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What do I, being an Indian, need to do to get into MIT, USA?

  1. Jul 27, 2012 #1
    Hi, I am from India and am currently in 9th standard. I manage to score good marks and am the topper of my class. I am also good in drawing and playing football. I know a few things which are needed for getting into the MIT like having a good percentile, scoring good in SAT and also be active in extra-curricular activities. Are there anyother requirements or things which I need to know? What should I do, starting from this year, to get selected to the MIT with a scholarship?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 27, 2012 #2

    Chi Meson

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    I had a student who just graduated. He was in my AP Physics class, scored near-perfect on the SATs, (including perfect on Math and perfect on Physics SAT II). He was Captain and an outstanding programmer on my award-winning robotics team this year, a cellist, captain and state champion on the fencing team.

    Not accepted at MIT.

    Short answer, I have no idea what it takes to get into MIT these days.
  4. Jul 27, 2012 #3
    First thing that you should know is that setting such narrow target (only MIT and nothing else) may not guarantee a sure success in the future. There is significant chances that you may not get accepted into MIT. You should keep that in mind when you try. Best thing is to try for 4/5 good universities and at least one of them will select you.

    That being said, while selecting suitable universities, one should put importance in the quality of education and scientific research done in the university, not on its public popularity. It is possible that those public images are gained by the success of a particular set of departments, while other departments may not be that good.

    First ask yourself what you want to do in the future? I presume from your name that you are a Bengali, who are generally interested in physics, electronics, chemistry, statistics etc. Your choice might be different. Thus use the internet and try to find about the quality of that department in the target universities. That way you can shortlist the best 4/5 of them and you may not find MIT in that depending on your interest.
  5. Jul 27, 2012 #4
    You may need to give GRE/TOEFL or such language and aptitude tests, the scores of which will be one factor for your selection. The other factor will be your performance in previous school/college. Learn each and everything in your domain of interest as much as possible. Try to perform well in the exams. These things and several other policies will determine whether you will get accepted or how much scholarship you will get. The above thing is the general rule and it varies slightly (or more) for various universities. Access the university websites to obtain the details.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
  6. Jul 27, 2012 #5


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    GRE is for admission to graduate school (post bachelor's degree), not undergraduate.
  7. Jul 27, 2012 #6
    Note that MIT has only 150 spots for international students. Apply elsewhere as well. There's no formula. Just keep exploring new avenues, find new things to like and do them well. Eventually, you'll notice that without stressing yourself, you've found some interesting stuff. If you don't, it's still interesting, because you've tried lots of different things like writing poetry, how to extract links from a search engine or just reading everything you can get your hands on.

    That's Cal Newport's college advice paraphrased (and also some of my thoughts thrown into the mix). I think the guy has a good way of looking at the college admissions process. It's usually stressing but that's a good way to make it less stressing. Even if you don't get into MIT, you're still winning.

    There are lots of great schools in the US. Most of the top 50 liberal arts colleges offer financial aid, so look into those as well. You don't sound like you've even taken a look at MIT's admissions webpage. If you had, you'd have known that admissions is need-blind (meaning that one's ability to pay does not factor in whether one gets in or not) and that they meet the full demonstrated need of all accepted applicants. This means that whatever amount of money you'll need to afford MIT, you'll get from MIT. Most US colleges aren't both need-blind and full-need but there's lots who'll still meet one's full need if they do get in.

    Applying to five colleges only, when one is an international applicant requiring aid, is a bad idea. Pick ten (and yes, picking out *just* the Ivy League, MIT and CalTech is a baaad idea!) with varying degrees of selectivity and apply to them.
  8. Jul 28, 2012 #7
    I agree with this wholeheartedly. I am still in my undergrad, but when I started picking out universities I made the same mistake as almost everyone in my year - picking a university solely based on prestige and think that you are "done" when you get into these big names.

    I had the opportunity to tried out one of my "prestige" schools I so wanted to get in and felt miserable there because I couldn't fit in (I tried, but something about the university just doesn't sit well with me) and I left to a place that I didn't want to go ("less prestige"). At first I resented myself for being so stupid and not making it to the big names, but I soon got really comfortable in my new place and ended up loving it. A choice I never regretted
  9. Jul 30, 2012 #8
    And if you take a look at my favorite MIT link, http://web.mit.edu/registrar/stats/geo/index.html, you'll see that about 8 of these spots go to a student from India each year.

    But to actually answer the question about how to get into MIT... I think the short answer is "Be amazing." You need good grades and test scores, of course, but on top of that, you need to do *one* thing that is truly outstanding that differentiates you from all of the other applicants.
  10. Jul 30, 2012 #9
    Define being amazing in academic settings. I dont think MIT admission procedure sholud be compared with various competition TV shows or am I misinformed?

    Just do what you need to be good enough and you'll get selected. Nothing sorts of special tricks are required.

    Note: thnx jtbell. i almost forgot that.
  11. Jul 30, 2012 #10
    I'm not suggesting you should start eating bugs, but if you think a straight A average and perfect SAT scores will ensure admission to any elite university in the US, you *are* misinformed. (This will do very well for the second tier, however.)

    I'm not suggesting that tricks work either. You need to have some genuine accomplishment that shows that you will go on to be a success whether you are admitted or not. It sounds like a cliche, but they really do want you to be "special".
  12. Jul 30, 2012 #11
    I really still dont understand what kind of special accomplishment is required for admission to MIT. Can you give some examples? That might enlighten me.
  13. Jul 30, 2012 #12
    I applied to MIT and unsurprisingly I didn't get in, my academic profile was nowhere near what they look for.

    The most important thing is to be extraordinary, what does that mean?

    You've got to assume a few things in the application pool, everyone who will get in has straight A's and a demanding courseload (lots of AP classes). Everyone will have high SAT scores (1400+ Math/Verbal), and more often than not be valedictorian or at least top 5% of their class. That is your generic applicant, anything less and your entering the realm of wishing and hoping...

    Extraordinary things applicants have done: Winning championships in sports, Winning math competitions or any kind of academic competition, publishing books or research or whatever will get your name out there, creating programs or games with major success, winning music competitions.

    Basically something that says I'm not just good at one thing (school), I can do what ever I want and can achieve a high proficiency in it.

    For International students its even more competitive.

    This is MIT we're talking about, they can afford to pick the best of the best of the best... If your not it, then you need to reevaluate your goals because you will not get in.
  14. Jul 31, 2012 #13
    Although sometimes dreams *do* come true! Take a look at http://mitadmissions.org/apply/process/stats as well... MIT admitted a few students with 600-640 on SAT math, and some with less than 600 on the SAT reading and writing. Not many, but it happens.

    MIT faces the same basic problem as the IITs... too many qualified students, too few seats. While the IITs have chosen one way to deal with it (standardized testing with a cutoff), MIT (and the other elite US universities) went a different way and have made it more of a beauty contest. I can't tell you what you need to do to get in, because its a moving target. You have to stand out as someone destined for success, whether you get into MIT or not. bamahabir gave a good list to start from though.
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