How to Get into MIT Part 2/2

In Part 1 of this two part blog series, we looked at some key attributes of MIT and hard factors required for the admissions process. As it turns out, MIT is not looking for just numbers. They are looking for a number of important soft factors or personality traits.

Soft Factors

Amongst soft factors, MIT considers character/ personal qualities the most important factor. What does this mean? MIT is looking for collaborative, hands-on, risk taking, funny students. They want students who will make a difference in their communities after getting a degree from MIT. The earlier you start cultivating these attributes in your middle or high school, the better you will be. It is hard to build these characteristics if you start in the fall of your senior year.

The next set of factors that are important are: i) interview, ii) extra curricular activities, and iii) talent/ ability. The interview item is self explanatory. For extra curricular activities, MIT wants to see a passion, that you have pursued in intellectually. It doesn’t have to be fancy - you don’t have to find a cure for cancer. It could be baking cupcakes as long as it demonstrates the above point. For this reason, an activity done solely to get into MIT is unlikely to work. You need to enjoy the activity. Finally for talent or ability, MIT wants to see how you have done in competitive activities.

In importance, the next category of factors that are considered are whether you are a first generation college applicant, your geographic residence, racial/ ethnic factors, volunteer work and work experience. Alumni relation, state residency, religious affiliation and level of applicant’s interest are not considered. Nor is the field of study. MIT doesn’t require students to declare their major until the end of their freshman year. Finally, MIT doesn’t consider whether you are from a public, private, religious, independent or home school.

How does MIT find out the above traits and information? Of course the application contains a section for you to provide an activity list, but the essay, recommendations and interview are key ways MIT learns about you. Instead of one long essay, MIT has several short questions that need to be answered. Admission officers are not looking for great pieces of English literature. Instead they want to learn more about you. MIT requires 2 recommendations and a secondary school report. Finally, the interview is highly required (aka must).


MIT is a highly selective university. Not only do you need the numbers, but you also need soft factors to get in. The numbers are self-explanatory, but developing soft factors is often an art form. Ivy Review has successfully placed numerous students in MIT and we understand the process in great detail. Feel free to contact us to learn more about how we can help you if your dream school is MIT.

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