These 10 Colleges Get the Most Applications

When it’s time to apply for college, the first thing you need to do is make a list of schools that interest you. As you narrow down your college top 25, one thing you may ask is whether the school gets many applications. In fall 2017, these 10 United States colleges and universities received the most applications, as stated by U.S. News & World Report. Eight of the 10 are based in California, while the other two are in the Northeast. Look and see if your favorites or potential submission selections from your college top 25 made the list.

UCLA is located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, about five miles from the Pacific Ocean. This school received 102,242 applications in 2017 and had an acceptance rate of 16 percent, one of the lowest in the UC system.

University of California-San Diego

The University of California-San Diego sits on 1,976 acres next to the Pacific Ocean in the city’s La Jolla neighborhood. In 2017, 88,428 prospective students applied to this school, and its acceptance rate was 34 percent.

University of California-Irvine

The University of California-Irvine is a research university near the Pacific Ocean that specializes in scientific fields, such as neuroscience. It received 85,102 applicants in fall 2017 and had an acceptance rate of 37 percent.

University of California-Berkeley

Located near the San Francisco Bay, the University of California-Berkeley is the oldest in the UC system. It received 85,057 applicants in 2017 and is one of the most selective in the state with an acceptance rate of 17 percent.

University of California-Santa Barbara

The University of California-Santa Barbara sits on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. About 22,186 undergraduates attend this suburban campus. In 2017, it received 80,319 applications, and its acceptance rate was 33 percent.

University of California-Davis

The University of California-Davis is approximately 15 miles from Sacramento and has an airport and fire department on its campus. This school received 70,214 applications in 2017 and had an acceptance rate of 44 percent.

New York University

New York University is a private university located in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. This urban university received 64,007 applicants in 2017. It’s very selective, having an acceptance rate of 28 percent.

California State University-Long Beach

California State University-Long Beach has a scenic 322-acre campus that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. It received a total of 61,806 applications in 2017 and is selective, with a 29 percent acceptance rate.

Boston University

Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the U.S. It is an urban campus in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood of Boston. BU received 60,825 applications and had an acceptance rate of 25 percent in 2017.

San Diego State University

San Diego State University is located about 15 miles west of the city’s downtown. There were 60,697 applicants in fall 2017, and the school had an acceptance rate of 35 percent.

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What is the interview process?

Interviews are conducted from October through November for Early Action and December through January for Regular Action.

Interviews are held in person whenever possible, however you may coordinate a virtual interview if agreed upon with your EC.

After you submit your application, you may be contacted by an Educational Counselor (EC) if there’s one available. ECs typically use the email address you provided on your application to contact you, so please monitor your inbox and respond promptly.

Interviews are not a required part of the MIT application. While we try to offer as many interviews as we can, we have limited availability and may not able to offer interviews to all applicants. If your interview is waived, it will not put you at a disadvantage in the admissions process.

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How to ace the mit interview: sample question & answers.

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Do you have an upcoming MIT interview and need help preparing? This guide provides tips and valuable information that will help you ace your admissions interview!

“We want people who are academically curious and passionate, people who will bring their various talents to MIT and share them with others, people who will be good roommates, good mentors, good friends. We do not admit test scores. We admit people.” –Matt McGann , former MIT admissions director

The MIT admissions interview has long been a staple of the application process. It’s the school’s opportunity to put a face and a personality to some of the thousands of applications they receive, so it’s important to put your best foot forward. 

It’s also your chance to discuss your goals and aspirations to be sure that MIT is the right fit for you. 

In this article, you’ll find helpful tips on getting an interview, an explanation of the interview process, a list of sample MIT interview questions with advice on best approaching them, and a list of frequently asked questions about the process.

How to Get an Interview at MIT

mit college application interview

The first step to rocking your MIT interview is getting an interview in the first place. With a 4.8% acceptance rate , the competition is stiff. This is especially true for getting an MIT Sloan interview because of how difficult it is. However, there are many ways to ensure your application gets rocketed to the top of the list. 

In brief, you want to show MIT the best you can offer. High test scores can carry you some of the way (check out their breakdown of admission statistics for comparison), but they’re far from the most important element of the application.

In fact, Matt McGann, former admissions director, said that when reading applications, he would “glance at the test scores... before moving on to the more important parts of the application.” 

This is not to say that grades don’t matter, but with thousands of applicants, the vast majority of whom score highly on their tests , it’s not the only factor.

MIT wants to see how well you fit with their mission . It emphasizes that it wants to make the world better and attract students who aspire to do the same. It looks for leadership skills, a willingness to take risks, creativity and curiosity, and community orientation.

Above grades and test scores, MIT wants to see that you’ve spent your time focused “on becoming your best self by pursuing your interests, your aptitudes, and your education.” If you can emphasize these qualities in your essays , the admissions team will look at your application more favorably.

One way to highlight these qualities is by explaining your extracurricular activities. There is no list of extracurriculars that look better on an application than others. What's important is that you can showcase your qualities that align with MIT’s mission. 

Focusing on these qualities will help you secure an interview and get into MIT !

Beyond this, ensure you’re hitting the deadlines and requirements with lots of time to spare and closely monitor your email. The MIT Sloan interview invitation will come through the email address you provided on your application, and you will be responsible for scheduling it from there. 

Does Every MIT Applicant Get an Interview?

MIT interviews are not a required part of the application process. The school does try to offer as many interviews as possible; they only have limited spots. If your interview is waived, it will not put you at a disadvantage in the admissions process.

Understanding the MIT Interview

Man handing over pen and paper

If you’ve been offered an interview, take it. If you decide to accept the offer, ensure you accept it within the MIT interview deadline.

