Applying to MIT this fall? Check out the 2017-2018 MIT essay prompts!
If MIT is your dream school, you should already know that MIT does not use the Common Application. Instead, they have their own application platform called MyMIT.
Keep in mind MIT’s application is slightly different. The main difference is that the MIT application doesn’t ask for a single, longform essay, otherwise known as the personal statement or the Common App essay. Instead, MIT asks applicants to submit short answer essays to five questions.
Much like the Common Application essay prompts, MIT’s question prompts do occasionally change between application cycle. For this year’s 2017-2018 application cycle, however, MIT has chosen to keep the same 5 question prompts they had last year.
Essay Prompt #1
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)
TIP: This is an opportunity for you to elaborate on an extracurricular you’re really dedicate to. Or, you choose to talk about another hobby you have that was never related to school or extracurriculars. Maybe it’s something you do to help you destress like running or drawing, but you’ve never been on the track team or part of an art club. The point is to showcase what you enjoy doing during your free time.
Essay Prompt #2
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)
TIP: Given the word limit, this response is basically a very concise “Why MIT” supplement, so there’s no opportunity for you to write something fluffy. Make sure you know why you want to attend MIT and be specific about it. If you have trouble, here are the do’s & don’ts on writing the “Why Us” supplement.
Essay Prompt #3
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)
Here’s an essay example:
“To bring more enthusiasm for STEM to my school, I wanted to organize students to compete at the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament in November 2013. I advertised, led practices and created itineraries. Ultimately, both an online team and an in-person team competed.”—Ronayw, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘20
Essay Prompt #4
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)
Here’s an essay example:
“Spending the summers at my grandparents’ farm, far from any sign of civilization, I was excited to dive into their small library with botany books, that were my treasure maps during the walks in the forest. As I grew older, I warmly recalled those moments for they have planted the seed of curiosity in my mind and formed my dream to become a scientist” —VladlenaH, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘21
Essay Prompt #5
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)
Here’s an example:
“‘No, that can’t be right,” I declared to my two partners as we shared looks of confusion after examining our Petri dishes. With only a week left before our final reports were due, my team had no conclusive data regarding sunscreen and its efficacy in shielding our yeast against the sun’s death rays.”—MIT2018, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘18
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About The Author
Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.
Although not explicitly stated, MIT is using this prompt to combine two commonly asked questions: “Why X Major?” and “Why MIT?” As with the previous essay, there’s no room to provide too detailed of an explanation, but you must still briefly justify your response. The key word here is “why.”
If you’re interested in chemistry but are also looking into a career in pharmaceutical manufacturing, you might write about your interests in MIT’s chemical engineering program. Or if you’re interested in economics, you can praise MIT’s Sloan School of Management, analyzing the ways in which the school will help you hone in and develop your leadership skills. If you want to conduct research in a STEM field, mentioning the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and citing some specific projects can be a great way to highlight your interests.
For those looking to study EECS, you can discuss the appeal of MIT’s new curriculum, which offers more flexibility and independence for undergraduate students. Perhaps when compared to other campuses, you find that MIT offers a stronger entrepreneurial culture, a quality that you find necessary for your academic success. If you have hopes of one day launching your own startup or designing your own program, now would be a great time to mention the program’s emphasis on entrepreneurship.
Writing about your long-term goals and connecting them back to MIT’s academic culture (demonstrated through EECS example) is a very strong way to approach this prompt, as it answers both “Why X Major?” and “Why MIT?” Avoid vague answers such as “MIT is known for its excellent STEM programs” or “the Sloan School of Management is among the best in the nation” — these types of answers do not answer the prompt nor do they highlight your interest in the school.
No matter what major you intend on studying, remember to show admission officers how you plan to take advantage of MIT’s academic programs. Is there a specific professor you want to conduct research under? Is there a specific course you’re really excited to take? If so, mention it! There’s no need to write a creative response to this prompt; the best approach is to be straightforward and specific.