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MIT Dreams: What does it really take?

  1. Apr 14, 2013 #1
    What does it really take to get into grad school at MIT?? What GRE scores? Does a single publication make a difference? Two? Three publications? Summer REU programs? Letters of recommendation from an alum? Is there an oral entrance exam? On the realm of great, how great do you need to be? Are they judging candidates on potential for future RESEARCH success? Or on past demonstrated ACADEMIC success?? I still have two years left. If this is my goal (ignoring whether or not when the time comes I could even get accepted) what kind of advice do you have for a driven sophmore/junior? What would I need to really stand out?

    I'd love to hear it straight from the horse's mouth!!!! If you got your PhD from MIT, please share your experience with me :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2013 #2


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    The following is my impression for what the Average American Physics Undergrad (ie a white male who is an American Citizen) at An Average American Physics University has to do to get into such a caliber grad school.

    You should have effectively perfect grades.
    You should obtain an effectively perfect GRE/PGRE score.
    You should do original research and have stellar letter of rec from your research advisor stating you are (one of, if not the) best undergrads (s)he has ever advised.
    You should write a polished and professional statement of purpose stating clearly your research goals for graduate school and why MIT is the best fit for you.
    You should have a lot of luck.

    You should also live, eat and breath physics. You should be sure that no matter how hard you work at physics, how crappy it is sometimes, it is all you want to do.

    It seems to be more likely for you to be accepted if you are female or of a "racial minority."
    It seems to be less likely for you to get in if you are not an American citizen.
    If you went to an undergraduate institution of comparable physics program as MIT it seems to be easier than if you are from a relatively unknown school.

    That said, why MIT? There are plenty of extremely high quality grad schools in physics across the country. For some areas of physics, perhaps better than MIT.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013
  4. Apr 14, 2013 #3

    Vanadium 50

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  5. Apr 14, 2013 #4
    Thanks to you both. Vanadium, I was just reading one of your comments last night and thought it was one of the best I've seen!

    Zombie, thanks for your honesty... excellent critique.
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