Today is the day. As of this afternoon, we will be mailing all of our decisions. Technically we have been recruiting the Harvey Mudd College Class of 2017 for years, ever since some of you checked that magical box on your PSAT’s saying that you were willing to receive mail from colleges. And today is the day we have been working toward ever since. Today is a big deal for us, partly because it means that tomorrow will be the first day off we have had in what seems like months, but more so because we are proud of the decisions we have made and excited to see who will accept our offer and comprise the Class of 2017. (Our next favorite day is Opening Day, followed closely by the day we finally have all of the responses in.) However, today is also bittersweet, because we know that most of you will not be receiving the news that you want. This year we received 3,538 applications for an entering class of 196. Of course we admit more than 196 students knowing that all of our admitted students will have many wonderful options from which to choose, but ultimately this year we were only able to admit 18% of those who applied.
The hardest part of this process is that most of the students who apply would be strong Harvey Mudd students, and most would thrive in our rigorous and collaborative environment. Most of the decisions we make are not about separating “qualified” students from “unqualified.” Our decisions are about creating a class from a pool of incredibly talented and wonderful students. In creating a class, we are not just looking for those students who have perfect scores or grades. We could fill a class with just students who have these sorts of records. We are looking for a group of students whose talents, backgrounds and interests will complement each other and who we believe are a good match for Harvey Mudd. Ultimately, when we cannot admit students to Harvey Mudd, it is as much our loss as theirs.
So here is the deal. If the decision you receive from us (or any other college for that matter) is not the one you want, do NOT take this decision as a judgment of your readiness for college work, how hard you worked in high school, or anything beyond what it is – the result of an incredibly talented applicant pool from a college with limited spaces in its first year class. We agonize over these decisions, fight for students during admission committee and become attached to all of you throughout the process. We wish we had room for more students, but we know that the reason many of you chose to apply to Harvey Mudd is because of our small size and community. We know you all will have amazing options, and we are honored that you gave us the chance to get to know you.
With excitement, a healthy dose of nerves, and humility,
The Harvey Mudd College Admission Staff
On a less philosophical note, here are some other important things to keep in mind:
We mail our decision letters the old-fashioned way with the exception of students who are currently outside of the United States. We still believe that receiving your admission decision should a moment for you and not one that should be experienced in the middle of the cafeteria or classroom. We also think there’s something to be said for opening the fat envelope. We will not give decisions over the phone. If a week from today you still have not received your decision, please let us know, and we will e-mail you a decision.
There is no appeals process. As I mentioned above, we agonized over these decisions and were as fair and consistent as we could be.
For those of you who applied for financial aid, you will receive your financial aid packages in about a week. They will be mailed before our official notification deadline of April 1st. We figured since we were ready with the admission decisions, you would rather we mailed those as soon as possible.
If you were selected for any of our merit scholarships other than RIF or National Merit, you would have learned of this in your admission packet. These decisions are also not open for appeal.
The response date of May 1st is a postmark date, but if you’ve made your decision whether or not to enroll at Harvey Mudd before then, let us know! The sooner we know how many students will accept our offer, the sooner we know whether we will be able to admit the amazing students who are on our alternate list. (Another very happy day for all of us.)