Chances of Getting into MIT as an International Student from India

In summary, the speaker is an 11th grader who is interested in majoring in physics and engineering and is specifically interested in attending MIT, Harvard, or Caltech. They are an international student from India and have been doing research on the admissions process but are still unsure about their chances. They have strong academic achievements and extracurricular activities, including studying Carnatic Music for 8 years, participating in debates and MUNs, and winning a state-level debate competition. They have also taken subject tests and are planning to take the SAT and TOEFL. The speaker believes that their chances of getting into MIT are higher than getting into an IIT in India, but recognizes that acceptance to MIT is still very competitive. They
  • #1
preachingpirate24
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Hey!

I'm a 11th grader right now, and I'm really interested in majoring in physics, and maybe engineering too. Now, I know that it's really hard to get into MIT, Harvard, Caltech, and all those really great institutes with amazing physics undergrad courses (The best in the world apparently, according to Google). I've religiously read everything I found on MIT's mitadmissions blog, and I'm still pretty confused to be honest, since I'm an international student. Now I know that 4 Indians on average get accepted every year for undergrad, but at the same time I can't find the number of people who've applied from India, so I'm finding it really hard to figure out my chances.

I think I have pretty decent ideas for my essay - I've been really passionate about astronomy since I was a child, and I have a ton of stories back then about how I'd ask questions or talk about black holes in 1st grade to a few cool friends I found. And my passion for astronomy, or now physics as a whole, is still alive and kicking. I also love Carnatic Music and I'm really good at it according to my teacher and other acquaintances - I've performed at concerts and turned a lot of heads.

Anyway, here's what I've got to show:

A's all round except for a few B's since 9th, but the dips are in mid terms. I've got 90+/100 for all my finals till now.

I've been studying Carnatic Music for around 8 years at this point, and I can sing pancharatna kritis (really hard songs to sing basically).

I've been debating for years, and I won a state level debate competition this year. I'm also the head of the debate team at my school, and I've trained people who've come to the same competition with me. They didn't get to the finals tho. :(

I've written Trinity's grade 4 exam for the keyboard (73/100). Not that great, I assume. I also passed with distinction in the initial grade.

I also MUN a lot. My school sent me to another city for a MUN at a law school, and I made it through quite easily, even though I didn't win any prizes. I also go to a lot of local MUNs and in my first MUN, because of my performance while in practice sessions, my teacher gave me a P5 nation.

I've written two subject tests - SAT2 Math Level 2 (800/800) and SAT2 Physics (760/800). I'll write my SATs and TOEFL soon.
You get the idea... I was also a semifinalist in this competition from the adi shankara institute of engineering in Kerala, kind of like a science fair, and I presented a project about making Mars colonization easier which took a lot of effort. It was a national competition and it was televised on this TV channel that's really popular in Kerala. Only the finals were shown tho, and I was eliminated in the semis.

I've participated at science fairs, multiple olympiads (only one or two medals tho, and those are for being first or second from my school), taught children who were lagging behind in my school maths, science, English, and performed at concerts (Carnatic Music).

How likely do you think it is that I'd be accepted by MIT if I applied?
 
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  • #2
Are you the fourth best student in the entire country?
 
  • #3
Vanadium 50 said:
Are you the fourth best student in the entire country?
I get where the sass is coming from and I realize that it's near impossible to get there, but I'm also pretty sure that half the people who send their applications to MIT to study there for their undergrad from my country can't express themselves really well, no offense to them lol.

Plus, most of the country doesn't care about going international. Everyone focuses on getting to an IIT. But that's next to impossible too. Even if a 100 people apply from India every year, my chances of getting to MIT would be around 5%, better than IIT's acceptance rate of 1%.

No institute in my country would take my extra curricular activities seriously at all - and that's why I'm here, asking y'all what chances I have right now. :I
 
  • #4
niranjanreji said:
Even if a 100 people apply from India every year, my chances of getting to MIT would be around 5%, better than IIT's acceptance rate of 1%.

So MIT is a safety school?
 