If the interview is waived, it won’t affect MIT’s final decision, but it’s not a good look to turn down an interview offer . Educational Counselor (EC) Chris Su’s primary advice is, “please do it. We like talking to you. Really!”

If you’ve been selected for an interview, the first step in the MIT admissions interview process is receiving an email from your EC. This is where the relationship starts. Be prompt in responding to your MIT interview invitation email, and be friendly and respectful throughout further correspondence. 

First impressions are very important, so you’ll want to show them the best of who you are from the beginning. 

The interview won’t be too formal, so there’s no need to wear your best dress or a three-piece suit. As long as you’re looking professional and feeling comfortable, you don’t need to worry too much about what you’re wearing. 

The interview can last approximately an hour, although it could range from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Whatever the length, don’t take that as a good or bad sign. As long as the conversation flows smoothly, the interview length isn’t an indicator of how you’re doing.

MIT suggests you “think through stories or examples that will give your interviewer a vivid sense of your passions and aspirations.” What are your ambitions? What drives you? Passion and excitement are contagious, so if you come prepared to talk about your favorite things, you’ll set yourself up for success. 

What’s important is to avoid one-word answers . You’ll shine in the interview when you answer their questions genuinely and thoughtfully. You don’t need to follow a script, but you’ll do well if you show that you’re engaged in the process and excited to talk about it. 

Come prepared with questions of your own. EC Kim Hunter says she loves answering questions about her experiences at MIT. It’s a two-way conversation, after all. So she’s always happy to provide information. She emphasizes, though, that the questions should be intelligent. 

“Just like you wouldn’t go to a job interview and ask what the company does, don’t come to your MIT interview and ask overly simplistic questions,” Hunter says. She wants to see that you’ve researched and know what you’re looking for in a school. 

Try not to be too nervous. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but they don’t want to put you through any undue stress. There are no “correct” answers to the interview questions. Every interview is unique because, at its core, it’s just a conversation between two individuals. 

Chris Su’s main advice is to be sincere, punctual, and polite . If you’re hitting those notes, you should be absolutely fine. It’s a conversation, he emphasizes, not an oral exam. 

About Your Interviewer

Alumni conduct the interviews, so there’s a ton of diversity among the pool of ECs. The Alumni Association has a series of profiles on notable alumni who run the gamut of entrepreneurs, engineers, research scientists, and data analysts, to name a few. 

You’ll know who your EC is when they reach out to schedule the interview. At that point, of course, you can Google them—Kim Hunter says this doesn’t put her off, but you shouldn’t rely too heavily on what you find. 

She cautions against connecting with them on social media before the interview, which will seem unprofessional. 

“The interview is about you,” says Chris Su, so while it never hurts to “be inquisitive,” you should come prepared to talk extensively about yourself. He wants to advocate for the prospective students he interviews, but he can only do that if they first advocate for themselves!  

MIT values wellness and a balanced life, as does former admissions director Matt McGann. He once advised a student concerned about her test scores to “have a picnic” instead of retaking the SATs. 

The most important thing to remember is that ECs are people too. They’re not sitting in the room with a secret checklist or waiting for you to say the wrong thing so they can reject you. They’re invested in your education, and they want you to succeed. 

Sample MIT Interview Questions and Answers 

Here are some MIT interview questions and answers to help you prepare.

Why Do You Want to Go to MIT?

MIT campus

This is the most common interview question you can expect to hear. With this question, the interviewer wants to know that you’ve done your research on the school and have made an informed decision. Be precise about what MIT offers and what you hope to learn if you attend.

Tell Me About Yourself 

mit college application interview

This is another incredibly common question. Be prepared to give a concise but well-rounded answer—Chris Su suggests a one-minute response with key details about your upbringing, interests, and goals. This establishes a foundation you can build upon for the rest of the interview. 

When answering this, start with a very brief personal introduction, highlighting your academic background and any notable achievements. Then, discuss your extracurricular activities and interests outside of academics. 

It’s important not to speak about your academic achievements too much because the admissions committee already has that information on your application.

Finally, connect your experiences to MIT by demonstrating how they align with the institution's values and opportunities. Be authentic and enthusiastic, focus on aspects of your background most relevant to your application, and showcase your fit for MIT.

What Activities Did You Do in High School, and Why? 

high school soccer team

Extracurricular activities can showcase your connection and engagement with your school and can emphasize your leadership skills, initiative, and ability to collaborate. These are all qualities MIT looks for in its applicants. 

Limit your answer to three things . You don’t need to give a long list of all your accolades. You’ll want to tell them what you care about and how you spend your time. 

To answer this question, explain why you chose the three activities, emphasizing your passion and the skills you developed through them. Discuss how these experiences align with your academic interests and goals. 

What Activities Do You Do Outside of School, and Why? 

young female running in forest

Community engagement is important to MIT. Again, limit your answer to three things. Your interviewer wants to understand your passions and how you connect to the wider community. This is a great way to show you have a balanced life, which is important to MIT.

You can answer this question similarly to the previous one. However, it would help if you spoke about your activities outside of school rather than in it. Remember to relate the activities to your academic or career goals and aspirations. 

What Are Your Strengths?

young woman being interviewed in office

This is your opportunity to show yourself off! While humility is generally a virtue, you can highlight what makes you shine in this question. Think about some things you’ve done worth bragging about and frame them to relate to what MIT looks for in a successful applicant.  

You’ll want to answer this question by identifying specific s trengths relevant to your academic pursuits and personal growth . Provide brief anecdotes demonstrating how these strengths have impacted your experiences or achievements. Be confident, genuine, and humble while highlighting your unique qualities.

