MIT acceptance chances

  • #26
I did apply to princeton and harvard, but I think I will be rejected there too, so I guess I'll stay here in Portugal next year.

I don't want to go to MIT because of it's name but yes because of the education I think MIT can offer me which nobody here in Portugal can (I may be wrong).

Just one more question: are Princeton or Harvard worse than MIT for a physics major?
 
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  • #27
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As far as I know, both Harvard and Princeton are great schools to study in, they both have strong physics programs, anyways since its undergrad it doesn't make much of a difference. The important thing is to make the most of the opportunities that those schools will offer you. Going to anyone of those should give you a very strong background for graduate school.
 
  • #28
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I don't want to go to MIT because of it's name but yes because of the education I think MIT can offer me which nobody here in Portugal can (I may be wrong).
You probably should look at other schools in the United States. One good thing about the United States is that there are a lot of good physics schools, and the difference between MIT and a good public university in the US isn't nearly as large as the difference between a big name school and a less well known school in most countries.
 
  • #29
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I got accepted to MIT, but I'm not likely to go anyways simply due to the cost (my parents want to pay almost nothing for my tuition).
You probably should look at the financial aid package first and then also buy some of the books that talk about gaming the financial aid system.

About the interview, it has almost a negligible impact on your application. All of them are expected to garner positive reviews about the applicant, and it's only the truly exceptional ones that make a difference.
I'm curious where you got this information from, because when they go to alumni and recruit people to do interviews they always talk about how important the interviews are.

But mostly, it can only hurt you because, after all, they're very subjective.
But on the other hand, so is pretty much everything else in the admissions process.
 
  • #30
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You probably should look at the financial aid package first and then also buy some of the books that talk about gaming the financial aid system.



I'm curious where you got this information from, because when they go to alumni and recruit people to do interviews they always talk about how important the interviews are.



But on the other hand, so is pretty much everything else in the admissions process.
can you recommend some books
 
  • #31
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You probably should look at the financial aid package first and then also buy some of the books that talk about gaming the financial aid system.
This is what I plan to do, but I'm sure that my package won't be as good as some other schools'. In terms of financial aid, UC Berkeley is giving me the most with its Regents Scholarship, Leadership Scholarship, and etc. (I haven't actually gotten them yet, but it's probable). And a Physics/Math major at UC Berkeley is just/almost as good as one in MIT. I'm not completely sure, but yes, sadly my final decision will have to be due to the financial aid. I'm still waiting on some Ivy Leagues though, which tend to give more financial aid than MIT.

I'm curious where you got this information from, because when they go to alumni and recruit people to do interviews they always talk about how important the interviews are.
I regularly visit another forum called CollegeConfidential and there's actually a MIT admissions officer over there answering questions. I can't find his post regarding alumni interviews right now, but he basically said that it isn't worth much, which is why it's optional anyways. There are also various alumnis (some who actually do the interviewing) who are very helpful as well. The importance of the interview varies from each college, but I remember somewhere that MIT's wasn't that important. It's mostly for borderline applicants I'd expect.

But on the other hand, so is pretty much everything else in the admissions process.
But the problem with the alumni interviewers is that these people aren't completely aware of the admissions process. There's so many of them that there will be a lot of variation in the writing. It would come to no surprise that some interviewers are very lenient and always tend to write positive reviews while others are very stringent on how they write about the applicant. On the other hand, at least there's a consistent bias when the admissions officers are looking over the application. This bias has its own problems, but I don't want to go off-topic delving into them.
 
  • #32
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everyone reading the apps is so fricking variable. someone might discount the interview because "everyone applying to MIT should have good interviews". in which case, its more about keeping people out rather than getting people in. I've had a friend get into Caltech-UCSD med program (which involves getting into caltech ED) but get rejected from mit, harvard, brown, and host of other (actually, ever other private) university.

this is even worse on the graduate level as professors (and their own preferences) kick in. some professors look at the letters of rec before they even touch your application (they trust their peers more than they trust anything you write). others will toss your application if the GREs are below a certain threshold (how can you get a phd in physics if the math section is below 400 or something?). others will discriminate because you wanted to work for certain professors (departmental politics can be a factor....)

also, look at where all the professors in Portugal's top universities got their PhD.
if the schools are heavily European/Portuguese, that should tell you something. if the schools are primarily outside of Portugal, I would be a little more concerned for graduate school..

and lastly, i tihnk science programs are more the same than they are different at the undergraduate level. they seem to cover the same topics in about the same order; so for physics: classical and E&M junior year, quantum/thermo senior. etc etc. not to say that they're equal, but more the same than different.
 
  • #33
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Wow, I wish I saw this earlier. I applied to MIT with similar credentials as the OP: similar SAT scores, international physics olympiads (did badly though), similar marks, etc. Rejected.
 
