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College Essays

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For the 2021-2022 admissions cycle, MIT admitted about 4% of applicants. If you want to be one of these lucky few, you'll need to write some killer MIT essays as part of your own Massachusetts Institute of Technology application.

In this article, we'll outline the MIT essay prompts and teach you how to write MIT supplemental essays that will help you stand out from the thousands of other applicants.

What Are the MIT Essays?

Like most major colleges and universities, MIT requires its applicants to submit essay examples as part of your application for admission.

MIT has its own application and doesn't accept the Common Application or the Coalition Application. The MIT essay prompts you'll answer aren't found on any other college's application.

There are four MIT supplemental essays, and you'll need to answer all four (approximately 200 words each) on various aspects of your life: a description of your background, what you do for fun, a way that you contribute to your community, and a challenge that you have faced in your life.

The MIT essay prompts are designed specifically to get to the heart of what makes you you . These essays help the admissions committee get a holistic picture of you as a person, beyond what they can learn from other parts of your application.

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2022-2023 MIT Essay Prompts

The MIT supplemental essays are short, and each one addresses a different aspect of your identity and accomplishments.

You'll submit your essays along with an activities list and a self-reported coursework form as Part 2 of your MIT application. MIT structures its application this way because they rely on a uniform application to help them review thousands of applicants in the most straightforward and efficient way possible.

You need to respond to all five of the MIT essay prompts for your application.

Here are the 2022-2023 MIT essay prompts:

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.

Describe the world you come from (for example, your family, school, community, city, or town). How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations?

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.

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?

Now that we know what the prompts are, let's learn how to answer them effectively.

MIT Essays, Analyzed

In this section, we'll be looking at each of the five MIT essays in depth.

Remember, every applicant must answer every one of the MIT essay prompts , so you don't get to choose which essay you would like to write. You have to answer all five of the MIT essay prompts (and do so strongly) in order to present the best application possible.

Let's take a look at the five MIT supplemental essay questions and see what the admissions committee wants to hear from each.

MIT Essay Prompt #1

This MIT essay prompt is very broad. The structure of the prompt indicates that the committee is interested in learning about your curiosity inside and outside of the classroom, so don't feel like you have to write about your favorite parts of school.

This MIT essay is your opportunity to show a different side of your personality than the admissions committee will see on the rest of your application. This essay is your chance to show yourself as a well-rounded person who has a variety of different interests and talents.

Choose a specific activity here. You don't need to present a laundry list of activities—simply pick one thing and describe in detail why you enjoy it. You could talk about anything from your love of makeup tutorials on YouTube to the board game nights you have with your family. The key here is to pick something that you're truly passionate about.

Don't feel limited to interests relating to your potential major. MIT's second prompt is all about that, so in this first prompt forget about what the school "wants to read" and be yourself! In fact, describing your experience in or passion for a different field will better show that you're curious and open to new ideas.

MIT Prompt #2

Don't repeat information that the committee can find elsewhere on your application. Take the time to share fun, personal details about yourself.

For instance, do you make awesome, screen-accurate cosplays or have a collection of rock crystals from caving expeditions? Think about what you love to do in your spare time.

Be specific—the committee wants to get a real picture of you as a person. Don't just say that you love to play video games, say exactly which video games you love and why.

MIT wants to know about your community—the friends, family, teammates, etc. who make up your current life. All of those people have affected you in some way—this prompt is your chance to reflect on that influence and expand on it. You can talk about the deep bonds you have and how they have affected you. Showing your relationships to others gives the committee a better idea of how you will fit in on MIT's campus.

All in all, this MIT essay is a great opportunity to have some fun and show off some different aspects of your personality. Let yourself shine!

MIT Prompt #3

This MIT prompt is by far the most specific, so be specific in your answer. Pick one experience that's meaningful to you to discuss here. The prompt doesn't specify that you have to talk about something academic or personal. It can be anything that you've done where you have contributed to any community—your dance troupe, gaming friends, debate team teammates. A community can be anything; it doesn't just refer to your hometown, scholastic or religious community.

The trick to answering this prompt is to find a concrete example and stick to it.

Don't, for instance, say that you try to recycle because the environment is meaningful to you, because it won't sound sincere. Rather, you can talk about why picking up garbage in the park where you played baseball as a child has deeper meaning because you're protecting a place that you've loved for a long time. You should talk about something that is uniquely important to you, not the other thousands of students that are applying to MIT.

Pick something that is really meaningful to you. Your essay should feel sincere. Don't write what you think the committee wants to hear. They'll be more impressed by a meaningful experience that rings true than one that seems artificial or implausible.

MIT Prompt #4

This question sets you up for success: it targets your area of interest but doesn't pigeon-hole you.

This essay is where your formal education will be most important. They want to know what kind of academic life you may lead in college so keep it brief, but allow your excitement for learning to drive these words. You are, after all, applying to MIT—they want to know about your academic side.

You should demonstrate your knowledge of and affinity for MIT in this essay. Don't just say that you admire the MIT engineering program—explain exactly what it is about the engineering program that appeals to you.

You can call out specific professors or classes that are of interest to you. Doing so helps show that you truly want to go to MIT and have done your research.

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If you love playing games with kids at the Boys & Girls Club, the third MIT essay prompt is the time to talk about that passion.

MIT Open-Ended Text Box

This is one of the most open-ended options that you'll find on a college application! Here's one last chance for you to let MIT get to know the real you—the you that didn't quite get to come out during the previous four essays.

MIT wants to know exactly who you are, but, just as a word of caution, make sure your answer is appropriate for general audiences.

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How to Write a Great MIT Essay

Regardless of which MIT essay prompt you're responding to, you should keep in mind the following tips for how to write a great MIT essay.

#1: Use Your Own Voice

The point of a college essay is for the admissions committee to have the chance to get to know you beyond your test scores, grades, and honors. Your admissions essays are your opportunity to make yourself come alive for the essay readers and to present yourself as a fully fleshed out person.

You should, then, make sure that the person you're presenting in your college essays is yourself. Don't try to emulate what you think the committee wants to hear or try to act like someone you're not.

If you lie or exaggerate, your essay will come across as insincere, which will diminish its effectiveness. Stick to telling real stories about the person you really are, not who you think MIT wants you to be.

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You're the star of the show in your MIT essays! Make sure your work reflects who you are as a student and person, not who you think the admissions committee wants you to be.

#2: Avoid Clichés and Overused Phrases

When writing your MIT essays, try to avoid using clichés or overused quotes or phrases.

These include quotations that have been quoted to death and phrases or idioms that are overused in daily life. The college admissions committee has probably seen numerous essays that state, "You miss a hundred percent of the shots you don't take."  Strive for originality.

Similarly, avoid using clichés, which take away from the strength and sincerity of your work.

Your work should be straightforward and authentic.

#3: Check Your Work

It should almost go without saying, but you want to make sure your MIT essays are the strongest example of your work possible. Before you turn in your MIT application, make sure to edit and proofread your essays.

Your work should be free of spelling and grammar errors. Make sure to run your essays through a spelling and grammar check before you submit.

It's a good idea to have someone else read your MIT essays, too. You can seek a second opinion on your work from a parent, teacher, or friend. Ask them whether your work represents you as a student and person. Have them check and make sure you haven't missed any small writing errors. Having a second opinion will help your work be the best it possibly can be.

#4: Demonstrate Your Love for MIT

MIT's five essay prompts are specific to MIT. Keep that in mind as you're answering them, particularly when you attack prompt two.

Show why MIT is your dream school—what aspects of the education and community there are most attractive to you as a student.

MIT receives thousands of applications, from students who have different levels of interest in the university.

The more you can show that you really want to go to MIT, the more the school will be interested in your application. Your passion for MIT may even give you a leg up on other applicants.

What's Next?

Exploring your standardized testing options? Click here for the full list and for strategies on how to get your best ACT score .

Are you happy with your ACT/SAT score, or do you think it should be higher? Learn what a good SAT / ACT score is for your target schools .

Your MIT essays are just one part of your college application process. Check out our guide to applying to college   for a step-by-step breakdown of what you'll need to do.

how to write essay for mit

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Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley's students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females.

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Graduate School Application Essays

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Types of Essays

Regardless of the type of school you are applying to, you will be required to submit an admissions essay as part of the application process. Graduate programs want students with clear commitment to the field. Essay prompts typically ask applicants to discuss their previous experience, future professional goals, and how the program can help them in achieving those objectives. The essay gives the applicant the chance to articulate these goals and display strong writing skills. Remember to tailor your essay to each school and the faculty committee that reviews your application. But first, take note of what kind of essay is being requested of you. Here are the two main admission essays:

Personal Statement

A personal statement is a narrative piece describing how your character and experiences have formed you into someone who will contribute positively and effectively to not only the department but the academic discipline as a whole. This is often achieved by detailing social, educational, cultural, and economic obstacles you have overcome in your journey to get to where you are today and your future objectives. A personal statement is also an opportunity to highlight what is unique about you and how you will advance diversity within the institution.

Check out Personal Statement Resources for Graduate School Applications in the Resources section of Handshake for a brainstorming activity and essay samples that can help you get started on your personal statement.

Statement of Purpose

Interchangeably called a “research statement”, a statement of purpose will prompt you to describe your research interests and professional goals, how you plan to accomplish them, and why a specific program is best suited for you to do so. Be specific about your specialized interests within your major field. Be clear about the kind of program you expect to undertake, and explain how your study plan connects with your previous training and future goals.

Use the Outlining Your Statement of Purpose guide in the Resources section of Handshake to get started on your statement outline.

How to Write a Powerful Admission Essay

Whatever required format, your essay should be thoughtful, concise, compelling, and interesting. Remember, admissions officers read hundreds of personal essays. Below are some tips for your admissions essay writing process:

Before Writing

  • Read the question:  Be sure you are aware of all aspects of the prompt. Failing to pay attention to details in the prompt won’t reflect well on you as a potential candidate.
  • What is distinct, special, and/or impressive about me and my life story?
  • Have I overcome any particular hardships or obstacles?
  • When did I become interested in this field and what have I learned about it?
  • What are my career goals?
  • What personal traits, values, and skill sets do I have that would make me stand out from other applicants?
  • Create an outline:  You might have a lot that you want to say, but you will need to whittle down your many thoughts and experiences to a concrete thesis with a select number of examples to support it. Create an outline for your draft, not only to organize your points and examples, but to help tailor your essay for your readers.
  • Know your audience:  Consider how your narrative can best meet the expectations of admissions committee members. Will faculty be reading this? Administrators? Experts in the field? Knowing your audience ahead of time will assist you in addressing the prompt appropriately.

While Writing

  • Grab your reader’s attention:  Start your essay with something that will grab the reader’s attention such as a personal anecdote, questions, or engaging depiction of a scene. Avoid starting things off with common phrases such as “I was born in…” or “I have always wanted to…” Consider the experiences that have shaped you or your career decision, and delve into them with a creative hook.
  • Write well:  Your essay is a sample of your writing abilities, so it’s important to convey your thoughts clearly and effectively. Be succinct—you don’t need to write out your full autobiography or resume in prose. Exclude anything that doesn’t support your thesis. Gentle humor is okay, but don’t overdo it. Also, don’t make things up! Be honest about your experiences.
  • End strong:  End your essay with a conclusion that refers back to the lead and restates your thesis. This helps unify your essay as a whole, connecting your detailed experiences back to the reason you are writing this essay in the first place—to show your qualifications for your graduate program of choice.

Final Touches

  • Use resources: The MIT Communication Labs have a CommKit that collects all of the Comm Lab resources relevant to the grad application process , including recommendation letters & interviews
  • Revise:  Give yourself enough time to step away from your draft. Return with a fresh pair of eyes to make your edits. Be realistic with yourself, not your harshest critic. Make a few rounds of revisions if you need.
  • Ask for help:  Have your essay critiqued by friends, family, educators, and the  MIT Writing and Communication Center or our Career Services staff.
  • Proofread:  Read your essay out loud or even record yourself and listen to the recording, to help you catch mistakes or poor phrasing you may have missed when reading to yourself. Also, don’t rely exclusively on your computer to check your spelling.

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MIT Essays that Worked

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MIT Essays that Worked – Introduction

In this guide, we’ll provide you with several MIT essays that worked. After each, we’ll discuss elements of these MIT essay examples in depth. By reading these sample MIT essays and our expert analysis, you’ll be better prepared to write your own MIT essay. Before you apply to MIT, read on for six MIT essays that worked.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university in Cambridge , Massachusetts. Since its founding in 1861, MIT has become one of the world’s foremost institutions for science and technology . With MIT ranking highly year after year, the low MIT acceptance rate is no surprise. Knowing how to get into MIT means knowing about MIT admissions, the MIT application, and how to write MIT supplemental essays.

MIT Supplemental Essay Requirements

The MIT application for 2022–2023 requires four short essays. Each essay should be up to 200 words in length.

MIT essay prompts :

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., describe the world you come from (for example, your family, school, community, city, or town). how has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations.

  • 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.
  • 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?

MIT changes the wording of these prompts a little bit every year. As a result, our MIT essay examples may look a little different from the prompts to which you will be crafting your own responses. However, there is a lot of overlap between current and past prompts and often the underlying questions are the same. In other words, even if the prompts differ, most of our MIT essays that worked are still helpful. Even MIT essay examples for prompts that are gone can be useful as a general sample college essay.

As one of the best universities worldwide, MIT is nearly impossible to get into without a good strategy . Even if you don’t have a stellar ACT or SAT score , your essays may impress admissions officers. Let’s briefly analyze each prompt so we know what to look for in MIT essays that worked.

MIT Essay Prompt Breakdown

how to write essay for mit

1. Extracurricular essay

First, you’ll write about an activity you enjoy, whether it’s baking, doing magic tricks, or writing fanfiction. Remember, strong MIT essay examples for this prompt show genuine enthusiasm and explain why the activity is meaningful. Choose a hobby you can write about with gusto while also showing what it means to you.

2. Your Background Essay

Next, we have a prompt asking about your background. This is a classic question; in every other sample college essay, you find answers to this prompt. This question is intentionally open-ended, allowing you to write about any aspect of your background you’d like. In the MIT essays that worked, the “world” has something important to say about the author’s values or outlook.

3. Community Essay

Then, the third essay asks how you work with diverse groups to contribute to a larger community. MIT wants to see that you can work toward community goals while valuing diverse perspectives. But don’t worry. They don’t expect you to have solved world hunger—pick something that demonstrates what community means to you.

