offer above to explore additional options because there are no guarantees next year just as there were no guarantees this year.

    I’ve allowed your first post to remain but I must remove your second post. It is simply too personal and as I said in a previous thread, we can’t go too far in that direction here – this is an MIT-sponsored admissions blog. There are guidelines that I must follow.

    I encourage you to do as others have done and start your own blog. You can be as personal as you’d like there and then link to it from your posts here. I will be happy to help you set it up if you need me to.

  21. Simon says:

    wow! shabin, you quoted Marx, hope your chains are not what he referred to smile mit is a great place (i had a chance to visit it a couple of days ago) but i don’t believe you can be so sure that mit and only mit is the right place for you. i did not know that US universities had deadlines for applications this late but if they do i believe you should go for it! here (in the Czech Republic) it is quite different as one can apply (in fact, he can only apply) when he has taken his final exams. there are some other European countries where they have similar procedures and i believe a year in Europe (and perhaps applying to MIT next year) could be another option for you.
    alright, that’s about all i can say.
    Ben, i am a junior and have still a few months before i start sending my applications. i understand that the newest application form is still not available. My school year ends in about four weeks and some of my teachers are going to move to different parts of the world (i study at an international school). unfortunately, i would like to ask some of the leaving teachers to write a recommendation latter for me. yet with the form unavailable i don’t know what to ask from them (some schools have very specific questions). Can you tell me when is mit going to publish the new form? thanx.

  22. SHABIN says:

    “I must remove your second post. It is simply too personal and as I said in a previous thread, we can’t go too far in that direction here.”

    I am sorry, Ben.

    But then, in that post I mentioned clearly why I will not be able to apply to MIT next year. In it, I mentioned why I am currently not in a position to take Fiona’s kind offer. In it I clearly mentioned why there is no guarantee in my life for the next year, if not for the next week. In it I clearly mentioned why I had applied this year and at what price. In it I stated what a dream means to me and how it keeps me going. I feel sorry that you missed the points. If you missed, others might also have missed it, so you did the right thing in deleting it.

    Sincerely yours,
    May 17, 2005.

  23. SHABIN says:

    Dear Fiona,

    Given my current state of life, I am not in a position to think beyond the present. Thank you for the kind offer. I will be always grateful to you.

    Yours truly,
    May 17, 2005.

  24. Ben says:

    Thank you for understanding Shabin. I am happy to see you’ve started your own blog for your more personal posts. That’s a great solution to making sure these types of posts continue to be read while allowing this blog to stay within the MIT blog guidelines.

  25. Ben says:

    Hi Simon,

    The new application won’t be available until July, but in cases such as yours we will happily accept last year’s recommendation forms if you’d like to give those to your teachers now before they leave.

    grin Ben