How To Get Into MIT: A Complete Guide

Picture of MIT from afar
September 8, 2022
About MITHow Competitive Is MIT? What Is MIT Looking For In Applicants? Tips to Get into MITMIT Class ProfileMIT RequirementsMIT Supplemental Essays How to Prepare for the MIT InterviewHow to Apply to MITShould I Apply to MIT?MIT Admission FAQs

”Mary

Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/25/22

“Getting an education from MIT is like taking a drink from a fire hose.”

– Former MIT President, Jerome Weisner

While the quote above may initially be puzzling, Weisner's metaphor rings true in several ways. Yes, MIT students will actually have to get wet to graduate - they can thank the swim test for that. 

However, MIT's admissions department explains it a bit more deftly, stating that "​​the sheer number of opportunities and rigor of our coursework can leave students feeling hosed" (pun intended). Coralie, a former MIT student, agrees, saying that there is so much to do, learn, and see at MIT and that ultimately, it's "frustrating because you can't drink all the water from the fire hose." 

So, if you're prepared to take a sip, and yes, there is actually a fire hose water foundation at MIT, then this guide will show you how to get into MIT by outlining its requirements, deadlines, acceptance rates, and more. 

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About MIT

Professor Emeritus Jay Keyser has been quoted saying, "MIT is hard to get into, and even harder to leave."

MIT was founded in 1865, inspired by the desire to merge scientific and practical education into one school. Its mission is to “advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.”

In alignment with this mission, students enjoy the rigorous academic experience MIT provides combined with a hands-on, learn-by-doing approach. The MIT education is grounded in three foundational principles: 

MIT describes its community as "fun and quirky, elite but not elitist, inventive and artistic, obsessed with numbers, and welcoming to talented people regardless of where they come from." 

MIT is proud of its diverse community; its student-run Humans of MIT facebook page epitomizes this ethos, sharing students' thoughts across the campus and providing an insight into life at MIT. 

Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT’s campus, museums, and libraries are open to everyone, student or not; according to MIT you can see a mix of “tourists,... local jugglers, and fire spinners” around the campus.

How Competitive Is MIT? 

“The absolute worst part of this job is the fact that there are so few spots for so many qualified people, which means we can't take everyone, even if they belong here.” 

- Ben Jones, former Director of Communications for the MIT Office of Admissions.  

MIT is a highly competitive and prestigious institution, annually ranking among the nation’s top schools. The rankings speak for themselves. MIT is the second-best university in the U.S. — tied with Harvard University —  and also the second-best global university, according to U.S. News Report

MIT Acceptance Rate

Admissions statistics speak to MIT’s competitiveness. Recent data shows MIT received 33,240 first-year applications and admitted 1,365. Assuming every student offered admission enrolled, the acceptance rate is low at 4.1%.

MIT Yield Rate

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 1457 offers of admission that they sent out, the most recent class contained 1,139 members,, meaning that MIT’s yield rate is 73.5%. 

Look, getting into MIT is difficult. However, don't lose hope! Acceptance rates are based on the volume of applications so there is no way to know the quality of them. 

How Hard is it to Get into MIT?

Look, getting into MIT is difficult; even its own website states that "if you set your goal as being admitted to MIT, you are likely to be disappointed… we admit less than 10% of applicants." However, don't lose hope! Acceptance rates are based on the volume of applications so there is no way to know the quality of them. Below we have listed some tips to help you present the best application possible.

What Is MIT Looking For In Applicants? 

MIT approaches application review holistically like many other top-ranked universities. While a high GPA and test scores can strengthen your application, MIT asserts that “it’s really the match between applicant and the Institute that drives our selection process.”

Tips to Get into MIT

Here are our best tips for getting into MIT.

Establish a Solid Academic Foundation 

There is no doubt that academic excellence is important to MIT, and it 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: 

Additionally, 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 if you want to explore new courses and expand your academic horizons. 

