Why are you all so smart?

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Discus: Ivy League Schools: Harvard University: 2004 Archive: Why are you all so smart?
By Whoah_Monkey (Whoah_Monkey) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 10:28 pm: Edit

almost everyone on this site attends either Harvard, Princeton, Yale etc. How are you all so smart? I thought those schools were impossible to get into, u guys must be guniuses. (wrong spelling huh? Darn it!) Anyways, I wish and whole-heartidly hope I'll be accepted to Yale, Harvard, or Priceton, hmm.......

By Haithman (Haithman) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 11:48 pm: Edit

Some of us are smart/borderline genius, but most of us are just willing to work REALLY HARD in order to reach a goal. 90% of us are overachiver/work hard types, the rest are really smart though..(RSI, USAMO, Intel, Siemens, Pulitzer...)

By Vecter (Vecter) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 03:48 pm: Edit

i'm not smart, just lucky :)

haithman is right tho, most of us just work our asses off.

and getting intel/siemens doesn't mean ur smart. I got both but i still consider many other kids to be smarter than I am, esp. the wizards on the natl science teams (phys/math/bio/chem etc.)

intel and siemens are basically how clever you are and how much effort you put in (tho some people are just so naturally talented, they can get them without working too hard).

By Nyugrad (Nyugrad) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 04:25 pm: Edit

But ISEF requires presentation skills, ability to think under pressure, and a clear understanding of the project to answer difficult questions. THAT requires intelligence. (Plus thinking up the project and putting it together in the first place.)

By Qwy (Qwy) on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 12:15 pm: Edit

RSI was not THAT hard to get into ;-) and Intel was not THAT hard either. Luck has a lot to do with it.

By Vecter (Vecter) on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 01:16 pm: Edit

ISEF requires presentation skills, but writing a paper itself is difficult also, being able to organize all your work and cogently present your research.

the problem with ISEF (and in a sense, siemens) is regionals--competing from regional NY is extemely difficult but you can get in relatively easily from other states out in the midwest etc.

at regional ISEF (through both rounds) I was asked a total of TWO questions. 12 judges and only two questions?? I got my butt grilled @ siemens and intel--the questioning there is DEFINITELY much more intense.

Qwy is right tho, there's plenty of luck/randomness involved, parallel to college applications

By Nyugrad (Nyugrad) on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 02:03 pm: Edit

For Intel, there is also the question of WHO actually did the paper. Intel has no idea who wrote the paper, just that it was something that they liked at that moment. You are right, one has to be lucky.At ISEF, they can see through that.

As far as ISEF, my son was grilled by 6 judges in one roumd and answered almost an hour of straight questions-and that was just one round in the regionals.

By Vecter (Vecter) on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 11:19 pm: Edit

if it makes you feel better, I can guarantee you that all the finalists did their own work independently. frankly, i hate all the BS whisperings about whether the mentors did the work or not for the students.

the fact of the matter is, a university professor won't LIE on an application. When it asks the mentor how much of the work is the student's, he/she is not going to prevaricate to up the chances of the student getting into the last round. they've built a career on honesty and integrity--the foundation of all science, and to think for a second that they would give that up for a high school student is ridiculous. There may be a few corrupt people here or there, but I think I'm right to say that few if any mentors will lie on the intel application.

furthermore, 5 essays, 3 letters of recommendation, GPA, class rank, and SAT scores combine to give you a complete package. When judges match this information with the actual written research report, it's immediately evident whether the student was capable of doing the work or not.

I wish i had the same experience at regional ISEF that your son did. Where is your family from Nyugrad (or where did your son have his regional ISEF)?

By Nyugrad (Nyugrad) on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 08:16 am: Edit

I know of some students who "get more help" than they should. The mentors also want their students to be winners. Iam not talking of finalists, I am talking about semi finalists. The finalists have to "face the music" and actually know what they are talking about. I have heard that many of the finalist questions, however are not science related.

