How to Get Into MIT: Admission Requirements & Tips

Picture of MIT from afar
Updated:
January 2, 2024
8 min read
Contents

”Mary

Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 12/11/23

You might wonder, “What does it take to get into MIT?” This guide will cover everything you need to know about the admission process. 

MIT, also known as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is one of the world's leading institutions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and founded in 1865, MIT is a highly desirable institution for any student interested in STEM!

If you aspire to get into MIT, several key factors must be considered. Although it’s not an Ivy League, MIT still has a highly competitive admissions process, it's crucial to excel academically, showcase your passion for learning, and demonstrate exceptional achievements in your chosen field. 

Additionally, highlighting your unique experiences, engaging in meaningful extracurricular activities, and presenting a compelling application can significantly enhance your chances of admission to MIT.

MIT Acceptance Rate: 4.8%

Recent data shows that MIT’s admission rate is 4.8%. This speaks to MIT’s competitiveness, as only 1,291 students were admitted out of over 26,000 applicants in a recent cycle. This is on par with Ivy League acceptance rates!

MIT acceptance rate compared to how many students Quad get's into the same school!

A college’s yield rate is the percentage of applicants who have received an offer of admission and choose to accept it. For MIT, of the 1,291 offers of admission they sent out, the most recent class contained 1096 members, meaning MIT’s yield rate is 84.9%. 

For more admissions data, here is a table with MIT’s acceptance rates from the past few years: 

Year Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Students Acceptance Rate
2023 26,914 1,291 4.8%
2022 33,767 1,337 3.96%
2021 33,240 1,365 4.1%
2020 20,075 1,457 7.26%

MIT Early Action Acceptance Rate: 5.7%

MIT’s early action acceptance rate is 5.7%, slightly higher than their overall acceptance rate. In a recent cycle, there were 11,924 early action applicants, and only 685 were accepted.  

How Hard Is It to Get Into MIT? 

It is incredibly hard to get into MIT. With an acceptance rate of less than 5%, MIT is one of the most selective colleges in the U.S. 

How hard it is to get accepted to MIT also depends on the strength of your application and the number of students who apply. 

MIT is one of the most selective colleges in the U.S., with an acceptance rate of just 4.8%. In the most recent admissions cycle, approximately 27,000 students applied, and just under 1,100 were accepted. How hard it is to get accepted to MIT depends on your application’s strength and how many students apply in the cycle.

Take our interactive quiz below to find out how likely you are to get into MIT.

MIT Admissions Statistics

As you put together your application, it may be helpful to look at some MIT admission stats. Here are some of the average stats from admitted MIT students. 

MIT Average GPA: 4.17

On a 4.0 scale, the average GPA of admitted students at MIT is 4.17, which is very competitive. However, there is no minimum GPA needed to attend MIT

While Matt McGann, the former Director of Admissions at MIT, states that your scores and grades “are important,” he notes that “what ultimately really matters to us is who you are, [and] what qualities you bring to the table.”

So, don't worry too much if your numbers are lower than you'd like. As we will outline below, there are several ways that you can make your application stand out despite a low GPA.

MIT Average SAT Score: 1550

The average SAT score of admitted MIT students is 1550. The middle 50% scores ranged from 780-800 in the math section and 740-780 in the EBRW section. 

All applicants must take standardized tests; however, MIT stresses that "they are not the only factor, or even the most important factor," when deciding whether you will be admitted. 

MIT does not have a recommended or a “cut off” score for the SAT. However,  it’s best to aim for a score equal to or above the average. Preparing for the SAT and performing your best is crucial to the strength of your application.

MIT Average ACT Score: 35

MIT’s average ACT score is about 35. The average ACT score range for MIT applicants was between 34-36 in every category, except for the math section, where the range was 35-36. 

MIT has no recommended or cut-off scores, although it’s important to perform your best if you plan to take the ACT. Remember to dedicate time to preparing for the ACT before your test day! 

What is MIT Looking For In Applicants?

MIT looks to admit students who are creative, curious risk-takers eager to take initiative and collaborate with others. They also highly value students who align with MIT’s mission and community culture and who are able to balance their lives well. 