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  • #5
Vanadium 50 said:
So MIT is a safety school?
Of course it's not a safety school. It's at the top of my list. If I get in there, I'd be really glad.
I'm not even going to aim to get to an IIT - there are other options like going to an IISER or NIT, but they're not as great as options in the US like Harvard and Caltech.
 
  • #6
niranjanreji said:
that's why I'm here, asking y'all what chances I have right now
Nobody here can say one way or the other. Or, maybe I should say, nothing anyone here says matters. If you really want to know if you will be accepted by MIT (or any other school) you have to apply and then wait and see.
 
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  • #7
Is there anything I can do now to help my chances?
 
  • #8
Getting into one of the top PhD programs in Physics is more straightforward than getting into a top program as an undergrad. The top programs as an undergrad will always be a roll of the dice and somewhat long shots. In contrast, do the following and I'd estimate at least an 80% chance of getting into each top 10 grad program to which you apply:

1. Attend a top 100 Physics undergrad school in the US
2. Earn a 3.95 or better GPA majoring in Physics (BS degree)
3. Score in the 85th Percentile or better on the PGRE
4. Get into research by your second year and contribute in such a way that you co-author 2 or more papers in the peer-reviewed journals by the time you apply to grad schools
5. Earn such respect from your research supervisors and teachers that you have 2-3 letter recommendation writers that put you in the top 1% of students they've worked with

Easy? No. Straightforward? Definitely.

I can offer no similar recipe for admissions into BS programs, because unless you are an underrepresented minority, there are no brief qualifications I can articulate that improve your odds to better than 50% at top schools.
 
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  • #9
To the OP: read @Dr. Courtney post above very carefully. Assuming your goals are to get into a physics PhD, look at his list. All the things he mentions require hard work, but can be done just about anywhere ("top 100 physics undergrad" covers a lot of ground beyond MIT, Harvard, and Caltech).

Be known by your work, not by where you do that work.
 
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  • #10
niranjanreji said:
Even if a 100 people apply from India every year, my chances of getting to MIT would be around 5%, better than IIT's acceptance rate of 1%.
(1) I would be VERY surprised if so few people applied from India every year. (2) You are giving WAY too much weight to where you do your undergraduate work. Read post #8 several more times.
 
  • #11
To the OP: You appear to be more obsessed into getting to MIT, etc... rather than the goal of being a physicist. Getting to be the latter does NOT automatically mean that you have to get your degrees ONLY from the institutions that you have been obsessing over. I mean, do you think you'd be seriously hampered if you "only" get your physics PhD from, say, the unknown University of Michigan, or the flimsy Johns Hopkins, or run-of-the-mill U. of Wisconsin, or Micky Mouse school UC Santa Barbara? Oh, the SHAME of getting a physics degree from U. of Illinois or SUNY Stony Brook, of all places!

Remove those blinders attached to your head, and look at the FACT that there are numerous schools here in the US (and also elsewhere) where you can get first rate undergraduate physics education, and also first-rate graduate education, BEYOND just those name-brand schools that you have been obsessing over. It isn't healthy.

Zz.
 
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  • #12
OP, I don't think you've thought this through. If MIT enrolls ~4 students a year, it means they admit around 6. So, if you're in the top ten students in India, you have a pretty good chance, and if you're not, you don't.

If just the top ten students apply, it still holds: if you're in the top ten students in India, you have a pretty good chance, and if you're not, you don't.

If the next 90 students also apply, it still holds: if you're in the top ten students in India, you have a pretty good chance, and if you're not, you don't.

If the next 900 students also apply, it still holds: if you're in the top ten students in India, you have a pretty good chance, and if you're not, you don't.

If the next 9000 students also apply, it still holds: if you're in the top ten students in India, you have a pretty good chance, and if you're not, you don't.

The total number of applicants is irrelevant. (And the answer to the question "What if the Top 10 don't apply?" is "MIT will accept four students from somewhere else.")

