MIT vs Georgia Tech

Hello! As a prospective undergrad freshman, I’m debating between MIT and Georgia Tech. I’m extremely grateful for both options and would appreciate opinions/advice. For context, I plan to study biological engineering at MIT or BME at GT. I’ll very likely go to grad school (PhD) and want to work as a research scientist. Here are my main considerations:

MIT Pros:

  • Dream school and program: the biological engineering major at MIT is more science heavy (which I love), and I could do a major concentration in biological chemistry which really appeals to me

  • Boston: hub for biotech/healthcare. I could see myself working as a research scientist at the Broad Institute in my career, so being right there would be awesome. Koch and Wyss are also there, and research opportunities in general are unparalleled

  • Culture: the people there are simply inspiring, and I’m someone who would LOVE the pset parties, collectively nerding out, etc.

  • The Biology department at MIT is much better than Georgia Tech, and a lot of my interests cross over into molecular biology/biochemistry. I will likely take many biology courses, and I love the way MIT teaches biology (emphasis on experimental design/problem solving rather than memorization)

  • Harvard cross-registration: I also love humanities, so being able to take literature/public health/policy classes at Harvard would be amazing

  • “the MIT name”: the most shallow consideration, but MIT is world renowned, and there’s something to be said for that

MIT Cons:

  • Cost: I don’t qualify for aid so it’s ~$78K per year. My parents are willing to pay (would not cause any financial strain), but it’s definitely not a trivial amount so needs to be considered. Most PhD programs are fully-funded though, so this would likely be my only educational expense

  • Lack of proximity (not driving distance from home)

  • Potential for burnout/imposter syndrome: MIT classes are obviously extremely difficult, and I wouldn’t be top of my class there

  • Weather: I’m from the South, so Boston will take some getting used to

Georgia Tech Pros:

  • Cost: In-state and qualify for Zell so ~$18K per year

  • Proximity: Driving distance from home (and weather)

  • Classes would likely be easier than MIT, so more time for research and other projects. Also, GPA would likely be higher for grad school applications, and I’d be closer to the top of my class

  • Still an amazing BME program that is well-known with great research opportunities (partnership with Emory too)

Georgia Tech Cons:

  • The BME major is less science-heavy in comparison to MIT, with more emphasis on MechE/traditional engineering (which I’m not the biggest fan of). Many people warn that with this program, you become a “jack of all trades, master of none”

  • MANY people from my high school are going there, so it feels like I’m not really stepping out of my comfort zone

On one hand, MIT feels like a dream opportunity that I can’t let go of, and I’m privileged enough that my parents can afford it comfortably (definitely don’t take that for granted). But on the other hand, GT is a great school at a much cheaper price point, so I’m torn. Any advice (or things I haven’t considered) would be appreciated, thank you!

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if they can “afford it comfortably” then you should go for it.
it’s a truly unique place and you will make bonds with truly unique people.

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Would you need loans? It sounds like no.

Do your parents have the $ saved today or would it be cash flowed? If cash-flow, what if their circumstances change?

I wouldn’t say GT is easier or your GPA would be higher. Might be, but that’s an assumption plus GT grades straight letters, no +/- so they have a rep for grade deflation.

GT wouldn’t be HS 2.0. Lots of kids from OOS and internationals. You’ll make your own friends.

My vote would MIT if it’s not a financial burden. Boston is the best college city going plus MIT speaks for itself.

My son goes to GT and loves it but we’re OOS.

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I strongly disagree with this stance. You need to consider the opportunity cost. If your parents have the extra $240k and want to give it to you, you need to consider what else it could turn into besides a MIT degree. That difference invested at historical market returns will be over $10M (not inflation adjusted) in 40 years. That’s the opportunity cost. MIT has to be THAT much BETTER. That doesn’t mean don’t go to MIT, but that’s a BIG difference in price and you aren’t comparing it to some third rate school. Good luck!

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Parent’s utility of being able to say that their DS is at MIT maybe well worth it for them.
I mean why else do people buy 150k cars when a 30k car would be perfectly good?

I agree that there is an opportunity cost to the money. On the other hand, once you have a certain amount, how much more does an extra $10M get you? If you already will have $200M, would you rather have MIT rather than GTech+$210M? BTW, that $10M in 40 years assumption is aggressive, especially in real terms (factoring in inflation).

Anyway, my heuristic is that if a family has 8 figures net worth, feel free to splurge and go with fit. Maybe even if high 7 figures.

If less, yes, if you let that $200K grow for 40 years, that will get you a decent amount for your retirement or even be able to fund all of your retirement, depending on how the market does.

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Two amazing choices. Congratulations. You are very lucky.

The only thing I have to offer is the fact that Georgia Tech’s academic environment in the BME program is extremely difficult and challenging — no less so than that available at MIT, if that’s the kind of challenge you like. You will no longer be at the top of your class at GT.

As GT is state-mandated to accept a high number of Georgia students, yes, Georgia is well-represented in the student population. However, this year, the school only accepted 32% of Georgia residents. I know you don’t need me to do math for you but that means 68% of the incoming class is coming from other places. Most of my child’s friends are from other states all over the US — NY, PA, MA, IL, CA, VA (lots from VA it seems!), and other countries too.

You could always go to GT, get a fantastic education and make important contacts, and use the remainder of the money for something else. Maybe set it aside for grad school or a down payment on a nice residence.

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wait … are you sure they only accepted 32% out of Georgia? That doesn’t sound right … it sounds like an in-state Acceptance Rate … cause if it’s true - it’s back on our list for DS’22

???

That’s acceptance rate, not the composition rate. Acceptance rate for OOS and Internationals at GTech is way less.
Yield also differs a lot across those groups.

GTech aims for an undergraduate composition of 60/30/10 GA/OOS/International.

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yeah … that makes more sense …

I would be curious to know the data. For OOS, at $35k/yr tuition, I doubt GaTech can be as selective.

If MIT doesn’t work out OP can always transfer to GaTech, but the other way around is not quite possible.

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???

Why not? It’s one of the top schools for engineering and CS. You seem unaware that all of the top public engineering and CS programs are as selective as at least the Near-Ivies (think USC/NYU/Tufts) for OOS applying to engineering and CS these days.

“The overall admit rate for Early Action 2, which included both international and out-of-state students, was 14% (38% for Georgia students). Admitted students hail from all 50 states, 74 nations, and 1,889 high schools from around the globe. These students join 2,330 Early Action 1 applicants from Georgia who were admitted in early December.”

Kind of similar overall

If overall EA admit rate is 14% and GA EA admit rate is 38%, OOS/International EA admit rate has to be less than 14%.

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Lots of stats here

https://lite.gatech.edu/home

Here’s how I would look at it:

If you think you’re a student of the caliber that will place you in the top quartile of MIT students and the extra cost can be managed, go to MIT because you won’t be sufficiently challenged at GT. On the other hand, if you think you might be placed in the bottom quartile of MIT students, don’t go even if the extra cost isn’t too big of a burden. If you think you will be in the middle of the pack, then the decision is purely financial. You get such a great deal as an instate student at GT, it may be hard to pass up, even though MIT is in a different league.

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I wish I could add a screenshot here but I can’t. These are the stats as reported by Georgia Tech in the Daily Digest several weeks ago ( I will type it verbatim):

Georgia Tech’s overall admission breakdown (Including Early Action 1 and 2, and Regular Decision):

Admitted: 18%

Georgia admit rate: 32%

Non-Georgia admit rate: 16%

International admit rate: 11%

Yes - these are ADMIT rates, not ultimate IS, OOS % Composition of the student body

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OK, and I did not say otherwise.