4. Significant Challenge Essay

Lastly, we have the failure essay, which seeks to answer how you persist in the face of adversity. Notice the prompt doesn’t mention “overcoming,” so this can be a time that you completely flat-out failed. Everyone handles setbacks differently, so effective MIT essay examples illustrate the author’s unique way of managing failure. It doesn’t have to be a particularly unique or unusual failure, although that may help you stand out .

How to Apply to MIT

mit essays that worked

MIT doesn’t accept the Common or Coalition Application. Instead, there’s a school-specific application for all prospective students. The 2022 Early Action MIT application deadline was November 1. The Regular Action MIT application deadline is usually January 1, but it’s been extended this year to January 5, 2023. The financial aid information deadline is February 15, 2023.

Depending on your admissions round, you need to submit all materials to the Apply MIT portal by the specified deadline.

MIT application requirements

  • Basic biographical information, including your intended area of study
  • Four supplemental essays
  • A brief list of four extracurricular activities that are meaningful to you
  • Self-reported coursework information
  • A Secondary School Report from your guidance counselor, including your transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation : MIT recommends one from a STEM teacher and one from a humanities teacher.
  • SAT or ACT scores —MIT is not test-optional for 2022–2023!
  • The February Updates form with your midyear grades (goes live in mid-February)

Furthermore, interviews are offered to many—but not all—students; not being offered an interview doesn’t negatively reflect on your application. At the end of this article, we compile more resources regarding the rest of the application. If you have specific questions about your application, reach out to the MIT admissions office .

Now that we’ve discussed the prompts and MIT admissions process, let’s read some MIT essays that worked. We have six sample MIT essays to help you learn how to write MIT supplemental essays. And, if you’re looking for more tips on managing the application process, watch our webinar on Building Your College Applications Timeline!

MIT Essay Examples #1 – Cultural Background Essay

The first of our MIT essay examples responds to a prompt that isn’t exactly on this year’s list. Let’s take a look. The prompt for this MIT essay that worked is:

Please tell us more about your cultural background and identity in the space below (100 word limit). If you need more than 100 words, please use the Optional section on Part 2.

Although the wording isn’t identical to any of this year’s prompts, it is similar to prompt #2. Remember, essay prompt #2 asks about the world you come from, which is essentially your background. However, MIT essay examples for this prompt speak more specifically about cultural background. With a shorter word limit, concise language is even more critical in MIT essays that worked for this prompt.

MIT Essays That Worked #1

My dad is black and my mom is white. But I am a shade of brown somewhere in between. I could never wear my mom’s makeup like other girls. By ten, I was tired seeing confused stares whenever I was with my dad. I became frustrated and confused. I talked to my biracial friends about becoming confident in my divergent ancestral roots. I found having both an understanding of black issues in America and of the middle class’ lack of exposure gave me greater clarity in many social issues. My background enabled me to become a compassionate, understanding biracial woman.

Why This Essay Worked

MIT essays that worked effectively show that the author can think about the bigger picture. This author describes their experiences as a biracial woman while addressing the wider scope of racial issues. While you shouldn’t reach to reference irrelevant societal problems, MIT essays that worked do often incorporate big ideas.

In addition, this author mentions conversations with biracial friends. MIT essay examples often include collaboration and community, and this one is no different. Often, sample MIT essays about cultural background will connect that heritage with one’s community. It shows that you value what makes you unique and can find it in others.

Lastly, strong MIT essay examples display reflection and personal growth. Do you understand the ways your experiences have shaped you, and can you write about them? Can you point to areas where you’ve grown as a result of your experiences? MIT essays that worked link the topic and the writer’s personal growth or values.

MIT Essays That Worked #2 – Activities Essay

The second of our MIT essay examples answers a prompt that’s on this year’s list.

In other words, write about a hobby or extracurricular activity—and what it says about you. As we mentioned above, MIT essays that worked for this prompt aren’t all about lofty ambitions. If you don’t read textbooks in your spare time, don’t write an essay claiming that’s your hobby. Be honest, thoughtful, and enthusiastic while finding a way to make your uniqueness show through. Let’s read one of many MIT essays that worked for this prompt.

MIT Essays That Worked #2

Adventuring. Surrounded by trees wider than I am tall on my right and the clear, blue lake on my left. I made it to the top after a strenuous hike and it was majestic. There is no feeling like the harmony I feel when immersing myself in nature on a hike or running through the mud to train for my sprint triathlon or even fighting for a pair of cute boots on black Friday. I take pleasure in each shade of adventure on my canvas of life, with each deliberate stroke leading me to new ideas, perspectives, and experiences.

MIT essays that worked use precise language to appeal to readers’ emotions. Note words like “strenuous,” “majestic,” “harmony,” and “deliberate.” The strategic use of vivid words like this can strengthen MIT essay examples and heighten their impact. But don’t overuse them—like paintings use a variety of shades, you should play with the intensity of your words.

Another benefit of colorful language is conveying meaning more deeply and precisely. Well-written MIT essay examples layer on meaning: this author likes adventuring through nature as well as life. With effective diction, you can make the most of the words you’re given. Consider using metaphors like in this MIT essay conclusion, comparing life to a canvas.

Now, think about your impression of the author after reading this. They’re active, ambitious, and, above all, adventurous. We know they like to challenge themselves (training for a triathlon) but also like fashion (buying cute boots). And we see from their concluding sentence that they have no intention of slowing down or pulling back. In under 100 words, we’ve got a clear snapshot of their worldview and see their adventuring spirit fits MIT.

MIT Essay Examples #3 – Why Major Essay

The third of our MIT essays that worked answers a prompt that isn’t on our list for 2022.

Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why?

This is a classic “Why Major” essay, asked by hundreds of colleges every year. Obviously, the prompt asks about your academic interests . However, it subtly asks about school fit : why is MIT the best place for you to pursue this interest? Although this sample college essay prompt isn’t in this cycle, you should read as many sample MIT essays as possible. MIT essays that worked for the “Why Major” essay prompt illustrated the author’s academic interests and motivations. Let’s see what the next of our sample MIT essays has to say.

MIT Essays That Worked #3

My first step in to the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research was magical. My eyes lit up like Christmas lights and my mind was racing faster than Usain Bolt. I was finally at home, in a community where my passions for biology, chemistry, math, and engineering collided, producing treatments to save lives everywhere.

I pictured myself in a tie-dyed lab coat, watching a tumor grow in a Petri disk then determining my treatment’s effectiveness. If I am admitted to MIT, I look forward to majoring in bioengineering and shaping and contributing to the forefront of bioengineering research.

Earlier, we said that MIT essays that worked use vivid language to drive home their point. This sample college essay is no different. Describing their instantaneous reaction, the author pulls us into their headspace to share in their delight. Following that, they show us their vision for the future. Finally, they state directly how they’ll work toward that vision at MIT.

This author points out that bioengineering aligns with their interests across math and the sciences. There’s no rule saying you can’t be purely into math, but MIT strives to cultivate the world’s leading minds. Many MIT essays that worked present the author as a multifaceted person and intellectual. If you write a Why Major essay for a STEM field, it may be worth your while to take an interdisciplinary angle.

Among other parts of these MIT essays that worked in the author’s favor is the mention of an experience. Many model MIT essay examples directly reference the author’s life experiences to connect them with their interest. For instance, this author frames their essay with a visit to a cancer research institute. We don’t know if it’s a tour or an internship—the reason for their visit is less important than the impact.

MIT Essay Examples #4 – Community Essay

mit essays that worked

At this point, we’ve gone through half of our MIT essay examples. Moving on, we’ll read three MIT essays that worked for prompts (nearly) identical to this year’s. Next, we’ve got a prompt asking about community contributions.

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.

It’s very similar to this year’s third prompt, with one crucial difference. The current prompt asks for “one way you have collaborated with people who are different from you .” While past MIT essay examples for this prompt could have focused on individual efforts, now you should focus on group efforts. In particular, groups where “people who are different from you” also play key roles. This is intentionally open-ended, allowing for endless kinds of differences.

With that said, let’s continue with our MIT essay examples.

MIT Essays That Worked #4

“I’m going to Harvard,” my brother proclaimed to me. My jaw dropped. My little brother, the one who I taught to pee in the toilet, the one who played in the pool with me every day of the summer for 7 years, the one who threw me in the trash can 3 months ago, had finally realized the potential I have seen in him since he was a little kid. And I was thrilled.

He told me that after attending the Harvard basketball program, he knew that attending college was the perfect opportunity for him to continue playing the sport he loved as well as get a very good education. His end goal (this is where I almost cried) was to become an engineer at Nike. The best part, though, is that he asked me to help him achieve it. 

I was astounded that he thought so highly of me that he trusted me to help him. That night, we began discussing various fields of engineering that he could pursue, as well as the internship opportunities that he classified as “so cool.” As soon as school started, I bought him a planner and taught him to keep his activities organized. I go over homework with him and my baby brother almost every night.

I love using my knowledge to contribute to my family with my knowledge. I am so proud of my brother and our progress. I cannot wait to see him grow as he works to achieve his dream.

Perhaps while reading the prompt, you thought all MIT essays that worked discussed setting up a food bank or working at a hospital. Not so! What really matters for this essay is the impact the community has on you. In sample MIT essays like this one, we see just how important the writer’s family is to them. If your family means the world to you, don’t shy away from writing about them!

On the other hand, while many sample MIT essays discuss family, the best ones remember to center the author. It may seem selfish, but in an applicant pool of over 30,000 , you must stand out. You have to beat that low MIT acceptance rate by putting your best foot forward. Notice how the author’s feelings and thoughts show through in their interactions and reactions. Even in recounting their past with their little brother, you see them as a caring, playful older sibling. They’re thoroughly proud of their brother, his ambitions, and the trust he’s placed in them.

MIT Essay Examples #5 – Describe Your World 

The fifth of our MIT essay examples answers a prompt in circulation this year. Hooray!

This “world” is open-ended to allow writers to explore the communities and people that have shaped them. This essay calls for deep introspection; can you find a common thread connecting you to your “world”? Some MIT essays that worked discuss family traditions, other city identities, etc. Whatever you choose, it should reflect who you are now and who you want to become.

MIT Essays That Worked #5

I was standing on the top row of the choir risers with my fellow third graders. We were beside the fourth graders who were beside the fifth graders. My teacher struck the first chords of our favorite song and we sang together, in proud call and response “Ujima, let us work together. To make better our community. We can solve! Solve our problems with collective work and responsibility.”

Then the students playing African drums and the xylophones on the floor began the harmonious percussion section and we sang again with as much passion as nine-year-olds can muster. This was my world. As a child, my community was centered around my school. At my school we discovered that if you love something enough, and work hard enough for it, you can do great things for both yourself and others around you.

In the years since I left, I reflected back on the lessons I learned at school. I determined I wanted to focus on the things I love – mathematics, science, and helping others. I also want to harmonize my abilities with those of other people so that we can work together to make the world a better place. Today I aspire to work in integrative research as a bioengineer to address the pressing medical issues of today.

For those who don’t know, ujima is the Swahili word for collective work and responsibility. The most well-crafted MIT essay examples employ narrative devices like framing and theme to leave a lasting impression. This essay, for example, introduces ujima with the choir scene—which itself is collective work—then reflects on the general concept. In every sentence, this writer works with the idea of collaboration and the positive power of the collective.

Among sample MIT essays, this can be challenging if you haven’t thought critically about your past and present. This writer clearly values collective responsibility and sees their future through that lens. They speak directly to their interests and their aspirations of bioengineering. All in all, they show careful consideration of ideas that have influenced them and the direction they want to take.

MIT Essay Examples #6 – Significant Challenge

The last of our MIT essays that worked answers a prompt nearly identical to one from this year.

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? 

The only difference is that this year’s prompt indicates you should feel comfortable sharing what you write about. This seems obvious, but you may be surprised how many students dredge up traumatic experiences in sample college essays. The issue isn’t that these experiences are unpleasant to read; on the contrary, they may be painful to write about. Although many MIT sample essays are somewhat vulnerable, you don’t have to write about experiences you’d rather keep to yourself.

With that said, let’s read the last of our MIT essay examples.

*Please be advised that the following essay example contains discussions of anxiety and panic attacks. 

Mit essays that worked #6.

Ten o’clock on Wednesday, April 2016. Ten o’clock and I was sobbing, heaving, and gasping for air. Ten o’clock and I felt like all my hard work, passion, and perseverance had amounted to nothing and I was not enough. It was ten o’clock on a Wednesday, but it all started in August of 2015. I moved cities in August 2015. I knew the adjustment would be hard, but I thought if I immersed myself in challenging activities and classes I loved, I would get through the year just fine.

I was wrong. With each passing month I experienced increased anxiety attacks, lack of satisfaction in any and every activity, and constant degradation of my personal happiness. By April, I was broken. Naked, bent over the toilet, sweating, shaking, choking on the tightening of my own throat, thinking “not enough, not enough, not enough.” 

It was extremely challenging to pick myself up after such a hard fall. When I finally made it out of the bathroom, I crawled to my room and read “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. Her struggle encouraged me to rise to this challenge stronger than I had been before. I prioritized my own happiness and fulfillment, taking care of my body and mind.

I finally realized I did not have to do everything on my own, and began collaborating with my peers to finish the year strong and begin initiatives for the next year. I became a stronger, more confident woman than ever before.

Now, you may understand why this year’s wording includes “that you feel comfortable sharing.” While the author’s vivid description helps immerse us in the moment, a reader may hope they’re okay now. Again, you don’t need to strictly avoid traumatizing moments—but don’t feel obligated to share anything you don’t want to. In any case, the diction is indeed very precise and helps convey just how shaken the author was.

Furthermore, we see how the author dealt with this challenge: they were inspired by Maya Angelou. This ability to seek and find strength beyond yourself is crucial, especially in an ever more connected world. At the end of the essay, the writer notes how they’ve changed by working with others to accomplish goals. Their renewed confidence has made them even stronger and more willing to face challenges.

MIT Essay Examples – Key Takeaways

mit essays that worked

So after reading six sample MIT essays, what do you think? What are the takeaways from these MIT essays that worked? It goes without saying that you should read more sample MIT essays if you can. Additionally, when you draft your own MIT essays, take time to revise them and have other people read them.

MIT Essays that Worked Takeaways

1. discuss experiences.

The best MIT essay examples keep it real by talking about the author’s experiences. Can you think critically about how they have made you who you are? Find ways to address the prompt with your background and life experiences. You may also find sample MIT essays easier to write when they’re rooted in your reality.

2. Use precise language

Two hundred words are, in fact, not that much space. MIT essays that worked use every word to paint a vivid picture of the writer and their world. Mark Twain said it best: “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.” Choose your words carefully to refine your meaning and strengthen your impact.

