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Schools The most prestigious university in the entire world?

  1. Aug 13, 2011 #1
    What is the single most prestigious university in the entire world?

    Most people say it is Harvard university, while others claim Oxford and Cambridge. It is next to impossible to get accepted into these schools unless you have some of the highest grades and test scores out of anyone else in your state. Every year, only 3-4% of applicants are accepted into the "elite" universities.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 13, 2011 #2
    MIT and Princeton as well. Test scores and grades alone won't always hack it. I know a number of people who were a the top of the class and had perfect or near perfect ACT/SAT scores, AP or IB courses etc. and were not admitted to MIT. I'm not sure what MIT looks for, but I think very strong/unusual extracurriculars in the sciences are probably a much bigger deal than high scores and grades. Of course, kids who have done college level mathematics at nearby university do exist, as do kids who compete in mathematics and computer science at the national level in highschool, and they do indeed generally go to top schools.
  4. Aug 13, 2011 #3
    If you would like to read any given subject at Cambridge (or Oxford), things couldn't get any more straightforward.

    a) Make sure you can afford the tuition fees

    b) If you would like to study, say, Mathematics, then learn as much mathematics as you can during high school and excel at it. If you're doing A-Levels, then you want to be doing Mathematics and Further Mathematics to A2. If you're doing IB, then Mathematics HL is a must. If Further Mathematics SL is offered, do that as well. If your school offers none of these, do as many AP subjects related to maths that you can, such as AP Stats and Calculus. (not very familiar with APs and such)

    c) See to it that you get the best grades you can in them. There's no fifty ways around this, everything you need to know is on their respective websites. Cambridge and Oxford could not care any less if one of their applicants to study Mathematics is a fine individual who volunteers at the Hare Krishna temple and milks cows for a living. They're looking for somebody who's just very good at Maths.

    d) The interview process is not to "get to know you". It's entirely academic. Google "Cambridge mock interview", then watch the ones for Natural Sciences, Computer Science and Maths.


    Wait, why the **** would you care about prestige?
  5. Aug 13, 2011 #4
    There are high schoolers who take college-level math courses?
  6. Aug 13, 2011 #5
    Yeah. At my college we had 5 HS'ers in my Calc 2 class. One of them was only a junior in HS and dang good too. Kinda made me wish I took HS more seriously.
  7. Aug 13, 2011 #6
    Apparently there are. So?

    As I said, if you want to go to Cambridge or Oxford, it's not that hard. Actually, getting into either of the schools is easier than getting into say, Harvard.


    Five AP tests in relevant disciplines. That, good SAT scores and a good high school transcript.

    Or, just do 3 A-Levels and make your life easier.

    Hey, it doesn't matter. Maybe when you're gonna be taking a grad course one day, you'll find a college freshman in the same class...

    If you regret it so much and for some reason feel, that getting ahead is important, nothing stops you from doing so now!
  8. Aug 13, 2011 #7
    I think if you're in the top 10 in your high school, and did a lot of stuff to distinguish yourself, you stand a pretty decent chance.

    I would not say that the most impressive people get into these schools necessary, however. It's usually the people who do the right things, which at the high school level, to me at least, don't necessarily correlate great with what I'd say is truly impressive.

    In the US, I'd vote Harvard for overall, and MIT for things which are 'math-y' ... since it has a terrific balance of pure and applied mathematics.
  9. Aug 13, 2011 #8
    What are the top schools in Europe!

    Top 5!Anyone?
  10. Aug 13, 2011 #9
    Go look at the world rankings, if you so desperately want to have an answer. We all know there is no such thing as "top 5 universities in Europe", but go ahead and indulge.
  11. Aug 13, 2011 #10
    Every single one of your posts sounds like some excerpt from a bad 'Surviving College' book. Do you mean to write your posts in an expository style or is this actually a question?
  12. Aug 13, 2011 #11
    Yeah, however (in my opinion) the most impressive math people (aside from people like Tao who are beyond compare) are the IMO competitors.

    A video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tpDqliD6Ss" so give you an idea. All of them are pre-college.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  13. Aug 13, 2011 #12
    Ha! Yeah, nice observation.
  14. Aug 13, 2011 #13
    OP, just remember that "most prestigious" does not equal best. The best college is one that excels in your specific academic field, has lots of opportunity for research and extracurriculars, and most importantly, one that you think you will be happy at.
  15. Aug 13, 2011 #14
    Please don't care about prestige. It really doesn't matter, especially for undergrad.

