30 JUL 2021
In recent years, the admissions process has gotten even more competitive. MIT announced a 66% increase in applications for the class of 2025 and an acceptance rate of only 4%. They only extended offers to about 1,340 of the 33,240 applicants.
With such a low acceptance rate, the chances of getting into MIT seem nearly impossible. But, students are still getting in! What are they doing to distinguish themselves from the rest of the applicants? What does it take to get into MIT?
Before we get into the MIT admissions details, the application process, and how to make your application stand out from the rest, let’s take a quick look at MIT’s history and some of their most notable statistics.
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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.
U.S. News & World Report ranked Massachusetts Institute of Technology #4 in their Best Colleges 2021 edition. MIT also ranked #1 in the 2021-2022 QS World University Rankings for the 10th year in a row.
MIT ranks #1 in the following subject areas:
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.
Yes, MIT uses superscoring. Students can take the same standardized test multiple times, and MIT will consider their highest score in each section.
MIT grants credit for a small number of AP exams and also offers students opportunities to test out of undergraduate classes if they completed college-level study while in high school through Advanced Standing Exams. Additionally, they grant placement and credit for many international exams, including A-Levels, Cambridge Pre-U, International Baccalaureate, French Baccalauréat, and Abitur.
A few years ago, MIT decided to post its own admissions statistics. While these numbers give a broad picture of what it takes to get into MIT, they do not tell the whole story. MIT emphasizes they take a holistic approach to their admissions process. They look at test scores and applications as a whole to determine if a candidate matches the MIT mission and culture.
|US Citizens & Permanent Residents||15,926||1,315||8.3%|
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.
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.
*MIT suspended the SAT/ACT testing requirement for the 2021-2022 application cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
|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]|
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.
|Test||Minimum Score||Recommended Score|
|Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic||65||70|
|Cambridge English Qualifications (C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency)||185||190|
|Duolingo English Test (DET)||120||125|
Based on numbers, it’s tough to get into MIT. 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.
With that in mind, MIT also evaluates you based on how well you match with the institution’s mission and values. They’re looking for students who:
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.
When evaluating your application, MIT admissions stresses the importance of 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.
Check out MIT Application Deadlines and Requirements.
The MIT application consists of the following sections.
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.
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.
In addition to the short essay responses, you’ll also need to include the following in your MIT application:
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MIT posts their application deadlines at the end of August. As a reference, the 2020-2021 deadlines are below.
|Early Action (EA)||November 1||All individual application components—general information, essays, activities, academics, etc.|
|November 1||Two letters of recommendation—one from a math or science teacher and one from a humanities, social science, or language teacher|
|November 1||Secondary School Report (SSR), including high school transcript|
|February 10||February Updates & Notes Form (including midyear grades)|
|Regular Action (RA)||January 6||All individual application components—general information, essays, activities, academics, etc.|
|January 6||Two letters of recommendation—one from a math or science teacher and one from a humanities, social science, or language teacher|
|January 6||Secondary School Report (SSR), including high school transcript|
|Febuary 10||February Updates & Notes Form (including midyear grades)|
If you wish to transfer to MIT, you should become familiar with the application requirements. MIT recommends prospective transfer students take various math and science courses, including calculus, calculus-based physics, biology, and chemistry. They should also take full advantage of every opportunity their university offers to show how they excel in these subjects. While there is no minimum GPA, students should have mostly A’s in their math and science courses.
As an MIT transfer student, choose extracurricular activities that challenge and fascinate you. These might include projects, internships, and research that shows leadership, collaboration, and creativity.
Transferring into MIT is challenging, arguably more difficult than entering as a freshman. The typical transfer acceptance rate is about 4.28%. For example, in 2019, MIT received 538 transfer applicants and only accepted 23 students. Maintaining a GPA of at least 4.17- 4.34 will also increase your chances of receiving one of the coveted transfer spots.
While this might sound discouraging, it’s not impossible to get into MIT as a transfer student. Determining what MIT looks for in a transfer student and preparing your application according to those expectations increases your chance of getting into MIT as a transfer student.
At a minimum, students who wish to transfer to MIT will need to provide the following:
As an MIT transfer student, you can expect to receive credit for any subject equivalent to corresponding MIT subjects. In some cases, your academic record may not reflect your mastery of a specific area. MIT offers an Advanced Standing Examination to students so they can demonstrate their subject mastery.
In general, transfer students lose one semester of coursework. For example, if you transfer as a third-year student, you will enter MIT as a second-year student.
MIT offers a wide range of graduate degrees, programs, and certificates. While MIT is known for its science and math programs, they also offer many other exceptional graduate degrees and certifications. MIT has five schools (Architecture and Planning; Engineering; Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; Management; and Science), including 46 departmental programs.
Before you determine if MIT grad school is for you, do your research. Do they offer the academic path to your dream career? Do you have the grades, classes, and test scores you need for acceptance into your chosen program? One MIT graduate put it this way:
It’s actually a recipe: 1 cup of your motivation, 3 cups of research experience, a teaspoon of name dropping, and a dash of personality and honesty. In the end, you really need to show you are qualified, and that you are a match for the program.
A strong research background and identifying professors with whom you want to work are keys to getting into an MIT graduate program. If possible, letters of recommendation should be written by influential people you know well who have personal connections to MIT.
Learn more about MIT’s graduate school through the lens of an MIT Ph.D. student.
Not surprisingly, MIT’s graduate school is competitive, accepting only about 6.7% of applicants.
MIT encourages graduate applicants to have a GPA of 3.5 or better, although it doesn’t guarantee acceptance into the school.
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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, thinking outside the box, and a little bit of luck.
Here are some easy ways to make your MIT application stand out from the rest.
Crimson offers a wide range of educational support services that will help you tailor your education and application so it aligns with MIT’s values and requirements. Through our admissions support programs, we walk with you through the application process. From online tutoring and extracurricular mentoring to essay review and even postgraduate admissions, Crimson can show you how to get into MIT.
According to MIT Facts 2020, undergraduate students paid the following in tuition and living expenses for the 2019-2020 school year:
The following are the 2019-2020 graduate school tuition and living expenses:
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. During the 2019-2020 school year, students who received the MIT Scholarship received on average $50,483.
To help make MIT even more affordable, many students also apply for federal grants, state grants, and private scholarships and grants.
MIT’s freshman retention rate is 99%, making it one of the best university retention rates in the United States.
In 2018, the average salary for the MIT graduate was USD 104,700.
MIT alumni are some of the most accomplished people in the world. Many have successful careers in scientific research, education, business, and public service.
*as of October 2020
You cannot apply to MIT through the Common Application. They have their own system called MyMIT.