What's so good about MIT, anyway?

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Discus: Individual Schools: US News Top 25: Massachusetts Institute of Technology: 2004 Archive: What's so good about MIT, anyway?
By Takiusproteus (Takiusproteus) on Thursday, July 01, 2004 - 11:28 pm: Edit

So, why should anyone come here?

What real perks are there to going to MIT rather than another place?

I visited the campus. Looks kinda dreary. People have insane workloads. Feeling kinda turned off by it. Pretty nice facilities, though.

Forgive me if this question has been asked before. I just need to start making logical decisions and narrow down options before application time comes.

By 2bad4u (2bad4u) on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 12:00 am: Edit

you dont go for perks. I'm going for UROP and faculty,workload, boston, courses.

By Takiusproteus (Takiusproteus) on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 12:09 am: Edit

By 'perks' I mean advantages.

By Gogoinwi (Gogoinwi) on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 02:06 am: Edit

-classmates--compared to the other schools I was choosing between, MITers were the least snobby, most friendly, etc. You'll make friends with people who weren't so shallow as to choose HYP over mit "cuz it's HYP" (not that all people don't have legitimate reasons for choosing those other schools)
-workload (this will be a plus when you leave; several MIT graduates have told me grad school was a breeze)
-nice view of the charles, if you really care about that
-good post-undergrad options in terms of both grad school and industry (MIT repeatedly touts its strong network of alumni)

By Wintersoul (Wintersoul) on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 05:07 am: Edit

There's an attitude at MIT that you can't really find anywhere else. Yes, MIT students are smart, but they don't let that define them. The first thing you notice at MIT is that the students are very unique. You can find every sort of person at MIT: nerdy, preppy, goth, artsy, and infinite combinations, and they all tend to be pretty accepting of one another. Sure you can find this at most universities, but rarely can you find this diversity coupled with a overwhelming love of math and science, a genuine respect for knowledge and love of learning. At MIT, you don't feel put down or left out because you're intelligent. Being smart is considered normal there, so the rest of your personality can really show through.

Also, there's a very adventurous, sort of rebellious attitude on campus, coupled with enough sensibility to keep students from doing stupid things. I know an alumna who, along with her dormmates, built a floating couch called the Couchamaran and fitted it up with the proper equipment so that it was legal to sail by state standards, just so they could watch 4th of July fireworks while sailing in comfort on the Charles River.

There's also the amazing list of course offerings, the ease of getting into research programs, and the rigor of an MIT education.

If you want a gorgeous campus and light workloads, look elsewhere, but if you're looking for one of the best math, science, and engineering schools out there, one with lots of unique people and opportunities, you should consider MIT.

By Samueladams (Samueladams) on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 10:59 pm: Edit

Or you should consider Stanford, let me explain why.
You get the gorgeous campus (MIT's is crap.)

I don't know what someone was talking about nice facilities, it looks like MIT spends no money on it's building (Stanford does very well here).

URP as it's called at Stanford is as flexible as MIT's UROP, I took much time to really compare those two to see if it really was as good as MIT's, which "sets the standard" so to speak.

If you want diversity of people, how about taking a science department just as, or nearly as strong as MIT's, and then throw lots of humanities majors on campus that you will get to meet, who will obviously have very different interests from your own.

I found the course offerings to be more flexible and more suited for undergraduates. A constant criticism of MIT that I heard from a lot or teachers is that the quality of teaching is pretty crappy at MIT, and that most of the burden is on the students to get by. While this breeds comraderie among the students who must work together to manage, I feel like there are better ways of doing this (how about that 40g price tag... for "eh" teaching, no thank you). This is part of where you get that "US versus the Institution" thing at MIT. There is also a two week shopping period at Stanford that for the first two weeks of school, lets you try your class for a couple days, see if you like it, then try another, and keep switching around before you have to decide. That way you end up with a topic and a teacher you really like and nothing is set in stone before you sample it. Freshmen Seminars (classes limited to 16 that skip some of the prerequisite stuff and let you get to deal with the more interesting parts) also sound great.