It sounds like you are among the top students in your school, which is commendable. But there are 1.3 million schools in India. Maybe a better way to think of it is that there are ~25 million 18-year olds in India. If you are in the top 0.1%, you're in a group of 25,000. That group is 15x larger than the number of people MIT admits worldwide.

Dr. Courtney and ZapperZ have given you some really good advice. You should think about it. Further, you seem to think of getting into MIT as an end unto itself and not a means to an end. I can tell you very few MIT students think this way.
 
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  • #13
Vanadium 50 said:
OP, I don't think you've thought this through. If MIT enrolls ~4 students a year, it means they admit around 6. So, if you're in the top ten students in India, you have a pretty good chance, and if you're not, you don't.

If just the top ten students apply, it still holds: if you're in the top ten students in India, you have a pretty good chance, and if you're not, you don't.

If the next 90 students also apply, it still holds: if you're in the top ten students in India, you have a pretty good chance, and if you're not, you don't.

If the next 900 students also apply, it still holds: if you're in the top ten students in India, you have a pretty good chance, and if you're not, you don't.

If the next 9000 students also apply, it still holds: if you're in the top ten students in India, you have a pretty good chance, and if you're not, you don't.

The total number of applicants is irrelevant. (And the answer to the question "What if the Top 10 don't apply?" is "MIT will accept four students from somewhere else.")

It sounds like you are among the top students in your school, which is commendable. But there are 1.3 million schools in India. Maybe a better way to think of it is that there are ~25 million 18-year olds in India. If you are in the top 0.1%, you're in a group of 25,000. That group is 15x larger than the number of people MIT admits worldwide.

Dr. Courtney and ZapperZ have given you some really good advice. You should think about it. Further, you seem to think of getting into MIT as an end unto itself and not a means to an end. I can tell you very few MIT students think this way.
ZapperZ said:
To the OP: You appear to be more obsessed into getting to MIT, etc... rather than the goal of being a physicist. Getting to be the latter does NOT automatically mean that you have to get your degrees ONLY from the institutions that you have been obsessing over. I mean, do you think you'd be seriously hampered if you "only" get your physics PhD from, say, the unknown University of Michigan, or the flimsy Johns Hopkins, or run-of-the-mill U. of Wisconsin, or Micky Mouse school UC Santa Barbara? Oh, the SHAME of getting a physics degree from U. of Illinois or SUNY Stony Brook, of all places!

Remove those blinders attached to your head, and look at the FACT that there are numerous schools here in the US (and also elsewhere) where you can get first rate undergraduate physics education, and also first-rate graduate education, BEYOND just those name-brand schools that you have been obsessing over. It isn't healthy.

Zz.
Thanks for the advice.

I'm obsessing over it because MIT and Harvard are need blind + offer financial aid based on need + are easier to get into than an IIT. My family really couldn't afford to pay for another college which doesn't offer need based aid which is what motivates me to aim for this. I'll try to find some other options. Thanks
 
  • #14
Vanadium 50 said:
OP, I don't think you've thought this through. If MIT enrolls ~4 students a year, it means they admit around 6. So, if you're in the top ten students in India, you have a pretty good chance, and if you're not, you don't.

If just the top ten students apply, it still holds: if you're in the top ten students in India, you have a pretty good chance, and if you're not, you don't.

If the next 90 students also apply, it still holds: if you're in the top ten students in India, you have a pretty good chance, and if you're not, you don't.

If the next 900 students also apply, it still holds: if you're in the top ten students in India, you have a pretty good chance, and if you're not, you don't.

If the next 9000 students also apply, it still holds: if you're in the top ten students in India, you have a pretty good chance, and if you're not, you don't.

The total number of applicants is irrelevant. (And the answer to the question "What if the Top 10 don't apply?" is "MIT will accept four students from somewhere else.")

It sounds like you are among the top students in your school, which is commendable. But there are 1.3 million schools in India. Maybe a better way to think of it is that there are ~25 million 18-year olds in India. If you are in the top 0.1%, you're in a group of 25,000. That group is 15x larger than the number of people MIT admits worldwide.

