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MamaSprout

Schools with an MIT vibe?

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Try Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the acceptance rate is about 44% according to my search  a few minutes ago.  I am biased because I went there and my son is currently there, but there are many kids who wanted to go to MIT but didn’t get in that attend.  There are all kinds of science and engineering programs and projects.  If you are looking for something other than science or engineering I would suggest looking elsewhere.  There are programs in architecture and business but they are very small.  I hope that helps.

https://rpi.edu/
 

 

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21 minutes ago, JenneinCA said:

Try Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the acceptance rate is about 44% according to my search  a few minutes ago.  I am biased because I went there and my son is currently there, but there are many kids who wanted to go to MIT but didn’t get in that attend.  There are all kinds of science and engineering programs and projects.  If you are looking for something other than science or engineering I would suggest looking elsewhere.  There are programs in architecture and business but they are very small.  I hope that helps.

https://rpi.edu/
 

 

I was going to suggest RPI as well.  My D just finished her 1st semester.  It definitely has a vibe similar to MIT.  

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Honestly, a bunch of engineering schools at flagships have students with average ACT > 30 and probably have like 5K-10K engineering students and are really  very strong programs.   There are a bunch like that so it depends where you want to be.  

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Weirdly my great-grandfather went to RPI. We'll look into it. I've heard they tend to give lots of merit/ financial aid to Freshman and not so much to upperclassmen.

She's not super excited about New York, but I liked it when I lived up that way (I really don't see her liking Boston, either). So probably something in the middle of the country?

I've seen the lists for good engineering schools... but they don't convey the "vibe" of the school. Purdue, for instance, is a great engineering school with a dismal campus culture and rotten student support. Kind of trying to avoid that. She likes U of M's campus, but that's another single digit admit- and I think it would be a sticker-price school for us. Dd's list of potential schools is super short, so I'm looking for some good options to add to it.

Edited by MamaSprout

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If money is no object, Georgia Tech is also urban. Acceptance rate is low but not MIT low. However, scholarships for out of state students are hard to come by.

Harvey Mudd has that nerdy vibe, but it's not urban. It's also a low acceptance rate, but, again, not MIT low.

Edited by GoodGrief1
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Yeah, I think this depends where you want to be. But within individual engineering disciplines, different state engineering flagships have that innovative, nerdy vibe for sure.

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RPI has regular webinars for prospective female students to talk to current ones. A lot of their recruiting to DD seems to be “yes, girls go here, too” 

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What my ds says makes MIT special to him is that it has a cooperative atmosphere.  Most Psets are done with friends and in his math classes he just has to say who helped him with each problem. There also is no class rank which reduces competition. He has found that the mixed-year dorms are key because freshman are integrated into the existing culture of the hall, and interact and get advice from older students. Also, anyone can get involved in research if they want, that experience is not competitive. Just ask, and professors will find you a project. So when looking for a university like MIT, it is not just the techie focus but also the culture that you should consider. 

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If she likes the University of Michigan, many other midwestern flagships would have a similar vibe.  And honestly, especially for engineering I think the education quality is very similar. I know like the U of MN college of science and engineering ACT scores are something like 31-34.  So I think you're going to get a very academic peer group at almost any of these schools.  Both my DH and I graduated from there and hired grads from there, so I just happen to be more familiar with that program.  UW Madison, Iowa State, Ohio State, University of Indiana, etc.  

My kid is at UW Madison and also applied to Michigan and we visited both many times.  Very similar style college towns, school spirit, etc.  Michigan was going to be WAY more expensive.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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30 minutes ago, GoodGrief1 said:

If money is no object, Georgia Tech is also urban. Acceptance rate is low but not MIT low. However, scholarships for out of state students are hard to come by.

Harvey Mudd has that nerdy vibe, but it's not urban. It's also a low acceptance rate, but, again, not MIT low.

We have some savings for her but not unlimited. We have a family farm that we don't reside at (and don't receive any income from), so most calculators put our expected contribution at 1/3 + of our income. While we've planned for that, it would have to be a super special opportunity for that much money. I feel like we're probably looking at schools with a good vibe, middle of the US and the potential for some merit awards.

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DS also applied to U of M and CM. Both had good vibes. CM had money to draw lower-income top kids away from the elites. But little money for high-ish middle income people. 

