Knowing what to write for your MIT essays might be difficult, but the process is made much easier by reading over MIT supplemental essay examples.

Checking out sample college essays gives you a good grasp of what supplemental college application essays should look like.

It also helps to read up on how to write a college essay. However, while learning through instruction is good, pairing that instruction with examples lets you see the practical application of that knowledge before attempting your own essay.

This article contains sample essays for the current MIT supplemental essay prompts.

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Article Contents
15 min read

MIT Essay Prompt #1 MIT Essay Prompt #2 MIT Essay Prompt #3 MIT Essay Prompt #4 MIT Essay Prompt #5 Conclusion FAQs

MIT Supplemental Essay Example #1:

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.

Word Count: 250 words or fewer

Example Essay #1:

The place where I live isn’t the worst community in our city, and I’m thankful that crime is relatively low, but it’s still pretty run-down. If you want to find employment, our section of town is not for you – even more so if you’re looking for a good job; anything you’d think of as a “career” doesn’t exist here.

We couldn’t afford aspirations; we were too busy worrying about where the rent and grocery money was coming from.

One day, I started asking myself, “Why can’t our neighborhood have jobs and nice houses? Why can’t we have hope be something other than tomorrow’s disappointment?”

I’m dreaming big these days. I want to be a community leader – a local politician. I know this is strange, but I’m not worried about the national right now, I’m worried about the municipal – making sure that everybody gets enough in my city.

I got in touch with several alderpersons on my city’s council and asked how I could help my neighborhood. They spoke with me and one of them asked if I could address my city’s government at a meeting. I prepared a speech about my neighborhood’s poverty and delivered it. Then I volunteered with the reelection campaign for the alderperson who recommended me.

The place where I live is who I am, and who I am today will let me be somebody better tomorrow, if I choose to aspire to hope, and dream of every place being the nice part of town.

Example Essay #2:

When you’re little, you don’t understand why your parents are getting divorced, you only know that they are. You beat yourself up over it, then you come to accept it, but it takes a while to see the silver lining.

I’m not saying it’s “good” that they split up, although I recognize that it’s at least better for them. After a while my mom and dad even got remarried. Then something weird happened: I didn’t have evil step-parents from fairy tales.

In fact, not only were my step-parents not evil, they were lovely people who really cared about me. My step-mom is a psychiatrist, and hearing about how she helps patients has inspired me to learn about therapy.

My step-dad works as a police officer. The world of law enforcement is a harsh one, especially on the psyches of law enforcement officers. Learning about that hardship from my step-father, and thinking about how my step-mother helps people, has led me to study psychology. I want to practice therapy for police officers and participate in research, looking for methods to keep stressors away and heal officers who have suffered as part of their “routine” jobs.

My family is big – four parents and eight grandparents, and a lot of love – and that largess has opened my eyes to a calling in the world that I otherwise might not have found. I think that’s most why I want to help find healing for others: I know the opportunities that healing can create.

Be sure to check out some MIT interview questions, too!

Example Essay #3:

We were moving away from my home of thirteen years to go miles and miles away, from my whole life. Worst of all: away from New York City – the only place in the world worth knowing – or so I thought.

The town might as well have been called “Miniscule Ville”. I resented every second of it. The real shocking thing to me was almost that anything existed outside of New York City. NYC is a world of its own, with its own pulses and lifeblood. I still think it’s a great place, and I’ll likely at least visit it someday, but right now, I want to visit everywhere.

My move humbled me. I began to love nature walks, the friendly camaraderie of the small town, and saw a world I never imagined. I thought I knew it all just because I lived in New York. Here was a great place, hidden from view. I loved experiencing that new world, learning local history, and most of all, learning the life stories of my new neighbors, each one of whom had a fascinating life.

My greatest dream is to be a journalist, covering other countries, and learning about new worlds and neighbors. My old perspective feels so limited. If I can share global stories, I can open up my perspective, and I can share those stories with a thousand homes so readers can learn about other perspectives as well. The world is full of different lives. Everywhere is somebody’s home.

Wondering how to write your supplemental college essays?

MIT Supplemental Essay Example #2:

Pick what field of study at MIT appeals to you the most right now, and tell us more about why this field of study appeals to you.

Word Count: 100 words or fewer

Example Essay #1:

My neighborhood is run-down and hangdog. Buildings are collapsing, practically on top of the homeless who could use a place to stay. I am sad for the people who have no place to go and for the beauty in design that is decaying all around.