Show How You Will Fit In

As outlined above, grades and scores are an important part of MIT's admissions process. However, MIT's admissions department also stipulates that the "match between the applicant and the Institute" is important. 

So, do your research on MIT and illustrate how you will fit into its community and culture within your application. For example, at the core of MIT's spirit is cooperation and collaboration, so ensure your experiences emphasize your collaborative nature. 

Similarly, MIT places a lot of weight on making the world a better place and, as such, wants to admit applicants with the same drive. As their website notes, "we're not looking for applicants to have cured all infectious disease[s] in the world by the time they're 15." 

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 

Your extracurricular and learning experiences are important - they can give the admissions team a great idea of who you are, what you like to do, and how you interact with others. However, Schmill states that "far too often," prospective MIT students will sacrifice "quality for quantity." 

What does he mean by this? Well, Schmill explains that MIT doesn't want a "laundry list of a million activities" that don't have any meaning to you. MIT wants to see you take advantage of opportunities for the joy of learning instead of supposedly strengthening your application profile. 

MIT recommends that you "go out of your way to find projects, activities, and experiences that stimulate your creativity and leadership, that connect you with peers and adults who bring out your best, and that please you so much that you don't mind the work involved."

Essentially, MIT wants you to challenge yourself "in the areas that are most interesting to [you]." Too many students, Schmill explains, adopt a "backwards" approach of choosing which college they want to attend and then deciding what classes and activities they will pursue. Instead, he advises that you "should first decide what they are interested in, then decide on what classes and activities to pursue, and only then think about which colleges would be a great fit." 

Also, it makes it a lot easier to explain how your formative experiences will make you a perfect candidate for MIT at the interview stage, as your extracurricular activities, classes, and hobbies will be genuine passions of yours.

Demonstrate Your Collaborative and Cooperative Spirit

MIT’s educational model emphasizes collaboration and cooperation. It designs many problem sets (homework) for group settings, and it’s common to work across departments. 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. 

Take the Initiative and Take the Risks

MIT has many opportunities for undergraduate students, but you must be able to take the initiative to seize them. Ensure you demonstrate the ability to take advantage of the available resources and the willingness to put in the work to achieve your goals. 

The admissions committee also seeks applicants who are unafraid of failure. MIT believes “risk leads to failure as often as it leads to success,” and creative, driven people don’t give up and push forward to realize their goals. 

Show Your Creativity, Intensity, Curiosity, and Excitement

MIT encourages innovation and creativity. Don’t fear trying new things and getting your hands dirty. Candidates who are a good fit for MIT enjoy applying theoretical knowledge to real-world problems. 

Students are encouraged to explore and invest in things meaningful to them. MIT suggests choosing quality over quantity, saying, “you don’t have to do a million things to get into college.” Ensure your application reflects your passions. 

Showcase Your Ability To Prioritize Balance 

On college applications, students usually try to show they’ve done nothing but work toward their goals for the entirety of their high school careers. MIT wants to see you prioritize downtime to recharge and give yourself the best chance of success.

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 choose to have an expert look over a particular part of your application, or have them examine the entire application with a fine-tooth comb. Admissions consultants are familiar with each school’s admissions processes, so you are guaranteed a better shot at admission with their help.

MIT Class Profile

In this section, you'll find information on MIT's current and recent class profile.

MIT Demographics

MIT prides itself on its diverse and global community, and itmost recent class of 1,139 students embodies this.

Gender

Table outlining what percentage of MIT's class profile identifies as Male, Female, or have another gender identity

Citizenship & Self-Reported Ethnicity 

Table outlining what percentage of Citizenship & Self-Reported Ethnicity MIT's most recent class profile identifies with

MIT notes that the “total exceeds 100% as students may indicate more than one race/ethnicity.”

Geography

Table outlining the percentage of where  MIT's most recent class profile home-regions are

Schooling

Table outlining what kind of schooling MIT's most recent class profile had before being admitted

Source: MIT Admissions

MIT Student to Faculty Ratio

MIT’s student to faculty ratio is 3:1 and, according to US News, has 70.1% of its classes containing less than 20 students.

