First-year Essay Evaluation: Non-Native English Speakers/ESL Students

Incoming first-year undergraduate MIT students, including students whose primary academic language is not English, should take the online FEE over the summer.

When you register for the online FEE, you will be asked if English is your first language, and if not, whether you speak and write English as fluently as you speak and write your first language.

After the online FEE is scored, staff in the Program in English Language Studies (ELS) will review the essays of non-native English speaking students who receive scores of “CI-HW Required”. ELS Staff will determine whether a student must take a CI-HW (Foundational Writing) subject, or whether they must take 21G.222/21W.222 or 21G.220/21W.220, which are Foundational Writing classes specifically designed for bilingual students from different pedagogical, rhetorical, and language backgrounds.

IMPORTANT: Students who do not take the FEE in the summer are not assured a place in 21G.222/21W.222 in the fall; only students who receive a recommendation for the class based on their FEE results will have priority.

Students whose primary academic language is not English who do not take the online FEE over the summer (and who do not submit exempting AP/IB scores) must take the English Diagnostic Review (EDR) instead of the Make-Up FEE. The EDR is offered at the same time as the Make-Up FEE, and includes the same essay topics, with the addition of an oral interview component. This year, the Make-Up FEE and the EDR will be held during IAP 2022, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have any questions, please email

Additional information about MIT’s English Language Studies Program is available.