Massachusetts Institute of Technology Top Questions

Describe the students at your school.

Jaguar

My classmates at MIT are very focused, academically driven, and have incredible work ethics.

Danielle

Full range of personality type, high level of tolerance. There's a social group for everyone, but people tend to stay within social groups

Pooja

My classmates are passionate, intelligent, and committed toward making a difference.

Kate

People here know how to be themselves, help each other, and have fun while working on hard issues and solving the problems of the future.

Rebecca

MIT is by far the most diverse place I had ever been, both ethnically and socio-economically. That being said, some groups tend to segregate themselves, in particular Asians and African-Americans. Of course, this is a generalization, but one I find to be true. An African-American girl I live with in an ILG (independent living group) said she moved in so that she could meet people who weren't African-American. Most MIT students aren't really active in politics. Whether they lean left or right, I don't know. There is probably every type of person at MIT, from the stereotypical (but smart) jock to the geeky kid who never comes out of his room to musicians, artists and everything in between.

Olivia

The students at MIT are for the most part the same as students anywhere else in the country; after all we are still just people.

Arkady

My classmates are ingenuitive, with a strong desire to learn and succeed, and are known for their interesting outlooks on life.

Stephanie

Helpful and collaborative.

Jessi

Although everyone is busy, people always find time to help each other and look out for each other, and in your free time there will always be someone interested in helping you put your interesting or crazy ideas into action.

Emily

My classmates are competitive and will most likely be experts in their fields in the future.

Nicholas

My classmates are amazing and well motivated toward sucecsss

Daniel

Enthusiastic academic geniuses.

Gillian

I would trust 80% of my classmates with my life, strangers among them included, because they are intrinsically smart, educated, kind, driven, sharp young men and women who would nearly always know and do the right thing.

Harper

Overwhelmingly white and asian. I knew more albinos at MIT than I have ever met again in the "real world". Incredibly eccentric and passionate about all things.

Zeke

For the most part, my classmates are helpful, friendly, and willing to help you with whatever you need whenever you need it, even if they have to go out of their own way to do so.

Piper

The students here are pretty unique. I have friends of different races, religions, orientations, etc, and it's awesome because I'm experiencing different cultures I've never met in my life. I don't see a lot of self-segregation along these lines. People are cool with each other and that's that. They come from everywhere - people on my hall come from near the Boston area to Kenya and Sweden, and that's a really neat experience. As far as political activism, some are, and some aren't. There's a place for you here if you are, but if that's not your thing you'll be fine too. I'd say people lean more liberal than conservative, but I've met some very conservative people too so that's not a sweeping statement.

Gina

MIT is incredibly heterogeneous. There are people from every state, just about every country, every race, religion and financial background. What's more is that different types of students interact while studying, working on a project or playing on a sports team. You get close to the people you spend lots of time with and here, that can be absolutely anyone.

Nico

Experiences range, and MIT offers so many groups -- which, at times, come off as factions -- that try to make their presence and function on campus known. I would think that few students would feel out of place due to academic standing, since students at MIT are admitted here because they have shown they can prosper academically, but I get the impression that students of lower socioeconomic backgrounds must feel like they've been ripped off their whole lives after arriving at MIT and seeing the many other students who have had the privilege of belonging to affluent communities, going to top-flight schools, and flying to MIT and back home regularly, perhaps in first class. The higher rungs of the socioeconomic ladder are certainly better represented here at MIT, with only a small percentage (14%, according to MIT Financial Aid statistics) of students qualifying for the federal Pell Grant. Many students I know have parents who are doctors, nurses, professors, or other professionals and have been fortunate enough to come from nourishing backgrounds. Then there are a few students who can tell stories of struggle, that percent -- I wish I could be more quantitative -- must also be quite small.

Chris

Wish students were more aware of what's going on in the world, in general. Life here at MIT can be so fast-moving that people don't even follow the news.

Carrie

My experience with the students at MIT has been mostly positive. I don't think there are many students that would feel out of place here, as it is an amazingly accepting community. Pretty much any eccentricity you could have, no one would mind. We're used to it. Or, you can choose to be pretty normal (a normie, even) and you can have friends, too! Another great thing about the MIT student body is that you won't find as many "rich kids" here. Its definitely a bit more diverse as far as financial backgrounds go than many other prestigious schools. I should add that MIT is much less politically aware than a lot of other colleges - I'm not sure why that is, but its quite pronounced. People don't know much about current events. However, they tend to be pretty liberal, and talk reasonably intelligently about political issues, when they happen to come up.

KC

I have not had any anti-Semitic experiences on campus, and I am pretty obviously religious. I am Jewish, and in fact some of my best friends on campus are Muslim - we cooperate on events sometimes, and I just attended a lecture on Islamic calligraphy.