What Are Your Weaknesses? 

female student thinking hard

This is always a tricky question to answer. Don’t discuss something that’s a strength (i.e., “sometimes I can be too organized!”). Your interviewer will see right through this. Instead, try to be honest but not overly self-deprecating. When did you fail at something, and what did you learn from the experience? Start there. 

The trick is to pick a genuine weakness you have had and take steps to improve . Discuss how you recognized this weakness, the actions you have taken to address it, and the progress you have made. 

These MIT admissions interview questions are meant to tell the interviewer more about yourself beyond your grades and test scores. Don’t be nervous; remember to be clear, confident, and concise with your answers! 

Top 5 Tips for a Successful MIT Admissions Interview

mit college application interview

Below are five MIT admissions interview strategies to help you prepare and ace the process. 

1. Do Your Research On the School

Before the interview, exploring MIT’s values, mission, programs, and faculty is important. You can use this knowledge during the interview, which will help show the interviewer your enthusiasm for the school and what it offers. 

2. Highlight Your Achievements and Experiences

MIT seeks students who have demonstrated excellence and a drive to make an impact. Showcase your academic accomplishments, research projects, extracurricular involvements, and other experiences that highlight your skills and passions. 

Discuss how these achievements have shaped your academic journey, showing your commitment to learning and innovation.

3. Bring Something Cool

MIT encourages students to bring something interesting and worth sharing to the interview.  In the past, students have brought their laptops to show the websites they’ve built and editions to their school's newspaper to show a piece they’ve written.

If you decide to bring something, ensure you’re prepared to discuss it. Presenting and discussing your work will be a huge and crucial skill at MIT and beyond, and presenting something cool to your interviewer is a great opportunity to practice.

4. Dress Appropriately 

Ensure you dress appropriately for the MIT interview. However, this doesn’t mean you should show up in a three-piece suit. It is perfectly acceptable to wear the same clothes you wore to school that day, whether a uniform with a blazer, your team jersey with sneakers, or jeans and a non-offensive t-shirt. 

5. Prepare Questions For the Interviewer 

Preparing questions for the interviewer demonstrates your enthusiasm and genuine interest in the program and the institution. Take the time to research and think about aspects of MIT that you would like to learn more about, such as research opportunities and academic resources.

Here are some examples of questions to ask your MIT interviewer: 

  • What specific qualities and experiences are you looking for in successful MIT applicants?
  • Can you tell me more about the research opportunities available to undergraduate students at MIT?
  • What resources and support systems are in place to help students navigate their academics at MIT?

These thoughtful questions will showcase your proactive approach to learning. Remember, asking relevant and thoughtful questions not only benefits you but also helps leave a lasting impression on the interviewer.

FAQs: The MIT Application Interview 

Still feeling nervous about the interview process? Here are some FAQs to put your mind at ease. 

1. How Will I Find Out If I’m Getting an Interview at MIT? 

If you’ve been selected for an interview, your interviewer will email you. Monitor it closely because scheduling the interview from there will be your job. Check your spam or junk mailbox in case the email gets blocked.

2. What Is the Purpose of the Interview? 

MIT wants to know who you are beyond your grades and test scores. The interview is an opportunity to get to know you as an individual to see how you fit into the larger MIT community. It’s also your chance to talk to an alumnus about the school to see if you want to go there. 

3. Who Will Be Conducting the Interview? 

Somebody from the MIT Alumni Association will interview you. You’ll know who it is once they reach out to schedule the interview. 

4. What Should I Bring With Me? 

Firstly, don’t bring your transcripts, test scores, or recommendation letters. The ECs aren’t supposed to have that information. 

Kim Hunter suggests bringing something cool that showcases an interest or talent so that a portion of the interview can be akin to show-and-tell. This isn’t mandatory, but it’ll give you something to connect over and help you stand out from the rest of the interviewees. 

Finally, bring your questions! This is your chance to talk to somebody who’s been there—they want to answer your questions about student life, classes, picking a major, or whatever else you’re curious about. Chris Su says that if somebody asks him something he doesn’t have an answer for, he’ll look it up and get back to them. 

5. What Should I Wear? 

You’ll want to look professional but feel comfortable . Don’t wear pajamas, but don’t dress for the opera either. You should feel confident going into your MIT interview, so your outfit choice should be whatever makes you feel your best. 

6. What Happens After the Interview?

Your EC will write a report about the interview. The report goes into your application folder for the admissions committee to review. You don’t have to do anything else at this stage. Your application is complete! You’ll get your decision soon after . 

7. Is It Okay to Turn Down the Interview? 

You’re not required to accept the interview, but you should take it if it’s offered. It’ll show the school that you’re serious about attending. Historically, however, MIT has tended to accept a higher proportion of applicants who participated in interviews compared to those who declined.

8. What If I Don’t Get an Interview? 

That’s okay! Even with over 5,000 volunteer ECs from the Alumni Association, there aren’t enough people to interview each applicant. Don’t stress if you aren’t offered an interview—it won’t adversely impact your application. 

9. Do All MIT Applicants Receive Interviews?

No, not all MIT applicants are given interviews. The school tries to provide as many interviews as possible to applicants. However, availability is limited. It’s important to note that if your interview is waived, it will not affect your chances in the admissions process.

10. What Does It Mean If MIT Wants to Interview You?

If you’re given the opportunity to interview for MIT, the school wants to get to know you further. The MIT admission interview will allow you to tell admissions more about who you are beyond your academics. 

Since high-ranking tech schools like MIT are so competitive, they want to ensure they’re making the most informed decision on your candidacy!

11. How Long Is the MIT Sloan Interview?

The MIT Sloan interview is 30 minutes long, maximum. It is known to be one of the shortest interviews for an MBA program. 

