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Scholarships From FOSS Organizations?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the if-not-they-should dept.

Education 348

Athaulf writes "I'm a high school kid with big dreams of prestigious technology schools like MIT or Cal-Tech. The problem is, my upper-middle class family had more down to Earth plans for me and my college choices (about $30,000/year more down to Earth, actually), so financial aid and college savings won't come anywhere near MIT's price tag. However, I've been programming in C for a while now, and might release a GPL'd Linux app soon. With this self-taught programming experience, academic merit, and plenty of extra curricular activities, are there any FOSS supporting organizations who might grant me a scholarship for my contributions? Do companies like Google or Red-Hat offer scholarships to big name schools in return for a few years of work after college?"

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348 comments

How 'bout UC Berkeley? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22827528)

You could fiddle with some BSD and enjoy the cheaper things in life.

umm (2, Informative)

coffeeandjava (1113885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827534)

no

trust me don't do it. (0)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827548)

Do a trade instead. you'll make more money and have more free time, AND you'll get paid to learn. I wish i had of done an electrical tade out of high school. i'd be on 2x the money now, not only that it would have tied in well with computers and electronics anyway.

Re:trust me don't do it. (5, Insightful)

1point618 (919730) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827630)

OK, first off, to OP: money isn't everything, and if you really think that your education didn't give you anything but technical skills, then you obviously didn't get out of college what I an most the folks I know are or did. College is a time to learn to think critically and to learn a variety of different subjects. You'll never quite get that chance again.

Secondly, to the question: MIT gives full financial aid, based on what they think your parents can afford to pay. Yeah, you might end up paying a bit more a year than a $10,000 a year state school once you get finaid from them, but then again maybe not, and for the education you'll get at MIT and the people you'll meet there, it will be worth it. I go to a school that costs more than MIT and my parents make less than 100k a year (well less), and I got through the first two years of school without loans. This brings up my second point to you: don't look at loans as a bad thing. Look at them as an investment in yourself. If you come out of MIT with an engineering degree, you can easily be making a high five or low six figures straight out of college. You'll pay off your loans in a year or two at that pace. Well worth it.

Personally, I'd suggest looking at not just MIT, too. I was a CS major for my first two years here at my school (oh fuck it, I go to Yale, just so you know, I don't know why we always beat around the bush here), and there is a great, theoretical program. However, I found that while I enjoy programming, computer science is something completely different from programming, and decided to change my major to Linguistics. It's wonderful the large range of possibilities a school like Yale or Stanford or Brown can give to you. Don't confine yourself to a technical school, especially if you already have a lot of technical skills.

Let's see. What other advice besides don't worry about money and try to broaden your horizons? Get an on-campus job, you'd be surprised how well some of them pay (I get $13.50 an hour to fix computers and sit at shifts doing homework and helping folks who need it if they ask), get loans, go to a school that gives good financial aid, and you'll graduate, get a great job, and not have to worry about the pittance in loans you have. Go abroad, go to lectures, take advantage of any alumni networks you can get on, especially if they're related to a group or club you are in, just take advantage of the resources your university offers you as much as you can. And even if you don't end up going to a top-tier school, all this will still hold true.

Best of luck. If you want to talk to me at all, feel free to PM me.

Re:trust me don't do it. (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827704)

spoken like a true college kid who hasn't been out in the real world yet.

sure, money isn't EVERYTHING, but it's about 90% of it. when your all grown up and have a house and other responsibilites like a family, you'll learn you'd happily shovel shit for a living if it paid the right money.

and call me jaded, but even in my day critical thinking was dead in college.

i'd also like to point out that "you can easily be making a high five or low six figures straight out of college" is bullcrap and won't happen. you'll have to go into a graduate program after getting your engineering degree, where they will teach you how things are really done and pay you shit money for the pleasure.

Re:trust me don't do it. (4, Informative)

1point618 (919730) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827754)

Perhaps I am just a "college kid". However, the majority of my friends are actually out of college, many of them married with children, so I feel that I have at least a little bit of perspective on this. I know plenty of them who got 6 figures or a high 5 figures out of college, even 5 years ago.

Also, as far as anyone has ever told me and I've ever seen, grad school for engineering and ESPECIALLY for CS is completely worthless for getting a job, and is done almost only by those who wish to go into academia. Sure, 2 years of Business school might be required after 5 or so years in the work force in order to get a managerial position that really pays bank, but that's far in the future. Places like MS and Google and Yahoo! are hiring kids out of my school at 75k or more a year for software engineering jobs (there is obviously a variance, and some jobs get a lower salary).

Finally, I'm sorry critical thinking was dead at your college, but that is not the case here, and does not seem to be the case at many of the colleges my friends go to. Quite honestly, that seems to be one of the largest differences between some of the "better" schools and some of the lesser-known schools, which is just a sense I get from talking to my few high school friends who went to Ivy or equivalent schools and comparing our experiences to those who went elsewhere. It's not to say that they're not getting good educations, but that level of critical thinking, especially outside of classes, largely seems to be lacking, making some of them really unhappy.

Re:trust me don't do it. (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827840)

one other point i want to make about places like google and MS, they seem like awesome places to work, giving you free lunches and rides to and from work. that is until you realise it's a trap so you don't notice the 70 hour working week. trades make significantly more money (atleast here in AU they do). i make 6 figures now all up, but friends of mine that did electrical trades are on 2x what i'm on.

Re:trust me don't do it. (4, Insightful)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827848)

Also, as far as anyone has ever told me and I've ever seen, grad school for engineering and ESPECIALLY for CS is completely worthless for getting a job, and is done almost only by those who wish to go into academia.

That's funny. That's really funny. Google (who you mention below) has a minimum of a BS in computer science, but recommends a MS and a Ph.D. is a big plus. I would wager that you really don't know what you're talking about here.

Sure, 2 years of Business school might be required after 5 or so years in the work force in order to get a managerial position that really pays bank, but that's far in the future. Places like MS and Google and Yahoo! are hiring kids out of my school at 75k or more a year for software engineering jobs (there is obviously a variance, and some jobs get a lower salary).

Try "pretty much all jobs have a lower salary." Expecting 75K+ straight out of college is ludicrous unless you have some sort of proven track record that shows you aren't just another college graduate. For someone leaving school with a master's, I'd buy 75K+ (but that'd still be a huge stretch). Same for a Ph.D. Not some kid with a bachelor's.

Re:trust me don't do it. (0, Redundant)

1point618 (919730) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827882)

OK, I don't like going into specifics because these are some of my friends I'm talking about and I don't know exactly what they make or how they got to where they are, but I will say that I'm not talking out of my ass here, and that any more a BS in CS from a school like mine can (not will) get you a high 5-figure salary, on a track to make a lot more very quickly. Even a BA in the humanities can get you a job at some of the companies that will lead into program management in a few years, and PM'ing is a 6-figure job almost no matter which company you are at. I'm not talking out my ass here, I know people who have done or are doing exactly this, and it's likely what I'll do out of college as well.

MS's and Ph. D.'s really only help if you're going into the more theoretical positions at these large companies, of which there are fewer and fewer positions being offered. If you want to start your own business, than an MS/Ph. D. helps none at all, you're much better off with B-school under your belt. Again, I know this because of my friends who have done it.

Re:trust me don't do it. (2, Insightful)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827944)

Program Management is not management, don't make that mistake. Some PMs have 6 figures, some high 5's, some mid-high 5 (that's how I'd classify 75K). At Microsoft, they're paid pretty much lockstep with SDEs, and my friend who got a PM offer from MS got an identical offer amount to the one MS gave me (this was an SDE offer). You can even see the chart of their pay if you search the Internet long & hard enough; it was leaked a couple years back. At Google I expect it's about the same, but I've not seen any leaked reports on their salaries.

That said, MS and Google both have generous bonus plans and signing bonuses and benefits; all things considered your total value might be at low 6 figures from another company but if that's what you mean then you should say that, because it's not how it reads.

You've backpedaled to can (not will). Earlier you said that an MIT degree would "easily" land you these jobs (yes, Yale is not MIT, but come on here, we're not talking about a night & day difference). I would say mid 5 figures is fairly "easy" once you've gotten an engineering degree from a good school, 60 is reasonable, and 75+? That's both effort & luck conspiring together.

Don't get me wrong -- I mostly agree with your points about school, but I really do not want people expecting that they'll easily get 6 figures on a bachelor's degree. I did not need to read that you were still at school to know that you were when you said that :).

degrees and money (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827962)

It ain't the degree, it's what you can do with it.

What you can do and are willing to do.

But the advice to go ahead and try for admission to MIT (or insert college of choice) is good. If you really want to go to such a college. Big name schools also help getting good pay out of college, but if you can't make it worth it to your employer, well, every ride has an end.

