September 20, 2019

MIT Essay 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)

For this sucker, spend less time extolling the virtues of a department and certain professors and all that jazz and spend MORE time (all of your time, actually) examining what aspects of the anticipated “learning” connects best with you.

One cool way to look at is this: imagine someone said “Congratulations! You get to go to MIT, but only through this bizarre roulette system where you’re gonna end up in one random department that you won’t get to choose, but you’ll have to stick with it for four years.” And let’s suppose that you ACCEPT that offer, for argument’s sake. What do those paths all look like? Do they fulfill more or less the exact same thing for you? Do you like each potential option equally? We certainly hope not! Hopefully, among the options, one or two stands out as being part of your overall future plan, fitting in with your skillset, desires, and goals… better. What are the elements that make that so?

“This is the subject matter that sends a bolt of lightning through my system, here’s why, here’s what I hope to do with it, and here’s why this particular department is the one that’s gonna combine with my passion, and vision, in the most meaningful way…” essentially.

See how that argument goes? It’s not quite as strong when you start by praising the department itself. Those arguments will be weightless without the more important context of what YOUR nature is, what your GOALS are, and therefore how and why this particular environment at MIT will help you fulfill those.


  1. First, establish what you WANT in a program. And what you NEED. Be specific.
  2. Now, explain why one or two SPECIFIC aspects of a specific department/program at MIT MEETS those wants and needs better than (or differently from) other schools/programs.

You can also read through our team’s analysis of the rest of MIT’s application essays.

Learn more and explore each step of MIT’s undergraduate application process here.

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