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MIT or Harvey Mudd?

dancingmacdancingmac Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
edited April 2011 in Harvey Mudd College
Hi everyone! I posted this in MIT's forum as well.. but to try to even out biases I figured I would post it here too. I was accepted to both MIT and Harvey Mudd and am having a really hard time making a decision! I like that Harvey Mudd is closer to home, and I also got a 10,000 dollar a year merit scholarship (which is really nice because I don't qualify for financial aid). MIT, however, is bigger and has more diversity. Both seem pretty equal in terms of the education, so I guess I'm wondering what are some differences in environment/ research opportunities/ work load/etc... so if any current students or students who have had to/ are making similar decisions could give me some advice, that would be great! Thanks in advance!
Post edited by dancingmac on

Replies to: MIT or Harvey Mudd?

  • aloseraloser Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    Harvey mudd is a ugly and tiny college covers only 33 acres while you could get lost at MIT.
    HMC places emphasis on undergrads, actually all the profs' at HMC attention are on undergrads. while at MIT, you share attention with grads which is not necessarily a good thing.
    Students at both colleges are incredibly smart.
    One more thing, MIT is way more prestigious, not only in academia and a bit more selective.
  • nemomnemom Registered User Posts: 1,607 Senior Member
    MIT is hardly pretty. There is also the weather - it's spring now, right? Well, up here in the Boston area, we still have ugly patches of dirty snow, and a general lack of flowers/green grass/buds on trees. It is a fairly large campus (although far smaller than most big state schools), and actually fairly easy to navigate.
    HMC is very small, and plain, but for pretty, you can just wander over to Pomona , right next door.
    MIT is more widely known, but HMC is just as well respected in academia.
    MIT is harder to get into but the students at HMC are just as good.
  • esquiaresquiar Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
    First off, congrats! MIT and Mudd look for different things in applicants, so it's pretty awesome that you got into both.

    You should choose the school that best fits you. If you posted here about what your career/major plans are, the research subjects you're interested in, extracurriculars you expect to participate in, and what you expect from residential life, then I'm sure you'll get better advice.

    Mudd can be a fantastic fit for some, but it's a small school, so it can't do everything. For example, if you're extremely interested in aerospace engineering, Mudd may not be the best fit, unless you're willing to go to grad school. There's also some activities you can't find at Mudd (i.e. ice hockey) that I'm sure exist at MIT.

    If you're interested in joining a frat, then MIT is the way to go since Mudd has none. On the other hand, if you're looking for a close-knit living experience without dealing with frat/sororities, then Mudd could fit very well.

    As to research experiences, MIT is obviously going to have a greater variety. If you're going to be an engineer, MIT edges Mudd for research. Most engineering research (excepting clinic) at Mudd takes place under 7 professors, so there's fewer research spots than there are interested engineers. Additionally, you may not be interested in the projects of the 7 research groups. At MIT, I'm sure there's countless opportunities. In physics, bio, and chemistry, however, Mudders can easily get research during the school year or the summer starting sophomore year.

    As for workload, it's difficult to make comparisons. At Mudd, a 3 credit course corresponds to about 10 hours of work per week between class time, homework, and studying. Classes vary in difficulty though. I've spent 5 hours a week on some classes and 15 on others. A standard load at Mudd is 15-16 credits (~50 hours/week), though some will take 18(~60 hours/week), which is technically not an overload. At MIT, I believe that most students take 4 or so classes, corresponding to 48-54 hours a week.

    One interesting thing about Mudd is the take home tests, which are used widely, especially after Core. Some tests in the Math Dept. give up to 24 hours to complete the test, but are so difficult that many still do not finish. One of the more interesting tests I've done was a 1-question, 4-hour chemistry final. Everyone received it at the same time, but we could take it anywhere around Academic End.
  • iforgot37iforgot37 Registered User Posts: 124 Junior Member
    This past fall, I was planning on applying to MIT and HMC. I preferred HMC over MIT for several reasons, so I ended up applying ED there.
    One reason is that from my experience touring the campuses and reading up on the colleges, the students at Mudd seem to be more relaxed and have more fun. I just really really really liked the vibe I got from Mudd.
    Mudd has an honor code.
    Mudd has all the benefits of a really small LAC, but at the same time it is right next to all the other Claremont colleges, giving it lots of extra social and academic opportunities.
    And then there's the California weather. I live in the Pacific Northwest, so whenever it's rainy and disgusting and sad, I look up the Claremont weather and feel a whole lot better. Couldn't do that with Cambridge.
    I've also heard that the food and dining systems at Mudd are better than at MIT.
    And there are probably many other reasons that I can't think of at the moment.
  • fiona_fiona_ Registered User Posts: 1,811 Senior Member
    HMC's small. Good - you get to know people, feels more cosy. Bad - see the same people often?

    HMC's dorms/facilities are old and not swanky. Good - uhh... You can use the facilities at other campuses?

    Environment - Cali weather is totally better, unless snow is essential for your survival.

