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May the (admissions) force be with you, MIT applicants

If you’re a high school student waiting anxiously for an admissions decision from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then these are the droids you’re looking for.

Each year as it announces MIT’s admissions decisions date, the school releases a light-hearted video. For the class of 2020, the theme was “Star Wars.”

In the video, which was posted Monday, a robot the school is calling a “Decisions Droid” — it resembles BB8, the rolling robot from the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” film — emerges from the school’s personal robots lab and makes its way to Dean of Admissions Stu Schmill’s office.


Schmill is seen filling out acceptance letters to students at his desk, when the droid rolls in.

“I’ve got another one for you,” Schmill says, before he stuffs the droid with a tube containing a letter to an MIT hopeful. He then sends the robot on its way to make the delivery.

Once the “Decision Droid” has the admissions letter on board, it explores the MIT campus before being launched from a cannon that comes out of the tip of the Great Dome.

The video then goes black, and the words “These are the droids you’re looking for” appear on the screen. The theme music from “Star Wars” begins playing in the background.

Schmill, in a telephone interview, said he had to bust out his acting chops for the short clip. (Schmill’s other notable roles include an appearance in the “MIT Gangnam Style” video that rode the coattails of the viral hit to 5.3 million views.)

He said the school chose “Star Wars” this year for its timeliness.

“And it’s fun,” he said.

Decision day at MIT falls on “Pi Day,” which is March 14. The date spelled out is 3.14 — the first few digits of the mathematical constant pi, which is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.


The notifications will be posted at 6:28 p.m. In math terms, 6.28 is known as “Tau,” or two-times pi, said Schmill.

Schmill said that the school received just over 19,000 applications from prospective students this year. The admissions office hasn’t finalized the list of those who have been picked to attend the prestigious Cambridge institution, but Schmill expects that the admittance rate will likely be 8 percent.

In 2014, the school used a clip of students getting smashed in the face by pies to announce the admissions decision date. Last year, swarms of computer-generated drones appeared in a video and delivered applicants their acceptance notices.

Applicants can learn whether they’ve been accepted to MIT on the school’s website. Plenty of students will undoubtedly be glued to their screens on Pi Day.

May the (admissions) force be with you, students.

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.