What are my chances of getting into MIT?

I'm a high school sophomore (girl) and I really want to go into civil engineering at MIT. This summer, I'm planning on volunteering for over 200 hours for a hospital, and currently, my weighted GPA is a 3.9 and my unweighted is a 4.125. And another thing, I'm not in the "accelerated" classes at my school because the teachers didn't think I was "ready" back in sixth grade. If I write an amazing essay, score an almost perfect on my SATs/ACT, and get an engineering internship next summer, then do you think I still have a chance? What do you think my chances of getting into Caltech, if not MIT? I know it's a long shot, but please give me advice as to what I should do. Thanks :)


Aw :( What about Cornell or Columbia? What should I aim for, given my circumstances?

6 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Best Answer

    Your chances at MIT and Caltech will be about the same. And, in both cases, not taking advanced classes will hurt you a lot. Let me correct a few things others have said. First off, weighted GPAs are irrelevant. There are almost as many ways to weight a GPA as there are high schools in the US. It is not possible to compare weighted GPAs between schools. For this reason, unweighted GPAs and class rank is used to evaluate your grades. You should have a 3.9 or above to be competitive at either school (though a 3.9 is hardly enough to get you into either school). Your essay is VERY important. It is not a small boost as stated earlier. In fact, to give you a little window into admissions, this is sort of how the process goes. They will look at your SAT and GPA. If it is below some level, then your application is rejected. If it is above some level you get to move one. If it is in a gray region between those levels, then you move on, but with a flag saying 'my test scores are low'. At the second level, they will look at what classes you have taken. If they are challenging and a good fit to the school (lots of math and science for MIT and Caltech), then you move on. If not, then you are rejected. Finally, they will look at your activities, your essays, and your letters of recommendation. It is upon these three things that most of the decisions are made. Using these three things, they paint a picture of who you are in their heads and they decide if they think you will do well or not in their university. So your essay is paramount to your admissions, as it is the ONLY place that you get to tell them, in your own voice, who you are. A great applicant with a mediocre essay will not be accepted. Similarly, your letters of rec are very important as that is the only place that someone who actually knows you gets to tell the admissions folk who you are.

    Now, that is not the exact admissions process. It varies from school to school and is more complicated than that, but it should give you an idea of how things work.

    Anyways, back to your question. Do you have a chance? Not if you don't take the most difficult classes you can. I know you might not have been put on the advanced track. But there is no reason you can't get there. If your current teachers think you can hack it in the tougher classes, then you should talk to them and to the school administration to see what you can do to get there. Sometimes principals don't like to bend the rules, but if you are persistent enough (and if you can get the teacher's support), you can often get your way. Heck, if your principal doesn't want to help, contact the superintendent. But if you want to get into MIT and Caltech, you have to get into the tough classes. If you do, then I think you have a chance at both schools.

    If you are serious about Caltech and MIT, try to get involved with math/science type things. Summer programs and clubs with math or science themes are good. Try taking the AMC/AIME math tests. How about contacting a few professors at your local university and see if any of them would be willing to let a high school student participate in research in their labs? Both Caltech and MIT have summer research programs fro high school students, you should apply for the next two summers. Volunteering at a hospital is good, but MIT and Caltech are focused on math and science, so you should focus on those fields as well, if you want a better chance of getting in.

    So, yes, you are a long shot for both schools. But you are only a sophomore and if you put in some effort, you can certainly improve your chances. And the great thing is that if you put that effort in, you have a 100% chance of improving your education, even if you don't end up attending Caltech or MIT.

    As far as Cornell and Columbia, I think your chances are about the same. With Caltech and MIT, the focus will be on grades, scores, and whether or not you show passion for math and science. With Cornell and Columbia, they will look at a broader set of things. So if you are good at piano or something not math/science, it will help you more when applying to Ivies than it would when applying to Caltech or MIT. That can make it easier to get into the Ivies, but only if you happen to have the skill set the particular school happens to be looking for at the time. That means it is more difficult to predict admissions for those schools than for the tech-heavy schools. Still, it is not going to be significantly easier or more difficult to get into any of the elite universities.

