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MIT FAQ for application year 2010-2011 (with answers by MITChris)

molliebatmitmolliebatmit Registered User Posts: 12,374
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. Two current MIT admissions officers, Chris Peterson (MITChris) and McGreggor Crowley (mcgmit), also post here, so be on the lookout for their expertise.

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 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.

MIT is committed to admitting no more than 30% of the class EA, so the EA admit rate is usually the same as or lower than the RD admit rate. About 70% 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. 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. 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.

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, blog entries on the interview here, or 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 webpage 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. Also be sure to check out the CC results thread for the class of 2012, class of 2013, and class of 2014.

What are some useful websites for finding more information about MIT?
MIT Admissions homepage
MIT Blogs
Common Data Set

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

Replies to: MIT FAQ for application year 2010-2011 (with answers by MITChris)

  • Rocky545Rocky545 Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    is it possible for international students to have an interview?
  • MITChrisMITChris College Rep Posts: 1,731 Senior Member
    Yes - common and recommended, even. Depending on where you live, it is either easy or difficult to get an interview. If it is difficult, then you can work with our team to figure something out, and if you absolutely can't, we don't hold it against you.
  • EnlightenedLuLuEnlightenedLuLu Registered User Posts: 62 Junior Member
    The first of my many questions to come:

    If we apply through Questbridge and put MIT as our first-choice school, can we/ do we have to submit the MIT application as well? And if we get pass the first round of Questbridge, can we still get assigned an EC and get an interview? Also, approximately how many applicants does MIT accept each year through Questbridge?

  • MITChrisMITChris College Rep Posts: 1,731 Senior Member
    @ELL -

    - No, you only need to do the Questbridge form.
    - No, because it is too late. Instead, when you file your Questbridge form, you need to simultaneously create an account on http://my.mit.edu and that will auto-assign you with an EC.
    - Difficult to say - changes every year.
  • Rocky545Rocky545 Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    will delhi be difficult??
  • debarghya9debarghya9 Registered User Posts: 615 Member
    Ok since this thread is for asking questions on the MIT Application, let me ask mine.

    I've attended a school right through the tenth grade, teachers know me there very well.
    I am currently a high school senior at a different school where teachers know me as a good student. But the thing is that there is no science teacher in my current school who knows me well enough to understand my passion, my aspiration and how I've coped with failure ( there's a humanity teacher who knows me very well). This is partly due to the fact that we have like three teachers teaching different areas of a single subject. They can tell MIT about how I've performed in their class but nothing beyond that.

    There is a science teacher from my former school who knows me very well and I happen to know him outside of high school. I think he'll be able to provide an honest and accurate picture of who I am. So can I ask him to fill my teacher evaluation form?
  • azntempestazntempest Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    I have a similar question with debarghya9.

    My freshman chemistry teacher, who also taught me math and general physical science in middle school, knows me very well. I took her classes for more than four years, and she is the teacher that helped me excel in my studies throughout both my middle school and high school years. However, she is currently at a different school. Would it be alright for me to get recommendation from this teacher?

    Thank you in advance!
  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit Registered User Posts: 12,374
    I can double-check this with Chris and/or Matt, but my strong suspicion is that this would be absolutely fine -- you want to choose a teacher who can write you a strong letter, regardless of his or her current location.
  • notmynamenotmyname Registered User Posts: 58 Junior Member
    How bad is getting a 2 or 3 on an AP test?
  • sic_infitsic_infit Registered User Posts: 564 Member
    I don't think I will have a very strong application compared to the very competitive pool at MIT. However I did qualify for and did well in the USNCO, does this give me a shot and should I even bother applying?
  • sic_infitsic_infit Registered User Posts: 564 Member
    For the humanities Letter of Recommendation, would a socials studies teacher who taught me World History and Economics count?
  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit Registered User Posts: 12,374
    notmyname wrote:
    How bad is getting a 2 or 3 on an AP test?
    Getting a 2 or 3 on an AP test isn't an application-killer, and if the score really bothers you, you don't have to report it on your application. All things considered, it would be better to have 5s, for sure, but a 2 or 3 wouldn't keep you out of MIT in the context of an otherwise competitive application.
    sic_infit wrote:
    For the humanities Letter of Recommendation, would a socials studies teacher who taught me World History and Economics count?
    Yes, that would be fine. 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, and both history (21H) and economics (14) are departments within the SHASS.
  • helium3helium3 Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    Hey, I just thought of something. Are you allowed to send in more letters of recomendation than two? What if it is from outside school (employment, volunteering, etc.)?
  • helium3helium3 Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    sic_infit-I'm in the same boat. The only way to know for sure is applying. However, I do know this. The chance is there. No matter how small. And I don't know about you, but I will always wonder if it would have happened if I don't apply.
  • helium3helium3 Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    Also, is there a point in doing Physics or Bio Olympiad in senior year if you just found out about them. If those exam results are released before decisions, can I update MIT?
This discussion has been closed.