I want to restore my neighborhood. Architecture and design are my academic interests, because they help restore neighborhoods and cities into communities where everybody has a place. I hope to redesign and give a new life to my neighborhood. With the help of MIT’s Architecture and Urbanism program, my dream is bound to come true.

Example Essay #2:

The current state of economics is more complicated than ever.

Hustle culture is burning people out. Job-seekers complain of a lack of good employment, while prospective employers complain of a lack of worthy candidates. We are abandoning traditional work models, payment models – even the concept of money is being tinkered with since the advent of cryptocurrencies.

These innovations require new technology, business models, and currencies; I will embrace this future at the Economics program at MIT, and help blaze the financial trails we will all someday walk.

Example Essay #3:

We are meant to be a nation of liberty and unity, so much that we made it our motto: e pluribus unum. But tribalism and division have been on the rise – we are more divided as a nation than ever.

Recently I have seen people striving to start good-faith conversations. On a new political podcast, for instance, opposing politicians discuss instead of argue.

The arena of political science has never been more dangerous, divisive, or exciting. I need to help keep our nation of “many” as one nation. I will start my journey at the Political Science department at MIT.

MIT Supplemental Essay Example #3:

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.

Word Count: 200-250 words

Example Essay #1:

I take the path less travelled, if I may reference Frost for a moment. When it came to choosing a sport, I couldn’t just do any sport, so, I chose HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts.

This is the study of the longsword, the mace, the dagger, and the rapier. It is as much a study of history and anthropology as it is exercise. All of the moves and strategies come from old manuscripts, many of which need decoding to get into a recognizable language.

Connecting with the past in such a way is a fun, engaging way to learn history and get exercise – and it is considerable exercise! Swinging a longsword about, or fighting with shields and arming swords, often while wearing armor, is no easy task.

The community of HEMA is a welcoming and wonderful one. I found out about HEMA in a video somebody posted to my social media only to discover that there is a chapter near where I live. I went around to ask about classes, and they were very friendly and affirming.

There is always more to learn, too, whether knowledge of circumstances for the various manuals, different fighting styles, or a variety of weapons. Through HEMA, I fuel my mind, exercise my body, and am part of a friend-filled community of historical combat buffs.

Example Essay #2:

When the wind is up, I cannot wait to go to the park with my latest kite.

As a kid, my mum and dad would take me kite-flying. I’d have done it every day, and no matter how old I got, I still wanted to fly.

Soon I was trying to do maneuvers too complicated for my dinky little kite, and I begged mum and dad for a better one. I got one for my birthday, but even that much more advanced model didn’t satiate my desire to vicariously soar above the park. I realized that the kites we bought from the store do not exactly meet my vision of how I wanted my kites to perform. This meant that I would need to start designing my own kites.

It took a lot of trial and error, and my father and I almost destroyed one of my special kites trying to improve it, but we eventually got the hang of it. After that, we started “modding” more kites, and I have now built three myself, special kites designed for specific maneuvers. It takes a lot of problem-solving to get there, but figuring it out and flying those kites is so rewarding.

It’s almost like I’m up there with the kite, floating on the wind. It’s relaxing, challenging, and a wonderful way to spend a day.

Example Essay #3:

My love of poetry came from my love of hip-hop music. 

One evening, I found myself in a café in a basement – one of those places with steps leading below street-level, into a room that reminds you of how you think a speakeasy would look. It was slam-poetry night, and my friend Trisha was performing. He told me it was just like hip-hop.

I was in awe of my friend and his group, spitting lines that were fierce and which moved me deeply. I got involved with the group and was soon writing my own stuff. My verses were clunky at first, but they were mine; I was learning to express myself.

Every aspect of slam poetry fascinated me: rhythm, metaphor, stress, and the ever-elusive emotions between the lines.

Slam poetry is wonderful, but in my study of the art, I came to love other verse forms. The slam poet group’s leader told me to check out the Elizabethan sonnets for some tight beats – she was referring to the about iambic pentameter, which led me to a love of a form of poetry with one phrase – tight beats. Something that my English teacher didn’t accomplish with a whole class unit.

My favorite poems I have encountered are haikus. The all-encompassing focus on syllables makes the rhythms of masterfully-written haikus flow in my mind’s ear.

Poetry is my passion. I can’t wait to put down verses, whether for a slam poetry night, and some just for my journals at home.

MIT Supplemental Essay Example #4:

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.