Lisa

We are pretty awesome. Any group of people you can imagine you can probably find to hang out with. And MIT is almost exactly 50/50 women/men.

Casey

MIT takes great pains to make sure that there is a wide variety of people on campus. It is definitely no longer just a bunch of bookworms. We have a good mix of genders, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds here.

Michael

Diversity: The numbers look good but the people you hang out with are rarely of different cultures.

Ashley

The student body is a pretty good mix. There are a lot of Asian people on campus and they might not even be students! I wish the LGBT community were more active and I wish that Caucasian people got more involved in cultural groups even if it's just going to their events. I do feel like there are a lot of well-off students here. Their parents have amazing backgrounds in math and science or connections to the government. All interesting people to meet. I've NEVER heard anyone talk about how much money they'll earn one day. The community is pretty politically quiet. I know what some people are but I feel there's a good mix of everyone - left, right, center, people who don't know what that means, and people who rather not get involved. You're definitely able to find a group that best suits you.

Gene

The LGBT community here is really strong. I think MIT was named like one of the highest LGBT-friendly schools in the U.S., which is really impressive. It's really multicultural, especially New House, where I live, which has French house, German house, Spanish house, IHouse, and chocolate city. Different types of students do interact plenty, although one definitely notices specific clicks--people of one ethnicity tend to stick together, but I think that's just human nature. Students--mostly--are not at all politically active. They have no idea what's going on in the outside world. :D

Wally

Many are good in math and sciences. Just, GOOD. Some are wonderful.

Lee

The student body is incredibly diverse with 11% of the class being international students and the rest of the class hailing from all over the U.S. There are students receiving no financial aid and students receiving full financial aid. The great part of MIT, however, is that you can rarely distinguish between any of these people. Our school is a large melting pot, and the Institute does a great job in giving us avenues to support each other's diversity.

Paul

By far the coolest thing about this place is the attitude. You'll see a lot of student articles about how terrible MIT is, or how the administration isn't doing anything right. And most people don't really understand what these things represent -- they are our form of school spirit. The students here pride themselves in being able handle anything thrown at them, and always carry an attitude of "it's us versus the administration." And because of that, you always see students helping each other out. Nobody thinks that they're smarter than everyone else (even though there are some amazingly brilliant people here), and nobody competes for professors' attention. And nobody gets ahead by smooching. What matters here is what you can do.

John

I have been able to learn more here than I ever thought possible. I have been able to acheive amazing things working through student groups. I look around at the faces of people in my dorm and I see thinkers, builders, artists, theorists, and great engineers. I know these people will one day change the world, or at least their own little part of it. Yet these same people are the ones I flirt with, pull pranks and hacks with, complain about workload with, order middle of the night pizza with. It's mindblowing. The diversity of culture here is fantastic--you can choose where you live. There's really a sense of community with where you live; it's not just a bunch of people living together. There's an option for everyone: the French speaker, the "cool kids" from high school, the pyromaniacs, the raging liberal hippies, the serious student, the serious drinker, whatever.

Anna

What are your experiences with racial, religious, LGBT, socio-economic, and/or other groups on campus? I am involved in a religious group on campus. What kind of student would feel out of place at MIT? I think most students find a niche at MIT. What do most students wear to class? Students usually wear jeans, sneakers and tshirts. Some students get more dressed up but it's not common. Do different types of students interact? Definitely. Though most students are closest with students who are like them. But I don't think it's cliquey. There are four tables of students in the dining hall. Describe them. Honestly, it's likely the students will be separated by race- white, black, Indian, Chinese. Otherwise, students make social groups in their dorms, frats/sororities. Where are most MIT students from? Students are very diverse-- from all over the country and the world. That said, it seems like big cities and the coasts are more represented than the midwest or small towns. What financial backgrounds are most prevalent? Most students would probably consider themselves middle class. Almost everyone I know has a part time job (around 10 hours a week) Are students politically aware / active? Are they predominantly left, right or center? In general, students are not very politically aware. We live in the "MIT bubble" where outside news is not talked about. I consider myself an exception and there are others who follow politics. In general, the leaning is left (like most colleges). I've found students to be fairly sympathetic to my conservative views. But many of the Pro-Life posters I help put around campus do get vandalized... Do students talk about how much they'll earn one day? No, I haven't found this at all. Maybe some students are motivated by money, but it's almost taboo to say it. The culture is very motivated by working hard.

Lisa

Strongly religious people face a bit of discrimination, even though there are quite a few of them on campus. Some people, unfortunately, are evangelical atheist/agnostics, and challenge religious students about their beliefs. I really haven't seen much anti-LBGT discrimination. Perhaps for this reason, our LBGT clubs aren't terribly active.

