I know that folks on the waitlist have lots of questions; hopefully this post will be quite helpful!
How does the waitlist work?
We are aiming for a class of about 1,000 students this year. Based on our estimates of the percentage of admitted students who will attend (known as the “yield”), we admitted 1474 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.
How many people are on the waitlist?
We offered 389 applicants — approximately 3% of applicants — a spot on the waitlist. Not all of those students will choose to remain on 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 we will take from the waitlist until after the reply date of May 1.
You haven’t admitted anyone off the waitlist the past three years. What’s up with that?
It is true that we have not utilized the waitlist in the past three years. It is hard to know beforehand exactly how many students will accept our offer of admission. Some years, we overpredict (as in the past three years); other years, we underpredict (as in the several years before that).
What are the realities here?
If we go to the waitlist this year — which I am cautiously optimistic we will — the odds are that it won’t be for large numbers of people. Most people on the waitlist will not be admitted, in all likelihood. 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.
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. 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. It is a 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.
Can you tell me where I am on the waitlist?
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.
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. 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.