It’s hard to say whether you’ll be able to get into MIT with certainty, but it’s helpful to look at how MIT evaluates applications. Here is a table with their basis for selection: 

Academic Very Important Important Considered Not Considered
Rigor of secondary school record X
Class rank X
Academic GPA X
Standardized test scores X
Application essay X
Recommendation X

Non-Academic Very Important Important Considered Not Considered
Interview X
Extracurricular activities X
Talent / ability X
Character / personal qualities X
First generation X
Alumni/ae relation X
Geographical residence X
State residency X
Religious affiliation / commitment X
Racial / ethnic status X
Volunteer work X
Work experience X
Level of applicant’s interest X

Source: MIT Common Data Set

MIT Admissions Requirements

Getting into MIT is challenging due to its high selectivity. To give yourself the best chance of admission, aim for an SAT score of around 1550 or an ACT score of around 35. Solidify your academic excellence by maintaining a GPA of 4.17 or higher.

Before you're ready to start your MIT application, you'll need to satisfy several admissions requirements

Unlike many other schools you may apply to, MIT doesn’t accept the Common Application or Coalition Application. Getting admitted into MIT means submitting the following materials on the application portal

  • Application essays 
  • Academic transcripts 
  • Secondary School Report, including two letters of recommendation and your high school transcript 
  • Field of study
  • Activities 
  • Self-reported coursework form 
  • Creative portfolio (optional)
  • $75 application fee: international and domestic applicants are eligible for fee waivers, which you can request in the application's “Fee Waiver Request” section

Please note that there are additional language proficiency requirements for non-native English speakers and some international students.

Before submitting your application, ensure you’ve completed the MIT requirements. Admissions committees will only review a complete application! 

Picture of MIT entrance
Source: MIT News


MIT Application Deadlines 

January 4 is the MIT deadline for most application requirements. Getting started with MIT’s application is easy, but meeting deadlines is crucial to ensuring your application’s success. 

Here are some important dates you should know in your application process: 

Application Step Deadline
Early action application deadline November 1
Early action deadline to take SAT/ACT November testing date
Regular action deadline to take SAT/ACT December testing date
Early action decisions released Mid-December
Regular action application deadline January 4
Financial aid deadline February 15
February Updates & Notes form (+ midyear grades) Mid-February
Regular action decisions released Mid-March
Deadline to inform MIT of enrollment decision May 1

MIT Regular Action Deadline

The deadline to apply to MIT through Regular Action (RA) is January 4. You will receive your admission decision sometime in mid-March. 

MIT has stated that they have no preference between regular action and early action, so you can choose the application plan that works best for you and your schedule. 

MIT Early Action Deadline

If you’re applying for Early Action (EA), you must submit the materials listed above by November 1. EA is open to all applicants, domestic and international, and is a non-binding program. You will receive your decision by mid-December. 

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into MIT

Here are our best tips for getting accepted to MIT.

Establish a Solid Academic Foundation 

If you’re wondering how to get into MIT, there is no doubt that academic excellence is important and will improve your odds of gaining admission

However, MIT acknowledges that its students come from a variety of educational backgrounds, be it public, private, charter, religious, or home schools, so MIT recommends that you cover the following topics during your high school years: 

  • Math, through calculus
  • Two years of a foreign language
  • One year of high school chemistry
  • One year of high school biology
  • Two years of history and/or social sciences
  • Four years of English
  • One year of high school physics

If you want to challenge yourself even further, MIT recognizes additional academic enrichment. Resources like OpenCourseWare, edX, Khan Academy, and the Art of Problem Solving (AoPS) are all brilliant resources to explore new courses and expand your academic horizons. 

Show How You Will Fit In

As outlined above, grades and scores are important to MIT's admissions process. However, MIT's admissions department also stipulates that the "match between the applicant and the Institute" is important; you want to embody the traits MIT looks for. 

Small things like volunteering in your local community or, as their website notes, "lobbying a senator to amend bad policy changes" will show that you possess the spirit MIT is looking for, thus making you a more memorable and competitive applicant. 

As Stu Schmill, MIT's Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services, explains, "we want students to engage with their community in their pursuits. And, we want students who demonstrate strong ethical character. In short, we want young people to be students and community members first, and applicants second."

Quality Over Quantity 

Extracurricular and learning experiences are crucial for MIT admissions to understand your interests, character, and interactions. MIT emphasizes quality over quantity. They value your genuine joy of learning and recommend seeking projects and experiences that stimulate creativity, leadership, and meaningful connections. 

MIT encourages you to challenge yourself in areas of personal interest rather than choosing activities based on college preferences. Aligning your passions with activities facilitates explaining their impact during interviews, showcasing your genuine commitment.

