Mit Transfer Application Essays

As we’ve mentioned before, many of our students hope to attend MIT. We can’t blame them: ranked #7 by the US News and World Report, MIT boasts world-renowned programs in subjects ranging from engineering to linguistics. Applicants interested in attending the school will have to submit MIT’s own application, which became available online this month. Instead of one long essay, MIT asks for a series of short response essays.


Here are the prompts for each essay you’ll see on the application:

  1. We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do for the pleasure of it. (100 words or fewer)
  2. Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why? (100 words or fewer)
  3. At MIT, we bring people together to better the lives of others. MIT students work to improve their communities in different ways, from tackling the world’s biggest challenges to being a good friend. Describe one way in which you have contributed to your community, whether in your family, the classroom, your neighborhood, etc. (200-250 words)
  4. Describe the world you come from; for example, your family, clubs, school, community, city, or town. How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations? (200-250 words)
  5. Tell us about the most significant challenge you’ve faced or something important that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation? (200-250 words)

Finally, MIT’s application includes one optional prompt with no set word limit:

No admission application can meet the needs of every individual. If you think additional information or material will give us a more thorough impression of you, please respond below.


As we’ve discussed previously on the blog, the best essays for any school—including MIT—will offer a fresh perspective, an active voice, and a great opening hook. If you’re looking to apply to MIT this year, we recommend you get to work on those essays as soon as possible!

MIT’s transfer students form a special and unique community on campus. Each year, MIT Admissions accepts approximately 25 applicants from colleges and universities around the world. The fall 2015 cohort is comprised of 19 talented students from schools such as Bunker Hill Community College, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, the University of Rochester, Cornell University, and Peking University.

In addition to their diverse college backgrounds, transfer students bring a wealth of talents, life experiences, and academic promise. These students have included Math Olympiads participants, first-generation students, a Goldwater Scholar, and a recipient of the Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship.

One of MIT's star transfer students this year is Jordan Malone, a two-time Olympic medalist in the sport of short track speed skating. Malone had engineering dreams before he had Olympic ones. Even as a 5-year-old avid LEGO builder, he says, he was “sold” on becoming an engineer and would eventually aspire to attend MIT. But with an expiration date on his athletic career, he chose to pursue his Olympic dreams first. “I didn’t want to be a good student and a good athlete, but a great student and a great athlete,” Malone says. He put his education on hold to compete in the Olympics.

A native of Denton, Texas, Malone is the only child of a single mom. He is flat-footed and has to contend with asthma, ADHD, and dyslexia. So he’s is not unfamiliar with adversity, rigor, and commitment, all of which he recognizes are part and parcel of an MIT education. “My past entitles me to nothing, but it proves that I'm relentless in the pursuit of a dream,” Malone says. At 30 years old, he has put down his skates and picked up his books in pursuit of a degree in mechanical engineering. But Malone doesn’t consider being admitted to MIT as having reached his goal; graduation is the real finish line.

Getting to the finish line poses a slightly different challenge for MIT transfer students than for other undergraduates. Although they participate in freshman orientation and have a home in an academic department, it does take time for them to carve out their place at the Institute. Some have expressed the experience of starting at MIT in this way: “I am not a freshman, yet I don’t reallyfeel like an upperclassman.” But that unique shared identity is one reason transfer students continue to foster a close-knit community — long after they first set foot on campus.

To learn more about transferring to MIT, visit the MIT Admissions website.

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