MIT Requirements

Before you're ready to start your MIT application, you'll need to satisfy several admissions requirements. All applicants must take standardized tests; however, MIT does stress that "they are not the only factor, or even the most important factor" when deciding whether you will be admitted or not. 

SAT

The SAT Reasoning Test (SAT) is an entrance exam used by many universities to determine a students’ readiness for college and help provide admissions committees with insights into three core areas: 

Most students will take their SAT during the fall of their senior year or during the spring of their junior year. Whenever you take it, make sure that you leave enough time to retake it if you’re not happy with your initial score.

While MIT does not have a recommended or a “cut off” score for the SAT, the average SAT score achieved by admitted students to MIT is 1505. However, the distribution of scores achieved by applicants is much wider: 

Middle 50% score range of admitted students (25th and 75th) percentiles

table outlining the distribution of sat scores achieved by MIT applicants

Source: MIT Admissions

ACT

Much like the SAT, the American College Test (ACT) is used by admissions committees to measure if an applicant has the necessary skills for success at college. The ACT contains four multiple-choice tests and an optional writing test which each determine an applicant’s strength in different areas: 

Much like the SAT, while MIT has no recommended or cut off ACT scores, the average overall ACT score achieved by admitted students is 34.0. The distribution of scores achieved by applicants does indicate, however, that you can be accepted with lower scores: 

Distribution of ACT Scores (Composite)

Table outlining Distribution of ACT Scores (Composite)
Source: MIT Admissions

Distribution of ACT Scores (Math)

Table outlining Distribution of ACT Scores (Math)
Source: MIT Admissions

Distribution of ACT Scores (Reading)

Table outlining Distribution of ACT Scores (Reading)
Source: MIT Admissions

Distribution of ACT Scores (English)

Table outlining Distribution of ACT Scores (English)
Source: MIT Admissions

Language Proficiency Tests

For non-native English speakers, MIT recommends that you provide evidence of your proficiency in English if you have been speaking English for less than five years or if you do not speak English at home or school. The accepted tests include:

Unlike the SAT and ACT, however, MIT does have minimum and recommended scores for English language tests: 

Table outlining MIT's minimum and recommended scores for several English language Proficiency tests

Source: MIT Admissions

MIT GPA Requirements

On a 4.0 scale, the average GPA of admitted students at MIT is 4.17, which is very competitive.  

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.”

He explains that, despite what you may think, "a student with 'the magic 1600' is not implicitly better to us than a student with 'the spellbinding 1400.'" Ultimately, he concludes that "we do not admit test scores. We admit people." 

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

Extracurricular Activities

Within its application, MIT wants candidates to use a form to list and describe only four extracurricular activities instead of a resume. Before you begin, think about the activities or contributions that you have made either to your school or community that are most meaningful to you. Remember, MIT values quality over quantity!

MIT Supplemental Essays 

MIT requires applicants to write numerous short answers essays every year. You must write a response for each essay in this list for the 2021/2022 cycle: 

1. “Describe the world you come from; for example, your family, clubs, school, community, city, or town. How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations? (250 words or fewer)”
2. “Pick what field of study at MIT appeals to you the most right now, and tell us more about why this field of study appeals to you. (100 words or fewer)”
3. “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. (200–250 words)”
4. “At MIT, we bring people together to better the lives of others. MIT students work to improve their communities in different ways, from tackling the world’s biggest challenges to being a good friend. Describe one way in which you have contributed to your community, whether in your family, the classroom, your neighborhood, etc. (200–250 words)”
5. “Tell us about a significant challenge you’ve faced or something that didn’t go according to plan that you feel comfortable sharing. How did you manage the situation? (200-250 words)” 

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

How to Write the MIT Essays

Writing college application essays can be a daunting prospect, especially if you are applying to a school like MIT. However, with these tips, you’ll be sure to submit stronger essays. 