    Source(s): I spent a couple of years on the admissions committee at one of the schools you are interested in, and I personally know many people who attended elite universities.
  • Maria
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    It depends on your age. If you are a senior, it will be harder to get in. As a junior, your chances are very high. What do you know, looks like more than 1 person wants to get into MIT! Well I'm only in middle school and my family has a huge legacy there, so I think I have a decent chance of getting in (I'm recognized by developers at Sun Microsystems, and speak C++, HTML, some JavaScript, Python and Basic). So yea... Good luck! You said you were in some sort of Intel contest.. Just wondering what this is cuz I am looking for any competition in the computer programming/ design world.

  • 10 years ago

    Sorry but no. The essay isn't a factor that determines if you make it in or not, it's like a very small boost. Your GPA is great but the fact that you didn't take advanced courses scarred your chances deeply. You only have 2 years left of high school and by the fact that you have 4.125, you must have several regular classes. Most people who get in tend to have weighted GPA's of 5 or higher, that means you need to take Many AP's and many honors. 200+ Hours of volunteer work is good but you need to hold leadership positions in school clubs. And to include, many of the students who get accepted into MIT have between 2100-2400 SAT score. Perfection isn't going to make you stand out.

    I'm not saying this to disappoint you but you're talking about the HARDEST school to get into. It is in fact, the hardest with only an 11% Acceptance rate. Most Ivy League schools go around 20-30% and your current record isn't going to even put you in there.

    But hey, you don't have to go to the best schools to get an education. Any Good school is acceptable and you can always make it into one.

    Edit: Unfortunately, you're not Ivy League material either. You're best chances are somewhat great colleges that are well known but not the best. However, there is a chance for Georgia Tech (#4 school of engineering) if you try to boost up a bit. It's where I plan to go for aerospace engineering.


  • 10 years ago

    If you're now looking at schools like Cornell or Columbia I suggested you give The University of Toronto a very good look, it's on par with Cornell (if not better, this really depends on your program of study though, I do not know how Cornell fares for Engineering, I know for Medical Science UofT was ahead of both Cornell and Columbia by leaps and bounds), it's much less expensive ($4,900 a year in Tuition, thank you to the Government of Ontario for subsidizing my education) and provides some amazing undergraduate research opportunities. UofT has a lot to offer an undergraduate student and sends many students on to graduate work in the Ivy League, and to some of the best schools around the world, they also keep active transfer agreements with the vast majority of the best schools around (sadly there is no agreement with MIT.) I recommend you at least look at the links I have provided in the source section, I personally am happy with my choice of UofT over Cornell, for one thing: the weather is much nicer here.

    P.S. Yes I did make an account just to post this. =D I hope where ever you might end up going to school that you are as happy with your choice as I am with mine. Best of luck where ever you go in your future!


    I hope my English is okay, French is my first language.

    Source(s): http://www.utoronto.ca/ http://virtualtour.utoronto.ca/ http://virtualtour.utoronto.ca/video.php?id=7 (at least look at this) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Toronto http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto (Wikipedia page on the city of Toronto, the area [also known as the Golden Horseshoe is 8.1 million people, and the core area is know as the Greater Toronto Area or GTA is 5.6 million people.]) Try Youtube too.
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  • 10 years ago

    It's a long shot because those are two of the most selective schools in the country. If you're doing so well in high school, why haven't you been moved into accelerated classes? Not being in honors or AP classes will definitely hurt you when it's time to apply to Caltech and M.I.T.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    There's a high likelihood won't get into either. Look at less selective colleges like the UC's, USC etc.

    It doesn't look to hot for columbia/cornell either, unless you do freakin amazing on the SAT and have INSANE comm. service and extra curricualrs. I say that you won't get into those schools either.

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