MIT Acceptance Rate: What Does It Take to Get In?

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MIT accepts 6.74% of applicants. What does it take to get in?


In the world of engineering, there is one school that stands out above many other strong options. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is commonly regarded as the pinnacle in its field. In 2019, US News and World Report ranked it in the number 3 spot for national universities, behind only Princeton and Harvard.


As its name implies, MIT specializes in science and technology disciplines, but many students don’t realize that it also offers a wide range of other programs. That being said, most students are drawn to its science and technology programs, with nearly half enrolled in the School of Engineering, and the School of Science accounting for many more.


If you’re interested in applying to MIT, don’t miss this important post outlining its acceptance rate and the many admissions requirements you should know about.


Applying to MIT: A Quick Review


First of all, it’s very important to know that MIT does not accept the Common Application or any other general applications. Instead, it has its own online system for applications called MyMIT.


That being said, the MIT application asks for much of the same information as the Common Application, including biographical information, a list of your activities and accomplishments, teacher recommendations, and essays.


In addition, MIT encourages an interview with members of the MIT Educational Council whenever possible. If no interviewers are available in your area, you may arrange a Skype interview instead. An educational counselor from MIT will contact you to schedule the interview after you submit the first two parts of your application.


To learn more about the specific application process for MIT, check out our post What are MIT Admission Requirements? For more about the MIT essays, don’t miss our post How to Write the MIT Application Essays 2018-2019.


To complete your MIT application, you’ll need to submit the complete application from MIT. This includes:



MIT Acceptance Rate: How Difficult is it to Get In?


For the class of 2022, applications totaled over 21,706. Ultimately, though, only 1,464 acceptances were extended. This resulted in an acceptance rate of just 6.74%, putting MIT on par in terms of selectivity with top Ivy Leagues such as Brown and Yale.

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So, How Does One Get Into MIT?


Not surprisingly, students who earn acceptances to MIT generally boast strong standardized test scores. In fact, the range of competitive test scores for MIT admits is exceptionally narrow. 75% of MIT’s accepted students in 2018 received SAT Math scores of 780 or above. Only one student in a class of over 1,400 received an SAT Math score below 700. While SAT ERW scores were slightly more accommodating, 75% of accepted students still scored 720 or above.

ACT statistics present an equally competitive picture. 75% of admits had a composite score of 34 or above on the ACT. These include 75% who scored 35 or above on the English ACT and 75% who scored 34 or above on the Math ACT. In a class of over 1,4000, just 1% of students had composite ACT scores below 31.


MIT doesn’t just look at your test scores and other statistics. It also takes a more holistic approach to admissions.


MIT lists the following qualities on their What We Look For admissions page:


  • Alignment with MIT’s Mission
  • Collaborative and Cooperative Spirit
  • Initiative
  • Risk-Taking
  • Hands-on Creativity
  • Intensity, Curiosity, and Excitement
  • Character of the MIT Community
  • Ability to Prioritize Balance


As you can probably tell just by reading them, these are not qualities that can be shown through GPAs or test scores. Instead, they’re things that will be evidenced through your extracurriculars, your summer activities, your essays, and your recommendations. MIT is looking for the whole package, not just a student whose statistics suit their numeric requirements.


How to Make Your Application Stand Out


Use All The Resources Available.


To learn more about getting into MIT, don’t miss their valuable wealth of information and blog available at MIT Admissions. Here you’ll find recommended courses of study, sources of academic enrichment, and well-respected summer programs and competitions. In fact, applicants will be pleased to know that the admissions resources offered by MIT are more extensive than many we’ve seen from other similarly selective colleges.  


Don’t Bank On Early Action.


At most colleges, acceptance rates through Early Action or Early Decision programs are significantly higher than overall acceptance rates. For example, at Harvard the overall acceptance rate is 4.59%, compared to an acceptance rate of 14.5% for Early Action applicants. At MIT, though, this doesn’t hold true. The acceptance rate for its 9,557 Early Action applicants was just 6.9% through the Early Action program. More than 6,000 hopefuls were deferred to regular decision.


Shine In Your Interview.


MIT recommends that all applicants have an alumni interview for a reason; the admissions committee cares what your interview has to say. Make an effort to attend an alumni interview, prepare in advance by anticipating possible questions and reflecting on how you’ll answer them, and spend some time contemplating authentic, thoughtful questions that you’d like to ask.


What If You Get Rejected?


The fact remains that acceptance rates to MIT are very low. Ultimately very few students receive those coveted acceptances into the freshman class, so if you get rejected, you certainly aren’t alone.


MIT does accept applications from transfer students who have completed between one and two and a half years of college coursework. Transfer admissions are just as competitive, if not more so, than first-year admissions (just 4.1% in the 2016-2017 cycle), though, so you should not bank on this possibility. Instead, you’re better off finding another school you’d be happy to attend, and reassessing the situation after a year or two.


For our advice on adjusting to life at a college that wasn’t your first choice, read our post Envisioning a New Future: Preparing for Life at Your Second-Choice (or Third, or Fourth) School.


To learn more about optimizing your odds and presenting the most competitive application possible, you should consider enlisting the help of CollegeVine’s Elite Universities Application Assistance, which provides targeted services for applicants to top colleges.


For more about building your profile in the STEM fields, check out these posts:


Prestigious STEM Competitions for High School Students

A Day in the Life of a STEM Major

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Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.