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MIT Acceptance Rate & Admission Requirements Guide

MIT (or Massachusetts Institute of Technology) sits in the heart of Cambridge, Massachusetts and, although it is specifically esteemed for its programs in science and engineering, it is one of the most distinguished universities in the world. MIT’s prowess draws national and international applicants who are seeking the profound social and academic enrichment of its extensive resources and its engaged, dignified student body.

Is your SAT or ACT score high enough to get into MIT? What about your high school GPA? The college admissions process at highly selective and Ivy League schools seems hard to understand. How does MIT choose who to accept? What can you do to improve your chances? Improve your test scores? Do more extracurriculars? Apply early action?

Below, we’ve condensed everything we know about the MIT admissions process. Read on to find out if you’re a competitive applicant and tips to improve your chances of going from applicant to admitted student.

MIT Acceptance Rate

You’re right about one thing: MIT is a highly selective school. In 2023, the overall admissions rate at MIT was only 5%, meaning admissions officers rejected more than 95 out of every 100 students who applied. Moreover, that overall rate includes MIT’s early action acceptance rate, which is higher than MIT’s regular decision rate. That means that in reality, the regular admission rate at MIT was closer to 4%!

In addition, the college admissions process gets more competitive every year, as the number of applications continues to rise. That means you need to really stand out. These admissions statistics may sound daunting, but don’t fear. Once you know what MIT is looking for, you can better tailor your college preparation and college application to meet their expectations.

MIT GPA Requirements

Let’s start with your grade point average (GPA). MIT admissions officers will calculate based on your high school transcript, which you’ll submit with your overall application.

It is important to understand that a strong unweighted GPA, while taking as many AP, IB or honors courses as your schools offers. Weighted GPAs are not always as useful to determine how you are performing because high schools weight GPAs differently and because they can hide how far you are from a high enough GPA for MIT. That means nearly straight As in every class, while also taking the highest rigor classes available to you at your high school.

SAT Score and ACT Score Requirements

MIT, , requires either an SAT score or ACT score for admission. In more recent years, some schools have become test-optional, but keep in mind that MIT still requires applicants to have test scores. MIT has no preference between the SAT and ACT, so choose the test that’s a better fit for you, thoroughly prepare for it, and plan to take it multiple times.

The range of SAT scores and ACT composite scores for students admitted to MIT varies. The table below shows the 25th to 75th percentile SAT and ACT scores, with an average SAT score of 1550 to get into MIT and an ACT score of 35 for acceptance to MIT. However, keep in mind, your SAT score or ACT score should be closer to the top of the listed range to ensure you’re maximizing your chances of admission.

MIT Average ACT Scores and SAT Scores, 25th to 75thPercentile Data

Test Average Admitted Student Score Ranges Average Score of Admitted Student
SAT Total Range 1510-1580 1550
ACT Composite Range 34-36 35

*Note that MIT superscores both the SAT and the ACT. That means they will mix and match section test scores from different days for the SAT and ACT.

Other MIT Application Requirements

Those are the overall academic requirements for MIT. But what about everything else? Students who get accepted to MIT bring a lot more to the table than just impressive grades and high standardized test scores. In addition to considering your academics, the college admissions officers at MIT want to know about all the other parts of your life. In addition to reporting your grades and test scores, there are a few more key components of the MIT admissions process:

• Two teacher recommendations and one counselor letter
• A high school transcript
• A mid-year report
• A $75 application fee or fee waiver
• A completed Common Application
• MIT-specific essays

Letters of Recommendation

First, to understand who you are as a student beyond your transcripts and test scores, MIT will ask for letters of recommendation from two of your teachers. MIT specifically requires that one recommendation is from a math or science teacher and that the second recommendation is from a humanities, social science or foreign language teacher. MIT also requires a recommendation from your school counselor.

MIT also allows for Additional Recommenders; we highly recommend that students take advantage of this to showcase their leadership and/or character. MIT cares a lot about who you are and not just what you have done. MIT also allows requires a recommendation from a research mentor if you are submitting a supplemental research abstract through SlideRoom.

Counselor Recommendation & School Documents

Second, in addition to your transcript and his/her letter, your school counselor will submit a few additional documents:
• A school report, which includes your school’s demographics and its most salient features (like if there’s a limit on how many AP classes you can take)
• A mid-year report, which will update MIT on your senior year grades that might not be officially posted when you apply.

These will also help MIT contextualize your application.

The MIT Application & Essays

MIT is not on the Common Application. You will need to create an account directly on the MIT website. MIT has its own application and you will need to complete each section of it, including your top activities, awards and listing your high school coursework. There are also several essays that are unique to MIT that you need to complete.

The MIT essays allow you to show why MIT is the right fit for you and give you the space to clearly communicate how you will contribute to MIT’s community. These essays can change from year to year, but generally they ask about your interest in the school and/or more details about what you’ve accomplished in high school. Last year, MIT University asked various short-answer essay questions. Some of the topics were:

1. Pick what field of study at MIT appeals to you the most right now, and tell us more about why this field of study appeals to you.
2. 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.
3. Describe the world you come from (for example, your family, school, community, city, or town). How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations?

Approaching these essays with a strong application strategy as well as having a coherent narrative to present in them, is essential for admission to highly selective schools like MIT.

Creative Portfolios

MIT allows students to submit from among a few kinds of creative portfolios. Most successful applicants will submit one of the following creative portfolios through the SlideRoom application portal:

Research—If students have conducted substantial academic research under the guidance of a research professor, students have the ability to relay the details of their research in Slideroom. Students will be prompted to answer specific questions about their research and will be prompted to supply the email address of their research supervisor to write a recommendation for them.

The Maker Portfolio—This allows students to showcase their creative, technical skills or other hands-on projects they have completed. Student will pick one main project to showcase and will need to respond to several prompts as to why they have chosen what they are presenting and how it was made. Students can attach images of video that is no more than 2 minutes.

Visual Arts & Architecture—Students can submit all kinds of creative art, including design, drawing, painting, mixed media, digital media or architecture. Student can submit up to 10 images to show a portfolio of their work along with a description of the inspiration for each work.

Music & Theater Arts—Performing artists with strong talent can also submit recordings, videos or scripts of their work in music, composition, dancing, designing, writing or acting. There are very specific requirements for each domain and students need a recommendation from their music or theater arts teacher.

Application Fee

Finally, you’ll need to pay a $75 application fee to submit your application through these online interfaces. These fees can be waived by showing financial hardship.

Application Deadlines

As you put together all these materials, keep in mind the upcoming deadlines! Everything for MIT must be submitted by:
• November 1 for Early Action
• January 5 for Regular Decision

Early Action decisions are released in mid-December, and Regular Decision applicants will hear online by April. Admitted students must decide by May 1 if they will attend.

Demographics of Admitted Students at MIT

MIT is renowned for its richly diverse student body. According to MIT’s class profile this year, the demographic breakdown of students admitted into the MIT Class of 2027 was:

  • 49% men, 48% women
  • 40% Asian American
  • 15% African-American/Black
  • 14% Latinx
  • 2% Native American/Pacific Islander

Final Thoughts about Applying to MIT

The final thing to keep in mind is that MIT is so selective, that even if you’re a competitive applicant there, it makes sense to apply to similar schools as well, like Harvard University, Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Good luck! And remember, if you need guidance on any of this—how to improve your GPA, when to take the SAT or ACT, what extracurricular activities to do, how to spend your summers, or what to write your essays about or what to put in your MIT maker, research or creative portfolios—please contact us to speak to one of our admissions consultants!

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