HOW TO WRITE PHENOMENAL
SUPPLEMENTAL ESSAYS FOR MIT
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is renowned worldwide for its exceptional focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and research. MIT places an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning through initiatives like the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), which encourages students to engage in cutting-edge research and innovative projects from their first year. The Institute's culture of collaboration and interdisciplinary work, evident in initiatives like the MIT Media Lab and numerous cross-departmental research centers, fostering a vibrant intellectual community. Additionally, MIT prides itself on fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, with resources such as the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation that support students in translating their ideas into real-world solutions. Finally, MIT's commitment to tackling global challenges is exemplified by initiatives like the Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab and the MIT Energy Initiative, which aim to find sustainable solutions to pressing global issues. These unique aspects of MIT contribute to its reputation as a dynamic institution that nurtures creativity, innovation, and impactful research.
The MIT supplemental essays provide applicants with an opportunity to go beyond their academic achievements and test scores and showcase their unique qualities, experiences, and perspectives. These essays delve into various aspects of an applicant's life, including their personal interests, cultural background, challenges faced, collaborative efforts, and aspirations. The prompts encourage applicants to reflect on their individuality, problem-solving skills, resilience, and contributions to their communities. Through these essays, MIT aims to understand how applicants can bring diverse perspectives, collaborate, and make a positive impact on campus and in the world.
How to Write MIT Supplemental Essay 1
PROMPT: We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do simply for the pleasure of it. (Maximum 225 words.)
When responding to this prompt, it’s important to showcase your personal passions and interests outside of your academic and extracurricular responsibilities. The admissions committee wants to understand what brings you joy and how you find balance in your life. Choose a genuine passion, an activity or hobby that truly brings you pleasure and has a significant impact on your life. It could be something creative like painting or playing a musical instrument, an outdoor pursuit like hiking or gardening, or even a unique interest like cooking or juggling. Begin by explaining why you engage in this activity purely for pleasure. What draws you to it? Is it a form of self-expression, a way to relax, or an opportunity to challenge yourself in a different way? Next, describe specific moments or experiences that illustrate the joy you derive from this activity. Use vivid language to paint a picture and engage the reader's senses. Show how this pursuit adds value to your life and brings you happiness. To a limited degree, we recommend that you discuss how this activity has influenced you beyond the immediate pleasure it brings. Has it shaped your perspective or taught you valuable life lessons? Reflect on the values and qualities you have gained from this pursuit and how they may align with MIT's culture and values. You can also write about how it complements your other interests. Conclude your essay by reflecting on the overall significance of this activity in your life, and share what you have learned about yourself. You can also briefly mention how you intend to continue pursuing this activity or similar passions at MIT. Remember, the goal of this essay is to provide insights into what makes you unique. Be genuine and passionate in your response, and offer the admissions committee a glimpse into your personal life and provide a well-rounded perspective of who you are beyond your achievements and responsibilities.
How to Write MIT Supplemental Essay 2
PROMPT: Describe the world you come from (for example, your family, school, community, city, or town). How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations? (Maximum 225 words.)
For this prompt, it's essential to provide a vivid and heartfelt depiction of the world that has influenced your upbringing and development. Start by choosing a specific aspect of your world that has had a profound impact on shaping who you are today and has played a significant role in your personal growth, values, and aspirations. When describing your world, use specific examples to bring it to life for the reader. Discuss the cultural, socioeconomic, and environmental factors that contribute to the unique character of your world. Next, we recommend that you reflect on the values, traditions, and beliefs prevalent in your world. How have they influenced your perspective, attitudes, and aspirations? Discuss the positive aspects that have shaped your character and the lessons you have learned from the community around you. Use personal anecdotes or stories to illustrate how your world has impacted your dreams and aspirations. Also, consider talking about specific experiences or encounters that have inspired you or sparked a passion within you as these stories will add depth and authenticity to your essay. If it applies, you can discuss any challenges or obstacles you have faced within your world and then reflect on how you have grown and developed resilience as a result of these challenges, and discuss how they have shaped your future goals. To make your essay truly stand out, note connections between your world and MIT's values, and show how the experiences and perspectives gained from your world align with what MIT represents. Finally, conclude your essay by discussing how your world has prepared you for the future by sharing your ambitions and goals and expressing how you intend to make a positive impact. Remember to weave a cohesive narrative throughout your essay, showing the cause-and-effect relationship between your world and your dreams.
How to Write MIT Supplemental Essay 3
PROMPT: MIT brings people with diverse backgrounds and experiences together to better the lives of others. Our students work to improve their communities in different ways, from tackling the world’s biggest challenges to being a good friend. Describe one way you have collaborated with people who are different from you to contribute to your community. (Maximum 225 words.)
