Desert Fox wrote:fortissimo wrote:rayiner wrote:msoftceo wrote:H is pretty crappy in computer science, but it still wouldn't surprise since Zuckerberg came from H.
Harvard's EECS department is a rancid TTT. I haven't read a soaped out of there that wasn't based on some blatantly obvious idea. They're ranked too high even at 44 or whatever they are.
One of my closest friends from high school studied Computer Science and Physics at Harvard. He was nationally ranked in the American math competition, got a 1600 on the SAT, took linear algebra as a high school senior (he tested a 5 on Calc BC as a high school sophomore, so he started taking university math courses), but still struggled maintaining a decent GPA against his classmates at Harvard because he was lazy...the department may not be that high ranked but the students in the science fields at Harvard are still very competitive (and probably far more competitive than those in the liberal arts).
(He got into every single university he applied to (HYPS), including Cal-tech with a full-ride, except for MIT. Even though he got a hefty scholarship from Harvard, he was rejected at MIT. This is partly why I think MIT>>HYPS in terms of caliber of students. It's just a lot harder to get in.)
Picking Harvard over a full ride at CalTech for physics is ridiculous.
Also I don't care how brilliant you are, if you slack off in hard science or engineering you will get owned by the curve. Even at a TTT engineering school.
He got a scholarship to Harvard, but the main reason he turned Cal-tech down was because he visited and thought the students were too weird. (Cal-tech is a VERY small school too.) He also liked Cambridge and Harvard students just seemed a lot more normal.
He is very, very brilliant, but he's not the typical CS/Physics geek at all. He has a decent amount of friends and is very laid-back and decently social. He loved doing normal things. (We used to stay up on school nights watching movies until 5 am even though we had 7 am class, late-night bowling, etc.) He never really had to try that hard because he's very gifted in math and science and I think that Cal-tech has a lot of "work until you drop" really geeky types that come off as what he called "weird."
I also agree with you that taking tons of math in high school and doing well on easy AP tests doesn't necessarily mean you are a genius. However scoring in the top 5 nationally on the AMC probably means you are a genius...That test is very conceptual and not at all like math you learn in school. You can practice with certain problems, but I think the AMC mainly tests you on innate ability. (I also took the AMC in high school which is why I know about its problems.) My friend was ranked #1 in the state twice in high school on the AMC. (Some other kid a year below us who studied Physics at Stanford got #1 twice in the state.)