Graduate School Application Materials

Academic Transcript

Current students and alumni can request electronic or paper copies of transcripts through the MIT Registrar’s Office. The Registrar’s Office has detailed instructions on requesting transcripts for current students and alumni.

Letters of Recommendation

If you are applying while in an undergraduate program or if you are a recent graduate, recommendations from professors and tenured faculty who are familiar with your academic work have the most impact compared to letters from TAs or employers. Three recommendations are commonly requested, but check with each individual program for details.

How and when do you ask for recommendation letters? You’ll want to prepare in advance for this by building relationships with potential recommenders over the course of your academic career.

To organize your letters, you may want to use a dossier service, such as Interfolio, or ask the recommender to send them in the manner required by that particular application. Law schools require the use of Credential Assembly Services for this purpose. If you are a prehealth student, you can use the MIT Prehealth Advising Credential Service.

Standardized Admissions Exams

Most graduate programs require completion of a standardized exam such as the GREGMATLSAT, or MCAT. Search online or ask the programs you are interested in what the typical range of scores is for admitted students.

Be sure to study for these tests, which can involve elements that you may not have learned in your academic career. You can take preparatory courses or study on your own with books or online materials including practice tests. Many test providers and prep companies, such as Kaplan and The Princeton Review, have free practice tests and resources on their websites. Because the scores are valid for a couple of years, you can take these exams when you are feeling most prepared. Many students, even if postponing graduate studies, will elect to take the exams while still undergraduates.


You will be required to submit a personal statement or essay when applying to graduate school. Graduate programs want students with clear commitment to the field. Graduate school application essays typically ask applicants to discuss their previous experience, future professional goals, and how the program can help them in achieving those objectives. The personal statement gives the applicant the chance to articulate these goals and display strong writing skills. Remember to tailor your essay to each school and the committee that reviews your application.

Your essay should be thoughtful, concise, compelling, and interesting. Remember, admissions officers read hundreds of essays.