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Understanding the process: Our selection process

How it works

After you click the submit button, it’s easy to feel like your application has entered a black hole. So what really happens between when you apply and when you receive your decision?

Once your application is complete, it will first be read by a senior admissions officer who will consider your application in a holistic manner, within its proper context. Strong applications will then be evaluated by additional admissions officers, who will summarize it for the Admissions Committee.

These summaries, along with your entire application, will then go to the selection committee, where multiple groups of different admissions staff and faculty members will weigh in. At least a dozen people will significantly discuss and debate an application before it is placed in the admit pile.


This is all very intentional. The committee process ensures that every decision is correct in the context of the overall applicant pool, and that no one individual’s biases, preferences, or familiarity with a given case has any chance of swaying a decision unfairly.

Our process is a student-centered process, not a school- or region-centered process. This means that we do not read your application along with other students from your school or region to compare you against each other; each applicant stands on their own. We have no quotas by school, state, or region. You are not at any disadvantage if other excellent students from your school or area are also applying. We also do not consider legacy/alumni relations in our process.

At MIT, we try to be as transparent as possible about our admissions process. If you have any questions, just ask.

You should really read these

There have been over 7,080 blog entries posted to since the site began in 2004. That’s easily several books worth of tips and tricks, hints and hacks, mea culpas and hakuna matatas.

They’re all worth reading—but there are a few you really need to read. These are the blog entries that cut deep into our admissions process. Not only what we’re looking for, but what we want from you, and how much we care about the work that we do. These blogs will help you “get” what the MIT admissions process is all about.

They include, in no particular order: