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Do normal people get into MIT?

neverendingneverending Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
People who haven't won major awards, or been active in math/science clubs, or taken very advanced college-courses, or invented something, or have an amazing talent--do they get into MIT? I'm talking about intelligent, interested, and bright students, not slackers or anything--but also people who haven't won important competitions or demonstrated amazing talent in some area. I guess the reason behind this question is that I am kind of overwhelmed by things I've been hearing, to the point that I'm kind of losing hope!
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Replies to: Do normal people get into MIT?

  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit Super Moderator Posts: 12,374 Super Moderator
    Yes, absolutely.

    For anecdata's sake, my husband and I both fit that description -- smart, hard-working kids who took hard classes and were involved in fun ECs (me: marching band, theater, show choir; husband: cross-country, track, freestyle mogul skiing). No inventions or huge awards or amazing talents between the two of us.
  • hearbr8cker124hearbr8cker124 Registered User Posts: 141 Junior Member
    I'm with you on that feeling so don't worry! The way I think about it. MIT wants a diversity of people in each of their classes, meaning they cannot have only one type of student.
  • LionHeart365LionHeart365 Registered User Posts: 103 Junior Member
    ^ So how can one show that they're smart, hardworking and bright students if they haven't done anything major in their respective fields, keeping the fact in mind that more than 50% of the applicant pool falls within this category ?

    Don't post the 'Applying Sideways' link please :)
  • caffeinecaffeine Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    Yep, right here. *waves hand*

    The important thing is that you show your love of science or math or engineering, or your creativity or uniqueness, somehow. That doesn't mean you need to have awards or certificates to show for it. I don't really know why I got in (and I struggled with this for a while), but the majority of kids I know are the "ordinary" but hardworking, bright type who excelled in classes and their extracurriculars (not necessarily awards, but maybe leadership, or something else) and came here and are thriving.

    Also, give yourself credit when you're applying-- you're probably more amazing than you think you are :)
  • MITBenjiMITBenji Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    I've never done any research (yet). I didn't win any science Olympiad (um or even compete...). I have no affiliations to or legacy at MIT. I wasn't even close to valedictorian.

    Discovery thrills me. I pride myself in working hard and dedicating myself.

    MIT gave me the nod. Don't let doubts stop you from applying. For reals.
  • KingsXIKingsXI Registered User Posts: 121 Junior Member
    ^ Perhaps you could give a bit more info about what your stats were ? :)
  • edoardoedoardo Registered User Posts: 334 Member
    The real question is:

    Do normal International applicant get into MIT ?
  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit Super Moderator Posts: 12,374 Super Moderator
    Read the past years' results threads and see for yourself.
  • edoardoedoardo Registered User Posts: 334 Member
    I already know the answer.
    No.
  • PiperXPPiperXP Registered User Posts: 2,856 Senior Member
    Yep, "normal" international applicants get in. I know many of those :) Granted, getting in as an international applicant is much harder, given that there are far fewer slots and many people who want to go.
  • edoardoedoardo Registered User Posts: 334 Member
    Are you saying that MIT also accepts intl with no international prizes and no top scores xD?
  • MikalyeMikalye Registered User Posts: 1,337 Senior Member
    Are you saying that MIT also accepts intl with no international prizes and no top scores?

    YES, as an international EC, I have seen many, many students admitted without top prizes, and a smaller number with top prizes who were not admitted. For the international community, MIT is looking for exactly the same things as for the domestic community, particularly for match (The Match Between You And MIT | MIT Admissions).

    Particularly students who have had limited opportunities are regularly accepted to MIT, with accomplishments which are truly stunning, given the extremely limited resources with which they have had to work with, but which are not reasonably "Top prizes."

    That being said, if you are coming out of a school that provides every opportunity, if your high school is Berlinisches Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster, or Eton, or Scotch College of Melbourne, then there is less rationale for poor scores.

    However, MIT is looking predominantly for academically qualified people who match the MIT culture. Winning math medals is absolutely not required.
  • cellardwellercellardweller Registered User Posts: 1,567 Senior Member
    You have to somehow stand-out in a way that is meaningful to MIT's culture. Just excellence in academics won't do it because of the competition. From my personal experience as an EC it is becoming more and more like being selected for "X-factor". That X-factor can be any number of things, awards, outstanding ECs, achievements in difficult circumstances, some unusual passion for science... If the application is just bleh... you will be cut!

    I can't always put my finger on the key determinant, but I can often sense right away if the candidate I meet stands a chance for admission. I see too many candidates with ten APs, 2300+ SAT scores who eventually don't make it. Others, potentially less accomplished on paper, just have that spark and I can tell instantly they are the right fit. My personal analogy is comparing the candidate with a satellite sent into orbit. The satellite may have just been launched but if the trajectory looks like it is going to reach a high orbit, chances are good. If the satellite is already well into its launch but may not reach that high an orbit eventually, chances of success are less. The short is: during the admission process, trajectory is more important than absolute position!

    MIT cares more about what you may accomplish in the future than what you have done so far. Admission to MIT is not another merit award; it is more an educated guess about your potential contribution to society through science and engineering.
  • LionHeart365LionHeart365 Registered User Posts: 103 Junior Member
    MIT cares more about what you may accomplish in the future than what you have done so far. Admission to MIT is not another merit award; it is more an educated guess about your potential contribution to society through science and engineering.


    So far the best reply I have ever read on this forum! :)
  • Dogod11Dogod11 Registered User Posts: 394 Junior Member
    People who haven't won major awards, or been active in math/science clubs, or taken very advanced college-courses, or invented something, or have an amazing talent--do they get into MIT? I'm talking about intelligent, interested, and bright students, not slackers or anything--but also people who haven't won important competitions or demonstrated amazing talent in some area. I guess the reason behind this question is that I am kind of overwhelmed by things I've been hearing, to the point that I'm kind of losing hope!
    Write good essays! I don't remember where, but I remember reading on the forum that the essay (essays in the case of MIT) is the only major part of your application that you have influence over at this point, and if you can make it (them) really good it (they) can get you in. It's what I'm counting on.
    MIT cares more about what you may accomplish in the future than what you have done so far. Admission to MIT is not another merit award; it is more an educated guess about your potential contribution to society through science and engineering.
    So far the best reply I have ever read on this forum! :)
    I agree!
This discussion has been closed.