How hard is it to get into the best grad schools

<p>Now that I just got accepted to college, I'm wondering how hard it is to get into the best of the best grad schools such as MIT or Caltech (I'm a science guy)</p>

<p>Before application, I was disillusioned by how ridiculous it is to get into those schools for undergrad, although had I known more about college process, I may have had a better chance.</p>

<p>Is applying for grad school just as hard?</p>

<p>Do they look for the same qualities as they would for undergrad?</p>

<p>depends. in college admissions, if you go to a school like exeter or whatever you'll have a good chance of getting into a good college. same with grad school...if you're at harvard, you'll have a good chance of getting into a name brand grad school. added is your research and recommendations, which, if stellar, can virtually guarantee you admission. they basically look at your research and LORs for science phd programs, and to a lesser extent the reputation of your undergraduate institution. the process is definitely different.</p>

<p>Worse. Especially for humanities. But if you're going for sciences, just be sure to keep up with your research lab work... sciences are relatively easier than social sciences and humanities.</p>

<p>No extracurriculars for grad school. Research and professor recommendations a must for sciences. Talk to professors at your college in the field you intend to major in once you're in college. For grad school you apply to a specific program and your grades in your major/related field are what matter. It will be a lot easier for you to find answers once you are in college. Unlike HS teachers/guidance counselors the college professors know the field you are interested in and which grad programs are good for what from first hand experience. Put forth your best effort starting with your first semester to get the best foundation you can.</p>

<p>I have to disagree that social sciences are harder than hard sciences. I think it is the opposite, as I have done both. Also, it depends on the school. If the program for either social sciences or basic sciences is a great program, it will be difficult.</p>

<p>Where can I find stats and activities that are posted by people who got accepted to excellent grad schools?</p>

<p>I am not sure there is a site. your first goal should be trying to figure out what you want to study. most likely, the usual Ivy league or similar schools will be good at such topics. some of those department websites will put up stats.<br>
you need to do amazing at your GPA, great GRE, solid recommendations, and a very clear statement of purpose (i.e. what do you want to do in graduate school, why, and why that school over others).</p>

<p>
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Where can I find stats and activities that are posted by people who got accepted to excellent grad schools?

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</p>

<p>what field are you in? Be more specific than just "science."</p>

<p>The top 10 chem grad schools had average GRE chem scores of about 700-800 range out of 990 (probably toward the lower end). This is lower than one might expect since the corresponding percentiles are like in the 50-80% range. This is because the internationals often have masters degrees and get the higher scores, but they are in a separate pool from Americans.</p>

<p>If you go to a state school with a good grad school, then you have an excellent chance of getting into a MIT/Caltech -type school. </p>

<p>If you have submitted a research paper, your chances go way up (and the all-important research rec will likely be very good.) If you have a 1st author paper, you will likely get in everywhere (but you don't need a first author paper to get in everywhere if your stats are decent.)</p>

<p>well I'm not even a college student yet, so I'm not completely sure but I'm thinking Engineering or Physics</p>

<p>For Engineering I'm thinking of becoming more of the research-oriented type with either electrical or mechanical engineering.</p>

<p>For Physics I'm thinking Astrophysics</p>

<p>and what's a 1st author paper?</p>

<p>If you find acing classes and standardized exams easy, then getting into MIT and Caltech will be easier for grad school than undergrad. </p>

<p>A research paper generally has several authors. The professor's name is usually last and has an asterisk. The person in the lab who did the most work is the first author listed. This is rare for an undergrad to have. </p>

<p>For physics and engineering, GPA will be more important than it would be for chem and bio. In synthetic chem and bio, research is really more important--especially if you have a candidate that didn't do great in math/physics but did great research. Electrical engineering and physics are more theoretical.</p>

<p>Harvey Mudd is a very well-known school by MIT, so that's a plus. Both MIT and Caltech know Mudd has grade deflation. The profs at your school will know what you need to get into the top grad schools in these fields.</p>

<p>Generally, the best advice is to ace all of your classes the first two years. Maybe start doing research your junior year or the summer after junior year. I'd say a year of research is enough to get into a top grad school. </p>

<p>Some people take a gap year after graduation so they can do full-time research as well.</p>

<p>If you do not even know what your undergrad major will be it is WAY to earlier to be thinking about which schools to apply to. The first thing you need to do is decide between engineering/physics or whatever else you may be interested in and then try to get involved in research at your school. You really need to know what your interests are before you can look at specific schools. You may even find research is not for you and therefore grad school is not a good idea.</p>

<p>Yeah, don't get ahead of yourself. Part of what you need to do is discover what you like. A <em>lot</em> of smart people hate research. </p>

<p>Get the highest GPA you can. Use your summers to get some experience so that you can better make a decision about which direction to go. If you're sure about what you want to do, around junior year or so spend some significant time in a lab or at least during the summer. </p>

<p>Don't freak out about the decision, either. You can always change directions, even after graduation.</p>

<p>
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Where can I find stats and activities that are posted by people who got accepted to excellent grad schools?