Be Yourself 

As Elizabeth C., a bioengineer & science media producer and former MIT student, admits that the words written above are "the two most infuriating words in the English language." 

Although this may seem obvious at first, it's important that you come across as authentic in your application. Indeed, Elizabeth notes that "a lot of people feel pressured to adopt a persona that they think a college will want to see." 

Chris S., a former MIT student, reiterates this message; he notes that for the 'pleasure' prompt, "the admission officers... are not looking for 'standard' answers, and you won't get brownie points by putting down 'programming,' 'building robots,' or other 'MIT-y' answers (although they also definitely won't penalize you if they do happen to be things that you do for fun). Just be honest!" 

Chris notes that this is one of the few parts of the application where you can "share with your readers a slice of your life away from mundane test scores, GPA, and lists of activities. Why not capitalize on this opportunity and really try hard to present who you really are?"

Consider Your Writing Style 

It is easy to fall back on your tried and tested essay writing routine and approach these questions as if they were mini research papers. However, while we recommend that you conduct some research, you don't want your responses to seem formulaic. 

With college essays, Chris stresses that "you're trying to convey a slice of your life, and thus you can take liberties in straying away from the conventional structure." Additionally, make sure that your writing style isn't too formal; while you want to write in a concise and proper manner, you also want to engage the reader. 

Take a moment to consider your voice and what you are trying to say. Take these two examples kindly provided by Chris: 

1. “At times, it appeared that we were surmounting an impassable obstacle. However, through the camaraderie and the solidarity of our aquatics team, we triumphed over our defeats and inevitably reached the pennant of victory.”
2. “Back in July, my friends made fun of me when I told them that I was going to start a swimming team. Laughing, they told me to return to my math problems. Today, standing in the limelight, I look over at my teammates and can’t help but marvel at how far we’ve come.”

The second example undoubtedly paints the applicant as more down-to-earth just by how it's written. Now, we're not trying to suggest that you should 'dumb down' your writing, but, as Chris appropriately points out, you don't want to "sound like someone that's trying too hard with a thesaurus."

Cut It Down 

Admissions officers read thousands of essays, so make sure that yours gets to the point; you don't have many words to play with, especially for the pleasure and department essays. Chris emphasizes that all applicants need to "trim the extra fat!" 

Interrogate your work. Do you need that quote from Willie Nelson? Does that example make you look like a more well-rounded applicant? Can you use one word instead of two? 

One excellent way to make your work more concise, to the point, and engaging is to show, not tell. Personal stories and anecdotes perfectly illustrate how you have achieved something through hard work, dedication, or sacrifice, and they also serve to humanize you - you're not just a number or an application.

However, we are all prone to getting a little too carried away with storytelling, and before you know it, you've hit the word limit. But, adding a sentence or two to provide context is far better than not showing anything at all. 

Take this 250-word snippet Chris has written, for instance: 

“Last summer, I worked in an Asian clinic in Oakland, California. Over the course of the summer, I realized the plight of immigrants when it comes to obtaining equitable health care. In the modern health industry, immigrants and other residents who possess limited English proficiency are often overlooked because of their inability to communicate their symptoms to the doctor and complete paperwork in English. This problem is exacerbated when they cannot apply for health insurance, resulting in exorbitant health bills. In a country that claims to be the 'melting pot' of cultures, this kind of neglect is no longer acceptable."
"Many patients suffer extended waits in the hospital, unable to obtain assistance. It is possible that a worsening stomachache is the initial sign for appendicitis, which needs to be treated expeditiously. Often, hospital signs are also not translated into other languages, making navigation difficult for elderly patients. These scenes are played across hospitals in the nation everyday."
"After my experiences this summer, I realized that I wanted to channel my energy into the revitalization of this system. It is no longer sufficient for us to stand on the sidelines and watch. To this end, I participated in a medical interpretation training program and was licensed as a Mandarin health interpreter. I hope I will be able to contribute my efforts to the field of public health, especially immigrant health, in the future. These patients cannot afford to passively wait for language-accessible care and continue to sacrifice their right to treatment.”