3. Reflect on yourself

In college essays, it’s all about you and your personal narrative . So don’t miss any opportunity to introspect on your experiences, community, and personal growth. Demonstrate that you know yourself well enough to point to specific influences on your worldview. We all move through the world in different ways—why do you move the way you do?

4. Be genuine

You’ve heard this a thousand times, and we’ll say it again: be yourself . While you hear all about the typical MIT student and what MIT looks for , we’re all unique individuals. As, or even more, important than good scores or a huge activities list is an accurate representation of you . Write about extracurriculars and subjects and communities that are important to you—not what you think will sound impressive.

Additional MIT Resources from CollegeAdvisor

We have a wealth of resources on how to get into MIT here at CollegeAdvisor.com. We’ve got a comprehensive article on the MIT admissions process, from the MIT acceptance rate to deadlines.

MIT Admissions

Speaking of the acceptance rate, we take a closer look at that, too.

MIT Acceptance Rate

If you’re wondering about MIT tuition and costs, read our breakdown .

MIT Tuition & MIT Cost

Finally, we’ve got a guide covering application strategy from start to finish.

Strategizing Your MIT Application

MIT Essays that Worked – Final thoughts

Placing among the top American universities, we see MIT ranking highly every year, and for good reason. By the same token, it’s very challenging to get admitted. So, in order to get in, you need to know how to write MIT supplemental essays.

We read through several MIT essays that worked and identified strengths in our MIT essay examples. Use these tips when writing your own essays to craft a strong application!

how to write essay for mit

This article was written by  Gina Goosby . Looking for more admissions support? Click  here  to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how  CollegeAdvisor.com  can support you in the college application process.

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MIT Supplemental Essays 2023-24 – Prompts and Tips

September 8, 2023

MIT supplemental essays

When applying to MIT, a school with a 4% acceptance rate where a 1500 SAT would place you below the average enrolled student (seriously), teens should be aware that it takes a lot to separate yourself from the other 26,000+ applicants you are competing against. While trying to be among the 1 in 25 who will ultimately be accepted sounds like (and is) a rather intimidating proposition, every year around 1,300 individuals accomplish this epic feat. We’ve worked with many of these students personally and can tell you one thing they all had in common—exceptionally strong MIT supplemental essays.

(Want to learn more about How to Get Into MIT? Visit our blog entitled:  How to Get Into MIT: Admissions Data and Strategies  for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)

There are few schools that offer as many essays as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All applicants are required to respond to five prompts as they work through the MIT application. Your mission is to write compelling, standout compositions that showcase your superior writing ability and reveal more about who you are as an individual. Below are the MIT supplemental essays for the 2023-24 admissions cycle along with tips about how to address each one.

MIT Supplemental Essays – Prompt #1: 

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. (200-250 words)

There are many different ways that you can approach this prompt, but the first step is to take MIT at their word that they are sincerely interested in what you do “simply for the pleasure of it.” While this may be something that also happens to be high-minded and/or STEM-oriented in nature, there is no expectation that this will be the case.

In essence, you want to ask yourself, what brings you great pleasure and happiness? Universal experiences of joy like family, a beautiful sunset, smiling children, or your cat or dog curled on your lap are perfectly acceptable answers here. However, you could also talk about dreams for the future, more bittersweet moments, abstract thoughts, moments of glorious introversion, or even something semi-embarrassing and vulnerable. The only “wrong” answer to this question would be an insincere one. As you enter the brainstorming phase, just make sure to turn off your “resume mode” setting. Instead, allow yourself to embrace the limitless possibilities of this essay.

Essay Prompt #2 

What field of study appeals to you the most right now? Tell us more about why this field of study at MIT appeals to you. (Note: You’ll select your preferred field of study from a drop-down list.) (100 words or fewer)

Generally speaking, we all have a story of what drives us to pursue a certain academic pathway and career. How did your interest initially develop? What was the spark? How have you nurtured this passion and how has it evolved over time? If you desire to go into engineering, this is a chance to talk about everything from your childhood fascination with how things work to your participation in an award-winning robotics program at your high school. Share a compelling (and, of course, true!) narrative about how your love of your future area of study has blossomed to its present levels.

In other words, this essay should show evidence of intense hunger for knowledge that extends well outside of the classroom. How do you learn about your favorite subjects? What books have you read on the subject? Which podcasts have you listened to? What museums have you visited?

You can also tie your passions into specific academic opportunities at MIT including courses , professors , hands-on research programs , or any other aspects of your desired major that appeals most to you.

MIT Supplemental Essays – Prompt #3 

MIT brings people with diverse backgrounds together to collaborate, from tackling the world’s biggest challenges to lending a helping hand. Describe one way you have collaborated with others to learn from them, with them, or contribute to your community together. (225 words)

How you interact with your present surroundings is the strongest indicator of what kind of community member you will be in your future collegiate home. This prompt asks you to discuss how you have collaborated with others (in any setting) in order to learn from them or contribute to a particular community. This could mean how you’ve collaborated with others during a group project, internship, extracurricular opportunity, sports event, or service project, to name a few.

Some words of warning: don’t get too grandiose in explaining the positive change that you brought about. Of course, if you and your team truly brought peace to a war-torn nation or influenced climate change policy on a global scale, share away. However, nothing this high-profile is expected. Essentially, MIT wants to understand how you’ve worked with other people—in any capacity—to expand your thinking or reach a common goal.

A few potential ideas for areas where you may have worked with/alongside others include:

  • Racial injustice
  • Assisting those with special needs
  • Climate justice/the environment
  • Making outsiders in a group feel welcome
  • The economically disadvantaged
  • Mental health awareness
  • Clean-up projects
  • Tutoring peers or younger students
  • Charitable work through a religious organization

This is, of course, by no means a comprehensive list of potential topics. Most importantly, your story should be personal, sincere, and revealing of your core character and developing values system.

Essay Prompt #4

How has the world you come from—including your opportunities, experiences, and challenges—shaped your dreams and aspirations? (225 words or fewer)

This essay encourages you to describe how your world has shaped your aspirations. We all have any number of “worlds” to choose from, and MIT is inviting you to share more about one of these worlds through the lens of how that has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

Take note of the wide-open nature of this prompt. You are essentially invited to talk about any of the following topics:

  • A perspective you hold
  • An experience/challenge you had
  • A community you belong to
  • Your cultural background
  • Your religious background
  • Your family background
  • Your sexual orientation or gender identity

Although this prompt’s open floor plan may feel daunting, a good tactic is to first consider what has already been communicated within on other areas of your application. What important aspect(s) of yourself have not been shared (or sufficiently discussed)? The admissions officer reading your essay is hoping to connect with you through your written words, so—within your essay’s reflection—be open, humble, thoughtful, inquisitive, emotionally honest, mature, and/or insightful about what you learned and how you grew.

You’ll then need to discuss how your chosen “world” has influenced your future, and in what ways.

MIT Supplemental Essays – Prompt #5

How did you manage a situation or challenge that you didn’t expect? What did you learn from it? (225 words)

Note this prompt’s new wording: How did you manage a situation or challenge that you didn’t expect ? Can you think of a time when you felt surprisingly overwhelmed? When something out-of-the-ordinary occurred? When you were caught off guard? Basically, MIT is trying to discover how you deal with unforeseen setbacks, and the important thing to keep in mind is that the challenge/story itself is  less important  than what it reveals about your character and personality.

Of course, some teens have faced more challenges than others, potentially related to an illness or medical emergency, frequent moving, socioeconomic situation, natural disaster, or learning disability, to name a few. However, you don’t have to have faced a significant challenge to write a compelling essay (and even if you have faced a significant challenge, you don’t have to write about it if you’re not comfortable doing so). Writing about a common topic like getting cut from a sports team, struggling in a particular advanced course, or facing an obstacle within a group project or extracurricular activity is perfectly fine. Any story told in an emotionally compelling, honest, and connective manner can resonate with an admissions reader. The bottom line here is that there are no trite topics, only trite answers.

Given the 225-word limit, your essay needs to be extremely tight and polished. In all likelihood, getting this one precisely right will involve a round or two of revision, ideally with some insight/feedback from a trusted adult or peer in the process.

Some tips to keep in mind include:

  • Firstly, make sure you share what you were feeling and experiencing. This piece should demonstrate openness and vulnerability.
  • Additionally, you don’t need to be a superhero in the story. You can just be an ordinary human trying their best to learn how to navigate a challenging world.
  • Don’t feel boxed into one particular structure for this essay. The most common (which there is nothing wrong with), is 1) introducing the problem 2) explaining your internal and external decision-making in response to the problem 3) Revealing the resolution to the problem and what you learned along the way.
  • Lastly, don’t be afraid that your “problem” might sound “trite” in comparison to those of others. This essay is about you. Y our job is to make sure that your response to the problem shows your maturity and resilience in an authentic way. That matters far more than the original challenge itself.

Essay Prompt #6 (Optional)

Please tell us more about your cultural background and identity in the space below. (150 words)

Unlike other optional essays, this one truly is optional. You don’t need to respond unless you have something significant to share about your cultural background and identity that hasn’t already been shared elsewhere on the application.

How important are the MIT supplemental essays?

There are 8 factors that MIT considers to be “very important” to their evaluation process. They are: rigor of secondary school record, class rank, GPA, standardized test scores, recommendations, extracurricular activities, and most relevant to this blog—the MIT supplemental essays.

Moreover, character/personal qualities are the only factor that is “very important” to the MIT admissions committee. Of course, part of how they assess your character and personal qualities is through what they read in your essays.

Want personalized assistance with your MIT supplemental essays?

In conclusion, if you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your MIT supplemental essays, we encourage you to get a quote  today.

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How to write the MIT essays

The recording will load in a moment., about this livestream, massachusetts institute of technology | mit.

how to write essay for mit

MIT is known for its cutting-edge STEM programs, with space missions and robots galore. But, it's also highly ranked for humanities as well. To be a strong applicant, you'll need an all-around stellar profile, including quality essays. Today, Moriah will walk you through writing the supplements for MIT, so you can craft responses that will wow the admissions committee.

how to write essay for mit

Undergrad College: Cornell University '21

Major: Policy Analysis & Management

Work Experience: Outside of mentoring students on CollegeVine, I’m interested in finance and it’s intersection with the fashion industry. I currently work in finance for an international consumer packaged goods company.

My Admissions Story: Throughout high school I was especially interested in math and science and focused my college applications on schools with good science and pre-med programs. When I got to college I took my first introductory chemistry class with an incredibly difficult professor (he is one of the AP Chemistry test writers every year). After that, I decided to switch gears and focus on public policy as another way that I could help people.

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How to Write the MIT Application Essays 2023-2024

October 13, 2023

how to write essay for mit

Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a coveted university for students who are passionate about STEM subjects. Known for its highly selective admissions process, it is no surprise that MIT is considered one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. If you have your sights set on majoring in Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Computation and Cognition, or any of the other specialized programs offered at MIT, it is crucial to effectively communicate your unique qualities and contributions through the MIT application essays for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Unlike other universities that use the Common App, MIT has its own application system called MyMIT . This means that you do not have to worry about repeating your Common App personal statement topic . However, it also means that the essays you submit to MIT serve as both your personal statement and supplemental responses. It is important to make the most of these essays by showcasing your passion for MIT and providing essential context about your interests and background. With only a 4% acceptance rate, MIT is highly competitive, and you have five prompts to convince the admissions officers why you are the perfect fit for this esteemed Boston institution. To assist you through the writing process, I have provided an outline of each prompt, along with dos and don'ts for your responses, and additional tips for the MIT application essays in 2023-2024.

MIT Application Essays 2023-2024

What field of study appeals to you the most right now tell us more about why this field of study at mit appeals to you..

The diverse range of fields of study offered at MIT allows students to find their true calling and embrace their passions. One effective strategy for approaching this prompt is to reflect on the subjects that have consistently captivated and motivated you. Are you drawn to the intricacies of artificial intelligence or the potential of renewable energy? By introspecting and exploring your genuine curiosity, you can authentically articulate your passion for a specific field of study at MIT.

Moreover, it is crucial to research the resources and opportunities that MIT provides in the chosen field. As a world-renowned institution, MIT offers unparalleled facilities and renowned professors in various fields. You can highlight your awareness of these resources to further strengthen your response. Whether it is the cutting-edge laboratories equipped with the latest technology or the interdisciplinary collaborations that foster innovation, demonstrating an understanding of how MIT's offerings align with your interests will showcase your commitment and enthusiasm.

By carefully considering your own interests and conducting thorough research about what MIT has to offer, you can effectively convey your unwavering dedication and motivation for a specific field of study at MIT. This prompt serves as a gateway for you to showcase your perspectives, aspirations, and how you envision contributing to the academic community at MIT.

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.

MIT values students who are particularly invested in activities and topics that are meaningful to them, no matter what the scale. If you have a highly meaningful hobby that isn’t a conventional extracurricular per se, MIT is telling you to go for it. Just the introductory paragraph to most essays requires over 100 words—you might find it difficult to restrain yourself while talking about your favorite activity. In order to get your point across, you need to put less emphasis on describing the activity—limit it to one or two sentences - and more on what brings you joy about it. Why is it your favorite? How does it recharge you in a way others may not? Has it shaped your perspective in a significant way?

Since admissions officers will see your activities list through MyMIT, you should find ways to include anecdotes that will convey additional information about yourself. While you should not pick a purely academic activity or something that you think MIT wants to hear, you also should think of something beyond sleeping, eating, or hanging out with friends. Your outlook on the activity should be unique and help you stand out among your peers.

How has the world you come from—including your opportunities, experiences, and challenges—shaped your dreams and aspirations?

It’s crucial that you go through all of the prompts offered by the MIT application essays 2023-2024 before you decide on a topic for each of them because what you cover in this first prompt might also be a good fit for Prompt 4. And if you are invested in more than one community, then you’re in luck! Either way, your answer to questions 1 and 4 should not cover the same topic because each essay is meant to add new information about you.

A good clue on what to write here comes from the second part of the question, “how has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations?” It’s time to think about your goals again. Is there any community or group which has played a strong role in solidifying your goals? If the answer is yes, there’s your answer. Start your essay by introducing the chosen world—keep it brief as you have another segment to cover. The major focus of your essay should lie in elaborating on the connection between the topic you’ve chosen and your career aspirations. Use anecdotes as evidence to drive your point home for admission officers to better visualize the impact. 

MIT brings people with diverse backgrounds together to collaborate, from tackling the world’s biggest challenges to lending a helping hand. Describe one way you have collaborated with others to learn from them, with them, or contribute to your community together.