Word Count: 200-250 words

Example Essay #1:

My dad’s a smoker, and mom’s always on him to quit. I don’t mind too much – I understand that it’s hard to quit – but he chucks his cigarette butts everywhere, and I hate that.

One day I’d had enough of it, and when he whipped his cigarette butt out the car window, I actually spoke up and chewed him out for littering. He wasn’t happy about that, and it made the car ride home unpleasant.

But the next day, he came and apologized, saying I was right. That event inspired by responsibility to our community, and I decided to help gather up trash in our neighborhood. I volunteered with the city, got a little grabber and a garbage bag, and started picking up litter, including a bunch of cigarette butts, many of which were, statistically-speaking, my dad’s.

I felt good, and encouraged my family to come out with me. Dad was the first one to cave, and we actually had fun, talking and picking up litter. But we needed more help. I’m fourth out of five kids and I convinced most of my siblings to join in as well.

Dad and I wound up bonding a lot, chatting about life and sharing our news at the side of the road, plucking debris from the street. He doesn’t smoke as much, either, but I don’t know if that’s because of me or just that he hates picking up his old butts.

Example Essay #2:

The bullying at our school, and in my class in-particular, had boiled up. It wasn’t uncommon to see one or more students in tears because of some cruelty or other, a lot online, but plenty of it live and in-person.

I stayed out of it as much as I could. I didn’t want to be a target.

My friend Mark got it bad one week. Somebody decided to start accusing him of being “the problem” whenever anything went wrong, calling him cursed. He lost a lot of friends that week, and though I didn’t abandon him, I didn’t stick up for him like I should have.

That festered in me. I hated feeling helpless, so, after the Christmas break, I came to school with a purpose. I went straight to our teacher and asked what I could do to help stop bullying, besides just not participating in it. We came up with an anti-bullying campaign. We knew posters wouldn’t do it alone, so we created a program where bullied students could come forward safely and anonymously. We put together a mechanism for dealing with accusations, and the school was very supportive.

It was slow going at first, but gradually we saw a lowering in the amount of bullying being done in our class and across the school. I might not have been able to stop Mark getting hurt, but I did my best to stop it happening again.

Example Essay #3:

I’m a soup kitchen volunteer. My mom said it’d be good for me to volunteer and see what poverty did to people. I wasn't thrilled about it. I was fifteen and had better places to be, or so I thought.

What I found out was that there are people who need a lot of help, and it just took one shift for me to know that I was coming back. I needed to be there, helping people, because where else are they going to get help?

Community aid programs are often underfunded, and our community has a severe dearth of available funds to help people in need. Support for the local food banks and shelters is low in our municipality. Volunteering is an integral part to bring a little humanity into these people’s lives.

I’m not going to pretend it’s sunshiny, because it’s not: it’s harsh. But I can help make my neighborhood a better place. I can give people food and comfort.

What matters is making a difference. I can’t make a huge difference right now, unless you’re one of our customers – then I’m making up the difference between a night of comfort and one of despair. Small differences still make a difference, and I want to help my community however I can.

MIT Supplemental Essay Example #5:

Tell us about a significant challenge you’ve faced or something that didn’t go according to plan that you feel comfortable sharing. How did you manage the situation?

Word Count: 200-250 words

Example Essay #1:

The sixth letter in the alphabet shouldn’t make your stomach feel like a frozen stone is rolling around in there, but the F on my test paper was doing that. I was trying to envision a future I could actually look forward to.

Yes, that’s a bit dramatic, but I’d never gotten an F before, and my brain was panicking with the non-future into which I had cast myself. Chemistry had beaten me.

I kept that F from my parents as long as possible, assuming a furious volley of punishments and lectures would be my comeuppance. I couldn’t have anticipated the reaction.

“Hm.” A syllable which sat there for a long time before dad said, “Well, what are you going to do about it?”

It hadn’t even occurred to me that there was a next. I was busy with melancholic despair; I forgot about “what next?”

My parents asked if I wanted to switch the course, but I want to study the sciences, my answer was no. Mom helped me put together a new rubric for studying and I stuck to it. My next text was a C+. After that? An A.

Failing a test taught me something more valuable than any class ever did: how to dust myself off, know what I really want, and try again with everything I have in me. Ultimately, my only failure was giving up on myself and focusing on one failure. My lesson is learned, and from now on, I will always focus on what I can do next.

Example Essay #2:

I was unable to breathe, or even move, really, and covered in dust. I was one, big bruise all over my body. Samson was responsible, having thrown me to the ground for the seventh time that day.

