MIT doesn't use the common app. Be happy about this. MIT's online application is about a thousand times nicer and easier to navigate than the common app- the common app's convenience is honestly overrated. I thought it was a royal pain in the you-know-where.
MIT does not use the Common App. I believe for a school with highly competitive admissions, this is a good thing. MIT can really focus on what they are looking for in their student body and it is less likely they will receive applications from students who do not have MIT among the top of their own list.
MIT's application and requirements are very different than other schools. I recommend that you become acquainted with all of MIT's requirements (eg, SAT2's) and essay questions before even starting MIT's application.
IMO, if you can put together good essay answers for MIT's questions, they might serve the Commom App, but not the other way around.
Also unique, you will need a recommendation form from a math/science teacher and from a humanities/social science teacher. The questions on the MIT teacher form are also unique.
IMO, the questions on MIT's teacher form make an excellent outline for writing college recommendation letters in general, ie, to use for other schools.
I would not recommend that you vary from MIT's requirements, because you will only likely hurt your chances for admission.
MIT's admissions site is awesome
I see that no one gave you a link yet. well here it is: https://my.mit.edu/
I am not sure if the app for this year came out yet. at least they haven't kicked me out of the "Welcome Class of 2012" thing.
What ducktape said. Common app is really annoy 1. they have boring essay prompts. 2 pretty much all the good schools have their own supplement, so suddenly, it is not so common and still lots of essay to write 3. since it is not on the school's site, makes people (at least me) feel sort of distant from the school 4. MIT's decisions are released earlier than most common app stuff and it is ONLINE! so no need to check your mail box every 20 minutes (what I did when my friends got stuff from Caltech or like AP scores)
Just last year, UC's changed their 1 long 2 short essay to MIT's essay prompt. isn't that awesome or what? so if you are from Cali, less essays for you to tool. I applied to 8 schools last year, writing only 5 essays, 3 of those short ones.
Like everyone else here said already, MIT does not use the common app and has their own application. It's formatted really nicely so I had no trouble with it. Anyways, I'm sure you can modify your common app essays to fit MIT's if you want to.
Don't forget the fact that you can track when exactly your materials were received as soon as you log into your account! Honestly, I thought that was the most reassuring of all. I hated applying to all my RD schools just because I never knew if my supplementary materials or even the common app itself was processed at the other end. Sure, the common app had the date when you submitted it, but I loved how organized MIT's system was. It really leaves nothing to chance, and if anything ever seems like it's taking too long to process, one call and problem solved. Or at least, you get the answers you want from polite, nice people who don't tell you to just sit tight and wait. I swear, the MIT system spoiled me
Does anyone know when the application will be available? It just keeps saying, "Later this summer." S2 wants to have everything done by September 1st. He has been working on essays a little at a time and then takes a couple days off. He saw S1 friends last year struggle during the school year to get everything done. In fact, he wrote a supplemental essay late last night and had it sitting out for me to read when I got up. It was really well written and in fact, pretty deep. I would have never thought about M.I.T., but when he pulled a 780 on the Math S.A.T. I and a M.I.T. coach called, I thought, "Why not?" After going through this process last year with S1, I feel so much more confident with the whole process this year.
I think the online application was up by August 1st year (I'm just going by what I have on my blog, which I think is referencing the actual application).
So hopefully sometime soon! And while it isn't a bad idea at all to get most stuff out of the way by September 1 (in retrospect, my life last fall would have been much easier), sometimes that extra month or two of experience really will change how you look at your application. So while he can still have it done by the first, just encourage him to set it aside and look at it again with fresh eyes in a month or so.