Dr. Courtney and ZapperZ have given you some really good advice. You should think about it. Further, you seem to think of getting into MIT as an end unto itself and not a means to an end. I can tell you very few MIT students think this way.
I've seen Indian people reply to questions related to this on the web and some of them didn't really have anything that made them stand out. They barely had any extracurriculars but had great grades is all, and they got selected.

First answer, Awnit Singh

And also, they don't sort by region do they? There's a cap on international students but they say they don't sort by region on their website, and they also say we're not compared with students from our region, which explains how the other Indian got in.

I'm going to study for an other alternative, sure, but I'm still going to apply for undergrad and see if I get lucky tbh. And if there is any way all of you can help me out, please do! Thanks.
 
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  • #15
niranjanreji said:
Thanks for the advice.

I'm obsessing over it because MIT and Harvard are need blind + offer financial aid based on need + are easier to get into than an IIT. My family really couldn't afford to pay for another college which doesn't offer need based aid which is what motivates me to aim for this. I'll try to find some other options. Thanks

To the OP:

The issue is that even though MIT and Harvard are need blind, they only admit a small percentage of all applicants, whether they be American or international applicants. So even those with the most impressive grades may not be accepted.

I am aware of how difficult it is for Indian students are to be admitted to IIT -- the situation is similar for Japanese students to be admitted to the University of Tokyo or other top schools (I am half-Japanese and half of my relatives live there).

I have a few questions for you:

1. Are there other universities in India that are need blind that you could apply to?

2. Have you thought about applying to universities other than the US? For example, schools in the UK, Canada, or Australia? Universities there are far less expensive than those in the US, and the quality of the education is similar.
 
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  • #16
StatGuy2000 said:
To the OP:

The issue is that even though MIT and Harvard are need blind, they only admit a small percentage of all applicants, whether they be American or international applicants. So even those with the most impressive grades may not be accepted.

I am aware of how difficult it is for Indian students are to be admitted to IIT -- the situation is similar for Japanese students to be admitted to the University of Tokyo or other top schools (I am half-Japanese and half of my relatives live there).

I have a few questions for you:

1. Are there other universities in India that are need blind that you could apply to?

2. Have you thought about applying to universities other than the US? For example, schools in the UK, Canada, or Australia? Universities there are far less expensive than those in the US, and the quality of the education is similar.
Can you give me a few examples of schools in other countries that are need blind and offer need based aid? That would really help. And yeah, I have options like IISERs in my country but MIT is where I really want to end up.
 
  • #17
niranjanreji said:
I'm going to study for an other alternative, sure

"Gonna" is not a word. If you want to - or even "wanna" - get into a top university, you should get in the habit of writing properly.

niranjanreji said:
They barely had any extracurriculars but had great grades is all, and they got selected.

Your link (and by the way, I can't see anything more pointless than a discussion on PF duplicating one on Quora) says the exact opposite. "what I found to be important, and what I believe many admission officers look for is...What you do outside school"

You seem to be ignoring anything that you don't want to hear. That alone makes you a poor fit for MIT, as well as less likely to get in.

The example that would be funniest if it weren't so sad is your absurd claim that it's easier to get into MIT than an IIT. There are more IIT institutes than Indian students at MIT.
 
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  • #18
Vanadium 50 said:
"Gonna" is not a word. If you want to - or even "wanna" - get into a top university, you should get in the habit of writing properly.
Your link (and by the way, I can't see anything more pointless than a discussion on PF duplicating one on Quora) says the exact opposite. "what I found to be important, and what I believe many admission officers look for is...What you do outside school"

You seem to be ignoring anything that you don't want to hear. That alone makes you a poor fit for MIT, as well as less likely to get in.

The example that would be funniest if it weren't so sad is your absurd claim that it's easier to get into MIT than an IIT. There are more IIT institutes than Indian students at MIT.

It IS easier to get into MIT instead of an IIT. Just because we have a lot of IITs here doesn't mean it's easier, we also have a much larger population competing for seats at these institutes.

But fair enough. I get it, it's hard, and I probably won't get selected. Thanks for your time.
 