And, as far as I'm concerned, critical thinking has killed itself. The one thing they don't teach you at college is to think critically about critical thinking.

Re:trust me don't do it. (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827922)

I agree that it's rare, and that being able to get high 5 / low 6 figures easily is ludicrous, and I'd not call 75K "high 5 / low 6 figures".

But 75K is the right ballpark for new bachelor's degree grads, fresh out of school, at MS or Google. That's base pay, on top of which you have signing bonus cash and/or stock, and generous cash/stock bonus plan.

I know *for sure* because I got offers from both. I like to think I've proven myself, and I contest that it was not easy (have you heard tales of their interview processes? At least MS's is organized, Google's is just as horrible but it's also chaotic). But my pre-graduation accomplishments weren't really so spectacular. Summer jobs (albeit one of those "jobs" was the first Summer of Code and not formally a job at all) and accumulated classwork really, nothing "extracurricular" or beyond the call of duty. I kind of suck at interviews too, I was told by both companies that the one thing that made them hesitant was that I was nervous as hell and they thought maybe I wouldn't be able to take the pressures of work. But I dazzled them with my technical knowledge :).

Really though, even the very best cannot *expect* to get a job from one of the high-paying suspects. So yes, expecting 75K+ straight out of a bachelor's is ludicrous. But at the same time, 75K+ is not at all a "huge stretch" for somebody leaving with a master's or a Ph.D..

Anecdotally, a graduate degree will tend to land you a little more money at either place (mostly as if those extra years in school were years of industry experience), but you go through an identical interview process with people who don't really give a shit what your highest degree was. I think the interviews might be easier to pass just after an undergrad degree, because your mind is in the right frame to solve the sorts of questions they ask in disparate subjects core subjects that were learnt more recently, and see the "trick" to their solution very quickly, instead of being in a research mindset and focusing on particular subfields.

Re:trust me don't do it. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22828090)

Perhaps I am just a "college kid". However, the majority of my friends are actually out of college, many of them married with children, so I feel that I have at least a little bit of perspective on this. I know plenty of them who got 6 figures or a high 5 figures out of college, even 5 years ago.
The fact that you know their salaries should tell you something about the quality of your friends.

Places like MS and Google and Yahoo! are hiring kids out of my school at 75k or more a year for software engineering jobs (there is obviously a variance, and some jobs get a lower salary).
The variance is going to depend on the proven abilities. In hiring, I evaluate on what you've done in your own time, not what you've studied. A 4-year college student with no significant experience is not worth $75k/year -- no matter the university.

Finally, I'm sorry critical thinking was dead at your college, but that is not the case here, and does not seem to be the case at many of the colleges my friends go to. Quite honestly, that seems to be one of the largest differences between some of the "better" schools and some of the lesser-known schools, which is just a sense I get from talking to my few high school friends who went to Ivy or equivalent schools and comparing our experiences to those who went elsewhere.
If you think you need a $40k/year education to engage in critical thinking, you're not engaging in anything of the sort.

Join the Army (3, Funny)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827554)

They'll pay your tuition... then they'll send you someplace where people shoot at you.

Hmmmmm... maybe join the Canadian Army instead.

Re:Join the Army (1)

namityadav (989838) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827660)

This was funny!

But why is it that there were so many posts responding to this kid's question, but none of them went anywhere near the topic: "Scholarships that support FOSS" ? I wish I could post a more valuable comment, kid. I am impressed that you decided to not use your family's financial limitations as an excuse to skip applying to MIT / Caltech. Ambition is good -- as long as you know how to cope with failures.

If I were in your place, I would look at some very highly regarded public schools too. And as someone else said, if you are getting 30K from the family, then you are almost there. Can't you work part time and make up the difference? And why focus on scholarships that support FOSS? Look at all types of scholarships. I think that your family is already contributing a significant amount on your education. You can easily find sources to make up the difference. First focus on getting the best admit possible. Then you'll find out ways to pay for it. All the best.

Re:Join the Army (1)

1point618 (919730) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827662)

Wrong. Anyone joining the military with a college degree (especially from a place like MIT or an ivy) will a) instantly be an officer and b) be a huge commodity and will be put doing some sort of awesome research or tactics, and not be put in line of fire. The military definitely isn't for everyone, but the idea that if you go into it you're automatically going to Iraq to be shot at is just wrong.

Re:Join the Army (4, Insightful)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827742)

Anyone joining the military with a college degree (especially from a place like MIT or an ivy) will a) instantly be an officer and b) be a huge commodity and will be put doing some sort of awesome research or tactics, and not be put in line of fire.
I'm sorry, but: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! For starters, there's *not* that many "awesome research and tactics" billets that need to be filled. Second, unless your kinfolk have influence of some kind, you go where the "needs of the [Army,Navy,Air Force,Marines]" dictate they need warm bodies. If that happens to be a place where you get shot at (and there seem to be quite a lot of those nowadays), then that's where you're going, no matter what your degree or where you got it.

Re:Join the Army (4, Informative)

1point618 (919730) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827858)

You obviously don't know what you're talking about. There are still awesome research opportunities in the military. What about Nuclear research? What about tactical ops? What about intelligence gathering? What about, for something CS related, cryptology? Or programming the tanks, submarines, etc, that will be going out? A lot of this is still done in-house, the people they have doing this are not folks they are going to endanger by putting them in line of fire. This doesn't mean that there is no chance of being shipped out to Iraq, but if you go to the military, especially the US Navy, on an engineering track of some sort, then you can apply to certain jobs when you get into the Navy, and it's not the same blind chance an enlisted man or a new officer who is going to be leading troops will have.

Listen, I don't love the military in any sense, but as a practical choice, it's not as bad as many folks make it out to be. Someone with an engineering degree isn't simply a "warm body" to the military, especially if they're coming straight into the military from college rather than having gone through college after the military in order to become an officer. There are different career paths within the military, especially Navy, that can lead to many different places, and that pay incredibly well.

Re:Join the Army (1)

Viv (54519) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827790)

Heh, whether you have a college degree or not has nothing to do with whether you get put in the line of fire. Every officer in the military has a college degree -- are you saying that not one of them gets put in the line of fire? No, of course not. That's silly.

But no, joining up doesn't automatically mean you're going to Iraq, but there's never any guarantee that you won't. I know a guy who joined the Navy and ended up in the sandbox managing munitions. That's right -- he joined the Navy and ended up in a desert. You never know where you'll end up, except that you'll end up anywhere they want to send you.

(Politically connected individuals excepted, of course.)

Re:Join the Army (1)

d20_techie (1203900) | more than 6 years ago | (#22828038)

College Education does not equal Officer. There is a surprising number of individuals with degrees who went Enlisted after getting the degree. If you join the Army you are almost certainly going to Iraq with-in two years of joining. If you select the Air Force you are still likely to deploy to Irag. I should know. I just got done with my 6 year investment last July. I went once and would have been there three times except my first opportunity was stripped from me by some uppity volunteer who wanted to go. My third opportunity, the Air Force would have to pay three or four times to send me. Once to send me out, again to back fill my slot in the special duty assignment as required and then again to bring me back and then again to send that person away or if they left him there they would pay more in the long run to keep him there. When I actually went it was great. Being Air Force we sat in the middle of a huge base surrounded by all the bullet catchers, err I mean Army. J/K I love the Army. As much crap as people give them for being dumb I still found some much dumber people in the Air Force and in Communications no less!!

Re:Join the Army (4, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827826)

Hmmmmm... maybe join the Canadian Army instead.

It's great that you are so aware of all the help Canada has been giving you in Afghanistan. It may come as a surprise that they have been shooting at our soldiers [www.cbc.ca] too. I'm so glad their sacrifices are appreciated by our southern ally.

Re:Join the Army (1)

Viv (54519) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827892)

Blame Canada! Blame Canada! Damn Canuks and Frogs! We don't need none of them 'round here!@# :D

TAG: youarenotanuniquesnowflake (-1, Troll)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827558)

Stupid kids. At that point of my life I was already down-to-earth enough to understand that everything in life does not come out on a silver platter even if you live in a wellfare state like Finland.
You are not a fucking unique snowflake. Why do you think you need MIT degree? Are you an idiot or something? Education is NOTHING. Start thinking about what you want to do and start doing it. No-one needs a degree from anywhere. Universities in US seem to be overpriced daycare centers for spoiled kids anyway.

Re:TAG: youarenotanuniquesnowflake (-1, Troll)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827572)

Almost forgot...
"upper middle class family"?
GET A FUCKING JOB YOU KNOB! Have you ever done any real work in your life?

