STEM Suicide

<p>Is Caltech uber hard and do a lot of bros drop out? Same with MIT. </p>

<p>And I understand at Cornell people have tended to jump off bridges to avoid the humiliation of dropping out. Any other noteworthy STEM focused colleges that do this?</p>

<p>I've also heard stuff about homicidal tendencies of competitiveness at top STEM schools (although that may be hyperbole, I'm naive enough to take everything at a literal level). Say, Johns Hopkins students sabotaging others because, well who wants other people to pass a class?</p>

<p>So basically I'm curious about any schools that are notable difficult to the point where students drop off/kill themselves/kill each other/etc.
Here's a list of schools that I'm mildly interested in too -
Cornell, Brown, Columbia, MIT, Harvard, Princeton, UPenn, Yale, Stanford, Tufts, USC, Northwestern, U Chicago, UVA, Duke, JHU, Cal Tech, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, U Mich Ann Arbor, Northeastern, Carnegie Mellon, NYU.</p>

<p>Hmm actually this is fairly interesting, I'd also like to hear some opinions about this, maybe even from current undergrads.</p>

<p>I've certainly heard Cornell has a reputation for suicide, and that Caltech and the like are excessively difficult to even get through, is this completely true or exaggerated?</p>

<p>That's exactly what I would like to know, the price of being at a top school (academically... I realize it costs a lot of money too).</p>

<p>I'm also interested in this. I've heard of sabotaging at Cornell, so if you say JHU as well, maybe there's even more where this might be common? Does anyone know if students are truly this competitive that they would stoop to such levels?</p>

<p>I studied engineering at a pretty good school, not at the level of Caltech, but probably at the level of Cornell. It wasn't at a school that had a reputation for grade inflation, like Stanford or most of the Ivies, but I didn't notice any sabotaging or extraordinary neurosis regarding grades. </p>

<p>I think the students who are neurotic about grades are pre-meds.</p>

<p>Cornell is not a "suicide school." The statistics prove that. </p>

<p>There are a number of factors that contribute to the misconception. The first is that suicides at Cornell, like virtually all other high schools and colleges, often come in clusters. Last year there was a cluster which got alot of attention, but what was seldom mentioned in news reports was the fact that for the 7 years prior to that, there was less than one per year. Clusters, and the media coverage surrounding them, lead to a perception of frequency that just isn't borne out by facts.</p>

<p>Second -- the gorges. Suicides are usually carried out in privacy, and by means that are either non-violent (overdosing, wrist-slashing) or unfortunately common (gun). But at Cornell, suicides are often carried out by jumping into the gorges. They're public, often seen by horrified witnesses. The sensational nature of the suicides draws media attention. </p>

<p>Third, Cornell students are not the only Ithaca residents who jump into the gorges, but non-student suicides tend to get conflated in the media and confused in the public mind, adding to this inaccurate reputation.</p>

<p>It should be noted that Cornell in recent years has been aggressive with its mental health awareness programs and outreach to students. </p>

<p>Suicide doesn't occur just out of the blue, and isn't caused ONLY by academic pressure. There's generally a combination of factors, internal (depression, perfectionism) and external (academic, a romantic breakup, a family situation). Students usually will have exhibited some kind of signs for weeks or months beforehand. All colleges have counselling centers which are freely available to students who are struggling with adjustment, depression, or suicidal thoughts. These centers can help the student learn to cope with the academic pressures in a healthy way.</p>

<p>^ True story.</p>

<p>You have a number of people that get into these higher level schools because they were so great at their high school and are devastated when they find out they aren't the best at everything they were before. Most people find their way. The dropout rates are pretty low (admissions looks for kids that can handle it and usually do a great job).</p>

<p>Just a thought- if you are worried about the intensity of a school being too much for students, and possibly for you, perhaps it might be wise to pick a less intense school.</p>

<p>This article pretty much destroys the popular press's hyping of "College X has a high suicide rate" type article. (The suicide-specific material starts about half way through).</p>

<p>Lies</a>, Damned Lies, and Statistics | MIT Admissions</p>

<p>Another thing to remember is that mental illness often emerges in kids who are college-aged. The stress of school just exacerbates the situation. In a lot of cases, it wouldn't matter if the student attended an elite school or an "average" one, he/she would still probably be suicidal.</p>

<p>I may have mistitled this slightly with the term suicide. I am only partially interested in the suicide theories and I understand a lot of other factors play into a suicide.</p>

<p>I did want to know more about the drop out students (why they dropped out, how many, anything colleges say about this) and the sabotaging. Anyone get sabotaged themselves, high school or undergrad? Anyone skilled enough to sabotage?</p>

<p>Annasdad - that article is extremely MIT specific, responding to a specific Boston Globe claim. The MIT guy actually concedes that there are quite a few suicides at MIT, and that there are more suicides in STEM than liberal arts. He is rather arguing that the suicide numbers at MIT, when controlled for the heavy STEM population, arent outstanding/egregious.</p>

<p>My basic question is this: are these top schools so bad (difficult, competitive, or whatever) that a significant portion of their students break down, drop out, or worse?</p>

<p>@Confucian
I have not yet spent a single semester at Caltech but I can tell you that the intelligence of my incoming classmates is obscene (and I know about 75% of them thanks to our small size). The very fact that any of us could have significant difficulties in our classes already shows (and scares) me of the challenges that lie ahead for us.</p>

<p>On the other hand, there is also a not insignificant population of incoming students who look ready to breeze through their 4 years in Pasadena.</p>