  • #19
niranjanreji said:
It IS easier to get into MIT instead of an IIT.

You keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better. (But do you really think the four students at MIT are there because they couldn't get into an IIT? Really?)

While I think ranking is overblown, the QS ranking has MIT as #1. IITB is #162. That should tell you something about desirability.
 
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  • #20
Vanadium 50 said:
You keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better. (But do you really think the four students at MIT are there because they couldn't get into an IIT? Really?)

While I think ranking is overblown, the QS ranking has MIT as #1. IITB is #162. That should tell you something about desirability.

@Vanadium 50 , what you fail to take into account is that IIT schools are similar to universities in Japan (where half of my family lives), where admittance to the most prestigious schools (like the University of Tokyo) is contingent on highly competitive examinations and only those who score in the top 1-10% on the exams are admitted.

If you look at the QS rankings, the University of Tokyo is ranked #23. That doesn't mean that somehow it is easier to be admitted into the University of Tokyo than MIT or Stanford (#1 and #2, respectively).
 
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  • #21
niranjanreji said:
Can you give me a few examples of schools in other countries that are need blind and offer need based aid? That would really help. And yeah, I have options like IISERs in my country but MIT is where I really want to end up.

Canadian universities (which I am most familiar with) do not offer need-blind admission to any international students (financial aid is strictly limited to domestic Canadian students, although there are international scholarships available if I'm not mistaken).

However, as far as I'm aware, universities in Germany have abandoned tuition fees for both domestic and international students, so in essence you do not have to pay anything if you are admitted.

Here is an essay that discusses these matters:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quanzh...national-students-here-they-are/#4cfab25c4a9a

It's also worth keeping in mind that there are 2 universities that are need-blind outside of the US:

1. New York University Abu Dhabi
2. Yale-NUS College, Singapore

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Need-...eet_full_demonstrated_need_for_all_applicants
 
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  • #22
Are these nitpicking on which ones are more difficult than the other to get into has any meaningful outcome out of this whole thing? We are getting into the useless metric that the OP is playing, and it is getting nowhere and a total waste of time. If someone thinks there's really a value in all of this, I want to hear it.

The problem here is that people think that unless one gets into these prestigious schools at the undergraduate level, then one's career or ambition to be a physicist is shot. THIS IS FALSE! (there, is that clear enough?). It is a wrong, silly, and misguided impression.

What one does need is to get to a well-known graduate school, or at least, go to a graduate school and be a student of a well-known physicist in a particular area (pedigree). THAT is more significant than the obsession of getting into brand-name schools at the undergraduate level. Unfortunately, many students starting out, including the OP, does not realize that.

In the Chicago area, I have personally seen undergraduates from "very less well known schools" such as DePaul University, U. of Illinois-Chicago, IIT (as in Illinois Inst. of Tech.) going to prestigious schools such as Northwestern, Princeton, U. of Chicago, UC-Berkeley, etc. for their graduate studies.

We need to stop "feeding" the OP with such nonsense.

Zz.
 
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  • #23
ZapperZ said:
Are these nitpicking on which ones are more difficult than the other to get into has any meaningful outcome out of this whole thing? We are getting into the useless metric that the OP is playing, and it is getting nowhere and a total waste of time. If someone thinks there's really a value in all of this, I want to hear it.

The problem here is that people think that unless one gets into these prestigious schools at the undergraduate level, then one's career or ambition to be a physicist is shot. THIS IS FALSE! (there, is that clear enough?). It is a wrong, silly, and misguided impression.

What one does need is to get to a well-known graduate school, or at least, go to a graduate school and be a student of a well-known physicist in a particular area (pedigree). THAT is more significant than the obsession of getting into brand-name schools at the undergraduate level. Unfortunately, many students starting out, including the OP, does not realize that.

In the Chicago area, I have personally seen undergraduates from "very less well known schools" such as DePaul University, U. of Illinois-Chicago, IIT (as in Illinois Inst. of Tech.) going to prestigious schools such as Northwestern, Princeton, U. of Chicago, UC-Berkeley, etc. for their graduate studies.

