Has anyone here been to Harvard?

Harvard university is the single most prestigious college in the entire world. Only about 5% of applicants are accepted because it's requirements are so staggeringly high. Not to mention full time tuition can cost >$250,000 for a bachelors degree. And their graduate schools are even costlier. Has anyone here been to Harvard university, Yale, Princeton, MIT, or any other ivy-league college? Harvard's alumni include many of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world. Such as Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Ben Bernanke, and so forth. Is it true that Harvard requires a GPA of almost 4.0 and an SAT score of 2200/2400? The requirements to these schools are so high and restrictive, that fewer than 5% of applicants are accepted. Is the coursework at these colleges more difficult compared to other schools? Last edited: Answers and Replies Pengwuino Gold Member I know one of the math guys is an MIT grad. I think it's two-fish but I'm not sure. Harvard and MIT and the likes do take in the cream of the crop, but there is no strict GPA/SAT requirement as far as I know. I think whoever I'm thinking of on this forum that went to MIT will have something to say about coursework at MIT compared to Harvard though. I know one of the math guys is an MIT grad. I think it's two-fish but I'm not sure. Harvard and MIT and the likes do take in the cream of the crop, but there is no strict GPA/SAT requirement as far as I know. I think whoever I'm thinking of on this forum that went to MIT will have something to say about coursework at MIT compared to Harvard though. MIT primarily focuses on physics/math, engineering, science, and technology, which is why most of the geniuses and brainiacs in the academic world can be found there. I believe I read somewhere that Harvard/MIT requires a GPA of almost 4.0, and a minimum SAT score of 2200 out of a "perfect" score of 2400. As well as a comparable score on the ACT. Very few people score above 2000 on the SAT. And every year, only three or four people get a perfect score on the test, out of millions of the high school graduates who take it. For some reason, I was never given the SAT upon my HS graduation. I might score average/above average on the reading and writing segments, but I assure you that I would get a miserable score on the math part. My math skills are abysmal! Not to mention that you are not given enough time to complete the test, and are "rushed" through it. Most of the students going to the "prestigious" colleges come from families which are very wealthy. Sometimes they give the school a$500,000 donation and they'll immediately accept their kid. Regardless of how he did in high school.

Pengwuino
Gold Member
MIT primarily focuses on physics/math, engineering, science, and technology, which is why most of the geniuses and brainiacs in the academic world can be found there.

No they aren't. I personally can't name a single big name at MIT. That's not to say there are none, I just have a horrible memory :tongue2: .

On a more serious note, the greatest minds are scattered throughout the world. Take a look, find the biggest names in physics and look at where they are at. They'll be at many many different universities.

Most of the students going to the "prestigious" colleges come from families which are very wealthy. Sometimes they give the school a $500,000 donation and they'll immediately accept their kid. Regardless of how he did in high school. Do you have any proof to back this up? This was a nice thought when I was a 14 year old thinking about college, but I've yet to hear of any evidence clearly showing this. No they aren't. I personally can't name a single big name at MIT. That's not to say there are none, I just have a horrible memory :tongue2: . On a more serious note, the greatest minds are scattered throughout the world. Take a look, find the biggest names in physics and look at where they are at. They'll be at many many different universities. Do you have any proof to back this up? This was a nice thought when I was a 14 year old thinking about college, but I've yet to hear of any evidence clearly showing this. If you have enough money, you can buy practically anything. Even your way into college. Do you have any proof to back this up? This was a nice thought when I was a 14 year old thinking about college, but I've yet to hear of any evidence clearly showing this. Unless someone actually does a statistics on this, I don't think so. I know someone from Brown and he tells me there are quite a few big donors who attend Brown. He himself doesn't come from a rich family since he has like 4 brothers, but I think his dad is an alumni from Brown Math Dept. Check your competitions http://talk.collegeconfidential.com...r-seen-someone-get-accepted-into-cornell.html http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/uc-transfers/912252-lowest-gpa-admitted-you-have-ever-heard.html Also I found this http://web.mit.edu/ir/cds/2005/c.html Vanadium 50 Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Education Advisor I went to MIT. None of my friends were from families that were what I would call rich, but a few were well-off. That is, their families' money was new and earned, not old and inherited. Nobody was making million-dollar donations to anyone or anything. There were big names at MIT: Guth, Chomsky, Ting, Jaffe, Thomas, Friedman, Kendell, Shull. Harvard doesn't have any GPA or SAT requirements - if you have a diploma or GED and took the SAT and three subject tests, you can apply. However, they turn down 4.0 (unweighted) students, valedictorians, and perfect SAT scorers every year. You don't need perfect grades to get in, and perfect grades won't necessarily get you in. Everyone applying has the highest grades in the hardest classes and very high test scores - you need a lot more than that to get in. As for buying your way in, Meg Whitman got her two sons into Princeton for the price of a$30,000,000 dorm (both of whom got kicked out of said dorm). I think one of them graduated; both had horrible academic reputations and were, by all accounts, a-holes.