Demonstrate Your Collaborative and Cooperative Spirit

MIT’s educational model emphasizes collaboration and cooperation. It designs many problem sets (homework) for group settings, and working across departments is common. MIT seeks students who can work effectively in a group setting. If you enjoy primarily working alone, MIT may not be the school for you. 

Seek The Help of An Admissions Consultant 

MIT’s low acceptance rate can be discouraging if your ultimate goal is to secure a seat in its undergraduate program. Craft your application to the best of your ability, but consider seeking an admissions consultant’s help. 

An admissions expert can help you with every facet of your application and edit it to perfection before submission. You can have an expert look over a particular part of your application or have them examine the entire application with a fine-tooth comb.

MIT Essay Prompts

MIT requires applicants to write numerous short answer essays every year. You must write an essay responding to each prompt in this list for the 2023/2024 cycle: 

  • “What field of study appeals to you the most right now? (Note: Applicants select from a drop-down list.) Tell us more about why this field of study at MIT appeals to you.
  • We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do simply for the pleasure of it.
  • How has the world you come from--including your opportunities, experiences, and challenges--shaped your dreams and aspirations?
  • MIT brings people with diverse backgrounds together to collaborate, from tackling the world’s biggest challenges to lending a helping hand. Describe one way you have collaborated with others to learn from them, with them, or contribute to your community together. 
  • How did you manage a situation or challenge that you didn’t expect? What did you learn from it?”

Applicants can also write about anything else they think the admissions committee should know in one final text box after completing these supplemental essays

Make sure to put lots of careful effort into your MIT essays, as they can be a huge component of your application. 

Male student working on essay

MIT Interview

​​If you have submitted your application and the admissions committee likes what they see, you may be contacted through email by an Educational Counselor (EC) for an interview. 

Interviews often last an hour, ranging from 30 minutes to two hours. They aren’t formal affairs, and MIT states that you do not have to dress up for your interview, although you should look nice and presentable. 

Depending on whether you're applying under Regular Action or Early Action, your interview will likely occur in January and November, respectively. Note that if MIT cannot offer you an interview, "it will be waived and your application will not be adversely affected," so don't stress if you don’t get contacted. 

If every EC connects with one student, only 18 percent of MIT applicants get an interview. Some sources have estimated 20-30% of students are invited to interview, but it largely depends on EC availability. 

However, if you can arrange one, participating in an MIT interview is a great way to show off your personality!  

MIT Admission FAQs 

Do you still have questions about MIT? Check out these frequently asked questions.

1. Will I Receive IB/AP College Credit at MIT? 

MIT typically does not award college credit for IB and AP classes as a way to ensure all students “start on equal footing.” However, if you know, you can test out of some introductory courses by taking the Advanced Standing Exam (ASE)

2. Does MIT Accept Transfer Credit?

Yes, they do. MIT states that if you gain admission as a transfer student, you "can expect to receive credit for subjects of study that are equivalent to corresponding MIT subjects." 

However, if the classes you have taken don't merit credit in MIT's eyes, you may have the option to prove that you are entitled to a credit if you can pass the Advanced Standing Examination. 

3. Is MIT an Ivy League School?

No, MIT is not an Ivy League School. When the Ivy League was first established as an athletic conference in the early 1950s, MIT and several other top-ranked schools did not excel at sports and were not admitted. 

4. Can I Get Into MIT With a 3.5 GPA?

MIT's academic bar is set extremely high, attracting some brilliant minds. However, if you have a lower GPA, you still have options. 

Although MIT takes a holistic approach to admissions, getting in is still quite competitive, especially with a 3.5 GPA. MIT emphasizes standardized test scores, so ensure you do well on your SAT and ACT exams. 

5. How Do You Stand Out in the MIT Application Process?

MIT seeks students who will "challenge themselves and stretch themselves, academically and personally," so achieving high grades will undoubtedly make you a more competitive applicant. 

Being yourself and ensuring that your application is unique are some of the essential things you should do to align your profile with what MIT is looking for. 

Final Thoughts

MIT is known for its vibrant community, spectacular campus, and international prestige. However, applying to such a prestigious institution is no easy feat. MIT admits a wide range of highly motivated and academically gifted applicants. 

However, if your grades aren't perfect, make sure that the rest of your application is airtight; several admissions officers stress that you should do what you love and tell the admissions committee about them. Now that you know how to get into MIT, you can make yourself as well-rounded as possible. 

Good luck!

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