View Full Version : MIT vs. Stanford

Salik Syed
04-04-2006, 07:47 PM
I am thinking about one of these schools for Electrical Engineering and computer Science, most people tell me to go to MIT since it has a better reputation for engineering. But from my research it seems like Stanford is pretty much the same. Since Stanford is sunnier and nicer and close to home I would prefer to go there ... but I haven't visited both campuses ... I might just like MIT better.
To get to the point: Is MIT really alot better than Stanford? Is there a difference between an MIT degree and a Stanford degree?

04-04-2006, 07:53 PM
surf around collegeconfidential... you'll probably find more contacts there.
good luck.

Salik Syed
04-04-2006, 08:08 PM
oh i've been on there quite a bit..
but i wanted more of a robotics people perspective :)

04-04-2006, 08:24 PM
Stanford has an excellent Robotics and computer science program and it is sure to get even better. After their recent victory in the Grand challenge government grants and private research funding is starting to come in. If you have any interest in AI then stanford is yourbest bet by far. Both schools have big reputations and many big name professors.

MIT may be colder than Stanford but it is right across the river from Boston which has become one of the greatest college towns (cities) in the country. In the end you should visit both talk to students and then sit down and decide what is most important to you.

Mikell Taylor
04-04-2006, 08:28 PM
Being a Bostonian myself, I'd say come here (w00t!), but it's hard to say.

The best way to make the decision is to visit a campus and meet the people. I'd say you can't go too wrong with MIT *or* Stanford for robotics. Both have really incredible programs (though from my own knowledge, I think Stanford is significantly more EE/CSy focused... MIT is very strong there, but also has stuff for the MechE folks as well, so there's more opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration). Besides, wherever you don't go for undergrad, you can always go for graduate school. :)

If you can't make it to either campus, do you know anyone from either school? Can you find them online to talk? Can you find blogs from folks at those schools? How happy do they seem? What do they talk about doing in their free time? I think that'll help you.

04-04-2006, 08:30 PM
What do you care what other people think?

Visit the schools, make up your own mind. Don't discount schools because they lack a "reputation". Where you went to school matters much less then what you do there. As long as they're accredited in whatever feild you intend to study, the only differences between schools are ones of a highly subjective nature; something you wouldn't want to take someone else's word for.

ZZII 527
04-04-2006, 08:51 PM
Before I am accused of being biased, I'll agree with Mikell Taylor: both schools are power hitters in EE/CS. Even though I am one of those "MechE folks," I know the general atmosphere of the EE/CS department (Course VI) at MIT and it is definitely intense. (They have a t-shirt that says "Six Hertz" on the front and "Six Bytes" on the back...probably comments people made while somewhere between the 10th and 11th hours of their problem set.) The first few required courses cover general electromagnetic theory, circuitry, and "basic" CS, which isn't that basic at all IMHO. You can then choose between EE/CS with an EE focus, a CS spin, or somewhere in between. I suspect it's similar at Stanford.

Of course, we didn't win Darpa...I know we have a team, but I don't know if they actually entered a vehicle. :o

Also, have you looked into CMU (not the camera)? Any list of top CS schools includes them.

Salik Syed
04-04-2006, 09:14 PM
yeah i'm going to visit both, i was just wondering why everyone seems to regard MIT as so much better ...? is there any truth behind that
i'm very heavily leaning towards Stanford (i've been there) but then everyone likes MIT PLUS i really want to see how boston is (i 've never been) so i'll find out thursday i guess

seems the general consensus is the same here: both are good... check out the campus and pick for yourself
and thats what i'll do... i'm just wondering if there was something i was missing about MIT and why its so great.

btw any of u guys going to CPW (for either school)?

04-04-2006, 09:20 PM
Hey Salik, you have a wide array of classes to visit at CPW to make your deision. I will be going to CPW this weekend also, so send me a PM or something.

