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 1,020 students this year. Based on our estimates of the percentage of admitted students who will attend (known as the “yield”), we admitted 1533 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 499 applicants — approximately 4% 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.
I know some of you may be saying, “C’mon, MIT is really good at math. They have to know how how many people will enroll, and how many people will be admitted from the wiatlist.” The reality is that predicting yield is very tricky. It is hard to know who will choose to come and who will go elsewhere. We won’t know more until after May 1.
How many people have you admitted from the waitlist in the past?
Last year, we admitted 40 students from the waitlist. The three years prior to that, we did not admit anyone from the waitlist. We have admitted as many as 100+ from the waitlist, but I do not anticipate that happening this year (though it is always a possibility).
What are the realities here?
If we go to the waitlist this year — and I am hopeful that 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.