How to get into Harvard, MIT or Princeton from India?

  • #51
Dr. Courtney
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Ohh I get it now, I hadn't understood stephenkohnle53's reply completely and had been searching 'FIRST team' and probably thats why not getting any results. I looked up FIRST Robotics Competition, but it isn't an option because I have zero knowledge on robotics and it is an international competition.
Until a student is willing and able to come up new learning curves in areas where they start with zero knowledge, they are not good candidates for top 10 universities. Students who are prone to rejecting good advice, because they don't like it are not good candidates for top 10 universities. Accomplishing big goals requires doing hard things. I'm not optimistic about students who want to reach for the stars without doing anything hard. That is just fantasy.
 
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  • #52
Vanadium 50
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One of my FIRST robotics mentors is on the MIT admissions board
Amazing, since there is no such thing.

There is the Educational Council, which is a group of alumni who interview students. That's the closest there is.

he said that joining a FIRST team is one of the single best things you can do to increase odds of getting in.
An EC member should not be making such blanket statements.
 
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  • #53
stephenkohnle53
Ohh I get it now, I hadn't understood stephenkohnle53's reply completely and had been searching 'FIRST team' and probably thats why not getting any results. I looked up FIRST Robotics Competition, but it isn't an option because I have zero knowledge on robotics and it is an international competition.
You do not need experience nor knowledge to be on a team. I for example know very little about engineering and I became my teams safety captain and have been surprisingly helpful considering how little I know. I would suggest trying anyway since it could help similarly to joining other stem teams.

Amazing, since there is no such thing.

There is the Educational Council, which is a group of alumni who interview students. That's the closest there is.


An EC member should not be making such blanket statements.
I was paraphrasing what he said and I likely remembered it incorrectly since it has been a few months since I last saw him.
 
  • #54
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I just want to study in some of the best universities of the world.
That is a much more realistic option.

MIT admits just 8% of applicants and much lower from overseas.

I would suggest starting another thread on what are some of the best schools that are not insanely difficult to get into. Apply for MIT - that perfectly OK - go for it - but the likelihood is not great.

The likelihood is much greater getting into some good school - I can easily advise on that. There are some really really good schools like Virginia Tech (ranked 24th best engineering school in the world) but an acceptance rate of 71%. Then we have Georgia Tech - it I think is ranked 5 overall - but is number 1 in many areas like systems engineering - a growing field with enormous potential - its admission rate is 25%.

And then there is the sneaky option - the 3+2 program:
http://admission.gatech.edu/transfer/dual-degree

It's much easier to get into one of those partner institutions and then get accepted than going direct to some engineering school.

As you can see there are a lot of options that are nowhere near as hard as MIT. But like I said you need to start another thread to explore those.

Thanks
Bill
 
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  • #55
jtbell
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And then there is the sneaky option - the 3+2 program:
http://admission.gatech.edu/transfer/dual-degree
One still has to meet GPA requirements in order to transfer, and most of the partner schools are private colleges which can be rather expensive, especially for international students who usually receive little or no financial aid.

In the US, non-elite colleges and universities tend to consider international students as "cash cows" whose fees help to keep them financially viable. I taught for many years at one of the colleges on Georgia Tech's list. I've seen an increasing push here to bring in international students by various means, especially since the Great Recession of 2008-09.
 
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  • #56
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In the US, non-elite colleges and universities tend to consider international students as "cash cows" whose fees help to keep them financially viable. I taught for many years at one of the colleges on Georgia Tech's list. I've seen an increasing push here to bring in international students by various means, especially since the Great Recession of 2008-09.
Its exactly the same in Australia - international students - cash cow.

Thanks
Bill
 
  • #57
Scrumhalf
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OP, I am in your same demographic, except 35 years ago.

I went to IIT Madras, and then got an assistantship to go to the EE department at the University of Illinois which was a top 5 school in EE back then (probably still is).

I think that you should strongly consider the IIT route. At least take that option seriously. You'll get a fantastic undergraduate education. I absolutely loved my 4 years there. And you'll be more than prepared for grad school here. I had absolutely no problems with the coursework when I got here.