Aside from being filled with several unnecessary and complicated words, the essay doesn't actually "show" anything; it only provides a narrative for the reader - in other words, it only "tells." In essence, as Chris points out, "you just can't afford to waste words speaking in vague terms that doesn't convey much in terms of meaning." 

So, review your work and ask yourself, does this get to the point and show the admissions committee my accomplishments, or does it just describe them?

A Successful Essay 

MIT’s student-run newspaper, The Tech, has published several MIT application essays “that worked.” One example of this is from Judy Wang, a successful applicant: 

Prompt: "We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do for the pleasure of it. (100)"

Response

"Thankfully, I don’t have the attention span or the tolerance to invest time into an undertaking that I don’t find worthwhile and fun. While I am involved in numerous activities ranging from violin to debate, I never expected to look forward to my four-hour shifts as a waitress at a retirement home. I have a community of grandparents who recognize me as “Smiley Judy” and a family of coworkers who relish the food with me after Sunday brunch. Along with the fast-paced table juggling, the silly and serious interactions I have at my workplace are my ultimate source of pleasure."

Response

"Some of my hardest decisions take place in the booth of a restaurant, so choosing a major has been an absolutely agonizing process for me. I fancied subject areas from English to chemistry, but I finally (hesitantly) decided on double majoring in mathematics and economics and minoring in French. My most concrete interest, mathematics, originates from my introduction to calculus and the realization that the breadth and depth of the mathematical world extend beyond straight numerical calculations. I believe that MIT’s superior mathematics program will add unimaginably new dimensions to this magical realm that I have only just discovered."

Prompt: "What attribute of your personality are you most proud of, and how has it impacted your life so far? This could be your creativity, effective leadership, sense of humor, integrity, or anything else you’d like to tell us about. (200-250)"

Response

"My love for people is the best part about myself. There is no better feeling than the happiness I find in meeting new people and creating connections with them. My extroverted personality is the root of much of my success in leadership, presentations, and networking. I naturally reach out to people, and as a result, I am able to accomplish projects like establishing a mentoring program for the French Honor Society and a threefold increase in membership for the Asian American Club. However, my outgoing personality made the most memorable impact at the “Conversation with Michelle Obama,” an event for which I was nominated to attend. Through Google Hangout, several American cities were able to connect to Michelle Obama in South Africa. When the Kansas City group was asked about technology integration in education, the students all froze underneath the limelight. In a burst of courage, I blurted a couple of words and consequently received the microphone to continue. At that moment, it didn’t matter that there were thousands of people around the world including Michelle Obama listening; it was just me and my string of thoughts. I was the only person in Kansas City to speak that day.
I distinguish myself with my enthusiasm, and I easily see myself thriving as a part of the tight-knit community, the risk-taking hacking culture, and the passionately nerdy student population of MIT. After all, I still keep in touch with my lime-green carded tour guide.” 

How to Prepare for the MIT Interview

​​If you have submitted your application and the admissions committee likes what they see, you may be contacted by an Educational Counselor (EC) for an interview. ECs are part of the MIT Educational Council, containing over 5,000 MIT graduates worldwide. 

ECs will typically contact you via the email address provided on your application, so monitor your inbox. Interviews often last an hour, although they can range from 30 minutes to two hours. They are also not 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. However, please 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 can't get an interview. However, if you can arrange one then it is a great way to show off your personality!  

MIT Interview Questions

Sure, interviews are stressful. However, Chris maintains that "MIT didn't design its interview to quiz you and reveal the shortcomings in your character. " Instead, it is "often a way to help you know more about the school, for the school to know more about you as a person, and for you to address particular areas that you might not have had the chance to flesh out in greater detail on the application."