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1 hour ago, lewelma said:

What my ds says makes MIT special to him is that it has a cooperative atmosphere.  Most Psets are done with friends and in his math classes he just has to say who helped him with each problem. There also is no class rank which reduces competition. He has found that the mixed-year dorms are key because freshman are integrated into the existing culture of the hall, and interact and get advice from older students. Also, anyone can get involved in research if they want, that experience is not competitive. Just ask, and professors will find you a project. So when looking for a university like MIT, it is not just the techie focus but also the culture that you should consider. 

So... this is my kid who after some days watching robotics grad students that she found on YouTube (at age 8 ) said, "I feel like I belong at MIT". (I'm not sure she fully understood how college worked at that time, it was just a place where she felt she would belong). She's our youngest, and none of our boys ever really even looked at schools out-of-state, so we're realistic about such a long shot school. That's why I'm looking for schools with a similar feel.

Rose-Hulman in Indiana looks good on paper and seems to have similar attitude about working together, but the city around it is kind odd and the campus seems isolated (which might be okay?). Harvey Mudd is pretty probably too far West, even if it were affordable. I've heard good things about UW Madison- my dad did some grad classes there years ago. Indiana University doesn't have engineering (Purdue does that). Ohio State is probably too big.

She's a pretty good student, academically advanced, super creative, my "expert generalist", with years in a handful of extra- curriculars and a slightly unusual-for-a-girl passion activity but no particular hook. We don't have any of the usual offerings for this kind of kid- no robotics competitions and math contests are thin around here. She loves doing the math, but not the competing part, anyways. She wants to go somewhere she can be really successful, and if it's in the cards for grad school, maybe apply to MIT then.

Edited by MamaSprout
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Can you be more specific on what "good vibe" means? And "dismal campus culture"?

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13 minutes ago, lewelma said:

DS also applied to U of M and CM. Both had good vibes. CM had money to draw lower-income top kids away from the elites. But little money for high-ish middle income people. 

My kid applied to CM too.  That also would have been very expensive for us.  We're paying about 1/3 what Michigan or CM would have cost us.  

I was going to mention Iowa state is starting to become known as a budget hidden gem especially in engineering.  I think that can be quite affordable OOS.  

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3 minutes ago, Kathy in Richmond said:

If she's looking in the Midwest, how about Rose-Hulman?

They have merit scholarships (we used to have a boardie here whose dd attended on one) and are trying to attract more women.

I think I was typing when you posted. It is on her list- one of only 2 schools so far besides MIT.

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1 minute ago, RootAnn said:

Can you be more specific on what "good vibe" means? And "dismal campus culture"?

There's nothing to do at Purdue unless you like to drink. Harry's Chocolate shop is last word on going out. IU has all of the arts programs in Indiana, and I think Purdue's campus is poorer for it. Just the way the campus is laid out doesn't lend itself to student life. For example, if you go to U of M on (non-football) Saturday, and you see students out in groups, going places and doing stuff. If you go to Purdue on a random Saturday, you see nobody unless you are down where the Greek houses are. It's weirdly almost like a commuter campus. I think Purdue is actually a good school for graduate studies, but there just doesn't seem to be the innovation or camaraderie you would expect for a campus of that size.

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Not any less difficult to get in than MIT, but Princeton engineering has that cooperative culture described above, and has an undergraduate focus making involvement in research easy. Another nice thing there is that students don't select their majors until sophomore year so it is simple enough to change course. The school is exceptionally generous with need-based aid and people who don't necessarily qualify for much other places can get significant aid there. My daughter (who is definitely the nerdy sort) is a senior electrical engineering major there and has had an exceptional experience. Might be worth looking at if she is early in putting together a list.

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3 hours ago, GoodGrief1 said:

Not any less difficult to get in than MIT, but Princeton engineering has that cooperative culture described above, and has an undergraduate focus making involvement in research easy. Another nice thing there is that students don't select their majors until sophomore year so it is simple enough to change course. The school is exceptionally generous with need-based aid and people who don't necessarily qualify for much other places can get significant aid there. My daughter (who is definitely the nerdy sort) is a senior electrical engineering major there and has had an exceptional experience. Might be worth looking at if she is early in putting together a list.


funny. I was told Princeton was focused on handful of genius kids. That’s all they cared about. 