Re:TAG: youarenotanuniquesnowflake (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22827684)

I'm a 40 year old ex-labourer whose family couldn't afford to send me to college but who learned computers in my spare time because I find them and the associated logic fascinating. My problem was I had to start earning money as soon as possible , so as to ease the strain on my family, despite living in a civilized country where third level education is free I had to start working as soon as I left what you would term high-school initially as a farm labourer but later in construction, I learned skills which still stand to me this day and I bought my first computer with money I earned myself. Initially I learned Basic, then taught myself C and later started a company with two like minded individuals looking after machines for local companies.

You on the other hand are a spoiled little bollix who has yet to learn that life isn't fair and you just have to make the best of your current situation.

Welcome to reality you pampered tart.

Re:TAG: youarenotanuniquesnowflake (1)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827678)

I'm not going to make a big call about Universities in the US, but the OPs question seems idiotic to me.

Your Tag is spot on - every idiot can publish a GPLd App on Sourceforge and feel like he is the next big programming superstar. That doesn't entitle you to a boatload of money, and heck 30k is already a lot of money. But thats not enough for you?

I grew up in a working class family. We weren't rich, but we weren't poor either - i learned that in order to get what you want, you have to do something for it. After 9 years of obligatory school i decided to start an apprenticeship instead of studying - in order to make my own money. That was 8 years ago, and i'm 24 now.

I now have a decent job (with it's up and downs) and most of the people who decided to study instead aren't done yet. I know several people that studied, but they don't have a better paid or more fulfilling job than i, they lack 8 years of experience that i have, etc.

I'm not saying that Studying is a stupid idea, but if one can't afford it, there are plenty of alternatives that will work just as well. Maybe one could get a job while studying (e.G. in the evenings) and make enough money that way to study at whatever place one wants to?

Other people that really wanted to study but couldn't decided to do an apprenticeship with a "Berufsmatur", which is sort of a combination. After that, work for one or two years and live cheap - that way you can get money on the side. After that, quit your job and study.

I've found that people that choose the last path (I'm not one of them, i just did an apprenticeship) usually have both the practical experience and the theoretical knowledge - while people like me with just an apprenticeship are much more heavily focused on practical experiences and people who just studied are absorbed into their nice little theory world.

Re:TAG: youarenotanuniquesnowflake (1)

Neil Hodges (960909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827770)

This was exactly what I thought when I first read the question. Anyone can GPL code they've written regardless of the usefulness or amount of effort put into it; it's a license, not a qualifier in any sort. I've written dozens of applications and scripts in my free time, as many of us here have, and it doesn't really entitle us to anything.

We don't write code to get things in return (unless you're working for a company), such as scholarships; we write code to get things done and fill a niche (especially if you're working for a company).

Re:TAG: youarenotanuniquesnowflake (4, Insightful)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827904)

Oh my god give me a fucking break. The kid wants to find out of there are options to help him go to the college he wants to go to, and you are jumping down his throat because you don't think he's going to be earning his chops like you did? Sounds like 'sour grapes' to me. M.I.T. is a very good computer science institution, maybe the kid will end up being one of the great researchers of the 21st century and contribute to the field.

Why don't you just answer his question instead of spouting off about how much better your way of doing things is? What, you don't have an answer to his question because instead of going to a good school you fucked around with a "Berufsmatur" instead? Well then shut the fuck up.

Re:TAG: youarenotanuniquesnowflake (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22828030)

I wish I had mod points to mod you up, exactly what I was going to say.

Answering his question (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22828036)

Scholarships are often from people who want a monopoly on your time.

FOSS is not yet that kind of place.

In fact, much of the FOSS world recognizes product more than certificates and diplomas, anyway.

But, go to the big name companies involved and ask. High school counsellors should be able to tell you how to approach companies about scholarships.

Re:TAG: youarenotanuniquesnowflake (1)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827896)

Education is NOTHING. Start thinking about what you want to do and start doing it. No-one needs a degree from anywhere. Universities in US seem to be overpriced daycare centers for spoiled kids anyway.

Education is everything, it's the very fabric of our species. From living in caves to sending a probe outside of our solar system, education is what makes us who we are. I will agree that kids tend to go to university for the wrong reasons, whether it's for money, because they're expected to, or they do it to delay real life. Then again I'm a senior at university and I've come to understand what university really is. It's not a place which teaches you some skill set, it's a place which teaches you how to teach yourself. It focuses your interests and allows you to pursue them yourself. If you go to university and do the homework, finish the projects, pass classes, and that's it then you've missed the point. You'll learn a lot from your classes don't get me wrong, but you'll spend a lot of time learning on your own.

To the GP, if you're passionate about programming then you may enjoy university. I myself am a double major, math and computer science. I will admit my true passion is in math though. I tend to buy many books in mathematics to learn on my own time in much the same way that many of my computer science peers write programs for fun in their own time. You already program in your free time, so perhaps you've already got what it takes. But you don't have to go to MIT or CalTech for this, in fact I'd advise against it for an undergraduate degree. Many of your basic classes can be fulfilled by AP credit or in community college. After you're done with that go to a good state university to complete your degree. If you decide to go on for a masters or PhD then you can start looking at the schools like MIT and CalTech depending on your specific interests. I hope that helps.

Re:TAG: youarenotanuniquesnowflake (2, Insightful)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22828026)

education is everything, but uni doesn't have a patent or any other kind of monopoly on it.

Lots of kinds of education you simply can't get at uni.

But, yeah, if he's motivated to go to school now, best to do it now and get it over with. And, as someone else said, he shouldn't worry about the money when he applies. If he's good enough to get the admission, he should go talk to the profs, counselors, and the financial aid department. Paths may open up, especially if his project is any good. MIT is definitely one place that will recognize open source projects, if they're good.

But if it doesn't work out, he should be willing to be glad he tried and move on. Go to a school he can afford, or go to the school of hard knocks.

Work is its own reward.

Skillset... (0, Flamebait)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827560)

Well, programming skills aside, when your English skills are at a level such that you refer to organizations as "who", the answer is NO. You do not possess the appropriate skills to get into a top-notch University.

Re:Skillset... (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827734)

You've haven't been to MIT have you? ... English skills is definitely NOT a priority.

Education is an investment (4, Insightful)

dokebi (624663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827564)

According to their website, MIT's tuition is 35K/yr + 10k in housing. If your parents will foot 30k, that's only 15k year you need to pay. I'd say that's a good deal for an education that'll keep paying you after you graduate.

If you think that's too much, go to a good community college for the first two years, transfer, and still get that MIT degree. The introductory classes are generally taught better at some of these places.

Or, most states schools have great programs, diverse people, and provide excellent education.

And no, counting cards will not pay your tuition.

Goatse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22827732)

Goatse. [twofo.co.uk]

You nerd faggots love it.

Also, Zeus sucks cock.

Re:Education is an investment (1)

jackchance (947926) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827822)

Depending on where you live, there are many schools that are great and cheap. Texas, California, New York, NJ, MI, ... all have good state systems. It probably isn't worth it to go to MIT or Caltech if there is a good state school that you can go to and you will have to borrow the money (because your parents make too much). If you have any interest in going to grad school, THAT is when you go to MIT or wherever, because in grad school you don't pay, the school pays! And it is more impressive to have a phd from MIT than an undergrad degree from MIT.

Re:Education is an investment (4, Informative)

pclinger (114364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827886)

The problem is, my upper-middle class family had more down to Earth plans for me and my college choices (about $30,000/year more down to Earth, actually)

Pretty he didn't mean his parents would pay $30k, he meant they wanted to pay $30k less than what MIT costs. If they included housing costs, that means $15k/year, if they weren't including that then they would only be offering $5k/year.

Doesn't discount your other points, but I believe clarification was needed.

Re:Education is an investment (1)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827930)

You are right, and many people who have posted on this subject have made the same mistake as the GP did. I wish everyone would read your clarification before posting the same tired statements about how 'if you can already afford 30 grand than you can afford a few K more' ...

Re:Education is an investment (1)

larytet (859336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22828074)

I got my first 6 figure check (annual) without any education at all. I just knew to write code and I probably did this better than many others and I was ready to work 80+ hours/week for the kind of money the company paid me. MIT sounds cool, but there are many other schools around where you can start to learn. And I suggest to look for a job constantly. I worked and studied in the same time ad I do it now for my BA degree.

I found my first job by visiting offices of startups (in the second office I was hired) and demonstrating an application which could plot 3D graphs of functions of two variables and contained a "calculator" which could do derivatives analytically, like you enter d(cos(x)-x)/dx=? and you get sin(x)-1. The most complex part was to remove from the result all (+0), (*1) and find all 2*x^2+3*x^2 and others like this and add them together. I am not sure that my future boss really appreciated the effort, but i got my first programming job. This was 10 years ago and now may be this is harder than then, but not impossible

And Education in Europe IS REALLY CHEAP (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22828076)

According to their website, MIT's tuition is 35K/yr + 10k in housing.


