Cambridge, MA
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 572 total reviews with an average rating of 4.0

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College Senior

Majors: MIT only has a general admission. There aren't any programs.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Senior

Majors: The professors are some of the best in the world, and the kid sitting next to you might just be the next Bill Gates.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Senior

Greek Life: 50% of the men are involved in Greek life - it's so huge, it's almost not a big deal anymore.

5 College Senior

Campus Housing: MIT has a unique housing system, with everyone living together for all four years.

5 College Senior

Campus Strictness: MIT trusts the students to know what's best. Changing slightly in recent years.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Senior

Overall Experience: IHTFP. MIT has been a great ride. Might not be for everyone, but, I love it.

4 College Senior

Off-Campus Housing: If you count fraternities, almost half of us live off campus. Extra freedom is nice.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Senior

Academics: It's MIT. You're surrounded by some of the smartest people in the world. It's great.

5 College Senior

Academics: The academics are brutally difficult, but very rewarding.

1 person found this useful Report
1 College Senior

Campus Dining: Campus dining is overpriced and not really high quality.

4 College Senior

Athletics: MIT has fantastic student participation in athletics.

1 person found this useful Report
2 College Senior

Scholarships: Despite claims that the school provides for all need, it doesn't.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Off-Campus Dining: The food's fairly good if you have time to go off campus to get it. Some fairly good takeout. Boston's open later.

5 College Freshman

Greek Life: The Greeks here are great.

1 person found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Greek Life: I was in a fraternity and I personally thought our chapter house was dirty (compared to my dorm), but apparently this is not the case. Girls would come by and say that ours (meaning ours and MIT frats in general) were much cleaner than fraternities elsewhere, e.g. BU. Anyway, there are MANY fraternities, numbering around 25-30, I think. As such, fraternities consist of anywhere between 20 to 50 brothers, it depends. Sororities are few, I think just 6 or so, and their membership is much higher, numbering around a hundred each. I recall people saying that half the people at MIT are Greek, but that's probably not true. Perhaps the figure is more around 30%, but there are a lot of affiliated people. Greek life at MIT is not 100% like what you see in the media. Yes, brotherhood, sisterhood, pledging, parties, etc. It's all there, but I'd say it's very toned down compared to what you'd see in say the movie, Neighbors (2014). Greeks are like any other students, honestly. I don't think we saw non-Greeks as that much different from Greeks, nor vice-versa. It's all about support networks anyway. Some people have fraternities, some have dorms, some have their extracurriculars or sports. Most, if not all Greek societies have their own chapter house where many of their members live (except the sororities, whose houses could not possibly accommodate all of their members). Greek life is a big part of the MIT atmosphere. Frats hold parties, and everyone holds some sort of philanthropy event. You will notice the Greek presence, it's impossible not to.

1 person found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Academics: Professors tend to be very well-qualified, if not overly qualified. Many of the best are here at MIT (especially in linguistics). While some people complain about the GIRs (General Institute Requirements) which include physics (Newtonian and electricity and magnetism), biology, chemistry, and calculus, I think it's very useful to have a grounding in these basic fields so you can communicate with other academics and understand their fields. The humanities requirement is also something to complain about, but I think there's value in it. Naturally, MIT's workload is massive, to the point where people will cry about their homework (I have, one very long night that lasted until 7am). We have a joke (which apparently is used elsewhere as well): sleep, social life, and grades, pick two. Despite the workload, people are not very competitive since we're all basically screwed. The only way to do MIT is to help each other survive, hence the extremely collaborative academic environment. Popular study areas are the libraries, but personally, I always hung out in my fraternity or at my dorm in the common areas.

2 people found this useful Report
5 Recent Alumnus

Computers: So much free software. Free Windows, free VPN clients, FTP/SSH clients, etc. Our computer labs (called Athena clusters) are numerous and all over the place. You can print tons for free. And MIT internet is pretty darn fast. Wifi is available practically everywhere. I'd say you should have your own laptop just so it's very convenient, especially if you are Course 6 (electrical engineering and computer science). But, you can easily do without a laptop as there are many many Athena clusters.

3 Recent Alumnus

Transportation: Public transportation in Boston is a mixture of things. The T (or MBTA) is the subway/bus system in Boston. It will take you to many places within the metro-Boston area, including the suburbs (where I grew up), thus offering many opportunities to easily explore the many neighborhoods and suburbs in Boston. The cost is a bit steeper than what it used to be, but it's fine, I suppose. You can easily take the T to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) so there's not much need for taxis unless you have a flight at some wee-hour of the night/morning when the T doesn't run. Yes, that is a problem. The T doesn't run very late, so you can't go out at night and stay out very very late if you plan to return home without a taxi. Another thing about the T is that it is notorious for not being on time, especially the Green Line (the subway/trolley line) and the buses.

1 person found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Majors: There are plenty of research opportunities as undergraduates via UROP, either as paid research or for-credit research. You can apply for any such opportunity in any department, so long as you're qualified. I did research at a cognitive science lab, with the linguistics department, and with a group at the MIT Media Lab.

