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For as long as there have been engineers and computer scientists there’s been MIT. There is certainly the cache that comes with going to MIT, the education students receive, the amazing students they’ll work and study with, not to mention the job opportunities upon graduation are inestimable. 

MIT is highly selective, their acceptance rate african american student smiling with 2 students in the background at MITlives at low single digits, which means they can be highly selective from a gargantuan-sized pool of applicants from in the US and even around the globe. However, high grades and test scores, while imperative, aren’t enough. MIT values academic rigor in high school. And trust me, MIT knows your high school keeps excellent data on other students there.

Another thing MIT values is applicants who do well in science competitions like ISEF, Regeneron Science Talent Search, and Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. In fact, 25% of accepted MIT students were award winners in these science competitions. This doesn’t mean you can’t get in if you haven’t won, but it means you will be taken more seriously if you have.

What many applicants outside of STEM don’t realize is that MIT has an outstanding and respected business degree and a quiet, but highly sought after humanities department. Over the last 2-3 years as a college essay advisor, I have worked with many applicants who targeted MIT for a degree other than STEM.

The MIT application is outside of the Common Applications. The questions are designed not so much to get to know you on a personal level, but as a STEM student.

What field of study appeals to you the most right now? (Note: Applicants select from a drop-down list.) Tell us more about why this field of study at MIT appeals to you.

Be very specific about your field of study. They want to know exactly what motivates and inspires you academically. “I don’t know,” is not an option.

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.

Think outside of STEM, they’re looking for a weird or quirky interest. The more interesting ones resonate the most.

How has the world you come from—including your opportunities, experiences, and challenges—shaped your dreams and aspirations?

Pick a STEM activity and talk about how this has shaped you, impacted your life, and maybe even made you a better student. Remember, MIT LOVES collaboration.

MIT brings people with diverse backgrounds together to collaborate, from tackling the world’s biggest challenges to lending a helping hand. Describe one way you have collaborated with others to learn from them, with them, or contribute to your community together.

Here it is! The collaborative essay. Success in STEM doesn’t happen alone, it happens with others, working together to solve problems that change lives.

How did you manage a situation or challenge that you didn’t expect? What did you learn from it?

MITY wants to see critical thinking skills. Did you fix something? Did you bring an important level of control over a situation? Brag a little!

Depending on the question, we’re looking for responses of approximately 100–200 words each. There is also one final, open-ended, additional-information text box where you can tell us anything else you think we really ought to know.