We are often asked, “How do I get into MIT?”
If only there was a magic formula. Well, there is…somewhat, but it does involve high-level talents.
Last year MIT admitted 1,467 students from an application pool of 18,306, an 8% admit rate. Students were from 50 states and 67 countries. 625 of these students were accepted in the early action round – 42% of the class. So, you can see that almost half the class is filled up in early, making regular decision even more difficult given the higher number of applicants.
Tip #1: Apply Early
Almost half the class is full by the time the regular admissions round opens up in January.
Tip #2: Win High Level Awards
More than one-third of the MIT admits last year won national or international academic distinctions like Science Olympiads, The Google Science Fair, Intel, Siemens, etc.
MIT may not know your high school, but they will recognize top international and national awards.
Tip #3: Apply to the Research Science Institute held at MIT or Other High Level Summer Programs
Every summer, MIT gathers 80 of the most accomplished high school students for its cost-free, summer science and engineering program that combines on-campus course work in scientific theory with off-campus work in science and technology research. Getting into RSI often means MIT will want you to stick around for college.
Tip #4: Disclose Ethnicity or Parent’s Lack of College
If your parents didn’t attend college, you have a slight hook in admissions. If you are an underrepresented minority you also have a hook. 25% of the incoming class last year identified as an underrepresented minority, and 17% as first generation (first in their family to attend college), up from 13% the prior year.
Tip #5: Dare to be Different
Pursue an unusual activity if you love it. MIT appreciates ‘niche’ applicants: champion jugglers, budding meteorologists, etc…
MIT’s application now provides a structured way for students to submit information on hands-on projects, such as coding a new computer program, rebuilding a car, or designing a 3D costume for a play or performance.
Tip #7: Get a Job
The more humble the better AND on your own merit. Show that you earned your job and that you aren’t afraid to work hard. This doesn’t mean working at your mom’s law firm or your dad’s hedge fund.
Tip #8: Be Creative
If you’re an artist, create a portfolio. If you design jewelry, sell it locally or online. Show colleges what you’re capable of producing. Now included in MIT’s application are optional music and art supplements.
Tip #9: Be Scholarly
The definition of ‘scholarly’ is ‘involving or relating to serious academic study’. Live it. Valedictorians are de rigueur at the Ivies, but colleges want to admit those who LOVE LEARNING, not just good students.
Tip #10: Don’t Let the Common Application Limit You
There ARE ways to pop off the screen/page and present as a focused scholar. Leverage the Common App — don’t be confined by it!
Tip #11: Focus on Your Application and Say YES to an Interview
MIT wants to see that you’ve put effort into your application. Write essays that help you rise above the rest once your scores and grades put you in range. In 2014 MIT only admitted 1% of students who chose not to interview.
Tip #12: Teacher Recommendations Matter
Ask your teachers to focus on your intellectual strengths (and give examples) more than on your character. Every applicant is ‘nice’. MIT wants to know the scholar, the student who actively pursues his/her academic interests, hones his/her intellect and SHOWS them they LOVE LEARNING. MIT is VERY specific with recommendations. They require two letters, one from a math or science teacher and one from a humanities or social science or language teacher.
Remember, MIT doesn’t want well-rounded kids — they want to create a well-rounded class; the more specialized you are, the better.