Welcome to the MIT forum on College Confidential!
Several current MIT students, MIT alums (including alumni interviewers), and MIT parents post on this forum, and we're happy to answer any questions that we can. Current MIT admissions officer Chris Peterson (MITChris
) also posts here, but he may not be around as much this year (more on this from him in the next few weeks, I'm sure).
Some questions are asked here very often, and I'll try to cover them in this FAQ.
When will the application be released?
MIT is not a Common App school, and the application for the upcoming year is usually released in approximately late August or early September. We can tell you what the essay questions and word limits were last year, but there is no guarantee that the questions will remain the same. But never fear: the application will be released in plenty of time for you to complete it.
What are the application deadlines?
MIT has both an early action (EA) and a regular decision (RD) round of applications.
MIT's EA program is non-restrictive (you can apply to other schools, as long as those schools allow applicants to apply early to other places) and non-binding (after you are admitted, you can choose whether or not to attend). The EA deadline is November 1, and decisions are usually available online around December 10-15. EA admits get financial aid information with RD admits in late March, and are required to reply to MIT by May 1.
Applying to MIT EA is not automatically an advantage for your application -- the EA admit rate is usually the same as or lower than the RD admit rate. A sizable percentage of EA applicants are deferred to the RD round, and are given the opportunity to send in supplemental materials before RD consideration begins. International students are not allowed to apply EA.
MIT's RD deadline is January 1, and decisions are usually available online around March 15-20.
For more information, see MIT's webpage here
What standardized tests do I need to take to apply to MIT?
For native English speakers, MIT requires either the SAT I with writing or the ACT with writing. MIT additionally requires 2 SAT II subject tests, one in math (either Math Ic or Math IIc) and one in science.
For non-native English speakers, MIT requires either the SAT I with writing, the ACT with writing, or the TOEFL (with no option preferred over the others). MIT additionally requires 2 SAT II subject tests, one in math and one in science.
MIT superscores the SAT and ACT, so only the highest scores from each section will be considered for your evaluation (and there is no need to use Score Choice to select which test administrations you would like MIT to see). If you take both the SAT and the ACT, MIT will only use the better set of scores in your evaluation. There are no preferred SAT II subject tests, and there is no preference as to whether you take the SAT or the ACT.
If you have taken AP tests prior to applying to MIT, you do not need to send MIT an official score report. Self-reporting your scores on the application will be sufficient.
The latest test date for EA applicants is the November date (no rush report required), and the latest test date for RD applicants is the December date, although January tests will be accepted at MIT's discretion.
For more information on MIT's testing requirements, see the standardized test requirements here
Who can write my letters of recommendation?
MIT requires two letters of recommendation, one from a math or science teacher and one from a humanities teacher. Matt McGann has confirmed for me that a teacher of any subject that, if it were taught at MIT, would be taught within the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS
), is fine for the humanities letter of rec. This includes foreign languages, history, writing, literature, theatre, music, and others.
MIT does not require that the letter be from a teacher you've had in any particular school year, although you should carefully consider whether a teacher you had as a freshman or sophomore will remember you vividly enough to write a good letter for you.
See more information at Matt McGann's blog here
What's this about an interview?
MIT alumni known as Educational Counselors (ECs) try to interview all applicants to MIT, though students who do not live within a reasonable distance of an EC have the interview waived. In late summer or early fall, the contact information for the EC assigned to each applicant will be visible in the MyMIT portal; each applicant is responsible for contacting his or her EC to schedule the interview.
You must contact your EC before October 20 (EA) or December 10 (RD) in order to secure an interview.
Every year on CC, we see several students who neglected to contact their ECs prior to the deadline but who still want an interview. Contact your EC early!
The interview is a relatively informal conversation about you, and an opportunity for you to ask the EC questions about MIT. You should dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable -- there's no prescribed dress code.
For more information on the interview, see the MIT site here
, and look for posts on this forum by Mikalye, our (awesome) resident EC.
Does MIT only admit geniuses and 2400 scorers? Can I still get in if I didn't participate in science fairs or olympiads or math contests?
Although there are a lot of really smart students at MIT, most students are garden-variety smart and hard-working. You definitely have to be smart to get into MIT, but you don't need to be some sort of otherworldly genius.
Most admitted students did not participate in top science and math contests. It's okay if you don't know what the AIME is, or if you didn't do particularly well on the AMC12. It's great if you've participated in or done well in these contests, but most applicants and admits have not.
I'm going to major in English. Will it be easier for me to get into MIT?
MIT does not admit according to major -- students do not declare a major until the end of freshman year, so all applicants are considered officially undecided. It is no easier to be admitted as a prospective English or management major than as a prospective chemistry or electrical engineering major.
Although MIT has excellent programs in many humanities and social science disciplines, prospective students in these fields should be aware that MIT's General Institute Requirements (GIRs) require all students to take two semesters of physics, two semesters of calculus, one semester of chemistry, one semester of biology, one lab course, and two science/technology electives in order to graduate.
For more information, see the GIRs on the admissions wiki here
I got a B/4 on the AP test/700 on the SAT! Did I ruin my chances to get into MIT?
Probably not. MIT's admissions process is holistic, meaning that all factors relevant to your application are considered when deciding whether or not to admit you.
Still, MIT's applicant pool is very competitive -- check out the admissions statistics here
for the last admitted class, and the CC results thread for the class of 2016
. Also be sure to check out the CC results threads for the classes of 2015
No. Read this thread
by MITChris instead.
Best wishes, and again, welcome to MIT CC!
-Mollie, MIT class of 2006 (brain and cognitive sciences/biology, MacGregor resident, cheerleader)