Extracurricular Activities at MIT

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

MIT Campus

Extracurricular Activities at MIT

MIT is widely known for its rigorous academic programs and groundbreaking research. However, the importance of extracurricular activities should not be overlooked. Engaging in activities outside of the classroom offers students unique opportunities to enhance personal skills, create a balanced lifestyle, and reap numerous benefits. In this article, we will explore the wide range of extracurricular activities available at MIT, the benefits they bring, how to get involved, and the challenges that may arise.

The Importance of Extracurricular Activities

Participating in extracurricular activities can have a profound impact on one’s overall college experience. These activities provide a platform for students to develop essential personal skills that go beyond what is taught in the classroom. Whether it’s honing leadership abilities or discovering new passions, extracurricular activities contribute to a holistic education.

Extracurricular activities offer students a unique opportunity to explore their interests and passions outside of the academic realm. These activities can range from joining a sports team, participating in a debate club, or even volunteering for a local community organization. By engaging in these activities, students are able to broaden their horizons and gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

an MIT standee

Enhancing Personal Skills through Activities

Engaging in extracurricular activities allows students to cultivate valuable skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. By collaborating with peers in clubs or organizations, individuals refine their ability to work effectively in a team and navigate through challenges collectively. These experiences not only strengthen interpersonal skills but also prepare students for future professional endeavors.

For example, a student who joins a debate club may develop strong communication skills as they learn to articulate their thoughts and ideas in a persuasive manner. Similarly, a student who participates in a sports team may develop leadership skills as they take on the role of captain and guide their teammates towards success. These skills are not only valuable in college but also in the professional world, where collaboration and effective communication are highly sought after.

Balancing Academics and Activities

While academics are undoubtedly a priority at MIT, finding a balance between coursework and extracurricular involvement is crucial. Participating in activities outside the classroom can help alleviate stress, provide a much-needed break, and foster personal growth. It’s all about managing time effectively and prioritizing commitments to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Moreover, extracurricular activities can also enhance academic performance. Research has shown that students who engage in extracurricular activities tend to have higher GPAs and are more likely to graduate on time. This is because these activities provide students with a sense of purpose, motivation, and a support system that can help them stay focused and driven in their academic pursuits.

Additionally, extracurricular activities can also open doors to unique opportunities such as internships, scholarships, and networking events. Many companies and organizations value the skills and experiences gained through extracurricular involvement, making it a valuable asset for future career prospects.

Overview of Extracurricular Activities at MIT

MIT boasts over 450 official student groups, giving you roughly one option for every ten undergrads. Need help finding a group that matches your vibe? No worries, starting your own is a breeze – just gather your pals and dive into whatever floats your intellectual boat.

These student groups cover a wide range, from cultural associations to musical ensembles, dance crews to religious groups, and activism movements. If you’re into more mainstream activities, there’s also a newspaper, a debate team, a radio station, and student government.

And if you thought those were the only options, think again. MIT rocks some seriously out-of-the-box clubs, like:

Laboratory for Chocolate Science: These folks are all about appreciating and scientifically diving into the world of chocolate. They order more than 500 pounds of the sweet stuff each year – talk about a sugar rush!

Science Fiction Society: Home to the world’s largest collection of open-stack science fiction and fantasy books. If you’re a sci-fi buff, you’ve hit the jackpot.

Spinning Arts Club: Ever wanted to twirl LED props or play with fire safely? Well, here’s your chance. They’re all about the art of spinning with a safety-first mindset.

Puppy Lab: Stress relief meets scientific research. These guys know that petting animals is good for the soul, so they’re making it a mission to boost community mental health and wellness.

Outing Club: MIT and Cambridge folks, rejoice! This club is all about embracing the great outdoors, with cabins in New Hampshire named things like Camelot and Intervale. Nature lovers, this is your tribe.

All these clubs get their official stamp through the Association of Student Activities (ASA), a student-run committee involving both the Undergraduate Association (UA) and the Graduate Student Council (GSC). The ASA team helps student groups snag space and funding, making it easier for them to chase their passions.

We’re talking about a whopping 450+ student groups at MIT. Whether you’re into outdoor adventures with the Outing Club, building solar cars with the Solar Electric Vehicle Team, or debating hot topics, there’s something for everyone.

Tune in to the FM station WMBR, or get artistic with the Student Art Association. From Model UN to dance, chess, and ham radio – you name it, we’ve got it.

MIT students aren’t just about hitting the books; many are out there doing good stuff. Groups like Amphibious Achievement and the Educational Studies Program are all about social and public service. For instance, the Educational Studies Program hooks MIT students up with high schoolers and middle school kids for some serious tutoring action.

MIT’s cultural scene is buzzing, too. There’s the Black Students’ Union, the Latino Cultural Center, the Asian American Association, the Native American Student Association, and the South Asian American Students Association. Internationally inclined? We’ve got 30+ global groups hosting cool discussions and social events.

