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How to Get Into MIT: Expert Tips and Strategies

04/05/202330 minute read
How to Get Into MIT: Expert Tips and Strategies

What does it take to get into MIT? As one of the world’s top universities, getting into MIT is a competitive process. With the right approach and preparation, you can increase your chances of being admitted to this top US university. Follow this guide to prepare and submit a flawless application and maximize your chances.

If you’re wondering how to get into MIT, you’ve come to the right place. While there's no foolproof way to guarantee admission, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of success.

In this blog post, we'll provide a comprehensive guide on how to get into MIT, covering everything from examining MIT’s admission requirements to crafting a standout application.

Whether you're just starting to consider your college options or are already in the midst of preparing your application, our comprehensive guide on how to get into MIT is designed to provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to succeed in the admissions process.

How hard is it to get into MIT?

Based on acceptance numbers, MIT is one of the hardest schools to get in. While MIT emphasizes their holistic approach to the selection process, it’s unlikely you’ll get in if you don’t meet the minimum testing and GPA numbers.

In recent years, the admissions process has gotten even more competitive. MIT had just under 27,000 students apply for the class of 2027 with an acceptance rate of less than 5%. They only extended offers to about 1,259 of the 26,914 applicants.

With such a low acceptance rate, getting into MIT seems difficult. But, students are still getting in! What are they doing to distinguish themselves from the rest of the applicants, and what does it take to get into MIT?

MIT Class of 2027 Acceptance Rate
Number of ApplicationsAccepted StudentsAcceptance Rate
Early Applications11,9246855.7%
Regular Applications14,9905743.8%

What is MIT Looking for?

1. Strong academic performance

MIT is looking for students who have excelled academically, particularly in subjects related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This includes taking challenging courses, maintaining a high GPA, and performing well on standardized tests like the SAT or ACT.

2. Passion for learning

In addition to academic excellence, MIT is looking for students who have a genuine passion for learning. This can be demonstrated through participating in research projects, pursuing independent study, or taking on extracurricular activities that align with their academic interests. MIT wants students who are curious, motivated, and eager to explore new ideas and concepts.

A Day in the Life: MIT Student

3. Leadership skills

MIT wants students who have demonstrated leadership skills in their academic, extracurricular, or community activities. This includes serving in leadership roles in student organizations, taking initiative to start new projects or initiatives, or demonstrating leadership in other ways such as volunteering or community service. MIT wants students who have the potential to become leaders in their respective fields and make a positive impact on the world.

4. Strong character and values

MIT is looking for students who possess strong character and values. This includes qualities like integrity, honesty, empathy, and a commitment to social responsibility. MIT wants students who are not only academically talented, but who will also contribute positively to the community and embody the school's mission of using science and technology to make the world a better place.

They’re looking for students who:

  • Align with MIT’s mission
  • Collaborate and cooperate
  • Take initiative
  • Take risks
  • Possess hands-on creativity
  • Show intensity, curiosity, and excitement
  • Uphold the characteristics of the MIT community
  • Prioritize balance

Once your application is submitted, it will be read by a senior admissions officer and evaluated holistically. Strong applicants will be assessed by more admissions officers and multiple groups of admissions staff and faculty before it reaches the “admit” pile.

Your application is viewed on an individual basis and stands on its own. It’s not evaluated based on your location, state, financial needs, or if you have any legacy/alumni relations. This process allows all students a fair chance at acceptance.

College acceptance calculator

What do you need to get into MIT?

MIT takes a holistic approach when they evaluate applicants. They assess candidates based on their test scores, grades, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, essay responses, an interview, and an optional creative portfolio.

When evaluating your application, MIT considers test results and grades, but they also look at the application as a whole. You must complete the following pieces of the application to be eligible for admission into MIT.

Overall, you need need to include the following in your MIT application:

1. High School GPA

MIT has high standards for academic achievement, and a strong GPA is one way to demonstrate your readiness for their rigorous coursework. Although there is no minimum GPA requirement for admission, competitive students have a GPA of 3.5 or above and mostly A’s in math and science courses.