Since the prompt clearly states that there are no specific boxes that your choice of community has to check, think about a place where you’ve actually made an impact. Think about how to differentiate yourself—while service trips abroad definitely could count as community service, they won’t help paint a memorable picture of you because lots of students participate in them. You could write about the smaller circles such as your family, friend group, or neighborhood. You may have helped the community as a whole or you could have helped one or two individuals who belong to it. 

To think about the kinds of contributions to elaborate on, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How have you collaborated with others in your community?
  • Have you taken any risks to help others? How have they paid off?
  • Have you spearheaded any initiatives towards change?
  • Are there any service examples that portray your curiosity and creativity?
  • Why do you care about this community? How have you shown it? 

If you choose a larger community—like your whole school or city—make sure your essay still focuses on your own contribution and role. A response to such a prompt needs to follow the classic “show, not tell” advice. Admissions officers won’t be satisfied with just “I helped my family.” You need to dig deeper and convince them through the MIT application essays 2023-2024 that you are the kind of hardworking and passionate individual who can thrive at MIT.

How did you manage a situation or challenge that you didn’t expect? What did you learn from it?

MIT values candidates “ who are not only planning to succeed but who are also not afraid to fail .” When admissions officers read prompts about challenges students have overcome, they don’t want to know every single detail about the hurdle. The response should be more focused on the way the student reacted in the situation and how they’ve grown from the circumstances. Don’t pick an experience where you gave up easily after failing to do something. Your essay should highlight your strength and resilience in the face of an obstacle.

The definition of a “challenge” may vary from person to person. The keyword here is “significant.” Avoid writing about situations such as a bad grade or a sprain playing soccer that might be minor in comparison to issues other students have faced. Instead, think about an instance that showcases how your ability to recover from a struggle and proves your determination as well as your humility. Instead of writing general statements, focus your essay on your actions you took during the situation and the lessons you picked up. 

This is a great opportunity to tell admissions officers about the way you respond to tough moments - end your essay on a positive note!

Additional Tips for Writing the MIT Application Essays 2023-2024

  • Use Your Common Application Profile As Inspiration: Chances are, other schools on your list use the Common Application so you’ve already filled it out. The Common App can be a great source of letting you know the kind of context colleges want to know about you. If there’s anything that you’ve mentioned in the Common App that you haven’t gotten a chance to express for MyMIT—whether it’s mentioned in your personal statement topic or an impressive award—you may be able to include it somewhere in your response to the MIT application essays 2023-2024!
  • Read the Website Very Carefully: Research is extremely important before sitting down to answer school-specific questions and the MIT application essays 2023-2024 are no different. Luckily, MIT has very detailed information for prospective students that can help you go deeper into admissions officers’ minds. Use the information given on the “ What we look for ” page to get an idea of which characteristics you should emphasize in your responses.
  • Use Strong Examples : The MIT application essays 2023-2024 are all about gauging your intellectual pursuits, community involvement, and engagements outside the classroom. Since the word limits for the prompts aren’t generous, each of your essays should focus on being as specific as possible in depicting your personality and interests. Adding specific examples lets admissions officers understand your perspective better and envision the areas of campus where you’d contribute and how you’d fit in with the MIT community.

When considering the MIT application essays for the 2023-2024 academic year, it is crucial to craft your responses in a manner that showcases your passions and unique perspective, setting you apart from other applicants. These essays serve as both your personal statement and supplemental essays, so make sure to put forth your most compelling arguments to convince admissions officers that you are a perfect fit for MIT. If they grasp your context and agree with your potential contributions to the institute, you will be one step closer to receiving that coveted acceptance letter. Best of luck on your journey!

If you are looking for a college admissions counselor to help maximize your chances of getting into your dream school, we can help! InGenius Prep has helped more than 6,000 students around the world gain admission into the most competitive schools including Harvard, Yale, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, NYU, and more. Sign up for a free strategy call today and join the 6,000+ students we've helped get accepted into their dream schools. 

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How to Write Outstanding MIT Supplemental Essays (With 5 Real Examples)

Ryan

This is your complete guide to writing outstanding MIT supplemental essays.

(Step-by-step)

We all know MIT is math- and science- focused.

But MIT isn't looking for students who can just do the work (most students applying to MIT already can).

You need to be able to tackle dense STEM subjects and communicate your ideas effectively.

Which is why your supplemental essays are still incredibly important for MIT.

Let's dive right in.

How to Write the MIT Essay Prompts for 2023

According to MIT Admissions , there are 4 required MIT supplemental essays for 2023 which they ask you to answer in "approximately 200 words."

The MIT essay prompts for 2023 are:

MIT Essay Prompt #1: "Activity for Pleasure"

Prompt #1. 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. (About 200 words)

This is a quintessential "extracurricular activity" essay.

MIT wants to know what you do for fun, and how you spend your time outside of school.

But they don't want to hear about your "resume" activities. MIT already provides their own Activities Section for that.

Instead, this prompt is about sharing something that reveals who you are as a person , not just what you do.

How to Answer MIT Essay Prompt #1

Your goal with this essay should be simple:

Let the admissions officer understand exactly why this activity is enjoyable to you.

You want them to be able to understand your thought process and how you see the world.

To bring them into your world, you need to show where exactly you find pleasure in this activity.

How to Choose an Activity for MIT Essay Prompt #1

First, here's what topics you should avoid or be careful about writing:

  • Activities already on your activities list. You want to reveal something new about yourself. - Generic or broad activities (e.g. "I like to read"). - Common activities without having an uncommon angle (e.g. "I like to play video games"). - A "big" activity (e.g. "I love working on my non-profit to help the homeless"). - Focus on the activity itself, rather than what ideas it represent.

Why? Because these topics are overdone and easily cliché.

Instead of focusing on the activity itself, your essay should be an exploration of an idea.

  • Biking around your neighborhood? → An exploration of the unknown and what it means to be free
  • Doodling extensive notes and diagrams while on plane rides? → Your exploration of imagination and elaborate daydreams
  • Creating a new recipe for Thanksgiving dinner? → How exactly and at what point something becomes tradition

Here's how you can find your own unique topic:

  • Focused on ideas. Ask questions like, "Why do I really enjoy this activity?" or "What ideas does this activity represent?" - Be unapologetically honest. Even if your activity seems silly or trivial, you can make it meaningful by connecting to an idea of what it represents.
  • Be ultra-specific. Don't write about "drawing" or "playing the piano." Write about "drawing pictures of random people on the subway" or "writing fugal counterpoint." - A "small" activity. Something close to home. Then, connect to a bigger idea. If you like to draw pictures of people on the subway, you could write your love of questioning the seemingly mundane and overlooked.

MIT is a highly intellectual school.

They want to see that you're a strong, deep thinker who can connect the dots between seemingly unrelated things.

Here's the deal:

Focus on writing about ideas , not just the literal activity itself. What does this activity represent ? What unexpected connections can you form?

MIT Essay Example #1: "Activity for Pleasure"

Here's an example of a great response to MIT's first essay prompt.

This essay was written when the prompt was limited to only 100 words, so it's a little shorter than the current 200-word limit.

You can still use this essay as inspiration for your own MIT supplemental essays.

Prompt: 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 max)

After combining the ingredients came an hour-long wait. I tapped my fingers, paced the kitchen, watched the clock anxiously. Time to shape the dough. Then another 30-minute wait. Stress. Dough in the oven! 40-minute wait. The aroma of freshly baked bread wafted lazily through my kitchen, impossibly tantalizing, evoking daydreams of quaint little French bakeries, ceilings stacked high with masterpieces of flour. Holding the bread to my ear, squeezing, I was reminded of the quote from Ratatouille, how great bread is distinguished by the sound, the “symphony of crackle”. Finally, finally , it was time to eat.

Why This Essay Works

  • It's not a "big" activity. It's a small, everyday activity that's close to home. - It's not an activity on the author's Activity List, so it reveals something new. - It's ultra-specific: the author doesn't just say "I like to bake bread," they show us exactly what that looks like. - It has a sense of voice . The author writes informally and stylistically, without being casual.

What Could Be Improved

  • Connect the activity to a bigger idea. What does baking bread represent? What does it mean to them? - Too much time spent describing the activity itself. The author could have spent more time on the "why" and "how" of the activity, which is more interesting.

I'm sure if this student had 200 words, they would have been able to expand on the "why" and "how" of their activity.

That said, this is still a great example of showing your personality through a small, everyday activity.

It doesn't need to be big or impressive. It doesn't need to be "quirky" or unique.

It just needs to be a meaningful activity that's close to home.

Then show us why it brings you pleasure. Specifically and vividly.

Allow the reader to relate to you and understand your thought process.

MIT Essay Prompt #2: "World You Come From"

Prompt #2. Describe the world you come from (for example, your family, school, community, city, or town). How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations?

Prompt #3. 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.

Prompt #4. 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?

Common App Prompt #1: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. (250-650 words)

Why This Essay Works:

This essay starts off by posing a challenge, which is typical of essays. But rather than showing how they overcame this particular challenge of speaking Romanian without an accent, this reader shows how something unexpected—baking—came to satisfy what was missing all along. By the end, this creates a conclusion that is both surprising, connected to the beginning, and makes perfect sense once you've read it. In other words, the conclusion is inevitable, but also surprising in content.

This student uses Romanian words to help exemplify the culture and language. If you're writing about a culture, using foreign language words can be a compelling way of adding depth to your essay. By including specific terms like "muni" and "cornulete," it shows a depth of knowledge which cannot be faked. Always use specific, tangible language where possible, because it is "evidence" that you know what you're talking about.

This student exhibits strong self-awareness by noting characteristics about themself, even some which may not be the most glamorous ("can be overbearing at times, stubborn in the face of offered help"). Rather than telling the reader flat out about these personal attributes, they are able to discuss them by connecting to another person—their grandmother Buni. Using another person to showcase your own character (through comparison or contrast) is a literary "foil," which can be an effective way of showing your character without stating it outright, which generally is boring and less convincing.

This student doesn't focus on surface-level ideas like "how they got better at speaking Romanian." Instead, they reflect in a creative way by connecting the Romanian language to baking. Revealing unseen connections between topics is a great way to show that you're a thoughtful and clever thinker. Ultimately, having unique ideas that are specific to you is what will create a compelling essay, and this essay is a perfect example of what that could look like.

Prompt: 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 max)

I remember boiling down cabbage with my dad to make titration indicators. When I first read about the process of translation, of rendering mRNA into proteins, my eyes filled with tears; this is what I would do, apply the chemistry that had defined my childhood to my love of biology. In the past few months alone, MIT researchers have visualized a critical growth kinase and decoded the kavalactone gene. To major in both the chemistry and biology departments at MIT would be an unequaled opportunity to explore the molecular basis of life and apply that knowledge to real-world innovation.

Prompt: 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)

I grew up in a household with a physicist and a chemist. Our cupboards are occupied by periodic table mugs, our closets by t-shirts with taglines like “velociraptor= displacementeraptor/timeraptor”.

Underneath all the unabashed nerdiness, my parents fostered an environment of inquiry. Our kitchen moonlighted as a laboratory, complete with burets. My mom once brought home a 3D printed likeness of her own brain; I traced each sulcus in wonderment, imagining how each fold shaped her personality. My house was a sanctuary, a place where no question was too small, no claim uninvestigated.

It is precisely this background that drew me to research. Spending the past two summers in a neuroscience clinic, I found my second home surrounded by quirky med students, exhausted post-docs, and incisive surgeons. I felt more comfortable than I ever had in high school; loving science was no longer an embarrassment, but an asset. Lunch was spent in discussion about anticipatory alpha activity, and that’s just how I liked it. Though we used EEG’s in place of homemade indicators, MATLAB instead of “borrowed” dry ice, we were working towards the fundamental goal I’d spent my childhood developing: finding new knowledge.

Every one of my dreams can be traced back to my past, to individuals and experiences that have shaped the way I see the world and how I hope to better it. My parent's passion for learning by doing was passed down to me, finding its intersection with my love for the brain in one field: neurosurgery.

Prompt: 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)

Bluntly put, moving in high school was difficult. I remember waving good-bye to my best friend through tear-filled eyes. I remember staying up the night before the first day at my new school, dreading having to eat lunch alone. I remember crying on my birthday. Most of all, I remember hating how my life had become a movie cliche, how I had seemingly been reduced to a shell of myself by relocating 399.2 miles south.

Resolute in my desire to restore some semblance of normalcy, I started running incremental exploratory missions on this alien planet. I joined Science Olympiad, finding comfort in the companionship of fellow biology geeks. Fulfilling a longtime goal, I joined a volunteer station and became an EMT, loving the urgency of working in an ambulance and the unique satisfaction of saving a life. I spent countless hours reading papers about spinal cord stimulation, temporarily forgetting my social isolation with academic collaboration. I learned to drive, much to my parent’s chagrin.

Though I still had the occasional bad day (as do we all), things were looking up. Reluctant optimism replaced hopeless despair as I became more confident in my abilities and less reliant on the context in which I applied them. Moving compelled me to meet different people, try new things, and succeed in an environment I hadn’t grown up in. The result was resilience, a firm belief that with hard work, a willingness to diversify, and a little self-deprecation, no situation was impossible, no crisis un-manageable.

Ryan Chiang , Founder of EssaysThatWorked

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how to write essay for mit

Princeton Admitted Essay

People love to ask why. Why do you wear a turban? Why do you have long hair? Why are you playing a guitar with only 3 strings and watching TV at 3 A.M.—where did you get that cat? Why won’t you go back to your country, you terrorist? My answer is... uncomfortable. Many truths of the world are uncomfortable...

how to write essay for mit

MIT Admitted Essay

Her baking is not confined to an amalgamation of sugar, butter, and flour. It's an outstretched hand, an open invitation, a makeshift bridge thrown across the divides of age and culture. Thanks to Buni, the reason I bake has evolved. What started as stress relief is now a lifeline to my heritage, a language that allows me to communicate with my family in ways my tongue cannot. By rolling dough for saratele and crushing walnuts for cornulete, my baking speaks more fluently to my Romanian heritage than my broken Romanian ever could....

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UPenn Admitted Essay

A cow gave birth and I watched. Staring from the window of our stopped car, I experienced two beginnings that day: the small bovine life and my future. Both emerged when I was only 10 years old and cruising along the twisting roads of rural Maryland...

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

46 Essays that Worked at MIT

Updated for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle.

