My chances at MIT, Caltech etc.

In summary, the speaker is a junior from Czech Republic who is considering applying to a top university in the US for theoretical physics. They have a strong interest in the subject but struggle with subjects like history, resulting in lower grades. They have won a regional physics competition and placed second in a national competition, but their attitude of not finding certain subjects entertaining may hurt their chances of being accepted. They are seeking advice on how to improve their chances before investing in tests and applications.
  • #1
Angelos
17
0
Hi everyone,

I'm a junior in Czech Republic and I'm thinking about applying to one of the US' top universities. I really love physics and even though we have a good university here I think that my chances of pursuing career in theoretical physics will increase if I go to the US. One problem is that I don't really have so good grades. Of course I have A in Math and Physics, but I just can't stand History and similar stuff. History literally bores me to death. Also our universities don't look at our grades from High School so I didn't have any motivation for having good grades. On the top of it we have different system of courses. Here we have every year about 10-13 subjects. So we have Physics every year, Biology every year and so on. So I usually have something like two Cs, some Bs and some As. However I have won the Physics Olympics in my region twice. And I was second in the category for seniors from where I qualified to the National Physics O.. Unfortunately I couldn't participate in the National competition because of an illness.

So can you plese give me some ideas what my chances are before I spend all that money for the tests etc.? Thank you.
 
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  • #2
I think your attitude is going to hurt you - certainly in graduate school, but probably also in gaining admittance to a highly competitive university. "I didn't do well because I didn't find the subject matter sufficiently entertaining" is not a common attitude among successful graduate students, or those who aspire to be.

I don't know about Caltech first hand. MIT accepts only a few percent of their international applicants - you're going to have to convince them that they should take you as opposed to someone with very similar credentials, but who also got good grades. This is not easy. Normally, one of the best things you can do to improve your chances is to interview, but in your case I'm afraid an interview would not help.

What would help is to get your grades up. Pronto.
 
  • #3
In the US I'd wager at MIT and most likely for CalTech as well, for undergrad probably around 97%-ish percent probably have a 4.0 GPA (straight A's in the US) throughout high school. I'm not saying it's grades that determine it, but on top of grades all of those accepted are exceptional applicants, and having a 4.0 shows that one is motivated in academics.
 

Related to My chances at MIT, Caltech etc.

1. What are my chances of getting into MIT?

Admission to MIT is highly competitive and the acceptance rate is typically around 7%. Your chances of acceptance will depend on a variety of factors, such as your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation. It is important to showcase your unique strengths and accomplishments in your application.

2. Is it harder to get into Caltech compared to other top universities?

Caltech is known for its rigorous academics and small student population, making it one of the most selective universities in the world. However, each university has its own unique criteria for admission, so it is difficult to compare the level of difficulty. It is best to focus on presenting your best self in your application rather than worrying about the selectivity of the university.

3. Can a strong extracurricular profile compensate for a lower GPA or test scores?

While a strong extracurricular profile can certainly enhance your application, it may not necessarily compensate for lower academic credentials. MIT and Caltech place a strong emphasis on academic excellence, so it is important to have a well-rounded application that showcases both your academic and extracurricular achievements.

4. Do MIT and Caltech have any specific requirements for applicants?

MIT and Caltech do not have any specific requirements for applicants, but they do recommend that students take challenging courses in high school, such as advanced math and science classes. They also look for students who have a passion for learning and a strong interest in science, engineering, and technology.

5. How can I improve my chances of being accepted to MIT or Caltech?

In addition to having a strong academic record and extracurricular profile, it is important to write compelling essays, obtain strong letters of recommendation, and showcase your unique strengths and interests in your application. It is also beneficial to visit the campus, attend information sessions, and connect with current students or alumni to learn more about the university and its culture.

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