George W. Bush graduated from Yale and then Harvard business school. Either he didn't get in on merit or he's much smarter than he's letting on.

More to the point, you have to be an exceptional student to get into a university like Harvard, becuase that's where all the top students in the world want to go (so the competition is very tough). Ivy league schools do have very many excellent researchers, but that's not to say they have all of them, there are plenty top professors elsewhere. Ivy league universities probably have more top researches in general.

About the level of difficulty of the Ivy league universities, people who went there give conflicting opinions. What is undeniable is that you are surrounded by other brilliant students and staff, which must play a very big part in your education and their prestige.

Mapes
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Is the coursework at these colleges more difficult compared to other schools?

MIT's OpenCourseWare Project puts MIT coursework online, so you can compare for yourself.

Harvard university is the single most prestigious college in the entire world. Only about 5% of applicants are accepted because it's requirements are so staggeringly high. Not to mention full time tuition can cost >$250,000 for a bachelors degree. And their graduate schools are even costlier. Has anyone here been to Harvard university, Yale, Princeton, MIT, or any other ivy-league college? Harvard's alumni include many of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world. Such as Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Ben Bernanke, and so forth. Is it true that Harvard requires a GPA of almost 4.0 and an SAT score of 2200/2400? The requirements to these schools are so high and restrictive, that fewer than 5% of applicants are accepted. Is the coursework at these colleges more difficult compared to other schools? I did not but just pointing out MIT isn't an ivy league college, actually from what I hear they hate being compared to the ivy's. I had a friend that went to one of the top 10 high schools in the nation and had a 97 average with an SAT score of 2360, 5s in all his AP exams, and ridiculous amounts of extracurriculars and summer programs, and yet he still got rejected by Harvard so I guess it was a "bad roll of the die" for him. It is absolutely not true that these school require a 4.0 to get in. If you look at their admissions pages they explicitly state this. IIRC, the average GPA for admitted MIT freshman is ~3.8 and average SAT scores is ~2200. So for every 4.0, 2400 student they admit, there's also a 3.6, 2000 student they admit (hypothetically anyway). Scores and grades are by no means THE criteria by which top schools base their admittance. There are students who apply early to MIT and CalTech and get immediately accepted by one and rejected flat off by the other. One thing that they try to teach you at MIT is to hate prestige. I'm not quite sure what tuition cost has to do with anything; my school costs ~$50k/year and is ranked about 80-90 places below top schools.

Don't get the mistaken impression that only the top minds go to Harvard or MIT. As someone said, they're everywhere. I would say those universities, and others, simply have a higher concentration of top minds.

MIT primarily focuses on physics/math, engineering, science, and technology, which is why most of the geniuses and brainiacs in the academic world can be found there. I believe I read somewhere that Harvard/MIT requires a GPA of almost 4.0, and a minimum SAT score of 2200 out of a "perfect" score of 2400. As well as a comparable score on the ACT. Very few people score above 2000 on the SAT. And every year, only three or four people get a perfect score on the test, out of millions of the high school graduates who take it.

Can you back up any of these statements with factual evidence? Statistically speaking, a small fraction of the world's "geniuses and braniacs" attend Harvard or MIT (there are 7000 undergrads at Harvard, and around 4000 at MIT; using a definition of "genius" that would encompass all of these students, there are well over 11000 geniuses in the world). I have never heard of a university that requires both the SAT and the ACT, and although it's certainly possible one might exist, Harvard is not it. Finally, I personally know three people who got perfect SAT scores and one with a perfect ACT score, despite my having attended to a relatively small high school.

