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What are some requirements to go to MIT or Google.

I'm a freshmen in high school intrested in working at google and going to MIT for college, I'm seeking information on how to get the job or getting into a college I dreamed of. #computer-software #google

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Diego’s Answer

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Hi Gavin!

Both MIT and Google (and Twitter, where I work now) look for extremely talented, prepared and motivated applicants. Being a top student will clearly help you get in. Both also appreciate diversity and full-rounded applicants. Something in your resume and career that makes you unique may really help you. For MIT, being an athlete, a musician, an accomplished volunteer, on top of your academic requirements, may give you the upper hand. At Google, showing enthusiasm and having contributed to a large open source project may give some interesting material to the recruiters.

For both, you also need some luck. MIT has a very complex procedure to maintain a diverse population. They may prefer an A+ student from a smaller school to an A student from a top high school (even if the latter candidate may have a stronger preparation). They also balance the incoming class on the basis of their interests, skills and more.

The interview process at Google and Twitter is very fair and "calibrated": we work very hard to make sure we give every applicant a fair chance and consistent "grades" to a predefined set of questions. But an interesting data point is that a large fraction of Googlers is hired only at their second (or third) round of interviews (one or more years later). This means that even great candidates may have a mediocre interview and miss their opportunity.

So, try to work hard at your high school, get solid grades and build yourself a strong foundation. Try to also "explore" by participating to external activities and projects. And, while you should aim high, please know that there are a lot of great colleges and companies out there, even if your luck doesn't align. Not all Googlers are MIT graduate :-)

Good luck for your career!

Hi Gavin - I have a friend who recruits for Google and in addition to your academic talent and other demonstrated skills, they look for something called 'Googliness'. Its about working as a member of a team and being collaborative and creative in problem solving and addressing business challenges. Being high energy and undeterred is also a must and willing to work through trial and error. Good luck Gavin! David Lubinsky

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Ollie’s Answer

It will be the better part of a decade before you're ready to enter the job market. Things will have changed by then, both in your life and in the life of the company you hope to work at. So keep a flexible attitude.

To get into a top-tier college like MIT you need to be able to demonstrate you can do the work and that you'll be a valuable member of the class. The same is basically true of top-tier companies.

So, (1) stay on top of your high school course work and go beyond it. Take all the math that's available to you in high school. Don't waste your time trying to take high school physics unless it's taught concurrently with calculus.

(2) Learn to write clearly. If you can, take some kind of class in public speaking.

(3) Be nice. If you're a viable top-tier college candidate, you are already running intellectual circles around your high school peers and most of your teachers. Run circles boldly, but do it with kindness and humility remembering that every person has something good to offer the world. If you have the slightest talent for it, do some tutoring and homework-help work for your fellow students.

(4) Excel at something distinctive. (It gets you noticed.) Go beyond all A grades: create something, be the captain of a team or a good musician, or get a good internship. Publish something.

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George’s Answer

Hi Gavin,

Everything Diego said sounds like solid advice. I recommend going to the MIT web site and reading the section on Freshman applicants. In addition to excellent grades and test scores, they have a optional interview process and an optional portfolio. They also require recommendations from math and science teachers. It is up to the applicant to arrange for the interview and according to the site, having an interview makes a 10X difference in acceptance rate. Reading up on the application process now for MIT and other schools you may be interested in now, will allow you to plan your high school focus. You will definitely want A's in all your math and science courses and you'll want to make friends with those teachers so that you can ask for recommendation letters. Take AP and honors courses if they are available. If you do well at MIT, you'll be in great shape to land a job at Google, which is also math and science focused and I am sure loves MIT grads with excellent grades.