    Workload - MIT has a similar program of core courses, but because Mudd's small and offers facilitated groupwork (Academic Excellence), I think there's more collaboration.

    Opportunities - Many of my friends have got really good internship opps, so I'd say Mudd is totally respected. Maybe even better b/c Mudd is small, so there's more access to opportunities, e.g. last summer I worked with a Mudd alum.
  • dancingmacdancingmac Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
    Thanks for all the replies! I'm going to both preview weekends in a little over a week! So that will help a lot! I am not sure what field I am interested in; I only know that it will be math/ science/ engineering. Because I'm so unsure, MIT is probably better because they have a lot more options. Does anyone know about Harvey Mudd's mathematical biology major? It looks really interesting!
  • cmjaffecmjaffe Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    Well, DS's in the same boat as you....
    and up until the beginning of this month MIT was "all that".... Has spent a few days at MIT, done Splash and Spark there... spent a day of shadow in Oct. (are you aware that MIT doesn't have a "formal" meal plan -- though they are putting one together for next year -- this was something that was "slipped in" during campus tour but never addressed by admin. during info session when they say what the "total cost" is) and overnighted before HMT tournament in MIT dorm in Feb.

    but that was before we took the trek out to Mudd to have him spend 2 days there... He LOVED EVERYTHING he saw about MUDD (and of course the Cali climate is a definte plus coming from NE -- knows that the MIT campus is in the gloomy part of Cambridge). He also ran into a former classmate who's now a Freshman at CMC to chat about the Claremont schools (since we're from east coast). MIT got moved down to #3... HMC is on top... When the large envelope came today he wasn't home but I called and told him... He was VERY happy.

    DS will be going to MITs CPW to do more investigation, knowing that MIT will be putting it 's best face forward. Unfortunately he can't go to HMCs since his school limits his excused absences and he'll be missing 3 days this term (they're on trimester). He'd LOVE to get to Mudd for weekend but where we are it takes a full day travel each way... (and of course the extra $$$).
    Now we just have to wait for his last open application to see if he got in, but right now I feel that HMC is the best fit for him. MIT has to have a major sales pitch to convince him otherwise.
    Good luck with your decision and PM if you'd like
  • AnthroponomistAnthroponomist Registered User Posts: 121 Junior Member
    cmjaffe, I believe MIT students don't want a meal plan. They argue they can get better food for cheaper around Cambridge. I can't really discount that argument, considering everything was super-cheap to eat around the school (relatively speaking, this is coming from an NYC kid). With no central meal plan, food prices have to stay low to compete with all the other independently-run places. It makes sense, and I understand why they would oppose instituting a meal plan, but it's not necessarily a negative per se (not to say that you said it was...).

    Personally, I would probably eat a lot healthier if I was paying for it all with money on hand. But that's because I'm cheap, haha.
  • nemomnemom Registered User Posts: 1,607 Senior Member
    I believe that the lack of a meal plan has more to do with the history of MIT than any strong student input (although I could be wrong). And, yes, there are lots of relatively cheap places to eat all around campus (including various lunch wagons), but I doubt it is as cheap as a meal plan - and it requires more effort, particularly for breakfast.

  • AnthroponomistAnthroponomist Registered User Posts: 121 Junior Member
    Nemom, one of the primary reasons the students do not want a meal plan is that it is much more expensive than what they would otherwise pay. Check this out:

    The online petition against the dining plan - The Tech
    The Campus Dining Petition
  • PoolShark1648PoolShark1648 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Hey, I also got into MIT and the preview weekends are at the same... how are you going to both? (I also want to go to both but I already signed up for CPW)
  • dancingmacdancingmac Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
    I'm from California, so although I'm used to amazing weather, it wouldn't be terrible to try seasons for 4 years. They are really different schools, so I look forward to visiting both. @Poolshark1648, Harvey Mudd's starts Sunday. I already had my flight scheduled to arrive in LA early afternoon on Sunday, so I'll just drive straight there.
  • nemomnemom Registered User Posts: 1,607 Senior Member
    The meal plan change is a big one.
    One thing to note - there will now be a viable kosher meal plan.
    And here is a lot more:
    House Dining Review - MIT Division of Student Life
  • geek_momgeek_mom Registered User Posts: 2,106 Senior Member
    MIT is #3 among The 50 Most Stressful Colleges - Galleries - The Daily Beast
    Mudd is #5 among The 100 Happiest Colleges - Galleries - The Daily Beast

    That's important to my son -- the atmosphere, not the third-party ranking. Even more so now that he's dealing with the inherently stressful workload. He works his butt off. He goes without sleep for days at a time. And... he has fun doing it, feels like he's among his people, and loves being where he is.
  • azaliaazalia Registered User Posts: 180 Junior Member
    I have to echo what geek_mom said. When we toured MIT, my son commented how stressed out everyone is. At Mudd they work like dogs, go for days without much sleep, and often look like something the cat dragged in, but my Mudder (now a junior) is as happy as I have ever seen him. This is a driven passionate group, that doesn't seem to take itself too seriously while they are accomplishing spectacular things.
This discussion has been closed.