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Best Tech Colleges Are Harder Than Ever To Get In 108

Posted by timothy
from the use-a-catapult dept.
alphadogg writes "Results from the early application rounds at the nation's best technical colleges indicate that it will be another excruciatingly difficult year for high school seniors to get accepted into top-notch undergraduate computer science and engineering programs. Leading tech colleges reported a sharp rise in early applications, prompting them to be more selective in choosing prospective freshmen for the Class of 2017. Many colleges are reporting lower acceptance rates for their binding early decision and non-binding early action admissions programs than in previous years. Here's a roundup of stats from MIT, Stanford and others."
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Best Tech Colleges Are Harder Than Ever To Get In

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  • Big deal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I already got my degree.

    Was it worth it?

    I have no idea. As I climb the hill I'm seeing all sorts of people with and without degrees at all levels.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Spy Handler (822350)

      yeah, not a big deal. So you didn't get into MIT CS department, so what... go to a community college and then transfer to a state uni. All that matters is that you have a CS degree, that's enough to open any door as long as you actually know how to code.

      • You say "state uni" like it's a second-class choice, but one of the schools on that list is a state uni!

        • I don't think that was the implication he was making. State schools are the most likely to accept community college credits. This is a perfectly valid and acceptable path for an education, even if you're not at the #1 school.
          • I don't think that was the implication he was making. State schools are the most likely to accept community college credits. This is a perfectly valid and acceptable path for an education, even if you're not at the #1 school.

            And they are cheaper then private universities (before you factor in need-based financial aid, which is a wildcard).

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Massive Open Online Courses are the hot new thing, and they allow unlimited enrollment without any class-size restriction, and often without any tuition cost. They're all about *access* - if you want to study to become a neuroscientist, then who says you can't? After all, it's your time and effort to waste, isn't it? Accredition is a different matter of course, since just because you feel you have what it takes to be a good neuroscientist, doesn't mean others will agree with you. But as far as getting the o

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So don't go. A year of junior college did wonders for my career, and I didn't deal with self-absorbed pricks who couldn't be bothered to profess (something I encountered often in the course of getting my worthless physics degree).

  • pffft MIT (Score:2, Funny)

    by sgt scrub (869860)

    The cool kids go to Yale. Then regret associations with fellow classmates.

  • by Lucas123 (935744) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:07PM (#42467893) Homepage
    ITT Tech accepted me no questions asked.
    • ITT Tech accepted me no questions asked.

      Yeah, like me you just paid a fortune for a piece of paper and some ink.

  • "Reach" schools (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:17PM (#42468041)
    Part of the perception of low acceptance for these schools is the concept of a "reach" school that counselors push on students. The idea is you apply to schools from different strata: safety, match, and reach. Your safety school are your fallbacks that you'll likely get into with no problem. The match school are those which you exceed or meet the qualifications. And the reach schools you can guess are the dream schools you apply to. You don't meet the acceptance criteria (grades, SAT, extracurriculars too low) but you apply anyway on the off chance you make it in somehow. The thing is, this batch of reach schools is the same for everyone: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, etc. This is why you see 6000+ applications for MIT, Stanfard, etc.

    Take a look at lesser known CMU (and I should know, I went there. When friends and relatives ask me where I attended, it's always followed by "Oh... and where is that?"). They admitted LESS students than MIT, but ended up with double the acceptance rate because 6x as many students applied to MIT, most of them probably completely unqualified because they chose MIT as a "reach" school.
    • Re:"Reach" schools (Score:5, Informative)

      by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:27PM (#42468181)
      Actually looking more closely at TFA, much of the low acceptance rate for Stanford and MIT can also be attributed to the fact their early admissions are not binding. When I played the application game in highschool, I applied to a single dream school early admission and saved the rest of my apps for when that decision came in. In this case, you can apply to MIT *and* Stanford early admission, and maybe any other schools that do this, effectively giving you two rounds of decisions.

      Either way, the "reach" school concept applies, because you always want to apply to your reach school as early decision. That way you know early if you don't get in and can apply to some other reach schools for regular admissions.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Actually, Stanford's early application is restrictive, meaning that you don't have to go there if accepted, but you can't apply to any other schools until after the decision comes out on December 20th. (I think TFA briefly mentions it, but I also speak from experience)

        • I see, I was a little confused by their wording. Still, this policy makes Stanford a pretty good early decision pick if you have many to choose from.
    • ...It's 8th on the list, but still don't get no respect!

