With an acceptance rate of just 8% in 2015, MIT is one of the most selective colleges in the United States. This top engineering school sends out far more rejection letters than acceptance letters. In the graph above, the blue and green dots represent accepted students, and you can see that most students who were accepted by MIT had 4.0 GPAs, SAT scores (RW+M) above 1300, and ACT composite scores above 28. Also realize that there's a lot of red hidden beneath the blue and green in the upper right corner of the graph (see the same graph with just rejection data). Many students with perfect GPAs and test scores in the top 1% still get rejected from MIT. I always recommend that applicants consider a highly selective school like MIT or one of the Ivy League schools to be a reach school even if their grades and test scores are on target for admission.

MIT GPA, SAT Score, and ACT Score Graph

MIT GPA, SAT and ACT Data for Admission
MIT GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores for Accepted, Rejected, and Waitlisted Students. See the real-time graph and calculate your own chance of admission with this free tool from Cappex. Data courtesy of Cappex.

You'll notice that there are quite a few accepted students who had grades and/or test scores that were significantly below the norm. You certainly don't need a  4.0 and a 1600 on the SAT to get into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This is because the institute has holistic admissions, and the admissions folks are looking at the whole student, not just numerical data. GPAs can be scaled quite differently for international students, and students for whom English is a second language will obviously have added challenges when taking the ACT or SAT. Also, a strong application essay, meaningful extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and even legacy status can play a role in the admissions process.

Also extremely important for MIT is not just a high GPA, but a strong academic record, particularly in the sciences and math. The strongest applicants have taken physics, chemistry, biology, and calculus. If you complete Advanced Placement BC Calculus, all the better.

MIT - GPA, SAT Score and ACT Graph of Rejected Students

GPA, SAT, and ACT Data for Students Rejected from MIT
GPA, SAT, and ACT Data for Students Rejected from MIT. Data Courtesy of Cappex

The graph above shows GPA, SAT score, and ACT score data for students who were not admitted to MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The previous graph showed that the great majority of admitted students had grades and test scores mostly in the upper right corner of the graph. With the data for those accepted students removed from the graph, you can see that many students with 4.0 grade point averages and extremely high SAT and ACT scores still get rejected by MIT. This is the reality for colleges that have a single digit acceptance rate.

This graph makes clear that admission to MIT is about more than grades and test scores. The institute wants to admit interesting students who will contribute to the campus community in meaningful ways. Consider two students: one is an accomplished tuba player and successful entrepreneur with a 3.8 GPA and 31 ACT; the other student has a 4.0 GPA and 35 ACT score but only superficial extracurricular involvement. MIT is more likely to admit the former student than the latter, for the former student is more likely to enrich the campus community.

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