Begin this essay by describing a specific instance where you collaborated with others. This could be a project, initiative, or shared endeavor that allowed you to work together towards a common goal. Next, provide a brief overview of the community you belong to and the challenges or issues it faces, and explain why it was necessary to collaborate with individuals from diverse backgrounds to address these challenges. Emphasize the importance of diverse perspectives and experiences in problem solving. We recommend that you describe the collaborative effort in detail. Who were the individuals you collaborated with, and what were their backgrounds or perspectives? What was the nature of the project or initiative? Discuss the specific roles and contributions of each person involved, and then reflect on how collaborating with people who are different from you enhanced the project or initiative. Discuss how the diverse perspectives, skills, and experiences brought unique insights, innovative ideas, and more comprehensive solutions. Emphasize the value of embracing diversity in community improvement efforts, and discuss any compromises or strategies that were employed to foster effective communication and collaboration, highlighting your specific contributions to the collaboration. What skills, qualities, or insights did you bring to the table? Share any leadership roles you assumed or any actions you took to foster inclusivity, respect, and cooperation among team members. Next, reflect on the impact your collaboration had on the community. Did it lead to tangible outcomes or positive changes? Discuss how the collaboration improved the lives of others or addressed the challenges faced by your community. Quantify the impact if possible or share personal stories that illustrate the positive outcomes. At the end of the essay, reflect on how this collaborative experience impacted you personally: lessons learned, skills developed, and ways in which your perspective on collaboration, diversity, and community engagement were shaped.
How to Write MIT Supplemental Essay 4
PROMPT: Tell us about a significant challenge you’ve faced (that you feel comfortable sharing) or something that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation? (Maximum 225 words.)
When addressing this prompt, it's important to showcase your resilience, problem-solving skills, and ability to adapt in the face of adversity. Select a significant challenge or experience that had a notable impact on your personal growth or development. It could be an academic hurdle, a personal setback, a failure, or an unexpected turn of events. Next, provide context for the challenge or situation, including the circumstances, background information, and your initial expectations or plans. Clearly explain why this challenge was significant to you and the impact it had on your life, and then share the specific steps you took to manage the situation. How did you approach the challenge? Did you seek guidance or support from others? Discuss any strategies, actions, or decisions you made to tackle the problem head-on, and highlight the problem-solving skills you employed during the process, including analytical thinking, creativity, and adaptability. Explain how you assessed the situation, identified potential solutions, and made informed decisions to address the challenge. The next part of the essay is especially important: discuss perseverance and resilience by reflecting on the setbacks or obstacles you encountered along the way and how you persevered despite them. Share how you maintained your motivation and positive mindset in the face of adversity, and highlight any lessons you learned about resilience and determination. Discuss how the experience or challenge influenced your personal growth and learning. What did you learn about yourself, your strengths, or your weaknesses through this process? How did it shape your character or change your perspective? Share the outcomes of your efforts. Did you overcome the challenge successfully? If not, what did you gain from the experience despite the initial setback? Discuss the lessons you learned from managing the situation and how you have applied those lessons in other aspects of your life. Conclude your essay by reflecting on the broader impact of the challenge or experience. How has it shaped your values or goals? Has it influenced your desire to make a positive impact on others or tackle similar challenges in the future? Admissions officers want to understand how you approach and overcome obstacles, as well as how you grow from such experiences. By demonstrating your ability to manage challenges effectively and learn from them, you can showcase your resilience and readiness to thrive in a dynamic academic environment like MIT.
How to Write MIT Supplemental Essay 5
PROMPT: Pick what field of study at MIT appeals to you the most right now, and tell us more about why this field of study appeals to you. (Maximum 100 words.)
You only have 100 words for this essay, so make sure every word counts! Once you’ve chosen the field of study that appeals to you the most, describe what fascinates you about it. What specific aspects, concepts, or questions within the field capture your attention? Is it the potential for innovation, the opportunity to make a positive impact, or the intellectual challenges it presents? Clearly convey your enthusiasm and curiosity. As space permits, share any personal experiences, encounters, or influences that have contributed to your interest in the field. Did you have an inspiring teacher, participate in relevant extracurricular activities, or engage in research or projects related to the field? Briefly describe how these experiences have shaped your understanding and passion for the subject. Discuss how the field of study aligns with your strengths, skills, and long-term goals, and how it resonates with your academic achievements and interests thus far. Explain how pursuing this field will allow you to utilize and develop your abilities while also helping you achieve your future aspirations. Briefly highlight the specific resources, programs, or opportunities at MIT that make it an ideal place for you to pursue your chosen field of study. Research the unique offerings at MIT related to the field and mention how they align with your academic and professional aspirations. Show that you have done your homework and are aware of what sets MIT apart. Articulate how you envision making a positive impact in the chosen field. How do you see yourself contributing to advancements, discoveries, or innovations within this field? Share your aspirations to be an active participant, researcher, or problem solver in the discipline. Conclude your essay by reflecting on the future and how you see your journey unfolding in the chosen field of study. Discuss your excitement for the academic rigor and opportunities for growth that MIT offers, and mention how you intend to seize these opportunities and leverage your education to create meaningful change.