We need to stop "feeding" the OP with such nonsense.

Zz.

@ZapperZ , I'm not sure if your post is directed at me, but I think what you need to keep in mind is that the OP's primary concern is affordability. Hence why he is looking into schools that offer need-blind admission for international students (e.g. Harvard, MIT, etc.).

The issue is that the even the less well-known schools in the US you mention above can be very costly in terms of tuition, which I believe he mentioned that the OP and his family cannot afford.
 
  • #24
StatGuy2000 said:
@ZapperZ , I'm not sure if your post is directed at me, but I think what you need to keep in mind is that the OP's primary concern is affordability, hence why he is looking into schools that offer need-blind admission for international students.

The issue is that the even the less well-known schools in the US you mention above can be very costly in terms of tuition, which I believe he mentioned that the OP and his family cannot afford.

I'm aware of that, but the discussion that "MIT is easier to get into than IIT" is also irrelevant, regardless on whether MIT has a "need-blind admission", considering that it is already horribly difficult to get into in the first place AND the chances of getting financial aid makes it even lower! That's why I said that this whole discussion on which one is easier to get into his meaningless. How does that help the OP other than give the acutely-misleading impression?

My point here is that you can get your undergraduate degree elsewhere, even in India, and then aim for the good schools for graduate work, be in in the US, UK, rest of Europe, Canada, etc. IF your final goal is to get a PhD in physics and increase your chances of working as a physicist. THAT is the GOAL. Getting into MIT isn't! The OP has turned a MEANS into an ENDS!

Zz.
 
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  • #25
StatGuy2000 said:
what you fail to take into account is that IIT schools are similar to universities in Japan (where half of my life lives), where admittance to the most prestigious schools (like the University of Tokyo) is contingent on highly competitive examinations and only those who score in the top 1-10% on the exams are admitted.

I am not failing to take that into account at all. IITs enrolls over 10,000 students from India. MIT enrolls about 4. It's not the case that the IIT's enroll numbers 1 to 10,000 and MIT is left with 10,001, 10,002, 10,003 and 10,004. MIT is not a safety school for those who can't make it into an IIT., (It's admissions is different, but I would argue that it is a lot easier to get "coached" for a single test than for the MIT process)

MIT admits about one student per year from japan. Do you think this one lucky student was not able to get into the University of Tokyo and that MIT was his or her safety school?

ZapperZ said:
THAT is the GOAL. Getting into MIT isn't!

I don't think that is his goal. Look at what he writes. I think his goal is to get into MIT and then let the magic happen. The irony is that this makes him ill-suited for MIT and that the admissions process is designed not to admit people who think this way.
 
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  • #26
I agree with ZZ. There are many affordable means to the end of becoming a physicist. The idea that MIT is more realistic than affordable local options is laughable.
 
  • #27
Vanadium 50 said:
I am not failing to take that into account at all. IITs enrolls over 10,000 students from India. MIT enrolls about 4. It's not the case that the IIT's enroll numbers 1 to 10,000 and MIT is left with 10,001, 10,002, 10,003 and 10,004. MIT is not a safety school for those who can't make it into an IIT., (It's admissions is different, but I would argue that it is a lot easier to get "coached" for a single test than for the MIT process)

MIT admits about one student per year from japan. Do you think this one lucky student was not able to get into the University of Tokyo and that MIT was his or her safety school?

Look, I agree with you that applying to MIT as a safety school is absurd. At the same time, you are failing to take into the question of "out of how many".

You state that IITs enroll over 10,000 students from India per year, whereas MIT enrolls about 4. The question is out of how many. How many students in India would even bother applying to MIT? I think it would be reasonable to presume that number would be far smaller than the number of Indian students applying to IIT.