G@MIT takes care of the LGBTQ+ crowd, with weekly awareness programs and social shindigs. And for the women in grad school, there’s GWAMIT, making sure they rock both personally and professionally.

Religious folks, they’ve got you covered, too. With over 30 faith-based groups, MIT celebrates diversity in spirituality. So, whether you’re into science, arts, service, or soul-searching, MIT’s got something for you outside the textbooks.

Academic Societies

MIT hosts a range of academic societies that cater to diverse interests. Here’s a quick rundown:

MIT American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES): A national engineering organization focused on professional development.

MIT American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS): Connects architecture students, fostering a collaborative environment.

MIT Biology Undergraduate Student Association (BUSA): Keeps you in the loop about biology events and directs you to important online resources.

MIT Society for Biomaterials: Welcomes all intrigued by biomaterials, fostering the sharing and application of knowledge in this field.

MIT Biomedical Engineering Society: A society dedicated to advancing the field of biomedical engineering.

MIT Undergraduate Economics Association: Bringing together students interested in economics for discussions and activities.

Eta Kappa Nu: A National Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Honor Society, working to enhance the EECS department and education.

MIT Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE): A platform for electrical and electronic engineering enthusiasts.

MEGAWomen (Mechanical Engineering Graduate Association of Women): Organizes events for female graduate students in Mechanical Engineering.

Society of Physics Students (SPS): Open to all within the MIT physics community, offering various engaging activities.

Pi Tau Sigma: A Mechanical Engineering Honor Society recognizing and promoting excellence in the field.

MIT Premedical Association: Facilitates learning about medicine and the medical school application process through talks, forums, and networking.

MIT Society of Women Engineers: An educational service organization encouraging women in engineering and leadership.

Tau Beta Pi: The national engineering honor society, offering resources from scholarships to career services.

Technology and Policy Program (TPP): Prepares graduates to lead in addressing society’s technological challenges, combining technical expertise with policy strategies.

MIT Undergraduate Biochemistry Association: Unites students interested in biochemistry, providing a platform for shared learning and activities.

View of MIT building


MIT’s musical scene is as diverse as its academic offerings. Check out some of the noteworthy musical groups:

African Music and Dance Performance Ensemble (MITCAN): Bringing the rhythm and beats of Africa to the MIT stage.

MIT Brass Ensemble: Brass enthusiasts unite! This group is all about the bold sounds of brass instruments.

Chorallaries: MIT’s secular coed a cappella group is known for turning up the volume. Every member is part of the MIT community.

MIT Concert Band: Devoted to modern band music by contemporary composers. They even commission new pieces each year, keeping things fresh.

MIT Concert Choir: A collective of voices harmonizing to create beautiful melodies.

Cross Products: MIT’s coed Christian a cappella singing group, hitting all the right notes with a spiritual touch.


MIT’s theatrical offerings cater to a diverse range of interests. Check out these vibrant theater groups:

Black Theatre Guild: MIT’s newest theater group, devoted to showcasing culturally specific plays for the community.

MIT Community Players: A collective of staff, alumni, students, and enthusiasts who bring non-musical dramas and comedies to life at MIT.

MIT Dramashop: This student-run co-curricular theater group puts on two full-scale plays and an evening of student-written, student-directed one-acts annually.

MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players: Bringing the works of the British duo, Sir W. S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan, to the MIT stage. This student-run extra-curricular theater organization adds a touch of classic British theater to campus life.

From culturally rich performances to classic British theater, MIT’s theater scene offers a variety of productions for both participants and the community to enjoy.


MIT’s dance scene is alive and kicking, offering a variety of options for dance enthusiasts:

MIT Ballroom Dance Club: Providing weekly lessons for all skill levels, with no prior experience or partner required. For those looking to take their moves to the next level, there’s the MIT Ballroom Dance Team—a committed group of competitive dancers.

MIT Capoeira Angola: Embracing the Brazilian martial art form of Capoeira Angola, combining elements of dance, acrobatics, and music.

MIT Chamak: Infusing energy into the dance floor, MIT Chamak is the Indian fusion dance team at MIT, showcasing the vibrancy of Indian dance.

MIT Dance Troupe: Covering a spectrum of dance styles, including Ballet, Modern, Funk, Tap, and Jazz. They also organize student-choreographed performances each term, adding a creative touch to the MIT dance community.

Whether you’re into ballroom, Capoeira, Indian fusion, or a mix of dance styles, MIT’s dance options welcome everyone, from beginners to seasoned performers.

Varsity and Athletics

MIT boasts the largest Division III athletics program in the United States. A good chunk, around 25% of students, play varsity sports, and many others join club and intramural sports or focus on general fitness and recreation.