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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a world-renowned research university based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Known for its prioritization of intellectual freedom and innovation, MIT offers students an education that’s constantly on the cutting-edge of academia. The school’s star-studded roster of professors includes Nobel prize winners and MacArthur fellows in disciplines like technology, biology, and social science. A deeply-technical school, MIT offers students with the resources they need to become specialists in a range of STEM subjects. In many ways, MIT is the gold standard for creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving.

Unique traditions at MIT

1. "Ring Knocking": During the weeks preceding the MIT Commencement Ceremony, graduating students celebrate by finding a way to touch the MIT seal in the lobby of Building 10 with their newly-received class rings. 2. "Steer Roast": Every year in May, the MIT Science Fiction Society hosts a traditional event on the Killian Court lawn for incoming freshmen. During the Steer Roast, attendees cook (and sometimes eat) a sacrificial male cow and hang out outside until the early hours of the morning. 3. Pranking: Pranking has been an ongoing tradition at MIT since the 1960s. Creative pranks by student groups, ranging from changing the words of a university song to painting the Great Dome of the school, add to the quirkiness and wit of the MIT culture. 4. Senior House Seals: The all-senior undergraduate dormitory of Senior House is known for its yearly tradition of collecting and displaying seals, which are emblems that represent the class of the graduating seniors.

Programs at MIT

1. Global Entrepreneurship Lab (G-Lab): G-Lab provides undergraduate and graduate students with the skills to build entrepreneurial ventures that meet developing world challenges. 2. Mars Rover Design Team: This club is part of the MIT Student Robotics program that provides students with the engineering, design, and fabrication skills to build robots for planetary exploration. 3. Media Lab: The Media Lab is an interdisciplinary research lab that explores new technologies to allow individuals to create and manipulate communication presentation of stories, images, and sounds. 4. Independent Activities Period (IAP): A month-long intersession program that allows students to take courses and participate in extracurricular activities from flying classes to volunteering projects and sports. 5. AeroAstro: A club that provides students with the opportunity to learn about aerospace engineering and build model rockets.

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Real Essays from MIT Admits

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..

Last year, my European History teacher asked me to host weekly workshops for AP test preparation and credit recovery opportunities: David, Michelangelo 1504. “*Why* is this the answer?” my tutee asked. I tried re-explaining the Renaissance. Michelangelo? The Papacy? I finally asked: “Do you know the story of David and Goliath?” Raised Catholic, I knew the story but her family was Hindu. I naively hadn’t considered she wouldn’t know the story. After I explained, she relayed a similar story from her culture. As sessions grew to upwards of 15 students, I recruited more tutors so everyone could receive more individualized support. While my school is nearly half Hispanic, AP classes are overwhelmingly White and Asian, so I’ve learned to understand the diverse and often unfamiliar backgrounds of my tutees. One student struggled to write idiomatically despite possessing extensive historical knowledge. Although she was initially nervous, we discovered common ground after I asked about her Rohan Kishibe keychain, a character from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. She opened up; I learned she recently immigrated from China and was having difficulty adjusting to writing in English. With a clearer understanding of her background, I could now consider her situation to better address her needs. Together, we combed out grammar mistakes and studied English syntax. The bond we formed over anime facilitated honest dialogue, and therefore genuine learning.

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Essay by Víctor

i love cities <3

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.

I slam the ball onto the concrete of our dorm’s courtyard, and it whizzes past my opponents. ******, which is a mashup of tennis, squash, and volleyball, is not only a spring term pastime but also an important dorm tradition. It can only be played using the eccentric layout of our dorm’s architecture and thus cultivates a special feeling of community that transcends grade or friend groups. I will always remember the amazing outplays from yearly tournaments that we celebrate together. Our dorm’s collective GPA may go significantly down during the spring, but it’s worth it.

Essay by Brian

CS, math, and economics at MIT

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?

The fragile glass beaker shattered on the ground, and hydrogen peroxide, flowing furiously like lava, began to conquer the floor with every inch the flammable puddle expanded. This was my solace. As an assistant teacher for a middle school STEM class on the weekends, mistakes were common, especially those that made me mentally pinpoint where we kept the fire extinguishers. However, these mishaps reminded me exactly why I loved this job (besides the obvious luxury of cleaning up spills): every failure was a chance to learn in the purest form. As we conducted chemical experiments or explored electronics kits, I was comforted by the kids’ genuine enthusiasm for exploration—a sentiment often lost in the grade-obsessed world of high school. Accordingly, I tried to help my students recognize that mistakes are often the most productive way to grow and learn. I encouraged my students to persist when faced with failure, especially those who might not have been encouraged in their everyday lives. I was there for students like Nathan, a child on the autism spectrum who reminded me of my older brother with autism. I was there for the two girls in a class of 17, reminding me of my own journey navigating the male-dominated world of STEM. I wanted to encourage them into a lifelong journey of pursuing knowledge and embracing mistakes. I may have been their mentor, but these lessons also serve as a crucial reminder to me that mistakes are not representative of one’s overall worth.

Essay by Sarah J.

cs @ stanford!! lover of STEM, taylor swift, and dogs!

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Someone with the same interests, stats, and background as you

MIT student blogger Nisha D. '21

an essay writing journey by Nisha D. '21

one of my MIT essays, as told through revision history

July 25, 2018

To the rising seniors beginning to think about their college essays – hello, fellow kids. Are you as stuck on what to write your college essays about as I was exactly two years ago? Some of you probably are. Some of you are probably thinking that it’s way too early to be thinking about college essays, and maybe you’re right, but I really like writing! College essays gave me the creative writing space that I never really got outside of writing excessive amounts of fanfiction, so I was pretty excited to get started on them. That doesn’t mean that they weren’t hard to write, though!

I’ve been meaning to do some sort of college essay post while I’m still young enough to remember what I was thinking as I wrote them (it’s been two years, yikes). I didn’t want to just post my essays straight onto this blog, though. I don’t want to be *that* kind of college blogger.

Instead, I thought I’d show you guys one of my essays through Google Docs revision history. For those of you who don’t use Google Docs, a. Start using it and b. It timestamps every single edit you’ve ever made on the document. Essentially, I can see myself from the past writing, deleting, and revising my essays at every editing point. It’s pretty cool, and for those of you who are now in college and used Google Docs to write your essays, I’d recommend looking back at your revision history. Not only is it a cringey blast from the past, but it’s an insightful journey through the self-reflection and brainstorming that you put into your essays.

The essay that I’m showing y’all was written for MIT’s, “Describe the world you come from” prompt. This was actually the last essay that I wrote for MIT’s application because the prompt confused me a LOT. I spent many nights lying awake wondering how I could express something meaningful in so few words. But in the end, it wound up being my favorite essay out of all the ones I wrote for any college application. I applied to MIT early action and didn’t apply to any Common App schools in that round, so I wound up using this essay as the basis for my Common App essay during regular decision season. Full disclosure, I didn’t get admitted into any of the schools I applied to with the Common App (Harvard and Stanford, lol), but I was really proud of this essay and I still am. When you can read an essay two years later and still think, “Hey, that’s pretty good”, that’s when you know you’ve written a fire essay.

For a bit of background, here’s a quick rundown of what I wrote about for the other essays:

  • “Something you do for the pleasure of it”: video games!
  • “What do you want to major in”: 18C, with a minor in Japanese – lol
  • “Contribution to community”: My sister and I started a nonprofit in our town to teach young girls math!
  • “Challenge you’ve faced”: Failing the last competitive math test of my career (to be fair, this is when I wanted to major in math and REALLY cared about competitive math)
  • That one culture essay on the first part of the application: I wrote about how I never really connected with my own culture, and as a result, went and explored a new one instead.

Finally, here’s my, “world you come from” essay, complete with time stamps and a large collection of very cringey drafts.

9/09/16 9:52 PM : While trading state-themed memorabilia at MATHCOUNTS Nationals in middle school, I distinctly remember receiving blank stares when I mentioned that I was from New Hampshire. “Where even is that?” these students would say, and I would grumpily answer that it was next to Massachusetts. That seemed to ring a bell for them. Now, I usually just say that I’m from Boston.

My hometown, Nashua, isn’t really on the map for much either. Our sports teams are terrible. There are frequent drug incidents. Academically oriented families sometimes move to nearby Lexington for better schooling.

9/12/2016 1:56 AM : Nashua, New Hampshire. Some people don’t even know where New Hampshire is, let alone Nashua. If they do, it’s likely because they frequently take advantage of our tax-free shopping.

My high school, Nashua South, is even more unassuming. It certainly doesn’t invoke the awe that nearby schools Lexington High or Philips Andover do. In fact, academically oriented families sometimes simply just move to Massachusetts because they believe that Nashua isn’t good enough. While trading state-themed memorabilia at MATHCOUNTS Nationals in middle school, I distinctly remember receiving blank stares when I mentioned that I was from New Hampshire. “Where even is that?” these students would say, and I would grumpily answer that it was next to Massachusetts. That seemed to ring a bell. My hometown, Nashua, isn’t really on the map for much either. Our sports teams are terrible, and there are frequent drug incidents. Academically oriented families sometimes move to nearby Lexington for better schooling; on state charts, my high school doesn’t even rank.

And yet, I chose Nashua High South Nashua South over an admittance to Phillips Exeter, arguably the best high school in the world.

9/16/2016 7:05 PM : Nashua, New Hampshire. Some people don’t even know where New Hampshire is, let alone Nashua. If they do, it’s likely because they frequently take advantage of our tax-free shopping.

My high school, Nashua South, is even more unassuming. It certainly doesn’t invoke the awe that nearby schools Lexington High or Philips Andover do. In fact, academically oriented families sometimes simply just move to Massachusetts because they believe that Nashua isn’t good enough.

And yet, I chose Nashua South over an admittance to Phillips Exeter, arguably the best high school in the world.

In the big leagues, we at South are the underdogs.

The math team that I proudly captain hasn’t lost the league in eight years. Last year, our varsity quiz bowl team took the state win for the first time in three decades. We even beat Phillips Exeter in history bowl – not once, but twice.

Wherever I may end up, I’ll always be grateful to Nashua for opening more doors for me than anybody could have ever imagined.

9/20/2016 4:56 PM : Nashua, New Hampshire. Some people don’t even know where New Hampshire is, let alone Nashua. If they do, it’s lik ely because they frequently take advantage of our tax-free shopping.

And yet, I chose Nashua South over an admittance to Philips Exeter, arguably the best high school in the world.

The math team that I proudly captain hasn’t lost the league in eight years. Last year, our varsity quiz bowl team took the state win for the first time in three decades. We even beat Philips Exeter in history bowl – not once, but twice.

9/23/16 12:44 AM : The many worlds that have impacted my life are all very neatly contained within

A guitar is propped up behind a stand filled with violin sheet music Books are everywhere. Candide and The Time Machine are haphazardly stacked behind my computer; my glasses sit upon Lolita and Norwegian Wood. The countless universes within these paper portals have instilled in me a love for the heroes and the idealists; for fantastical worlds and magic spells. “A reader”, after all, “lives a thousand lives before he dies.” -books -music -math The many math trophies that populate the top of my bureau chronicle a lifetime’s journey; from elementary school’s Math Olympiad, to MATHCOUNTS, to math team trophies and AMC pins, -ff There are not one, nor two, but three Final Fantasy VII posters on my walls. The beloved Japanese RPG not only inspired my intended career path in computer science, but nudged me into the beautiful world of Japanese language and culture. -fam

9/27/16 11:12 AM : I can see it when I close my eyes: a city of twisted metal rising up from blackened plains; jagged mountains reaching to pierce the sky; a swamp threatening to swallow up the small farm that sits on its edge. Snapshots from a world much like ours – but it only exists on a computer screen and within my mind.

10/10/16 2:58 AM : I can see it when I close my eyes: a city of twisted metal rising up from blackened plains; jagged mountains reaching to pierce a clouded sky; a swamp threatening to swallow up the small farm that sits on its edge. Snapshots from a universe much like ours – but its atoms are pixels pixels are its atoms.

Perhaps it’s ironic that a This world with such a tangible influence on my life is , in reality, itself intangible.

{} planted in me a burning desire to learn two things. The first was programming – I wanted to know how my beloved world was created and perhaps even figure out how to create my own. Second was the Japanese language; I firmly believed, and still believe, that I could better understand the game by playing it in the language it was written in.

And now, when I reflect on

10/14/16 1:32 AM : I can see it when I close my eyes: a city of twisted metal rising up from blackened plains; jagged mountains reaching to pierce a clouded sky; a swamp threatening to swallow up the small farm that sits on its edge. Snapshots from a universe much like ours – but pixels are its atoms but its inhabitants are pixelated and lines of code make up their DNA .

I now know that the advanced technologies of the future are my future as well, but it was the technologically primitive Final Fantasy VII – a classic Japanese video game released nearly 20 years ago – that first opened my eyes to so many unexplored realms within the world we all share. The complex game mechanics got me into coding; I spent so much time puzzling over how to disable random battles that I eventually asked my parents to send me to programming camp to learn how to most optimally hack the game. The subpar English translation compelled me to learn Japanese so that I could play the game in its original language and discover a more nuanced meaning to its dialogue, and not have to deal with lines like, “This guy are sick”.

This world with such a tangible influence on my life is itself intangible.

10/16/16 12:25 AM : I can see it when I close my eyes: a city of twisted metal rising up from blackened plains; jagged mountains reaching to pierce a clouded sky; a swamp threatening to swallow up the small farm that sits on its edge. Snapshots from a universe much like ours – but its inhabitants are built from pixels and lines of code make up their DNA.

I now know that the advanced technologies of the future are my future as well, but it was the technologically primitive Final Fantasy VII – a classic Japanese video game released nearly 20 years ago – that first opened my eyes to so many unexplored realms within the world we all share. The complex game mechanics got me into coding; I spent so much time puzzling over how to disable random battles that I eventually went to programming camp with the full intention of learning how to most optimally hack the game. The subpar English translation compelled me to learn Japanese so that I could play the game in its original language and discover a more nuanced meaning to its dialogue, and not have to deal with lines like, “This guy are sick”.

The game’s universe is a mere microcosm in the wider scheme of the world that I inhabit, but as small and intangible as it is, it inspired me to expand my own horizons to limits unforeseen. I can only imagine what the

10/18/2016 7:42 PM (final version!) : I can see it when I close my eyes: a city of twisted metal rising up from blackened plains; jagged mountains reaching to pierce a clouded sky; a swamp threatening to swallow up the small farm that sits on its edge. Snapshots from a universe much like ours – but its inhabitants are built from pixels and lines of code make up their DNA.

The game’s universe is a mere microcosm in the wider scheme of things, but as intangible as it is, it inspired me to expand my own horizons in ways unforeseen. The smallest of worlds led me to explore the limitless one that surrounds me.