Meanwhile in several countries across Europe (specially such as Germany, and Switzerland) the tuition are dead cheap and the access to universities isn't limited.
In Switzerland, for example, tuition is around 1k/yr (unless you also work somewhat in the university, in which case the tuition is even lower), in most place swiss student only have to apply to start a bachelor, and foreign students can apply as long as they pass exams to prove that they have obtain the necessary equivalent knowledge in their own countries.

Given that the poster still has quite good budget (coming from a middle-upper class family), I would strong recommend to have a look at an european university. (To give gain a Swiss example EPFL [www.epfl.ch] and ETHZ [www.ethz.ch] are renown place which have careers in the field that the poster is looking at).
And once the poster gets a bachelor or a master degree there, it could be easier to move back to the USA for a master, resp. a PhD degree.

go to a good community college for the first two years, transfer, and still get that MIT degree

The difference with the "community college+transfer" that the parent propose is the opportunity to travel a bit and discover some part of the European cultures. (And also, they have good beers in Germany !)

Or, get a job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22827566)

Or you could, you know, get a *job* and pay your own way. Like everyone else.

Re:Or, get a job (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827828)

At least I wouldn't advertise that I was upper middle class. That makes it really hard to get much sympathy from those of us that were born to just plain poor parents and had to drag our asses up to middle class with nobody to help us. If you're only a few thousand short then I agree with the poster - get a job. Leave the scholarship money for people that need it to go to ANY college.

Not that it helps you but I think the government should foot the bill for all education needed to prepare people for today's workforce. An adequate workforce and intelligent voters is why we pay for public education. Times have changed and at least a bachelors degree is required to meet those requirements today so the public school system should change to cover that. Maybe not to send everyone to MIT but I think guaranteeing the chance to get a college education is a good idea. I'd go so far as to offer higher degrees, at the governments cost, to people going into medicine, teaching, science, and engineering as I think those fields are most useful to our society.

Re:Or, get a job (1)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827956)

I also wouldn't advertise that I was born to just plain poor parents and to drag my ass up to middle class with nobody to help me. It makes it really hard to get much sympathy from people who don't like the assumption that being born with less money than someone else gives you moral high ground over them.

Seriously, what's with the people reading this who feel the need to point out how much harder it was for them and that the person asking the question is just being a whiner for wanting to go to M.I.T.? I'm sure he would take a job if that was the only alternative but when you're a high school kid not knowing exactly what to expect from college, isn't it prudent to not want to overcommit yourself by going into it knowing you're going to have to earn 15 grand a year just to keep yourself in school? I mean, of course the kid will do it if he has to, do you know what kind of work ethic it takes just to get into a place like M.I.T.? But is it so wrong to look for alternatives first?

MIT's website... (3, Interesting)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827568)

The problem is, my upper-middle class family had more down to Earth plans for me and my college choices (about $30,000/year more down to Earth, actually), so financial aid and college savings won't come anywhere near MIT's price tag.

MIT's website says financial aid is guaranteed for admitted students.

http://web.mit.edu/sfs/financial_aid/mitgo_undergrad.html [mit.edu]

I suppose I don't have an answer to the original question, but get their financial aid folks on the horn and see what they have in the way of work study, internships, etc. Whatever you got back on your FAFSA probably isn't the last word in the matter.

Re:MIT's website... (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827834)

Indeed, most of the high-caliber schools (Ivy league, MIT, a few others) have what is called "need-blind" admissions. What they do is evaluate each applicant independent of ability to pay. If you're qualified to attend, then you get in, and then it's the responsibility of the financial aid department to make sure you can afford to go there. More than half the students at Harvard, for example, receive some form of financial aid (and I think it's been as high as 80% some years) and a large fraction of those students pay nothing at all.

However, the key is whether you can afford it. They have sophisticated metrics for figuring out what your family can afford to pay without undue hardship. So if your parents simply don't want to pay for your education, but would rather spend the money on a vacation house or a new Mercedes every two years or some other extravagance, you could be out of luck; no free money for you.

But cheap money is available and plentiful -- student loans, work-study, ROTC, etc. Go to your local library or book store and look up books on how to pay for college. It's a whole genre. Seriously, do your own homework and don't expect slashdot to do it for you!

Re:MIT's website... (1)

nebosuke (1012041) | more than 6 years ago | (#22828018)

Indeed, most of the high-caliber schools (Ivy league, MIT, a few others) have what is called "need-blind" admissions. What they do is evaluate each applicant independent of ability to pay. If you're qualified to attend, then you get in, and then it's the responsibility of the financial aid department to make sure you can afford to go there. More than half the students at Harvard, for example, receive some form of financial aid (and I think it's been as high as 80% some years) and a large fraction of those students pay nothing at all.
Very true. Amusingly, I paid less at Harvard than I would have at my local community college.

study abroad (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22827576)

If you go to say, Sweden, there will be no tuition fees. You have two decent Unis there: The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and the Chalmers Institute of Technology in Gothenburg. You may also check out DTU in Denmark and the unis in Aachen and Dresden (Germany).

In a lot of European states you can get away with 0 in tuition fees or a very moderate fee of a 1000 per year. For $30k / year you can live a very comfortable life as a student in Europe.

Also, having studied abroad is something that would look very good on your CV.

Re:study abroad (0, Troll)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827846)

Yeah, thanks. Come over here and leech off of the system we have built on our (very high) taxes.

Re:study abroad (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827996)

Actually, no. Go there and contribute positively to the system they've built on their high taxes, because the locals ain't seem to be doin' much but bitch and whine about people 'leeching' on their education system.

CheerS!

Re:study abroad (1)

azaris (699901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22828148)

Yeah, thanks. Come over here and leech off of the system we have built on our (very high) taxes.

I would rather have foreign students who are intelligent and hard working (and who hopefully choose to live here even after getting their degree) than stupid locals.

You're just paying for the brand name. (5, Insightful)

ZirbMonkey (999495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827586)

MIT is outrageously expensive, but will have no effect in determining to an employer that your a better candidate than someone at any other 4-year accredited university. But you don't want to be just a guy with a degree. You want to be a guy with an MIT degree.

I'm not sure what CS guys get at MIT that they won't be eligible to find at any other college. But if you work your ass of at any other college, with the grades and extras to prove it, I don't see how it matters.

Unless of course you just want to get the "MIT" label for the brand name.

Re:You're just paying for the brand name. (2, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827602)

some how reading about branding and university in the same sentence made me feel cheap and dirty.....

but then i guess that's what higher education has fallen to these days.

Re:You're just paying for the brand name. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22827626)

Sorry, but you simply aren't right about this.

A CS degree from MIT *will* put you at an advantage going for any job. It doesn't necessarily make you better for a job, but it will make people notice your resume.

Re:You're just paying for the brand name. (3, Informative)

1point618 (919730) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827650)

And, not only will it put you at advantage going into any job, it is because the education at MIT is fantastically great. Some of the best professors in the world teach there, much of the most interesting research in the world is done there, and as an undergrad even you have those resources at your fingertips. Not only that, but the other people at MIT are a very interesting bunch, some of the smartest 20 year olds in the nation, all packed together. It's really something special. As I've mentioned elsewhere in this thread, I don't go there, but I've visited and had friends who did, and it's really something else, and going there won't just be a pretty name on your resume. Sure, you can get a fantastic education in hundreds of universities in the US and elsewhere, but it is much easier to get a good education at some of these "name" schools. That doesn't mean the education is easier (it's not; CS is freaking hard at my school), but it does mean that it won't be an uphill battle to get that education.

Re:You're just paying for the brand name. (1)

ZirbMonkey (999495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827926)

How much extra are you gonna get paid with an MIT degree compared to someone from their state college?

I too have been to the MIT campus, crashed at a frat house there, and on St Patties Day no less. It's an impressive campus and amazing city. I'd loved to have gone to MIT for my undergrad degree. But my bachelors from MTU (middle of nowhere if you don't know) is something I'm proud of even if it cost MUCH less than half an MIT degree. And now that mommy and daddy aren't paying for my life any more, I'm quite happy with my miniscule amount of student loans.

And when I continue my career with new prospective employers, I certainly don't worry about competing with a guy who has an MIT degree. They learned from the same textbooks as I did, and I thought my teachers were all as good as anything I'd expect at any other great college. They had to work for their grades just as hard as I did.

I've had conversations about this topic with executive types responsible for hiring. Resumes are just there to get you the interview. Once you arrive and talk to the company, what college you came from doesn't matter so much as you being able to show them you have the skills needed for the job and the personality of someone they want to work with. Skill, experience, personality.

I certainly hope no one believes that having an Ivy degree means the world owes them something when they graduate. I especially hope they don't think that investing in MIT will get you paid any more than graduating from another college. You're paying for an image. A label.