Pardon me for saying so, but you seem to be just regurgitating facts that are either of dubious veracity or that are taken out of context, and I'm not entirely sure what kind of response you're looking for here. If it's information you're after, a lot of your admissions-related questions can probably be answered here:

I think ivy leagues are quite a bit blown out of proportion as far as how good they are. I mean, just think about it logically: If they only accept the best of the best as students, then it's really not that shocking that their graduates are good. It's like buying a sports car and then saying to your friend with his minivan, "Hey look, I can go faster than you. I must be a way better driver than you!"

In fact, I'd say if these ivy league schools aren't producing better graduates after being so selective about who they take in, then they're doing a very poor job. I would say the quality lies in the students rather than the school. For some reason though, people are just obsessed with ivy league schools...

I think ivy leagues are quite a bit blown out of proportion as far as how good they are. I mean, just think about it logically: If they only accept the best of the best as students, then it's really not that shocking that their graduates are good. It's like buying a sports car and then saying to your friend with his minivan, "Hey look, I can go faster than you. I must be a way better driver than you!"

In fact, I'd say if these ivy league schools aren't producing better graduates after being so selective about who they take in, then they're doing a very poor job. I would say the quality lies in the students rather than the school. For some reason though, people are just obsessed with ivy league schools...

The reason that people are obsessed with them is because a degree is a credential. You're arguing that the ivy degree is largely a reflection of the fact that the individual was talented to begin with. I don't think many ivy league grads would disagree.

Your ivy league degree signals to potential employers or grad schools that you were able to complete difficult work with some level of success. Is it true that some schools which lack prestige have coursework which rivals the ivy leagues in terms of difficulty? I don't doubt it. But if the potential employer's or grad schools aren't aware of that, it won't count for anything.

Particularly in the work world, I have heard it said that your undergrad degree only matters for your first job or two...UNLESS you went to an ivy/MIT etc. I can believe that.

There are many paths to success - there are brilliant people who went to no name schools and ended up doing well. But, if you have the option, going to the well-regarded school is just going to make it easier.

Has anyone here been to Harvard university, Yale, Princeton, MIT, or any other ivy-league college?

I got my undergrad at MIT and I took some courses at Harvard.

I believe I read somewhere that Harvard/MIT requires a GPA of almost 4.0, and a minimum SAT score of 2200 out of a "perfect" score of 2400. As well as a comparable score on the ACT.

MIT publishes its stats....

Some people with perfect SAT scores don't get in. Some people with 650 math do get in.

I assure you that I would get a miserable score on the math part. My math skills are abysmal! Not to mention that you are not given enough time to complete the test, and are "rushed" through it.

There are a lot of places where you can learn to take the SAT.

Most of the students going to the "prestigious" colleges come from families which are very wealthy. Sometimes they give the school a $500,000 donation and they'll immediately accept their kid. Regardless of how he did in high school. Not true. It is possible to get into a priority queue for admissions to these schools if you have a relative that is an alumni. On the other hand, if you get a 550 on the Math SAT, then you aren't getting into MIT, and it wouldn't matter if you did since you'd likely drop out in the first year. Now if your family can afford a$500K donation, they can probably afford tutors to make sure that you don't get a 550 on the Math SAT, but that's something different.

George W. Bush graduated from Yale and then Harvard business school. Either he didn't get in on merit or he's much smarter than he's letting on.

The latter. Part of being a successful politician is to be able to act stupid. People don't like to vote for people that think they are smarter than they are, so you need to learn to act stupid if you want to go into politics.

The latter. Part of being a successful politician is to be able to act stupid. People don't like to vote for people that think they are smarter than they are, so you need to learn to act stupid if you want to go into politics.

He sounded a lot different when he was a bit younger. Think what you will about the dementia hypothesis in this video, or whether or not he is reading in the old clips. I found this interesting either way.

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I went to MIT. None of my friends were from families that were what I would call rich, but a few were well-off. That is, their families' money was new and earned, not old and inherited. Nobody was making million-dollar donations to anyone or anything.

No one that I knew from the US at MIT had parents that were obviously loaded, however, I did know quite a few people from other countries that had parents that were really, really rich (i.e. father is a friend of the President of major Latin American country). However, even in those cases, I never got the feeling that they or anyone else were unqualified or they directly bought their way in.