Unlike other colleges, MIT's ECs "don't have a standard set of questions… [that they] ask each applicant." Kim Hunter, an MIT EC and former Director of Admissions, notes that "each EC has his/her own style," so "some interviews flow naturally as a conversation, while others take on a more traditional question and answer format."

In essence, every interview will be different. 

However, Hunter does note that you should "feel confident answering probably the two most common interview questions: (1) Why do you want to go to MIT? And (2) Tell me about yourself." In addition, she says that she often asks applicants, "What else would you like the admissions office to know about you?" 

These kinds of open-ended questions are a blessing; they allow you to state all of the information that you couldn't fit into your application, so be prepared for them! 

Interview Tips 

Here are a few tips to help you ace your MIT interview.

Bring an Interesting Object

Interestingly, Hunter encourages all of her prospective students to "bring something they are proud of to share with me." This can range from a newspaper you've written to a robot you've built. Aside from breaking the ice with an applicant, Hunter explains that it can be advantageous for applicants as it "makes you, the applicant, much more memorable to us, especially when we have a number of interviews in a short period of time." 

Bringing an object can be a double-edged sword, however. Having the ability to present and discuss your work is a transferable skill that you will use throughout your time at college, especially if it's in a field that is not familiar to the listener. Yet, if you bring an object and you're not prepared to talk about it, or if you only have a few things to say about it, it could potentially work against you. So, if you want to bring something, make it an object that is special to you and come prepared! 

Prepare Some Questions

Having a few questions prepared for your interviewer is a great way to show you're engaged, you've done your research, and you're genuinely interested in becoming a part of the MIT community. 

Don't be nervous to ask questions. Hunter notes that "we wouldn't be ECs if we didn't enjoy sharing our own MIT experiences." That being said, it is important to ask intelligent questions that show you have done your research. Hunter advises that you should refrain from asking questions that ask ECs to compare other institutions they have attended to MIT. 

It's usually best to save your questions towards the end of the interview - you want to make sure that your interviewer knows all about you before asking questions about them or MIT more broadly.

How to Apply to MIT

Getting started with MIT’s application is easy, but meeting deadlines is crucial to ensuring your application’s success. if you’re applying under Regular Decision (RD) , January 5 is the deadline for most application requirements: 

Screenshot outlining MIT's Application deadlines
Source: MIT Admissions

You must submit the following materials on the application portal

Secondary School Report 

The Secondary School Report is essentially a form completed by your guidance counselor that provides MIT's admissions committee with an overview of your academic record. A crucial part of this step is submitting your academic transcript via the application portal. 

You are also required to submit two letters of recommendation; one should be from a math or science teacher, and the other from a social science, humanities, or language teacher. As MIT's applicant pool is highly competitive, letters of recommendation are an extremely important part of the admission process. 

Because of this, MIT suggests that your recommenders should know you as "more than just a student who does well on all the tests." The ideal recommenders," they continue, are "teachers who know an applicant well as both a student and a person." 

The best letters will "give a complete sketch of the student and the context of their accomplishments" supported with "​​facts and anecdotes whenever possible." MIT has been kind enough to share an example of an "excellent" recommendation: 