Edited by Roadrunner

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52 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:


funny. I was told Princeton was focused on handful of genius kids. That’s all they cared about. 

I have no idea what that means, lol. My daughter's no genius, though I won't attempt to classify her classmates 🙂 She is always working with others on various projects. Just last night she was working on a group collaboration (their semester is not over yet so there has been work over the break.) She's gotten a lot of help in identifying opportunities for research or other experiences. The parents on the parent page on Facebook seem to report similar experiences for their students.

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45 minutes ago, GoodGrief1 said:

I have no idea what that means, lol. My daughter's no genius, though I won't attempt to classify her classmates 🙂 She is always working with others on various projects. Just last night she was working on a group collaboration (their semester is not over yet so there has been work over the break.) She's gotten a lot of help in identifying opportunities for research or other experiences. The parents on the parent page on Facebook seem to report similar experiences for their students.


not sure. I can’t even remember who told me or when/where. I just vaguely remember somebody telling me their math department (attention, mentoring....) was mostly all about geniuses and the rest of math majors were just existing. Whatever that means, not sure. But I could see how brilliant faculty would want to mentor select few brilliant kids in a special way.

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5 hours ago, GoodGrief1 said:

Not any less difficult to get in than MIT, but Princeton engineering has that cooperative culture described above, and has an undergraduate focus making involvement in research easy. Another nice thing there is that students don't select their majors until sophomore year so it is simple enough to change course. The school is exceptionally generous with need-based aid and people who don't necessarily qualify for much other places can get significant aid there. My daughter (who is definitely the nerdy sort) is a senior electrical engineering major there and has had an exceptional experience. Might be worth looking at if she is early in putting together a list.

Kind of an aside since OP is looking for higher acceptance rate schools, but last I checked, Princeton did not count house value when considering financial aid, but MIT does.  We pay way more for MIT than my richer-than-me sister does for Princeton because we live in a high COL area and our 650sq ft apartment is worth double her big house, and seriously affects the cost we pay. So look at how a school calculates aid. 

 

Edited by lewelma
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1 hour ago, Roadrunner said:


funny. I was told Princeton was focused on handful of genius kids. That’s all they cared about. 

I heard  this about the Harvard math department from a NZ kid who attended. 

Edited by lewelma
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6 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

My kid applied to CM too.  That also would have been very expensive for us.  We're paying about 1/3 what Michigan or CM would have cost us.  

DS got a 40K/yr leadership scholarship for CM.  But that was the only money available for middle class families.  As far as I remember, financial aid was for lower income families, but you would need to see how they defined income level. 

We were very impressed with CM and U of M.  I've also heard great things about Ga Tech.  And my nephew is at Va Tech and loves it. 

Edited by lewelma
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46 minutes ago, lewelma said:

Kind of an aside since OP is looking for higher acceptance rate schools, but last I checked, Princeton did not count house value when considering financial aid, but MIT does.  We pay way more for MIT than my richer-than-me sister does for Princeton because we live in a high COL area and our 650sq ft apartment is worth double her big house, and seriously affects the cost we pay. So look at how a school calculates aid. 

 

That's a good point. They don't ask about cars either, which I remember being part of the CSS (not that our cars are fancy.) They also ask about extenuating financial circumstances, which more than likely helped us as we had a few big issues throughout the course of my daughter's college years (major health crisis with her sister that required a lot of OOP costs, an unexpected asbestos discovery, oh, and an earthquake that left us with significant damage.)

49 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:


not sure. I can’t even remember who told me or when/where. I just vaguely remember somebody telling me their math department (attention, mentoring....) was mostly all about geniuses and the rest of math majors were just existing. Whatever that means, not sure. But I could see how brilliant faculty would want to mentor select few brilliant kids in a special way.

Interesting. Yeah, I don't know. Maybe in some departments? I don't think my daughter is any sort of favorite. It sounds like there are plenty of opportunities to go around.

Edited by GoodGrief1
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18 hours ago, JenneinCA said:

Try Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the acceptance rate is about 44% according to my search  a few minutes ago.  I am biased because I went there and my son is currently there, but there are many kids who wanted to go to MIT but didn’t get in that attend.  There are all kinds of science and engineering programs and projects.  If you are looking for something other than science or engineering I would suggest looking elsewhere.  There are programs in architecture and business but they are very small.  I hope that helps.

https://rpi.edu/
 

 

How do you guys feel about the ARCH program? We had RPI on our college list for ds, but found large pockets of discontent online about the ARCH program and the requirement for living on-campus over the summer before junior year (at high dorm prices but without full dorm amenities and reduced meal service over the summer), then having to manage off campus accommodations for the fall semester of Junior year. Maybe I just stumbled onto small (but vocal!) pockets of unhappy parents and students.

