HackMIT 2019 Admissions

Jessica Sun
Jul 18 · 4 min read

Hi everyone! I’m Jessica, co-director of the 2019 HackMIT organizing team. We’ve received many questions regarding our admissions process, and we hope that this blog post will help address this year’s changes:

  • MIT freshmen who register by July 28th and confirm by August 11th will be guaranteed a spot at HackMIT.
  • All other MIT students will have to apply, and they will be considered alongside the rest of our applicants.
  • HackMIT will remain at least 50% MIT students.
  • Instead of admitting hackers through a lottery-based system, we’ll be reading all applications.
  • Talks and workshops will be open to the entire MIT community.

New admissions policy for MIT students

We receive thousands of applications every year, and unfortunately have to turn away many passionate hackers. In an effort to serve the people who are most excited about our event, we’ve decided to ask MIT students to apply alongside students from other schools.

Our decision was largely motivated by statistics from our previous events. At HackMIT 2018, 70% of our hackers were MIT students, all of whom were auto-admitted. This left fewer than 300 spots for over 5000 applicants from other universities, many of whom are incredibly enthusiastic about hacking and enjoy creating innovative projects.

By the end of the hackathon, only 20% of MIT hackers had submitted a project, compared to 90% of non-MIT students. After listening to feedback from our peers, we recognized that not everyone attends HackMIT to build a project. In fact, many people use our event as a way to learn through our workshops and listen to founders in our fireside chats. To better cater to these students, we’re opening our workshops and talks to the entire MIT community this year. That way, if you’re more focused on learning, you’ll be able to pop in for the talks that interest you the most, while leaving more space for hackers who are interested in building projects.

We recognize that HackMIT was created first and foremost for MIT students, so at least 50% of our hackers will be from MIT. All incoming MIT first-years will also continue to be auto-admitted to our event. We simply hope that with these changes, we’ll be able to admit more students who are eager to bring their ideas to life.

Auto-admitting MIT first-years

For many MIT students, HackMIT is the first university-wide event that they attend. Our team is always excited by this opportunity to introduce freshmen of all skill levels to the field of computer science.

While some incoming students may have attended several hackathons and even received awards for their CS research, we recognize that there are still numerous freshmen who have never coded before. Therefore, we understand how having to build and design an entire application in 24 hours might seem daunting to them.

We don’t want beginners to be discouraged from applying to HackMIT, especially when many of our workshops and talks are tailored towards helping them learn. Furthermore, we want to invite freshmen to join the greater hackathon community, a group of peers who will always support their ideas and interests.

We’ve decided to continue auto-admitting MIT freshmen so that they can experience the entire ideation and creation process of making a project firsthand. We want to encourage freshmen to learn more about novel applications of CS, and we think working on an idea that they’re passionate about is the best way to start.

Application process

In previous years, our team has run a random lottery to determine who will be accepted to HackMIT. This year, we’ll be reading all applications multiple times. We’re looking for hackers of all experience levels, especially students who are excited to build a project for a purpose they care deeply about. The final date to apply is July 28th, 2019 at 11:59PM EST.


We hope that through this post, you’ve gained some clarity on our changes to admissions this year. We really appreciate the continued support of the MIT community; we could not put on HackMIT every year without students volunteering as hosts, attending our talks, and encouraging their friends to apply. Our favorite part of every HackMIT is engaging with all of you at the event and being truly inspired by the amazing projects you create.

We’re hard at work planning this year’s event, and promise to deliver an exciting and enriching hackathon experience that focuses on hacking for a reason. We can’t wait to see all of the problems, both small and large, that you all solve at HackMIT this year!

If you have any additional questions regarding admissions or the event itself, feel free to reach out to us at team@hackmit.org.

HackMIT Stories

Stories from MIT's largest undergraduate hackathon.

Jessica Sun

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HackMIT Stories

Stories from MIT's largest undergraduate hackathon.

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