"It is a great pleasure for me to recommend David for admission to MIT. He is one of the most extraordinary students I have encountered in 20 years of teaching. I taught David A.P. Calculus last year as a tenth grader, and he was one of the very top students in an extremely able group of mostly seniors. He has a high aptitude for math and was very much involved in his work, applying himself with persistence and dedication and often going beyond the regular class assignments."
"David’s abiding interest, however, is computer science. He has developed a series of “strands” for use in providing computerized drill and review in the basic skills and techniques of algebra and arithmetic and has recently adapted these to other subjects. David’s work in this area has been so original and significant that he has published a paper on it and delivered several lectures to professionals in other parts of the country. This is a phenomenal accomplishment for anyone, especially a young man in rural Arkansas. It is also worth noting that both last year and this year David taught computer programming to a tenth-grade class of mine for two weeks. He took over completely, preparing lectures, assignments, and tests with great care and thought. His lectures were clear and well organized, and it was obvious that he had expended a great deal of effort to make the course the success that it was."
"David’s personal qualities are as impressive as his intellectual accomplishments. An extremely kind, sensitive and sensible boy, he has had a difficult family situation for a few years now. He provides emotional support to his mother through her battle with cancer without allowing the situation to undermine his own stability and accomplishments. He has exhausted all that we have to offer him in this small community, and the maturity that he has demonstrated leads me to believe him capable of entering college a year early, as he now plans to do. I sincerely hope that you will be able to offer him a place in MIT’s freshman class." 

Field of Study

Although you will not have to declare your major until the end of your first year, MIT will ask you to share your preferred field of study in your application to get a sense of what you are interested in.

MIT notes that choosing one major over the other in your application "will not impact your likelihood of being admitted," so be honest! Interestingly, approximately half of MIT's students majored in a different discipline than the one they wrote on their application. 

Creative Portfolio

The creative portfolio is a completely optional part of the application. However, the creative portfolio allows you to show MIT what you do outside of the classroom - you could be doing extra research, performing on Broadway, or painting a masterpiece. 

If you wish to share your experiences, showcase your research projects, or submit live recordings of your music (to name a few options), you are welcome to submit a portfolio via SlideRoom

Activities 

You should use the application form to list your activities, not your resume. MIT asks you to list up to four activities, so choose the four that you care most about and tell MIT about them. 

Self-reported Coursework Form

For domestic applicants only, this form indicates what grades you achieved in each class you have taken. This doesn't replace your transcript, but serves as a way for MIT's admissions department to "view your coursework and grades in a consistent format."

MIT Early Decision Date and Acceptance Rate

Early Action (EA) is open to all applicants, domestic and international. MIT states that it doesn’t have a preference between the two. The only difference between the two is the deadline date; if you’re applying for EA, you must submit the materials listed above by November 1st. 

In terms of acceptance rates, compared to the Regular Action rate of 7.3%, the Early Action rate is approximately 7.4%. The Early Action figures are listed below: 

Table outlining the number of MIT's Early Decision applicants and admits, adn the number of them that were deferred to egular Action and also the number who were deferred to RA and then accepted

February Updates & Notes Form 

All applicants must fill out this online form. Your application portal should update in mid-January, and you will be required to submit your midyear grades. Some schools use the trimester schedule, so please submit your first-trimester grades. 

Additionally, there is a section of this form that allows you to update MIT "on anything important that has occurred since you submitted your application."

Should I Apply to MIT?

Absolutely. MIT is home to a vibrant community and an award-winning faculty; MIT has produced 73 Nobel Laureates and 33 National Medal of Science recipients. If you're looking to pursue a future career in STEM, MIT is the perfect place. 

Students can also have the opportunity to participate in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, which allows undergraduates to work alongside their professors on cutting-edge research. In many other schools, this opportunity is commonly reserved for grad students, whereas 85% of MIT’s students participate in this program. Also, you get paid to do it. 

If funding is an issue for you and impacting your decision on applying, MIT is committed to meeting 100% of ​​the "demonstrated financial need for all admitted students." MIT is one of only five U.S. colleges that is "need blind and full need," meaning that "no student will be disadvantaged in the admissions process because of their financial need."

Interestingly, despite the $77,020 cost of an MIT education, most students pay "far less" than that; MIT notes that "89% of our students receive some type of financial aid including scholarships and work," and 78% of graduates leave MIT debt-free. 

MIT Admission FAQs 

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’re confident you have the knowledge, you can test out of some introductory courses by taking the Advanced Standing Exam (ASE)

The exam is like taking a course final before you even start. If you don’t do well, you can just take the course. If you perform well and you’re happy with the grade, you can keep it as your grade for the course. 