For more choices, there are honors theses (starts as summer stuff), sophomore college (during the summer), Summer Research College (sponsored by URP), and then general URP research stuff.

I did love at MIT how no one was ashamed to be smart, and that you could feel that vibe on campus, it's special. I chose Stanford for the opportunites, but I myself am hoping to find that feeling that I got at MIT. Although Stanford students really are notorious for playing off their intelligence.

Sorry if this post sounds like a "go to Stanford not MIT" thing, but if you want to see what I found to be negative at MIT, especially in relation to other schools, this is the only perspective I have because it's the only places I applied to, and these things were on my mind the most.

P.S. girls anyone?

By Somecanadianguy (Somecanadianguy) on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 11:05 pm: Edit

Meh, stupid Standford doesnt believe in poor internationals...MIT is one of the few places that is need-blind for internationals

By Vecter (Vecter) on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 02:01 am: Edit

MIT has the best science/engineering in the world (of course along w/other prestigous universities, you know which ones), but I personally chose it for EECS, UROP, and Cambridge/Boston.

I think a major reason to come here is for the academics, especially if you're a hardcore science/engineering student.

By Mitwannabe (Mitwannabe) on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 03:51 am: Edit

stanford can kiss the beaver's a s s, or as someone so nicely put it, beavers chew up trees and build stuff outta them, haha (this is strictly on behalf of "poor" international students!). mit has an awesome fitness facility, the Z, u got the stata center coming in nicely, and so many millions are poured into it's intellectual prowess, why spend money on making things look pretty? fine, i love a place that looks gorgeous and that has lots of greenery (this point made turning princeton down so hard -- what a beautiful campus), but jeez, one must set priorities straight: education over campus aesthetics (you'll take in external beauty for a couple months, and then it just becomes routine and you won't notice it anymore). other stuff, almost pointless to argue over ... that and i'm tired.

By Irulekalimdor (Irulekalimdor) on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 08:48 am: Edit

Probably MITers don't know how to argue logically as Samueladams put into words?
Looks pretty much so to me.....

By Mitwannabe (Mitwannabe) on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 02:33 pm: Edit

He didn't say anything to that extent. Can't read? Try the Sylvan Advantage!

By Irulekalimdor (Irulekalimdor) on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 02:36 pm: Edit

Well he has got some points while it's debatable if they are a set of subjective opinions.
But, still "stanford can kiss the beaver's a s s, or as someone so nicely put it?"
That kind of immature post shows a glimpse of MIT mentality.

Or the following might explain that?

By Mitwannabe (Mitwannabe) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 01:15 pm: Edit

stanford: rejected

By Amilee04 (Amilee04) on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 04:09 pm: Edit

Wow, irulekalimdor, tone down the animosity.

And consider the sample size...there are most definitely "logical arguers" at MIT, just as there are immature people at Stanford.

By Irulekalimdor (Irulekalimdor) on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 04:13 pm: Edit

No animosity intended. I am related with neither of those schools as a matter of fact. The popular trend on this board is people bashing each other on the basis of whether they get into a certain school or not. I just think that's plain hilarious.

By Mitwannabe (Mitwannabe) on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 05:09 pm: Edit

Wow, im amazed u can take a light-hearted cheap shot at stanford and equate it to immaturity. And i also find it amazing that you actually went out of your way to find some post like that i wrote nearly 3 months ago. You can gladly view my profile on 2008 www.prstats.com under mitwannabe -- it'll save you precious time. I'm not bashing Stanford for rejecting me. It was to balance out the pro-stanford post that samadams wrote, but seriously, it's all in good fun. I just think it's plain hilarious you can take this all so seirously (kiss the beaver's a s s is from the mit drinking song btw, check it out!) In accordance with what "somecanadianguy" was saying, stanford takes finances of internationals into consideration when they look at applications. They (and Caltech) told me, hey, we've got no money to fund you, we can't offer you a spot. Sure, I'm bitter that a non-merit based issue decided my fate at those schools, but if I was offered admission, it still wouldnt change anything today (it'd just beef up my list). peace man, just take it easy

By 2bad4u (2bad4u) on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 06:01 pm: Edit

regarding stanford and MIT issue, read reviews written by students who have more than a few months.
personally I dont like the snooty attitude "i'm better than you because i go to HYPS" prevalent at HYPS.Im didnt even apply to HYPS, pretention turns me off to a college.