12. What Is the Interview Rate for MIT Applicants?

Approximately 18% of applicants receive an interview invitation. As you can see, the interview rate is low. It’s important to note that not receiving an interview does not put you at a disadvantage. 

Final Thoughts 

The MIT interview can seem daunting because of how prestigious MIT is, but the ECs genuinely care about you. Ben Jones , former Director of Communications for the MIT Office of Admissions, says, “I have a list of all the applicants whose stories changed my life.” The connection you form in the interview can last a lifetime. 

If you take one thing away, let it be this: the MIT admissions interview is not an interrogation. It’s a conversation with a person. Come prepared, certainly, but don’t overthink it. According to MIT’s website, the most important thing is to be yourself ! 

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MIT Interview Questions

Featured Expert: Austin Hancock, Princeton University alumnus

MIT Interview Questions

MIT interview questions aren’t much different from common college interview questions. MIT uses interviews to learn more about you as a person than can be discovered from your college essays or MIT supplemental essay , and it is considered an important part of your overall application. It’s a good idea to do a little research on the MIT interview process and start practicing answering MIT interview questions to help set yourself apart from other applicants. In this blog, we’ll find out what MIT interview questions are like, tips on how to answer them and some sample MIT interview questions to help you prepare!

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Article Contents 4 min read

Mit interview questions and sample answers, mit interview questions: example #1 and sample answer, “what are your biggest passions”.

I'm fascinated by the ever-evolving world of technology and its potential to transform our lives and solve complex problems. I constantly stay updated with the latest advancements in fields like artificial intelligence, robotics, and sustainable energy. This passion has motivated me to pursue a degree in computer science and actively engage in projects and research related to emerging technologies. Another passion of mine is environmental sustainability. I strongly believe in the importance of protecting our planet and finding sustainable solutions to address environmental challenges. I volunteer regularly for environmental conservation organizations, participate in local cleanup campaigns, and actively seek ways to minimize my own ecological footprint. This passion has also influenced my academic choices, as I'm particularly interested in exploring the intersection of technology and environmental sustainability to develop innovative solutions. ","label":"Sample Answer","title":"Sample Answer"}]' code='tab1' template='BlogArticle'>  

Questions to Ask Your Interviewer

  • How did attending MIT help you achieve your goals?
  • What career/field do you work in now?
  • Did you discover any new passions/hobbies/interests while attending MIT?

“Why do you want to study at MIT?”

MIT has always been a dream school for me. MIT has a unique culture that fosters innovation, entrepreneurship, and problem-solving. The institution encourages students to think creatively, take risks, and tackle real-world challenges. I am inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit at MIT and the numerous success stories of students who have transformed their ideas into impactful ventures. I believe that this environment will provide me with the ideal platform to develop my own ideas, cultivate my problem-solving skills, and make a tangible difference in society. I am also drawn to MIT's commitment to using technology and scientific advancements for the betterment of society. The institution's focus on addressing global challenges, such as climate change, healthcare, and poverty, resonates deeply with my own passion for making a positive impact. I am eager to join the community of like-minded individuals at MIT who are dedicated to leveraging their knowledge and skills to create a more sustainable, equitable, and innovative world. ","label":"Sample Answer","title":"Sample Answer"}]' code='tab2' template='BlogArticle'>

  • What did you enjoy most about attending MIT?
  • What first drew you to apply to MIT?
  • Tell me about your experiences at MIT.

MIT Interview Questions: Example #3 and Sample Answer

“what will you bring to the mit community and campus”.

I am eager to actively engage in collaborative research and projects. I look forward to collaborating with fellow students and faculty members, bringing together diverse perspectives to tackle complex problems. I believe my strong foundation in engineering and my passion for aeronautics will enable me to make valuable contributions to relevant research initiatives. Beyond the academic realm, I am eager to contribute to the vibrant extracurricular life at MIT. I have a strong interest in languages and intercultural study, and I plan to join relevant clubs or organizations where I can apply and develop my intercultural skills and practice learning new languages. Whether it's participating in cultural events, volunteering in community service initiatives, or engaging in sports and recreational activities, I aim to contribute to the dynamic and well-rounded MIT community. ","label":"Sample Answer","title":"Sample Answer"}]' code='tab3' template='BlogArticle'>  

  • What clubs or student programs do you recommend joining?
  • What was your favorite school event/program when you were at MIT?
  • What do you like most about the MIT campus culture?

MIT interview questions are all about getting to know you better and discovering more about you beyond your application to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology . In short, the admissions committee at MIT wants to know who you are on paper as well as in-person.

How are MIT interviews held?

College interviews at MIT are conducted by a member of the MIT Educational Council, comprised of MIT graduates who volunteer to interview potential students. Interviews are typically held either in-person or virtually via video interview, depending on the availability and preference of the interviewer and interviewee. Interviews at MIT typically last around an hour. MIT will send you an invitation to interview if an alumni is available to interview you through email, after you submit your initial application.

What are MIT interviews like?

Interviews at MIT are similar to the college interviews held at Ivy League colleges and other top universities. So, you can expect MIT interview questions to be similar to Ivy League interview questions or typical college admissions interview questions .

Although the interview is more informal and conversational, it is still important so college interview prep is still a good idea. You want to give a strong first impression and help you candidacy, so even though the MIT interview questions are more informative than evaluative, you should still come prepared with questions to ask your interviewer about their MIT experience and stories of your own to share. MIT strongly recommends thinking a bit on your answers to common MIT interview questions and provide a well-rounded view of yourself to your interviewer.

What happens if I don’t get an interview invitation?