In fact, according to the following article, almost 1 in 3 Indian families has motivated their children to prepare for IIT (this in a nation with a population of 1.339 billion), and more than 500,000 apply to one of the IIT campuses.

https://idreamcareer.com/blog/game-changing-rules-for-iit-admissions
 
  • #28
One thing missed by many folks dispensing advice to potential applicants is that there is a significant opportunity cost for each application for a selective school. I've mentored a number of outstanding students through the application process and one consistent observation is diminishing levels of application effort beyond 4-5 applications. There gets to be lots of cut and paste and carelessness in the application process rather than carefully crafted responses to important questions. I think most applicants are better served by a full level of focus and the highest level of care preparing 4-5 applications for schools where they have a realistic shot at admission (and needed funding) rather than 10 applications including several schools that are long shots.

Each hour spent on applications for schools like Harvard and MIT that are long shots is an hour taken away from preparing applications for schools that are more realistic possibilities (and realistic scholarships).
 
  • #29
StatGuy2000 said:
At the same time, you are failing to take into the question of "out of how many".

Addressed in post #12.

The denominator doesn't matter. It would if acceptance were a random process.

If 5 people try out for oboe in the New York Philharmonic and 10 try out for the East Cupcake Community Orchestra, it does not mean it is harder to get a gig at East Cupcake than the Phil.
 
  • #30
Dr. Courtney said:
I agree with ZZ. There are many affordable means to the end of becoming a physicist. The idea that MIT is more realistic than affordable local options is laughable.
I'm not saying its more realistic.
StatGuy2000 said:
Canadian universities (which I am most familiar with) do not offer need-blind admission to any international students (financial aid is strictly limited to domestic Canadian students, although there are international scholarships available if I'm not mistaken).

However, as far as I'm aware, universities in Germany have abandoned tuition fees for both domestic and international students, so in essence you do not have to pay anything if you are admitted.

Here is an essay that discusses these matters:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quanzh...national-students-here-they-are/#4cfab25c4a9a

It's also worth keeping in mind that there are 2 universities that are need-blind outside of the US:

1. New York University Abu Dhabi
2. Yale-NUS College, Singapore

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Need-...eet_full_demonstrated_need_for_all_applicants
Thank you for being one of the only people here actually helping me out.
Vanadium 50 said:
I am not failing to take that into account at all. IITs enrolls over 10,000 students from India. MIT enrolls about 4. It's not the case that the IIT's enroll numbers 1 to 10,000 and MIT is left with 10,001, 10,002, 10,003 and 10,004. MIT is not a safety school for those who can't make it into an IIT., (It's admissions is different, but I would argue that it is a lot easier to get "coached" for a single test than for the MIT process)

MIT admits about one student per year from japan. Do you think this one lucky student was not able to get into the University of Tokyo and that MIT was his or her safety school?
I don't think that is his goal. Look at what he writes. I think his goal is to get into MIT and then let the magic happen. The irony is that this makes him ill-suited for MIT and that the admissions process is designed not to admit people who think this way.
Okay, how many times do I have to say this?

I'm not aiming solely for MIT. I'm not desperate to get into MIT. I'm trying to say that I will still try to get into MIT, however bad the odds are.

I've tried coaching. You might think that it's that simple and all I need to do is sit for a few classes every week, but you completely fail to realize that my competition is immense. Your previous argument went ahead and assumed that MIT only admits the best from India, while IIT takes the remainder. This isn't true in any way at all. Most of my competition, almost all of the best students in the country end up at IIT. And if 4% (international student acceptance rate) of Indian undergrad students are admitted to MIT, then the number of applicants should be around 100 to 200 which gives me better chances than competing against all of the best people in my country at once in a competitive exam that is designed to strip your dignity down to nothing.

I'm not saying I think I have a great chance of being selected by MIT. I really, really don't. And again, I have other options and other institutes I'm going to try to study at. "Designed not to admit people this way"? You're saying that because I'm going to "let the magic happen"? Jesus. I'm prepared to study hard for four years if I get there. I know I'll have to work hard. But I've got to get there in the first place.

Conclusion? I'll try. But I know I have almost nonexistent chances of getting there.
 