The school has a whopping 33 varsity sports teams, making us the biggest in Division III nationwide. MIT is a big player in the NEWMAC conference, competing fiercely.

Being a student-athlete at MIT is a thing. Roughly 25% of MIT students do varsity sports, and our varsity athletes generally score slightly higher GPAs than non-varsity athletes. MIT student-athletes have earned 419 Academic All-America citations, the most among DIII schools in the country.

MIT doesn’t do athletic scholarships or direct coach selections since they’re a Division III school. However, if you’re eyeing MIT, you can contact your sports coach to express your interest.

Club & Intramural Sports

If varsity isn’t your scene, no worries. We’ve got club and intramural sports. Club sports take on teams from other universities, while intramurals are all about MIT students competing against each other. Take your pick and play on!

MIT has more than 30 club sports, including archery, pistol, and martial arts teams that compete nationally. Additionally, there are 25+ intramural sports, where MIT community members organize hundreds of teams each year, catering to various skill levels.

When it comes to places to play, MIT’s got you covered with recreational facilities spanning 477,053 ft² across campus. All students can use these spots:

1. Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center: It’s got an Olympic-size swimming pool, a smaller teaching pool, a top-notch fitness center, and a fully staffed sports medicine center.

2. Alumni Pool & Wang Fitness Center: This one features lap and instructional pools, a fitness floor with machines and free weights, a group exercise studio, and a spin studio.

3. Johnson Athletic Center: Here, you’ll find an ice rink, a six-lane indoor track with a large indoor field, and four tennis courts.

4. DuPont Athletic Center with Rockwell Cage: This spot includes five basketball courts, a fencing room, a wrestling room, multiple squash courts, a firing range, and an indoor golf range.

5. J.B. Carr Indoor Tennis Bubble: Home to four indoor courts for MIT Varsity Tennis students, and MIT Recreation Members.

6. Harold Pierce Boathouse: Located on the Charles River, it boasts an eight-oared moving water indoor rowing tank, 64 ergometers, and a fleet of over 50 shells.

7. Walter C. Wood Sailing Pavilion: The oldest university sailing pavilion globally and the birthplace of intercollegiate sailing in the United States.

8. Steinbrenner Stadium: MIT football, lacrosse, and track and field find their home here.

9. Briggs, O’Brien, and Barry fields: These fields offer acres of on-campus space for athletics and general recreation. There is plenty of room for sports and just having some fun!

Benefits of Participating in Extracurricular Activities

Beyond the joy of pursuing interests and passions, engaging in extracurricular activities offers a multitude of benefits that greatly enhance the college experience.

Personal Development

One of the most immediate benefits of participating in extracurricular activities is personal development. Activities such as sports, drama, or debate clubs help in instilling self-discipline, responsibility, and a sense of community. These activities often require time management, teamwork, and commitment—essential life skills that can greatly benefit individuals in their personal lives and future careers. Learning how to balance academic commitments with other interests enables students to develop resilience and adaptability, skills that are vital in an ever-changing world.

Social Skills

Extracurricular activities also serve as a platform for enhancing social skills and emotional intelligence. Students often work together in groups and are required to communicate effectively to achieve common objectives. This fosters a sense of camaraderie and helps develop interpersonal skills, such as empathy and active listening. The relationships formed during these activities can result in lifelong friendships or professional connections that are invaluable in later stages of life. Moreover, participating in various activities exposes students to a range of cultural and social perspectives, promoting diversity and inclusiveness.

Academic Improvement

Contrary to the belief that extracurricular activities distract from academic pursuits, numerous studies suggest that students who engage in these activities often perform better academically. The discipline and focus acquired from participating in structured, non-academic activities can translate to a more organized approach to academics. Additionally, some activities like quiz bowls, science clubs, or writing workshops directly complement classroom learning, offering a practical, hands-on approach that can reinforce academic concepts.

Two young students communicate on the street, near the university

Career Opportunities

From a pragmatic perspective, extracurricular activities can significantly boost career opportunities. Employers and colleges often look for well-rounded individuals who can contribute more than just academic excellence. Skills such as leadership, team collaboration, and effective communication are highly valued in the job market, and participation in extracurricular activities is often an effective way to develop these skills. Furthermore, some activities can lead directly to career opportunities. For instance, being a part of a robotics club can open doors in the field of engineering, while journalism or debate clubs can provide a stepping stone for careers in media or law.

Health Benefits

It’s also worth noting that many extracurricular activities, particularly sports, offer significant health benefits. Regular physical activity can aid in physical development, reduce stress, and promote mental well-being. In a society increasingly plagued by health issues such as obesity and anxiety disorders, extracurricular activities serve as a constructive outlet for energy and emotions.

How to Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities at MIT

Getting involved in extracurricular activities at MIT is a straightforward process that allows students to immerse themselves in a vibrant community. By participating in these activities, students can enhance their college experience, develop new skills, and build lasting friendships.