Due to the number of applicants and smaller number of available interviewers, not every student will be invited to interview. If MIT cannot provide you an interview, don’t worry. The requirement will be waived and your application will not be negatively impacted.

If you are invited to interview, accept it! This is a prime opportunity to strengthen your application, learn more about MIT and help distinguish yourself from a crowd of competitive applicants.

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, so here are a few tips to help you get ready for your MIT interview questions!

There are no \u201cright\u201d answers to MIT interview questions but remember to provide more than a one-word or one-sentence answer. Your interviewer expects to see some self-reflection on your part and for you to share concrete experiences from your life. Don\u2019t be afraid to share! "}]'>

If you want to get into top colleges in the US like MIT or want to know how to get into Ivy League colleges , interview prep is essential. Although the interview process with alumni interviewers at MIT might seem more relaxed, your interview does matter, and it can affect whether your application is accepted. Before you set your interview date, set up a mock interview or two with a trusted friend or a college admissions consulting advisor to offset any nerves and get feedback on your interview answers.

Yes. MIT considers the interview an important insight into who you are beyond your application materials. Although the interview is not “scored” and is more of an informational tool, you can use the interview as a way to stand out from the other applicants and add something extra to your application.

MIT interview questions are similar in intent to common college interview questions. You can expect to be asked about your background, your interests, your hobbies, future goals, and why you want to apply to MIT. Come prepared to answer questions about yourself!

If you are applying through Early Action, your interview will most likely be held in November. If you’re applying Regular Decision, your interview will take place in January. Once you submit your application, you may be sent an interview invitation. Respond back as soon as possible to set a time for your interview!

No, there are not enough interviewers to interview everyone who applies to MIT. You will be offered an interview based on availability. 

Once you submit your application, you will be emailed by your chosen interviewer to set a time to meet. It’s best to respond as soon as possible so you can find a mutual time to meet, as spots will fill up fast!

If you aren’t able to interview or don’t receive an invitation, don’t worry. Your interview requirement will be waived and your application won’t be adversely affected.

Your interview is not a formal college interview, so you don’t need to dress formally. Wear business casual or nice clothing. Make an effort, but don’t feel the need to overdress.

Absolutely. It’s a good idea to practice for your interview, not only to build your interview skills and settle any nervousness, but you should come prepared to answer questions with confidence and energy. You can find college interview prep help resources to practice for your interview.

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The MIT Interview: What It’s Like + My Experience

What’s covered:, how is covid-19 impacting mit college interviews, setting up your mit college interview, what the mit college interview is like, tips for the mit college interview.

Many private, competitive schools give applicants the ability to interview. MIT sends out members of the MIT Educational Council, a group of 5000 previous MIT graduates, to interview prospective students each application cycle. MIT, just like other schools that interview, tries to ensure that every applicant has a chance to interview. Pre-COVID, the chance of interviewing depended heavily on the number of available alumni in the applicant’s area; now, however, this is less of a factor due to the increased use of virtual platforms. While interviewing with alumni might seem advantageous, MIT stresses that candidates who are not able to receive an interview invite are not at a disadvantage. 

If you are granted the opportunity to interview with alumni, you definitely should take it! Not only are alumni interviews a great way for you to add your personality to the application process, but it is also a great way to get school-specific questions answered and hear about the experiences from a previous Engineer. 

MIT interviews are casual conversations (which means you do not have to dress formally) that typically last an hour. In-person interviews may be conducted near you, like at a coffee shop, or held virtually via zoom. I interviewed with MIT during my application cycle back in 2016. While I was not ultimately accepted to be an Engineer, going through the interview process was eye-opening to understand the day-to-day life of a student at MIT .

With COVID, the 2020-2021 interview process has been completely virtual, however, the future of interviews has not been decided yet. As you apply to MIT, you will either hear more about the future direction of interviews through email or on the official MIT admissions website . Be sure to seek out additional insight on how to ace a virtual interview !

After you have submitted your application, be sure to look out for an email from a member of the MIT Educational Council. Those who apply early action will be reached out in November while those who applied regular action will be reached out in January. Once you receive an email, you and the alumni can decide on when you will have your interview and whether or not it will be in person or over the phone/Zoom. 

In 2016, I applied for early action and was reached out by email at the end of November by an alumnus in the Portland area. After some emails back and forth, we agreed to meet up at a Starbucks near both of our homes to have my interview. 

Like I mentioned, my MIT interview was at a Starbucks. I remember getting there super early so that I wouldn’t accidentally miss the interview, and I also dressed up formally because I wanted to make a good impression. I later realized that the latter decision was unnecessary, as my interviewer showed up in jeans and a casual jacket. The interview began with quick introductions followed by questions about my extracurricular activities and hobbies. The next question I remember getting asked was “Why MIT?” and specifically “Why Biological Engineering?”. With these questions, I was able to connect my extracurricular involvement at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, which I had described to her earlier in the interview, as the primary catalyst of my interest in becoming a biological engineer.

While I anticipated the classic interview questions that were catered to understanding me as a thinker and why I was looking to study at MIT, some of the other questions struck me by surprise. I was asked about my favorite book and about the best class I took in high school. I answered with “the Harry Potter series but if I had to pick one, I would have to pick ‘Chamber of Secrets” and “Orchestra because it is the one class where I am able to bring out my creative, thoughtful side.” Whether or not the interviewer can connect to the answers you give, the interviewer will still be able to connect with your passion, and you may even be able to continue a conversation if something strikes their interest

The interviewer continued on to ask some MIT-related questions, such as if I had ever visited the campus (which I had). While this question is usually asked to gain insight as to your interest in the school, interviewers understand that it is not always feasible to visit the campus before applying (especially if you do not live close by). You can always mention that you have taken plenty of virtual tours, watched YouTube videos from current MIT students showing off their campus/dorm life, and even read up on different aspects of campus life. Regardless of whether or not you get an interview from a school, I highly recommend doing this so that you can see whether or not you think the school is a good fit for you! While a campus might look nice, the campus culture may not fit with your personality. 