      For what it's worth, GA Tech was my "match" school, and the one I attended. I don't know why I even bothered applying to a "reach..."

      • I don't know what the rest of GA Tech is like, but you've got my respect for your robotics program (my field). I've met some faculty and researchers from GA Tech at conferences and in my travels, and they're top notch.
        • I don't know what the rest of GA Tech is like...

          Compared to other majors, Comp Sci is low in the rankings. GA Tech is #3 in Civil Engineering, #5 in Electrical Engineering, #6 in Mechanical Engineering, etc. (Of course, those are all rankings for grad programs, whereas TFA is about undergrad. But still...)

      • by Algae_94 (2017070)
        Looking at the list, GT actually gets similar numbers of applicants to those other schools. It just happens to have a larger acceptance rate, because it's a rather large school and it's focus is almost exclusively tech degrees.

        As a Tech grad, I'm just happy to see it make a list.
    • by Sez Zero (586611)

      Take a look at lesser known CMU (and I should know, I went there. When friends and relatives ask me where I attended, it's always followed by "Oh... and where is that?"). They admitted LESS students than MIT...

      Jeeze, it can't be that good of a school if they admitted FEWER students than MIT.

      • Thanks Capt. Grammar! Want to correct all the other spelling and grammar mistakes I made in my post as well? There are plenty you missed.
        • Thanks Capt. Grammar! Want to correct all the other spelling and grammar mistakes I made in my post as well? There are plenty you missed.

          Learn how to write, I expected more from a varsity letterman.

          • I would be remiss not to point out that a semicolon or period is more appropriate in place of the comma you used. ;)
            • I would be remiss not to point out that a semicolon or period is more appropriate in place of the comma you used. ;)

              Remission accomplished: the semi-colon would be more common in any period.

              • by styrotech (136124)

                Remission accomplished: the semi-colon would be more common in any period.

                That sounds like a euphemism for switching to anal sex during menstruation...

    • Re:"Reach" schools (Score:5, Insightful)

      by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:51PM (#42468533)

      Which is why it is shameful for anyone to measure the strength of a school based on the percentage of students admitted. I would think this is obvious. You want to judge an undergraduate institution? See what students are doing when they graduate, not when they're accepted. Or whether they make it graduation for that matter.

      • Well, the degree to which a school is a "reach" school, to use GPP's terminology, is probably a pretty good measurement of that school's reputation. And to be sure, people who graduate from elite schools go on to do great things, out of proportion to their numbers--a degree from Stanford is no guarantee of greatness, just like a degree from Enormous State University is no guarantee of mediocrity, but there's a real correlation. So in crude terms, judging a school by its acceptance rate makes a certain amo

    • Take a look at lesser known CMU (and I should know, I went there. When friends and relatives ask me where I attended, it's always followed by "Oh... and where is that?"). They admitted LESS students than MIT, but ended up with double the acceptance rate

      Fewer, they admitted fewer students. Nice work, poster boy.

      • They taught me how to build robots, not grammar.
        • They taught me how to build robots, not grammar.

          My robot's instruction file says that it "eats, shoots and leaves." OH NOES! I've been shot!

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          They taught me how to build robots, not grammar.

          If you can't communicate in your native language, you shouldn't be allowed to build anything that involves other people, especially robots. Sloppy English means you're a sloppy "engineer".

          • Seriously? You're going to turn a common grammatical error, on the internet no less, into a reflection of my ability as an engineer?

            First, what makes you think my native language is English? Second, even if it were, I still managed to communicate my thoughts perfectly with the use of the word "less," which means same thing as the word "fewer" in this context: a smaller amount. I've never actually considered this difference much, but through looking into it I found that "less" was historically used in pla
  • by Bogtha (906264) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:24PM (#42468129)

    Previously on Slashdot: Could You Pass Harvard's Entrance Exam From 1869? [slashdot.org]

  • When you talked about how difficult it is to get into best engineering colleges and the incredibly low acceptance rates, I thought you were talking about the Joint Entrance Examination of the Indian Institutes of Technology [wikipedia.org]