Terry

I think there are literally people of every type at MIT. I feel like people who discriminated or weren't accepting of different groups might feel left out because MIT is pretty diverse. The culture of MIT is pretty accepting. I never eat at the dining hall. I eat with my friends...and they are of all different races, genders, and religions. People sometimes use how much they'll earn one day as a motivator to get through a tough night. That's not why people are here, but sometimes it's nice to think about being successful compared to the kids you know at other colleges who are slacking off and partying while you're working hard.

Nora

The student body at MIT is amazingly diverse. I come from a place where the prominent race is black, so it's interesting to meet people from so many different backgrounds and cultures. There are groups for pretty much anything you could want to be in a group for. There are "You are Welcome LGBT" signs all over campus, African, Asian and other ethnicity student groups, Christan, Hillel and Muslim groups, and people from across the country, as well as the world. I don't think there are any kinds of students who would feel out of place at MIT, there really is a place for everyone. Students wear whatever is comfortable. There are people in jeans and t-shirts (even in winter), skirts, ethnic dress from their country of residence, everything! People hang out with people. I don't really know what else to say. When you have stuff in common, or you don't and you just get along really well, you hang out. Table 1: Bunch of gamers - a couple Indian guys, a couple Asians, a grad student from the Virgin Islands, a white guy with a 'fro and a couple girls. Table 2: guy from the ski team and crew, a Course 4 (architecture) girl from California, a Course 16, Gospel choir brunette from Maryland, a blonde Course 6 major, 21M (Music and Theater Arts) minor from the Virgin Islands, a Course 16 Asian boy from Hawaii, and a gay couple. Table 3: one boy surrounded by books, papers, and a laptop. Table 4: group of freshman from one of the wings on a Residence-Based Advising dinner Most students are from the US, but from all over the country and with all sorts of ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds.

Charlie

There is a very wide range of what students wear to class. There are people in sweats, people in relatively nice outfits, the occasional military person in full uniform. Sometimes, during a particularly high energy time, people will show up in a costume (like the ghost busters) MIT students are from all over the place. Every state, many counties. It is not really clear what financial backgrounds are most prevalent. There are plenty of people that are coming from private schools, but many of them went on scholarship. It is not something that is immediately obvious, because the financial aid is really pretty good and students have ways of making money on their own.

Anna

This question is not particularly applicable. MIT's student body comes from all over the world and includes people of all shapes, colors, sizes, styles, religions, socio-economic backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, political views, interests, attitudes, and directions. To be fair, MIT has a disproportionate number of intelligent students, and I don't think this is an issue that admissions is even looking to correct.

Alex

I don't think any student would feel out of place here... there is someone for everyone! People usually dress casually for class... some even turn up in their pajamas!

Kaitlin

I think people who enjoyed things like parties, sports, school spirit, and socialization during high school would feel shortchanged at MIT. I found it really difficult to find friends at MIT because of the diversity and the school makes people insane with the amount of work, so its not entirely the students fault. On the other hand, my collection of friends comprises all of the racial background groups out there, which I find pretty cool. I doubt I would have gotten that anywhere else.

Hunter

MIT hosts a very diverse student body. I don't think anyone would feel out of place here.

Elise

There are all sorts of groups on campus, and if you don't seek them out you probably won't have to interact with them, but if you do seek them out you can interact with them. I don't think any student would feel really out of place at MIT; maybe one who cared a lot about appearances, or who had a massive ego, but those things would probably both be changed just by coming here. This stereotype is not entirely true, there are plenty of students here who do care about their appearances, or at least can when the occasion arises. Students generally wear jeans to class, not many that I've observed wear pajamas, it's usually jeans and a t-shirt/sweatshirt. MIT apparel is quite popular here. MIT students are from all over the globe. I live in a dorm that probably has more international students than most, but compared to my high school MIT is very much more diverse. If you just walk around campus for a day you'll probably overhear 10 different languages. Students don't talk much about their financial backgrounds; we all complain about the costs of college, but no one seems to be able to afford it, so we can all complain together. Students that I run into are not particularly politically active, though they have opinions the opinion of the government in general is generally not very positive. I bet this, and which positions they have on politics varies a lot by dorm.

Hannah

I am very involved in the religious groups on campus. There are over 13 Christian groups alone, and well as many Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and other groups. I haven't felt discrimination or anything like that, just great respectful discussions between people of different ideas. I don't think there is any person that would feel out of place at MIT. We have so many different kinds, and dorms geared toward each one. There are plenty of people from every background, people from outside the US, people from small town Midwest, and those from Manhattan that think Boston is a small city and everything in between. The financial backgrounds are just as diverse. The number of languages spoken in a sample of MIT students is staggering. Don't worry about finding your group, there will be someone like you in our diverse mix.