2. Does MIT accept transfer credit?

Yes. MIT states that if you do gain admissions as a transfer student, you"can expect to receive credit for subjects of study that are substantively 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 credit if you can pass the Advanced Standing Examination. 

3. Is MIT an Ivy League school?

No. 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?

The academic bar is set extremely high for MIT, and it attracts some brilliant minds. However, if you have a lower GPA, you still have options. 

Schmill explains that admitting students based purely upon their academic achievement is not the way MIT does things. Instead, the "very definition of [MIT's] holistic admissions" process is looking at students as a whole, and not just at their grades. As noted above, MIT is looking for a match with each of its applicants, and if you can make a compelling case for that, you can increase your chances of admission. 

Standardized tests will always have an important place in MIT's admissions decision, Schmill acknowledged, but he argues that "students stress out over their test scores more than they should." Ultimately, he continues, "they are one factor of many" in the admissions process, and "small differences in scores don't matter like students think they do."

5. How do you stand out in the MIT application process?

Unsurprisingly, 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 to you are a few of the essential things you should do. Schmill maintains that "we want students to pursue the things that interest them. For some students, this might mean pursuing one activity or set of closely related activities in some real depth. For other students, it might mean being involved in a larger array of activities. We have no preference: instead, we look for the energy and attitude that students bring to their pursuits when we make our evaluations."

6. When should you prepare for MIT?

Depending on whether you're applying for Regular Action or Early Action, you will need to have fulfilled all of the admissions requirements by January 1st or November 1st, respectively. Our advice is always to start your application ASAP. 

Bear in mind that most students will take their SAT during the spring of their junior year or the fall of their senior year. Even if the new years' application hasn't been released yet, it can't hurt to start thinking about what essay questions you will have to answer or which extracurricular activities you want to pursue. 

7. What should you do if you get rejected from MIT?

Chris Peterson, the Assistant Director at MIT Admissions, advises that while you will almost certainly feel disappointed if you face rejection, that it’s a learning experience. "Now you're smarter," he says, "you were a positive member of your community, and you made people happy; and you spent high school doing not what you thought you had to do to get into a selective college, but what you wanted to do more than anything else in the world."

Taking on board feedback, working hard, and pursuing your passions will "cast [you] in the best light possible for competitive college admissions" in the future. 

8. How to get into MIT for an MBA?

If you want an MBA from MIT, you will need to apply to MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Do your research, and make sure that you know the exact requirements of applying for business school. 

9. When do I get to choose my major? 

All students who enroll at MIT do so with undeclared majors and minors. The first year of MIT coursework is all about satisfying GIRs, despite you indicating your “course of interest” on your application. At the end of your first year, you’ll choose your major with an advisor’s help. 

10. Does MIT provide scholarships? 

Yes, but the school only awards need-based scholarships. Money is not granted for academic, athletic, or artistic merit. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t apply to an array of other scholarships not affiliated with MIT. 

11. How does MIT feel about gap years? 

MIT encourages gap years so students can grow, explore, and seek out meaningful experiences. Matt McGann, previous Director of Admissions, said in his 2011 blog, “No one ever regrets having taken a gap year, but plenty of people regret not having taken one.”

Final Thoughts

MIT is known for its vibrant community, spectacular campus, and its international prestige. However, applying to such a prestigious institution is no easy feat. 

Knowing how to get into MIT is difficult as each aspect of the application process, particularly the admission essays, forces you to look at yourself and evaluate who you are, what you have done, and why you want to join MIT's extended family. As we've discussed above, the best way to do this is to be as honest, authentic, and genuine as possible throughout the whole process. 

MIT admits a wide range of highly motivated and academically gifted applicants. However, if your grades aren't perfect, then make sure that the rest of your application is airtight; several admissions officers at MIT stress that you should do the things you love and tell the admissions committee about them. In essence, make yourself as well-rounded as possible. Good luck!

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