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</p>

<p>good places too start besides this forum:</p>

<p>Graduate</a> School Admission, Advice, Discussions, Help and Information - The GradCafe Forums</p>

<p><a href="http://forum.thegradcafe.com/topic/3139-2009-applicant-profiles/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://forum.thegradcafe.com/topic/3139-2009-applicant-profiles/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

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<p>[url=<a href="http://www.physicsgre.com/%5DPhysics"&gt;http://www.physicsgre.com/]Physics&lt;/a> GRE Discussion Forums<a href="look%20at%20the%20perspective%20students%20section">/url</a></p>

<p>keep in mind that this is probably a small sample of the applicant pool</p>

<p>I just want to get ahead of myself because</p>

<ol>
<li><p>After finishing application now, I wish that I knew about those information I needed earlier. As a korean, I had no one in my family who had gone through the process so I missed out on some important stuff I needed.</p></li>
<li><p>A Harvey Mudd alum told me that it is rather difficult to go to grad school because of its grade deflation and its difficulty to stand out among all the smart people.</p></li>
</ol>

<p>It is way too subjective. For someone that got in, they'll say it probably wasn't that hard.. for someone that was really close to getting in - yeah, it was hard. It depends on too many things. I wouldn't worry too much about grade deflation, if you are smart and hard working, it shouldn't impact you too much anyway.. </p>

<p>Start thinking about this once you've had experience doing research. Because, even though I like it.. a lot.. I have a harder time understanding why people like it than why people do not. Most people I know, very smart, very hard working, hate it. Once you figure out you like it, go from there. Don't worry, you have plenty of time.</p>

<p>If you are going to a school as good as Harvey Mudd, then you shouldn't be worrying like this. And you shouldn't be asking noobie questions in a grad school forum. Ask them in 1-1/2 to 2 years from now, when you know a thing or two.</p>

<p>Mudd is a very highly regarded school and every grad school knows how rigorous it is, so don't sweat it. Just do the best that you can. Forget that one Alumni, he is an outlier.</p>

<p>I know 2 kids that graduated from Mudd this year. One is going into a PhD program a UIUC in mechanical engineering, a top program (not IVY but TOP, GET IT?) One didn't get into med school this year and is overseas and loving it. I know another kid at a similar school (with a liberal arts component) who is going to intern for US Gov in materials science, even though that was not his major.</p>

<p>PM me if you are Korean from overseas, as I have some friends in the area who are so, and will be friendly. You can also PM me if you are just new to the area and I can send you some info on goings on around town.</p>

<p>I just looked at your original question, and I think, that if you are going to Mudd, you are actually going to a better undergrad college than MIT or Caltech. Seriously.</p>

<p>But to get into one of those for grad school is hard, and it will depend on your grades, and your research experience mostly. My kid applied to MIT but not admitted. She didn't have her heart set on it. She did get admitted into the Universities where she carefully picked the professors she would most like to work with. That care, and knowing about their programs is much more important if you are serious about what you are working on.</p>

<p>All the posts have been excellent. To boil everything down: get good grades, get involved in research ASAP, and develop relationships with your professors. These will get you into a great grad program.</p>

<p>

As others have said, the sciences tend to be easier than the humanities -- both in terms of being admitted and getting funded. Physics in turn tends to be one of the easier science disciplines to get into due to the relative lack of competition. </p>

<p>Cornell's top 10 physics program, for example, admits 25% of applicants.</p>

<p>[url=<a href="http://www.physicsgre.com/results.php%5DResults%5B/url"&gt;http://www.physicsgre.com/results.php]Results[/url&lt;/a&gt;]&lt;/p>

<p>Here is an idea of how "easy" it is to get into grad school for physics. </p>

<p>Admit rate at various programs are 10% to 20%.</p>

<p>Some schools are starting to ask physics phd applicants how much they may be able to contribute to their education.</p>

<p>Admissions to Phd programs seem to be getting tougher and at some schools money seems to be in shorter supply.</p>