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I am a recent MIT B.S. graduate, AMA.

newmitgradnewmitgrad Posts: 26Registered User New Member
This isn't reddit, but as I gear up for my own graduate applications, I thought it would be nice and helpful to answer any questions that you may have, whether it is about the culture of the school, work, research, admissions, etc.

Ask away, I will try to check as frequently as is reasonably possible.
Post edited by newmitgrad on

Replies to: I am a recent MIT B.S. graduate, AMA.

  • alexx508alexx508 Posts: 51Registered User Junior Member
    Is it hard to maintain a UROP and get good grades in your classes at the same time?
  • Abcd3f3Abcd3f3 Posts: 280Registered User Junior Member
    Firstly, Thanks for being so thoughtul to help out. I was wondering is there a limit on how many units u can take per semester? Like at my current university there's a limit of 21 units per quarter (we have the quarter system) so I was wondering does MIT have a limit too?
  • UMTYMP studentUMTYMP student Posts: 937Registered User Member
    Although I'm not the OP...
    @Abcd3f3 freshmen have a credit limit 54 credits for fall semester and 57 credits for spring semester but sophomores and above have no credit limit [note: 3 MIT credits =1 credit at most colleges]. It's also possible for second semester freshmen to gain early sophomore standing and get out of the credit limit their second semester if they have enough credit when they matriculate. Some MIT students takes rather extreme course loads. I've heard of 10+ courses but that's pretty rare. Most students take 4-6 classes per semester.
  • lidushalidusha Posts: 1,268Registered User Senior Member
    *Most students take 4 classes per semester, and that is the expected courseload.
  • newmitgradnewmitgrad Posts: 26Registered User New Member
    Is it hard to maintain a UROP and get good grades in your classes at the same time?

    It's not too bad if you plan ahead and know that you will be busy. I did not do this my freshman year, and really didn't get anything accomplished with my UROP... I know of people who still UROP during very intense semesters, you should be the judge of how rigorous your classwork is since it will vary between terms. Your supervisors are in general very understanding of your academic needs; you're there to study, not do research as a priority. That said, horror stories exist of grad students/post-docs riding their UROPs. In those cases, quit, it's not worth it.
    Firstly, Thanks for being so thoughtul to help out. I was wondering is there a limit on how many units u can take per semester? Like at my current university there's a limit of 21 units per quarter (we have the quarter system) so I was wondering does MIT have a limit too?

    No problem at all. There is no limit at all as another poster said except for freshmen, but if you get sophomore standing, you can bypass this. In general, your advisor will try to discourage you from taking too many, but they can't techncially stop you if you feel up for the challenge. In fact, a well-known secret is you can sign up for any class, regardless of pre-recs. I have definitely done so and done fine in them. Obviously, don't sign up for a high-level senior class without taking differential equations, for instance, but again, no hard system that actually restricts you.

    The most I took in a term I think was 81 units and I had a 63 unit term as well because I was a being a crazy ****. Ironically, those were my highest GPAs... figures.. But in general, you take 48 or 60 (4 or 5 classes), and the minimum for full-time enrollment is 36.

    Another lesser known treat about MIT is you can sign up for graduate classes as an undergrad. I took several 6-unit seminars, grad biology courses, and MBA classes at Sloan. Easy A's btw, those Sloan classes. Very interesting too, it's a good break from hard science if you're planning to do a STEM major.
  • solidgainssolidgains Posts: 3Registered User New Member
    What were your professors like? I can't just ask if calculus II is harder at MIT than at the community college, because it depends on the instructor. What makes MIT stand out? Small class sizes and lots of interaction with the instructor? Do you feel, like you gained special knowledge from going to MIT, or was it just standard curricula taught by instructors with impressive backgrounds?
  • newmitgradnewmitgrad Posts: 26Registered User New Member
    What were your professors like? I can't just ask if calculus II is harder at MIT than at the community college, because it depends on the instructor. What makes MIT stand out? Small class sizes and lots of interaction with the instructor? Do you feel, like you gained special knowledge from going to MIT, or was it just standard curricula taught by instructors with impressive backgrounds?

    They varied, but they were mostly very interested in teaching so I rarely had any bad ones. Once you get into the major, at least for mine and what I've heard about some others, they are outstanding.

    Understand my bias, but I don't think I could have gotten my education anywhere but MIT. I graduated in Biological Engineering, which is a relatively new major, but the inter-disciplinary nature of the work and the fact that it's such an unconventional major were huge bonuses for me. It's an education I feel I can use to go into anything from pure bio to chemE to med school to CS or even mechanical engineering.

    They do challenge you a lot to learn on your own and to seek help when needed. You get out of it what you put into it.
  • newmitgradnewmitgrad Posts: 26Registered User New Member
    ^ Also class sizes are tiny once you get done with GIRs. Think anywhere from 20-30 students for the cornerstone classes of your major (obviously this will be higher for more popular majors like EECS or MechE) and labs with just 12 people or less. That's probably the best part, the great one-on-one attention and help in labs.
  • lidushalidusha Posts: 1,268Registered User Senior Member
    ^ That has not been the case for me. Think hundreds of students for the cornerstone classes of my major (computer science + biology). The only small classes I've taken so far have been humanities, and I'm a junior.
    Is it hard to maintain a UROP and get good grades in your classes at the same time?
    Yes. Especially if you want to take more than four classes a term.
  • newmitgradnewmitgrad Posts: 26Registered User New Member
    YMMV, some majors are huge like course 6, which comprise something like 33% of the student body. I was 20, so it's obviously a bit different, especially since we take most of the 7 classes as well.

    Out of curiousity, lidusha, are you in the new 6-7 program?
  • collegealum314collegealum314 Posts: 6,566Registered User Senior Member
    What were your professors like? I can't just ask if calculus II is harder at MIT than at the community college, because it depends on the instructor. What makes MIT stand out? Small class sizes and lots of interaction with the instructor? Do you feel, like you gained special knowledge from going to MIT, or was it just standard curricula taught by instructors with impressive backgrounds?

    Most of the top 20 colleges are roughly the same in terms of the curriculum, but not MIT (or Caltech.)

    MIT is very different. Part of it is that the quality and quantity of people in the student body makes it possible for the courses to be very advanced and very intense. They ask things of their students that you just couldn't do elsewhere.
  • lidushalidusha Posts: 1,268Registered User Senior Member
    Out of curiousity, lidusha, are you in the new 6-7 program?
    Yes, I am. =)
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