04-04-2006, 09:21 PM
Don't let this keep you from applying but I doubt you'd get into either. The top ranked senior at our team's HS (which is a California Distinguished School and a magnet school with emphasis on science and technology) with a GPA of 4.somethinginsanelyhigh and a bunch of extracurriculars did not get in to either.

It is worth a try, but make sure you have some other schools that you are applying to.

04-04-2006, 09:37 PM
As unbiased as I can be, I would still choose MIT over Stanford.

Ive visited both campuses, and I was personally more impressed by MIT more than Stanford.

Both are very well known everywhere, so you would be fine where ever you decide to go.

Eugenia Gabrielov
04-04-2006, 09:44 PM
I don't know if this is an issue to you...but Financial Aid...how big of a thing is that? You might want to ask yourself that as well.

I disagree with Phrontist slightly, in that I would definitly recommend getting a feel for people before you decide anything. But he has a good point, in that there is only so much you can get. I'm sure you'll make the right decision.

Salik Syed
04-04-2006, 09:48 PM
Don't let this keep you from applying but I doubt you'd get into either. The top ranked senior at our team's HS (which is a California Distinguished School and a magnet school with emphasis on science and technology) with a GPA of 4.somethinginsanelyhigh and a bunch of extracurriculars did not get in to either.

It is worth a try, but make sure you have some other schools that you are applying to.

ummm...i already applied to both and got in ... thats why i'm asking the question

i had pretty good stats... but certainly nothing special ... addmissions are more based on interview/essay/recommendations than GPA
(i'm a senior...not a junior)

04-04-2006, 09:49 PM
So there two top schools in both their fields and academically fairly close, you'll be in contact with world class professors at both places. The difference? Stanford will be, in my eyes, in a better location in terms of weather, and a more wide array of people studying much different things from engineering. Given MIT is in boston and there a alot of schools there, its still not the same as having people down the hall studying things much different from you, trust me the conversations are really interesting. Another point I'd like to make is that going to MIT is basically declaring your field of study in engineering and the sciences for certain. There is no turning back. At stanford you can always change to something else if you find you don't like engineering, and trust me as much as anyone likes engineering in high school, when you get to college and go through a year of it you might realize its not for you.

So you have an idea of my perspective I go to the University of Pennsylvania in philly and am a sophomore in EE.

ZZII 527
04-05-2006, 09:56 AM
I will be at CPW (of course) looking for free food. Anyone interested in MechE should check out 2.007, Design and Manufacturing 1, in the Pappalardo lab (3-051). It runs from 1-5 on Thursday and Friday and you can come and go as you please (it's a shop setting).

Also, check out the Edgerton Center Cool Projects open house in 4-402 from 4:00-5:15 on Friday.

Shoot me an email if you have any questions or would like to see some of the projects I've been working on: scolton@mit.edu.


P.S. It's snowing in Boston right now. (Although it was a very warm winter, overall.)

Yan Wang
04-05-2006, 12:19 PM
I'll be at CPW too (and an orientation leader in the Fall). Contact me on aim (monsieurcoffee) if you have questions or call me/email me (yan_wang@mit.edu).

I narrowed my college choices down to MIT and Stanford last April. I visited both and asked many students and friends for their opinions. In the end, I found Stanford had better weather but MIT was 1) In a great location that is the best college town in the world - Palo Alto is not nearly as fun or accessible. 2) Has the most reputable MechE and Economics departments (and EECS). 3) Was in the Northeast where I like it.

My friend Chenli, who is graduating from Stanford with a double major in CS and Economics (both departments are #1 at MIT) next month said this when I asked him if he would've gone to MIT had he got in: "Yes." But that's him, and not you.

I liked MIT because I liked it. And you'll like whatever school you choose for your own reasons, however stupid they may be (mine aren't great, but they're my reasons and no one can say otherwise). It's your choice. If financial aid is the same, then just go with what you want. Other people's opinions don't matter on this subject. Your parents must be very proud already and it's your education!