At the very end, my interviewer asked if I had any questions for them. You should never say no to this question. Saying no makes it seem as if you did not give much thought to this interview before coming in. Some questions you may want to ask are:

  • “What was your favorite part of attending MIT?”
  • “What are some traditions that freshmen participate in?”
  • “What was your favorite class at MIT? Least favorite?”
  • “What is the enrollment process like at MIT for classes? Does everyone get the class they want every semester?”

Make sure you come prepared with more types of questions to ask your interviewer !

Do not stress about your interview for MIT. Remember, the interview is a way for alumni to give positive feedback on you as an applicant to the admissions office. Be prepared with some answers to general questions you may be asked about MIT. Also, it doesn’t hurt to come in prepared knowing some information about MIT: whether it be about the school of engineering, dorm life, campus life, extracurriculars, traditions. You want to seem passionate about the school you are applying to because I can guarantee that the alumni are very passionate about MIT!

Another thing to remember is that this is a casual conversation. While it may seem like the interviewer is directing a lot of questions at you, you can always direct some questions back at them. For example, if they ask you why you are interested in MIT, you can always answer their question and then ask “Why did you choose to attend MIT?” This can give you further insight into the experiences you may have if you attend the school. And make sure to be sincere in your answers! You don’t have to seem like the smartest, most scientific person in the room. You don’t have to throw out technical terms or only focus on your academic achievements—those are all already outlined in your application! The interview is meant to illuminate additional aspects of your personality that are not seen in your written application. 

And be on time! It’s okay if you end up showing up really early—buy some coffee and relax (or maybe buy some herbal tea if coffee is going to give you the caffeine jitters!). Remember that the interviewer is taking time out of their day to talk to you about a school they love. First impressions in this type of environment are crucial.

But most importantly, make sure to take a deep breath before your interview. Don’t dwell over your performance after the interview and don’t second guess yourself during the interview—in the end, everything will work out and you will attend the college that is the best fit for you!

Are you curious about your chances of getting into MIT? Our free chancing engine takes into account your test scores, GPA, extracurriculars, and other factors to predict your chances of getting into over 500 colleges across the US. We’ll also show you how you fare against other applicants. If you don’t place where you’d like, we’ll show you how to improve your application.

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February 3, 2023

MIT Interview Process, Questions, and Tips

An exterior view of a modern dorm at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology admitted 5.7% of Early Action applicants to the Class of 2027 . Between the Early Action and Regular Decision rounds for the MIT Class of 2026 , 3.96% of applicants got in. Last year’s record-low overall admission rate eclipsed the 4.03% of applicants who earned admission to the MIT Class of 2025 — a year marked by an astounding nearly 66% surge in applications from the Class of 2024.

If you’re an applicant to the MIT Class of 2027, you’ve already submitted your application, and you might wonder what more there is to do. Deferred Early Action applicants should submit their MIT FUN Forms by no later than February 7, 2023 (in addition to a Letter of Continued Interest ). And Regular Decision applicants should start preparing for their MIT interview as it’s one of the final pieces of the admissions puzzle that remains in their control.

So how can MIT Regular Decision applicants to the Class of 2027 know what to expect and begin preparing for a potential interview? Let’s examine in depth the MIT interview process.

Do All Students Get Interviewed by MIT?

While MIT endeavors to interview all applicants, not all applicants get interviews. But just as applicants should not get excited about landing an MIT interview since it’s not an indication of the strength of their candidacy but rather the interviewer’s availability, applicants who don’t receive interviews should not be discouraged.

Sometimes interviewers get busy with work or family commitments. Sometimes interviewers forget to reach out to applicants to schedule interviews. With over 3,500 MIT graduates around the world who interview applicants, some are more diligent than others.

But while it’s always good to have an opportunity to interview with MIT, students should not worry if an interviewer doesn’t reach out. As MIT states, “If we are unable to offer you an interview, it will be waived and your application will not be adversely affected.” MIT is being truthful on this point. While an excellent interview evaluation can help an MIT applicant, it will not be held against them if an alum never reaches out.

What is the MIT Interview Process?

MIT applicants receive an email, typically in January, from a member of the MIT Educational Council, a group of over 3,500 MIT graduates worldwide who volunteer to meet with MIT applicants — either in-person or virtually — in their geographic region.

While interviews were conducted exclusively virtually during the height of the pandemic, interviewers, known at MIT as Educational Counselors (ECs), have the option of completing the meetings virtually or in person for the Class of 2027. Most interviews are scheduled for January — often within a week or so of the initial reach-out email.

In our experience, in their initial reach-out email, most Educational Counselors will give applicants the choice of whether they would like to meet virtually or in person. We would always prefer our students at Ivy Coach to meet in person.

How is the MIT Interview Designed?

The MIT interview is most frequently about an hour in length, though it can be as short as 30 minutes or as long as two hours. It’s intended as an informal meeting — as much to answer students’ questions about MIT as to gauge the strength of students’ candidacies.

What Do MIT Interviewers Want to See?

MIT interviewers want to see deep intellectual curiosity. They want to see that students are fun, kind, and likable — and can get along with others. Being fun especially matters to MIT admissions officers. They get many applicants doing nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and cancer research. But can these applicants show their fun sides? That can make all the difference.

What are Common MIT Interview Questions?

