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Chances for MIT, Brown in Math/Comp Sci

IvysaurmanIvysaurman Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
Those two are my top picks but I'm looking at a lot of schools so feel free to mention if any ones in particular are better for me than others, etc.

SAT I: 1520 (750/770) , Essay 13 (!) (Bad test day, essay score doesn't reflect my essay writing abilities. Planning to retake, but assume these scores for sake of argument. )
SAT II: Math II, Chem - Receiving scores in 2 weeks or so, will retake anything <800 for math and <700 chem
Weighted GPA: 99.1075/100
APs: BC Calc (5), APUSH, Lang, Chem, CSA - currently taking multivariable calc, but no AP test attached
Senior Year AP Load: Euro, Stat, Lit, Advanced Comp Sci (no AP test, follow up to AP CSA)
Awards: Zero Robotics International Finalist, Youth and Government 1st in State, Debate top 20 in state, some minor MUN things

Extracurriculars: Speech and Debate (President), Youth and Government, Model UN (VP), Marching Band, Piano for 8+ years, Tri-M, Spanish Honors Society, Chess Club (President, formerly)

Summer Activities: Spent a summer at Boston College taking Linear Algebra (ended with a B) and some random math course that probably doesn't count for anything (got an A but does it matter)

Recommendations: I can get really good ones from math, english teachers.

White, Male
1st gen immigrant from Ireland if that counts for anything.

Replies to: Chances for MIT, Brown in Math/Comp Sci

  • IvysaurmanIvysaurman Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    this is what I get for not proofreading. Apparently there are automatic emotes on this board, but I ended with a B in linear algebra, not a B)
  • TheSATTeacherTheSATTeacher Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member

    You need something to differentiate yourself extracurricularly. The problem is not that you are uninvolved, but there is nothing that differentiates you from the pack. I have said it here before and I will say it again: if you are just like a whole bunch of other qualified applicants, why should they pick you and not them?

    If I were you, I would find something to do this summer to make your application pop. Do something interesting, something out there, something the college admissions officers won't see on other applications. I would also make sure to write really good essays if I were you--essays that show some personality (without being heavy-handed or coming off poorly).

    Also, there are plenty of good schools that you should look into. Apply early to a place you want to go to and if that doesn't work you should apply to a lot of schools in the regular round. The more schools, the higher your chances.

    If you have any questions, let me know. I hope this helps.
  • IvysaurmanIvysaurman Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    @TheSATTeacher thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it - you say there are plenty of good schools I should look into. I've been looking at schools and whatnot on my own time, but I think something of a reality check is potentially in order before I waste too much time. The way you wrote your post, it seems my current resume is alright, just not especially exciting. With that in mind, am I setting my sights too high? Hypothetically say I'm not able to accomplish anything exceptional over the summer. Should I not bother applying to the t20 type schools at all?
  • GoBears2023GoBears2023 Forum Champion Summer Programs Posts: 692 Forum Champion
    Nothing super special that I can see. Both MIT and Brown want the top of the top. I would say 5% chance for both, just like the rest of the students.
  • TheSATTeacherTheSATTeacher Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member

    First, you don't have to do anything exceptional--just something interesting or different.

    Second, top 20 schools are realistic with your stats. I would also look at LACs. You should also apply to some non top 20 schools. At the very least, your stats will get you looked at everywhere. The more schools you apply to in the top range, the better your chances of getting into one. Top 5 is unlikely, but top 10-20 is doable. School like Brown, or Hopkins, or Rice are probably within striking distance.

    Finally, I disagree with the above commenter. Probably about two thirds of applicants to those schools don't have reasonably good stats. Your chances are higher than any 5%.

    Also, no one on here has seen your application so no one can give the most precise estimates.
  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins Registered User Posts: 868 Member
    edited May 15
    Instead of gambling for MIT or Ivies, if possible ED at JHU, CalTech, Rice or CMU.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,095 Senior Member
    Caltech does not have ED; it has EA. Note that an applicant can apply to both Caltech and MIT EA, since neither restricts other EA applications.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,905 Senior Member
    edited May 15
    It's not about special, super special, or plain old interesting.

