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2 months ago
Admissions Advice

What is it like at MIT?
Answered

Hi posting this here since there isn't an Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which is my dream school, community on College Vine yet.

I'm thinking of applying to MIT this fall but I've heard mixed opinions about it. I know it's like, one of the most rigorous schools in the US and I've also read some of their official student blogs, which state both good things and bad thing, although most of them (at least the ones I've read) have been pretty bad recently.

I'm just wondering what it's really like at that school including inside the school (dorms, library, etc.), their school system, and everything in between because I am very confused and frustrated right now.

Main reason I want to apply is because they have this study abroad program I like and some other things too.

Thanks :)

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Accepted Answer
2 months ago[edited]

Hello, the only other answer to this question is pretty negative, so I thought I’d give my perspective on it; although I haven’t visited campus (I feel like 1 day does not tell you very much anyway), my older brother is class of ‘22 majoring in CS.

MIT is not for everyone; that may be obvious, but even if you “like STEM” the environment is not for everyone. Because it’s an all-STEM school, all of your friends made there are going to be smart and stressed out just like you. That’s not to say you won’t make friends (my brother has a lot of really close friends, many from his Christian fellowship, roommates, summer internships, and other places) but they will all be very (some very very; don’t expect to even be in the top half) smart people, focused on some part of STEM.

There are HASS concentrations; it’s not that you don't learn other things at MIT. I think this is a very good thing they have, so if you have some humanities/music, etc. passion you don’t have to give that up.

It is very academically rigorous and mentally stressful. The classes are hard. A very large percentage of MIT students are depressed. Quite large. My brother (as far as I know) is not depressed; he has always been very good at not only keeping a good work/school-life/friends balance but also went in with a certain mindset and hasn’t allowed what things look like to change that (very) much, especially as far as his mental outlook. Many of his friends are depressed; I’m just being honest. There is (from what I’ve heard) pretty good support through friends and official services in campus for mental health if you’re willing to turn to them. Anyway, just something to know before going in.

One more thing to note is that there are a lot of really good faculty/professors, as in really really smart. Most of them are; Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean all are good teachers; some are great, some are OK and focused more on research.

As far as preparing you for life after college, MIT is one of the best, while at other colleges (e.g. Williams/Vassar) once you get out you may or not get a job and probably not a great one. If you know how to utilize the resources available to you, you can come out of MIT with a lot of undergraduate research as well as high-paying internships/coops, etc. And if you do well (most MIT students do at least comparatively well, my brother has been one of the best , even among those at MIT, not only for his ability to do CS, but also work with a team, make deadlines and manage projects on his own as well as under others) will most likely get a good offer out of college. My brother got a great (really great) offer from a company you would recognize if I mentioned it(I’m not going to).

While I can’t speak as directly to dorms/food, etc. I recommend you check out the MIT admissions site, not just the blogs (or not just random blogs).

Here are some links that might be helpful:

dorm i3 videos: https://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/all-the-2021-i3-videos-megapost/

HASS concentrations if that’s something that interests you:

https://registrar.mit.edu/registration-academics/academic-requirements/hass-requirement/hass-concentrations

Here’s an overview of the GIR’s (general institute requirement) if you wanted to get a feel for what all you’d end up taking:

https://firstyear.mit.edu/academics-exploration/general-institute-requirements-girs

If you’re interested ins studying abroad, trying searching that on the blogs and finding some students’ experiences with that also…

and let me know if you have any questions because this is by no means comprehensive!

Lastly, MIT is not an IVY LEAGUE! There are 8 ivy leagues, all on the east coast, and that is an athletic association created a long time ago. (:

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2 months ago

99%+ of the CV members on here are not college students but HS students like yourself. Unless you post your inquiry to an audience of current MIT students or alumni, you are not going to get a very informed answer. I would try Quora or Reddit or something similar. Maybe contact some MIT YouTubers as well. Good luck.

After spending a 1 day at MIT, I felt that it was a rather impersonal place, with many soul-less buildings with lots of academic activity going on. It's the diametric opposite of say Princeton, Brown, Yale, or Cornell where the campus gives you a sense of place. There are beautiful buildings, park-like quadrangles, chapels, and historic libraries, fun eateries, coffee houses, book stores. MIT's student center looks like something that some Brutalist 60's architect envisioned, a concrete maze for human hamsters. It's fugly. And so are so many other MIT buildings. I used to think East Campus was the best thing MIT offered but recently it was grazed down and replaced with more impersonal housing stock.

I think the best thing about the place must be the people and the connections you make. Because the campus is lacking in many elite school amenities. For being one of the highest endowed private colleges in America, it looks rather unattractive and unimpressive. Honestly, there are small liberal arts colleges like Williams and Vassar that are 10X better looking.

Most of the feedback I've heard from friends of friends is that it's unrelentingly rigorous. You get a honeymoon semester of pass/fail courses when you start but no one is getting the same 90s and 95s they were used to in AP Chem and AP Calc B/C. Kids who were considered geniuses are now barely scraping by to pass their first-year classes. And many of them are not doing it alone. They are relying on study groups and close new friends to help pull them over the wall. If Harvard suffers from grade inflation just 1 mile away, MIT suffers from grade deflation.

The last thing I will say is that some MIT students suffer from chronic mental health and physical health problems due to the heightened level of stress and living with the daily fear of failure. It takes a certain personality type to thrive in an MIT environment. I might apply there for grad school but I'm somewhat relieved that I'll be attending an IVY instead for undergrad.

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