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Tell me about your family.
  • What do you love about your school?
  • If you could change one thing about your school, what would it be and why?
  • What’s your favorite activity that you do at school?
  • What’s your favorite activity that you do outside of school?
  • What’s your favorite class?
  • What’s your least favorite class?
  • What would a teacher say about you?
  • What would a friend say about you?
  • How would you spend your time if you had no plans on a Saturday afternoon?
  • What’s your favorite book you’ve read for pleasure?
  • What’s your favorite book you’ve read that was required for school?
  • What’s a story in the news that interests you right now?
  • What’s your greatest strength?
  • What’s your greatest weakness?
  • What do you most look forward to in your college experience?
  • If you could be any fictional character, who would you be and why?
  • What do you want to study in college?

10 Tips to Ace the MIT Interview

1. An interviewer may ask you to bring something personally important to your interview, like an object, so think ahead. Several MIT’s Educational Counselors have asked our students to do so over the years — so don’t be surprised and think creatively about what you’ll bring!

2. If you’re going to Google your Educational Counselor, which isn’t necessary, don’t demonstrate that you’ve Googled them during the interview. It’s not as though that’s going to impress your interviewer. Besides, the discussion is about  you , and it’s a chance to learn about MIT — it’s  not  about the interviewer.

3. Don’t bring a resume with your grades and scores. The interview is a chance to learn about you beyond your grades and scores. Unlike some elite universities, MIT Educational Counselors are well-trained not to ask about your grades and scores. It’s not their business — that’s for the MIT admissions committee to review.

4. Make yourself available to your interviewer and be very kind in responding to the MIT Educational Counselor . Your response to their reach-out email is the first impression you make. So don’t be so busy that you can’t find the time to meet with your MIT Educational Counselor at their earliest convenience. They’re a part of the working world. You’re a high school student. We’ve seen too many students present as demanding in their responses, which leaves a terrible first impression.

5. Show love for high school’s core subjects — not just math and science. While MIT expects you to excel and have a penchant for math and science, they want to see your passion for English, history, and foreign language. MIT has history, English, and foreign language professors, in addition to public policy, linguistics, women’s and gender studies, and so much more. These professors need students to teach!

6. Don’t brag . While it’s vital to demonstrate your passions, there’s no need to cite awards you’ve won. MIT’s admissions committee can see your achievements in the “honors” section of The Common Application. So don’t mistake the interview as your opportunity to boast about your accolades. That will render you unlikable, which should be the opposite of your objective.

7. Be prepared with specific after specific about why you want to attend MIT. These references should work only for MIT. So saying the school has a diverse student body and outstanding research opportunities does not count. These are vague generalities that can apply to virtually any university. Students should also not cite professors or classes as reasons for attending since professors leave and class names change. Instead, students should cite aspects of the MIT experience that are enduring — programs, institutes, activities, the culture, traditions, and much more.

8. Have questions prepared to ask your MIT interviewer. Get your Educational Counselor to talk about their own MIT experience. What did they love about attending MIT? What sorts of activities were they involved in while a student? This is your chance to find out.

9. Immediately after your interview, write down some specifics you learned about MIT from the meeting. This way, you can write a thank you note to your Educational Counselor that isn’t generic. This way, you’ll remember what you two discussed.

10. Don’t overdress but also don’t dress too casually. When Educational Counselors are young, applicants tend to be more informal. But don’t let their age fool you! Applicants should be formal with their interviewers irrespective of the age of the Educational Counselor. Keep this in mind regarding the clothes you pick for your meeting, which you hopefully elect to do in person rather than virtually if offered the option.

MIT Interview FAQs

Who will interview you.

One of the over 3,500 Educational Counselors, alums of MIT, will interview you. Typically, your Educational Counselor will live near your hometown.

What Will the Interview Be About?

It will be about you! It’s a chance to talk about what makes you tick. It’s also a chance to demonstrate your interest in attending MIT.

Where Will the Interview Take Place?

Most applicants are offered a chance to meet virtually or in person. We always recommend students opt for in-person interviews. These in-person meetings typically take place at local coffee shops. Rarely these days are they held in interviewers’ homes or offices as they were years ago.

When Will the Interview Take Place?

Students typically receive word from their MIT Educational Counselor in early January. The interview is typically scheduled for a time in January.

Why Should Applicants Interview?

It’s a chance for applicants to further tell their story and showcase their reasons for wishing to attend MIT.

What If I’m Not Contacted About an Interview?

Don’t fret. You’re welcome to contact MIT’s main admissions number and ask. But be calm on the call, as a notation can always be placed in your file if you’re not kind or too stressed (you never know!). In all likelihood, the admissions office will tell you not to worry, that not everyone receives an interview, it depends on the availability of Educational Counselors, and not having an interview will not be held against applicants.

Is the Interview One of the Most Important Components of the MIT Admissions Process?

No, it’s one of the least important components of the MIT admissions process. It’s as much to make alums feel like they’re a part of the admissions process, so they stay connected with their alma mater as it is to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of applicants.

What if My MIT Interviewer Asks an Inappropriate Question?

It happens! Sometimes interviewers will ask questions like, “What are other schools to which you’re applying?” Or “What’s your SAT or ACT score?” Don’t be surprised if you’re asked such a question, though MIT’s Educational Counselors tend to ask these questions less than alumni interviewers at other elite universities, like Harvard interviewers . Just pivot as best you can. For example, don’t reveal a list of colleges you’re applying to besides MIT. Instead, say, “MIT is the school I most wish to attend.” Hopefully, the interviewer will take the hint.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance Preparing for the MIT Interview

At Ivy Coach, we prep students for the MIT interview . If you’re interested in our assistance, fill out our free consultation form and we’ll be in touch.