If you are set on one of the elite schools you mention for undergraduate education, it is ridiculously competitive, even for American kids. And it's really expensive. Back when I was at IIT, there was no financial aid for foreign undergrads. I don't know if things are different now but we are talking upwards of $50K per year.

In my opinion, you are not going to get in unless you have something big in your portfolio. Good grades and SAT scores are dime a dozen. I can guarantee that for every kid admitted, there were 20 or 25 more with perfect scores and grades that were rejected. What you need is something like being on a team from India the IMO, or maybe have a project that qualifies for ISEF. I was at ISEF in 2017 because my son was presenting his project, and there were many teams from India that got awards. You need something like that on your resume.

One more thing that you may want to consider is something in the sustainability/environmental/social justice arena. Not saying you need to be a Malala Yousufzai, but how about a project bringing solar power to someone socially disadvantaged in Indian village, or clean water? Have a substantial welfare project, maybe involving technology, that makes a true difference. Obviously, this could either be a technology project, or it could be just calling companies, getting them to donate equipment, and then you doing the legwork to make this happen. You need something big on your resume that makes you stand out from the crowd. Right now, sustainability is a big buzzword. Something along those lines would give you that edge in your application that will prevent it from ending up on the reject pile.

Good luck!
 
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  • #58
I think that you should strongly consider the IIT route. At least take that option seriously. You'll get a fantastic undergraduate education. I absolutely loved my 4 years there. And you'll be more than prepared for grad school here. I had absolutely no problems with the coursework when I got here.
I am considering a different path to take now.

I considered my chances of getting into the Ivy League, and decided that I cannot bet my chances to get into a university with an acceptance rate of 5%. I will be now focusing on JEE and getting into IIT. I will still give SATs, and try to do well in the Maths olympiads and write applications to the top universities but my main focus would be IIT.

I will try to get a good rank in JEE and get into IIT Bombay or Delhi in Computer Sciences.
After this, I plan to get an MBA from a top university in the USA or UK, or might even go into research(not thought about that part yet)
What do you say?
 
  • #59
lekh2003
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I think that is the best path considering you are currently in India. But I am more interested in what the more experienced members on this thread have to say.
 
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  • #60
Scrumhalf
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I will try to get a good rank in JEE and get into IIT Bombay or Delhi in Computer Sciences.
After this, I plan to get an MBA from a top university in the USA or UK, or might even go into research(not thought about that part yet)
What do you say?
I think that's a great idea. There is nothing deficient about an IIT undergraduate education. Back when I was at IITM, the big 4 (M, D, B and Kanpur) were pretty much equivalent. I don't know too much about Kharagpur and the new ones. Focus on your grades, kill the GRE (or GMAT) and you can come over for grad school.
 
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  • #61
radium
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From what I have heard/seen the IITs are very rigorous schools with brilliant students that will prepare you to do well in whatever you choose to do. They are incredibly difficult to get into, but the admissions process is transparent unlike it is in the U.S. The vast majority of the grad students I know (in the U.S.) are from one of the IITs. One last thing I have to say is that the IITs are actually much more demanding than some of the Ivy League schools/other top schools in the U.S. many which have a ton of grade inflation.
 
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  • #62
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Here is what the IIT entrance process was like, when I went through in the early 80s.

1. Take entrance exam - 4 session, math, physics, chemistry, english, a couple of hours for each over 2 days.
2. Wait for results. You get a discrete rank - one through around 2000. There were 6 IITs when I was there, about 300 for an incoming class at each, so total of about 1500-1800 incoming freshmen.
3. One fine day, show up at your nearest IIT and fill out a card listing your choice of campus and engineering field in order of choice, one through 10 or whatever.
4. And this where things get surreal. Ever seen an NFL draft? That's what it's like. Everyone is in a big auditorium, that is linked by a conference call to the other campuses.
5. They go - Rank 1, what do you have? Computer science in IIT Bombay? OK.. Rank 2 - what's your first choice? Computer Science in IIT Madras? OK.. and so on. Computer science was the most desirable, so by the time they got to rank 100 or so all the computer science seats were gone. Then came electrrical, mecahnical, etc. etc. So, if you were rank 500 or so you probably didn't get your first choice.