And there it is! I’m still impressed with high school senior me for being able to express those sentiments in under 250 words. But as you can see, it took a lot of writing, rewriting, deleting, and revising to get me to a point at which I liked it. I showed you guys very little of the actual editing history – I pulled timestamps from approximately every 3 days, and there were at least 6 or 7 large edits every 3 days. And sometimes, all of that writing and rewriting yields an essay that you’re not really even that happy with. That happens too. I didn’t like my “contribution to community” and “challenge you’ve faced” essays much at all, and they were the ones I wrote and rewrote the most times.

What I’m trying to say in this post is that regardless of how much effort you wind up putting into them, college essays are hard. You might rewrite them a million times and still hate them afterwards. Optimally, you’ll love them, but sometimes this doesn’t happen. You might have to think for uncomfortably long periods of time about yourself and who you are as a person. You might not like everything that you discover about yourself. But as most of the people who survived the ordeal will tell you: this is all part of writing your essays! We all went through it, and for better or for worse, learned a lot about ourselves.

You might get into your dream school. That school might be MIT. It might not be. But I can assure you: you’ll learn a lot from your college essays. For all of you reading this post, I wish you the best possible combination of events: you learn a lot about yourself AND you get into your dream school :)

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How to use Copilot Pro to write, edit, and analyze your Word documents

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Microsoft's Copilot Pro AI offers a few benefits for $20 per month. But the most helpful one is the AI-powered integration with the different Microsoft 365 apps. For those of you who use Microsoft Word, for instance, Copilot Pro can help you write and revise your text, provide summaries of your documents, and answer questions about any document.

First, you'll need a subscription to either Microsoft 365 Personal or Family . Priced at $70 per year, the Personal edition is geared for one individual signed into as many as five devices. At $100 per year, the Family edition is aimed at up to six people on as many as five devices. The core apps in the suite include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote.

Also: Microsoft Copilot vs. Copilot Pro: Is the subscription fee worth it?

Second, you'll need the subscription to Copilot Pro if you don't already have one. To sign up, head to the Copilot Pro website . Click the Get Copilot Pro button. Confirm the subscription and the payment. The next time you use Copilot on the website, in Windows, or with the mobile apps, the Pro version will be in effect.

How to use Copilot Pro in Word

1. open word.

Launch Microsoft Word and open a blank document. Let's say you need help writing a particular type of document and want Copilot to create a draft. 

Also: Microsoft Copilot Pro vs. OpenAI's ChatGPT Plus: Which is worth your $20 a month?

A small "Draft with Copilot" window appears on the screen. If you don't see it, click the tiny "Draft with Copilot icon in the left margin."

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2. Submit your request

At the text field in the window, type a description of the text you need and click the "Generate" button.

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Submit your request.

3. Review the response and your options

Copilot generates and displays its response. After reading the response, you're presented with a few different options.

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Review the response and your options.

4. Keep, regenerate, or remove the draft

If you like the draft, click "Keep it." The draft is then inserted into your document where you can work with it. If you don't like the draft, click the "Regenerate" button, and a new draft is created. 

Also: What is Copilot (formerly Bing Chat)? Here's everything you need to know

If you'd prefer to throw out the entire draft and start from scratch, click the trash can icon.

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Keep, regenerate, or remove the draft.

5. Alter the draft

Alternatively, you can try to modify the draft by typing a specific request in the text field, such as "Make it more formal," "Make it shorter," or "Make it more casual."

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Alter the draft.

6. Review the different versions

If you opt to regenerate the draft, you can switch between the different versions by clicking the left or right arrow next to the number. You can then choose to keep the draft you prefer.

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7. Revise existing text

Copilot will also help you fine-tune existing text. Select the text you want to revise. Click the Copilot icon in the left margin and select "Rewrite with Copilot."

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Revise existing text.

8. Review the different versions

Copilot creates a few different versions of the text. Click the arrow keys to view each version.

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Review the different versions.

9. Replace or Insert

If you find one you like, click "Replace" to replace the text you selected. 

Also: ChatGPT vs. Microsoft Copilot vs. Gemini: Which is the best AI chatbot?

Click "Insert below" to insert the new draft below the existing words so you can compare the two.

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Replace or Insert.

10. Adjust the tone

Click "Regenerate" to ask Copilot to try again. Click the "Adjust Tone" button and select a different tone to generate another draft.

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Adjust the tone.

11. Turn text into a table

Sometimes you have text that would look and work better as a table. Copilot can help. Select the text you wish to turn into a table. Click the Copilot icon and select "Visualize as a Table."

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Turn text into a table.

12. Respond to the table

In response, click "Keep it" to retain the table. Click "Regenerate" to try again. Click the trash can icon to delete it. Otherwise, type a request in the text field, such as "remove the second row" or "make the last column wider."

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Respond to the table.

13. Summarize a document

Copilot Pro can provide a summary of a document with its key points. To try this, open the document you want to summarize and then click the Copilot icon on the Ribbon. 

Also: The best AI chatbots

The right sidebar displays several prompts you can use to start your question. Click the one for "Summarize this doc."

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Summarize a document.

14. Review the summary

View the generated summary in the sidebar. If you like it as is, click the "Copy" button to copy the summary and paste it elsewhere.

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Review the summary.

15. Revise the summary

Otherwise, choose one of the suggested questions or ask your own question to revise the summary. For example, you could tell Copilot to make the summary longer, shorter, more formal, or less formal. 

Also: The best AI image generators

You could also ask it to expand on one of the points in the summary or provide more details on a certain point. A specific response is then generated based on your request.

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Revise the summary.

16. Ask questions about a document

Next, you can ask specific questions about any of the content in a document. Again, click the Copilot icon to display the sidebar. In the prompt area, type and submit your question. Copilot displays the response in the sidebar. You can then ask follow-up questions as needed.

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Ask questions about a document.

More how-tos

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how to write essay for mit

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Steps to writing an essay: the complete guide, sponsored post.

  • February 22, 2024

Starting an essay writing journey may look scary at first, but don’t worry! When approached correctly and following a clear map, anyone can come up with a strong essay. This guide will help you to understand how to write an essay by breaking down the steps for writing an essay, and thus you will have a complete comprehension of the whole process. No matter if you are working on argumentative, persuasive, informative, or narrative essays, these steps on writing an essay will act as a good set of instructions to show you the way through the world of essay writing.

First 5 steps of writing an essay

1. Understanding the essay type: To begin the writing process, first, you will have to identify the type of an essay you are working on. What is its type? There are specific features and demands for each type. For instance, an argumentative essay needs a clear standpoint on a particular issue, while narrative essay comprises story telling. Spend some time musing over the core of your essay so that you will have an easier time writing.

2. Brainstorming and research: Once you have determined the essay type you are expected to write, make sure you do proper brainstorming and get all the necessary data. Put down the main arguments and explanations you wish to include in your essay. Do thorough research to guarantee the information is based on reliable sources. If you struggle to research information, ask for help at EssayHave. It’s an essay writing service which can help you with research.

3. Creating an outline: A good essay should be supported by a proper outline. Break down your essay into three main parts: The introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction lists the main points, the body paragraphs are subtitled with the main arguments and the conclusion summarizes the main arguments and leaves a lasting impression. An outline makes your essay coherent and arranged in a certain chain of sequence.

4. Crafting a strong introduction: The introductory paragraph of your essay is its voice and it is what attracts the reader. First of all include a hook – interesting fact, challenging question, or good quote. Ensure that your thesis is clearly defined in your essay; it should lay down the central idea. Briefly introduce what readers will get and see to it that your intro is not long but still creative.

5. Developing the body: The body of your essay is the major component where you put forth and support your key issues in English studies. Every paragraph must have a main idea and certain. Lay out your arguments in simple and plain language, the connecting between paragraphs is also needed to be smooth. If you are writing an argumentative essay, one thing to think about is the counterarguments to build your position.

Tips on how to make an outstanding essay

Now that we’ve covered the initial steps to writing an essay, let’s explore some tips to elevate your essay writing skills:

  • Be clear and concise: Eliminate extraneous complexity from your writing. Your ideas, thus, argue eloquently. Make every word matter, and cut out any extraneous details that don’t support your essay’s main point.
  • Tailor your writing style to the essay type: Different kinds of essays demand different writing approaches. The tone of an argumentative essay must be strong and assertive whereas a narrative essay is more open and personal. Your writing style should conform to the objective of your essay.
  • Create a captivating thesis statement: Your thesis should capture your essay’s main idea in no more than one sentence. This is your reader’s compass as it points them to the central argument of your paper. Formalize a thesis statement which is precise, not too long, and impressive.
  • Revise and edit: Revise and edit your essay when you are done with the first draft. Check for grammatical errors, clarity of expression, and overall coherence. Think of asking fellow students or professors for their useful suggestions in the refinement process.

Refining your writing with style and clarity

An ideal essay is not just a matter of following the steps asked but is about having your own voice in the piece of writing and making it appeal to your reader with ease. Here’s how you can refine your essay to make it truly stand out:It is predicted.

unchecked

Final essay writing steps

6. Writing an engaging conclusion: Here the conclusion is the final chance to make a deep impact in the minds of the readers. In conclusion, and synthesis of the central idea of discussion, the thesis should be restated in a new light. Do not introduce some new information in the conclusion and let your readers think about it.

7. Proofreading: Before you hand in your essay, make a complete proofreading. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes, make your writing style consistent, and make sure that you have followed your teacher’s instructions. A well-reflected essay is a sign of your commitment to quality research.

8. Seeking feedback: In the essay writing steps, try to ask for feedback in the form of your peers, friends, and teachers. New angles can provide a different viewpoint and identify areas of deficiency. Criticism is supposed to help a writer grow and develop, and that is an integral aspect of the writing process.

Summing up!

Having mastered the segments of writing a great essay is an invaluable ability that sets the course open for competent communication and self-expression. No matter what type of essay you have to write, whether argumentative, persuasive, informative, or narrative, if you follow these steps of writing an essay and apply the tips provided, you will get a good essay. Practice makes perfect, so you should not be afraid of trying different types of essays and developing your techniques with time. Happy writing!

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Illustration shows ChatGPT logo and AI Artificial Intelligence words

How to get away with AI-generated essays

Prof Paul Kleiman on putting ChatGPT to the test on his work. Plus letters from Michael Bulley and Dr Paul Flewers

No wonder Robert Topinka found himself in a quandary ( The software says my student cheated using AI. They say they’re innocent. Who do I believe?, 13 February ). To test ChatGPT’s abilities and weaknesses, I asked it to write a short essay on a particular topic that I specialised in. Before looking at what it produced, I wrote my own 100% original short essay on the same topic. I then submitted both pieces to ChatGPT and asked it to identify whether they were written by AI or a human. It immediately identified the first piece as AI-generated. But then it also said that my essay “was probably generated by AI”.

I concluded that if you write well, in logical, appropriate and grammatically correct English, then the chances are that it will be deemed to be AI-generated. To avoid detection, write badly. Prof Paul Kleiman Truro, Cornwall

Robert Topinka gets into a twist about whether his student’s essay was genuine or produced by AI. The obvious solution is for such work not to contribute to the final degree qualification. Then there would be no point in cheating.

Let there be real chat between teachers and students rather than ChatGPT , and let the degree be decided only by exams, with surprise questions, done in an exam room with pen and paper, and not a computer in sight. Michael Bulley Chalon-sur-Saône, France

Dr Robert Topinka overlooks a crucial factor with respect to student cheating – so long as a degree is a requirement to obtain a reasonable job, then chicanery is inevitable. When I left school at 16 in the early 1970s, an administrative job could be had with a few O-levels; when I finished my PhD two decades ago and was looking for that sort of job, each one required A-levels, and often a degree. I was a mature student, studying for my own edification, and so cheating was self-defeating. Cheating will stop being a major problem only when students attend university primarily to learn for the sake of learning and not as a means of gaining employment. Dr Paul Flewers London

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The Loss of Things I Took for Granted

Ten years into my college teaching career, students stopped being able to read effectively..

Recent years have seen successive waves of book bans in Republican-controlled states, aimed at pulling any text with “woke” themes from classrooms and library shelves. Though the results sometimes seem farcical, as with the banning of Art Spiegelman’s Maus due to its inclusion of “cuss words” and explicit rodent nudity, the book-banning agenda is no laughing matter. Motivated by bigotry, it has already done demonstrable harm and promises to do more. But at the same time, the appropriate response is, in principle, simple. Named individuals have advanced explicit policies with clear goals and outcomes, and we can replace those individuals with people who want to reverse those policies. That is already beginning to happen in many places, and I hope those successes will continue until every banned book is restored.

If and when that happens, however, we will not be able to declare victory quite yet. Defeating the open conspiracy to deprive students of physical access to books will do little to counteract the more diffuse confluence of forces that are depriving students of the skills needed to meaningfully engage with those books in the first place. As a college educator, I am confronted daily with the results of that conspiracy-without-conspirators. I have been teaching in small liberal arts colleges for over 15 years now, and in the past five years, it’s as though someone flipped a switch. For most of my career, I assigned around 30 pages of reading per class meeting as a baseline expectation—sometimes scaling up for purely expository readings or pulling back for more difficult texts. (No human being can read 30 pages of Hegel in one sitting, for example.) Now students are intimidated by anything over 10 pages and seem to walk away from readings of as little as 20 pages with no real understanding. Even smart and motivated students struggle to do more with written texts than extract decontextualized take-aways. Considerable class time is taken up simply establishing what happened in a story or the basic steps of an argument—skills I used to be able to take for granted.

Since this development very directly affects my ability to do my job as I understand it, I talk about it a lot. And when I talk about it with nonacademics, certain predictable responses inevitably arise, all questioning the reality of the trend I describe. Hasn’t every generation felt that the younger cohort is going to hell in a handbasket? Haven’t professors always complained that educators at earlier levels are not adequately equipping their students? And haven’t students from time immemorial skipped the readings?

The response of my fellow academics, however, reassures me that I’m not simply indulging in intergenerational grousing. Anecdotally, I have literally never met a professor who did not share my experience. Professors are also discussing the issue in academic trade publications , from a variety of perspectives. What we almost all seem to agree on is that we are facing new obstacles in structuring and delivering our courses, requiring us to ratchet down expectations in the face of a ratcheting down of preparation. Yes, there were always students who skipped the readings, but we are in new territory when even highly motivated honors students struggle to grasp the basic argument of a 20-page article. Yes, professors never feel satisfied that high school teachers have done enough, but not every generation of professors has had to deal with the fallout of No Child Left Behind and Common Core. Finally, yes, every generation thinks the younger generation is failing to make the grade— except for the current cohort of professors, who are by and large more invested in their students’ success and mental health and more responsive to student needs than any group of educators in human history. We are not complaining about our students. We are complaining about what has been taken from them.

