Should I accept UCLA this year or hold out another year for MIT for my PhD? - Engineering - The GradCafe Forums
Jump to content

Should I accept UCLA this year or hold out another year for MIT for my PhD?


samkaru

Recommended Posts

I was wait-listed by MIT EECS and accepted to UCLA ECE with generous funding this year. When I applied, my bachelor's degree was not complete and my GPA increased significantly after the last semester to be near-perfect. One of my papers was also accepted after the application deadline to a very good journal. So I feel that if I continue doing good research, I'll have a generous chance of getting to MIT next year.

The problem is: does the prestige of MIT matter so much that it makes sense to hold out another year? I know that I could do more or less the same quality research at both places. I plan on being an entrepreneur after graduation, so I wonder whether the "name-effect" of MIT has a better impact when finding investors etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, samkaru said:

I was wait-listed by MIT EECS and accepted to UCLA ECE with generous funding this year. When I applied, my bachelor's degree was not complete and my GPA increased significantly after the last semester to be near-perfect. One of my papers was also accepted after the application deadline to a very good journal. So I feel that if I continue doing good research, I'll have a generous chance of getting to MIT next year.

The problem is: does the prestige of MIT matter so much that it makes sense to hold out another year? I know that I could do more or less the same quality research at both places. I plan on being an entrepreneur after graduation, so I wonder whether the "name-effect" of MIT has a better impact when finding investors etc.

If I were you, I would go to UCLA. If you like UCLA, if you have a good advisor or good potential advisors, if you have good and reliable funding, if you can see yourself at UCLA and would be happy there, you should take this opportunity given to you. MIT does have prestige, but I don't think that why you should choose a place because of prestige. There is also no guarantee you will get in next year, sorry to say.

So, do what feels best in your gut. Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, samkaru said:

I was wait-listed by MIT EECS and accepted to UCLA ECE with generous funding this year. When I applied, my bachelor's degree was not complete and my GPA increased significantly after the last semester to be near-perfect. One of my papers was also accepted after the application deadline to a very good journal. So I feel that if I continue doing good research, I'll have a generous chance of getting to MIT next year.

The problem is: does the prestige of MIT matter so much that it makes sense to hold out another year? I know that I could do more or less the same quality research at both places. I plan on being an entrepreneur after graduation, so I wonder whether the "name-effect" of MIT has a better impact when finding investors etc.

Yes, the brand name can have an effect. It can open door, but name alone won't net you funding. Ideas matter.

As far as getting into EECS, your GPA and publication likely did not matter much. It should not surprise you that plenty of people are waitlisted or rejected by MIT with near perfect numbers and first author publications. What can swing the balance is having a connection to a current professor who is looking for students. A lot of faculty would prefer to take an applicant who was vouched for by a colleague they know well than take a piece of paper with perfect numbers. If you think you can build that bridge to a faculty member over a year, then hold out for MIT.

That said, the actual faculty member in question matters more. If you have a famous professor at UCLA taking you on versus a newly minted assistant professor, go to UCLA. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MIT ain't the only place doing good science. Think of other things - have you talked with POIs at UCLA? I personally think it's not worth waiting a year. What if you don't get in next year? There may be a chance that the applicant pool is extremely competitive (more than this year's) and/or cuts in funding which means fewer spots. After all, a Ph.D. is a Ph.D. everywhere, what makes it different is 1) your effort/enthusiasm and 2) PI. Not necessarily in that order. Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.