    In 2012, half a million students took the test to vie for a paltry 10,000 seats. Acceptance rate of 1.9%. The acceptance rate has crept UP because they have increased the number of seats by an order of magnitude since my days. In my year the closing rank (last student admitted to a re

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Acceptance below 10% is all the same in my opinion. I took the JEE too, I never prepared, never wanted to get into one (I already did very well in my state entrance exams, and had the top state ranks). The only reason I took I guess is because it was a cool thing to do. My guess would be that 90% of the applicants to JEE that apply, dont even think that they have the slightest chance of making. If only they would increase the application fees as much as MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) or Stanfor

      • MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

        Cute. So that I would not confuse it with Madras Institute of Technology, the alma mater of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam ;-)

        I think it is not the application fees that is responsible for the low applicant/seat ratio for the top American engg schools. In USA to the students with good academic records get evenly distributed in many areas, journalism, art, literature, law, economics, business degrees etc. In India Engineering and Medecine still garner the lions share of the top students. It is changing now I hear. Degr

  • by Anonymous Coward

    For the Ivy League schools, being Asian American is makes it even harder because they implement soft quotas on them (around 20%) in the name of diversity.

    If you are a member of an underperforming race, then you stand a better chance, grades and test scores being equal.

    Fact.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A white friend of mine married a rich black woman from Kenya.

      They had a kid together and bought an abandoned farm.

      He put a sickly cow they keep as a pet on the farm.

      Now they get literally ~250k from the US fed gov simply because they own a "failing minority farm".

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Of course, getting those equal grades and test scores when you had subpar educational opportunities is the hard part. (And don't try to pretend those inner-city schools are actually equal).

      If I were recruiting for a running team, I might pick the guy who came in second, if I found out he was forced to start late due to no fault of his own.

  • by peter303 (12292) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:31PM (#42468233)
    About 25% acceptance rate when I got into MIT decades ago. But then applying to more than 3-4 colleges was unusual. Computers/Internet make it somewhat easier to churn applications now. So with twice as many people applying to college at three times more college since then increases applications around six-fold.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I dont know how it is at other colleges, but MIT's desire to have nearly half women makes it a little harder for guys. They accept about a quarter of the women and less than ten percent of the guys.

    I dont know when this changed. It was predominantly male before 1990. I think they always wanted more women apply, but they did not apply in large numbers before then.
  • When I hire new graduates, it usually matters little what school you went to, as long as it's a real, accredited program. I look for project involvement like the solar car, co-ops and internships, little side jobs of a technical nature, and so on. Unless you have that, your resume looks just like everyone else's: Name of school, list of classes, GPA. Who cares? Your resume might as well be one line. I know what classes are required for an engineering degree, don't repeat the school catalog to me.
  • Important Question: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:43PM (#42468403) Homepage Journal
    How many of the world's billionaires graduated from one of the aforementioned universities?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Plenty. And if you include attending without graduating, it's even more. Attending may actually be more important than actually graduating, as networking (the social skill, not the technology) is critical to business success.

      http://www.forbes.com/2008/05/19/billionaires-harvard-education-biz-billies-cx_af_0519billieu.html [forbes.com]

      • I wonder what a breakdown would look like of who graduated from the school of Law and Business at those respective colleges. Probably a significant portion.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      How is that an important question?

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      How many of the world's billionaires graduated from one of the aforementioned universities?

      How many of the world's billionaires have actually contributed anything useful to society?

      • How many of the world's billionaires graduated from one of the aforementioned universities?

        How many of the world's billionaires have actually contributed anything useful to society?

        Hmm, which is more important to me, having so much money I can finally live my life the way I've always wanted, or spending my life as a pauper trying to change the world...

        Seriously, though, I get where you're coming from, but it's naive to think that all or any of the people paying these outrageous tuition's are doing it for the sole purpose of making the world a better place. They want that skrilla, just like the rest of us.

  • The value of a big-name school degree is immense and going up. Students are correspondingly applying to them in droves.
  • Ummm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hondo77 (324058) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:48PM (#42468481) Homepage

    ...it will be another excruciatingly difficult year for high school seniors to get accepted into top-notch undergraduate computer science and engineering programs.

    Isn't it supposed to be excruciatingly difficult to get accepted into top-notch programs?

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:50PM (#42468509)
    And yet information is easier to get than ever.

