MIT ADMISSIONS: Policies, Principles, and Protests

Stu Schmill, '86, MIT Dean of Admissions

Stu Schmill, '86, MIT Dean of Admissions

Last Wednesday, February 14th, 2018, seventeen people, including fourteen students, were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Over the past week, student activists from Stoneman Douglas have spoken out loudly, often, and in public, advocating for policies to prevent such a shooting from happening again. They have formed an organization, Never Again MSD, and led peaceful demonstrations at the Florida Capitol and the White House, as well as meetings with state legislators. Their leadership has galvanized students at schools across the country to join them in protests, including several school walkouts scheduled for March and April.

In response, some high schools have announced that students who demonstrate will face disciplinary action, which may in turn be reported to universities to which they applied. Indeed, the "fine print" on our acceptance letter includes the following clause: READ MORE...


More than 221,000 students applied to the UC system.

More than 221,000 students applied for undergraduate admission to the University of California for next fall, shattering records for the 13th straight year and fueling concerns that qualified students won’t have a shot at getting into the campus of their choice.

Five of the campuses received more than 100,000 applications each, as students apply to more and more schools — some more than two dozen — out of fear their top choices won’t say yes.

“A lot of us are scared we’re going to get rejected,” said 17-year-old Melissa Burger, of Hayward,  who is applying to about a dozen schools, including six UCs, and that’s typical among her friends.

UC got 119,626 freshman applications from high school seniors in California and 34,347 applications from students hoping to transfer from California community colleges.

The figures, released Thursday by the UC Office of the President, show a 5.7 percent overall increase in applications from last year, with each of the nine campuses that educate undergraduates posting gains — ranging from 4.6 percent at Berkeley to 12.4 percent at Riverside.

The most popular campuses among California residents are UCLA, UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara.

UC declined to make an official available for a phone interview.

But Stephen Handel, associate vice president of undergraduate admissions, said in a statement: “Marked increases in California applicants from throughout the state and from a range of backgrounds demonstrate that the university’s efforts to get the word out about the accessibility of a UC education are clearly paying off.”

Yet many of the schools aren’t particularly accessible to students. After rising in 2016 by more than 15 percent, the number of in-state freshmen admitted for this fall dropped 1.7 percent.


Colleges NOT using the Coalition application for 2016-17

An Excerpt from The

They joined the group. They signed the contract and signaled their support for the mission of the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success (CAAS). Maybe they even liked the idea of a portfolio development tool or snappy new application software.

But for whatever reason, a significant percentage of the Coalition members are choosing to stand back and not use the Coalition Application for 2016-2017. Out of 93 current members of the Coalition, over one-third may not be accepting the application for next year.

Here's the list:

As of this publication, the following Coalition members have announced or otherwise signaled they will not be accepting the new application for the coming year (note that this list may not be complete and is subject to change—there are no guarantees as to its accuracy):

Bates College
Brown University*
College of New Jersey*
Colorado College
Connecticut College*
Cornell University*
Dartmouth College*
Denison University*
Florida State University*
Franklin and Marshall*
Franklin Olin College of Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Grinnell College*
Haverford College*
James Madison University*
Miami University OH*
Michigan State University
Middlebury College*|
Mount Holyoke College
Oberlin College
Princeton University                                                                                                                   Ramapo College of New Jersey*
Skidmore College*
Smith College*
University of Georgia*
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign*
University of Mary Washington*
University of Michigan*
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill*|
University of Vermont
Vassar College*
Wesleyan University*

According to sources in the admissions office, the University of New Hampshire* is still unsure as to whether or not it will be ready to accept the new application. And the only colleges that have indicated they will be "Coalition-exclusive" are the University of Florida, the University of Maryland-College Park, and the University of Washington-Seattle.

Because many colleges haven’t revised their websites to reflect participation in the CAAS, it’s wise to call or email admissions offices for the most current and up-to-date information on whether or not they will be accepting the Coalition application during 2016-17. Don’t take for granted that membership in the Coalition means the school will be accepting the new application.

*Confirmed by phone call to the admissions office


Coalition Application Releases First Essay Prompts

The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, a group of 93 leading colleges introducing an alternative to the Common Application this summer, on Friday issued the essay prompts to be used on the first application. A notice from the coalition notes that colleges may or may not use the essay questions and/or may have their own questions. The initial essay prompts are fairly standard for the genre:

  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  • Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
  • Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
  • What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
  • Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

Article reposted from INSIDE HIGHER ED