I can give another comparison for schools rankings and its important to attend better and top ranked schools for your profile.
While in Under Grad, we had a our first semester course on C++ programming language. I believe that was in second year of engineering.
As per university syllabus, book we had to follow was a typical programming book. But, I decided to buy the book written by the founder of C++.
I had heard about C++, but don’t know anything more that. I’m new to object-oriented programming and I was expecting this book will teach basics of object-oriented programming and I can be better than others.
I started reading the book and I reached like 4th page on the first chapter. It had a line like this “As you already know, we do inheritance for so and so reason”.
Duh. I have no idea about inheritance in C++.
I skipped and went to a different chapter. First paragraph had something like this “according to the content you learned in chapter/section 10..”.
Another dead-end for me.
Then after reading few more chapters, its was all dead-end.
Book was written to a level of readers who are well-versed in C++.
I wrote this in response to comment posted by Sreekumar Menon at 5 Advantages of Studying in Top Ranked University
Beautifully explained. I have a couple of questions but before getting to that, a bit of nit picking: Traditionally, “Ivy League” refers to eight universities on the East Coast – Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale; not exactly what you might call “lower ranked” schools. But, notwithstanding that clarification, Dr. Liang’s analysis stands.
My question is a slightly different one. I don’t know if Dr. Liang is familiar with the Indian engineering colleges. But if a student completes her undergraduate degree from a major Indian Engg. college – let’s say the Vellore Institute of technology, not quite the Indian Institutes of Technology (the IITs) but close – with a 3.7 GPA where would she stand among her classmates at a place like MIT or Ann Arbor? Would she be able to hold her own among her peers at top American universities? Are the scores in standardized tests like GRE a good indicator of her intellectual level and preparedness for graduate study compared to her American classmates?
Now, I told my story about learning C++
Now, let me compare my learning experience with C++ and relate them to your question about standard of students at top ranked schools.
Student from VIT (most likely) doing B.E. in Computer science would have learned C++ from the basic book.
Lets assume he got admit in MIT for Graduate program in CS.
Here is the difference – she will have class mates who have learned to program and write clean and better code.
Watch this video to and get amazed to see how a 17-year-old is writing clean and beautiful code.
Now, you get an idea about how students interact with professors and have a plan for future. This kid is already having plans to do PhD in Stanford.
Do you have a plan? Have you explored available career options?
Now, going back to my example, you get an idea about the quality of students that go to top ranked school.
Time for action -
Share your career plan in the comments below and let me know if I was able to explain the difference between the quality of students in top and average ranked schools.