    Someone who really puts their mind to their studies will excel more by studying by themselves than someone who only does the bare minimum at MIT.

    I've never really understood the allure of going to an ivy league school as opposed to a more obscure state university or smaller private school. This isn't 1960 anymore, the information presented in an MIT, Yale or Harvard lecture is available online to anyone with an internet connection. The technology is the same at a small state school when compared to MIT for all practical intents and purposes. Sure, if your focus is on supercomputers MIT might have hardware that is unavailable at a smaller school, but for most people, the hardware is identical.

    About the only advantage I can see going to a larger school would be networking and getting a higher paying or more enjoyable job, something that is defeated by the much, much, much, higher prices of going to a "prestigious" school, where one year of tuition costs as much as 4 years at a different school.
    • I see your point of view and your statements are valid. I didnt go to a Ivy League school (I went to UW in Canada), but I've found the quality of the professors teaching there to be unparalled. I've had professors who graduated from Ivy league schools and the quality of their lectures, course work, and overall *quality* of education was unparalled. In Ivy League schools, every course would be at a high quality which I feel is worth the cost. Most of the professors teaching at MIT, Harvard, Stanford et
      • Actually, if you go down the list of professors at *any* college and look at where they graduated, they're mostly from ivy league schools or otherwise top schools in their discipline. The reason for this is simple: competition for faculty positions is fierce, so they end up taking the best of the best candidates.... i.e. the ivy leaguers. If you have a slot open in your Electrical Engineering department are you going to fill it with a MIT doctor or some low tier state school doctor?
      • The problem with lecture style learning is you can get it all online. A simple query on YouTube brings up thousands of results for a lecture in computer science.

        And sure, it might be worth a bit more money, but not a whole lot more. For an instate resident at most smaller state schools tuition at 15 credit hours ranges from $3-5 thousand dollars a semester. At MIT tuition/fees cost ~$21 thousand dollars a semester. That is a HUGE jump. That means that tuition at MIT for 4 years costs ~$168,000, or the p
      • by deodiaus2 (980169)
        MIT is a school where professors make a lot more money doing industry sponcered research. As an undergraduate, you will likily be ignored because the graduate students will get most of the time and attention by the professors. The graduate students are unpaid slaves conducting research on behalf of the professors who hope to graduate and get out of their predicament ASAP. Most professors at MIT are there because of their great research record and previous accomplishment and not because they can explain t
    • by tehcyder (746570)

      About the only advantage I can see going to a larger school would be networking

      *kerching*

      got it in one.

      It's the US equivalent of the Oxbridge set up here in the UK. I know you think you're classless and that you don't have the old boy/upper class twit nepotism we do. Well, you're wrong.

    • for the company of your peers and the connections...and the reputation

  • by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:58PM (#42468607)

    How do Harvard and Columbia make the list when UIUC, Berkeley, Michigan, Cornell don't?

    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

      I guess its because they're only looking at those with early admissions.

      Yeah, it's always funny when people talk about Harvard as a tech school, when there are half a dozen state schools better in CS, and their engineering school doesn't even rank.

    • by Beorytis (1014777)
      Hard to decide whether to mod up insightful or reply... I notice that among your list, all but Cornell are public; among the list in the article, all but Georgia Tech are private.
    • by neminem (561346)

      That's what I was wondering. Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia are not exactly tech schools. And my alma mater, Harvey Mudd is just as much a tech school as MIT or CalTech, and I'm sure just as hard to get into these days. I was hoping to see it mentioned, too. (Though to be fair, it's quite a bit smaller, so I wasn't terribly surprised to see it wasn't. Still, Harvard. Not a tech school.)

  • Parts of IT need trades / apprenticeships not just schools like the one listed they are good for high level design but not so much for day to day desktop / sysadmin stuff.

    Also CS is not IT it's more for high level design / coding.

    Also way to much is put on the college degrees even harvard says that.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2011/0202/Does-everyone-need-a-college-degree-Maybe-not-says-Harvard-study [csmonitor.com]

  • To stay in. Although, to a person, every single person I've ever met who went to Harvard proudly told me that it was FAR easier to stay in than to get in. So it's simply more of the same and getting worse. And given 30% of the admissions are legacy, that means that for the vast sweep of the 'elite' of this country, their entire future is settled by the time they're 17. Awesome.

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