MIT International Students Association

Admissions FAQ

Work & Employment

Can I work?

International students can only work ON CAMPUS with a maximum of 20 hours per week.

But, there are plenty of opportunities - at your dorm, at the library, at the Admissions Office or (very popular) get a UROP!

Check out the SEO website and the UROP website for more information.

IMPORTANT: Get a Social Security Number!!!

Once you have a job, you should immediately apply for a Social Security Number. Getting it is a tiring procedure, but it is worth it. People will ask you for it, wherever you are going... It makes life a lot easier.

What about pay?

The minimum payment on campus is $12.75 hour.

Moving to the US

Will I have trouble getting an F-1 Visa?

Most probably not. US Embassies all over the world recognize MIT and this should aid your application process. Don't worry about having your visa rejected. Do, however, apply early as processing time varies from country to country depending on the number of applicants.

How will I get on campus from the airport?

You can request The International Student's Office to assign you mentor groups who'll come pick you up in an MIT shuttle. You'll get an email about this around early August.

College Life

What extra curricular activities can I pursue?

Anything! It won't be like high school, of course. You''ll need to be good at time management to pursue more than 2 activities though. You can view a list of all student groups as recognized by the Association of Student Activities here.

Is college food as bad as they say?

There are plenty of options on campus. There are different cafeterias in several dorms across campus offering a variety of stir fry, salads etc.

In the Student Center you can also find Mexican, Asian, Middle-Eastern and Indian food. During class time, there are also many food trucks around offering cheap and good lunches. Two on campus Supermarkets also provide you with all the other necessary snacks, food and cooking supplies.

Besides, you can find free food basically everywhere on campus. Watch out and take advantage during Orientation...

I want my DimSum/Bratwurst/Biryani/Gnocci>...

Missing mom's good food at home? Need more diversity?

Boston and Cambridge are closer than most MIT students realize. Go out to dinner. You will be amazed by the great diversity of nationalities and food options available in the Boston area.

What is the best way to connect with other people?

Some tips:

  • Choose your dorm wisely and get a roommate to socialize
  • Attend socials and mixers (there will be tons during orientation and later in the term)
  • Get a phone
  • Join Facebook (it is the most popular stalking and communicating device across the US)


What courses should I take first semester?

Your advisers will guide you and there are several sessions about choosing your courses, the range of choices, the requirements, etc.

Don't worry! All the freshmen basically take the same courses all together anyway: Mathematics (18.01, 18.02), Intro to Solid State Chemistry (3.091) or Chemistry (5.111 or 5.112), Biology (7.01x)

Just go with the flow.

If you to take more advanced courses in certain areas, talk to your advisor and upperclassmen.

Can I cross register at Harvard?

Yes, definitely. Harvard is only two T stops away and many students choose to cross register for courses not offered at MIT, in particular, language courses.

Applying to MIT


How is the weather?

We'll be honest. It's awful 7 months a year, from mid October through early May. Winter temperatures can be as low as -15 F with wind chill. But dont worry, you'll get used to it. Bring good winter clothing, a good, durable coat, a few lighter jackets and you should be set. And oh, don't forget the raincoat!

If it helps, the MIT Women's Association holds a "free winter clothes" event every year right after orientation. You'll get an email when you arrive on campus.

If it's that cold, how do we go around campus in the snow?

Thank God for Safe rides! MIT transportation and parking dept has shuttles going around campus from 7 am to 3 am! (some shuttles also stop at Star Market and Central Square)

What should I bring?

The MIT Housing Committee has compiled a comprehensive list here.

What does MIT Medical cover?

The MIT Medical will address almost every health concern you have - from your teen acne that won't go away, to a bruised knee, winter flu and even falling hair. Urgent care is available 24/7 and drugs are sold at the campus pharmacy at very nominal costs. MIT Mental Health offers assistance during depression (in particular, pre exam stress and anxiety) and other psychological concerns.

Did we miss something? Write to us and we'll answer any other questions you may have!

UPDATE - SITEWIDE MESSAGE (9/3/2020): The ISA is excited to be launching a new program, ISA Hubs, meant to bring unity during this different period of life for students. Please see our page and sign up at this link. We wish you all a great start of the new semester!
UPDATE - SITEWIDE MESSAGE (6/14/2020): With the continuation of COVID around the world, and the recent social ills brought to our attention over the past few months, we as the ISA are in solidarity and support with all those affected. Our club's message and more information and resources can be found from this link: Read the ISA Statement. For anyone who has questions, feel free to reach out to us from the Resources/Contact Us menu at the top or use the social media links found at the bottom footer.