How to Increase Your Chances of Acceptance at MIT?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

How to Increase Your Chances of Acceptance at MIT?

For many of the top high school students across the world, the dream of getting into a top 10 university in the United States is at the top of their minds when they begin the application process. Without a doubt, these hyper elite learning institutions are home to some of the most cutting-edge resources, award-winning faculty and incredible history and culture that attracts students with a wide array of interests and passions.

One such school that is annually listed within the top 10 when it comes to undergraduate programs in the United States is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -more commonly known as simply MIT.

If you have the dream of one day attending MIT, no matter where you are specifically in your high school education, you might be wondering how to get into MIT. The simple truth is that there is no one way to guarantee getting into any school as competitive and prestigious as MIT. However, just because there is no way for a student to guarantee that they will get admitted to MIT does not mean that there are no proven ways for any student to improve their chances and overcome the odds.

A woman talking to a student in a library.

That is where AdmissionSight can come in and help. Over the years, we have worked with students from all over the world, with all different types of interests, passions and goals, and have helped them achieve their admissions goals at some of the most selective and highly regarded schools in the world. In fact, 75.0 percent of the students that he has worked with have gone on to get into either an Ivy League school like Harvard, Princeton or Yale or a non Ivy school that is still in the top 10 rankings year by year such as MIT or Stanford.

So, whether you are just getting started on your journey to trying to figure out which schools you want to apply to and want to learn more about what’s special about MIT, or if you have already identified MIT as your top choice and simply want to know how to get into MIT or how to increase your chances of getting into MIT, then we’ve got some great news for you. You’ve come to the right place to learn the answers to those questions and many more.

Let’s get into some of the most important facts regarding the current admissions trends at MIT to try to better uncover some of the most important decisions applicants can make to improve their chances of getting in.

MIT acceptance rate

Before we move ahead with the ways to get into MIT, we wanted to first break down some of the most important considerations students should keep in mind when they are thinking about applying to MIT. One of those considerations has to do with the percentage of students that are getting into the school these days compared to the number of students that are applying. This ratio of students that get in compared to the total pool of applicants in a given application cycle is referred to as the acceptance rate. While some schools have acceptance rates as high as 70.0 percent and above, the more prestigious and selective schools tend to have acceptance rates that are far lower.

In fact, top 10 schools and similarly impressive institutions have been sporting acceptance rates well below 10.0 percent in recent years. Some even have acceptance rates less than 5.0 percent. As you may have guessed it, MIT is on that small list of schools.

Two students attending an online class.

For the students that applied to become part of MIT’s graduating class of 2026 in the 2021-22 application cycle, they faced one of the toughest admissions cycles in history. 33,796 students applied to MIT of which only 1,337 students got accepted at an acceptance rate of only 3.9 percent. The downward trend in acceptance rate over the years for MIT has made it one of the most competitive non Ivy League schools to get into. That is a list that MIT has been on for quite some time.

Though the overall acceptance rate at MIT in the 2021-22 application cycle was 3.9 percent, students that applied to the school via early admissions did have a slightly better chance at getting in. The acceptance rate for early applicants was 4.7 percent. We’ll get into what that means and how students can make full use of that slight advantage a little later on.

If you’re curious about how acceptance rates at MIT have changed over the last couple of years, take a look at the table below:

As you can see, there has been a rather steep drop off from the 2019-20 application cycle. In fact, that year was something of an outlier at many of the stop schools in the United States because a large portion of that high school graduating class decided to delay or defer their application cycle due to the uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, we have seen two of the most competitive application cycles in history.

Now that you know how hard it truly is to get into MIT, you might be wondering what’s special about MIT? The truth is that for students who are particularly interested in STEM subjects, there are few better places to learn than MIT. It is home to incredible resources and faculty, has a highly engaged and passionate alumni community, and can open doors both during and after a student’s education to help them reach their ultimate academic and professional goals.

What is the MIT admissions committee looking for in its students?

Just like at all schools in the United States, MIT leans upon its highly experienced admissions committee members to make the admissions decisions each application cycle. While there is no concrete list of attributes and characteristics that MIT – or any other school for that matter – is looking for in prospective students, there are some undeniable trends when it comes to the kinds of students that tend to enjoy greater success when applying to MIT.

Multiracial students sitting on a bench.

So, while these should not be considered surefire ways to get into MIT, they are certainly helpful to know if you have the goal of getting into the school.

Here is what you should keep in mind:

  • MIT is always looking for students that break the traditional molds: One fascinating thing about MIT is that while it is absolutely geared towards students most interested in STEM subjects, the school also is very proud of its ability to foster creativity within those subjects. They want to see a student’s ability to think out of the box and take initiative.
  • Another characteristic that we have seen in students that get into MIT is that they are far more excited about the journey towards discovery and achievement rather than the awards and accolades that come as a result. Though gaining recognition is never a bad thing, we have seen that students who are most motivated by intellectual stimulation and discovery tend to do better than students who come off as highly competitive and most concerned with personal success and notoriety.
  • This might come off as a bit obvious, but students that get into MIT are highly, highly intelligent. This goes far beyond simply getting a 4.0 grade point average (or higher) and a high score on the SAT or ACT (though MIT is currently a standardized test optional school) and extends into how students explore and express their intelligence in what they do out of the classroom as well. A lot of students that end up getting into MIT are already studying at the undergraduate level by the time they finish up their high school education, and that kind of advanced learning often requires students to seek out educational opportunities outside of the high school classroom.

