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MIT FAQ for application year 2012-2013

molliebatmitmolliebatmit Posts: 12,198Super Moderator Senior Member
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 2015/2014/2013/2012.

Chance me!
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)
Post edited by molliebatmit on
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Replies to: MIT FAQ for application year 2012-2013

  • awkwardpenguin13awkwardpenguin13 Posts: 1,943Registered User Senior Member
    Aw man, this just makes it the more real that this is beginning for us already...



    Well here's a question.. :D

    I'm applying through Questbridge, and I was wondering: if I become a finalist, can I submit the MIT application even though it's not required?
  • MITChrisMITChris Posts: 1,489College Rep Senior Member
    Yes, but why would you?
  • neverendingneverending Posts: 34Registered User Junior Member
    I have a general question about financial aid. I didn't receive any aid from MIT (will be a freshman this fall), because my parents are supposed to use all their savings/take loans to pay for it. The thing is, they aren't going to. Now, I'm basically responsible for paying 60k a year of which i have 0. :/ I guess I don't really understand why I will graduate with massive student loans because my parents refuse to pay, whereas someone whose parents don't have that much money will be fully/almost fully covered, even though we are basically in the same financial situation. Honestly this is just a question regarding college financial aid in general. Why is it assumed that just because parents have some money they are going to empty their savings to pay for their kid's college? And what is the kid supposed to do when parents just wont, AND they don't have any aid? Is there anything I can do about this? :(
  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit Posts: 12,198Super Moderator Senior Member
    Well, the only way to waive the parental contribution is to be declared an independent student on the FAFSA, but it's not a trivial process -- just saying your parents won't contribute to your education isn't sufficient to be declared independent.

    But I'm sure you can understand why schools/the government calculate financial aid assuming a parent contribution. After all, nobody wants to pay for college, so if it were trivial to be declared independent, everybody who didn't get what they considered sufficient aid would just declare themselves independent.
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Posts: 2,998Registered User Senior Member
    neverending,

    Why won't they pay? Would they have paid if you'd gone to another school? When did you find out they wouldn't pay?

    You could choose not to go to MIT, take a gap year, and apply to affordable schools for next year. That's one option.
  • rr5001rr5001 Posts: 95Registered User Junior Member
    Hi Everyone

    I just have a few questions...for now.
    1. In what order are applications read? Meaning, is the first completed application MIT receives the first one to be evaluated for admittance?

    2. Is there a firm date on when the application will be released? I didn't see it on the website so if there's a section on it, feel free to post a link.

    3.I heard that MIT does not look at the writing section of the sat. In other words, if you had a 750 Critical Reading, 800 Math and a 700 Writing then to MIT there SAT score would be 1550 out of 1600.

    4. For the application, will any of the questions be the same as they were last year? (Like world you come from, department at MIT)
    Thanks for this thread!
  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit Posts: 12,198Super Moderator Senior Member
    In what order are applications read? Meaning, is the first completed application MIT receives the first one to be evaluated for admittance?
    Not really. The applications are sent out to be read as they're completed, but completion doesn't happen in the exact linear order that the applications are received, since applications need to be matched with recommendation letters, transcripts, SAT reports, etc., some of which may arrive late, and there's always a filing backlog of a few weeks right around the application deadline. In addition, the applications are read by multiple readers, so one reader's first folder might be another reader's 500th folder, and another reader's 137th, etc. So the first applications to be completed are read first by somebody, but not read first by the other readers.
    Is there a firm date on when the application will be released? I didn't see it on the website so if there's a section on it, feel free to post a link.
    This is the first answer in the FAQ above. :) (See, I'm right about which questions are asked most frequently.)
    I heard that MIT does not look at the writing section of the sat. In other words, if you had a 750 Critical Reading, 800 Math and a 700 Writing then to MIT there SAT score would be 1550 out of 1600.
    They have not in the past, but I am not sure what the policy will be for this year.
    For the application, will any of the questions be the same as they were last year? (Like world you come from, department at MIT)
    They may be, but the application does change somewhat every year.
  • trinitiantrinitian Posts: 374Registered User Member
    @molliebatmit: hi mollie, if you could check this thread out and answer some of my questions, i'd really appreciate it. i tried PMing you with some questions in regard to Course 16.0 but I haven't heard from you. Please give me some insights. thanks.

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/massachusetts-institute-technology/1366386-all-about-mit-aero-astro-mainly-aircraft-systems-engineering-grad-program.html
  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit Posts: 12,198Super Moderator Senior Member
    This is the place for me to admit up-front that I don't always respond to PMs. I get a lot of them, and I don't have a lot of time to answer individual questions. I apologize for being less accommodating than I have been in the past, but I'm finishing my PhD thesis this fall, and I just don't have much free time. (As it happens, I'm currently traveling out of the country for a conference for work, and I'm just grabbing internet when I can.)
  • workHaRd12workHaRd12 Posts: 142Registered User Junior Member
    Please may I ask you one question?i emigrate to USA last year, I am from Africa and I did 9th grade my classes weren't challenging at all although I passed this year with 87 on report.will it hurt me when I will apply at MIT. I love everything about MIT since I were back in Niger.but my schedule for next year is compose of honor and aps I am really going to work hard. by the way English is my 4th
    language.
  • rr5001rr5001 Posts: 95Registered User Junior Member
    a few more questions...
    If I can learn faster, better and overall more efficiently by NOT taking the class but studying independently can I put what I study on my application?

    If I do independent study I will be heavily involved in it. I will spend more time than taking the class normally would and I would have a stronger understanding.
    So how do I convey that I am learning at a rigorous rate?

    Will independent study be looked down upon since I am not taking the respective class for each subject?

    Perhaps, I should list the textbooks I use?
    Thoughts and Responses Very Appreciated!!
  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit Posts: 12,198Super Moderator Senior Member
    workHaRd12 wrote:
    I am from Africa and I did 9th grade my classes weren't challenging at all although I passed this year with 87 on report.will it hurt me when I will apply at MIT.
    It's useful to have great grades and test scores, no doubt, especially if you're applying as an international student. Still, there are very few single factors in an application that can hurt you irreparably.
    rr5001 wrote:
    If I can learn faster, better and overall more efficiently by NOT taking the class but studying independently can I put what I study on my application?
    Yes, absolutely. It's not unusual for MIT applicants to have studied subjects independently, and the admissions officers won't think it's odd in the least. There's a section on the application for "anything else you'd like to tell us", so you can explain your independent study in that section.
  • workHaRd12workHaRd12 Posts: 142Registered User Junior Member
    Also i was wondering if being in a lot of clubs(8) heart went applying to MIT! I join 3 clubs because it will good when applying to college but at the end i enjoy being in all of them!will it look bad?!
  • perazzimanperazziman Posts: 2,214Registered User Senior Member
    Regarding the interview, does it have to be after one applies or can someone go to MIT during the summer in August or September while touring the campus and interview there too?
  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit Posts: 12,198Super Moderator Senior Member
    There aren't any on-campus interviews offered -- they're all done by alumni volunteers in your local area. Interviewer contact information will be available through MyMIT starting in late August or early September, and applicants can have their interviews from the time contact information is available through mid-October (for EA) or mid-December (for RD). The application doesn't need to be completed before the interview is scheduled or held (except maybe in some, usually international, limited-interviewer/many-applicant areas).
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