You are permitted to use (including the content of the Blog) for your personal, non-commercial use only. You must not copy, download, print, or otherwise distribute the content on our site without the prior written consent of Ivy Coach, Inc.

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Sample Interview Questions

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From the employer’s perspective, the purpose of an interview is to determine a candidate’s knowledge and skills, fit for the role, and genuine interest in the position and company. Depending on the type of question an employer asks, there may may be specific information, skills, or qualities they are trying to assess. See example questions below to prepare yourself for your next interview.

Personal assessment

An employer’s goal with any personal assessment questions is to gain insight into whether or not you would be a good fit for the company and role based on your experience, skills, and values. The first interview prompt you are likely to receive in an interview is, “Tell me about yourself.” Rather than walking the employer through your work and life’s history detail-by-detail, this is opportunity to introduce your current relevant experience, skills and strengths you have developed over time, and reasons for applying to the role.

Another common personal assessment question is “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” When approaching this question, highlight strengths or themes from your past experience that are directly related to the role. When addressing weaknesses, avoid discussing a weakness that is important to the role for which you are applying. Additionally, discuss how you have (or are continuing to) overcome and address it.

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Describe your ideal job.
  • Define success. Define failure.
  • What can you offer us?
  • What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
  • What makes a good leader?

Company or organization

The interview process is an opportunity for the hiring manager to get a sense of your genuine interest in their company or organization. Review our tips on preparing for your next interview to learn about different ways you can research a target company and feel prepared when responding to these types of questions.

  • Why do you want to work for (company/organization)?
  • What do you know about (company/organization)?
  • What (area, service, or product) are you most interested in?
  • How do you feel about working in a structured environment? A non-structured environment?
  • What do you think it takes to be successful in a company such as ours?
  • In what ways do you think you can contribute to (company/organization)?
  • How long would you expect to work here?
  • Are you willing to work overtime?
  • Are you willing to go where the company sends you?
  • What type of environment are you most comfortable with?
  • Why do you think you might like to live in (area where company is located)?

Education and experience

An employer may ask you about your educational background to validate that you are qualified for the role, better understand how your education has prepared you, and/or get a sense of your working style, preferences, and values.

  • Describe your most rewarding accomplishment since you’ve started college.
  • Tell me about the most satisfying job you ever held. The least?
  • What kind of boss do you prefer?
  • What frustrates you on the job?
  • How would a former supervisor describe your work?

Career ambition and plans

Interview questions about your career goals and ambition are used by employers to learn more about your motivations to work, your developmental needs or your career longevity. Career goals and ambitions can be focused on professional and leadership development, educational advancement, or personal. Regardless of what these ambitions are, be sure to focus your responses through the lens of the employer and within the functions of the role.

  • What are your long-range and short-range goals and objectives?
  • What qualities does a successful manager possess?
  • What qualities does a successful team player possess?
  • What kind of challenge are you looking for?
  • What do you think determines a person’s progress in a good company?
  • What are your ideas on salary?
  • What personal characteristics are necessary for success in your field?
  • Do you prefer to work on your own or under a supervisor?
  • How are you conducting your job search and how will you go about making your decision?

Behavioral questions

In behavioral interviews, candidates are asked to give specific examples of when they demonstrated particular behaviors or skills related to the target role. The purpose of behavioral interviewing is to objectively measure a potential employee’s past behaviors as a predictor of future results.

  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with someone whose personality was different from yours.
  • Give me an example of a time where you had to carry out a directive with which you did not agree.
  • Give me an example of when you showed initiative in solving a problem.
  • Tell me about a time you took on a leadership role.
  • Tell me about your most successful presentation and what made it so.
  • Tell em about a meeting where you provided technical expertise. How did you ensure that everyone understood?
  • Tell me about a time when there was conflict in a job/lab/class project. How did you handle it?
  • Describe a time when you took a risk.
  • What were the biggest challenges/problems you encountered in college? How did you handle them?
  • Talk about a time when you had trouble getting along with a professor/team member/supervisor?
  • Describe a situation in which you used persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
  • By providing examples, convince me you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations, and environments.
  • Give me an example of a time in which you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.

Closing questions

Before your interview comes to a close, your interviewer may want to discuss logistics and next steps, hear any questions you have, or provide the opportunity for you share any additional information. If you are asked, “Is there anything else I should know about you?” this may be a great time to shed light on any experiences you haven’t had the opportunity to discuss yet, or reiterate your excitement and interest in the role.

  • When could you start work?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • What makes you the best person for this job?
  • Is there anything else I should know about you?
  • Do you have any other questions?

Unusual questions

You may be asked an unusual or curve-ball question in an interview, which will require you to stay cool, think under pressure and most importantly, be yourself. Remember with these types of questions that there are no “right” answers. Instead, the employer is trying to gauge your approach to problem solving and creativity, as well as get a sense of your personality.

  • If you could be a superhero, which would you be and why?
  • Why are manhole covers round? (Google)
  • Do you prefer cats or dogs?
  • 25 racehorses, no stopwatch. 5 tracks. Figure out the top three fastest horses in the fewest number of races. (Facebook)
  • Name five uses for a stapler without staples.
  • How would you solve a problem if you were from Mars? (Amazon)
  • How would you describe making an omelet to someone who has never made one before?

Looking to practice your interviewing skills? Book a behavioral mock interview on Handshake to practice your responses and receive constructive feedback with a CAPD advisor. You can also learn more about interviewing on the site.

  • Using the STAR method for your next behavioral interview (worksheet included)
  • 13 Ridiculous interview questions that awesome companies will actually ask you
  • How to answer “What are your career goals?” [with examples]
  • “Tell me about yourself” in three simple steps
  • Interview questions about your educational background



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