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Admissions Do I have a chance to get into MIT?

  1. Oct 5, 2016 #1
    I am currently attending UC Santa Cruz as a freshman majoring in electrical engineering. I want to transfer to MIT to major in nuclear engineering (UCSC like most schools doesn't offer nuclear engineering).

    During high school, I spent most of my time building various devices such as Tesla coils and other high voltage things. During my senior year, I finished the construction and successful operation of my fusion reactor. These projects took most of my time (occasionally three hours or more each day), which meant my grades suffered. I ended high school with a 3.4 GPA, and my college adviser told me that MIT, my dream college, was out of the question. I didn't apply, which is a decision I now regret.

    I ran the first experimental tests with my fusion reactor in April (after college applications were finished) and decided to get professional opinions regarding the results. From my personal email, I contacted the head of nuclear science and engineering (who is also the director of the fusion center) at MIT and kindly asked him to verify my data. To my surprise, he responded. After many emails and additional experimental testing, he agreed that I had observed fusion neutrons. He also cc'd the director of undergraduate nuclear science and engineering. If I decide to submit a transfer application to MIT, both professors are willing to write me supplemental evaluations. I am also in communication with the chair of nuclear engineering at UC Berkeley and the chair of electrical engineering and the chair of physics here at UCSC.

    While MIT accepts junior transfers, they only accept students as sophomores. To not lose a year, I must apply to transfer this year as a freshman. I will have to take chem and bio courses outside of my major at UCSC to qualify for the transfer. If I don't get into MIT, I will be behind in my current major. I will be taking the sat math II and physics subject tests soon. I feel very confident in both. I will also be retaking the ACT in order to improve my score from junior year of high school.

    I want to transfer because my passion is in nuclear science and the facilities at MIT are amazing. I want to become a fusion scientist as I believe fusion is the key to reducing human suffering. As it stands, the transfer acceptance rate is low (less than 5%). I am telling myself that because I built a fusion reactor and will be receiving two recommendation letters from directors of the department I will be applying to, I will have a better chance than 5%, but I know there are applicants with far greater credentials than myself. So far, I believe that I can get a great GPA here at UCSC as most courses I am taking are review from AP Physics and AP Calculus.

    TL;DR: I built a fully functional fusion reactor and will be receiving two recommendation letters from directors of the department I will be applying to at MIT. Do I have a decent chance of getting in as a transfer student?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 5, 2016 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    If you apply you may or may not get in. If you don't apply you won't get in.
  4. Oct 5, 2016 #3


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    Would it keep you from graduating from UCSC in four years?
  5. Oct 6, 2016 #4
    No. I didn't really mean that I will not graduate in four years, just that I will be taking classes that are not required by UCSC. If I don't get into MIT, I may have a couple of extra classes to take during sophomore or junior year, but I am confident I can handle them.

    I realize that asking for people to "chance me" is somewhat ridiculous. I guess I am just looking for someone to tell me I have a decent chance given my background and connections, but I understand that I must provide my own motivation.
  6. Oct 6, 2016 #5
    Don't get me wrong that's a really cool project especially at such a young age and I get you need to say stuff like this to sex up the appeal of the project, but I would be weary calling a Fusor a fusion reactor; even in the approximation that they're like fusion reactors, they're not functional in the sense that they don't hit break-even like a fusion reactor is supposed to do.
  7. Oct 6, 2016 #6
    Are you certain that you have to take Chem and Bio to qualify for the transfer? Certainly, you need those courses to get a degree from MIT but I'm not sure you have to have them before transferring.
  8. Oct 6, 2016 #7
    Dictionary definition of fusion reactor: "a nuclear reactor in which a thermonuclear fusion reaction takes place."

    My device fits those qualifications. By your definition, every fusion effort to date by researchers and universities should be called fusors, but they are not. A fusion reactor does not need to produce net energy to hold its title. It is simply a device that fuses atoms. A fusor is a type of fusion reactor as it usually refers to the inertial electrostatic confinement type.

    The fact that you only comment to incorrectly point out that I am trying to "sex up" the project is not an uncommon asteism that I have observed when posting about my project.

    I called MIT admissions, and they said that the courses were recommended and not required. Given that they only accept 10-20 out of about 500 each year makes me think that those 10-20 have all taken the recommended courses.
  9. Oct 6, 2016 #8
    I've thought about this before myself when thinking of transferring. Thing is, I'm not convinced that every or even most applicants have taken the recommended chem and bio courses before transferring to MIT for the exact reason you've mentioned above. However, I am no expert on transfer admissions. I think that taking those courses shows that you are seriously dedicated to transferring to MIT, but I doubt they're willing to chuck out your application because you, as an EE student, haven't taken a semester of bio. But again, I could be wrong.
  10. Oct 6, 2016 #9
    No fusion reactor currently 'breaks even'.
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