The MIT Interview: What It Is Like and How to Ace It

Thursday, February 17, 2022

MIT Interview

The MIT Interview: What It Is Like and How to Ace It

Most STEM students already know that MIT is one of the most reputable names, not to mention an exceptionally academically rigorous college. However, there is still a lot of uncertainty about their admissions process, especially when it comes to the MIT interview and what you can do to stand out.

Interviewing at a college can be an excellent way to set yourself apart and demonstrate your in-depth knowledge and enthusiasm for the school. Keep reading to learn what you can do to ace your MIT interview.

What Is an MIT Admissions Interview Like?

Every student wants to know what the interview process is really like at their first-choice school. When it comes to interviewing at MIT, the process is relatively informal. It’s designed to be an informal conversation, which means you don’t need to dress up too much. For the 2021-2022 admissions cycle, all MIT interviews were held virtually.

What Percentage of MIT Applicants Get an Interview?

MIT strives to provide every applicant with the opportunity to interview with an Educational Counselor (EC). There are over 5,000 Educational Counselors from MIT alumni’s network who volunteer to meet with applicants in their local region. However, interview opportunities are based on the availability of MIT’s Educational Counselors, so it may not always be feasible for every student.

What Does MIT Look For in Interviews?

MIT is not looking for students who are trying to impress them. Instead, they’re looking for applicants who are genuine and can passionately convey their interests and ambitions and articulate how attending MIT will bring them closer to achieving them. If you want to stand out in your MIT interview, the best thing you can do is research the school thoroughly and spend extra time looking into courses you’d like to take and professors you would wish to study with.

What Questions Are Asked at MIT Interviews for Undergraduates’ Admission?

The questions that a student will be asked during their interview will vary depending on individual interests and the specific Educational Counselor they’re speaking with. Generally, the interviewer will ask the student about their passions, ambitions, and interest in attending MIT. Be prepared to answer questions like “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” “How would you contribute to the campus community?” and “What was a recent challenge that you encountered, and how did you overcome it?”

What Is the MIT Interview Process?

The interview process at MIT begins when students apply to the college. Interviews are conducted from October through November for Early Action and December through January for Regular Decision. Students will be contacted by an Educational Counselor after they submit their application, assuming there is an Educational Counselor in their region who is available for an interview.

10 MIT Interview Tips to Get You Started

It’s normal to be a little nervous before your MIT interview. Fortunately, there are a few best practices that can help every student get ahead, including:

Plan Ahead

Interviews are inherently stressful. If you’re looking to take some of the anxiety out of it, make sure you prepare in advance. That means picking out an outfit, practicing your responses to sample questions, and brainstorming questions to ask your interviewer.

Do Your Research

The key to acing the MIT interview is doing your research. Learn as much as you can about what sets the college apart, the unique opportunities that are available to students, and the professors you would be able to study with.

Learn How to Approach Your Answer

Want to know how to ace a college interview? Take a strategic approach when answering the questions. Rather than mentioning various points, pause for a moment before responding. Take this time to select one overarching idea or theme, and strive to center your response around this point.

Show That You Are a Good Fit for the MIT 

The best way to show that you are a good fit for MIT is by demonstrating that you’ve done your research and that you’re eager to attend the college. Ultimately, colleges want to admit students who are passionate about their institution and eager to make an impact on campus.

Stay Calm and Collected

Try your best to make sure your nerves don’t get the best of you. While an MIT interview may feel like a high-pressure situation, ultimately, your interviewer wants to see you succeed. Focus on being authentic, articulating why you would be a good fit for the school, and demonstrating that you’ve done your research.

Bring an Interesting Object

This might sound a bit unconventional but MIT actually encourages students to bring something they are proud of to their interview. This can range from an article they’ve written to something they’ve built or created by hand. It’s a good ice breaker and it will help the student stand out amongst a sea of applicants.

Brainstorm Questions to Ask

Remember that the MIT interview should be an informal conversation. Ideally, you want to feel like the experience is a two-sided discussion, rather than the interviewer simply assessing you by asking questions. Planning a few questions to ask them will also help you demonstrate your interest in attending MIT.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Clarifying Questions

We all get confused from time to time. Instead of making up a response or guessing what your interviewer might be looking for, it’s ok to ask them to repeat their question or ask them more about what they are looking for. As an applicant, you will be evaluated on the quality of your response, so it’s important to make sure you feel comfortable with the question, even if it takes some follow-up work.

Choose an Outfit Wisely

For many students, learning that the MIT interview does not require a formal dress code probably sounds like good news. However, just because there isn’t a formal requirement, that doesn’t mean you can join the interview in your pajamas. Instead, take some time to look through your wardrobe and pick clothing that reflects your personality in a positive light. Ideally, you want to wear something that looks polished, but also something that you feel comfortable in since you don’t want to be caught fidgeting or adjusting your clothes on camera.

Take a Trial Run

It’s important to rehearse for your MIT interview, just like you would do for any other big event. Don’t think you can just wing it, even if you feel comfortable speaking to others and answering questions. Every student will benefit from a dress rehearsal. Prepare a list of questions that your MIT interviewer is likely to ask, and then ask a friend, parent, or teacher to run through the questions with you, as if you were actually interviewing at MIT.

Frequently Asked Questions About the MIT Interview

College interviews can feel like a complex process. Here are the most common questions students have about MIT’s interview process:

When Are the Interviews?

For Early Action, interviews run from October to November, and for Regular Decision, it is December and January.

Who Will Interview You?

A member of MIT’s alumni network will interview each applicant.

How Long Will the MIT Interview Last?

Interviews generally last between 30 minutes and two hours.

What to Do if You Get a Question You Haven’t Prepared an Answer For?

Don’t panic. Take a moment to compose yourself, think about what the overarching theme or idea you want to focus on is, and root your response in that point. It’s ok to take a moment to pause or ask a follow-up question if you need more clarity.

What Is a Common Mistake Students Make During Their MIT Interviews?

Some students think they need to impress their interviewer when what they should really focus on is being genuine. Instead of trying to be someone you’re not, focus on highlighting the characteristics and strengths that make you who you are.

When Will I Be Notified That I’ve Got an Interview?

After a student submits their MIT application, a member of MIT’s alumni network will reach out to schedule an interview, assuming there is someone available in their region.

Should I Send a Personal Thank You Note to the Interviewer?

It’s always a good idea to thank your interviewer, especially since they are volunteering their time to answer your questions and support the interview process. A hand-written note that references specific points in your conversation is always a nice touch.

What Happens if You Don’t Get an MIT Interview?

If you don’t get an interview, it will not be held against you during the application process. MIT acknowledges that some students may not have the opportunity to speak with an interviewer and that this will not have a negative impact on their admissions odds.

Although college admissions interviews like those at MIT might sound overwhelming, every student can stand out if they do their research and practice thoughtful responses. If you’re looking for more college admissions assistance, learn how working with a college counselor can enhance your application process.

Related Topics

Admissions Interviews, College Application Tips, STEM

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