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Everything You Need to Know About MIT's MITES

As a high school student, you may think you’re out of luck studying STEM at MIT, but don’t worry – MIT has plenty of opportunities for high schoolers interested in this field!

Among their variety of programs, the MIT Introduction to Technology, Engineering, and Science (MITES) provides transformative experiences that bolster confidence, create lifelong community, and build an exciting, challenging foundation in STEM for highly motivated 7th–12th grade students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. If you’d like to know how to get involved, keep on reading!

What is MITES?

MITES is a rigorous academic enrichment program for promising high schoolers interested in studying and exploring careers in science, engineering, and entrepreneurship. Their vision is to diversify STEM for all groups, especially for underrepresented minorities and for those who lack opportunities to engage in this field.

Is MITES prestigious?

Very! With its association to MIT, MITES is a famous and recognized program, so having it listed on your college application or resume is bound to make you stand out. At no cost to the attendees, the program also promises engaging, hands-on, culturally responsive curriculum along with a highly collaborative and project-based environment, so your STEM skills will definitely improve after participating in MITES.

However, this means that the MITES programs are competitive. While there are no official statistics, acceptance rates are estimated to be from 3% to 10%.

What are the MITES programs?

There are multiple programs within MITES that you can explore:

MITES Summer (formerly MITES) is a six-week, on-campus program that immerses students from across the nation in life at MIT. You will take five rigorous, rewarding math, science, and humanities courses. These courses are centered around subjects like high-level math and science, as well as electives that focus on real-world STEM applications—from Machine Learning to Architecture to Genomics—what most high school curricula don’t cover. There will also be lab tours and social events for attendees to understand firsthand what it’s like to be a student at MIT. College admissions counseling will also be provided. Running through late June to early August, this program provides firsthand insights into the value and reward of STEM degrees and careers, while also developing the academic and personal skills you need for success.

Additional information:

  • Room and board is provided by the college.

  • Application deadline: Usually due in February of each year.

  • Eligibility: High school juniors with U.S. citizenship. Those with minority backgrounds and other underrepresented segments of the population are encouraged to apply.

MITES Semester (formerly MOSTEC) is a six-month, hybrid learning STEM and college preparation experience. The program fosters an inspiring community of intelligent, motivated, like-minded peers, and the participants will build the skills and confidence they need for success. Participants will take two rigorous courses and dive deep into science and engineering disciplines, such as Machine Learning to Thermodynamics to Astrophysics. Through one project-based course and one supplemental core course in Calculus, Physics, Computer Science, or Science Writing and Communication, the program will teach about the impact of STEM on society.

Luckily, classes are live and online during the evenings, so you can participate in the program while also keeping your daytime commitments. When school starts in the fall, there will be a shorter time commitment with highly relevant weekly webinars to guide you through the college application process.

Additional information:

  • Application deadline: Usually due in February of each year.

  • Eligibility: High school juniors with U.S. citizenship. Those with minority backgrounds and other underrepresented segments of the population are encouraged to apply.

MITES Saturdays (formerly SEED Academy) builds an exciting, challenging foundation in STEM through their multi-year program for 7th–12th graders in Boston, Cambridge, and Lawrence, MA public schools. They will dive deep into different aspects of STEM every semester—from biological engineering to robotics to urban planning and architecture. Through hands-on instruction and collaborative projects, participants will develop an in-depth understanding of math, science, engineering, and technology—core concepts and their real-world applications. The program also focuses on the impact of STEM on society and how to use your knowledge to build a better world. The program timeline can range from 8 weeks in the fall or 8 weeks in the spring.

Additional information:

  • Application deadline: Early January of each year.

  • Eligibility: Students should have U.S. citizenship and be in 7th, 8th, 9th, or 10th grade attending Boston, Cambridge, or Lawrence, MA public school students. They must also be Boston, Cambridge, or Lawrence, MA residents

  • Applicants should have a strong academic record and interest in science, engineering, and technology. There’s no minimum GPA required to apply, but students are expected to maintain letter grades of A and B to stay in the program.

In addition, at the end of any MITES program, you will receive a written evaluation from your instructor, outlining strengths and growth areas, as well as highlighting your contributions to the class. This can be great supplemental material for college applications!

Application Process

MITES Summer and MITES Semester have the same application requirements. Students who apply are expected to have a strong passion for science, technology, engineering, and math, along with a strong academic record.

