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Old 11-25-2012, 06:22 AM   #16
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Check out College Confidential. A WORLD of info there.
Amen. And be prepared to realize there are some smart kids out there!!! Wow!
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:34 AM   #17
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Yes, that's why the consensus at MIT is that 'smart people who go to Harvard don't get any smarter while they are there'. Yes, they actually say that, LOL! Also, my daughter has a friend who is taking 'remedial' classes at Harvard. Harvard is quickly gaining a reputation of taking students just for the newsworthiness of their background, not because they are at some certain academic level.

Having some grandparents and great-grandparents graduate from Harvard and other Ivy league schools, and having an aunt and grandfather who worked at Harvard and MIT, I've heard a lot of stories about what actually goes on at these institutions. Harvard seems to be all about the name, while MIT actually gets students to contribute to the intellectual society that is fostered there.

For example (and it's a very narrow one, I admit) my daughter is taking an obscure language class at Harvard. There are 5 students in the class. The 3 from Harvard are struggling to keep up with the 2 from MIT. BTW, it's my daughter's 4th language.
Eh, I dunno; the people I know who went to Harvard were academic heavyweights who remained so. A couple speak multiple languages (even dead ones! and were involved in a lot of rigorous academic pursuits at H - and would probably tell you that MIT students are really good if you want someone to do your taxes in exchange for explaining Chaucer to them.

One friend who went to a just-as-prestigious graduate program at a different school was quite cognizant that people almost never got bad grades there or got booted from the program, despite orientation warnings to that effect. The idea seemed to be that if you were good enough to let in, must be good enough to graduate. According to that person, that attitude was much more prevalent there than at Harvard, inflation scandal aside.
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:00 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Schmeck View Post
Yes, that's why the consensus at MIT is that 'smart people who go to Harvard don't get any smarter while they are there'. Yes, they actually say that, LOL! Also, my daughter has a friend who is taking 'remedial' classes at Harvard. Harvard is quickly gaining a reputation of taking students just for the newsworthiness of their background, not because they are at some certain academic level.

Having some grandparents and great-grandparents graduate from Harvard and other Ivy league schools, and having an aunt and grandfather who worked at Harvard and MIT, I've heard a lot of stories about what actually goes on at these institutions. Harvard seems to be all about the name, while MIT actually gets students to contribute to the intellectual society that is fostered there.

For example (and it's a very narrow one, I admit) my daughter is taking an obscure language class at Harvard. There are 5 students in the class. The 3 from Harvard are struggling to keep up with the 2 from MIT. BTW, it's my daughter's 4th language.
I don't know, I think this might be more of a coincidence than anything else. The ability to excel in maths and sciences doesn't really have a lot to do with the ability to acquire a second language. Your example tends to lead one to believe that strong language acquisition skills among MIT students might be a common trait. I would guess that this really isn't the case, since they are at MIT because of their abilities in a completely non-related field.

You might make the argument that the MIT students excel over Harvard students in language classes because of better study habits, but I don't know if I'd buy that either. We're talking about Harvard students here; kids who've already proven themselves in language arts, and who certainly know how to study and do well in academic settings.
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:03 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by cornflake View Post
Eh, I dunno; the people I know who went to Harvard were academic heavyweights who remained so. A couple speak multiple languages (even dead ones! and were involved in a lot of rigorous academic pursuits at H - and would probably tell you that MIT students are really good if you want someone to do your taxes in exchange for explaining Chaucer to them.

One friend who went to a just-as-prestigious graduate program at a different school was quite cognizant that people almost never got bad grades there or got booted from the program, despite orientation warnings to that effect. The idea seemed to be that if you were good enough to let in, must be good enough to graduate. According to that person, that attitude was much more prevalent there than at Harvard, inflation scandal aside.
I thought students read Chaucer in high school? We did, anyways!

Actually, MIT has some really interesting 'non-geek' minors, (and a few majors) and a requirement to take a certain amount of 'non-geek' courses. Hence the language classes for my daughter, some creative classes like costume design, and her favorite, Meso-American History. I love the Architecture department - very cool displays last time I walked through campus.

Freshman at MIT do not get grades, only pass/warning. It is definitely a very high-pressure environment, with a very high suicide rate for a university. They do have a wonderful mental health support system, and that, along with the pass/warning, helps the student body adjust to the rigors of the experience there. It is definitely not a party school though!

Best of luck to all the applying students - it's a tough school to get into, but once you are there, it's a great experience. It's all about what you know, not who you know.
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:17 AM   #20
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I thought students read Chaucer in high school? We did, anyways!

Actually, MIT has some really interesting 'non-geek' minors, (and a few majors) and a requirement to take a certain amount of 'non-geek' courses. Hence the language classes for my daughter, some creative classes like costume design, and her favorite, Meso-American History. I love the Architecture department - very cool displays last time I walked through campus.

Freshman at MIT do not get grades, only pass/warning. It is definitely a very high-pressure environment, with a very high suicide rate for a university. They do have a wonderful mental health support system, and that, along with the pass/warning, helps the student body adjust to the rigors of the experience there. It is definitely not a party school though!

Best of luck to all the applying students - it's a tough school to get into, but once you are there, it's a great experience. It's all about what you know, not who you know.
Sure, first. Did you not do any Chaucer in college?

I mean most people also do at least four full Shakespeare plays and some of the classic Greek plays in h.s., doesn't mean they can't take a course in some aspect of Shakespeare in college, or a class in morality in Greek drama or etc., etc.

