View Full Version : Ivy league grad schools from local U

09-09-2014, 02:21 PM
I am wondering if whether graduating from a local U would have much impact from my chances of qualifying for a Ivy league grad school?

I understand that while grad schools do not solely look at which university did you come from as an undergrad, and look at your publication history and research proposals, as well as your professor's recommendation.

However, I do fear that grad schools might be giving too much priority to other established foreign universities like UCL or Oxbridge over NUS/NTU/SMU.

Can anyone who is doing a post-grad degree at an Ivy league share some of your views about the chances a local U grad have in getting accepted to a Ivy league grad school?

09-14-2014, 06:36 PM
NUS - its global reputation is pretty good, and it has a strong research record so I wouldn't worry that much as long as you have a first/second-upper class (which can be difficult!).

but yes, I agree that graduates from NTU and SMU seem to have a harder time being accepted into overseas post-grad programs.

that said, if you are set on doing postgrad, I strongly encourage that you choose other established foreign universities like UCL or Oxbridge. you'll have a much easier time.

07-06-2015, 01:10 PM
I'll restrict my comments to admission to top tier PhD programs.

Note that Ivy League universities, whilst being considered top tier for undergraduate studies, are often 2nd tier for PhD programs in many areas. Large research universities like UCSD, UIUC etc often exceed Ivies in PhD program rankings considerably.

The main consideration for admission into a top tier PhD program is your commitment to research. This is demonstrated by previous work with professors during your undergraduate years and during breaks. An ideal candidate is one who worked in research in an academic setting during summer breaks.

Your undergraduate institution is not typically a factor although most applicants to a top PhD program come from good schools and your application may attract more scrutiny if its from an unknown university. Having said that, about half of the graduate students in the USA are foreign although most went to a US university so most do know the quality of foreign universities. Despite what is said here, NUS would not be in the same league as Cambridge or IIT (India)

Grades as an undergraduate are almost immaterial although most of those admitted to a top tier PhD program would have a GPA of 3.6-4.0 so if you have a 3.5 and below, it would be unusual and would attract some questions. Likewise, GRE scores are looked at but hardly a criteria unless you have an unusually low score. Most admitted would have GRE scores in the 90th percentile.

CCAs etc are not regarded at all.

A good research background and an atypical top tier applicant background may be enough to get you an interview and this is the most important part. A top tier PhD program typically comes with free tuition and a Stipend of USD18K (state school) to >USD30K (rich Ivy) and you will be expected to work 20 hrs a week either in teaching or research. The state schools expect to you to help with their huge classes, but at smaller Ivies you may get away without teaching. Because its like a job, the interview at a top tier PhD program is crucial and probably the most important step. It's typically a full day affair and you will meet up with potential advisors. They will have a meeting later to decide who to take in.

Admission rates to top tier PhD programs e.g., computer science at MIT or CMU is somewhere in the 2-5% range so its extremely competitive and the interview is all important. At the 2nd tier or 3rd tier PhD programs they may not even require an interview.