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“Work hard, play hard.“ | An MIT Student's Advice on Getting into MIT


We had the privilege of interviewing Joseph Li,

  • a dedicated tennis player

  • a YouTuber with over 2k subscribers who share college and life advice

We asked for some experience about: Getting into MIT


Here are some important words he shares:

  • "Having a community already waiting for me on campus was a huge factor in my decision."

  • "I think my personal determination was the bigger factor in ultimately reaching those goals."



Q: Why did you choose MIT, and what did it have to offer you specifically?

A: Because it’s MIT. In all seriousness, there probably isn’t a better school in the world for someone who is interested in science and technology. There are seriously countless directions you can take your educational journey here, whether that’s through classes, clubs, research, or random conversations with professors. The thing that sealed it for me was the fact that I could play on a varsity sports team at MIT. Having a community already waiting for me on campus was a huge factor in my decision.




Q: What are some drawbacks and benefits you feel of going to MIT?

A: I’m actually writing this a day before I start classes for the first time, but I can say a definite drawback would be the pressure you feel from being associated with the school. Half of the jokes my friends crack are now about MIT, and I definitely feel intimidated by the school’s reputation. I’m experiencing quite a bit of imposter syndrome (which I’ll make a video about soon!) and it can be tough to combat.




Q: What will you be studying at MIT?

A: Currently undecided, although I’m thinking about majoring in either economics, computer science, or business.




Q: What do you think made you stand out to get into MIT? (extracurriculars, awards, essays, GPA, cumulation of all, etc.)

A: I made an entire video about this (link can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgsO3crmP4) I would say that what made me “stand out” was the fact that I was recruited for men’s tennis. At MIT, sports recruits aren’t given any real help in the admissions process, but I think having the AO’s know that I could contribute to a varsity sports team gave me the boost I needed to get in.





Q: How did you spend your free time in high school? (weekends, summers, breaks, etc.)

A: I’d usually be spending it playing tennis with my friends or catching tennis matches online. Other than that, I started to learn how to play basketball about a year ago, and I enjoy writing some songs occasionally.




Q: What would you say played a bigger role in your success? The environment or self-motivation?

A: This is a tough one because I think my parents played an extremely big part in helping set my goals in high school. Although I do think I became too hyper-focused on college admissions, they definitely educated me on what I needed to do in order to give myself the best chance. However, I think my personal determination was the bigger factor in ultimately reaching those goals.



You can check out Joseph's LinkedIn here.