The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been named the best university in the world, according to QS World University Rankings.
Founded in 1861, MIT was originally established as a new kind of higher educational institution responsive to the demands of the increasingly industrialized United States.
The school is globally recognized as one of the top research universities in existence, especially with regard to STEM fields such as engineering and the physical sciences. MIT has been affiliated with nearly 100 Nobel Prize Laureates, including 11 current Nobel Laureate faculty members.
Notable alumni include Buzz Aldrin, the astronaut who served as the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission responsible for the first-ever moon landing in 1960.
Annual research funding at MIT has exceeded $700 million in the past, receiving support from government institutions such as the Department of Defense, along with the generosity of alumni and other donors.
This figure is evidence of the vast wealth of resources, financial and otherwise, for student research that MIT has to offer.
Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the university is made up of five schools, all of which aspire to further the school’s greater mission to serve the public interest by solving whatever problems arise at the intersection of humanity and technological development.
Being one of the most prestigious colleges out there, MIT is quite selective in its admissions process. Further, admissions for transfer students is even more competitive than it is for first-year applicants.
Read on to learn everything there is to know regarding transfer admissions at MIT.
MIT Transfer Acceptance Rate
MIT’s transfer acceptance rate is 4.28%. In 2019, the school received 538 transfer applications, only 23 of which were accepted.
The university has stated that the admissions process for transfer students is even more selective than it for first-year students, making acceptance very competitive.
The acceptance rate for non-transfer applicants has historically been around 7% in general, with a slightly higher 7.4% rate for early acceptance, according to US News and World Report.
However, this past year, MIT received 33,240 applications from prospective first-year students and accepted only 1,365.
This makes the acceptance rate for the matriculating class of 2025 only 4.1%, suggesting that it is only becoming more difficult to gain admittance to this world-renowned university.
The school has stated that out of the 35-50 transfer applications for the spring term they have received in the past several years, they have only admitted 0-5 students. For the fall term, around 15-20 applicants out of the total 400-500 have been accepted.
MIT cites a dedication to only accepting students who are uniquely suited to contributing positively to the university’s community environment as the reason for their selectivity and limitations due to space and resources.
Application Requirements & GPA for MIT Transfers
MIT does not have a strict minimum GPA requirement for transfer students, but the school has stated that competitive applicants will generally have a 3.5 or better.
They suggest that students who can expect to be accepted as transfers will have earned mostly As in any math or science courses.
Additionally, ideal transfer applicants should have taken a minimum of one year of college-level calculus, as well as one year of calculus-based physics.
MIT takes a holistic approach to the admissions process, with applications first considered in full by senior admissions officers.
After senior officers complete the initial screening, the applications are then turned over to additional admissions officers, who summarize them for the Admissions Committee.
The committee, along with other faculty members, look over these summaries and the applications themselves, discuss and debate each applicant, and then determine whether or not the student will be admitted.
By the time a decision is made, applications have been perused by no less than a dozen different people in order to ensure a lack of bias for or against the individual applying.
Because MIT admission decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, rather than an inflexible list of requirements, there is some hope for students whose academics do not meet these suggested criteria for transfer acceptance.
Students are eligible to apply for transfer admission if they have completed a minimum of two terms with good academic standing at any accredited college, university, technical institute, or community college.
MIT will not accept transfer applications from students who will have completed less than one year of college at the time of entry. Students who have finished over five semesters of study at another university are also ineligible to transfer to MIT.
MIT Transfer Deadline
The transfer deadline for students looking to matriculate for the fall semester beginning in September is March 15th of each year. For applicants looking to be admitted for the spring semester starting in February, it is November 15th.
Transfer applications from students who are citizens of a foreign country are only considered for acceptance for the fall semester, so all international transfer students must apply by March 15th.
By this deadline, students must submit the transfer application and all other required documents online, along with the $75 application fee.
Required supporting documents include all of the student’s transcripts from high school, college, and any other prior institution of higher education at which they have studied.