    You want STEM, but list no math-sci ECs, (save for whatever got you to ZR. How much time was that and over what period? With hs peers or ?) That's.an issue, a big one. You'll compete with kids who have it all.

    Not sure you yet know enough about what tippy top colleges look for. Have you read the MIT blogs and do you know what the main point of the Brown curriculum is? You have a lot of pieces to put together.

    And it's not about weighted gpa.
  • TheSATTeacherTheSATTeacher Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member
    ^ I disagree. You do not need STEM ECs to get in for stem (you do need good ECs, though). I went to a US News top 5 (recently enough for this info to be considered relevant). Applied as a math major. Had absolutely zero STEM ECs. Still got in. Many math and science majors I knew did not participate in any STEM ECs in HS either.

    Think about it like this. Do prospective English majors need English ECs? Do prospective Econ majors need Econ ECs? Do prospective anthro majors need anthro ECs? Are there even such things? College is not grad school. When you apply, you have to demonstrate that you are smart, but you don't have to demonstrate any particular skill/knowledge of the field to which you are applying. College is there to teach you that stuff. Additionally, many colleges expect that you will change majors, so evaluating a student on the basis of a major they likely won't major in is foolish.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,905 Senior Member
    edited May 17
    Of course you need STEM ECs for STEM wannabe applicants to MIT or Brown!

    The only exception is when the hs or area offer nothing, not even remotely close. And still, those applicants compete against kids who can show these experiences.

    Anecdotes only prove for the individual. I would far prefer kids cover their bases than hope magic lightning strikes.

    Yes, college is there to teach you. And many kids' first exposure to *some* subects comes in college. But first you need to be admitted and STEM competition is fierce. MIT/Brown will have expectations. Activities reflect true interests, drives, ability to act on those, plus commitent. Not just on the side, either. They want to see the ongoing collaborative. SHow, not just tell.

    The better advice IS to cover bases, not assume.

    OP has a good start on the non-STEM activities. But he's saying a math or CS major. He's got two summer courses and a robotics competition (which is outside school.) This alone won't present as showing interest in CS or the follow through or the particular thinking skills.

    Yes, kids may change majors. But your application stands as you present it, what you do submit.
  • TheSATTeacherTheSATTeacher Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member
    ^I know I cited anecdotal evidence. That's because there are not good statistics on these things (at least not that we have access to). FWIW, I am a white male who lived in an area with plenty of opportunities for STEM. I had zero hooks. I had accomplished nothing impressive with regards to STEM aside from doing well in classes and standardized tests.

    My general experience was that many STEM kids where I went and at other US News top 10 schools did not have STEM ECs in high school. I think one could conduct a survey and find this out. Of course, STEM majors are more likely than others to have participated in STEM ECs in high school, but I think you would find that there are very many STEM majors who did not participate in STEM ECs who could have. I was hardly an outlier.

    In my experience, most STEM majors were academically well-rounded students and people who happened to be majoring in STEM.

    As to your claim, that students should have STEM ECs if they are applying as a STEM major, I ask this: what basis do you have for this claim? I am genuinely curious.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,905 Senior Member
    edited 2:23PM
    Experience reading stem apps (and others) for a highly competitive college. My own observations.

    When did you graduate? Roughly what college tier? In even 5 years, things can shift radically. It's an uncanny thing. Easy example is while gender is an important consideration, , it's no longer as unbalanced. More women into the non-bio stem apply with better experiences, deeper commitment, stronger stats.

    If a kid has no math-sci ECs, what shows this is a well considered goal? What shows the collaborative experiences and that thinking? What makes him a clear choice over other kids who do?

    Look at how he wants to retake based on the SAT essay. Not necessary. He's got BC and MV, linear. But no mention of physics or bio. The CS courses don't replace those.

    Many colleges may be fine with all that. MIT and Brown are longer odds. MIT is open about what it likes. But he needs more understanding of what MIT and Brown want...that plenty of other applicants will show.
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