1 person found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Majors: At MIT, we refer to our majors by their course numbers (and subnumbers/letters, when applicable). I was a linguistics major in the Linguistics and Philosophy department, so I was Course 24-2. Our program rocks 'cause MIT, unbeknownst to many, is one of the best institutions for theoretical linguistics. (We have the grandfather of modern linguistics, Noam Chomsky, and many other fine linguists such as David Pesetsky, Irene Heim, Martin Hackl, Norvin Richards, and Kenneth Wexler, just to name a few). Unfortunately, the program is very small (as is the graduate program) and does not get as much attention as it should, both from the students and the faculty. The graduate program is extremely renowned and highly competitive. But, back to the undergraduate program, yes, it is small. In fact, my graduating class probably only had around 5-7 (out of a class of around 1000) doing linguistics (or philosophy, both are in the same department) as their primary major. As such, I went through classes without meeting some of these kids. And contrary to the norm at MIT, which is built on collaboration, I'd often have to do my psets (problem sets = homework) alone since very few people were taking my classes.

4 Recent Alumnus

Campus Housing: Dorms, predictably, determine the social scene and ultimately your social life. There's very little mixing between dorms so once you get into a dorm, there's a high chance you'll stay there forever (by choice) just because your friends are there. That being said, there's plenty of variety. The main split is between east and west campus, with east campus being the strange kids, the dye-our-hair-pink kids, the hackers, the clothing-optional kids, etc. West campus is more "mainstream". In terms of location, east campus is right in the center of everything. Some kids don't even have to see daylight to get their classes because of the tunnel systems linking that part of campus. As for west campus, the unfortunate part is that it's laid out on a single road (Amherst Alley, along Mem Drive). So if you live at the very far end, it will take you a good 10-15 minutes to walk to class. Additionally, because there's few obstructions on this street, you may have to fight your way to class against the strong wings that come from time to time.

5 Recent Alumnus

Diversity: Rich kids, poor kids, you name it. They're all here. In terms of ethnicity, there are mostly white kids and Asian kids, but there's a good number of other ethnicities as well. Overall, it's very diverse here. There are international students, many from Asian countries, some from African countries, some from Canada (haha). I never ran into many Europeans, though, but I know they exist. There are also people from South America, presumably. Politics, most I think are liberal, though you will find conservatives. Religion varies and as well as sexual orientation. Overall, the MIT community is just one big rainbow. I probably never once thought about diversity as something to be talked about 'cause it seemed to be the norm here.

1 person found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Drug Safety: MIT seems to be very careful about sensitive topics and substances, especially since the death of a kid many many years ago at a fraternity. That being said, you can easily get your hands on (free) alcohol through fraternities and even friends at dorms. It's not hard.

3 Recent Alumnus

Weather: Boston is not known for its good weather. Outside of early fall and late spring, you will be experiencing rain, snow, and more rain and snow. It's also very finicky. One second, it could be sunny. The next, it could be cloudy and potentially rainy. The summer is extremely hot (due to the humidity). But this is not to say there aren't good days. There are, it's just they're usually less frequent. There is a running joke that whenever we invite pre-frosh to CPW (Campus Preview Weekend), we turn on our weather machine. If you like seasons and if you like snow, then the weather will be perfect for you.

4 Recent Alumnus

Nightlife: Parties are basically centered around the fraternities. Some dorms do host parties, but they are not nearly as frequent as the ones held by a large number of our 20+ fraternities. These parties, however, do not last long as city regulations (Boston or Cambridge) limit most parties to ending around 1 or 2am (though there are after parties). This is unfortunately the same for clubs and bars in Boston. If you want to party till the morning every weekend, this is probably not the city nor college for you. Transportation at night is also limited since the T doesn't run that late.


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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Sun Kim
Duluth, GA
Mechanical Engineering
View all previous student authors

MIT students have a love/hate relationship with the school. They love the people and the atmosphere and hate the boatloads of work. Correction: Some people like the work and learning things, but most people hate being ignored by certain “research-oriented” professors. Most students who come to MIT had some tough decisions to make about schools before making a final decision, like “Should I go to Harvard or MIT?” and “Should I go to this in-state school with a full scholarship and a free computer or go to MIT and pay for almost everything?” Overall, every student, at some point, will think that they made the wrong decision, but it’s the fact that these people made the decision to attend MIT that sets them apart from the rest. Whether they knew what MIT was like or not, students here were willing to take the chance. As a result, the people at MIT are the most creative, helpful, brilliant, and unique in the world. MIT admissions doesn’t admit people accidentally—no matter how dumb you may feel when you fail your first exam. Everyone at MIT is incredibly down-to-earth, and everyone has the potential to do great things, even if everyone is deprived of sleep. It’s okay—you’ll find that some of the best work happens between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.

MIT will teach you how to survive on your own in the real world, and it will teach you more about yourself, too. Don’t expect to be babied—MIT is one of the most challenging schools in the country, but it is also one of the most rewarding. It is an opportunity that few are given, so don’t waste your time. While you are here, you will grow up and become an adult. You will form some life-long relationships, and if you survive, you will thrive anywhere.

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