Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is one of the most prestigious universities in the world, located in arguably the most prestigious academic city in the world. Cambridge, Massachusetts, is also home to Harvard. If you’re looking to apply to MIT you’re in great company, but that also means that you’ll have lots of competition. Let’s talk about what you should do if you hope to get into MIT.
MIT prioritizes course rigor and scores to filter students into priority groups. If you want your application to land in a top priority review group, aim for perfection.
Every school has its unique institutional priorities. For MIT, achieving on a high level in STEM tops the list of priorities. In order to compete for MIT, you will plan to be an exceptional student and excel in a STEM area.
Academically, you need to:
-Aim for 1550 or above on the SAT or 34-36 on the ACT.
-Submit the highest possible, if not perfect scores on SAT Subject Tests.
-Aim for an 800 on the SAT Subject Tests you plan to submit.
-Avoid submitting SAT Subject Test scores under 700.
-Take a minimum of 2 SAT Subject Tests for MIT, a requirement.
1 Math SAT Subject Test: Math 1 or Math 2 (optimally, take Math 2)
1 Science SAT Subject Test. Choose from Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
While many students take between 7-8 Subject Tests over the course of 2 years to submit, you don’t have to take that number of tests to be competitive. Be sure to take at least the required 2.
Extracurricularly, you need to:
-As a baseline, all students who plan to apply to MIT should prepare for and take the AMC qualifying exam in January or February.
For math lovers, put your strong math side forward. Explore math competitions and work to complete at a high level. Consider engaging in the competitions below:
-American Mathematics Competitions (AMC 8, AMC 10, AMC 12, AIME, USAMO, USAJMO)
-American Regions Mathematics League (ARML)
-Harvard-MIT Math Tournament (HMMT)
-High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling (HiMCM)
-International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO)
-Math Prize for Girls
-USA Mathematical Talent Search (USAMTS)
MIT asks students for AMC results and cares about AMC. Everything from AMC to International Math Olympiad to Regeneron or ISEF, MIT wants to see results. Pursue math classes to prep for AMC. MIT asks for AMC results on its application. That’s just how important they think this test is. If you really love math or computer science and think you can do well on the AMC test if you prepare, go ahead and take some classes that can help you. Math camps over the summer are especially geared toward some of the higher level math learning one might need to pursue AMC. Consider applying to these camps as early as December and January the winter before:
-Ohio State University – Ross Mathematics Program
-Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS)
-Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics (HCSSIM)
-Texas Honors Mathworks
-MIT Research Science Institute
For science lovers, work to compete in science-based competitions, awards and tests. If math isn’t your thing, prep for a science Olympiad qualifying exam in the spring. If you make it, it’s all upside. If you don’t, you can always try again next year.
-Google Science Fair
-Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF)
-Regeneron Science Talent Search
-Davidson Fellows Award
-International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO)
-International Physics Olympiad
-USA Biology Olympiad
-President’s Environmental Youth Awards
-Stockholm Junior Water Prize
-FIRST Robotics Competition
-Junior Science and Humanities Symposia
-MIT THINK Scholars Program
Show collaboration. Students who have winning stories of robotics team or Technology Student Association, should share results. If you have worked together with a group to build a catapult or engineer an important solution to a critical problem, highlighting your collaborative nature in your application is key!
Submit a portfolio. MIT offers budding engineers an opportunity to submit maker portfolios.
Demonstrate a sense of humor. (MIT students are notorious for their pranks) Show a funny bone and even highlight some quirky interests! Take a risk on that application. Being funny and showing a science or math humor can offer an advantage. Be interesting!
If you get on the waitlist, consider it a waiting room, in which you want to be “close to the door” when they open it to let people in. Work like crazy to get off that list! MIT waitlists broadly, but their waitlist will move.
For international students:
If you are applying from outside of the US and have not won major competitions in your city, country, or region, consider applying broadly and develop a list of schools where the numbers are on your side. Last year MIT admitted a mere 87 international students. The year before, the numbers were not much better with 115 students accepted.