Disclaimer: The content of this page are reflected based on personal experiences of students who belong to MIT-BSA community. These contents are no way to be mistaken with the official rules, regulations, and statistics of MIT.
First and foremost focus on your school work, but that doesn’t mean if you don’t get all A’s, all GPA 5’s or a 2400 in your SATs your chances are nil. That’s a very big misconception..
After fulfilling that basic requirement, the most important thing is passion. MIT wants students with passion, passion for anything - arts, theatre, sports, robots, service, debate, politics, anything under the sun. Whatever is it you must show that you love it and you are active in it - you go to competitions, camps, help organize events, spread the word, try to get others interested. For example, lets say, you really love karate and pursued it all through high school with a determination that equalled your determination to do well in school. And your essay was not about how you wanted to have a PhD in neuroscience but how karate positively affected your life. That's the kind of passion that is valued at MIT. So find a passion and get out of your comfort zone and the classroom to pursue it!
Social contributions are important too. People who have tried to make the society better in any way are greatly valued. You can do social awareness programs, camps & loads of other stuff & do them with passion! Another important thing is your teachers’ recommendation letters. Letters full of empty words won’t work; they have to contain your life-stories that show your individuality, your passion & your traits that make you different.
What is your first step?
Admission is usually determined in most of the departments on how close of a fit you are to a particular research lab. Therefore, it is very important that you research your prospective department well and target a few faculty members whose research closely align with your interest. Once you identify a few professors that you would really like to work with, do write to them to indicate your interest to work with them. But you shouldn’t try to "lobby" them by asking them to help with your admission. Spend some time to read through their recent publications. Make sure you customize and align your statement of purpose based on the faculty members current research. You are also encouraged to write to the lab members’ of the professor that you want to work with. Often students are more responsive than professors and can provide more information that you may find beneficial.
Recommendation letters play a significant role in getting admission. There is a popular misconception that recommendation letters need to reflect upon the generic “GREAT” qualities of an outstanding student. However, in reality those types of letters will do very little to aid in the admission process, as it does not cite unique examples about the candidate. Moreover, rather than the content of the letter, the recognition of your recommender in his/her field plays a greater role. It is possible that the professors from your academic institute in Bangladesh who would write your letters might not be recognized by the people who evaluate your application at MIT. In that case, you may want to include your professors’ CVs along with their recommendation letters. If the admission committee recognizes the conferences/journals where your professors have published their work in some point of their career, the weight of their recommendation letters will significantly go high.
What makes the difference?
Usually, through your application materials, if you can prove that you are the best candidate to contribute to a specific research project under a specific professor, your chances of getting in increases significantly. All the students who apply to be considered at MIT have close to perfect GPA, a few publications, and excellent GRE/TOEFL scores. It is normally the recommendation letters and statement of purpose which break the tie.
Admissions are handled by the respective departments. We have no way of evaluating your chances as we are not affiliated with the admissions committee. It is the presentation of your overall application, rather than individual test scores which matter the most.
Emailing any of the graduate or undergraduate students asking to evaluate your chances of getting in would really be a waste of your time, as well as theirs.
You should always take chances to pursue your dream, whether it is just MIT or anywhere else. While there are no special advantages for any individual, MIT especially encourages female and minority applicants to apply.
MIT also encourages anyone who does not fit the mold in some way. They are always looking for ways to expand the diverse viewpoints on campus, which gives MIT strength in thinking outside the box. If you have a tendency to underestimate your abilities, please set aside your doubt and take the risk to apply. If there is a hardship paying the application fee please let us know.
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