Here are the following information you may need to submit:

  • High school transcript: Applicants will be asked to provide their high school course history and upload an unofficial transcript which includes their GPA and completed courses from 9th and 10th grades as well as from the first quarter of their 11th grade year, if available.

  • Test scores: While NOT required for applying, submitting test scores are strongly recommended, such as SAT, PSAT, ACT, AP, or ACT Aspire/PLAN. MITES’ admissions process is holistic, and test scores provide a more complete picture.

  • Five short answer questions: The short answer questions are designed to provide a better picture of the applicants as individuals. Each short answer response has a word limit of 300. The questions for the 2023 application process are as follows:

    • Share with us how aspects of your identity (e.g., race, culture, first-generation college student status, gender, etc.) shape your aspirations.

    • What are you passionate about? How have you spent time developing this passion?

    • What do you hope to gain from participating in the MITES Semester/Summer program? If selected, how would you contribute to the MITES Semester/Summer community?

    • Tell us of a time you experienced a significant challenge in your life. What did you do and what did you learn?

    • The STEM field uses science, technology, engineering, and/or math to understand more about the world around us and to solve problems. If you could develop, invent, or innovate anything to change the world for the better using STEM, what would it be and why?

    • (OPTIONAL): If you could meet us in person, what would you share with us about you that isn’t already in the application?

  • Extracurricular activities: Applicants will be invited to tell us about their extracurricular activities. This section should include applicants’ passions and interests outside of the classroom.

  • Three recommendation requests: Students are required to send 3 recommendations that must be submitted by the recommenders via the online portal by February 15. Once an applicant selects who their recommenders will be, they will receive an automated email from our application portal with a link to fill out the unique recommendation form. These forms are not recommendation letters, which MITES does not accept. Each applicant will be asked to identify one recommender from each of the categories below.

    • Math or science teacher

    • Humanities teacher

    • School counselor or administrator

Tips to get into MITES:

MITES can be hard to get into, but with the right preparation, your application can stand out from the rest.

Tip #1: Prioritize academics and letters of recommendation.

It’s important to have high grades in your high school transcript. It’s expected that participants of the program are passionate about academics, and therefore, being able to present high grades in your transcript will be useful. Moreover, because of MITES’s emphasis on STEM, students are encouraged to take rigorous courses in math, science, and engineering. It is useful to take AP Physics 1/C and AP Calculus AB/BC, for example.

This is especially useful but not only does it show your commitment to academia, but also it will allow you to be on good terms with many of your teachers, who you can ask for recommendation requests when you are able to apply. Keep in mind which STEM and humanities teacher has the best relationship with you. Then, you can ask for recommendations from teachers that know you best from your sophomore or junior year.

Tip #2: Achieve high standardized exam scores.

Take standardized exams! While they are not required, having high test scores can significantly boost your chances of acceptance. If you don’t have scores of your own, you may be at a disadvantage compared to students who do. So, if you have taken AP classes, be sure you receive 4s or 5s if possible. Register for the PSAT, which is administered only once every year during October. The last year that you can take it before you can apply for MITES Summer or MITES Semester is in 11th grade, so it may be helpful to take it in earlier years. SAT or ACT scores may be submitted as well if you are able to prepare sufficiently beforehand.

Tip #3: Obtain prior research experience.

Admittedly, this is the most difficult tip, as very few high schoolers are able to achieve research experience, but for those that do, they have a very distinct advantage. Because MITES emphasizes passion in STEM, research is proof that you’re incredibly invested in this area. If you’d like to get involved in research, then it’s recommended that you reach out to your high school teachers, guidance counselors, or even university professors who conduct work in your field of interest to research on your topic. There are also summer programs that allow high schoolers to take part in the research process, so look for them in your local, state, or even national locations too!

Final Thoughts

All in all, MITES is a wonderful program if you’re a high schooler looking to get more experience in STEM. It’s also great for getting started in your college career because you become prepared in taking rigorous college-level courses and becoming involved in campus life. Therefore, it’s recommended that you start early and build a good framework for your application so that you may have an opportunity to study at MIT with passionate, like-minded peers.

If you are interested in getting started in research or preparing for competitive programs like MITES, then you could consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students that was founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 2100 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Also check out the Lumiere Research inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students.

Lydia is currently a sophomore at Harvard University, studying Molecular and Cellular Biology. During high school, she pursued engineering activities like attending the Governor's School of Engineering and Technology. In her spare time, she likes to create digital art while listening to music.

Image source: MIT MITES



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