Re:You're just paying for the brand name. (2, Informative)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 6 years ago | (#22828032)

No offense man, but you are kidding yourself. Your degree from MTU (whatever that is) is not as good as a degree from M.I.T. and anyone doing interviews for a desirable software development company knows this and will take this into account when considering your resume. This is not a value judgment about you personally, but it is true, and you really ought not to delude yourself about it. There are certainly jobs where both you and an M.I.T. grad could both apply and be equally well qualified, but chances are that there are also jobs that the M.I.T. graduate will get offered and you won't. The M.I.T. grad's resume will get them in the door for an interview, but yours won't, and just because he has M.I.T. on his resume and you don't. Don't kid yourself, it will happen.

And there is good reason for it, too. M.I.T. provides a better computer science education than just about anywhere else. And it's miles better than that available at schools which are not known for computer science. Employers know this, and it's why they will rate the M.I.T. resume higher than the MTU resume. Employers desperately want to save time in the interview process, it is a tremendous waste of time to interview candidates that are clearly not qualified, and so they are always looking for ways to improve the quality of the candidates that they invite for interviews. And the school you graduated from, is a very very easy way to do this weeding. Now there are superstars that graduate from no-name schools and duds that graduate from M.I.T., and employers know this, which is why they don't look *just* at the school when deciding who to interview. But it is a big factor, whether or not you realize it, and it is very justified.

You are right though that if your resume is good enough to get you to the interview, the school you went to is not particularly relevent. But first, you have to acknowledge that the M.I.T. degree will open doors that your degree will not, and will land more and better interviews. Just accept it, because it's true. And second, you have to realize that the average grad from M.I.T. is just going to be better qualified and thus a better interview than the average grad from MTU, so on average, the M.I.T. guys will get the better jobs.

Once again, nothing about this is personal to you, because maybe you would interview really well and get the job anyway. But you have to accept that where you went to college does correlate with your qualifications, and employers know that.

Re:You're just paying for the brand name. (4, Insightful)

nebosuke (1012041) | more than 6 years ago | (#22828084)

You're paying for an image. A label.

My experience has been that the difference between top private U's and state school isn't necessarily in the facilities or the faculty (at least with respect to well-funded state schools), but the degree to which your fellow classmates catalyze the learning process.

Any school, including small community colleges, will have some exceptionally intelligent and talented people, but taking a class with an excellent prof and 2-3 other people who 'get it' is an entirely different experience than when the entire class instantly absorbs the primary principles and the lecturer is constantly fielding insightful questions that illuminate corner cases, the underlying theory, etc. Then, when you're chatting after class, you find that it just so happens that one of your classmates did a graduate-level thesis on related algorithms in his junior year of high school, and you learn even more over some Chick Fil A.

You will occasionally have that kind of experience anywhere, but at the top schools you can have them pretty much daily.

Re:You're just paying for the brand name. (4, Insightful)

Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827854)

The difference between getting a CS degree at MIT vs a CS degree at an average state college is your classmates. At MIT, you'll be surrounded by the best and brightest - people who were not only accepted, but chose to go to MIT, even though that meant working harder and taking out more loans. Many of your classmates will be the people starting the next Google, Facebook, or FedEx. The people you do a class project with your senior year might be the people you start a company with the following year. You'll be surprised to discover that top science/engineering schools tend to not be that competitive - they're mostly collaborative. Everyone studies in groups, and your peers will inspire you to do better than you thought you could. The basic material is not much different than at other schools, but when everyone in your class is actually excited about it, you'll learn it better.

When you go to an average school, you'll be surrounded by average students. On the plus side, you might stand out as exceptional. On the down side, you will have relatively few other students who are as smart, ambitious, and interested as you are. It does make a difference.

Losing battle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22827600)

Unfortunately, with the current state of educational funding, finding an outside scholarship wouldn't help you at a school like this.

Why's that? Because they offset their grant/scholarship money to what you bring to the table. If you get a 10k/year scholarship, guess what? Your grant money drops by 10k/year.

It's done in the name of fairness, but it's not perfect. Your best bet is to get a merit-based scholarship. And to keep in mind that lots of brilliant people go to schools that aren't MIT, Harvard, or Caltech.

Loans? (1)

byrondv (1228088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827606)

Get some (low interest) loans. If a degree from a prestigious university is worth that much to you and you didn't get the scholarships - then pay for it.

Or - how about you contact the actual FOSS organizations?

Now get off the lawn I would have had if my parents had the cash to pay for my schooling. Young whippersnappers.

Might work better if... (4, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827614)

... you'd already released some code. One of the really cool things about code versioning systems is that you can look back over how your project has developed, and see how old bits of code are. This gives you a useful-but-scary indication of how much your programming is improving, the more you do it ;-)

It's easy to get your Free software out there. It would probably look better if you had something you could show prospective sponsors, and this is where the versioning comes in. If you've got a horking great Subversion repository full of your code, with maybe a few checkins a day, then it shows the process by which you work. It's like showing your working on a maths problem - if you get the answer right but don't show your working, you won't get full marks. If you show your working and get the answer wrong, quite often you'll get fairly good marks anyway if the working is right but the mistake was a little arithmetical slip.

So in short, show them the code. And let us know if it gets you into college.

Loans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22827624)

It is not the end of the world to finance your education through loans. I am currently in my last year at a $40,000/yr private school. My parents are not contributing financially to my education in any way. Anything I cannot pay for, or get scholarships for, I am paid for with loans. Yes, you will have to pay them back. But don't let your current finances limit your option. Go to the best school you can.

Re:Loans! (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827706)

What exactly are you getting for your $40K/per year. A computer capable of running any programming language compiler or simulation costs $1K, 10 textbooks that you can conceivable cover in a year are at most another $1K. A lady proficient at programming but currently staying at home with her 2 kids is babysitting my daughter for $40 day. If I needed to learn programming, I am sure she would be happy to teach me 1-on-1 for 3 hours/weekday for about the same money. The rest is just branding. Sure it's worth something at a job interview, but is it worth $320K that you will end up paying for your loan rather than buying a nice house cash down in many places in US?

Are you serious? (0)

digitalcowboy (142658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827632)

Do you really think that anyone who has to "Ask Slasdot" this question could get into MIT?

Be a problem-solver, dude. That's what they're looking for at MIT and every company where you'll ever seek a job, with or without a degree.

College is over-rated and degrees are mostly worthless these days. You've got the right idea - MIT is an exception. If I could get in there and afford to go, I might actually reconsider skipping college altogether. But I doubt I would qualify at MIT and I can't afford the time because I'm busy running two IT businesses and developing a third.

Incidentally, much of what is running my current businesses I learned, indirectly, from MIT. You do know that MIT education is available online for free, right? Are you looking for the paper or the knowledge?

Show some initiative and be a leader. If you're as confident as you're trying to make out, skip the classroom tripe. It'll mostly just slow you down.

The school doesn't matter (1)

jwkfs (1260442) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827638)

Honestly, where you go to school doesn't matter. Your GPA doesn't matter. They may help you get an interview, but once you have an interview they're almost totally irrelevant; it's up to you to demonstrate that you know your stuff and are qualified for the position.

Things Can Change (1)

gazita123 (589586) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827640)

Even if there are programs such as this, I wouldn't go for them. Things can change a lot between starting school and finishing, and you never really know where you will wind up. If you are having trouble paying for the school that you are able to get into, then you should consider what it is you want to go to those schools for. If you are good enough, apply for a school as Early Decision, and many schools will find a way to make it possible for you to attend. If you aren't good enough to get the scholarships at the top schools on your list, perhaps consider a smaller school that would give you what you need to attend, or perhaps a state school, depending on where you live. Much of college is what you make of it, it isn't just the school. Just like other posters said, you might want to really re-consider why you want to go to those schools.

Don't be such a downer! (3, Insightful)

RPalkovic (1181995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827642)

Wow, I'm somewhat appalled by the acerbic replies to this post. There's a post or two saying that education doesn't get you anything, and while I tend to agree because college didn't work for me, that's no reason to tell someone not to go. I spent 6 years in crappy jobs that I probably wouldn't have had to endure had I gone to Insert College Here instead of the school of hard knocks. Then there's the dedication factor. Many employers want to see a 4 year degree simply because it shows that 4 Year Degree kid had enough drive and dedication to see it through. As for MIT vs. another college... If I were a hiring manager and all other things were equal (skills, interview prowess, etc) I would almost definitely hire the person who had a degree from a well known, highly respected school over Generic University. NOTHING beats experience, but don't knock a kid for trying to "do it right."

