Rather than asking you to write one long essay, the MIT application consists of several short response questions and essays designed to help us get to know you. Remember that this is not a writing test. Be honest, be open, be authentic—this is your opportunity to connect with us.
You should certainly be thoughtful about your essays, but if you’re thinking too much—spending a lot of time stressing or strategizing about what makes you “look best,” as opposed to the answers that are honest and easy—you’re doing it wrong.
For the 2019–2020 application year, we’re asking these short answer essay questions:
- 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. (100 words or fewer)
- Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why? (100 words or fewer)
- At MIT, we bring people together to better the lives of others. MIT students work to improve their communities in different ways, from tackling the world’s biggest challenges to being a good friend. Describe one way in which you have contributed to your community, whether in your family, the classroom, your neighborhood, etc. (200-250 words)
- Describe the world you come from; for example, your family, clubs, school, community, city, or town. How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations? (200-250 words)
- Tell us about the most significant challenge you’ve faced or something important that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation? (200-250 words)
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.
Please use our form, not a resume, to list your activities. There is only enough space to list four things—please choose the four that mean the most to you and tell us a bit about them. This will tell us more about you than any “laundry list” of everything you’ve ever done in high school.
You are welcome to submit a supplemental resume, but submitting a resume instead of filling out our activity list can hurt you (so don’t).
Self-reported Coursework Form
How you fill out this form will not make or break your application, so don’t stress about it. Use your best judgment—we’re simply trying to get a clear picture of your academic preparation by subject area. We see thousands of different transcripts, so it really helps us to view your coursework and grades in a consistent format.
Here are five quick tips to help you complete this section:
- The self-reported coursework should be completed by students in U.S. school systems only. If you attend an international school, we’ll just use your transcript.
- The information you provide does not replace your official high school transcript, which must be sent to us from your school to verify your self-reported information (in order to avoid accidental misrepresentation, it might help to have a copy of your high school transcript in front of you while completing this form).
- Avoid abbreviations, if at all possible, and enter the names of your school courses by subject area. Please include all classes you have taken and are currently taking. If your courses were taken outside of your high school (at a local junior college or university, for example), tell us where they were taken in the “Course Title” field.
- If there aren’t enough spaces for all the courses you have taken, start with your most recent (current) class and work backward. You can also use the “Additional courses” section as an overflow section for any of the subject areas.
- In the “Term and/or Final Grade(s)” field, list term and/or final grades for each class, as found on your school transcript (semester, trimester, quarter, final, etc.). Use one line only per class. For example, it’s not necessary to use a separate line for each semester of the same class. Place all grades for a class in the same field, separating grades with commas.