Ds ended up getting in early for computer science at UIUC and the University of Michigan, so we're happy with those choices while we wait on our regular decision notifications for a bunch of reach schools, but maybe we cut RPI too quickly in the early part of our search. I'd love to hear more from happy parents because I have a friend with a younger techie kid who has been living vicariously through our college search, and that's one university we discussed.

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Just throwing another school out there that wouldn't be such a reach: College of Wooster. DS's chem prof at the cc spoke very highly about their focus on undergraduate research. If research is something that really appeals to your kid, might be one to consider. They seem to put that as a main focus of their school.

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“The University of Illinois is home to 26 Pulitzer Prize winners, 23 Nobel Laureates, the inventors of YouTube, PayPal and a long list of game-changing innovators.”

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17 hours ago, MamaSprout said:

We have some savings for her but not unlimited. We have a family farm that we don't reside at (and don't receive any income from), so most calculators put our expected contribution at 1/3 + of our income. While we've planned for that, it would have to be a super special opportunity for that much money. I feel like we're probably looking at schools with a good vibe, middle of the US and the potential for some merit awards.

Both RPI and WPI offered my D a lot of merit aid last admission cycle. (Although they don't fit your middle of US criteria) 

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3 hours ago, UmmIbrahim said:

How do you guys feel about the ARCH program? We had RPI on our college list for ds, but found large pockets of discontent online about the ARCH program and the requirement for living on-campus over the summer before junior year (at high dorm prices but without full dorm amenities and reduced meal service over the summer), then having to manage off campus accommodations for the fall semester of Junior year. Maybe I just stumbled onto small (but vocal!) pockets of unhappy parents and students.

Ds ended up getting in early for computer science at UIUC and the University of Michigan, so we're happy with those choices while we wait on our regular decision notifications for a bunch of reach schools, but maybe we cut RPI too quickly in the early part of our search. I'd love to hear more from happy parents because I have a friend with a younger techie kid who has been living vicariously through our college search, and that's one university we discussed.

I don't have any experience with the ARCH program.  Last summer was the first year that it was mandatory for the sophomores.  There certainly are unhappy students and parents posting on Reddit, which gave me pause when my D was going through the process.  However, some of the changes the students are unhappy about, I actually consider to be positive changes.  

Congrats on your son's choices to date!  Go Blue!

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2 hours ago, alewife said:

Both RPI and WPI offered my D a lot of merit aid last admission cycle. (Although they don't fit your middle of US criteria) 

I work full time in student services for a small college, and they have some sort of tuition exchange scholarships available. Both Rose Hulman and WPI (which I had never heard of before this thread) have reciprocal agreements. While it's a partial scholarship for both schools, and still looks to be competitive -something 11- 40% are accepted who apply- it sure makes those schools worth a closer look.

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2 hours ago, alewife said:

I don't have any experience with the ARCH program.  Last summer was the first year that it was mandatory for the sophomores.  There certainly are unhappy students and parents posting on Reddit, which gave me pause when my D was going through the process.  However, some of the changes the students are unhappy about, I actually consider to be positive changes.  

Congrats on your son's choices to date!  Go Blue!

Ah, I think I remember hearing about it being a new program, but I didn't realize quite how new. I definitely got scared away reading about unhappy students wanting to transfer out.

I'm happy to hear that you guys are loving the school, and I'll tell my friend (who has several family legacies from there, which is why we were talking about it a lot) to check it out for her son when the time comes (he's a 9th grader now). 

It felt so amazing to get the confetti boom screens from our acceptances! I didn't quite believe that we could get this done as homeschoolers (despite seeing so many examples of kids doing great on here!) until we got those early acceptances to amazing schools. I'm gonna chill until April when we have to make the tough choices looking at all the factors. That will be hard!

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Iowa State? $22,000 or so for OOS tuition, good engineering school, not ranked anywhere near as high as MIT but a good school.

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