Alex

A student who dresses in designer clothes, carefully styles their hair each morning, and always has a manicure, tends to look a little out of place, but is always just as welcome in study groups, conversations or parties as any other student. For the most part, we are socially liberal, public school-educated intellectuals who judge each other on academic merit or social compatibility, not politics, religion, race or financial background. Discussion of future earnings is not uncommon, but it's almost always good-natured, self-deprecating, and entirely in a joking manner. The cliques which you might see in a high-school cafeteria or college dining hall don't exist here; we make friends where we choose, and usually on a one-to-one basis or as a living group, not as an exclusive social cluster.

Elli

Um I love all the different groups on campus. I'm white, yet I'm a part of AAA and ATS and SAAS (Asian American Association, Association of Taiwanese Students, and South Asian Association of Students). While I am a little more on the outgoing side, all people are really accepting of different cultures and people. Some people won't make other people of different races their best friends, but no one has any prejudices against anyone else. There are a lot of religious groups on campus if you want to get into that. For the most part no one really talks about religion because some people are very very against it. We've had some spam wars that really ragged on people who believe in God. But I'm Catholic, I have no problem expressing my faith. If you are part of the LGBT community, there is definitely a place for you here as well. Most people who live on west campus aren't really so open about it, but there are the "you are welcome here" signs EVERYWHERE. East campus and senior house are a lot more open with the LGBT community. Umm I think the only student who would feel out of place is someone who is very set in their ways and not willing at all to change or try anything new. Most students wear jeans. I've gone in sweats before and have been fine. Most people don't dress up unless they have an interview or something. All types of students interact. Most people will be willing to meet anyone. I guess tables at the dining hall would be separated between like a sorority/frat, a sports team, east campus people, and the working people who eat and work at the same time. But the only reason for these separations if they even exist is that they've just gotten together to eat, there is tons of overlap and you'd be welcomed anywhere. Most students are from Massachusetts, California, or Florida. I feel most people are a little well-off, not crazy rich, but most are not struggling. Most people are somewhat informed about politics but I say somewhat in a sort of generous term. People for the most part are really really liberal here. No one talks about salary later in life.

Alex

MIT students are very accepting. Financial backgrounds, personal beliefs, life styles, and student politics are all very diverse. Compared to the general population, the average MIT student is smarter, slightly more introverted, and not as well dressed, but there is a wide range. Pink, spiked hair is slightly more common at MIT than other colleges, though some students wear suits and ties. Some students are incredibly extroverted, and many students are artistic and creative, but there is a large preponderance of standard-issue nerds.

Kent

Huge diversity.

America

I don't sense any racial, social, or LGBT tensions. Maybe a Harvard student would feel out of place at MIT. Most people wear T-shirts to class. Students unfortunately are not very politically active, but most are somewhat aware. They don't have any leanings, but disagree with the current administration. People don't talk about how much they'll earn someday, but it's pretty obvious what level everyone is aiming for (hint: course 15's will be loaded.)

Cathy

there is a place for everybody, i'm not joking, everybody at MIT. (from different races, sexual preference, extracurricular activities--hell, there are often people practicing for the circus, or to be knights, around campus at all hours of the day) we dress pretty comfortably for the most part. layers in the winter, shorts in the summer, lots of sweat pants/sweat shirts, and uggs!! YES! well, in my world i interact with everybody i meet. I love the diversity at MIT, and the fact that you can find people with such different backgrounds and lifestyles i find soo cool. I always love to meet new/different people! most people from MIT are from Earth. that's about the only honest generalization i could make. every financial background. and you hardly ever know who is from what sort of background, there is no reason to know if somebody is rich or poor outside of MIT, and you usually never know. most people are stuck within the MIT bubble and don't know what is going on outside. but, unfortunately, there is a very predominant liberal tendancy at MIT. haha, we always love to talk about the rumors that everyone from MIT will one day be a millionaire. we wish that it is true, but we find it saddening that it is never the MIT grads telling us that MIT grads will make $1 million!!

Torry

MIT is one of the most diverse atmospheres I've ever been a part of. Not just ethnic diversity, but socio-economically, geographically, religiously, academically, etc. Everyone at MIT has some trait or interest that sets them apart from everyone else, whether it's their extracurricular interests, musical taste, sexual orientation, or if they just like to walk to class barefooted. Everyone is a minority in some way which makes for a very non-judgemental atmosphere, because you'll never make friends there if you discriminate against those different from you. Everyone is different from you at MIT!

Rachel

ha ha ha - dining halls. There are no proper dining halls at MIT. Students come from all over the world, but I suppose they are predominantly from the US. There is a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds (MIT has a need-blind admission policy).

Clinton

An underrepresented minority could feel out of place at MIT. Different types do interact. Students are politically aware. I'd say predominately left.

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