The Best Book on MIT Grad School Admissions

by Junjay Tan

What's in the book?

JunJay Tan, an MIT Grad Student in Engineering, shares his tips on applying to MIT grad school.

    • Step-by-step guide for a successful MIT Grad School application
    • A detailed breakdown of each application component
    • Tips for getting effective rec letters
    • A game plan for writing a winning essay
    • Common application mistakes and how to avoid them


MIT Graduate Programs are amongst the top in the country, which inevitably leads to high competition, high cost, and a challenging curriculum upon acceptance. Further more, when it comes to getting into MIT, looking good on a piece of paper won't cut it; successful applicants paint a clear picture of why they are the perfect fit and an outstanding contribution to the upcoming class.

An admissions book need not only guide readers through the application process, but offer an in-depth analysis of each and every step along the way: test preparation, application, and student life. This book is the perfect resource that does just that.

In The Best Book On MIT Grad School Admissions, admissions expert Junjay Tan breaks down and explores each and every step before, during, and after the MIT admissions process. From standardized test preparation and writing a winning essay, through Junjay's experience with student life on the MIT campus, this eBook offers insight on every question on readers minds.


I’m in excellent academic standing - isn’t that enough?

Not exactly. Pay attention to the value of relationships, commitments and fellowships - and put them into good use. Standing on your own 2 feet isn’t enough - not even ace-ing the GREs is a guarantee. Applying is an art as much as a science. Learn to master the process from a master who just went through it.

I’m a junior at Stanford, do I really need to think about this now?

Yes, this is the PERFECT time to start! I started tailoring my efforts toward MIT by taking the GREs in my junior year. Not only will this book help you establish your last years as an undergraduate as steps on the right path, but it will also help you put those valuable summers to work.

This book isn’t merely a set of guidelines - it’s a series of specific steps you SHOULD take toward acceptance into the #1 Engineering School in the United States. This strategy will give you confidence from someone who’s actually done it already. Get an insider’s perspective, and learn how to gather your own juicy insight before you ever fill out an application.

I’ve read everything about MIT, and there isn’t much more to learn - right?

Wrong! Did you know you’ll have 2 months to shop and drop your classes? It’s true - most students sign up for a huge course load, then they drop much of it in the 1st week. And don’t worry about not getting into a class. A long drop period also means that professors aren’t sure when to cap registration! I’ll leave no page unturned - no facet unexplored on MIT culture. You’ll know MIT as well as your dorm room, and everyone performs better when they’re comfortable.

There are so many books on this subject - what makes this one so special?

I’ll provide a microscopic view of the application process and take you through each step to show you exactly how the pieces fit together. Find out how to harness the most potential from your recommendation letters and why research could mean the difference between acceptance and the waitlist. One of the most compelling aspects of The Best Book is the intensity of detail. It doesn’t just mention the significance of the personal statement. I elaborate on the 3 essential components you MUST answer.

Plus, this book isn’t a general title about applying to graduate school - it takes aim at MIT specifically. You’re not looking for vague suggestions - you need answers; This Best Book is full of them!

Letter From The Author

I want to tell you exactly why I wrote The Best Book.

First off, I know how much work goes into applying to grad school, and I remember the extreme amount of foresight and perfection required by MIT. There are significant goals to surpass, and I want to put them in sharp focus to help improve your aim.

Secondly, doing all the steps isn’t enough - not with a school like MIT. You don’t just have to do it well, you have to do it better than everybody else. Knowing exactly how the application committee is going to look at you will help you present yourself under ideal conditions. Nobody at MIT knows you, and - if I learned anything from my experience - it’s important to prove yourself as a future MIT graduate. I want to ensure your efforts are well-invested and highly effective.

Finally, I wanted to create a guide that doesn’t WASTE your time.

I’m not stating the obvious, nor am I reiterating the same old junk. I’ve treated it as if my present self could give my former self all the answers. Sure, I can’t tell you which bubbles to fill in, since the application process isn’t a test; however, I can let you know what to focus on, how to populate your application with MIT grad gold and how to polish the entire package to an accept-me luster.

This book provides the truth - and nothing but the truth. I’ve given you a pair of X-ray glasses, use them to peer into the application process, and remember each and every detail - everything matters! Improve your chances as a candidate by asking the right questions, providing the best answers and investing your time in fruitful activities.

This book will show you how to prove you belong at MIT. Don’t propose yourself as a great fit, illustrate your trajectory and highlight the fact that MIT is the education you need to achieve your greatest ambitions. I’ll teach you how to sharpen your strengths and polish your imperfections.

For example, do you know how to earn effective recommendation letters and how you should ask for them? Do you know how to spend your summers, and why it matters? Do you know how an over-inflated resume could weaken your credentials? Do you know how to make your application jump ahead of the competition? Do you know what the admissions board wants to hear? Do you know what impresses them? Do you know how to strengthen your transcript’s worst weaknesses?

In the end, I’m glad I completed the process - I’m not sure I could handle it a second time around! But, that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the challenge. Applying to MIT grad school is an unforgettable experience, and getting in will boost you into the upper echelons of personal and professional success.

I hope you find my book helpful as you prepare for applying to MIT.

Good luck!

Junjay Tan

Things You'll Learn:

  • Top 10 tips to make your application stand out: When most of your competitors are near perfect, it’s important to include what the school admissions department wants to hear.
  • Studying for the GRE is the first obstacle everyone must pass for consideration. It’s changing - learn what’s new, and learn where you need to focus your attention.
  • Balance yourself. Reap the rewards of a well-spent summer, an impressive list of extracurriculars, excellent academic standing and soaring praises from undergrad professors.
  • Break down the graduate application into stages. Identify the goals along a timeline and then start checking them off years before graduation.
  • Passion counts. Devote years - not hours - to your extracurricular activities. Participation is good, but commitment is exceptional.
  • Summers in the lab are essential. Not only do you have more time for research, but you’ll also develop relationships with professors.
  • Publishing research shows commitment and ambition. Learn how to pick projects that develop the coveted qualities MIT loves.
  • Write the perfect personal statement by tying your past, present and future together in the perfect MIT statement of objectives.
  • Polish application flaws! Prove to them that you’re a real person, and maybe that bad mark won’t look so terrible.
  • The 5 W’s of effective recommendations. Who writes it? What should it say? When and where should you ask for one? Why is MIT perfect for you?
  • Essential facts about MIT academics on what to expect from the program.
  • Get the facts about MIT classes: department fluidity, generous drop period, grades weighed toward As and Bs, class sizes, hours, professors and student competition.
  • 7 crucial aspects of MIT research: What’s hot? Who attends? Who’ll teach? Who’s in the know? And why very few people pay full tuition.
  • Living the MIT life: How to choose housing, how to find friends, and how to get involved with MIT culture.

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