If we ask what has caused this change, there are some obvious culprits. The first is the same thing that has taken away almost everyone’s ability to focus—the ubiquitous smartphone. Even as a career academic who studies the Quran in Arabic for fun, I have noticed my reading endurance flagging. I once found myself boasting at a faculty meeting that I had read through my entire hourlong train ride without looking at my phone. My colleagues agreed this was a major feat, one they had not achieved recently. Even if I rarely attain that high level of focus, though, I am able to “turn it on” when demanded, for instance to plow through a big novel during a holiday break. That’s because I was able to develop and practice those skills of extended concentration and attentive reading before the intervention of the smartphone. For children who were raised with smartphones, by contrast, that foundation is missing. It is probably no coincidence that the iPhone itself, originally released in 2007, is approaching college age, meaning that professors are increasingly dealing with students who would have become addicted to the dopamine hit of the omnipresent screen long before they were introduced to the more subtle pleasures of the page.

The second go-to explanation is the massive disruption of school closures during COVID-19. There is still some debate about the necessity of those measures, but what is not up for debate any longer is the very real learning loss that students suffered at every level. The impact will inevitably continue to be felt for the next decade or more, until the last cohort affected by the mass “pivot to online” finally graduates. I doubt that the pandemic closures were the decisive factor in themselves, however. Not only did the marked decline in reading resilience start before the pandemic, but the students I am seeing would have already been in high school during the school closures. Hence they would be better equipped to get something out of the online format and, more importantly, their basic reading competence would have already been established.

Less discussed than these broader cultural trends over which educators have little control are the major changes in reading pedagogy that have occurred in recent decades—some motivated by the ever-increasing demand to “teach to the test” and some by fads coming out of schools of education. In the latter category is the widely discussed decline in phonics education in favor of the “balanced literacy” approach advocated by education expert Lucy Calkins (who has more recently come to accept the need for more phonics instruction). I started to see the results of this ill-advised change several years ago, when students abruptly stopped attempting to sound out unfamiliar words and instead paused until they recognized the whole word as a unit. (In a recent class session, a smart, capable student was caught short by the word circumstances when reading a text out loud.) The result of this vibes-based literacy is that students never attain genuine fluency in reading. Even aside from the impact of smartphones, their experience of reading is constantly interrupted by their intentionally cultivated inability to process unfamiliar words.

For all the flaws of the balanced literacy method, it was presumably implemented by people who thought it would help. It is hard to see a similar motivation in the growing trend toward assigning students only the kind of short passages that can be included in a standardized test. Due in part to changes driven by the infamous Common Core standards , teachers now have to fight to assign their students longer readings, much less entire books, because those activities won’t feed directly into students getting higher test scores, which leads to schools getting more funding. The emphasis on standardized tests was always a distraction at best, but we have reached the point where it is actively cannibalizing students’ educational experience—an outcome no one intended or planned, and for which there is no possible justification.

We can’t go back in time and do the pandemic differently at this point, nor is there any realistic path to putting the smartphone genie back in the bottle. (Though I will note that we as a society do at least attempt to keep other addictive products out of the hands of children.) But I have to think that we can, at the very least, stop actively preventing young people from developing the ability to follow extended narratives and arguments in the classroom. Regardless of their profession or ultimate educational level, they will need those skills. The world is a complicated place. People—their histories and identities, their institutions and work processes, their fears and desires—are simply too complex to be captured in a worksheet with a paragraph and some reading comprehension questions. Large-scale prose writing is the best medium we have for capturing that complexity, and the education system should not be in the business of keeping students from learning how to engage effectively with it.

This is a matter not of snobbery, but of basic justice. I recognize that not everyone centers their lives on books as much as a humanities professor does. I think they’re missing out, but they’re adults and they can choose how to spend their time. What’s happening with the current generation is not that they are simply choosing TikTok over Jane Austen. They are being deprived of the ability to choose—for no real reason or benefit. We can and must stop perpetrating this crime on our young people.

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how to write essay for mit

3 Great MIT Essay Examples

What’s covered:.

  • Essay Examples
  • Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay  

Sophie Alina , an expert advisor on CollegeVine, provided commentary on this post. Advisors offer one-on-one guidance on everything from essays to test prep to financial aid. If you want help writing your essays or feedback on drafts,  book a consultation with Sophie Alina or another skilled advisor.

MIT is a difficult school to be admitted into; a strong essay is key to a successful application. In this post, we will discuss a few essays that real students submitted to MIT, and outline the essays’ strengths and areas of improvement. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved). 

Read our MIT essay breakdown  to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Prompt #1: 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. 

After devouring Lewis Carrolls’ masterpiece, my world shifted off its axis. I transformed into Alice, and my favorite place, the playground, became Wonderland. I would gallivant around, marveling at flowers and pestering my parents with questions, murmuring, “Curiouser and curiouser.” If Alice’s “Drink Me” potion was made out of curiosity, I drank liters of it. Alice, along with fairytale retellings like the Land of Stories by Chris Colfer, kickstarted my lifelong love of reading. 

Especially when I was younger, reading brought me solace when the surrounding world was filled with madness (and sadly, not like the fun kind in Alice in Wonderland ). There are so many nonsensical things that happen in the world, from shootings at a movie theater not thirty minutes from my home, to hate crimes targeted towards elderly Asians. Reading can be a magical escape from these problems, an opportunity to clear one’s mind from chaos. 

As I got older, reading remained an escape, but also became a way to see the world and people from a new perspective. I can step into so many different people’s shoes, from a cyborg mechanic ( Cinder ), to a blind girl in WWII’s France (Marie-Laure, All the Light We Cannot See ). Sure, madness is often prevalent in these worlds too, but reading about how these characters deal with it helps me deal with our world’s madness, too. 

Reading also transcends generational gaps, allowing me to connect to my younger siblings through periodic storytimes. Reading is timeless — something I’ll never tire of. 

What This Essay Did Well 

This essay is highly detailed and, while it plays off a common idea that reading is an escape, the writer brings in personal examples of why this is so, making the essay more their own. These personal examples often include strong language (e.g. “devoured,” “gallivant,” “pestering.”), which make the imagery more vivid, the writing more interesting. More advanced language can add more nuance to an essay– instead of “ate,” the writer chooses to say “devoured,” and you can almost see the writer reading the book so quickly, taking it in almost as quickly as they might polish off a tray of cookies. 

The writer also discusses how reading can not only be a solace from events that seem nonsensical, but a way to understand the madness in these events. By giving two different examples of how this can be so, that seem so varied from each other (the cyborg mechanic and the girl in WWII’s France), the writer creates more depth to this idea. 

What Could be Improved 

At the beginning, the writer should consider cutting the introduction paragraph by a line to leave more room for the two major points of the essay in the following paragraphs. Instead of a long sentence about a love of reading being kickstarted, the writer could create a short, powerful sentence to kick off the next two paragraphs. “I was in love with reading.” 

The detail at the end about how reading also transcends generational gaps seems like an add-on that doesn’t connect to the past two ideas– instead, I would suggest that this author expand a little more on the prior two ideas and tie them together at the end. “In this timeless world of reading, I can keep drinking from the well of curiosity. In the pages of a book, I have a space to find out more about the world around me, process its events, and more deeply understand others.”

Prompt #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)

“Orange throw!”

As I extended my arm to signal properly, the smallest girl on the orange team picked up the ball to throw it back into play. In AYSO, U10 players often lift their back foot when throwing the ball, so I focused my attention there.

Don’t lift it. Keep it down.

It shot straight up. 

My instincts blew the whistle to stop the game. The rulebook is simple: the rule was broken, give it to the other team. But the way she tried, eager to play, eager to learn and try again— I couldn’t punish that. So I made my way over to the sideline to try it myself.

“When we’re throwing it in, we wanna keep our back foot down. Try again!” After demonstrating, I backpedaled a bit and watched her throw again.

Don’t lift it. Keep it down… Ah, it stayed down.

“Nice throw!”

And just like that, we were off again. These short, educational encounters happen multiple times a game. And while they may not be prescribed, they provide so many learning opportunities. These kids, they’re the future of soccer. If they learn the basics, they can achieve greatness.

Every time I step out onto the pitch, that’s what I see: potential. Little Alex may not throw correctly now, but with work, she could become the next Alex Morgan. That’s why, in every soccer game I referee, every new situation I’m thrust into, I strive to see what’s more; I strive to see the potential.

What the Essay Did Well 

There is so much imagery in this essay! It’s easy to see the scene in your mind. Through details such as “smallest girl” and describing the team as the “orange,” the reader can more easily picture the scene in their mind. Giving color, size, and other details such as these can make the imagery stronger and the picture clearer in the reader’s mind. 

The writer narrates their thought process through their use of italics, bringing the reader into the mind of the writer. The space for each line of dialogue separates each thought, so that the reader can feel the full emphasis of each line. The mingling of cognitive narration and details about the setting keep the momentum of the essay. 

Through this essay, we learn that this referee is supportive to the members of the youth soccer teams that they are refereeing; instead of seeing the role of referee as punitive (punishing), this writer sees it as a coaching experience. This idea of creating educational encounters as one’s contribution to the community is definitely a great idea to build upon for this essay prompt. 

What Could Be Improved

The contribution to the community is clear because of the emphasis on the coaching aspect of refereeing. However, especially thinking about structure, the author spends about half the essay on a single situation. Limiting this story to a third of the essay could give the writer more space to provide examples of other ways that the author has coached others. The author could have also connected this coaching experience to a mentoring experience in a different context, such as mentoring students at the YMCA,  to create more connections between other extracurriculars and give more weight to this author’s contributions to the community. 

The second to last paragraph (“And just like that, we were off again…”) could benefit from another example or two about showing, not telling. The sentence “And while they might not be prescribed, they provide so many learning opportunities” is already clear from the situation that the author has given; the author has already called these “educational encounters” in the prior sentence. Instead of that sentence, the writer could have given another example about a child thanking the writer for a coaching tip, or the expression on a different player’s face when they learned a new skill. 

Additionally, the role of the writer is not immediately clear at the beginning, although it’s suspected that this student is most likely the referee. The writer also provides details about “AYSO” (American Youth Soccer Organization) and “U10,” where the writer could have referred to the games as “youth soccer games” to get the point across that the players are still learning basic skills about throwing the ball in. To make all of this clear, the writer could have said “As a referee for youth soccer games, I have seen that players often lift their back foot when throwing the ball, so I focused my attention there.” Acronyms are usually best to be avoided in essays- they can take the reader’s attention away from what is actually happening and lead them to wonder about what the letters in the acronym stand for.

Prompt #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? 

“It’s… unique,” they say. 

I sag, my younger sister’s koala drawing staring at me from the wall. It always seemed like her art ended up praised and framed, while mine ended up in the trash can when I wasn’t looking. In contrast to my sister, art always came as a bit of a struggle for me. My bowls were lopsided and my portraits looked like demons. Many times, I’ve wanted to scream and quit art once and for all. I craved my parents’ validation, a nod of approval or a frame on the wall. 

Eventually, my art improved, and I made some of my favorite projects, from a ceramic haunted house to mushroom salt-and-pepper shakers. Even then, I didn’t get much praise from my parents, but I realized I genuinely loved art. It wasn’t something I enjoyed because of others’ praise; I just liked creating things of my own and the inexplicable thrill of chasing a challenge. Art has taught me to love failing miserably at something to continue it again the next day. If I never endured countless Bob Ross tutorials, I never would’ve made the mountain painting that I hang in my room today; if I never made pottery that blew up (just once!), I wouldn’t have my giant ceramic pie. 

I’m still light years from being an expert, but I’ll never tire of the kick of a challenge. 

The detail about the sister’s koala drawing being framed and praised while this writer’s portraits look like “demons” and bowls “lopsided” draws a nice contrast between the skills of the sister versus those of the writer.  In response to the prompt, the author justifies that this is a significant challenge by saying that they “wanted to scream and quit art once and for all” and that they still desired their parents’ approval. 

The writer’s response to the situation— taking more tutorials online, creating many different pots before getting it right– is nicely framed. Many times, students forget to include examples that demonstrate how they respond to the situation, and this writer does a good job of including some of those details. 

The writer seems to emphasize the parents’ approval piece in the first paragraph, but then moves away from that point more to focus on the “thrill of chasing a challenge.” This essay could be improved by focusing a little more on how the writer emotionally moved past not getting that approval “Even then, I didn’t get much praise from my parents, but I finally realized I didn’t need to focus on that. I could focus on my love of art, on the inexplicable thrill of chasing the challenge…” 

The sentence of “Eventually, my art improved…” leaves the reader with the ques tion– how? Saying “Eventually, after many YouTube tutorials and a few destroyed pots, my art improved” could give more details to that sentence without taking away from the sentence about the Bob Ross tutorials and the pot blowing up. 

Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay 

Want feedback like this on your MIT essays before you submit? We offer expert essay review by advisors who have helped students get into their dream schools. You can book a review with an expert to receive notes on your topic, grammar, and essay structure to make your essay stand out to admissions officers.

Haven’t started writing your essay yet? Advisors on CollegeVine also offer expert college counseling packages . You can purchase a package to get one-on-one guidance on any aspect of the college application process, including brainstorming and writing essays.

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Guest Essay

The Most Important Writing Exercise I’ve Ever Assigned

An illustration of several houses. One person walks away from a house with a second person isolated in a window.

By Rachel Kadish

Ms. Kadish is the author of the novel “The Weight of Ink.”

“Write down a phrase you find abhorrent — something you yourself would never say.”

My students looked startled, but they cooperated. They knew I wouldn’t collect this exercise; what they wrote would be private unless they chose to share it. All that was required of them was participation.

In silence they jotted down a few words. So far, so good. We hadn’t yet reached the hard request: Spend 10 minutes writing a monologue in the first person that’s spoken by a fictitious character who makes the upsetting statement. This portion typically elicits nervous glances. When that happens, I remind students that their statement doesn’t represent them and that speaking as if they’re someone else is a basic skill of fiction writers. The troubling statement, I explain, must appear in the monologue, and it shouldn’t be minimized, nor should students feel the need to forgive or account for it. What’s required is simply that somewhere in the monologue there be an instant — even a fleeting phrase — in which we can feel empathy for the speaker. Perhaps she’s sick with worry over an ill grandchild. Perhaps he’s haunted by a love he let slip away. Perhaps she’s sleepless over how to keep her business afloat and her employees paid. Done right, the exercise delivers a one-two punch: repugnance for a behavior or worldview coupled with recognition of shared humanity.