Re:Don't be such a downer! (3, Interesting)

digitalcowboy (142658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827762)

I spent 6 years in crappy jobs that I probably wouldn't have had to endure had I gone to Insert College Here instead of the school of hard knocks. Then there's the dedication factor. Many employers want to see a 4 year degree simply because it shows that 4 Year Degree kid had enough drive and dedication to see it through. As for MIT vs. another college... If I were a hiring manager and all other things were equal (skills, interview prowess, etc) I would almost definitely hire the person who had a degree from a well known, highly respected school over Generic University. NOTHING beats experience, but don't knock a kid for trying to "do it right."

I almost agree with some of what you said. MIT is a generic school compared to The School of Hard Knocks, depending on your goals. For me, Hard Knocks University worked out quite well because I never had a desire to be an employee. I most certainly was an employee for a number of years during that education. It taught me how to do things better and be a good employer.

I only speak for me, but the thought if being an employee my whole life is abhorrent and I say that having had some very good jobs in IT with no college education at all. I earned what I got by educating myself and working hard on the job. There are exceptions, but for the most part I think college is a circle jerk.

The point you make about the dedication and perseverance that employers are looking for... I think you're right. But I find it twisted and sick. I can assure you that building a business or three from scratch - for that matter, working your way into a Fortune 100 job with no degree - takes far more dedication and perseverance. It costs far less in terms of wasted time and money.

Ultimately, I'm motivated by a desire to be free. I'm living my dream with no classroom education beyond high school and I'm in my own classroom every day - on my terms and my schedule. Usually on my couch, but when I travel, I'm making money anywhere I have an internet connection.

I believe, in most cases, college is a sucker play. If you want to learn how to be a really good peon, it can certainly work for you. The valid exceptions are technical professions that require it. But the latter does not describe most college students. Most college students are there because they're willing to sell 40 years of their life and take orders for a reliable paycheck.

When I hire, I try really hard to not hold a college degree against anyone. It's a challenge. I spent too many years in corporate IT amongst those who graduated with honors from good schools with degrees in CS and still were coming to me multiple times a day for help because they didn't know how to do their jobs.

I'll hire a high school drop-out (or student) with a hunger to learn and an understanding of how to do it independently over a worthless diploma from a college every time. (And no, it's not because they're cheap. I pay very well and only hire the best.)

MIT (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22827644)

"You get out of an education what you put into it; if there's something you really want to learn, you'll pick it up on your own, no matter if you're at MIT or at a state university."

Back when I was an undergraduate, my thesis adviser mentioned that to me when I said that I wanted to apply to MIT. At first, I thought that he, having finished his PhD at an Ivy League institution, was somewhat out-of-touch; but, it turned out that he was right. You can learn, and do, just as much, if not more, at the right institution versus some highly ranked university, like Stanford or MIT. While the allure of a big-name degree might be appealing, walking out knowing that you accomplished what you wanted to, had plenty of fun, and are debt-free, I think, is the best feeling.

After all, there are always MIT post-doc positions.

Re:MIT (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827936)

In a sense that's what I was thinking when I read the topic (besides the initial "well at least you have any college fund, work for the remainder like the rest of us you lazy bastard" flash).

One of the most interesting trends I've noticed while attending a state school is how many graduate students come from places such as MIT, the Ivys, etc. and how many of our undergraduate students end up doing graduate work at MIT or the Ivys. It seems that after being beaten down by an excessively hard undergrad program (ChE, for instance, is hard enough without professors intentionally trying to fail over half the class) the students have a hard time getting accepted to top research programs.

If you really want the brand name and plan on graduate study, wait until then to go to MIT. They might even pay you if you're good enough when the time comes.

Get admitted, the money will be there (1)

lewp (95638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827656)

Every college has an entire office dedicated to helping you find money to go there, and the more prestigious a college is, the more money they have to throw at their students in financial aid. Get into a really good school and you'll be able to afford it.

And no, aside from the army nobody's going to give you money to go to college on the condition that you work for them when you get out. That's just silly.

The more rational thing to do... (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827668)

Would be to work for a few years BEFORE college, save the money and THEN apply for an ivy league school. I guess these days it's hard to get a job without any degree at all unless you have a friend at a small company. However a programming degree can be easily obtained at a state university for very little money for state residents or even at a community college. Any job you get after that will likely pay way more than $30 per year.

While in college, remember to take a basic history class and understand how a pesky amendment to US constitution [wikipedia.org] prohibits Google from forcing you to work for then in exchange for a scholarship.

Re:The more rational thing to do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22827782)

Many organizations and such have programs where they'll pay your way through college if you work for them for 1x to 1.5x the amount of years they paid for. Mostly those are government organizations though.

They are called student loans... (1)

healyp (1260440) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827676)

and they exist for a reason. I'm at RPI(CS), tuition is ~35 a year and they give me about half in scholarship. I don't know how MIT does it, but it seems like here you either get full, half or nothing. The rest you have to make up in loans. If a top tech school education is what you desire, then you are going to be looking at loans. In reality you'll get more or less the same education anywhere you go, but if you want the name brand sticker then you're going to have to pay for it. Why would you go to MIT anyway? We have the "world's most powerful university-based supercomputing center", join us on the dark side. Seriously though, when I was younger and had no idea what I wanted to do for school I thought MIT at first too. I had never even heard of RPI, but it turned out to be a pretty good move. Do some research. Everyone thinks MIT and CalTech at first, but other schools with the same reputation do exist, they just don't get much attention.

Worry about getting in First (1)

TyrWanJo (1026462) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827680)

The trick to universities is getting into them. Don't worry so much about Tuition and other costs until you know you will actually be applying those concerns. With schools like MIT, it seems, they are more willing to help prospective students financially due to the effort it takes to get accepted by them in the first place. Keep looking around for scholarships, and if nothing else, you can take out federal loans that you wont have to pay until after you graduated.

Loans? Grants? Scholarships? (2, Informative)

beefstu01 (520880) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827694)

It actually kind of annoys me that people expect their parents to pay for college. Yeah, it'd be nice, but you expect all of the freedom of being an adult without any of the responsibility...

I went to Cornell and managed to pay the entire bill myself. I've got a quite a bit of student debt, but I've also got a really good job that's allowing for me to pay off my bills very quickly. Go to a good school, you get good opportunities afterwards (contrary to popular belief, name recognition goes a long way). Fill out your FAFSA, use the power of Google to find scholarships and fight for 'em, and whatever the government and really nice people don't give you, pull out in private loans (Sallie Mae, etc...). Heck, interest rates are basically at rock bottom right now, so you won't get hosed. Having a loans also helps motivate you, trust me. You're less likely to goof off (still have fun, but not blow off work), plus you get fiscally responsible pretty quickly (a lot faster than most of your classmates).

Anyway, stepping off of my soapbox of "pay for yourself," as it looks like thats you're trying to do, I don't think many (if any) company will pay for your education right now this moment. After you're in college for a year or two, however, some of these opportunities crop up, but I've seen them more in the financial sector than in tech. Get an internship or two and it'll help you immensely financially and get a job after college. If you're as good as you say you are, you should be able to find one freshman year- go to the career fair with a good resume AFTER meeting with your career services center to get it brushed up, and practice some interview skills (some say it doesn't matter, and it may not, but it will most definitely help you stand out from the crowd). There is ONE program that I know of that is what you're looking for, but it ain't FOSS-- look up the "Stokes Educational Scholarship Program" for the NSA. They will pay tuition and books, and give you summer internships in return for 1.5x your stay in college (4 years undergrad, 6 years NSA).

yes, please step off your soapbox (1)

shyberfoptik (1177855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827988)

It actually kind of annoys me that people expect their parents to pay for college.
Who else is going to pay for it? A decent parent with the financial means should pay their child's tuition. That's kind of the whole point of being a parent. Parents accumulate wealth to provide their children with more opportunity than they had. There's nothing wrong with that, and to do otherwise is ridiculous.

Mighta, woulda, coulda (3, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827714)

However, I've been programming in C for a while now, and might release a GPL'd Linux app soon.

Might? By the time I finished high school, I had released at least 3 GPL'd programs that were entirely my own work, a 3-clause BSDL'd one, a couple of scripts dedicated to the public domain, and a several patches to existing free software. Nobody sent me to an ivy-league school.

You're going to have to do better than "I might release a GPL'd app someday" if you want to convince the people here that you're the unique snowflake you claim to be. And remember: even if you're brilliant, why should anyone put you through school? What's the payoff for them?

Re:Mighta, woulda, coulda (3, Insightful)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 6 years ago | (#22828046)

Oh my god, this guy's question was like an invitation for every holier-than-thou type to come out of the woodwork and spout off about how much more worthy than he is they are and how stupid he is for even asking the question.

Well, I guess if you really need the ego stroking - you sound like a real genius man, like you must have been the best qualified high school grad of all time and I am sure that all the universities were begging you to sign up, and if they weren't, well it's the dumbest thing they ever did to pass up on talent like you.

Now that that's over with - do you actually have a useful answer to his question?