Applying to MIT early

As we previously mentioned, one way in which high school applicants can (at least statistically) improve their chances of getting into MIT is by opting to apply via early admissions. If you are not familiar with the term, let us explain it for you. Essentially, many schools across the United States have two or more different timelines in which students can apply.

When students choose to send in their application via early admissions, it not only requires them to – obviously – submit all the required materials by an earlier deadline, but it also allows them to somewhat signal to the school’s admissions officers that their school is that student’s top choice. In certain instances, there are restrictions related to early admissions that allow students to quite officially signal that a certain school is their top choice.

Students lounging in the stairs.

As you now know, early applicants at MIT enjoyed an acceptance rate that was 0.8 percent higher than the overall acceptance rate. While that may seem like a fairly small percentage boost (and it is) every bit can make a difference!

If you’re curious about the differences in application deadlines for MIT students, take a look at the two timelines below:

MIT REA (Restricted Early Action) application timeline and included deadlines:

Application Deadline – November 1 

  • All individual application components—general information, essays, activities, academics, etc.
  • Two letters of recommendation—one from a math or science teacher and one from a humanities, social science, or language teacher
  • Secondary School Report (SSR), including high school transcript

Midyear report deadline – Mid February

February Updates & Notes Form (including midyear grades)

MIT Regular Action (RA) application timeline and included deadlines:

Application Deadline – January 5 

  • All individual application components—general information, essays, activities, academics, etc.
  • Two letters of recommendation—one from a math or science teacher and one from a humanities, social science, or language teacher
  • Secondary School Report (SSR), including high school transcript

Midyear report deadline – Mid February

  • February Updates & Notes Form (including midyear grades)

Before moving on, we do want to make sure that students know that the school itself does not claim that early applicants enjoy any automatic boost solely from applying early. In fact, the school makes it clear that the only official differences between applying early action and applying regular action are the “dates of the deadlines.” Still, the empirical evidence that early applicants at schools across the board is there, so it is something worth keeping in mind. Still, when it comes to how to get into MIT, it’s going to take a lot more than hitting those early deadlines.

How to get into MIT?

Now that you have a great idea of just how hard it really is to get into MIT, you might be wondering if there is anything any student can really do when it comes to how to increase your chances of getting into MIT. The good news is that there definitely are strategies that you can take advantage of that can have a measurable impact on your application.

Two students walking in front of a building.

MIT is going to be hard for any student to get into, but that does not mean it is impossible. So let’s look at some of the best strategies that you can implement.

Accentuate unique aspects of your identity

It is no secret that schools all over the country are highlighting diversity as one of their main goals and focuses when accepting new students. However, diversity does not only have to refer to ethnic, racial or religious background. It can also refer to your point of view and identity. If you believe that there are things that make you unique, don’t shy away from discussing them in your personal essays. Beyond that, it is always great to show how your unique POV and pursuits have inspired and intersected with your academic curiosity.

Work hard in the classroom

This should be a given, but any student who wants to have a chance at getting into MIT is going to have to be at – or at least near – the top of your high school class in terms of academic performance and grade point average. Not only that, but you are going to want to enroll in as many advanced courses as possible, primarily courses that deal with subjects that you are particularly interested in and may want to pursue as a major or primary focus once you get to college.

Ace your essays

One of the most important components of any student’s application to MIT is going to be in their personal essays. In fact, because an incredible high GPA is more seen as a prerequisite rather than a determining factor at MIT and similarly competitive schools, it is widely believed that a student’s personal essays can sometimes play an even larger role in terms of whether or not they get offered a spot.

Make sure to start your essays early, really think about what you want to write about and how your topics are going to not only set you apart, but also help convince the admissions officers at MIT that you belong at the school from both an academic and cultural standpoint.

If you’re applying to MIT in the 2022-23 application cycle, take a look at the essay prompts that students will get to answer:

  • We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do simply for the pleasure of it.
  • Describe the world you come from (for example, your family, school, community, city, or town). How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations?
  • MIT brings people with diverse backgrounds and experiences together to better the lives of others. Our students work to improve their communities in different ways, from tackling the world’s biggest challenges to being a good friend. Describe one way you have collaborated with people who are different from you to contribute to your community.
  • Tell us about a significant challenge you’ve faced (that you feel comfortable sharing) or something that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation?

Find a way to make it clear that you believe you are destined for greatness

This might sound a bit lofty, and perhaps even a bit misguided. After all, who wants to come off as someone with an inflated sense of self to one of the most prestigious and competitive schools in the world. While you definitely don’t want to come off as having an inflated sense of self, you can make it clear that you have lofty goals and plan on accomplishing them. Beyond that, finding a way to show the admissions officers at MIT that you think attending MIT is the first necessary step towards you accomplishing those goals is another way to really set yourself apart.

If you have lofty goals, don’t be afraid to mention them. Top schools love leaders and people who are willing to take initiative. Proving that you are that kind of person can make a major positive difference for you.

Learn how to get into MIT from AdmissionSight

So there you have it! We sincerely hope that this blog post has helped shine some light on some of the most important facts to know for students who are interested in getting into MIT. If you are interested in learning more from AdmissionSight and want to see what our admissions consultants can do to help you improve your chances of getting into MIT or any of your other top choices, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.




Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.