How to Get Into MIT: Admission Requirements & Tips

Picture of MIT from afar
September 15, 2023
8 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 8/16/23

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

If you aspire to get into MIT, one of the world's leading institutions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), several key factors must be considered. 

With 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.

About MIT

Picture of MIT entrance
Source: MIT News

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.

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 MIT's rigorous academic experience combined with a hands-on, learn-by-doing approach. MIT is also one of the schools belonging to HYPSM.

MIT also 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 insight into life at MIT.

MIT Acceptance Rate

Admissions statistics speak to MIT’s competitiveness. Recent data shows that MIT’s admission rate is 4.8%.

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%. 

How Hard Is It to Get Into MIT? 

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.

MIT Admissions Requirements

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

MIT GPA Requirements

There is no minimum GPA needed to attend MIT. 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.”

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

MIT SAT Requirements 

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 


While MIT does not have a recommended or a “cut off” score for the SAT, these are the average MIT scores achieved by admitted students: 

Test Middle 50% SAT Score Range
SAT Math 780-800
SAT EBRW 740-780

Preparing for the SAT and performing your best is crucial to the strength of your application.

MIT ACT Requirements

It’s important to know what MIT's average ACT score is. MIT has no recommended or cut-off scores, although it’s important to perform your best if you plan to take the ACT. The average MIT ACT score range of admitted students is as follows:

Test Middle 50% ACT Score Range
ACT Math 35-36
ACT Reading 34-36
ACT English 34-36
ACT Science 34-36
ACT Composite 34-36

These average scores are high; remember to dedicate time to preparing for the ACT before your test day! 

Application 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! 

MIT Coursework Requirements

MIT doesn’t have course requirements, but the school does recommend that students take these courses if available: 

  • “Math through calculus
  • One year or more of physics
  • One year or more of chemistry
  • One year or more of biology
  • Four years of English
  • Two years of a foreign language
  • Two years of history and/or social sciences”
Tutor with students

The school states that students “who are well matched with MIT” will take these courses. However, your application will be reviewed in the context of what classes your school offers. Taking the right courses and polishing your application always gives you a better chance of getting into college.

MIT Supplemental Essay Prompts 2023/2024

MIT requires applicants to write numerous short answers essays every year. You must write a response for each essay in this list for the 2023/2024 cycle: 

“1. 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.”
“2. Describe the world you come from (for example, your family, school, community, city, or town). How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations?”
“3. MIT brings people with diverse backgrounds and experiences together to better the lives of others. Our students work to improve their communities in different ways, from tackling the world’s biggest challenges to being a good friend. Describe one way you have collaborated with people who are different from you to contribute to your community.”
“4. Tell us about a significant challenge you’ve faced (that you feel comfortable sharing) or something that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation?”

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

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 contact you via the email address provided on your application, so monitor your inbox. 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. 

MIT interview with student

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. 

If every EC participates and 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 Application Dates and Deadlines

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:

Application Components Early Action Deadlines Regular Decision Deadlines
MIT application with all components November 1 January 5
Standardized testing dates November December
February Updates & Notes Form Mid-February Mid-February
Admissions decision release date Mid-December Mid-March

MIT Early Decision Date 

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 1.

Tips to Get 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

Student reading

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. 

Volunteer moving box

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. 

Team celebrating

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.

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. 

If funding is an issue for you and impacts your decision to apply, MIT is committed to meeting 100% of ​​the "demonstrated financial need for all admitted students." Interestingly, despite the $79,850 cost of an MIT education, most students pay "far less" than that.

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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