MIT vs Georgia Tech

I agree with @PurpleTitan. Your GPA in engineering/CS is pretty important if you want to compete for a competitive first job. An involved 3.75 grad from Iowa State will fare much better that an uninvolved 2.0 grad from MIT.

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The most common cut-off GPA used by employers to prioritize college applicants for interviews is 3.0.

@me29034, My dad went to MIT (BS/MS Engineering). My uncle went to Stanford (PhD Engineering). Two of my patients were Caltech professors and employees at JPL. Although all of them raved about the graduate programs at their respective schools, all of them were fairly underwhelmed with the undergraduate programs.

People here speak like MIT’s undergraduate program is on some other planet. If that were the case, then the Directors of the NASA locations would all be MIT undergrad alums. In fact, none of them are. The JPL Executive board would all have gone to MIT. One of them did. Where did most go? Random state schools.

I am in no way saying that MIT is a bad school. It is a strong school. We are talking $260,000 MORE that Georgia Tech, the alma mater of the current Director of the International Space Station.

There is a reason to turn down MIT…two hundred and sixty thousand of them.


Well… Let’s do the math.
Same price? MIT or GT?
$1 diff. MIT or GT?

$10k diff

$260K diff?

For all we know OP’s parents may have a fully funded 529 with $150k of long term capital gains…


There’s no such a thing as a representative MIT student, or a representative GT student, or a representative student of any school. It’s much more helpful to think in terms of distributions of the abilities of their students.

A college designs its curriculum (think bare minimum) and its courses to accommodate this distribution. It wants to fail as few of its students as possible while providing oppurtunities for its ablest students. The distribution at GT will be broader and more dispersed than the one at MIT, especially due to the much longer left tail of its distribution. At a college where this distribution is broader, it has to offer more pathways of varing degrees of difficulties (e.g. multiple versions of courses/sections in core/intro courses) for its students to meet its curriculum (which may also have to be diluted for better accommodation). For the advanced courses that can’t be offered in multiple versions, the depth may need to be compromised to accommodate more students.

The distribution also affects how a student’s academic fit in a college. A student on the right side of the distribution will be able to take advange of more of the interesting opportunites a school offers, especially at a place like MIT where many such opportunties exist, while a student in the left tail of the distribution may be too overwhelmed to fully take advantage of any such opportunity.


There is an ongoing uncertainty with regards to GTs plans for course delivery for many of their math/CS courses going forward. For instance, next semester all Linear Algebra courses (and many others) are only available with the lectures being online and what they call Studios being in person. The same is true with CS courses.

After several email exchanges with GT, the response tends to be unclear as to their plans. They state that the courses cannot be deemed to be online since the Studio is in person. Also they are working to find space (and are unclear what this means).

GT consistently refer to pre-pandemic times having lectures online and they may do that again. For us, having the option to have a certain course online is great, but not so great when it is the only method of delivery for all sections of a course. DS is sick of online lectures and at least for the next year or two, would definitely not choose online instruction.

If this is concerning to you, I suggest you reach out to GT and try to get them to specifically respond as to their plans. Good luck!


Have you spent any time at MIT? I can’t make a comparison between the two schools, but I liked visiting my son at MIT, and enjoyed meeting his friends. There was so much to do in Cambridge and the surrounding area. There are some positives to living in a new environment

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Good point. And while some kids in some colleges may be perfectly happy being last, I doubt those kids are the ones attracted to MIT.


That is in theory. In reality, colleges have had different ideas on what to do here. It was more common a few decades ago for some then-moderately-selective (by today’s standards) state universities to offer relatively rigorous courses and curricula, resulting in a “sink or swim” or “weed out” type of environment for those at the lower end of the distribution of entering academic credentials, but giving a wider range of students an opportunity to try a relatively rigorous curriculum. That type of thing still exists today with ABET-accredited engineering majors at less selective schools, due to the minimum rigor required by ABET accreditation, although there has been more emphasis on student academic support more recently as there has been increased focus on graduation rates.

On the other hand, there are some highly selective schools which have a reputation where the hardest thing about them is getting in, and where there are “places to hide” for students whose academic strength falls short of that predicted by previous academic credentials (MIT is not such a school, though).


Higher selectivity doesn’t necessarily translate into uniformly higher students’ academic abilities. These schools with “places to hide” tend to have much broader and more dispersed distributions than certainly MIT, and likely GT as well. Whether they intensionally created these “places to hide” so they can admit applicants from a wider range of academc background, or their applicants are less self-selective because of the existence of such “places to hide” is debatable.