By Whartonfella (Whartonfella) on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 08:54 pm: Edit

hey i wanna just say something

not everyone here is sooo smart or a genius. for instance. im not a genius but i know what it takes to get into a good school (im going to wharton, not harvard, i know). it shows on your application to wherever you apply that you do not get outta the house much. in most cases, even at harvard, thats not the kind of person they are looking for.

top schools want kids that can work but are also bright and interested in things beyond academics. some people, just by being themselves (like me), fit that mold. i didnt do anything special to get into wharton. i just chilled out and had a good time doing what i liked that would also be beneficial to the college process.

ill say it again. if you are the type that has millions of EC's and straight A's all that you might not be perfect to a top school. youll look good on paper but i know that personally im not sure i want to hang out with you and sure as hell dont want to live around you for the next four years.

be smart (not necessarily genius), work hard (not too hard), have fun (not too much), and just do what you gotta do. somethings require a lot of work (SAT's), but straight A's and crap dont get you into harvard. i know lots of people who are there without out all A's.

good luck, homie

By Serdu (Serdu) on Wednesday, April 28, 2004 - 07:05 pm: Edit

Not smart. Just hard working. But that's just me.:)

By Sng157 (Sng157) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 12:55 pm: Edit

I was reading some of the things you "hard workers" said and I am really moved. I don't go to the perfect high school by all means. But I work really really hard to achieve what I have so far and I hope that I can get into a prestigious school just as you all have.

By Blueberrypie (Blueberrypie) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 02:20 pm: Edit

Intel does require a lot of intelligence or at least a lot of hard work. Still, luck is a big factor - experiments don't always work, you can't always cure cancer in a few months while working at a lab.

When it comes to rec letters - I know someone who worked in a lab and the guy printed out the same rec letters for everyone, sometimes forgetting to change the name. They all had people basically hand them projects. I think this is just because of where I live - right near a school where some labs are "Intel factories" where every year they churn out projects for the kids. They basically hand them to the students. I'm not saying they don't work, but it's bs because they simply did manual labor like robots.

Most Intel people obviously aren't like this, don't get upset. I just feel that a lot of Intel has to do with who your mentor was and luck. Still, there are some people who get it because they're truly brilliant.

By Nyugrad (Nyugrad) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 04:13 pm: Edit

Sadly,I have also heard of many of the things that Blueberrypie has said.

By Vecter (Vecter) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 05:41 pm: Edit

blueberrypie where r u from? Long Island by any chance?

the whole research experience is what the student makes of it--if he/she shows initiative, independence, and creativity, then that person will be rewarded. of course there's the luck factor as well, but it's unfair to generalize that because a few kids got unlucky (I can think of 3 right now), that the entire competition is bogus.

By Blueberrypie (Blueberrypie) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 05:53 pm: Edit

I didn't call the entire competition bogus. Read the last few lines of my post.

Still, a lot of it DOES have to do with who your mentor was and luck plays a part. It's a fact. Experiments don't have to work, in fact, usually they don't. It's part of the research process. I know someone who worked really hard and his mentor helped a lot but his experiments returned negative results. I know Intel tries to take this into account by looking at many things in addition to the actual project. Still, if a person doesn't have a project, it doesn't matter how good their SATs are.

As I said, the people who do well, especially the finalists, I would think do do their own work (I assume so, it's not as if I can KNOW though.) Don't get offended, it's not a bogus competition, but sometimes people can really work the system with pre-packaged projects, and THAT annoys me. Btw, I'm not bitter or anything, I was an Intel semifinalist and very happy with that.

By Blueberrypie (Blueberrypie) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 05:59 pm: Edit

Btw Vecter, I love how you instantly responded with "You from Long Island?"

By Amylase (Amylase) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 08:05 pm: Edit

"almost everyone on this site attends either Harvard, Princeton, Yale etc."

what? no Stanford? etc. ETC.? you put stanford into that etc.?

