MIT vs. Berkeley

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Discus: Individual Schools: US News Top 25: Massachusetts Institute of Technology: 2004 Archive: MIT vs. Berkeley
By May_1 (May_1) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 04:44 am: Edit

So it's come down to these two. Berkeley is WAY ahead in my ledger, so I need someone (or two or three) to give me a HARD sell for MIT. Major @ MIT would be biology, while my major at Berkeley would be Biochem & Mol Bio. The cost is (roughly) the same; they're both too expensive. I intend to enter an MD/PhD program for grad school. Advice?

By Mosquito86 (Mosquito86) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 11:38 am: Edit

You are going to pay the same for both schools?

I don't think you'll get a different education, but there are things to look for.

There's a difference always between a public and private.

Private: you'll find more help available and more research opportunities around (b/c you are not competing w/ thousands of other kids). As well, they tend to be much smaller.

Public: definitely more students around, less focused on undergraduates (esp Berk..w/ that large and famous a graduate school), and probably more competitive (Berk is very competitive in its science departments)

Why you may choose MIT over Berkeley:
you simply may enjoy the perks of a private school, there's a much more collaborative effort between students (Berkeley, as I hear from a lot of friends who go there, has crazy competition in its science/engineering departments), you'll have to compete for research spots and internships, you won't have very good placement w/ Berkeley (MIT alumni have a great network that comes very useful for them in the work force); w/ Berkeley there is a STRONG possibility that you will not finish your bachelor's in 4 years (lot of people take 5 years now at Berkeley), especially as a Biochem and Mol Bio major (which is very popular)...this is simply b/c there are so many kids competing to get into certain classes (you aren't gonna always get into the classes you want)

As well, I am from California, about an hour away from Berk. A lot of people now are avoiding Berkeley if they want to do medicine, as it's very hard to keep your grades up there. Also, you'll find it easier getting into a med school if you don't live in California. There are many more applicants in this state for med school than any other...and thereby, in comparison, less people are accepted here. Apparently, most undergrads who apply for med from MIT do get in.

Lastly, at MIT, it's much easier to switch your major. Heck, you can do "biochem and molecular bio" or something similar at MIT. Don't take your major at MIT into account when you're choosing.

I am guessing you are out of state. I honestly don't think Berk is worth the money out of state (especially if you consider the fact that you may have to take 5 years to finish your degree). I think you'll find more perks at MIT.

I did not factor in weather, social life, etc. That may affect your decision.

By Mitwannabe (Mitwannabe) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 01:18 pm: Edit

mit has a better ranked biological sciences program, ranked 2nd in nation if that means anything, and they have the largest biotech or biosomething lab in the world, or in north america, i forgot, but that's some food for thought. go with your heart, seriously, it's a personal decision.

By Redpepper (Redpepper) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 12:43 am: Edit

I'm going for a Civil E major, and i'm torn b/t MIT and berkeley as well. here's sort of my list of reasons to go to each school.

1. ~$4000 cheaper (UCB tuition will probably go up even more and even more frequently b/c of the budge crisis)
2. more prestige
3. more opportunities
4. new environment, more exciting (I live close to Berkeley)

1. probably less competitve when compared w/ MIT, but I'm really not sure.
2. ranked #1 in CE, MIT's probably #5
3. nice weather
4. closer to home = comfort zone (this is kinda both a pro and a con)

I don't know which school I should go to either, plus I'm constantly afraid that I may not do well at MIT. (I have OK stats, but nothing spectacular, got in just b/c I'm lucky) UCB seems safer. comments, anyone?

By Mosquito86 (Mosquito86) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 02:52 am: Edit

I doubt UCB is less competitive than MIT. UCB's reputed to be one of the most competitive schools out there. As well, I know several engineering students there...they say the competition is crazy. At MIT, from what I've heard from students, people tend to collaborate more (they try to "beat the system").

I don't think your gpa will be much different in either one of the schools. Both are darn tough to keep a high gpa in.

By Sakky (Sakky) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 03:40 pm: Edit

It's unclear which school is really more competitive. I suspect the MIT curve is not quite as harsh, on the other hand, MIT's students tend to be more academically qualified. Let's face it - unfortunately, some of Berkeley's students, particularly the 'sympathy admits' aren't academically 'all-that'. This is much less of a problem at MIT, where pretty much the entire student body is sharp.

I think that a bette way to look at this is overall graduation rates. MIT, for all its vaunted harshness, only 5% of its students do not graduate within 6 years. MIT students may not graduate with great grades, and they may not even graduate in the major they want, but at least they graduate. 15% of Berkeley's students do not graduate within 6 years. That's triple the number of MIT. And keep in mind that, proportionally speaking, far more MIT students major in tough subjects like engineering or hard-sciences than Berkeley students, a large proportion of whom major in creampuff majors.

By Mosquito86 (Mosquito86) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 05:55 pm: Edit

I honestly believe paying the amount of money you do out of state for Berkeley..MIT is more worth it in the end. I don't mean to put down Berkeley, it is a great school, but I simply think you'll have more perks at MIT.

If you were in would be a different ballgame.

By May_1 (May_1) on Saturday, April 24, 2004 - 06:23 pm: Edit

So, 2 weeks later...and MIT's made a huge comeback. It's now 50/30 (Berk/MIT...w/ a BS/MS prog @ 20) instead of the 75/5 it used to be. I'm in-state, but because Berkeley is so stingy, I'd end up paying the same for both of them: about 11K/per year. I think this is ridiculous. This is 1/3 the total family income! Jeez. I thought public institutions were supposed to be affordable.

7 days...

By Bmckn (Bmckn) on Saturday, April 24, 2004 - 11:31 pm: Edit

Did you go to CPW, May_1?

My impressions confirmed what I had read here beforehand, primarily that 1) research opportunities are /plentiful/ and 2) cooperation is favored enormously over competition.

By Rayray222 (Rayray222) on Thursday, April 29, 2004 - 11:16 pm: Edit

Well if you do an MD, MIT might be better, in all honesty.

But if you do a PhD, Berkeley might be better. You also have greater access to silicon valley firms for research, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, etc... My friend got into a top 10 PhD program in Biology with a 2.9 GPA in MCB at Berkeley.

But that really is up to you. Worldwide, both have awesome prestige. (disclaimer-I am a Berkeley grad)

By Lovetheriver (Lovetheriver) on Thursday, April 29, 2004 - 11:41 pm: Edit

Berkeley over MIT? hahaha
unless if you love california and didn't get into stanford...why would you do this to yourself?

By May_1 (May_1) on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 06:34 am: Edit

1. A more diverse student body would be nice...and by diverse, I don't mean skin color. I mean people who are art or english or architecture or ... majors.

2. I like California, I really do, and the idiot that I am, was waitlisted at Stanford. If I were admitted to Stanford, there would be no debate. I'd have been deciding between the gray and the cardinal Stanford hoodie by now.

3. I see only 3 (albeit major) advantages MIT has over Berkeley: prestige, the resources of a private university wuith a comapatively small student body, and a huge amount of money for undergrad research.

4. I don't think Berkeley is a TTT.

Serious question: Why, in your opinion, is the thought of making such a choice so laughable?

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