Source: MIT Admissions blog, Apr 2012
MIT is MIT entirely because of the people here. For maybe the first time in your life, all of your peers will be as smart as or smarter than you, and just as willing to work hard. In high school, you might have been defined by your nerdiness and intelligence.
When suddenly everyone around you is just as nerdy and just as intelligent, you start to discover new layers of your personality and your relationships with other people. You stop defining yourself by your grades and start to strive to be a better, more interesting person in other ways.
Maybe the most important thing you will learn at MIT is how to handle failure in a constructive way. You will learn just how big a role luck plays in success, and you will learn the importance of hard work, persistence, and good friends.
You will push what you thought your limits were, reassess your priorities, and learn how to stay happy when things don’t consistently work out.
MIT makes you resilient; it teaches you how to accurately assess obstacles, and it gives you the confidence to take risks.