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How can an Indian student get into MIT, Harvard, CalTech, Stanford, Cambridge or other top schools?

  1. May 9, 2015 #1
    Hi!

    I'm an Indian student from the CBSE curriculum in 10th standad (started a month ago). I want to do under-graduation in Astronomy / Computer Sciences / Robotics / Mechanical Engineering (still not decided yet. But it'd be much better if I can able to study all of them together :p) in any of the colleges mentioned above. Though my first choice is MIT, and always will be! Yeah, you can say, it's my dream college!

    I want to know about the preparation, required tests, eligible criteria and the other important 'essentials' an applicant must have to make to these Elite / Ivy League colleges / universities. Please do explain the whole matter as clear as possible!

    I'd also like to reveal here a sad truth of mine, that my class 9th result just ruined me up! I was overconfident and wasn't concerned regarding the same at that time. I got a poor 76.02 % then. Shame on me! But I'll do much hard work to get a descent 95% (Cumulative GPA of at least 9.8 on 10.0 point scale) and I guess the future grades will be excellent in the 11th and 12th standard as well. Do I've still much chances of getting in the top tier universities or my 9th class 76.02% will completely ruin my application?

    For additional info, I tell you that I'm ready to do whatever it'll take me to these universities (especially to the MIT)!! Please do suggest everything, through which I can get a chance to admit in the MIT.

    I really wanna go there guys! It was my dream since I was just 4!
    Please help! I'm left with only 3 years in my hands.
    I don't want to end daydreaming.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2015 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    We get these kinds of messages a lot, and I am saddened every time I read them.

    MIT has a wealth of information on admissions on the web. Quite possibly more than any other school. You don't just have the rules, procedures and requirements, but have pages and pages of blog posts by the people who do admissions on their viewpoints of every element in the process. It's an incredible resource. But instead of looking at MIT's web site and doing your own research, you came here and asked us to do it for you. And there lies the problem. MIT has no interest in admitting people with that perspective. They spend a great deal of effort on trying to understand the attitude and personality of their applicants. I'm not saying that you shouldn't post here - I am saying that had you done your homework first before posting here, my message would be more encouraging.

    One of the things you would have learned had you done that is that there are 16 MIT undergraduates from India at the moment. That means they accept about four per year. Four. Can you honestly say you are one of the four best students in the entire country?

    Focusing on exactly two universities - one of which does not yet have an accredited program in two of your four interests - is a recipe for disappointment. It would be a very good idea to expand the number of schools you are interested in.
     
  4. May 9, 2015 #3

    SteamKing

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    What most people do is write to the admissions office of the schools they are interested in applying to for admission. Tell them you are an international student and ask them to send you an admissions packet. This packet should have all the details of what information each school is looking for from the applicant and contain the forms which must be filled out and returned. You can also inquire about the cost of tuition and room and board charges at each school.

    In the mean time, study hard while you are waiting to hear back from them.
     
  5. May 9, 2015 #4
    @Vanadium 50 ... I'm already personally researching about the same for the past few months. I've come upon several books and blogs as well, in which different methods were written/posted.
    You can say, I've almost seen all of the links in the first page that come up while google-ing something related to admissions at MIT.
    Just to know about this more, as if you can help me out by letting me know about some other sites or strategies which I should follow, I posted out this thread here.

    And thanks for your suggestion. I'll expand the number of schools which is making me feel interested. :)
    Moreover, do you know any of the present MIT undergraduates from India? Can you tell me, how can I contact with any one of them?
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2015
  6. May 9, 2015 #5
    @SteamKing ... Thanks a lot for this info. Btw, can you please explain me a bit about this very 'package'?
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2015
  7. May 9, 2015 #6

    SteamKing

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    It usually contains information about the school, application forms which you fill out and submit to the school, a statement of any fees which are charged for processing the application paperwork. I can't remember what all was in the package, but in my day, everything was on paper.

    If you Google "MIT admissions", for example, a lot of this information is now published online:

    http://mitadmissions.org/index.php/

    I'm sure there is a similar website for the other schools you are interested in attending.