Joining Existing Clubs and Organizations

MIT offers a wide range of clubs and organizations covering various interests and disciplines. Whether you’re passionate about robotics, entrepreneurship, or community service, there is likely a club that aligns with your interests. Students can browse through the extensive list, reach out to current members, and attend organizational meetings to find the perfect fit.

Joining existing clubs provides an excellent opportunity to engage with an established community and contribute to ongoing projects or initiatives. You can collaborate with like-minded individuals, share your expertise, and learn from others who are equally passionate about the subject matter. These clubs often organize workshops, guest lectures, and social events, allowing you to expand your knowledge and network.

Starting Your Own Club or Group

For those with unique interests or ideas, starting a new club or group is always an option. MIT encourages students to take the initiative and provides resources and support to help bring their vision to life. Starting a club allows individuals to create a community around their specific interests and have a lasting impact on the MIT community.

When starting a club, you have the freedom to shape its mission, activities, and membership criteria. This gives you the opportunity to foster a sense of belonging and create an inclusive space for individuals who share your passion. Additionally, starting a club can be a valuable learning experience, as it requires you to develop leadership skills, manage budgets, and organize events.

Participating in Events and Competitions

MIT hosts numerous events and competitions that encourage student involvement and provide platforms to showcase talents. These events span a wide range of fields, including science, technology, arts, and sports. By participating in these events, you can challenge yourself, gain practical experience, and receive recognition for your achievements.

Students can participate in hackathons, debates, exhibitions, and more. These events often attract participants from various universities, creating opportunities to learn from and network with peers who share similar interests. You can collaborate on innovative projects, exchange ideas, and build connections that may benefit you in your academic and professional journey.

Furthermore, participating in events and competitions allows you to showcase your skills and talents to a broader audience. It can be a stepping stone towards internships, research opportunities, or even launching your own startup.

Overall, getting involved in extracurricular activities at MIT is an enriching experience that goes beyond the classroom. It allows you to explore your passions, develop leadership skills, and form lifelong connections. So, take the leap and dive into the vibrant extracurricular scene at MIT!

Group of students walking in the campus.

Challenges and Solutions in Balancing Extracurricular Activities

While engaging in extracurricular activities can be immensely rewarding, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges that may arise when trying to balance commitments. From managing time effectively to prioritizing activities and seeking support, finding a balance is crucial for success.

Time Management Strategies

Effective time management is the key to successfully juggling academics and extracurricular activities. Students should map out their schedules, set priorities, and allocate dedicated time for different commitments. By creating a structured routine, students can ensure that they have enough time for both their academic responsibilities and their extracurricular pursuits.

Moreover, utilizing productivity tools, such as calendars and to-do lists, can help students stay organized and make the most of their time. By breaking down tasks into manageable chunks and setting deadlines, students can avoid feeling overwhelmed and ensure that they stay on track with their commitments.

Prioritizing Activities and Academics

As with any endeavor, it’s essential to prioritize commitments, ensuring that academic responsibilities are not neglected. While extracurricular activities can be exciting and fulfilling, students must evaluate the time and energy required for each activity. By setting realistic goals and understanding the demands of their commitments, students can strike a balance that allows them to excel academically while still enjoying their extracurricular pursuits.

Additionally, it’s important for students to be mindful of their own limits and not overcommit themselves. By carefully selecting the extracurricular activities that align with their interests and goals, students can avoid spreading themselves too thin and maintain a healthy balance between their academic and extracurricular lives.

Happy students walking together.

Seeking Support and Guidance

If balancing extracurricular activities becomes overwhelming, it’s important to seek support from mentors, advisors, or peers. MIT offers a wide range of resources to help students navigate these challenges effectively. Academic advisors can provide guidance on course selection and help students create a manageable schedule. Counseling services are available to offer support and assistance in managing stress and maintaining mental well-being.

In addition, MIT has a strong network of student organizations and clubs where students can find support and build connections with like-minded individuals. These communities can offer advice, share experiences, and provide a sense of belonging, making the balancing act of extracurricular activities more manageable.

Engaging in extracurricular activities at MIT is not merely an add-on to academics but an integral part of the college experience. It allows students to develop personally, build a strong community, and gain invaluable skills that shape their future. By finding a balance and seeking support when needed, students can make the most of their extracurricular journey and thrive during their time at MIT.

So, whether it’s participating in a student club, joining a sports team, or pursuing a passion project, students at MIT have a wealth of opportunities to explore and grow outside of the classroom. By embracing these activities and effectively managing their time, students can create a well-rounded college experience that prepares them for success in both their personal and professional lives.

It is important to have all the necessary information before making any decision. AdmissionSight is always here to help you with any questions or concerns. We have over ten years of experience helping students successfully navigate the challenging admissions process.

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