Explore MIT

Your first year at MIT will change how you see the world

First-year students chatting around a table.

Don't Stress About grades

Fun fact: your first semester at MIT has no grades. Amazing, right?! It's designed to focus on exploration.

Your classes will be pass/no record. If you pass, you get a “pass” on your transcript; and if you don’t, there is no record that you took it. Your second semester is similar, except that you earn letter grades instead of “pass.” And if you don't pass, the class doesn't show up on your transcript. This gives you time to adjust to college-level courses and not stress about it.

And we also want you to explore! Take classes that interest you, roam Boston and Cambridge, meet new friends, and try a new activity.

So take advantage of it!

Learn in a close-knit community

Coming to MIT can feel like going from a small pond to a vast ocean when it comes to classes, social life, and navigating a new city. But fear not! If it seems a bit overwhelming, there are ways to make your first-year experience more manageable! Joining a first-year learning community (FLC) may be the perfect solution.

FLCs are small academic groups where students focus on their classes through a particular lens, like sustainability or the humanities. Each one provides a supportive community of faculty, student mentors, and peers to study, socialize, and complain about psets with.

Check out all four! Terrascope, DesignPlus, Experimental Study Group, Concourse

MIT student next to a machine in water.
Lecturer explaining to two students.


first-year learning communities


pre-orientation programs


chance that your first semester grades will affect your GPA


Your MIT journey starts way before your first day of class. Obviously we have an orientation; but what if we told you we have ~20 Pre-Orientation Programs (FPOPs) that give you an awesome opportunity to leave your comfort zone and start making friends who will be there with you through MIT and beyond.

There’s probably an FPOP for whatever you're interested in—from being the first in your family to go to college or building an underwater vehicle, to hiking in Colorado—and they’re the perfect start to MIT. FPOP applications generally open in the late spring and are due in mid-June. More information will be posted on the orientation website in early May.


MIT has an entire department dedicated just to helping first-year students inside and outside the classroom.

The Office of the First Year has all the information that will cover you from orientation through the spring semester, as you navigate classes and requirements. There are advising and tutoring programs, study tips, and information on how to tackle your GIRs.

The OFY is also home to the First Generation and/or Low Income Program (FLI). The program is dedicated to building a sense of community among first generation and low income MIT students, faculty, alumni, and staff—and raising awareness of their unique experiences.

Check out Connect by Chance (CXC), a new way to get to know classmates whom you may not otherwise meet!