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What chances do i have getting in MIt or caltech?

  1. Jun 19, 2010 #1
    I am Manish Rathore from Jaipur,Rajasthan,India.

    I dont have good high school record. I just got 62% in my hs and may be its because that
    most of the time in my high school i was struggling with my own questions. I never liked to go to school instead i just self study at my home.

    I did not participate in any extracurricular activities ( i did not have many option though,just two science ollympiad and ntse) except my own independent research and The reason for repulsion from these contests was not only my inability to understand simple concepts (simple because my classmates understood without any problem) like infinity , why the laws are the way the are(like why square in inverse sqpare law instead of cube) etc but also my inablity to find their usefullness.

    I dont understand physics easily but i still love it. and actually it is the incomprehensibleness that i love most.I like theoretical and mathematical physics most. and thats where i wanna go.

    in past four years with physics and mathematics and music(2 years) and programming(2 years) ,
    > i designed distance measuring appratus using similar triangles without knowing similar triangles ( actually i was unintentionally discovering similar trangles)
    > i redefined and extended many mathematical and physical concepts.( one research paper @ http://www.mediafire.com/?njkxzdzyoez [Broken])
    > many imgainative and wierd ideas ( like i was trying to think why is universe infinite and i came with idea , since 1d infinte distance i.e. circle , 2d infinity sphere, 3d infinity our universe)
    > i composed many songs u can listen @ http://www.indabamusic.com/people/manishr

    Sometime i just think and think continously day and night ( even in my dreams) for days . Sometime i listen music experiment music passionately continiously for days. Some time watch movies and shows for whole day 24 hours. So what i mean to say is what i do, i do with full passion without thinking about what the people would think or consequences.

    If my high school performance is considered i dont deserve mit or caltech at all.But if my passion is considered i think i deserve more than my state university (rajasthan university most corrupted univ in the whole india) or some other like IIT univ or college where marks are prefer over interests.

    So thats me.

    What do u think will i be able to get admission in MIT or Caltech ?
    How much marks in SAT can get me there?

    u may lol now.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2010 #2
    You remind me a little of Richard Feynman except he is American. Is English your first or second language?
  4. Jun 19, 2010 #3
    Even for someone with a spotless record, MIT is more of a pot-shot than anything. For every good student they take, there are many other good students who are rejected. As far as undergraduate education goes, it doesn't matter. Stay in India and study as deep as you can. Discovering things by yourself is the most important feature that most students miss out on.

    High school grades are taken seriously wherever you apply. One cannot really judge with an absolute number such as "62%". Where did you stand in your class when ranked against everyone else? With IIT-JEE coaching institutes setting up like Pizza Hut on every road, I can guess that there will be millions of students who score in the 90% range.

    The SAT does not carry so much weight. Looking into the statistics, you will find plenty of students who score just ~2100 who have made it into MIT. Also note that the fee in MIT is exorbitant. You will have to qualify for financial aid also. Caltech is not http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Need-blind_admission" [Broken].

    The IITs are also over-hyped in this country. It is more due to social brainwashing that Indians hold IIT in such esteem.

    Take home message: Do not get carried away by the big names abroad. You can stay here. Admitted, the undergraduate education in this country is in serious need of repair; but study somewhere in India, anywhere in India. Join some arts and science college. Most arts and science colleges give you a lot of free time as opposed to engineering colleges here. Take time to educate yourself in those three years whilst applying for research projects in TIFR, IISc, IMSc, Raman institute etc. With your enthusiasm to study the subject, you will do fine. You can apply abroad for you Masters. Good luck.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Jun 19, 2010 #4
    This is incredible, I feel like your post would be the exact same post that I could have posted. The only difference is that I gave up music in 8th grade (I had a terrible teacher, though I was very good without any practice) and I'm American. I know what you feel like when people around you say they 'understand' things like limits and that sort, I always wonder if they really understand it or if they just understand how to use it. I can never get my mind off things like that. As a result I got very bored with high school and didn't do well. I've just graduated and am taking summer college classes. Expecting a different environment than high school, I'm very disappointed so far. I think that for the most part, undergraduate school will be like that because it seems like there aren't too many people who really truly care about understanding something fully. I think I will get the real joy out of self-studying and learning (which I have been doing much of). I think doing research will be very enjoyable because the people doing research [hopefully] WANT to understand these various phenomena, and from what I've researched about it, this generally seems to be true.

    The point I'm trying to make is that perhaps you don't have to go to an MIT or a Princeton just yet. If it were so astronomically superior, they would never admit prospective graduate students from other schools would they? Knowing what I've learned now, I've decided to definitely try much harder for undergraduate school, and certainly being a major in physics (unlike high schools, they don't give you much freedom) will be better motivation. If, for nothing else, I want to do well so I can do the research that I want and love to do so much, whatever it may be. A life of learning is just about the most wonderful profession to have, in my opinion. But that doesn't make going to an amazing undergraduate school a requirement. I think that if you're really passionate and good at something, with a little more effort you can beat the game and set yourself up for a wonderful future. And if that isn't MIT then who cares? They're not the only physics lab in the world. There are many great modern scientists that don't work in the top 10.

    Also, I was mostly geared towards engineering until I read a book by Richard Feynman. Once I heard this man speak about the wonders of physics and mathematics, I knew this is simply what I had to do. It was a big motivator for me, to see a man so successful and find so many similarities between this great scientist and myself and seeing so many mirrored thoughts was just amazing. I think you should read one of his biographies, I have a feeling you'll feel very much like I did.

