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Should I retake for MIT?


nikosxilouris
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Hi guys,

One of those posts again :P

So I am now in my 3rd and final year of a Bachelor in Engineering at University College London doing Civil Engineering. I am applying to MIT for a Masters in Science Civil Engineering. I have held a first class honours (70% + ) for my first two years and most probably will achieve the same for my 3rd year which I believe corresponds to a GPA of 4.0

My GRE scores are:

Verbal: 159/170

Quantitative: 163/170

Analytical Writing: 4.5/6

What do you think?

Should I retake for MIT?

Thanks a million,

Nikos

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MIT requires the GRE, but they have no minimum GRE score requirement. Nor do they have a minimum GPA. For the most part, all they really care about is your ability to think like an engineer and your ability to do independent research. Also, most students who apply to MIT for undergrad/grad school just happen to be at the top of their class[es], but MIT really doesn't care about that. To them, it is better to have failed (as in literally failing a course, not the "new" fail of "only" getting a B+) than to have perfect scores/grades.

Like most grad schools in the U.S., they are looking candidates who can think like researchers/scientists/engineers/etc., and who are not going to drop out half-way through when they realize grad school is nothing like undergrad.

Your original scores would have been good enough, but, if you do not have undergraduate research experience, perfect GRE scores don't mean dilly.

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For the most part, all they really care about is your ability to think like an engineer and your ability to do independent research. Also, most students who apply to MIT for undergrad/grad school just happen to be at the top of their class[es], but MIT really doesn't care about that. To them, it is better to have failed (as in literally failing a course, not the "new" fail of "only" getting a B+) than to have perfect scores/grades.

If you believe this, then I don't know what to tell you, other than "you're wrong".

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If I am wrong than why does MITs own graduate website clearly state that there is no minimum GPA or GRE score? And why does it say also say so on the handful of Dept. webpages I just looked up (although some state that admissions are competitive, hinting that high GRE scores might be to the applicants advantage)? I have spent almost five years now researching the MIT application process through information found on their own website, through their own admissions blogs, through books and websites written by graduates, etc. Everything indicates, if not flat-out saying, that MIT does not want perfect students, that their whole educational model is based off stumbling, picking yourself up, and moving forward, and that they want to train you to think like engineers/scientists/etc.

As I am sure you know, a strong SOP and solid research experience can trump GPA and/or GRE score. I was only trying to give the OP hope, not mislead. But as I wrote, my information is based on actually looking into it over the span of some years. I chickened out on applying to MIT as a freshman because at the time I believed I absolutely did not have a shot (because, among other things, I didn't build a robot when I was 12 or win a national science/academic competition in high school). I wanted to apply as a transfer student (after which I had built not one, but two, robots that competed in competitions; beating out MIT both times), but didn't because I contacted admissions and they straight-up told me, based on my college record and experience up to that point in time, I should wait and apply to grad. school [at MIT]. When I took the GRE, and got slightly lower scores than the OP, I sent an email to the MIT Office of Graduate Admissions as well as a few potential advisors, and was told that everything was fine and to go ahead and apply. If I am wrong than I am either completely gullible or someone (including MIT) is lying.

Edited by Crucial BBQ
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If I am wrong than why does MITs own graduate website clearly state that there is no minimum GPA or GRE score? And why does it say also say so on the handful of Dept. webpages I just looked up (although some state that admissions are competitive, hinting that high GRE scores might be to the applicants advantage)? I have spent almost five years now researching the MIT application process through information found on their own website, through their own admissions blogs, through books and websites written by graduates, etc. Everything indicates, if not flat-out saying, that MIT does not want perfect students, that their whole educational model is based off stumbling, picking yourself up, and moving forward, and that they want to train you to think like engineers/scientists/etc.

As I am sure you know, a strong SOP and solid research experience can trump GPA and/or GRE score. I was only trying to give the OP hope, not mislead. But as I wrote, my information is based on actually looking into it over the span of some years. I chickened out on applying to MIT as a freshman because at the time I believed I absolutely did not have a shot (because, among other things, I didn't build a robot when I was 12 or win a national science/academic competition in high school). I wanted to apply as a transfer student (after which I had built not one, but two, robots that competed in competitions; beating out MIT both times), but didn't because I contacted admissions and they straight-up told me, based on my college record and experience up to that point in time, I should wait and apply to grad. school [at MIT]. When I took the GRE, and got slightly lower scores than the OP, I sent an email to the MIT Office of Graduate Admissions as well as a few potential advisors, and was told that everything was fine and to go ahead and apply. If I am wrong than I am either completely gullible or someone (including MIT) is lying.

Schools will never tell you "You're a loser, please don't waste our time". They will always "encourage" people to apply.

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Schools will never tell you "You're a loser, please don't waste our time". They will always "encourage" people to apply.

While I generally agree with the tenor and sentiments of this thread thus far, I will say that I have had some very kind grad secretaries advise me to not waste my time or money applying with my grades. I appreciated the candour. I have, however, also been "encouraged" to apply to schools like USC that accept maybe 2 students a year into their English PhD program even though I have middling undergrad marks so... I guess it all depends.

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Schools will never tell you "You're a loser, please don't waste our time". They will always "encourage" people to apply.

For undergrad I will definitely agree with this across the board. WIth larger grad. programs, in particular those that admit numerous students into their Masters programs, perhaps.
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Of course they'll care about the grades - which in this case are very good. I expect that they'll also care about the GRE, but mostly in the sense that they will expect high GRE scores, and it might give serious pause if they are not high. This said, it would be wrong to assume that a Q170 means automatic acceptance anywhere; they'll be looking at the whole package. :)

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nobody is absolutely wrong here. What I believe is that GRE is more like acted as stepping stone, which must be satisfied as entry by the university at a certain level. Once you pass their required level, GRE does not benefit anyone any more unless your qualification is very close to your last-vacancy competitor.

Then you are evaluated by your qualification, which consists of hardware and software. Hardware such as GPA, Honor, certificates and so on. Software such as research experience, paper publish, intern experience, letter of recommend so on.

Comment me if you have other interesting opinions.

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the "honors thing" is the equivalent to GPA and 70% + is equivalent to a 4.0 GPA.

Dont they care how well you do in your undergraduate degree?

IMO, a 170Q is pretty much an easy-in for MIT.. what they won't care about is the 70% honors thing.

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