By Nyugrad (Nyugrad) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 10:09 pm: Edit

vector, it's not bogus, it's way overrated. ISEF is much more difficult yet there is MUCH less attention given to it.

By Vecter (Vecter) on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 04:26 pm: Edit

lol blueberry just curious where u were from, i know a lab here that churns out semis like it's their business

nyugrad making isef is hard depending on where you come from. kansas is certainly easier than NY.

By Blueberrypie (Blueberrypie) on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 05:23 pm: Edit

Vecter, I know of three labs on LI - Metcalf, Garcia, and Ojima. Any of those what you were thinking of?

By Vecter (Vecter) on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 10:19 pm: Edit

yeah garcia lol

i dun think ojima or metcalf are anywhere as productive

garcia had 26-27 semis this year? crazy...

By Jessc (Jessc) on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 10:31 pm: Edit

We are not that smart just interesting, able to write good essays, have good college advisors and most important LUCKY. There were probably 10 equal applicants for every one chosen

By Nyugrad (Nyugrad) on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 10:55 pm: Edit

Vector, no matter where you are from, to win ISEF you have to know your project very well. There is little chance to trick a judge, and one must prove the work as their own. It is a shame the colleges go so crazy over Intel and virtually ignore ISEF which is still run by Intel and is more difficult.At Isef, there is little help from outside. As an aside, look at the biographies of the Intel finalists and count how many of the parents are PhDs.

By Blueberrypie (Blueberrypie) on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 11:03 pm: Edit

Looking at how many parents are PhDs may just mean that the parents are smart and they have smart kids. I actually feel that Intel is a better competition than ISEF. Intel takes into account the entire person, not just the project. Yes, presenting a project means that the person should know the information well. Still, a person could be coached a lot and do a decent job (up to a certain point, I realize that not everyone could pull this off). What evidence is there that ISEF people don't have help? Plenty of Intel people enter both competitions, so there goes THAT argument.

Intel looks to see how the student has been involved in science and math in the past, thereby preventing people who have little real interest in science and math from succeeding. ISEF also takes region into account, as well as the ability of the person to present. There are some brilliant science and math people that just don't present well. This may support your argument that ISEF is more difficult, but because this is a factor the contest becomes less about science and more about presentation skill.

Remember, these are generalizations. There are exceptions to every statement I have made.

By Perfectsat (Perfectsat) on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 11:10 pm: Edit

Just because you are from Harvard does not mean you are smart.

Your SAT score determines your intelligence better than school name does.

By Asterix (Asterix) on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 11:12 pm: Edit

And your username, PerfectSat, says more about you than anything else could.

By Nyugrad (Nyugrad) on Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - 07:50 am: Edit

Blueberry Pie, A person can be coached from today until tomorrow but the calibur of judges at the ISEF competition is great enough that they can throw a curve ball and pick it up. That is not true of Intel. A paper is sent in and who knows the actual amount of work behind it or the knowledge of the student? That is why the Intel finalists present IN PERSON. When I speak of intel being overrated, I mean semis, not finalists. However, according to your logic, the finalists could be coached as well.

And plenty of Intel people do not make it to ISEF. Also, plenty of non winners DO make it to ISEF. For some reason, maybe some graph or picture in the paper didn't appeal to the Intel judge. It doesn't mean it wasn't a phenomenal project or paper. The colleges put no weight on ISEF because it is too late-that's why there's less hype around it.It should be given MUCH more attention. A major job of a scientist is to present research to the world in a meaningful way. This competition highlights those that can.

By Vecter (Vecter) on Wednesday, May 05, 2004 - 06:08 pm: Edit

i see this intel vs. isef is going nowhere so there's really no point in continuing it further

obviously we disagree and that's that.

ehh back to programming :)

By Blueberrypie (Blueberrypie) on Wednesday, May 05, 2004 - 07:38 pm: Edit

Yeah exactly, I'm already in college I don't have to care! Muahahaha.
Err back to not studying for AP tests.

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