About 20% of students participate in varsity athletics, and there are thirty-odd teams. (I think it's 39, but I haven't checked recently.)
MIT is division III for most sports, so it's rare for MIT to be fielding teams full of future pro athletes the way a division I school might. But the upside is that a lot of students get to participate.
Last edited by molliebatmit; 07-11-2012 at 10:09 PM.
Reason: Punctuation: it is important!
Yes, the participation rate in the intramural program is roughly 86%, which is pretty good by any standard. Intramurals compete at different levels, from A level ("We could play for MIT, and perhaps we do as well"), B Level ("We compete fairly seriously"), C Level ("Hey, this is all about having fun") and D Level ("How do you play this again?") I would strongly recommend that at least once in your time at MIT you attend a D-League Ice Hockey match. Hilarious.
I've rowed for the past two years on and off non-competitively. How hard would it be for me to join varsity women's lightweight crew as a freshman, especially since crew is DI at MIT? I'd imagine a lot more qualified, experienced rowers than me who would be vying to be on the team.
Also, could I join varsity rifle as a freshman even though I have no prior experience? How about sailing?
MIT varsity sports are quite competitive from what I have seen first hand, much more so than the dark ages when I went (and played) there. Your ability to make a certain team would be based on your talent and the commitment you are willing to make to that sport (as it would be at any other school). Best thing to do is try out and see how you do and are you willing to put the effort in.
I realize this is probably a murky area, but do varsity coaches at MIT have any "pull" in terms of getting their recruits admitted (assuming the students' academics meet some threshold)? In talking with other top academic DIII schools, coaches have said they are able to work with admissions to get 5-10 qualified athletes per year admitted either during regular admission or off the wait list. Same at MIT, or not? Thanks.
In talking with other top academic DIII schools, coaches have said they are able to work with admissions to get 5-10 qualified athletes per year admitted either during regular admission or off the wait list.
It does not work like that at MIT. There are no reserved slots for coaches. Sports is just like any other EC: it can help you stand out but it is not a major tipping factor. The issue is that unlike most other schools MIT does not have any "jock" majors. There is just no lower academic bar for athletes.
^This is true. At other elite schools "qualified" is determined by academic index. At MIT no academic index will guarentee you admission if you are an athlete.
However, in the interest of truth, it does seem like MIT values athletic ability more than it used to because it seems like athletic records are dropping like flies. This could be due in part to better recruitment or a difference in how MIT presents itself to the public (i.e., presenting an environment more conducive to people with outside interests.)
MIT's preferences in admissions do go through cycles.
Thanks for the responses. When the MIT coaches spoke with my son they were a little vague: they said they looked for athletes with a 700+ on SAT math, etc. I interpreted this as an academic threshold -- if a student met these minimums then coaches might have some pull in getting them accepted. Sounds like my interpretation was wrong.
Not quite. The coaches do have some influence but highly limited. Basically MIT is looking for excellence in almost any sphere. However given that basic precept, demonstratable, or validated excellence is better than self-professed excellence.
So you might claim that you are a math god, but MIT will validate that statement by looking at your IMO medal, or even that you were on a team. You might claim that you have real talent in music or visual arts, and MIT will take your submitted portfolio and hand it to the relevant academic department for review. If the music department says "Wow", then that adds a lot of weight to your claims. Similarly you might claim that you are a sports prodigy, perhaps another DeRon Brown '10, the subject of a feature article in USA Today. But when an MIT Coach says "I've looked at his stats, watched his highlight reels, talked to his high school coaches and I really want him, then that really validates your claim.
All of these things are good things. All of these things can help get you in. All of these are things that you are better off having than not having. None of them can get you in on its own. Heck, from time to time, the MIT development office may produce a list of applicants whose parents are gazillionaires with a track record of donating buildings to institutions. And MIT has the luxury, and it is a luxury, of turning THOSE kids down if they do not match. There are only a tiny handful of colleges and universities at which that is true, and MIT is one of them.
There is no separate admissions criteria for recruited athletes (if you want that go to Harvard), nor for development cases, nor for artistic prodigies. There is only one admissions standard, and everyone goes through the same process. At the same time though, you want to stand out from the crowd, and for that, it really truly does help to be on one of those lists.
I should also remind folks that the large majority of admitted students aren't actually on any of those lists. They are just great kids.
Heck, from time to time, the MIT development office may produce a list of applicants whose parents are gazillionaires with a track record of donating buildings to institutions. And MIT has the luxury, and it is a luxury, of turning THOSE kids down if they do not match. There are only a tiny handful of colleges and universities at which that is true, and MIT is one of them.
My impression was that being a so-called "development candidate" does not help at all in admission, not a hair. Am I mistaken?