    It helps if you do a little research on these questions before opening a discussion here at PF. If you have a specific question after reviewing what each school publishes about their admission requirement, then you can post it here at PF and see if anyone can help. You may even get to dialog with someone who actually attended the school and can give you much better informed advice.
     
  8. May 9, 2015 #7
    @SteamKing _ Thanks a lot again. :smile: I'll take your advice for sure.
     
  9. May 10, 2015 #8
    I’ve done some research in the net for some time, after which I've come up with the following doubts:

    1. What is the difference between ACT and SAT? Also, what is a PSAT?

    2. What minimum marks Ivy Leagues and Elite Schools want/require in SAT for an international student?

    3. In an AP exam, how many subjects can I take?

    4. I have been reading a lot of advertisements and articles about coaching classes like UnivQuest and Jumbotree these days. As they say on their website, apart from SAT preparation, they also provide some application building course and all. Do I need to enrol in these? What are the scholarships available?

    5. What are the extra-curriculars on which they mainly focus on?

    6. Which science/maths competition/scholarship will you recommend to increase my chances of getting there?

    7. How are “essays” and “letter of recommendations” helpful?

    8. Is there anything important, I forgot, which can increase my odds in getting there? If so, then please do let me know.


    [ @Vanadium 50 . By keeping your valuable words, I've done my homework. Can you please help me out now? :) ]

    Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  10. May 10, 2015 #9

    SteamKing

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    The ACT and the SAT are two different, standardized tests taken by high school students in their junior and senior years who are looking to gain admission to college. Colleges use the scores on these tests to predict how ready the applicant is for college level work. The tests are split into a verbal section and a math section, generally.

    https://sat.collegeboard.org/home

    http://www.actstudent.org/

    The PSAT is usually taken by younger students as sort of a preparation for taking the SAT when they get older. Obtaining a high score on the PSAT can mean that the student is eligible to receive National Merit Scholarship funds should he decide to go to college after high school.

    https://www.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt

    These vary by school and vary from year to year, I believe. Each school may not provide a range of scores which are acceptable for admission, because the schools look at other things besides exam scores now in selecting whom they offer admission.

    These tests are offered by subject, and are intended as a means whereby the prospective college student can obtain credit for certain introductory college courses, if the school he attends agrees to provide it. You pay a fee to take the AP test in each subject, which are listed on the AP Test website:

    https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/home

    The subjects in which AP tests are offered do change over time, and the tests are scheduled for one week in May of each the year, so you have to decide for which subject you want to try to obtain credit, because tests for two of your choices may be scheduled for the same day at the same time.
     
  11. May 10, 2015 #10
    @SteamKing _ Well Thanks mate. It'll help me a lot.
    Btw, I've heard of applicants who were selected there, were engaged in social work, in one way or other. So, I’ve also got a doubt here. Suppose, I’m doing social works, helping poor kids by providing books for education, donating them clothes, etc. etc. or whatever. What will be my proof? How'll they get to know that I used to do so?
     
  12. May 10, 2015 #11

    Vanadium 50

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    Not very well. See below.

    I typed this directly into Google. I got 56 million hits. Fifty. Six. Million.

    MIT is looking for students who are industrious. One example of that would be to type your questions into a search engine, reading the answer, and if you still have questions, to say "I Googled X, and got the answer Y. The part of Y I understand is Z". That way, other people can use the time they volunteer to help you effectively. When you make them do the first step themselves, it shows that you think your time is more valuable than ours. Remember when I told you MIT was interested in personal factors? This is one of them.[/QUOTE]

    I put "What minimum marks MIT requires in SAT for an international student?" in Google - and you know what? The very first link was http://mitadmissions.org/apply/freshman/tests. The very first. And there's your answer.

    I could go all the way down the list, but I think you get the point.

    You tell them. But be aware - they are not interested in things you do because you think they will help your application. They are interested in what you do because you want to do it.
     