For more than two decades, I’ve taught versions of this fiction-writing exercise. I’ve used it in universities, middle schools and private workshops, with 7-year-olds and 70-year-olds. But in recent years openness to this exercise and to the imaginative leap it’s designed to teach has shrunk to a pinprick. As our country’s public conversation has gotten angrier, I’ve noticed that students’ approach to the exercise has become more brittle, regardless of whether students lean right or left.

Each semester, I wonder whether the aperture through which we allow empathy has so drastically narrowed as to foreclose a full view of our fellow human beings. Maybe there are times so contentious or so painful that people simply withdraw to their own silos. I’ve certainly felt that inward pull myself. There are times when a leap into someone else’s perspective feels impossible.

But leaping is the job of the writer, and there’s no point it doing it halfway. Good fiction pulls off a magic trick of absurd power: It makes us care. Responding to the travails of invented characters — Ahab or Amaranta, Sethe or Stevens, Zooey or Zorba — we might tear up or laugh, or our hearts might pound. As readers, we become invested in these people, which is very different from agreeing with or even liking them. In the best literature, characters are so vivid, complicated, contradictory and even maddening that we’ll follow them far from our preconceptions; sometimes we don’t return.

Unflinching empathy, which is the muscle the lesson is designed to exercise, is a prerequisite for literature strong enough to wrestle with the real world. On the page it allows us to spot signs of humanity; off the page it can teach us to start a conversation with the strangest of strangers, to thrive alongside difference. It can even affect those life-or-death choices we make instinctively in a crisis. This kind of empathy has nothing to do with being nice, and it’s not for the faint of heart.

Even within the safety of the page, it’s tempting to dodge empathy’s challenge, instead demonizing villains and idealizing heroes, but that’s when the needle on art’s moral compass goes inert. Then we’re navigating blind: confident that we know what the bad people look like and that they’re not us — and therefore we’re at no risk of error.

Our best writers, in contrast, portray humans in their full complexity. This is what Gish Jen is doing in the short story “Who’s Irish?” and Rohinton Mistry in the novel “A Fine Balance.” Line by line, these writers illuminate the inner worlds of characters who cause harm — which is not the same as forgiving them. No one would ever say that Toni Morrison forgives the character Cholly Breedlove, who rapes his daughter in “The Bluest Eye.” What Ms. Morrison accomplishes instead is the boldest act of moral and emotional understanding I’ve ever seen on the page.

In the classroom exercise, the upsetting phrases my students scribble might be personal (“You’ll never be a writer,” “You’re ugly”) or religious or political. Once a student wrote a phrase condemning abortion as another student across the table wrote a phrase defending it. Sometimes there are stereotypes, slurs — whatever the students choose to grapple with. Of course, it’s disturbing to step into the shoes of someone whose words or deeds repel us. Writing these monologues, my graduate students, who know what “first person” means, will dodge and write in third, with the distanced “he said” instead of “I said.”

But if they can withstand the challenges of first person, sometimes something happens. They emerge shaken and eager to expand on what they’ve written. I look up from tidying my notes to discover students lingering after dismissal with that alert expression that says the exercise made them feel something they needed to feel.

Over the years, as my students’ statements became more political and as jargon (“deplorables,” “snowflakes”) supplanted the language of personal experience, I adapted the exercise. Worrying that I’d been too sanguine about possible pitfalls, I made it entirely silent, so no student would have to hear another’s troubling statement or fear being judged for their own. Any students who wanted to share their monologues with me could stay after class rather than read to the group. Later, I added another caveat: If your troubling statement is so offensive, you can’t imagine the person who says it as a full human being, choose something less troubling. Next, I narrowed the parameters: No politics. The pandemic’s virtual classes made risk taking harder; I moved the exercise deeper into the semester so students would feel more at ease.

After one session, a student stayed behind in the virtual meeting room. She’d failed to include empathy in her monologue about a character whose politics she abhorred. Her omission bothered her. I was impressed by her honesty. She’d constructed a caricature and recognized it. Most of us don’t.

For years, I’ve quietly completed the exercise alongside my students. Some days nothing sparks. When it goes well, though, the experience is disquieting. The hard part, it turns out, isn’t the empathy itself but what follows: the annihilating notion that people whose fears or joys or humor I appreciate may themselves be indifferent to all my cherished conceptions of the world.

Then the 10-minute timer sounds, and I haul myself back to the business of the classroom — shaken by the vastness of the world but more curious about the people in it. I put my trust in that curiosity. What better choice does any of us have? And in the sanctuary of my classroom I keep trying, handing along what literature handed me: the small, sturdy magic trick any of us can work, as long as we’re willing to risk it.

Rachel Kadish is the author of the novel “The Weight of Ink.”

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Every essay writing company is different, therefore the approach to hiring writers can differ from one company to another. Most companies hire freelancers all across the globe to be able to provide essay writing services round the clock and in any timezone.

Successful candidates usually hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a field that they apply to and successfully pass a few grammar tests to be able to get access to students’ orders.

Some other companies also have in-house teams of writers. These professionals typically proofread and copy-edit all the academic writing assignments done by freelancers and improve the content if it lacks depth, research, or has any stylistic flaws.

Will my paper be plagiarism-free?

If you turn to a reliable essay writing service for help, you can rest assured that the content you will receive is original. A professional essay writer will craft a paper tailored to your requirements. Besides, you will remain its sole owner because reputable companies never resell the academic papers they write.

Some academic writing companies like BBQPapers and EssayPro provide originality reports free of charge to give you peace of mind that your essay is unique and free from plagiarism.

Are essay writing services legal?

One aspect that many students ponder over is whether it is legal to use a professional essay writing service. Plenty of misinformation is spreading, leading some students to think that purchasing a paper from an essay writing website could be illegal.

Let’s make one thing absolutely clear. It can never be illegal to purchase a written piece of work. The student simply requests a paper, and an expert essay writer provides a written piece of content that matches the requirements.

This is a transaction between a company and an individual, and nothing could imply a breach of legality. You can be sure it is safe and legal to use online essay writing services. No laws exist against using such services, regardless of what you may have been told.

Moreover, any trustworthy essay writing site has a clear disclaimer and a terms/conditions page that outlines the terms of use. It shows that these services are acting within the law and are not breaking any regulations.

A custom essay writing service is a third party that provides assignments, reports, and essays for personal private use. Therefore, the website is not liable for what happens with its content.

Reliable Essay Writing Services: Summing Up

Hopefully, this article gave you a better understanding of the topic and helped you find an essay writer service that could perfectly match you. Getting qualified college paper help  is easy if you know what to look for.

Each college paper service is unique, with its advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to you to pick the one that will help you achieve the best result possible. Life gets busy, and sometimes, we just do not have the time to dedicate hours and hours to writing essays. These services can be true lifesavers and free up some time for you to focus your energy on other important goals.

We will leave you with this final tip: if you ever request a writing service, provide detailed instructions. This information will help writers produce high-quality papers that match your expectations.

Article paid for by: Ocasio Media The news and editorial staffs of the Bay Area News Group had no role in this post’s preparation.

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IMAGES

  1. MIT Application Essay Prompt Answers That Worked

    how to write essay for mit

  2. How to Write an Essay in 9 Simple Steps • 7ESL

    how to write essay for mit

  3. 🌷 How to write an essay properly. Explore How to Write an Essay For An

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  4. 017 Essay Example Mit Application Essays ~ Thatsnotus

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  5. How to Write the MIT Essays 2020-2021

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  6. ⭐ Essay setup example. How to Write an Essay : 7 Steps. 2022-11-04

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VIDEO

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  2. Essay Tips from UBC Student

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  5. How to write an essay?

  6. How to write Essay । नेपाली निबन्ध । Training

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write the MIT Application Essays 2023-2024

    Prompt 1: What field of study appeals to you the most right now? (Note: Applicants select from a drop-down list). Tell us more about why this field of study at MIT appeals to you. (100 words) Prompt 2: We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you.

  2. How to Write the MIT Supplemental Essay

    How to write each supplemental essay prompt for MIT Prompt #1: "Why major?" essay Prompt #2: "Activity for pleasure" essay Prompt #3: "Community" essay Prompt #4: Extracurricular activity / community contribution essay Prompt #5: "Manage a challenge" essay Prompt #6: Activities list essay Prompt #7: Optional additional information essay

  3. 4 Top Tips for Writing Stellar MIT Essays

    There are four MIT supplemental essays, and you'll need to answer all four (approximately 200 words each) on various aspects of your life: a description of your background, what you do for fun, a way that you contribute to your community, and a challenge that you have faced in your life.

  4. Essays, activities & academics

    First-year applicants Essays, activities & academics Rather than asking you to write one long essay, the MIT application consists of several short response questions and essays designed to help us get to know you. Remember that this is not a writing test. Be honest, be open, be authentic—this is your opportunity to connect with us.

  5. Writing the MIT Application Essays

    10:17 Just breeeeeathe Some of my favorite blog posts about the MIT essays: This year's prompts and some advice from Petey Advice for last year's prompts (which are the same as this year's) from our former Associate Director of Admissions https://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/how-to-write-a-college-essay

  6. How to Write the MIT "World You Come From" Essay

    Method #1: One method for approaching this essay is to think about your short- and long-term dreams and aspirations. They do not necessarily need to be career-related, although that is a good place from which to start. Once you have identified these goals, you can work backward and select from your past and present what most relates to and has ...

  7. Graduate School Application Essays

    Essay prompts typically ask applicants to discuss their previous experience, future professional goals, and how the program can help them in achieving those objectives. The essay gives the applicant the chance to articulate these goals and display strong writing skills. Remember to tailor your essay to each school and the faculty committee that ...

  8. How To Write A College Essay

    in Admissions, Advice, Process & Statistics Listen: writing well is hard. It is hard for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes it is hard because you don't know your audience and have to guess. Sometimes it is hard because you have a lot of stories tripping over each other to get onto the page.

  9. MIT essays that worked & MIT essay examples

    MIT Essays that Worked - Introduction In this guide, we'll provide you with several MIT essays that worked. After each, we'll discuss elements of these MIT essay examples in depth.

  10. How to Write the MIT "Significant Challenge" Essay

    Example #1: A Significant Challenge. The conventional sports injury narrative reads like a Hollywood film. The applicant is severely injured and cannot play in the biggest game of the season. They have to go through months of rehabilitation and physical therapy. Finally, they return to the field the next season, and they lead the team to win ...

  11. How to Write the MIT Essays 2020-2021

    Description Learn how to write the MIT essays and distinguish yourself as an applicant that is the right fit for MIT. Hale Jaeger will provide an in-depth breakdown of each of the essays, discussing how to optimize and tailor a response to each one by breaking down the purpose of the prompts.

  12. MIT Supplemental Essays 2023-24

    MIT Supplemental Essays - Prompt #3 MIT brings people with diverse backgrounds together to collaborate, from tackling the world's biggest challenges to lending a helping hand. Describe one way you have collaborated with others to learn from them, with them, or contribute to your community together.

  13. How to Write the MIT Essays 2020-21: Prompt 1

    Applying to MIT and working on the MIT supplemental essays? The first video in the How to Write the MIT essays series goes into detail about how to tackle th...

  14. How to write the MIT essays

    Description MIT is known for its cutting-edge STEM programs, with space missions and robots galore. But, it's also highly ranked for humanities as well. To be a strong applicant, you'll need an all-around stellar profile, including quality essays.

  15. How to Write the MIT Application Essays 2023-2024

    When considering the MIT application essays for the 2023-2024 academic year, it is crucial to craft your responses in a manner that showcases your passions and unique perspective, setting you apart from other applicants. These essays serve as both your personal statement and supplemental essays, so make sure to put forth your most compelling ...

  16. How to Write Outstanding MIT Supplemental Essays (With 5 Real Examples)

    How to Write the MIT Essay Prompts for 2023 According to MIT Admissions, there are 4 required MIT supplemental essays for 2023 which they ask you to answer in "approximately 200 words." The MIT essay prompts for 2023 are: MIT Essay Prompt #1: "Activity for Pleasure" Prompt #1.

  17. How To Write the MIT Enjoyable Activity Essay

    Choosing an Activity. Two Methods of Storytelling. Example #1: Sunset Photography. Example #2: Solving Rubik's Cubes. How to Write the MIT Enjoyable Activity Essay. Watch on. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) consistently is ranked as one of the top five universities in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report.

  18. 46 Essays that Worked at MIT

    $16,407 Average SAT 1550 Average ACT 35 Location Cambridge, MA Real Essays from MIT Admits 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.

  19. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    understand why it's worth writing that essay. A strong thesis will be arguable rather than descriptive, and it will be the right scope for the essay you are writing. If your thesis is descriptive, then you will not need to convince your readers of anything—you will be naming or summarizing something your readers can already see for themselves.

  20. an essay writing journey

    The essay that I'm showing y'all was written for MIT's, "Describe the world you come from" prompt. This was actually the last essay that I wrote for MIT's application because the prompt confused me a LOT. I spent many nights lying awake wondering how I could express something meaningful in so few words.

  21. How to use Copilot Pro to write, edit, and analyze your Word ...

    2. Submit your request. At the text field in the window, type a description of the text you need and click the "Generate" button. Submit your request. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET. 3. Review ...

  22. Steps to Writing an Essay: The Complete Guide

    First of all include a hook - interesting fact, challenging question, or good quote. Ensure that your thesis is clearly defined in your essay; it should lay down the central idea. Briefly ...

  23. How to get away with AI-generated essays

    To test ChatGPT's abilities and weaknesses, I asked it to write a short essay on a particular topic that I specialised in. Before looking at what it produced, I wrote my own 100% original short ...

  24. Literacy crisis in college students: Essay from a professor on students

    Ten years into my college teaching career, students stopped being able to read effectively. Recent years have seen successive waves of book bans in Republican-controlled states, aimed at pulling ...

  25. 3 Great MIT Essay Examples

    Prompt #1: 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. After devouring Lewis Carrolls' masterpiece, my world shifted off its axis. I transformed into Alice, and my favorite place, the playground, became Wonderland.

  26. Opinion

    "Write down a phrase you find abhorrent — something you yourself would never say." My students looked startled, but they cooperated. They knew I wouldn't collect this exercise; what they ...

  27. 5 Best Essay Writing Services in 2024: Review of Legit College Paper

    Choose the Best Essay Writing Service for Your Paper. PaperHelp — Best paper writing service overall. BBQPapers — Best for research papers and dissertations. EssayPro — Best for balance ...