    But to note how hard it is to get into them, I can state some personal evidence. I had a 2400 SAT, 4.7/3.98 W/UW GPA (1 B+ freshman year), 16 AP tests with mostly 5s, and pretty strong ECs. I got into MIT, Princeton, and Yale, but I was still wait-listed (and ultimately rejected) by Harvard. It's pretty much a crap shoot, no matter how good you make yourself to be.
  16. Aug 14, 2011 #15
    MIT specializes in math and science. While Harvard focuses on things such as law and business. Each college is known for their expertise in different subjects. Although I'm not sure what the best school for medicine is.
  17. Aug 15, 2011 #16
    That's quite the misinformed stereotype. I'd advise to consult more resources (i.e. do some googling) before you state such things.
  18. Aug 15, 2011 #17
    Harvard Business School is arguably the best in the world. Most Harvard MBA's get job placement on wall-street making six figures per year their first year out of college. Also, several US attorney generals went to Harvard law school.

    While most of the top-notch nobel prize-winning scientists went to MIT. MIT is world-renowned for their expertise in physics, math, and the sciences.
  19. Aug 15, 2011 #18
    No, they didn't. Not at all. Some end up there afterwards because hiring them makes MIT look good.

    What i did is went through the departments of all these school and looked at where their academics studied. At MIT a lot more studied at UC Berkeley than MIT. An interesting statistic I thought.

    EDIT: I was looking at mat sci and physics departments, sorry. not all of them.
  20. Aug 15, 2011 #19
    Which university has the world's best med school?
  21. Aug 15, 2011 #20
    University of Winnipeg. Now go to Canada.

    Oh, wait, Universiti Brunei Darussalam is the best funded. Would you go there?

    There is no way to say "best" in these things. I don't even think you know what you're asking for when you say "best".
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011
  22. Aug 15, 2011 #21
    Have you look at Harvard's math, med, english, divinity, or any other department/school? Harvard is not good only at business and law. It's consistently recognized (and ranked if that's important to you) as one of the top schools in a lot more departments than the two you stereotyped it in.

    And sure, MIT is great in math and sciences, but it too is consistently ranked in other departments as well. What I'm saying is that you're stereotyping the schools into believing they're only good in the subjects you stated. Harvard's math is just as good, if not better, than MIT for example. Heard of the Putnam or Math 55? They're obviously not true factors in determining the "best" school for a particular subject, but it seems you really care about prestige and those two are definitely one of the most prestigious things for Math.

    For math, the best undergrads are typically "recognized" as Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Berkeley, UChicago, and UCambridge. I'm clearly missing out on many other great schools that might be on par, but if I were to rank the top 5 in terms of both skill and prestige in Mathematics, I would state these 5. However, there is no clear order among the tops. Rather, I would use tiers instead of an absolute ranking. That is, all schools within a specific tier are relatively the same and impossible to differentiate from. This is true for all subjects and even concentrations within each subject.

    There really is no "best" school for any department or concentration. If so, what is your criteria for determining such a thing? Prestige?
  23. Aug 15, 2011 #22


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    Stanford is likely the best all-around big university. Harvard is overrated - it has great students but doesn't really educate them as well as most other schools. Oxford has been coasting on its reputation for a long time. Cambridge is better, at least for for maths and sciences. Caltech is harder and has better students than MIT, at least judging by test scores and personal reports. Deep Springs is likely the most exclusive and has the highest verbal scores. St. John's College of Annapolis and Santa Fe offers the best (and perhaps the only) traditional liberal arts education. In biology and medicine, Rockefeller University is the top, but it does not take undergraduates. Rockefeller has about 5 faculty for every 2 students, but it's really a research institution.
  24. Aug 17, 2011 #23
    Call me dumb, but what exactly is a "faculty?"
  25. Aug 17, 2011 #24
    In the context of a university, it can refer to the employees of the university (particularly the academic staff) or it can refer to a branch of study at a university (e.g. faculty of science, faculty of nursing, faculty of education)
  26. Aug 17, 2011 #25
    That's my university! But I must say, good luck getting into their medical school. No offense, but you have like zero chance. Mostly because it doesn't exist
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