Adam Y.
04-10-2006, 09:08 PM
Boston is the place you want to go if you like a lot of things to do. We have:
Museum of Fine Arts
Boston Museum of Science
A zoo
An aquarium
An aboretum
Lots of historical landmarks with the most notable being Bunker Hill.
Lots of other museums other than the ones I have listed.
The Boston Public Library
MIT also has CalTech's cannon. Muahahhhahahahah.... Muahahahhaha....

04-10-2006, 09:10 PM
Unfortunately, the cannon is no longer at MIT... :( It was so cool though, but yes, Boston is a great place, but the consensus with many for many of my friends to not choose MIT over Stanford is because of the weather.

Salik Syed
04-10-2006, 11:42 PM
the cannon was semi-cool, the most amusing hack to me was the "MIT invisibility club" booth at the club fair, i was cracking up when i saw the blank papers next to the "please take a broschure" sign ... and of course it was an empty booth

04-11-2006, 11:17 AM
You should look into Harvey Mudd (http://www.hmc.edu/) too. They borrowed the cannon first (http://people.bu.edu/fmri/somers/cannon.html) , back in 1986.


04-11-2006, 11:54 AM
Funny you said that Wetzel. It was rumored that HMC was supposed to "borrow" the cannon (for the 20th anniversary), only to find that MIT had beat them to the punch (I guess they pranked both schools).

04-11-2006, 02:28 PM
Funny you said that Wetzel. It was rumored that HMC was supposed to "borrow" the cannon (for the 20th anniversary), only to find that MIT had beat them to the punch (I guess they pranked both schools).

The really interesting thing is that one of the original Mudders that was involved in 86 is now faculty at MIT. He swears that he wasn't involved. :rolleyes:

As an aside, my uncle was one of the guys involved and is sitting on the cannon in the picture. He has a few other prank stories that are really good, some are better then most of the MIT-Stanford series.

Goes to show you that you don't have to goto a " national name brand" school to do cool stuff and get a great education.


04-11-2006, 03:09 PM
WPI as a school has a large segment that is not so fond of the MIT undergrad program so I'm fairly happy to admit this is a rather biased view.

MIT undergrads have a rather bad reputation of being horribly vicious to their fellow students. One of my friends visited classes as an accepted prefrosh and forgot to bring a pen. Several students (with full boxes of writing tools) refused to lend him one. Apparently this was because they mistook him for a fellow student and acted this way in the hope that there would be a pop quiz which a student without a pen would be unable to take. This would readjust the curve of the class in the student's favor.

Don't get me wrong, there are many very excellent people at MIT (I met several at the Boston regional) but that sort of thing apparently does go on. It may go on at other schools as well I do not know.

MIT's FRC team (97) is great. They were our alliance partners at the Boston regional and are a really wonderful bunch of people. They are friendly, helpful, professional and very kind. They build solid robots. I'd be thrilled to work with those guys any day.

Salik Syed
04-26-2006, 07:38 PM
Well... I decided to go to Stanford
they are both pretty cool it's just stanford edged out due to weather and location

David Brinza
04-27-2006, 12:54 AM
MIT also has CalTech's cannon. Muahahhhahahahah.... Muahahahhaha....Yes, the cannon is back at Caltech. MIT "borrowed" the cannon in retaliation for a prank played on the MIT pre-frosh a year ago by Caltech. The unsuspecting MIT students received a T-shirt with "MIT" on the front, and "...because not everyone can go to Caltech" on the back. The Caltech bookstore is selling these shirts, with the claim that the proceeds are going to the "Retaliate Against MIT Fund":


Note: the Caltech bookstore page will probably be updated soon, so you might have to search for the "T SHIRT MIT PRANK" to find it. $15 well spent (according to this Caltech grad) ;) .

OK, I know, it's supposed to be MIT vs Stanford - I just couldn't resist...