Samson had come to the stables with a warning that this would happen. He was a problem horse, young, headstrong, and seemingly impossible to train. For days I tried the approaches that had worked on other horses, but worked on Samson.

The barn owner was in one day, watching me fail. She called me over and said, “He’s stressed because you’re stressed. Try to be calm. When you’re calm, go over there and don’t ask anything of him. Just be there with him. See what happens. Make some offers, but don’t do anything he doesn’t want to do.”

I went over to Samson and patted him, and he stepped in. Little by little, I’d make a move and he’d make a move. He got nervous when I tried to get on him, so I backed off. I didn’t ride him that day, but eventually, after a few days of just making friends, the good advice worked. Samson was soon a great riding horse, and one who had tremendous empathy with his rider.

Too often we go to people with our stresses, needing them to be something they aren’t. I try to remember to expect less and just be there. The results are great. When you don’t pile on, you never get thrown off.

Example Essay #3:

I had said, “Yes,” because I always said, “Yes,” regardless of how busy I was. That was how I wound up on the track team, mathletes, and a dozen other things I had no time for. I was stressed out and in denial.

This time, I had said, “Yes,” to organizing a fundraising event to buy new instruments for the school’s music program. A variety show seemed like a good idea until it became clear that somebody would have to organize talent, balance schedules, as well as create decorations, and everything else for the event. Guess who this “somebody” was?

Mr. Kowalski had offered to help and I’d said, “No.” I should clarify that I always said, “Yes,” when taking on responsibility, but “No,” when it came to delegating. I felt I wouldn’t be pulling my weight.

My grades were slipping, I was losing sleep, and the fundraiser almost collapsed: no new instruments for the band. Mr. Kowalski came back, luckily for me, and offered his help again. Learning my lesson, this time I did not miss my chance for getting help. The fundraiser got back on track. He didn’t take over, but gave me the assistance I needed to get it done without punishing myself too much.

I learned how important it is to ask for help and delegate responsibility. I learned that being a good leader or project head doesn’t mean being a superhuman who handles it all.

And I learned how to better employ the word, “No”.

Want more tips?


Please note that the supplemental essay section has an additional-information text box within it. MIT suggests that students can use this box to tell them anything you think they really ought to know.


1. Is the additional-information box a necessary part of the application?

MIT says it is optional, but we would advise you to take advantage of the extra space; give yourself every opportunity to stand out as the perfect applicant and to be unforgettable to the admissions committee.

2. Are supplemental essays considered optional, or are they required?

In MIT’s case, they are required for your application, but even if they weren’t, as with the additional-information box, we would still counsel you to take any option that can make your application soar.

3. Am I required to write in a formal style?

No. In fact, MIT says specifically that this is not a writing test, and encourages applicants to, “Be honest, be open, be authentic – this is your opportunity to connect with us.”

That doesn’t mean you should use colloquialisms or ignore spelling and grammar, but it does mean that you won’t need to worry about a specific style, or avoid the use of the first-person – which you will be using most of the time – or cramming in citations.

However, remember that this is still an essay, so your submission must follow the academic essay style, with a strong introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

4. MIT offers early application deadlines, should I take those?

If they fit with your schedule, yes, but MIT doesn’t give preference to early applicants.

Check with other schools you would like to apply to, see what their application schedules are like, and build an application schedule that works best for you.

Do note that some schools don’t allow you to submit multiple early applications. MIT is not one of those schools, but they do specify that you must respect exclusivity rules from other schools.

5. How do I maximize my chances of acceptance?

There is a lot you can do, but starting with reading up on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a good start.

Beyond that, finding good mentors will benefit you tremendously, and using university and college admissions consulting will cover all angles and give you the best edge you can find.

6. What if I have low grades, should I still apply?

Potentially, yes. How to get into college with a low GPA is harder, but not impossible.

Grades are only one puzzle piece that you’ll be sending to MIT, and their reviewing panels and admissions boards won’t just reject your application because of low grades. They provide an “additional information” section on the application which will allow you to provide insight into anything you need to explain on your transcript.

7. Is MIT only for people studying technology and sciences?

No. Don’t let the name fool you, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a wide variety of courses across disciplines, and they have programs for all kinds of students.

8. How affordable is MIT?

Most students with family incomes below $140,000 (US) do not pay tuition. According to their website, 82% of MIT’s students graduate debt-free.

In short, MIT offers robust financial aid, and can be very affordable for students from all income brackets.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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