There were no recommendation letters, no school grades (you had to graduate, that's it), no AP scores, nothing. It was the entrance exam period.

I'm not saying it was the best system, but it was brutal and agnostic for sure.

And then it got harder when you got in lol...
 
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  • #63
StoneTemplePython
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A couple other thoughts:

OP should be very happy if he gets into IIT, and then be prepared to work hard. As a technical point: there is an even better school located, I believe, in Mumbai, that is private and I think graduate level only -- I can't recall the name. One of the guys I know out here in the US (who has a fancy tech job these days) did his CS undergrad at IIT and then did his Phd in Comp Sci at said ultra-elite private school. Another IIT alum I know is in awe of said grad school. (He didn't get in). I can chase down the school name if needed.

As a second point, if for some reason you are unhappy with the course offerings or the way they are taught, you can find outstanding free courses from MIT on edx.org as well as Open Course Ware. It's not the same as being there in person, but with edx in particular most courses have support from an on campus grad student and/or prof -- very helpful for when you get stuck, and very high quality materials.
 
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  • #64
Here is what the IIT entrance process was like, when I went through in the early 80s.

1. Take entrance exam - 4 session, math, physics, chemistry, english, a couple of hours for each over 2 days.
2. Wait for results. You get a discrete rank - one through around 2000. There were 6 IITs when I was there, about 300 for an incoming class at each, so total of about 1500-1800 incoming freshmen.
3. One fine day, show up at your nearest IIT and fill out a card listing your choice of campus and engineering field in order of choice, one through 10 or whatever.
4. And this where things get surreal. Ever seen an NFL draft? That's what it's like. Everyone is in a big auditorium, that is linked by a conference call to the other campuses.
5. They go - Rank 1, what do you have? Computer science in IIT Bombay? OK.. Rank 2 - what's your first choice? Computer Science in IIT Madras? OK.. and so on. Computer science was the most desirable, so by the time they got to rank 100 or so all the computer science seats were gone. Then came electrrical, mecahnical, etc. etc. So, if you were rank 500 or so you probably didn't get your first choice.

There were no recommendation letters, no school grades (you had to graduate, that's it), no AP scores, nothing. It was the entrance exam period.

I'm not saying it was the best system, but it was brutal and agnostic for sure.

And then it got harder when you got in lol...
Its pretty much the same, with a quite a few major differences now. You have to give 2 tests - JEE Mains and JEE Advance. You have to pass Mains to be able to give Advance, and then pass Advance to get into IIT.
And, only the top 100 get computer science in IITD or IITB, and everyone seems to want that, so pretty much everyone has to compromise.
But on the positive note, if i get a good rank in Advance, I surely will get into IIT, with no importance of extra-curriculars and school grades and I just have to focus on JEE. And I don't know why, but I am pretty confident that I would be able to crack JEE, lets see.
 
  • #65
A couple other thoughts:

OP should be very happy if he gets into IIT, and then be prepared to work hard. As a technical point: there is an even better school located, I believe, in Mumbai, that is private and I think graduate level only -- I can't recall the name. One of the guys I know out here in the US (who has a fancy tech job these days) did his CS undergrad at IIT and then did his Phd in Comp Sci at said ultra-elite private school. Another IIT alum I know is in awe of said grad school. (He didn't get in). I can chase down the school name if needed.

As a second point, if for some reason you are unhappy with the course offerings or the way they are taught, you can find outstanding free courses from MIT on edx.org as well as Open Course Ware. It's not the same as being there in person, but with edx in particular most courses have support from an on campus grad student and/or prof -- very helpful for when you get stuck, and very high quality materials.
Are you talking about TIFR?(Tata Institiute of Fundamental Research)
 
  • #66
StoneTemplePython
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Are you talking about TIFR?(Tata Institiute of Fundamental Research)
You've got it.
 
  • #67
Scrumhalf
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TIFR and Indian Insititute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore are both top-notch.
 

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