How to Get Into MIT in 2024

Nestled in leafy Massachusetts, MIT is one of the best universities in the world with alumni such as Buzz Aldrin, Kofi Annan, and Jonah Peretti. Getting into MIT in 2024 is shaping up to be extremely competitive with the acceptance rate currently below 5% for 2024’s intake. Read the guide below for advice on how to beat the odds and become the world’s next ‘change-maker’.

Most Competitive Courses at MIT

Like many US colleges, at MIT, you apply to study a specific major (a main area of focus) rather than being admitted onto a specific course. Whilst there isn’t any official data on the percentage of admission for each Major, the most popular courses include:

  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering 
  • Computer Science and Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Artificial Intelligence and Decision Making 

Meet MIT Entry Requirements


All first-year applicants for MIT must sit either the SAT or the ACT exam –  this includes international and domestic students.

If taking the SAT, the exam sections required for MIT entry are the SAT Math and SAT Reading and Writing sections. MIT does not require the SAT optional essay

If taking the ACT exam, the sections required are English, Mathematics, Reading and Science. MIT does not require the ACT writing section for entry. 

MIT states that there are no official minimum scores or cut-off grades but using admissions data from previous years, we have compiled the minimum scores you should aim for to increase your chances of success:

SAT minimum score guidelines:

SAT Math – 780 (out of 800)

SAT (Reading and Writing) –  740 (out of 800)

ACT minimum score guidelines: 

ACT Math – 35 (out of 36)

ACT Reading 34 (out of 36)

ACT English 34 (out of 36) 

ACT Science 34 (out of 36)

US High School Course Requirements

Additionally, there are some high-school course requirements that MIT expects their applicants to have fulfilled. Below are the areas of study that MIT requires all applicants to have completed as a minimum before handing in their application:

  • Two Semesters of Calculus
  • Two Semesters of Calculus-based Physics
  • One Semester of Chemistry
  • One Semester of Biology

Admissions officers at MIT value a commitment to the most challenging courses  offered to you regardless of the school you attend. Developing a diverse set of interests and passions is also advised and so it is strongly recommended you take a wide range of courses that genuinely interest you if you are looking to impress the admissions counsellor and stand out amongst the crowd. Taking a Foreign Language class, alongside the core Maths and Science courses, for instance, would show good breadth as well as depth. 

International Student Requirements

International students (those applying without permanent residency in the US) should not worry if the course their school offers is not the exact same as the list above. The admission officers at MIT know that some schools from different countries may offer different courses and will make sure to translate the courses you have done to their requirements. The most important thing is that you take the most challenging courses available to you (particularly in Mathematics and Science!). 

English Proficiency Exam

This is only required for non-native English speakers who have been speaking English for less than 5 years. MIT accepts a variety of English Proficiency certificates which can be seen on the admissions website with the minimum scores required. 

Prepare Your Documents

Personal Statement:

Unlike most Universities, MIT doesn’t require a personal statement; instead, they ask  all first-year applicants to provide answers to five ‘’prompt’’ questions that change each year. All five questions need to be answered and they each have different word limits (approx. 100-200 words) – it’s important that you stick to them! There is also one optional ‘additional information’ text box you may complete if you so wish – but it is not a requirement. The prompts for the 2023-2024 MIT admissions cycles can be found below so you can get a feel for the kinds of questions you may be asked to answer in your own application:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • How has the world you come from—including your opportunities, experiences, and challenges—shaped your dreams and aspirations?
  • 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.
  • How did you manage a situation or challenge that you didn’t expect? What did you learn from it?

In answering these prompts it’s important to take your time in considering your response but don’t write what you THINK they want to hear. Be honest with your responses as this is how admissions officers first gauge who you are as a person beyond your excellent grades. 

MIT admissions officers are keen to look for applicants who are academic but also practical, curious, change-makers who care about the world around them. Bear this in mind when constructing your answers – you want to show them how you view the world and what changes you have made or want to make (big or small!) through your study. But remember, you don’t have a lot of words for each prompt so practise being concise in your answers! 

Letter of Recommendation

You will need to ask for two letters of recommendation when applying to MIT which can be requested once you begin your application through the MIT portal. These need to be from two teachers (who have taught you at high-school level) and it is strongly advised that you select one Maths/Science teacher and one from Humanities/Foreign Languages/Social Sciences. 

Additionally, you will be asked to request your school transcript, school profile and letter of recommendation from your school counsellor (if these materials are available). But if for any reason this is not possible in your school you will not be penalised. 

Sit the Entrance Exams

All first year applicants must complete the SAT or ACT for entry, so make sure that if this test isn’t offered in your school, you sign up independently. 

If you are taking the test independently, it is especially important that you leave enough time to familiarise yourself with the test, register for the exam and eventually sit the exam. For independent takers, it may help during this stage to look into SAT and/or ACT specific tutoring – but do NOT leave this until the last minute. If you haven’t studied for the SAT or ACT before it can take some time to get used to the exam format and you want to make sure you are as prepared as you can possibly be! 