In addition, MIT requires that students upload two letters of recommendation, one of which must come from a math or science professor. The second letter may be written by any academic professor with whom the applicant is well-acquainted.
The MIT transfer application also requires a School Official Report, to be submitted by an official from the student’s previous school, such as a previous academic advisor.
Students can send a request to complete the report to their school official of choice through the electronic form that is built into the transfer application.
What is the Decision Date for MIT Transfers?
Students applying to transfer to MIT in the fall semester will receive notification of their admissions decisions by early May. The deadline for enrollment for these admitted students is in early June.
Spring semester applicants will receive admissions decisions by mid-December. This group of accepted students must commit to and enroll in classes at MIT by mid-January.
In addition to the above Regular Action admissions timeline, MIT also has an Early Action application cycle.
Both domestic and international students are eligible for Early Action application. Early Action admissions at MIT are not binding, so proactive students who apply during this cycle may choose to decline admission or apply to other additional schools if they would like to do so.
While Regular Action applicants will receive an admissions decision by mid-March, Early Action applicants can expect to hear back from admissions by mid-December.
Students can only submit a maximum of one application per entry year.
This means that those who are not accepted for the fall semester of the academic year cannot reapply during the spring semester admissions cycle. Additionally, students who apply for admission for the spring term are not eligible to apply for the fall semester of the following academic year.
Deciding Whether You Should Transfer to MIT
Deciding whether or not transferring to MIT is the right decision may be difficult, especially for students who are enticed by the school’s prestigious reputation but daunted by the extremely low acceptance rate that comes along with it.
Since the admissions process at MIT is so competitive, many students may find themselves wondering if making the switch from their current university is even possible, let alone worth it.
Whether or not transferring is the right decision to make ultimately depends on the individual student and their circumstances. One factor for students to consider when debating transferring universities is if previous credits they have already completed will be accepted.
MIT does not guarantee a certain number or specified type of transfer credits they will accept. The decision to grant credit for studies at previous institutions is ultimately in the hands of the particular department responsible for the area of study the transfer credits fall within.
Each department determines its own policies for accepting transfer credits and considers each credit transfer request on an individual, case-by-case basis.
In order for any transfer credits to be accepted, the subjects must be highly similar to those taught at MIT. The grade earned in the comparable subject must also meet or exceed MIT standards.
Given the very high bar for acceptance the MIT admissions process upholds, the likelihood of transfer credits being accepted is relatively low. If transfer credits are not a significant concern, however, transferring to MIT may be the right decision to make.
Students interested in pursuing a degree in math, science, or engineering will be hard-pressed to find a more suitable university than MIT, with its world-class research facilities, extensive institutional resources, and intensely rigorous educational programs.
Those who transfer to MIT will benefit from inclusion in the school’s diverse, vibrant, and welcoming campus community.
Undoubtedly, students who graduate from MIT will have earned a powerful and meaningful degree that will pave the way for a successful career in their field of study.
If the possibility of being accepted is realistically within reach, there is little reason not to apply to transfer to MIT.
RECAP: How to Apply As a Transfer Student to MIT
The transfer application process for MIT can be summarized as follows: eligible students must apply online through the school’s application portal, along with the $75 application fee, transcripts, a School Official Report, and two letters of recommendation from previous professors, one of whom must be a science or math professor.
Eligibility depends only on how many semesters of study the student will have completed by the time of entry at MIT.
Transfer students must have completed at least one and at most two and a half years of study at another institution in order to be accepted at MIT.
There is no explicit GPA requirement to be accepted as a transfer student, but competitive applicants will have at least a 3.5 GPA with primarily As in math and science courses.
In order to be accepted for enrollment in the fall semester, transfer applications and all supporting documents must be submitted no later than March 15th.
For transfer students who want to enroll in the spring semester, the application and other required documents must be submitted by November 15th.
International transfer applications are only considered in the spring semester, so all international students must submit their applications by the March 15th deadline.
Those who apply for the fall can expect to be notified of their acceptance or rejection by early May, while spring semester transfer applicants will receive their admissions decisions in early December.