*Stupid random fact I recall for no reason - David Duchovny's I think Master's thesis in Literature at Yale was on like magical realism in Chaucer's writings. If I recall this correctly for no reason, heh.
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:23 AM   #21
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I don't know, I think this might be more of a coincidence than anything else. The ability to excel in maths and sciences doesn't really have a lot to do with the ability to acquire a second language. Your example tends to lead one to believe that strong language acquisition skills among MIT students might be a common trait. I would guess that this really isn't the case, since they are at MIT because of their abilities in a completely non-related field.
Abilities in languages and maths are definitely related. Both are based on learning a system and applying that system. I'm a science PhD who has studied multiple languages and was generally at the top of my class - except for Mandarin - whose pictograms are more like art than anything else.
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:29 AM   #22
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I don't know if it will be of help for what is being looked for, but last month kicked off the beginning of some MIT online courses along with Harvard. I was surprised at how many people signed up to participate. Possibly the courses could give a feel of what to expect. Early on, from what I've read of online teaching, many of the courses seem to be offered for free or request a modest fee.

"Harvard Is Now Online"

http://blogs.the-american-interest.c...is-now-online/

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This week brings the official launch of Harvard and MIT’s EdX program. According to BostInno (h/t John Ellis), the new program is off to a good start, with more than 100,000 students already registered for the first courses. And as students and teachers become acclimated to the platform, Harvard will continue to tailor the program to meet the changing needs of online learners:
Although the initial enthusiasm is encouraging, Harvard University Provost Alan Garber told the Boston Globe:
We really think that the first courses we offer will be great, but long term the payoff is going to come from a better understanding about how people learn.
As the platform continues to grow, more features will be added to accommodate different courses, such as the ability to submit essays, along with the grading solutions tied in with that. Garber told the Boston Globe edX “already supports discussion groups and forums that make online education effective and more engaging than textbooks,” so it will be interesting to see how students interact with the platform as it evolves....
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:02 AM   #23
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Check out Carnegie Mellon. It's a real computer think tank and ranked third behind MIT and Stamford (if you pay attention to USW&NR).
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:25 AM   #24
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Heh, wasn't debating, just saying.

Who am I to argue with the school that invented the greatest of measurments - the Smoot?
I wasn't debating, either. Just so ya know
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:30 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Schmeck View Post
Yes, that's why the consensus at MIT is that 'smart people who go to Harvard don't get any smarter while they are there'. Yes, they actually say that, LOL! Also, my daughter has a friend who is taking 'remedial' classes at Harvard. Harvard is quickly gaining a reputation of taking students just for the newsworthiness of their background, not because they are at some certain academic level.

Having some grandparents and great-grandparents graduate from Harvard and other Ivy league schools, and having an aunt and grandfather who worked at Harvard and MIT, I've heard a lot of stories about what actually goes on at these institutions. Harvard seems to be all about the name, while MIT actually gets students to contribute to the intellectual society that is fostered there.

For example (and it's a very narrow one, I admit) my daughter is taking an obscure language class at Harvard. There are 5 students in the class. The 3 from Harvard are struggling to keep up with the 2 from MIT. BTW, it's my daughter's 4th language.
The Ivy League in general is rapidly gaining a reputation for producing so-so results in REAL education. I've seen two different articles in the past couple of years showing Univeristy of Texas (among others) whipping Harvard pretty much across the board.
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:49 AM   #26
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Abilities in languages and maths are definitely related. Both are based on learning a system and applying that system. I'm a science PhD who has studied multiple languages and was generally at the top of my class - except for Mandarin - whose pictograms are more like art than anything else.
Maybe for some. In my family, both my father and I are math people (my PhD is math/science) and both are not good at language acquisition, whereas, my mother and brother (especially my mother) are absolutely rubbish at math but pick up languages easily.

I don't think it is fair to say that being good at math means you are good at languages or that being good at math means that you are bad at languages.
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:38 PM   #27
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Maybe for some. In my family, both my father and I are math people (my PhD is math/science) and both are not good at language acquisition, whereas, my mother and brother (especially my mother) are absolutely rubbish at math but pick up languages easily.

I don't think it is fair to say that being good at math means you are good at languages or that being good at math means that you are bad at languages.
I agree. I can read Latin (which is a very analytical, logical language) fluently, but my math skills are severely lacking.
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:59 PM   #28
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I agree. I can read Latin (which is a very analytical, logical language) fluently, but my math skills are severely lacking.
Yes, I repeat, it seems to be often the case where someone is strong in math/science but weak in languages, and vice versa.

Maybe the poster who disagrees just happens to be strong in both?
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:51 PM   #29
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Check out Carnegie Mellon. It's a real computer think tank and ranked third behind MIT and Stamford (if you pay attention to USW&NR).


My son goes to school in Boston. His interaction with students has been that Harvard med students great friendly kids, MIT hilarious friendly nerds, Harvard undergrad, um not so much.

Top 2 from my son's school both were rejected from MIT, accepted at Harvard, went to Notre Dame. Student that placed 3rd got accepted to MIT but got a better financial deal someplace else so he took it. He was incredibly involved in Science and language clubs as well.

Point being acceptance can be random, being number one doesn't score you a
free pass. After he takes his SAT's he will have a better window into his chances.
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:00 PM   #30
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Check out College Confidential. A WORLD of info there.
Can't disagree there. One of our seniors was accepted but chose Harvard instead. He had a 4.2 average with several AP courses, five's in every one, perfect SAT scores and a cross country runner.... My son's friend is waiting on his result right now, just about the same academics but no athletics, although more academic camps... so we'll see... you can't count on it no matter who you are and no matter what your grades or scores.
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