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6 months ago
Admissions Advice

Students wanting to go to prestigious colleges, what are your stats?
Answered

I want to go to MIT for college (though I will be a Freshman in high school next fall) and I was wondering if anybody knew what GPA and SAT/ACT test scores would be "good enough" for colleges such as MIT. Also, I would appreciate it if you would also type in your extracurricular(s) that you will/are doing to write down on your application just so I can get a feel for what I should be doing and at what level. Also, what clubs/teams did you join?

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2 answers

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Accepted Answer
6 months ago

Relax, relax! I totally understand wanting to plan and being excited to make these plans. But a few things to remember! You're still in 8th grade; your perspectives, goals, and mindset will very likely shift in the next 4 years. Make plans now if you like, but don't count on them. Also, applying for college isn't like filling a shopping cart. You need to do thorough research and make sure you know you have valid, specific reasons you want to attend a school besides "prestige". Many factors play into selecting which colleges to apply to: location, career goals, campus atmosphere, finances, personality, etc. The Ivy Leagues are all unique schools; prestigious schools aren't all the same at all. There's not a "one size fits all" applicant profile for these prestigious schools that anyone can kind of just follow like a formula.

Also, I really respect your confidence in your GPA and SAT but also want to caution you that lots of stuff happens and changes during high school. Lots and lots of plans get derailed by unexpected life stuff. And what I think is one of the most important parts of college apps is being prepared not only academically but socially and mentally. Being prepared for failure, dealing with it, moving on, becoming more socially aware and mature, all of these things are crucial in "being prepared for college". Take time to develop yourself, not just your qualifications.

Just know that for tier 1 schools, you pretty much want to get as high a GPA and SAT score as you can within reasonable means, because many applicants to these schools will have perfect both. But this is VERY important: APPLICATIONS ARE NOT FORMULAS. There is no right answer!! No "should be doing". What works for someone else may not work for you at all. My stats are mine alone. Yours will be yours alone. Neither can really be copied. Unless you're getting involved in ECs that you actually care about or know you have a lot to say about, why even do them? Focus on finding and building passions, not trying to look good for colleges that probably get thousands of similar applicants. Do something you love that you can make an impact on. If you want to know about activity levels, you can look at CollegeVine's activity tiers.

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6 months ago

I'm posting a couple of links from the MIT website so you can gauge and understand what kind of applicants they are looking for. As the premier STEM research university in America, they expect MIT admits not only to have the very best GPA, test scores, and extracurriculars, they expect their cohorts to want to change the world for the better. When I travelled to Cambridge for an info session, they made a couple of points very clear. 1.) You will fail and have a difficult time at MIT if you do not have a collaborative team oriented personality. 2.) You should have drive, gumption, initiative and some sort of entrepreneurial spirit to get things done or make things work. 3.) You should be 100% genuine and quirky as evidenced by their annual celebrated "hacks" which are ingenious. 4.) MIT celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion differently than many college campuses. If you click on the last link and watch some videos on East Campus you will see that being eccentric and perhaps queer is generally accepted and celebrated at MIT. I think a lot of young high school kids only know about MIT as a great school, they really don't know much about the culture and people that attend MIT. 5.) Unbeknownst to many applicants is that MIT has a huge Greek life and 45%-50% of students belong to a Frat or a Sorority. This surprises people because big Southern schools like the University of Alabama have 28% Greek life participation. And even a huge party school like USC has only 20%. So it's obvious to me that if you want to thrive and fit in with MIT you have to have a fun, social side to your personality as well. Work hard, play harder.

https://mitadmissions.org/apply/process/stats/

https://mitadmissions.org/apply/process/what-we-look-for/

http://hacks.mit.edu/

https://mitguidetoresidences.mit.edu/map/east-campus

https://studentlife.mit.edu/fsilg

As far as your preparing yourself for the next 4 years, you should strive to take the hardest STEM courses available to you and get As, 5s on the AP exams. Since their SAT/ACT percentiles are mostly 99%+ scores, there isn't much room for error. You need a 1550+ SAT, and 35+ on the ACT. You should have 4 years of math (AP CALC BC minimum, preferably Calc III or another higher math class), 4 years of science (AP Bio, AP Chem, AP Physics I, II, and C Mechanics), AP English Lit and Lang, at least 3 years of History and 3 years of Foreign Language. MIT expects everyone to write well so your college essays need to be awesome.

As the Top 20 colleges get harder and harder to get into, there is less and less room for error. This year 96% of applicants failed to get accepted into MIT and if this cycle is any indication of future trends, MIT might dip into the 3% range like Harvard and Columbia next cycle as we see an influx of International students aggressively applying. The sheer number of applications caught many off guards but the 10th and 11th graders who are paying attention are aware that they have to have better ECs, better stats and better recommendations and grades to have a fighting chance.

I don't agree with the notion that you have a lot of time to act. It's good you are concerned now. You need to start strong in 9th grade with near-perfect grades and test scores and keep trying harder each successive year.

Hope that helps.

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