  13. May 10, 2015 #12
    @Vanadium 50

    You seems to be more of a philosopher mate. o0) !
    Anyway, Thanks for the infos. :smile:
    And btw, what are the other points on which I should focus on in order to increase my chances? I know there's no specific 'formula' and probability plays a key role here, but still, for assurance. :nb)

    And, is there anything left I'm missing, which might affect my chances? If so, please do tell me.
    And do you have any suggestions for me to do or focus on? Don't you? :wink:

    Moreover, do you know any of the present MIT undergraduates from India? Can you tell me, how can I contact with any one of them? :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  14. May 10, 2015 #13

    radium

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    No, Vanadium is not a philosopher, they are being realistic and giving spot on advice.

    Just do what you are interested in and things will fall into place. Doing activities just for your application is stupid because 1. You probably will not be admitted to these schools anyway. Except for Cambridge (which is still incredibly competitive and self-selective) every single one of the schools you listed has an overall acceptance rate in the single digits. This includes legacies and athletes, so in reality it is even lower, especially if you are an international. 2. Admissions officers can see right through this. Most of the students who do things just for their application will be rejected. The best applicants are the ones who are truly passionate about what they do and excel.

    However, most of these kids will be rejected too. Just because you don't get into a top school for undergrad doesn't mean you don't have the ability to succeed there, its a crapshoot. This is because a lot of important factors in college admissions have nothing to do with academic merit, they are related to extracurriculars, connections, etc. If you in fact go to an Ivy league school, you will realize this quickly. I went to another Ivy league school (not HYP) for undergrad. When I first got there, I didn't really feel like I deserved to be there. However, after some time had passed, I realized that even though there are many kids who are absolutely brilliant at my school, there is also a significant number who are just plain mediocre. The admissions committee makes mistakes. Some people look better on paper and don't perform nearly as well as you would have expected when they came out of high school.

    A lot of the students who didn't get into the schools you listed for undergrad could have been some of the top students there and this is reflected in graduate admissions (which are much more meritocratic and only focus on the parts of your application related to becoming a great researcher). I have a friend from undergrad who didn't get into any of them for college but was heavily recruited at every single one for grad school. I have another friend who was rejected by all the Ivies and went to a state school who had the same experience.
     
  15. May 10, 2015 #14
    Thanks a lot for those. It'll help me a lot in the log run.

    Btw, Can anybody let me clear the matter of AP?
    I've been reading many articles, posts, blogs and all that; but not getting it clearly.
     
  16. May 11, 2015 #15

    jtbell

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    As far as I know, there is no limit on the number of AP exams that you can take, in principle, if you can schedule them and can pay for them all.

    Remember, they are not used for admission but rather for placement out of introductory-level university courses. Many universities give you credit for certain courses with a high enough AP exam score, so that they count towards the the number of credits required for the bachelor's degree, and so that you can start taking higher-level courses immediately.

    However, I think many of the "best" universities do not give credit for AP exams. They want you to take their introductory courses regardless. I would be astonished if you could use AP credit to bypass MIT's introductory calculus sequence, for example.
     
  17. May 14, 2015 #16
    @Vanadium 50 I got 52 million, interesting..
     
  18. May 14, 2015 #17

    Vanadium 50

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    And of all the things one could possibly object to, THAT's the one you pick?
     
  19. May 14, 2015 #18
    @Vanadium 50 Lol, I know right? but it's interesting how google search results can vary so much. I tried a different country region and got 48. just sayin'
    off topic though, sorry.
     
  20. May 14, 2015 #19

    radium

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    For APs, you absolutely need 5s to get any credit. Even so, for my school, the only core requirement that could be fulfilled by an AP was the language requirement (you could actually fulfill it but not get credit if you get a 4). BC calc just means you can start multivariable, the credit itself is not important. So basically, all the AP credits I got (8 total) were just counted towards number of electives to graduate. Overall they all basically useless. Most of the time they still make you take or take a placement test to get out of Chem/bio/physics
     
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