Among the MIT supplemental essays, several are optional. We recommend answering the following two in most cases since they present another valuable opportunity to tell MIT more about yourself and why you would be a good fit.
How to Write MIT Supplemental Essay 6
PROMPT: Please tell us more about your cultural background and identity in the space below. (Maximum 150 words.)
For this essay, it's important to reflect on your cultural background and identity in a thoughtful and introspective manner. Begin by introducing your cultural background and provide a brief overview. Discuss your ethnicity, nationality, or any other relevant aspects that shape your cultural identity. Explain the significance of your cultural background in your life and how it has influenced your experiences and perspectives. You can use personal anecdotes or stories to illustrate how your cultural background has impacted your identity and shaped your worldview. Then, discuss specific traditions, values, or customs that are important to your culture and highlight how they have influenced your beliefs, attitudes, or actions. Reflect on significant experiences or interactions that have deepened your connection to your cultural background, which can include family traditions, community events, or cross-cultural exchanges. Discuss how these experiences have broadened your understanding of your own identity and fostered a sense of belonging or pride. If it applies, you can discuss instances where you may have experienced cultural differences or encountered stereotypes or biases. Reflect on how these challenges have shaped your resilience, empathy, or desire for cultural understanding. If applicable, discuss how your cultural background intersects with other aspects of your identity, such as socioeconomic status. Share how your cultural background and identity have influenced your contributions to your community or broader society. Conclude your essay by reflecting on how your cultural background and identity will influence your future goals, and discuss how you plan to leverage your experiences and cultural understanding to make a positive impact on the MIT community.
How to Write MIT Supplemental Essay 7
PROMPT: If you think that additional information about your family will give us a more thorough impression of your background, please include it here. (Maximum 150 words.)
When approaching this essay, be sure to provide relevant and meaningful information about your family that will contribute to a deeper understanding of your background and experiences. Choose specific aspects or details about your family that are relevant to your background and have had a significant impact on your life and have shaped your upbringing and identity. Make sure to provide some context about your family structure and dynamics. Explain any unique circumstances or challenges your family has faced that have influenced your upbringing, and describe things that have been passed down through generations and highlight how they have shaped your worldview or influenced your personal development. Consider discussing family experiences, and share any significant family experiences that have played a role in shaping your background, which could include shared accomplishments, challenges, or hardships that have affected you and your family. Reflect on how these experiences have influenced your character, values, or aspirations as well as your educational journey and personal growth. Reflect on how your family's support, encouragement, or expectations have shaped your academic pursuits, goals, or achievements, and highlight any lessons or values you have learned from your family that contribute to your aspirations. Additionally, you can explain how your family background has contributed to your sense of self and identity and how it has influenced your beliefs, perspectives, or understanding of the world. It’s always a good idea to wrap up the essay with gratitude and appreciation for the role your family has played in your life by discussing the ways in which their support, values, or sacrifices have contributed to your personal and academic achievements. Express your commitment to honoring your family's legacy and values in your future endeavors.
The following optional prompts apply to very specific circumstances, so only answer these if they are relevant to your background.
PROMPT: Please tell us if aspects of your identity have been a barrier to educational access and opportunity. (Maximum 150 words.)
PROMPT: If there is anything we should know about your school's grading system or course offerings, please use the space below. (Maximum 250 words.)
PROMPT: If you have or had any extenuating circumstances regarding your coursework (including disruptions due to COVID-19), please tell us about them here. (Maximum 150 words.)
PROMPT: We understand that sometimes things outside of your control impact your ability to complete tests to the best of your ability. If you have an extenuating circumstance, such as exam cancellations or illness, please let us know here. (Maximum 150 words.)
PROMPT: If you have or had any extenuating circumstances regarding your activities (including disruptions due to COVID-19), please tell us about them here. (Maximum 150 words.)
PROMPT: No application can meet the needs of every individual. If there is significant information that you were not able to include elsewhere in the application, you may include it here. (Maximum 350 words.)
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