2. SAT/ACT Test Scores

After temporarily suspending the SAT/ACT testing requirement for the 2021-2022 application cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MIT now requires the tests from their applicants again, whether they are first-year or transfer applicants.

mit sat act requirements

SAT Requirements

The average SAT score for MIT applicants is between 1520 - 1580.

While MIT values clear, concise writing and incorporates it into all their undergraduate programs, they do not require students to complete the ACT writing or SAT optional essays.

MIT SAT Subject Tests are no longer part of their admissions requirements. This change took place starting with the 2020-2021 admissions cycle and will continue indefinitely. MIT hopes that this adjustment will allow students to focus on their areas of interest and how those areas will contribute to their future academic and career success.

ACT Requirements

The average ACT score for MIT applicants is between 34 - 36.

MIT places a high value on writing through all their academic programs but does not require students to complete the ACT writing section of the test.

Score range of admitted students (25th and 75th percentile)
TestScore Range
SAT Math[790, 800]
SAT ERW[730, 780]
ACT Math[35, 36]
ACT Reading[34, 36]
ACT English[35, 36]
ACT Science[34, 36]
ACT Composite[35, 36]

3. Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities are an essential part of the application process for students hoping to get into MIT. MIT is looking for students who are more than just academic achievers. They seek outgoing leaders who can positively impact their campus and the world.

Admitted students typically have a strong record of involvement in extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, theater, community service, or other pursuits. They may have also demonstrated leadership skills or a commitment to a particular cause or issue.

4. Recommendation Letters

For MIT admissions officers, recommendation letters provide an opportunity to get a more holistic view of the applicant. They can help to highlight an applicant's strengths, achievements, and unique qualities, which can help set them apart from other applicants.

A strong recommendation letter can also help to strengthen an applicant's application. It can provide additional evidence of their academic potential and demonstrate that the student has the support of respected professionals in their field.

5. Essays

MIT asks you to write several short supplemental essays and responses so they can get to know you better. For the MIT supplemental essay, be open and honest with your answers because this is your chance to personally connect with the admissions team and show them why you want to attend MIT.

You should certainly be thoughtful about your essays, but if you’re thinking too much—spending a lot of time stressing or strategizing about what makes you “look best,” as opposed to the answers that are honest and easy—you’re doing it wrong.

- MIT Admissions

MIT posts short answer essay prompts each year. Sometimes they recycle the previous year’s MIT essay prompts, and sometimes they include new ones. Here are the essay prompts for the 2021-2022 application cycle.

  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Tell us about the most significant challenge you’ve faced or something important that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation? (200-250 words)
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6. English Proficiency Exam Requirements

Since MIT teaches all its programs in English, it’s strongly recommended that non-native English speakers report their English proficiency exam results. The following are the minimum requirements for each testing option.

English Language Proficiency Requirements
TestMinimum ScoreRecommended Score
Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic6570
Cambridge English Qualifications (C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency)185190
Duolingo English Test (DET)120125

How to increase your chances of getting into MIT?

While applicants who meet the testing and GPA requirements have a better chance of getting into MIT, they aren’t guaranteed a spot. Getting into MIT takes perseverance, creativity, and thinking outside the box.

Here are the best ways to make your MIT application stand out and maximize your chances of getting into MIT:

1. Apply Early

Take advantage of Early Action and apply to MIT early. Early Action applications are non-binding but offer you a higher chance of acceptance. The early action acceptance rate at MIT for the Class of 2027 was 5.7% compared to the regular application acceptance rate of only 3.8%.

Applying early has several benefits. First, it can help to reduce competition. The early application pool is typically smaller than the regular decision pool, which can increase your chances of acceptance. Additionally, the admissions committee has more time to review each application in the early pool, which can result in a more thorough and nuanced review of your application.