    Anyway, these are the things I'm going through as well and seeing that I feel we're very much alike, I thought I'd share and maybe it will help you and give you some confidence. Good luck.
  6. Jun 19, 2010 #5
    Thanks for that. English is my second language.Why!! ( If it is the research paper, i wrote
    it when i was in 9th and at that time my english was really bad)
    well with that percentage i have just one choice CMI. Is there any more colleges like CMI? let me know. Thanks for ur reply it helped me alot.
    at last i found someone. the reason why i wanna go to Mit or caltech is wanna meet people like me ? and i have read Richard P Feynman's surely u r joking r feynman.Einstein,feynman are my inspiration.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010
  7. Jun 19, 2010 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    First, the only way to find out if you are going to get in is to apply.

    However, you need to understand how competitive MIT is. They accept maybe 6-8 Indian undergraduates per year. Cal Tech is smaller.

    "Passion" is not a substitute for achievement, I'm afraid. Also, watching TV or movies for 24 hours straight sounds more like a lack of discipline than passion. If someone is truly passionate about something, they make and execute a plan to succeed. This is different from wating TV all night long. What MIT and others are looking for is a track record of success - passion implemented, as it were.

    I feel like an ogre for telling you this, but your "research paper" is not so much a research paper as a problem in my freshman high school physics class. I am afraid your perceptions of what you have done are somewhat inflated. This may cause your expectations to become somewhat unrealistic. MIT will accept students who are just as passionate as you - but have managed to do something with it, including but not limited to getting good grades.
  8. Jun 19, 2010 #7
    @Vanadium 50
    It did pull down my confidence.I dont believe in discipline. i just do what i want to do. lack of guidance may be blamed for my such poor academic performance.and i dont think so watching movies or tv shows is going to decrease my ability to imagine.
    fyi i did that "research paper" when i was in 9th grade.

    thanks for ur honest answer
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010
  9. Jun 19, 2010 #8
    the one of the reasons that i thinking about mit or caltech is that they want students who have real passion for science (with good grades). since i dont have good grades thats why i am asking here.
    "I am afraid your perceptions of what you have done are somewhat inflated."
    its because i dont have anybody to compare with. thats why i am here at physics forum so that i can know where i stand.
  10. Jun 20, 2010 #9
    I don't think you stand a very good chance. One good indicator of whether or not you'll succeed is your academic record. For example, if you can't do well in high school, what will make them think you'll change in Caltech/MIT, which is much much harder than high school? Although you display the enthusiasm and willingness to learn, many many applicants do and it's almost been typical. Not to let you down, but you also don't seem to have many extracurriculars. I don't think you'll get in to be honest, but who knows? Maybe they'll love your attitude and it'll forgive all your stats. One other thing is that you're an international student, which makes it that much harder. There's many applicants that share your enthusiasm in learning, but have better stats. The international student pool is VERY competitive. Even Feynman did well on tests. I am sad to say, but without good stats and only a good enthusiasm, you probably won't make it to the top schools.
    There's many many more opportunities though. You don't HAVE to go to a top school for a good education.
  11. Jun 21, 2010 #10
    Take a look at http://web.mit.edu/registrar/stats/geo/index.html. There are currently 28 undergraduates from India at MIT, which means they admit 7 per year.

    Such details aren't available from CalTech. http://registrar.caltech.edu/statistics.htm [Broken] reveals that there are 111 undergraduates from *any* foreign country (including Canada). So that means they admit roughly 28 students from around the world each year.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  12. Jun 21, 2010 #11
    ^That's false. They probably admit more students. Remember that colleges admit a # of students based on their yield rate (as well as many other things) and the amount they can hold. In other words, Caltech probably admits more than 28 students each year because they would expect to have around 28 international students and that several of their admitted students will likely not attend.
  13. Jun 22, 2010 #12
    True enough... these are enrollment numbers, not admission numbers.

    So suppose they admit twice as many as that, expecting 50% to not bother. Does admitting 14 Indians or 56 international students each year really make you feel like your chances are that much better? (Pick whatever yield rate you like here...)

    I'm not saying don't apply, but it's *long* odds, and you need to be aware of that going in.
  14. Jun 22, 2010 #13
    I would say your chances are slim to none. The acceptance ratio at these schools is less than 10%.
  15. Jun 22, 2010 #14


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    To answer your specific question on SAT scores, you need to have an 800 or close to it on the SAT math to be considered. When I was at Caltech, most students had scored 800 on the SAT math. Have you taken the SAT yet? Also, if you look at Caltech's admission statistics, it says 98% of their students were in the top 10% of their high school class, and 100% were in the top 25% of their high school class, so if you are not in the top 25% of your high school class, I think you have no chance.

    However, as has been pointed out, there are many very good schools where you can get a quality education.
  16. Jun 22, 2010 #15
    Thank U Guys For UR Response
    I thinking am going for Rajasthan University. I think thats what i deserve, well i am not sad cause i got internet(world's best universities lectures are in my pc.) and if u know more stuffs like that plz let me know.
    so :)
  17. Jun 22, 2010 #16


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    That's the right attitude to have. How much you learn is much more determined by how much effort you put in than by where you go to school.
  18. Jun 22, 2010 #17
    Well again, those numbers are still a bit misleading because you don't know the pool of Indian applicants or international applicants for example so you don't know the actual admit rate for international students. However, your main idea remains true. The international pool is very very competitive, much more so than applicants belonging to the states. They expect much more out of an international student.
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