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MIT workload

  1. Feb 13, 2005 #1
    I am thinking of applying to MIT as a transfer (I know, slim chance). But I am concerned about the amount of coursework; does anyone (perhaps who goes to MIT?) know just how much time it takes? I'm looking for approximate hours per week; I already know it's "a lot."
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 13, 2005 #2
    There's a rumor that MIT made the month of Jan. winter break because that's when people were getting their grades and previous many people would kill themselves on campus. Now they can do it at home.
  4. Feb 13, 2005 #3
    What kind of workload do you think you're going to have? You're applying to one of the top schools in the nation, and you're "concerned" with how much work you're going to have? "Approximate hours per week"?

    I'm sorry, I'm just wondering how much that matters to you. If you're concerned you're going to be working too much on homework, then you should look at a different school.
  5. Feb 13, 2005 #4


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    i went to harvard, and most people asked questions like, "where can I find more time to gett he work done? there is not enough time in the day."

    at a school like that, there is no limit to how much work it takes. it takes all you can manage. the A students i knew went in the library in the morning and came out when it closed.

    but do not worry, they seldom take transfers.
  6. Feb 14, 2005 #5
    Yes, I know, in the year 2003 they took exactly 5 transfers (compared to 50-80 at other good schools).
  7. Feb 14, 2005 #6
    I have some friends there, and friends with friends there. It's not a pleasent picture. Of course, that all depends on how much work you do now. I go to a pretty good school, but I don't do nearly as much work (I don't think) here, as I would have to at MIT. I applied there, and in retrospect I'm glad I didn't get in because I'm having a far easier (and more enjoyable) experience as an undergraduate where I am now.

    IMO, it's probably better to just wait for graduate school (assuming you plan to go), and apply for that.
  8. Feb 14, 2005 #7


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    If you werent a stellar student in HS, you shouldnt go to MIT. You will most probably fail, or delay your graduation for a year or two by retaking classes and taking an easier workload. The very reason why they require high scores if to weed out people who dont do a lot of work or dont necessarily like to do a lot of work. As a result in those types of schools there seems to be a lot of Asian students, and yes, there are sterotypes and they are based on solely on their family's tradition, etc
  9. Feb 14, 2005 #8


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    let me point out some of the pluses, in case you still want to go there.

    1) the professors are very very smart, and knowledgable to a degree one can hardly imagine. virtually all of them are capable of writing textbooks on the material they teach which would be better than most books used most places. This means the material in the lectures is the very latest and most pertinent.

    2) The other students are really smart and interesting, and mostly highly motiovated to learn and to excel and understand. Thus one learns merely by talking to them and hanging out at lunch. The students also come from all over the world, and are extremely interesting to get to know. The actor James Woods went there e.g.

    3) The school is a stones throw from Boston, one of the most beautiful and interesting towns in America.

    4) The school has a great rep throughout the world, which will help you, and the high quality education you get there will help even more.

    5) If you get in, it means they believe you can succeed there, and they will be right.

    so why not go for it?
  10. Feb 14, 2005 #9
    Just a quick question:
    I'm thinking of getting a bachelor degree in physics here in Norway, at the university of bergen (probably totally unknown). If I worked my ass of and got a high GPA, could I have a chance applying for a graduate study at MIT?

    (sorry, I know this isn't fully relevant to this thread, but I thought could just ask a quick question)
  11. Feb 14, 2005 #10


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    well, as one of my friends told me when I consider whether to apply for a prestigious postdoc: "I can tell you for sure that if you do not apply, then you won't get it."

    I got it.

    By the way if you work your %%&* off, then good things will hapopen, whether you get into MIT or not.
  12. Feb 14, 2005 #11
    I sure hope so. I have been committing suicide for a long time now. This has been the worst year out of my college career so far. I sleep about 20-35 hours in a given week cause I work two jobs on top of taking 20 credits. Right now I am doing homework and will be for another 4-5 hours (its 12:30 am now) and have to get up at 615 Am to go to work until 3, class 4-715, work 730-930 then study for wed's psych test and write up some huge lab reports. :zzz:
  13. Feb 15, 2005 #12

    I'm taking 16 credits and I do maybe 15 or 18 hours of course work a week.
  14. Feb 15, 2005 #13
    well being that it is the second best college in the US......do the math yourself...
  15. Feb 15, 2005 #14


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    not everyone at MIT works all the time, but top research scientists, and successful students at top places, do work a lot.

    when i was a grad student (not at MIT), i made so little money, i was a vegetarian partly to be able to afford food for my family, and partly to require less sleep needed to digest meat. I ran several miles a day to be in good physical condition. I got up before dawn every day, worked all day, played with my kids at night until they went to bed, then worked after they fell asleep from 11 until 1am. of course i made all A's, as well as teaching undergraduate classes.

    i heard once some students felt it was unfair that they wound up in classes with me and another guy, since the competition was more than they could have expected.

    later when i had a research grant that was too small to feed us, i sold my car to have money to continue to study.

    for ten years i sat in the same place on the floor every day surrounded by books. i went to no movies, read no novels, listended to music only to relax and study better. i skipped lunch to have more time to work and save money.

    still i got letters from job applications like: "at one time a student with your qualifications would have easily obtained a position here, but unfortunately now things are different."

    i found good employment, but still it was decades before I could even afford to buy math books.

    the point is the work is hard, the competition is intense, and the monetary rewards are small. so it is crucial to do it for the love of the work and the subject. Pick something you absolutely love working on. Otherwise it is very hard, maybe impossible, to work hard enough to succeed.

    the good part is, if you do not give up, eventually you will succeed. it just does not come quickly. and even a slow student who is persistent and thoughtful, will make great progress in time.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2005
  16. Feb 15, 2005 #15
    "i sold my car to have money to continue to study"

    Never would I resort to selling my ride.....sighface
  17. Feb 15, 2005 #16


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    i think i had two cars, but i sold the reliable one.
  18. Feb 15, 2005 #17

    very amazing :eek: may I know which college were you in?
  19. Feb 15, 2005 #18


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    the extremely hard program described above was in graduate school at PhD level, trying to finish in 3 years with a family, which is much more competitive and intense than undergraduate college. college is demanding but only a picnic, even at Harvard / MIT, compared to grad school.

    Besides I exaggerate. I remember taking my kids to see star wars at least twice during that 10 years.
  20. Feb 16, 2005 #19
    I think some of you guys are overreacting. I can only speak from second hand experience, but not everyone at MIT is a workaholic. They do tend to cater to those types however. The person I know who went there double majored in mathematics and biology, but still had time to do things like extracurriculars, etc. He is pretty smart, but I wouldn't exactly consider him to be a genius. He is just pretty dedicated and focused.

    And other people are right, they almost never accept transfers, so I wouldn't worry too much. They are pretty good at determining who is going to succeed there anyway, so if you get in theres no reason to not go (unless the choice is between them and say, Cal Tech)
  21. Feb 16, 2005 #20
    Seems like it's pretty hard to have kids while in grad school, especially if your wife doesn't work (I assume she didn't by inference). If you don't have kids - I don't think grad school is that bad.
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