Secondly, it shows the admissions committee that MIT is your top choice and that you are committed to attending if accepted. This can help to demonstrate your level of interest and enthusiasm for the university, which can be a positive factor in the admissions decision.

how to stand out in mit applications

2. Ensure your application aligns with MIT’s mission

To get into MIT, it's important to show that you understand and align with the mission and values of the institution. MIT's mission is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the world in the 21st century.

The mission of MIT 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.

- MIT Mission Statement

One way to demonstrate this commitment is by getting involved in an extracurricular activity that aligns with MIT's mission. For example, you could volunteer with an organization that promotes access to education or clean energy solutions, or participate in a research project that addresses a global challenge.

By engaging in activities that have a positive impact on the world, you not only demonstrate your alignment with MIT's mission, but also showcase your leadership skills, teamwork, and initiative.

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3. Write a strong personal essay

MIT receives thousands of applications yearly, and your college essay is the perfect way to help you stand out to college admissions officers. A strong and unique essay can differentiate you from applicants with similar academic profiles. Think outside the box, find ways to integrate your passions, and show your unique personality and perspectives.

Ensure you display the following in your MIT essays:

  • Provides insight into your personality: A well-written college essay can give admissions officers a glimpse into your personality, interests, and experiences that may not be evident from the rest of your application. This can help to make you a more memorable and compelling candidate.
  • Demonstrates your writing skills: A strong college essay can showcase your writing skills and provide evidence of your ability to communicate effectively. This is important because strong writing skills are highly valued in college coursework.
  • Highlights your unique qualities: A strong college essay can highlight your unique qualities and experiences that make you stand out from other applicants. This demonstrates your potential to contribute to the campus community and positively impact your future career.
  • Shows your commitment to MIT: A well-crafted college essay can demonstrate your genuine interest in attending MIT and your understanding of what makes it a good fit for you.
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MIT Overview

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Founded in 1861 during the Industrial Revolution, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) original purpose was to help drive the U.S. industry forward.

Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT utilizes education, research, and innovation, improving systems and processes and addressing some of the world’s most critical issues and challenges. Each year, the school accepts an elite group of talented and forward-thinking students from across the globe. This pool of exceptional inventors and creators contribute to MIT’s mission, creating jobs, developing new technologies, and launching new industries.

MIT’s five schools specialize in scientific and technological research. They also boast strong economics, psychology, biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics programs. MIT is best known for its engineering and physical sciences programs and they encourage undergraduates to pursue original research.

Life After MIT

MIT alumni are highly sought after by employers around the world, thanks to the institution's reputation for academic excellence and its emphasis on hands-on, real-world experience. Many alumni go on to become leaders in their respective fields, making significant contributions to society through their work.

MIT prepares its students for a diverse range of careers and opportunities. MIT graduates pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, where they apply the knowledge and skills they acquired at MIT to advance research, develop innovative technologies, or start their own businesses.

Others go on to pursue careers in finance, consulting, or other industries, leveraging their analytical and problem-solving abilities to succeed in these fields.

MIT alumni are some of the most accomplished people in the world. Many have successful careers in scientific research, education, business, and public service:

  • Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations
  • Buzz Aldrin, Astronaut
  • Ilene S. Gordon, CEO, President, and Chairman of Ingredion
  • Jonah Peretti - Co-founder and CEO of BuzzFeed and co-founder of The Huffington Post
  • Andrea Wong, President of Sony International Production

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does MIT give scholarships?

MIT’s most common type of aid is the MIT Scholarship. Students who receive this grant do not repay it. They are based on financial needs and come from the MIT endowment, gifts from MIT alumni and friends, and general funds.

To help make MIT even more affordable, many students also apply for federal grants, state grants, and private scholarships and grants.

What is the retention rate for first-year students at MIT?

MIT’s freshman retention rate is 99%, making it one of the best university retention rates in the United States.

What is the average salary for an MIT graduate?

In 2018, the average salary for the MIT graduate was USD 104,700.

Does MIT use the Common App?

You cannot apply to MIT through the Common Application. They have their own system called MyMIT.