Taking a mock test would also be beneficial to help focus your revision and see what you are currently scoring. It’ll also, hopefully, make the real thing less intimidating! MIT is extremely competitive –  a good performance on these entrance exams is vital so make sure you have a revision plan of action! 

MIT’s Deadlines to sit the SAT or ACT for first year admission are:

  • Before November 30 for Early Action
  • Before December 31 for Regular Action

Attend Your Interview

Once your application is submitted you may be contacted for an interview with one of MIT’s Educational Council (EC). Note that sometimes for various reasons, MIT are unable to offer interviews but this will not negatively affect your application.  

An EC is an MIT alum so you can be sure they know a lot about MIT, what to expect and who is likely to be a good fit. This interview will take place either virtually or in person in your own hometown. Interviews usually last between 30 minutes to two hours and the exact format will depend on which EC is giving your interview. Whilst the interview length and style may vary – a common theme of successful applicants is to be prepared to talk about yourself! These interviews are designed to really give you a chance to share more about your unique interests and experiences. Below are some do’s and don’ts ahead of your interview;

Interview Do’s

  • Brainstorm your passions, interests, and any educational highlights or experiences that might give them a greater insight into you.
  • Read the MIT blog to get tips about what you might be asked in the interview. There are lots of resources that can help you know what to expect. 
  • Prepare for the obvious questions – for example; Why do you want to study at MIT? 
  • Breathe! Remember that this isn’t a test, they just want to get to know you, 

Interview Don’ts

  • Rehearse your answers word for word. They want to see you as you are, in a relaxed environment so avoid memorising answers in advance. 
  • Dress too formally or overly casual – wear something you’d feel comfortable in on an ordinary day. 
  • Give one-word answers. Be open so that the interviewer has something to work off.

Apply for Scholarships and Financial Aid

MIT Scholarships are entirely need-based and the size of aid given depends on the applicant’s financial need. There is a slight difference between domestic and international students in applying for the MIT Scholarship/Financial aid. 

Both domestic and international students need to complete 1) the CSS profile which is a financial assessment carried out by the College Board. All students applying for aid also need to submit 2) parental tax returns or income documentation.

Additionally, domestic students only need to complete the 3) FAFSA form to see if you are eligible for state-funding/aid. 

The deadlines to submit the documents for financial aid for MIT are below:

  • November 30th – Early Action Applicants 
  • February 15th – Regular Action Applicants

Top Tips for Getting into MIT

  1. Focus on improving your Physics and Maths grades  – make sure that you are comfortable with the more advanced areas of these subjects. 
  2. Seek out more challenging courses offered in a local college if your high-school doesn’t cover more advanced courses such as Calculus and Advanced Physics.
  3. Spend time developing your academic interests beyond Maths and Science – don’t forget about Humanities such as History, Geography and Foreign Languages. 
  4. Start preparing for the SAT or ACT as soon as possible, whilst there are no minimum cut-offs, most applicants score above 90% on average on these exams – make sure you are competitive!
  5. Take a look at the materials MIT have released around their admission process – including their reading list which can be found here
  6. Engage in some form group project/activity – MIT prefers students who enjoy working collaboratively. 
  7. Get out into the world and do something of meaning – actively participate in a charity drive or a community project – you’ll have more to talk about in your short essay answers! 
  8. Be yourself – MIT loves passionate and creative students- so don’t be afraid to be original – it is encouraged! 


What is the MIT acceptance rate?

MIT is extremely competitive with the most recent data showing an admission rate of less than 5% overall for all first year students admitted in 2024. An important point to note is that applying through Early Action led to a higher success rate (5.8% got offers through Early Action) versus 3.8% applying through Regular Action (3.8% success rate) so it may very well be worth getting your application in early! 

Is MIT a good university?

MIT is a renowned higher-education college particularly for Science and Engineering. It is consistently ranked as one of the best schools in the world and as of 2024 was ranked No.1 in the world in the QS rankings and No.2 in the US by US News. 

Is MIT a Russell Group / Ivy League university?

Whilst MIT is internationally renowned and often outperforms other Ivy league schools in the US, it is not an IVY league university. 

How hard is it to get into MIT?

MIT is an extremely competitive college with a current acceptance rate for the 23-24 cycle of 4.5%. 

Does MIT give contextual offers?

MIT does not give contextual offers although a variety of sources including your essay responses, grades and transcripts are used when making final decisions. 

Getting Into MIT: The Verdict

MIT is one of the world’s best colleges with an extremely selective admissions process. They value students with a good track-record of grades (particularly Maths and Science) but are importantly also looking for well-rounded individuals. MIT admissions officers are looking for students who show curiosity, a wide-range of interests and a practical desire to impact the world through their education.