You're in luck (1)

Rhett (141440) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827722)

MIT to be tuition-free for families earning less than $75,000 a year: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/tuition-0307.html [mit.edu]

Re:You're in luck (1)

Neil Hodges (960909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827794)

I don't think less than $75,000 qualifies as the American "upper class."

Paying for it (1)

dagamer34 (1012833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827736)

The only professions I'd say you really need to worry about undergraduate loans is medicine and law (especially medicine). Why? Because it's going to take forever to get a decent paycheck to payoff all of those loans. Other than that, stick it out, you'll make it through.

A Few Clarifications (2, Informative)

Athaulf (997864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827758)

1. My parents are NOT contributing $30K/year to my education, they've saved $10K/year for a public school. The $30,000 comes from the fact that MIT is about $40K-$45K ($40K-$10K=$30K) 2. My brother could never find financial aid, and scholarships only go so far. 3. My cousin was accepted to MIT but couldn't find enough money. 4. I'm not saying that I haven't considered public schools; I simply much prefer a school that I'm not in the top 1% of math SAT scores. If that sounds arrogant I apologize, but I'm just tired of going to schools like my high school that don't have a *single* person (student or otherwise) who knows C. 5. I want to go to MIT because I think that I can learn something about programming from other students and teachers (the computer programming class is taught with JavaScript and teachers certified by a one day course) for the first time in my life. 6. Yes, Mr. Troll, I'd say McDonalds could be called work. 7. Yes, I was about to call the MIT admissions office, but my mother brought up the argument "don't even try, we won't have the money for that", hence this ask slashdot article. 8. I want to find scholarships from FOSS organizations because I want to support the community and working for a FOSS company would be a dream come true. I love Linux and free software, and would be proud to put some time into the cause. 9. I hate to respond to my own article, but I felt like I needed to clear up a few things.

Re:A Few Clarifications (2, Insightful)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827798)

First off, learn to make paragraphs. That post was horrible to read.

and would be proud to put some time into the cause.

It's a god damn operating system, not a cult or a cure for cancer. You're not helping "the cause". You're working for a company which has the sole purpose of making as much of money for their shareholders as possible. There is nothing wrong with that, but you desperately need a reality check.

Re:A Few Clarifications (1)

Athaulf (997864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827824)

Same as above (Probably imperfect grammar as well), but with missing BR's (Didn't realize you needed to add them in when using any HTML. Yeah, yeah, preview I know. I used it this time)


1. My parents are NOT contributing $30K/year to my education, they've saved $10K/year for a public school. The $30,000 comes from the fact that MIT is about $40K-$45K ($40K-$10K=$30K)
2. My brother could never find financial aid, and scholarships only go so far.
3. My cousin was accepted to MIT but couldn't find enough money.
4. I'm not saying that I haven't considered public schools; I simply much prefer a school that I'm not in the top 1% of math SAT scores. If that sounds arrogant I apologize, but I'm just tired of going to schools like my high school that don't have a *single* person (student or otherwise) who knows C.
5. I want to go to MIT because I think that I can learn something about programming from other students and teachers (the computer programming class is taught with JavaScript and teachers certified by a one day course) for the first time in my life.
6. Yes, Mr. Troll, I'd say McDonalds could be called work.
7. Yes, I was about to call the MIT admissions office, but my mother brought up the argument "don't even try, we won't have the money for that", hence this ask slashdot article.
8. I want to find scholarships from FOSS organizations because I want to support the community and working for a FOSS company would be a dream come true. I love Linux and free software, and would be proud to put some time into the cause.
9. I hate to respond to my own article, but I felt like I needed to clear up a few things.

Re:A Few Clarifications (4, Insightful)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827900)

2. My brother could never find financial aid, and scholarships only go so far.

I know two or three people offhand who funded their entire education through scholarships they applied to outside of their educational institute's financial aid office. It's very doable.

4. I'm not saying that I haven't considered public schools; I simply much prefer a school that I'm not in the top 1% of math SAT scores. If that sounds arrogant I apologize, but I'm just tired of going to schools like my high school that don't have a *single* person (student or otherwise) who knows C.

Oh, please. Don't be a fucking douchebag if you can at all help it. "Wah, wah, I am so smart!" You will find people at any institution who will kick your ass up and down the road and know much, much, much more than you do about what you proclaim to be good at; you will find people who are far hotter shit than you are or ever will be. It doesn't matter where you go, this will be the case.

"Oh, no, nobody in my high school knows C! I am adrift in a sea of stupidity!" Grow up.

5. I want to go to MIT because I think that I can learn something about programming from other students and teachers (the computer programming class is taught with JavaScript and teachers certified by a one day course) for the first time in my life.

You can do that at any university. Hell, MIT's learning materials are given away for free. Do you want to learn, or do you want the little piece of paper?

7. Yes, I was about to call the MIT admissions office, but my mother brought up the argument "don't even try, we won't have the money for that", hence this ask slashdot article.

Your mother is a moron, and you shouldn't be listening to her when it comes to this.

8. I want to find scholarships from FOSS organizations because I want to support the community and working for a FOSS company would be a dream come true. I love Linux and free software, and would be proud to put some time into the cause.

"Work" is the exchange of your time for their money, and if they want you to fuck up a Holy Sacred GPL Project because it suits your purposes, you do it or you get fired. You need a cluestick to the head or need to learn about the real world. It's not a cause, it's an operating system and a style of releasing software.

9. I hate to respond to my own article, but I felt like I needed to clear up a few things.

Frankly, you just make yourself look like more of an ass. You're in plentiful, if not good, company, though--you sound like half the kids in my school's CS department.

Re:A Few Clarifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22827968)

Seriously, you sound like the smuggest, most arrogant bastard I have ever seen. FFS, you are not unique, you are not special. I so wish I could show your parents these disheartening posts of yours and perhaps, perhaps they would kick your ass for behaving like a spoiled ten-year old.

Re:A Few Clarifications (2, Insightful)

Viv (54519) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827864)

  1. So, take their $10K and raise the rest. Good for you for looking for FOSS scholarships. Don't stop with just that. There are plenty other sources of funding, you just have to take the time to look under every rock you can find.
  2. Your brother didn't look hard enough, or wasn't very well qualified. Or wasn't willing to take enough of the burden on himself in the form of loans and sweat.
  3. Same.
  4. College ain't high school kid, sure there's plenty of stupid folks at both, but pick a hard major and take the hard classes at any reasonable, accredited college -- even the lower tier public ones -- and pretty soon you'll find that there aren't so many of them. It ain't very often that I'm the stupid person in the room, but it happened when I decided to take the highest level EE courses my university offered. I knew I was in deep shit when half the class (all graduate students) dropped out in the first 3 weeks, and everyone left (except me) were 2nd/3rd year PhD students with 3 hours of lecture and 6 hours of dissertation.
  5. College professors ain't public school teachers kiddo. As a rule, they all have PhD's, and are an expert in at least their own field (their field being the subject of their dissertation). There are exceptions of course, mostly at the worst universities, but by and large, even at any given flagship state school, you can learn something from all of them. The only reason you wouldn't is because you didn't want to.
  6. Meh.
  7. Call them anyway. Apply, and figure out the funding later. If you want to go badly enough, your financial situation will not stop you.

Re:A Few Clarifications (1)

Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827870)

It sounds like you're basically doing the right thing. Ignore your mother and apply to MIT and 5 other good schools, and 2 safe schools to make your mother happy.

Don't bother calling MIT before you're accepted because they won't give you the time of day. I don't blame them, since they only accept a tiny fraction of the people who apply.

Despite what so many other people here are saying, I think you should definitely apply to a top school, but please don't limit yourself to MIT! Grab a list of the top 10 schools for CS and figure out which ones are a good match for you. Putting all of your eggs in the MIT basket is too dangerous. Plus, depending on your exact interests, MIT might not even be the best - in some ways CMU is better, and if you want to start a business someday, arguably Stanford is better.

Re:A Few Clarifications (1)

portnoy (16520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827972)

MIT lesson #1: Do not ever -- EVER -- let someone tell you that something is impossible. Always investigate for yourself first.

Note that MIT has just revised its financial aid policies, to allow for more financial aid and lower tuition costs for students whose families earn less money. So, ignore your mom and call them anyway. Even if you can't afford it, you should know what your target is if you're going to be approaching organizations and asking for scholarships.

And really, just apply anyway -- to a lot of different schools. Explain the situation as well as you can in a letter about your income sources. If and when you get in, see how much the different schools' aid packages are -- sometimes the schools with large endowments can surprise you.