If your parents are loaded, they can afford the best teachers for you, and I did get the sense that the people that got admitted from country X had an education that 99% of the people of their countries couldn't even begin to dream about, but that's something quite different. Not to say that it's better. I'm seriously worried that with budget cuts, the US is starting to look like Latin America.

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Your ivy league degree signals to potential employers or grad schools that you were able to complete difficult work with some level of success. Is it true that some schools which lack prestige have coursework which rivals the ivy leagues in terms of difficulty? I don't doubt it. But if the potential employer's or grad schools aren't aware of that, it won't count for anything.

I don't think that's how it works.

Just to give an example of how it works. My employer wants to buy some brains. When you want to buy some brains you go to the local brain store, where there is this nice person that helps you buy some brains. It's like buying bananas or stereos. If you want to buy bananas, you go to a supermarket. It could be there is someone else selling bananas at the road-side, but you don't have time to drive around looking for people. You just pop off to the supermarket to buy bananas.

When companies look for employees they do the same thing. Also, it's not that Ivy League people are necessarily *smarter*, but you can be reasonably sure that if you get a graduate from MIT or Harvard that they won't be a total disaster. Same with supermarkets. One reason people buy bananas from supermarkets is that you can be reasonably sure that you won't get sick from them. If you buy bananas from a person at the side of the road, you don't have that assurance.

What's interesting is that once you get to the interview, what school that you went to doesn't matter. The hard part is *getting* to the interview. You don't know the person at BIG INVESTMENT BANK that handles applications. The career services department at MIT does.

Also alumni networks help a lot. Once you have one person from school X making hiring decisions, then you can't talk about how lousy school X is.

Particularly in the work world, I have heard it said that your undergrad degree only matters for your first job or two...UNLESS you went to an ivy/MIT etc. I can believe that.

Once you get experience, no one cares what school you went to. It actually works the other way. If you are particularly competent but you came from no-name school, then people start looking well at no-name school.

One irony here is that you see a lot of MIT people doing quantitative finance on Wall Street, but MIT's quantitative finance is not very good.

But, if you have the option, going to the well-regarded school is just going to make it easier.

Not sure that this is true.

I don't think that's how it works.

Just to give an example of how it works. My employer wants to buy some brains. When you want to buy some brains you go to the local brain store, where there is this nice person that helps you buy some brains. It's like buying bananas or stereos. If you want to buy bananas, you go to a supermarket. It could be there is someone else selling bananas at the road-side, but you don't have time to drive around looking for people. You just pop off to the supermarket to buy bananas.

When companies look for employees they do the same thing. Also, it's not that Ivy League people are necessarily *smarter*, but you can be reasonably sure that if you get a graduate from MIT or Harvard that they won't be a total disaster. Same with supermarkets. One reason people buy bananas from supermarkets is that you can be reasonably sure that you won't get sick from them. If you buy bananas from a person at the side of the road, you don't have that assurance.

What's interesting is that once you get to the interview, what school that you went to doesn't matter. The hard part is *getting* to the interview. You don't know the person at BIG INVESTMENT BANK that handles applications. The career services department at MIT does.

Also alumni networks help a lot. Once you have one person from school X making hiring decisions, then you can't talk about how lousy school X is.

Once you get experience, no one cares what school you went to. It actually works the other way. If you are particularly competent but you came from no-name school, then people start looking well at no-name school.

One irony here is that you see a lot of MIT people doing quantitative finance on Wall Street, but MIT's quantitative finance is not very good.

Not sure that this is true.

The only kinds of people who are accepted into schools like Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Stanford, are those with 4.0 GPA's and the highest test scores out of anyone in their state. This is a very small percentage of people. I did very well in high school (3.6) along with high test scores, but nowhere near perfect. Getting a perfect/near perfect score on almost every single test ever given to you is an almost inhuman accomplishment.

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The only kinds of people who are accepted into schools like Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Stanford, are those with 4.0 GPA's and the highest test scores out of anyone in their state. This is a very small percentage of people. I did very well in high school (3.6) along with high test scores, but nowhere near perfect. Getting a perfect/near perfect score on almost every single test ever given to you is an almost inhuman accomplishment.

You keep on repeating these things, but don't back them up.

You're also, for some reason, ignoring what twofish-quant is saying despite the fact that he went to MIT.