By Binks (Binks) on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 10:39 pm: Edit

Ahh, the age old banter of "my college is better than yours."

Both Stanford and MIT are great institutions, and both offer great education and opportunities to their students. The decision of which college you ultimately decided on is solely up to you; based on what you've gathered from first impression, student interviews, hearsay and of course, general attitude. No one can argue against MIT's profiency in the sciences and technology. Stanford's well-roundedness in all areas is also hardly put into question. So let me ask you: what exactly are you trying to prove? Is it of your priority to prove one institution better than the other as either to validate the selection of your university or to prove somehow that by proving your own institution superior then you prove yourself superior?

I apologize if that sounded harsh or tasteless in any manner, but take a moment to analyze the purpose of this discussion. There is none. We're not writing to logically discuss the best college decision for ourselves, but rather, trying to defend blindly our own opinions.

To start a new thread with the topic as such is to intentionally provoke arguments of bad taste. The person who wrote the opening line obviously lacks maturity and understanding. From what I observe, all the schools and especially their students all have good relationships with one another. While there may be friendly competition to push each other to the next level, there have never been any animosity. Why break the tradition?

By Mitwannabe (Mitwannabe) on Sunday, July 04, 2004 - 02:54 am: Edit

well put binks -- like i finished with in my first post, aside from that one issue i decided to comment on, anything else is pretty pointless since it's so relative. what may be best for one person may not be what another person desires. my best friend is going to stanford, but we have so much respect for each other. we have never ever put each other's respective schools down. things that people say have to be taken with a grain of salt because it may not, and probably is not always true. what are people trying to prove? i dont know, maybe they're insecure with their decision. it just irritates me when people will point out the negative things about one school while failing to highlight the shortcomings of their own. the FACT is there are problems with every school, both big and small, so who cares. i say just mind your own business.

By 2bad4u (2bad4u) on Sunday, July 04, 2004 - 08:20 pm: Edit

I was personally was caught off-guard by samueladams post but I thought the MIT forum only had people considering MIT or accepted/current students. I didnt think somebody would be in the forum to put MIT down. I thought OP wasn't productive or a good question.

By Samueladams (Samueladams) on Monday, July 05, 2004 - 11:23 pm: Edit

I post only because I have some valid input, having just gone through a decision considering MIT, some people wish to know what insights I have. Naturally there are things I love about MIT, I still go up there to stay with my buddies and just spent all of the 4th of July weekend there. You might be suprised to know that most of the guys I talked to there have quite a love for Stanford. So the things I mentioned as negative aspects of it, or areas where I thought Stanford matched/exceeded MIT, were only mentioned because I considered them relavent in my college choice and have had the opportunity to discuss them with many MIT students. Each person who reads advice on this site, can decide for him/herself if A) The person has any perspective from which to offer a valid opinion of a topic and B) If that opinion or the topic of conversation is of any relavent importance to the reader.

Light-hearted bashing aside, one must look at both negative and positive aspects of a school to make a good decision, there's nothing wrong with pointing out why you don't like a school, the reader can decide if what you say is helpful to him/her. Naturally Stanford has things about it I don't like, but it would be completely off topic to list them when I was looking at specific attributes of MIT that I compared to Stanford. The thread isn't "why I shouldn't go to college X", it's "what is up with MIT, in relation to other colleges"- and for that, I have only one other data point. Apologies

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