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  • #31
On the topic of whether it's more difficult to get into MIT or IIT: I feel like the comparison is quite unfair given how different the admission criteria are for the two schools. I would, however, still argue that it is substantially more difficult being admitted to MIT (at least as an Indian student) than it is to IIT. Here's why:

1) Even though there are many more students who apply to IITs, a lot of them apply without any training for the exams whatsoever. Not only that, I have seen people who do quite poorly on their high school exams (never getting anything better than a C) apply to IITs. I do not have statistics to back this up, of course, but this is what I saw majority of the students in my high school do. This makes me think that a lot of students apply to IITs even though they're quite sure they will not get in. I doubt this is true for applicants who apply to MIT.

2) Reiterating what Dr. Courtney mentioned. It is quite straightforward getting into an IIT. You really just need to study for an exam and get above a certain score in your 10th and 12th finals, I believe. However, it's very possible for you to have the perfect GPA, SAT scores and tonnes of extracurricular activities and still be rejected by MIT.

To the OP: I would listen to what everyone is saying above regarding the importance of the school you pursue your undergraduate degree in. I had a very similar mindset to yours when I was applying for undergraduate studies (wanted to get my education at a top US university) but after getting my degree from a US school which is nowhere near top (around 600-700 by ARWU globally and I don't think it's even ranked by QS), I can tell you that it really does not matter which school you come to the US for your undergraduate education as long as it satisfies the following criteria (I say this also because I have seen students from my school be admitted to top Ph.D programs):

1) Can you afford it?
In terms of whether you can afford it or not, many universities in Texas offer substantial scholarships to international students, especially UTA and UTD and I'd highly encourage you to look at them. Even if they do not cover all of your expenses, you could always get departmental scholarships and an campus job and pay for the rest of your expenses.

2) Does it have the resources that you need in order to satisfy your career goals?
As noted by Dr. Courtney above, all you really need to accomplish at the undergraduate level in order to get into a top Ph.D program are: 1) high GPA, 2) high PGRE scores 3) glowing hot recommendation letters 4) co-author publications.

The thing you want to look for in your undergraduate school then is the people in the Department of Physics and whether there are a decent number of professors who are active in research. (This is more important for international students, I feel, since we are not eligible for most REU programs.) If that is true, then all that you really need to do is get good grades, do great research and you will probably get into a top school for your Ph.D. This obviously will not be easy, but you chose Physics, you should know this already. :-)
 
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  • #32
Vanadium 50 said:
Addressed in post #12.

The denominator doesn't matter. It would if acceptance were a random process.

If 5 people try out for oboe in the New York Philharmonic and 10 try out for the East Cupcake Community Orchestra, it does not mean it is harder to get a gig at East Cupcake than the Phil.

First of all, getting admitted into the top schools in the US (such as MIT, Harvard, Stanford, etc.) as an undergraduate student is a random process, if we make the additional assumption that all applicants are more or less equal in terms of qualifications.

After all, the reason that these schools admit so few students is that they only enroll a limited number of students per year (far fewer, I imagine, than most other colleges/universities, and factoring in the number of spaces taken up by legacy students, etc.), but the number of people who apply across the US and internationally is high and has grown over the years (due to historical reputation, entry into elites, among other reasons).
 
  • #33
StatGuy2000 said:
they only enroll a limited number of students per year (far fewer, I imagine, than most other colleges/universities
If Harvard et al. were to use some of their huge endowments to expand to the size of, say, The Ohio State University...
 
  • #34
StatGuy2000 said:
First of all, getting admitted into the top schools in the US (such as MIT, Harvard, Stanford, etc.) as an undergraduate student is a random process, if we make the additional assumption that all applicants are more or less equal in terms of qualifications.

I don't think that premise holds. I don't think you believe it does either, because taking it to its logical conclusion, your advice would be "Relax. There's nothing you can do. It's random."
 
  • #35
jtbell said:
If Harvard et al. were to use some of their huge endowments to expand to the size of, say, The Ohio State University...

It would cover a mere 6 years of Ohio State's operations, which is $7-7.5B per year.

Spending ivided by the number of students (it's not really "spending per student") at The Ohio State University is about $100,000 per year. The equivalent number for Harvard is $200,000 per year.
 

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