MIT PRIMES: How to Apply
This page provides instructions for applying to MIT PRIMES, a research program for students living within driving distance from Boston. To apply to PRIMESUSA, a nationwide research program for sophomores and juniors living outside Greater Boston, see How to Apply to PRIMESUSA page. To apply to PRIMES Circle, a math enrichment program for local high school students, see How to Apply to PRIMES Circle page. Students residing outside the U.S. (including those attending an online school in the U.S.) are welcome to participate in CrowdMath. For more information about MIT PRIMES, see MIT PRIMES program details page .
MIT PRIMES opened applications for the 2025 cycle on October 1, 2024. The applications and letters of recommendation must be received by 11:59 pm EST on November 18, 2024. Admission decisions will be made by early January 2025.
Eligibility
To participate in MIT PRIMES, you must be a high school student (or a home schooled student of high school age) living in the Greater Boston area, so that you can come to MIT weekly (late afternoon or evening on a weekday or on weekend) in JanuaryMay and SeptemberDecember. Seniors may apply only to the reading track of the Math section.
Current MIT PRIMES students may reapply to stay in the program. If they reapply for the same section, they submit only an updated questionnaire and do not have to submit solutions of the entrance problem set. Their applications will be evaluated based on their mentor's recommendation.
Students with underprivileged backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. PRIMES makes a special effort to reach out to schools in disadvantaged areas. Sophomores and juniors from urban public high schools of the Boston area are eligible for the PRIMES Circle program. U.S. high school juniors and sophomores living outside Greater Boston are eligible for the PRIMESUSA program. Students residing outside the U.S. (including those attending an online school in the U.S.) are welcome to participate in CrowdMath.
In 2025, MIT PRIMES will narrow its focus to Math and admit new students only to the Math section. There will be no new admission to Computer Science or Computational Biology. The current CS/Bio students might continue in 2025, if their current mentors are available. We intend to expand research offerings in applied mathematics to accommodate students with interests in theoretical computer science or mathematical biology. We strongly encourage our colleagues in EECS and other MIT departments to set up PRIMESlike programs in their departments and would be happy to provide advice and share our experience.
Application
Your application process includes five steps:
1. Choose your track
In 2025 MIT PRIMES will include two tracks:
 Math research
 Math reading
For a general description, see our research areas. The Math section includes a research track and a reading track; you can apply to either track, or to both, but you can be admitted only to one.
2. Open your application
Open your application online. Start by filling out your profile and background questions and naming your recommenders. The system will automatically send them requests for letters of recommendation. Do this as early as possible to give them ample time to submit the letters.
3. Ask for letters of recommendation
Ask for two to three letters of recommendation from people who know you well, preferably from those familiar with advanced mathematics, such as math teachers, counselors at summer math camps, or college professors.
4. Solve the PRIMES 2025 Math Problem Set. It is strongly recommended to write the math solutions using LaTeX. We encourage you to apply if you solve at least 50% of the problems.
Please write down not only answers, but also proofs (and partial solutions/results/ideas if you cannot completely solve the problem). Besides the admission process, your solutions will be used to decide which projects would be most suitable for you if you are accepted to PRIMES.
Upload your solutions as a PDF file. The name of the file must start with your last name, for example, "smithsolutions".
You are allowed to use any resources to solve these problems, except other people's help. This means that you can use calculators, computers, books, and the Internet. However, if you consult books or Internet sites, please give us a reference.
WARNING: Posting these problems on problemsolving websites is strictly forbidden. Applicants who do so will be disqualified, and their parents and recommenders will be notified.
In fairness to all applicants, we ask general public not to post these problems and to notify us of any violation of these rules.
WARNING: AI bots are very likely to “hallucinate” when encountering sophisticated math problems such as the ones on our problem set. If you use them, you might waste a lot of time sorting out wrong “solutions.” If you end up finding a correct solution with the help of AI bots, it would be accepted, but please provide a detailed reference (with prompts), just like you would cite any other source of information on the Internet or in a book. Note that an important purpose of the problem set is to give you a chance to show your ability to think originally and creatively – something that’s essential for future research.
5. Complete your application
Fill out all remaining parts of the application and add a personal statement. In a freeformat statement (12 pages), discuss some of your most memorable/enjoyable math experiences. What type of problems do you like to work on? Explain why you want to participate in PRIMES, what makes you a good candidate, and what are your plans for the future. Feel free to provide any additional information you think might help us get to know you better as a young mathematician.
In your personal statement, we would like to see some stories that reveal your interest in and personal connection with mathematics. We care about the substance of the essay, not the style. We do not recommend using AI tools to write a personal statement, because such tools can provide only generic statements that do not sound personal and lack sincerity.
Make sure to submit your application well ahead of the deadline to avoid any lastminute technical glitches.
Deadline
A complete application must be received by 11:59 pm EST on November 18, 2024.
Admission decisions will be based on the consideration of all components of the application. The admissions process might include an interview. Admission decisions will be made by early January 2025 .
If you are admitted, you will be asked to provide a written permission from your parent/guardian to participate in PRIMES.
There is no application fee.
Preparation
We suggest a list of recommended readings as a preparation for entering PRIMES and as a background for further research. You may find it useful to consult
Math problem sets:
 2011 and solutions
 2012 and solutions
 2013 and solutions
 2014 and solutions
 2015 and solutions
 2016 and solutions

2017
and
solutions
Note : See the summary of student answers to the 2017 openended question. This problem gave rise to the CrowdMath project (joint with the Art of Problem Solving)  2018 and solutions
 2019 and solutions
 2020 and solutions
 2021 and solutions
 2022 and solutions
 2023 and solutions
Why It Makes No Sense to Cheat
PRIMES expects its participants to adhere to MIT rules and standards for honesty and integrity in academic studies. As a result, any cases of plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, cheating, or facilitating academic dishonesty during the application process or during the work at PRIMES may result in immediate disqualification from the program, at the sole discretion of PRIMES. In addition, PRIMES reserves the right to notify a participant's parents, schools, and/or recommenders in the event it determines that a participant did not adhere to these expectations. For explanation of these expectations, see What is Academic Integrity?
Moreover, even if someone gets into PRIMES by cheating, it would immediately become apparent that their background is weaker than expected, and they are not ready for research. This would prompt an additional investigation with serious consequences. By trying to get into PRIMES by cheating, students run very serious risks of exposing their weak background and damaging their college admissions prospects.
Contact
With questions, contact PRIMES Program Director Slava Gerovitch at