All of you missed the point (1)

ICLKennyG (899257) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827780)

College is expensive, yes. But only if you don't know how it works. First of all there is the FAFSA plan which basically is a federal program where colleges automatically adjust your tuition and aid based on your ability to pay. Then you have loans, grants, aid and etc that can greatly reduce the amount of money required to attend. The only reason not to go to college is that you are stupid. The government/some charity will pay for you to go if you are at least half-way competent. You may be in debt, but hey if you have a degree from MIT you should be able to make that up. If you are actually as smart as your post makes you seem, you should be looking at a large portion of your tuition that is paid for (I wasn't 'smart' but I was able to get my entire state school undergrad tuition paid for - that left me able to go to law school on the 'rents dime. Very nice.) Basically what happens with major schools is as long as you are willing to fill out the proper paperwork you pay less or you go completely on the gov't's dime. I am about to graduate with a degree in Software development (not cs) from a top 10 school, and a law degree from a t1 law school and my total amount out of pocket spent (by the 'rents) will be under 100k for 7+ years. Play the system, work the angles you can do it. Do NOT let the sticker shock detour you form going to the best school possible. Don't go to community college. If you must, take Pell grants and other federal loans to go to a 4-year true college. In the end you will have a better education (at least to employers) that is more marketable and serves you better in the long run. In this day in age there is no reason not to go to a full 4-year college in any discipline (save culinary). Your student-loans can be paid off in full much quicker than you think as long as you don't take 50k a year to live like a fat cat.

Take out some loans (2, Informative)

Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827786)

All of the top U.S. schools offer fantastic financial assistance. First of all, they all practice need-blind admissions - meaning that they don't care how much money you have when deciding if you should be admitted. Once you're admitted, they'll send you a financial package, based on the information they got from your FAFSA and other forms. Unless your parents make a million dollars a year, you're almost certainly going to get a small grant (i.e. free money) and some loans.

If the total remaining amount you and your parents are supposed to pay is still to high, no problem - that's just their initial offer. They will negotiate - the job of the financial aid office is to make it so that you can attend. Let them know how much your parents are willing to spend, and see what they can do for you. If you're lucky, they will find some grants and scholarships to cover more of the difference, and they will definitely offer more loans. Not crappy loans like a car loan or credit card - college loans often have no interest while you're in school, and very low interest rates after that.

And trust me, if you're going into software engineering, some loans are no big deal. You'll get a nice salary and pay them off in a few years, and it will all be worth it.

One thing, though - the financial offer you'll get will vary dramatically from school to school. Virtually all good schools have great financial aid programs that can negotiate with you - but they all value different things and have different rules. Your best bet is to apply and get accepted to a lot of great schools - MIT, Caltech, CMU, Harvard, Yale, UTexas, UIUC, Stanford, Berkeley, Harvey Mudd - and then pick one of the ones with the best financial offer for you.

All that glisters is not gold (1)

Peter (Professor) Fo (956906) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827800)

"Prestigious" is what you want if you're mediocre and need some bunk-up to fool someone into hiring you for 'something'. I'm sure there must be excellent universities that specialise in your sort of interests. They may not be the ones people have heard of (but you could change that).

FOSSing is excellent, and so is finding out something about the host of non-coding skills and challenges that go with it. Often this goes well with in-depth and practical knowledge of some entirely different field; so whatever you do do not focus on coding - I should say that at your age you should have at least two other strings to your bow and give them equal opportunity to flourish.

Sadly there is a lack of opportunity for autodidacts to get the nourishment they need and network that brings mutual success. Some of us are working on solutions to bring learning (and ownership of learning) to the ordinary man on the back of the emerging FOSS revolution.

Company scholarships (1)

dblyth (896945) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827814)

Do companies like Google or Red-Hat offer scholarships to big name schools in return for a few years of work after college?

You might see this from places that don't get tons of resumes on a daily basis. Google does have some scholarships (I know of at least the Anita Borg scholarship, but that only applies to women I believe), but I doubt highly that any of them come with job offers attached. For something like that you might need to look at government agencies, which I know sometimes have scholarships that pay for school but require work after graduation.

Wow! (3, Interesting)

rindeee (530084) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827852)

This is a highly polarized topic. I must say, I'm a little surprised that anyone here is downplaying the importance of MIT vs. a less prestigious school (or even no college at all). I'll give you my two cents. I'm 15+ years in the industry (INFOSEC mostly), deep into 6 figures now, was making $80k at 26 years of age. I dropped out of school after a year and a half. I'm slowly finishing my degree, but on my terms and someone else's dime. If someone wants to see the 'piece of paper', they'll foot the bill. Period. My year and a half in school (a prestigious private institution) was a farce. I didn't leave due to too much partying or lack of funds. On the contrary, I had a decent job outside of school that allowed me to pay the exorbitant tuition. I left because the cost/benefit analysis said to. Sorry, but in the end it really is just a piece of paper. The meat of what you'll do for a living is going to be learned in the classroom of experience. Would I be regarded more highly if I had a degree from MIT? Of course! I'm not going to kid you; MIT would have never accepted me. On the flip side, would I be making any more than I am now if I had graduated from MIT, Yale, etc? No way. I work with folks who did in fact graduate from such institutions and where there is a difference in salary, they have some catching up to do. You will be happy if you make a living doing what you love. If you're intelligent and good (very good) at what you love and that 'thing' you do is valuable in the marketplace...then you'll make a very good living; MIT diploma or no. Save your money. If you're really as good as you think you are (so good that a company like Google should want to invest six figures into you for the promise that your awesomeness will come work for them (uhhhhh...yeah)) then you'll have no problems. Get the quickest degree you can from an accredited institution then get to the real learning. The exception to all this would be if your goal is to go into research...in which case you can ignore all of my advice. Just my two cents...many others will disagree whole heartedly.

Check with the school's financial aid department (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827876)

Believe it or not, most of the really good scholarships come from the school itself. This is in general -- I don't know for sure about MIT or CalTech in particular -- but as a rule if the school decides they want you to attend their school, they will find a way to make it possible for you.

Of course, getting a high-profile school like MIT to decide they want you bad enough to offer you scholarships could take some doing.

Financial aid won't cover it? Think again. (1)

Laughing Dog (913885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22827942)

Most of the prestigious schools are need-blind, and admit regardless of what you can afford. This may seem like a ticket to a mortgage in loans, but it's actually not. Where I went to school, most of the financial aid came in the form of grants from the college endowment, which students were eligible for simply by virtue of being admitted. One of my classmates' mothers was a teacher, and her dad was unemployed. Her parents paid for her room and board, and that was it. The school covered the other $30,000 each year. For me, it was no small amount, either. My parents were convinced that their income level wouldn't qualify me for financial aid until finally, in my senior year, my dad sucked it up and filled out the forms. The result was $11,000 for the year in grants (and some wounded yuppie pride). It's part of the joy of having an endowment well in excess of $1 billion- if you can get in, a lot of the good schools really will help foot the bill. Yes, you might have loans (I came out with all of $4,000 of student loans), but not in an amount comparable to a house. To be fair, $30,000 is a lot, and should cover most of your costs. Unless your last name is Gates and you live in Washington, you're probably eligible for more grant-based financial aid than your middle-class parents might like to think. The only other advice I would have is to also apply to schools that don't have the same general name recognition, but do have excellent departments in the field you'd like to study. If you don't get into the big name schools, you'll probably be offered a full ride or close to it at one of the others. If the department is genuinely that good, people hiring in that field will know of it, and that counts for heck of a lot when you first experience the joys of rent and utilities.

Couple things (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22828056)

MIT and Caltech are two insanely hard places to get into. Not because their admissions standards are stringent (they are, but I am assuming you're capable), but they are also arbitrary. I know extremely brilliant kids who've been rejected and positively mediocre ones being accepted. No admissions process is perfect and assuming you've got what it takes, you still have about a 1 in 3 chance of being rejected both places.

More importantly, some other programs that I'd recommend for a CS major would be
- CMU (great reputation - probably the best rep for CS)
- Harvard, Berkeley, Princeton (good math program = good CS program)
- Georgia Tech (allows specialization in your undergrad)
- Stanford, Berkeley (California = cool internships)

  My undergrad degree is from Georgia Tech and no college in the top 10 beats it for sheer value for money (this was important to me since I didn't qualify for financial aid at most places). It's easy to get into, but hard to get out of unscathed because most of the weeding out takes place in college not during the admissions process. If you do well in your undergrad here, you have an excellent shot at getting into the schools you mentioned for grad school since kids you play the violin with their left nut can't get into good grad programs while they definitely trump you during the undergrad admissions process.

If you are good enough, you are bound to go to one of the top 10 universities in your field. And you will not regret doing so even if it doesn't carry the brand value of MIT. Once you are in these universities, it becomes easy to get into your top choice school for grad school which is what really counts if you want a good education.

If, on the other hand, all you want is to make bucketloads of money and brag to your family and friends, you won't make it far at any of these top institutions.

HTH
Cheers!
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