  • #34
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by caltech ED, do you actually mean caltech EA flemmyd?
 
  • #35
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I regularly visit another forum called CollegeConfidential and there's actually a MIT admissions officer over there answering questions. I can't find his post regarding alumni interviews right now, but he basically said that it isn't worth much, which is why it's optional anyways.
That's really funny because they are telling a completely different thing to us alumni.

But the problem with the alumni interviewers is that these people aren't completely aware of the admissions process.
In the case of MIT, the alumni that do admissions are part of something called the Educational Council, and there is a standard form that people fill in for interviews, and people to try to standardize criteria. The other thing to remember is that at the big universities, a lot of funding comes from alumni, which means that the alumni to a large part determine the admissions process.
 
  • #36
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That's really funny because they are telling a completely different thing to us alumni.



In the case of MIT, the alumni that do admissions are part of something called the Educational Council, and there is a standard form that people fill in for interviews, and people to try to standardize criteria. The other thing to remember is that at the big universities, a lot of funding comes from alumni, which means that the alumni to a large part determine the admissions process.
Which means that the alumni to a large part are told they determine the admissions process.

Fixed it for you :smile:.

Actually I have no idea how much or little the interviews mean for undergraduate admissions or for anything at MIT. At the MBA level, I know Stanford at least pays little attention to the alumni interviews. Having alumni do interviews is more something they do to keep alumni involved and feeling important. If you're a big wig with Stanford connections or a big donor, that's when they actually pay a lot of attention. Even at business schools though, it all varies.

It makes sense that schools would want to make alumni feel as important as possible. It also makes sense that they would want to make applicants feel as comfortable as possible. It's hard to figure out what the truth actually is.
 
  • #37
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everyone reading the apps is so fricking variable. someone might discount the interview because "everyone applying to MIT should have good interviews". in which case, its more about keeping people out rather than getting people in.
It really is about keeping people out. The basic problem with MIT is that there are only 1000 freshman places, and far, far, far more than 1000 qualified applicants, so the criterion for who gets in ends up being semi-random. This is something that comes up a lot at alumni meetings since there are so many good applicants that get rejected that most of us alumni wonder that we would have gotten in if we have to apply over again.

There is some talk about increasing the number of spaces, but you can only increase it by about 10-20% which doesn't solve the basic problem. Some interesting things could be done with open courseware, but I personally think that the MIT senior administration has it's head stuck in the ground when it comes to this.

and lastly, i tihnk science programs are more the same than they are different at the undergraduate level. they seem to cover the same topics in about the same order; so for physics: classical and E&M junior year, quantum/thermo senior. etc etc. not to say that they're equal, but more the same than different.
The material is pretty much the same, but the cultures can be wildly different between schools.
 
  • #38
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Which means that the alumni to a large part are told they determine the admissions process.
Yes, and if the administration is lying, then that's yet one more annoyance that alumni will have. One reason that alumni have some input is that the big selling point that MIT has is that if you get out, you will get a job, and alumni tend to be people in industry that hire people so input is useful.

Having alumni do interviews is more something they do to keep alumni involved and feeling important.
If someone goes through the trouble to make you feel important, then you are important. If you aren't that important, then they wouldn't go through the effort of lying to you about how important you are.

Who is "they?" At MIT, the people that run things are the military-industrial complex, and alumni input tends to be important because alumni tend to be people in the military-industrial complex. The people in the undergraduate admissions office actually don't have that much input over deciding the criterion for who gets in.
 
  • #39
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Yes, and if the administration is lying, then that's yet one more annoyance that alumni will have. One reason that alumni have some input is that the big selling point that MIT has is that if you get out, you will get a job, and alumni tend to be people in industry that hire people so input is useful.



If someone goes through the trouble to make you feel important, then you are important. If you aren't that important, then they wouldn't go through the effort of lying to you about how important you are.

Who is "they?" At MIT, the people that run things are the military-industrial complex, and alumni input tends to be important because alumni tend to be people in the military-industrial complex. The people in the undergraduate admissions office actually don't have that much input over deciding the criterion for who gets in.
"They" is the Stanford GSB admissions office. I do certainly agree with your points about alumni supplying the jobs and actually being important and worth pleasing. I was just pointing out that it's the perception of importance and influence that gets alumni to donate or hire or whatever else. Creating that perception requires that there's some amount of truth in what is said, but the direct connection is in how alumni feel. How much is truth and how much is pure show can vary and is hard to determine.

Again, I don't actually have any idea where MIT falls on the scale. It's understandable that alumni and applicants would be told different stories though.
 
  • #40
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I can't find his post regarding alumni interviews right now, but he basically said that it isn't worth much, which is why it's optional anyways.
I think you should find his post and read it carefully. I doubt very much that anyone associated with MIT admissions would say that.
 

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