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University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin)

Founded in 1885, University of Texas at Austin is one of the most prestigious schools in the USA. It is a public research university, and is the flagship institute of the University of Texas System. UTA is a dream university for a number of students thanks to its history, and the excellent future it promises. However, it isn’t an easy task to get in, unless you have an absolutely outstanding profile, complete with impeccable academics, a couple of international publications, and extensive research work.

Georgia Institute of Technology (GaTech)

Georgia Institute of Technology, more commonly known as Georgia Tech, is one of the most reputed public research universities in the world. Founded in 1885, GeorgiaTech initially started with core programs like mechanical, civil and aerospace engineering. But in the early 1900s, it started a host of other programs, and now is highly reputed for ALL of its courses as well. Another thing to be known about Georgia Tech is the fact that it has ‘satellite campuses’ in France, Ireland, China (Shanghai) as well as Singapore. Students are often given options of specialized programs wherein they spend one year at the main GT campus and another year at one of the foreign campuses.

University of Southern California (USC)

The University of Southern California is a private research University which was founded in 1880, making it California’s oldest private university. USC is involved in very high level research activity and thus has quickly risen up the ranking. It may interest you that although USC claims that their students hail from 112 countries, but it feels a lot like India once you’re there.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign is a public research university, started in 1859. Because of its glorious history and excellent opportunity, it is widely regarded as the best public university in the States. That was the good news. The bad news is that it’s awfully hard to get into UIUC, and next to impossible for Indians, unless they have fantastic profiles. No no no, it’s not racism. It’s just that, well, people tend to have better profiles than the average Indian.

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)

Started in the year 1900, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is a private research university in Pittsburgh. It is one of the best colleges for just about any course, which is why it’s a ‘dream college’ for almost every Asian student. It’s pretty expensive, though, so that’s something you have to keep in mind.

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (U Mich)

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, is a public research university which was founded in 1817. UMich is very famous for its research work and has one of the largest research expenditures amongst American Universities. It is one of the high ranking universities in the States, and thus it’s clearly not easy to get in. Many students still apply, though, putting it in the ‘ambitious’ category, and keeping their fingers firmly crossed.

Purdue University West Lafayette (Purdue)

Started in 1869, Purdue University is a public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. It is one of the highest-rated universities in the USA, and rightly so. It is involved in very high levels of research, and has some of the best academic programs to offer. Before you read any further, you ought to know that you need an absolutely mind-boggling profile to get into Purdue. An extremely high GPA, some excellent research work, and a couple of international technical papers can give you a chance of making it to Purdue. Note how we say ‘can’ and not ‘will’ – it really is that hard. To get an idea, even IITians with breathtakingly good profiles find it difficult to get in.

University of California – Berkeley (UC Berkeley)

UC Berkeley is the flagship institute of the University of California. Statistically, Berkeley (as it’s called) is the most consistently well ranked university in the world. It has the highest number of distinguished graduate programs ranked in the top 10 in their fields by the United States National Research Council. As you can probably gauge, it isn’t easy to get into Berkeley, unless you have an untouchable academic track record. And rightly so – some of the achievements at this institute are fantastic. To give you an idea, UC Berkeley and its researchers are associated with 6 chemical elements of the periodic table. Now that’s something, isn’t it?

University of California, Davis (UC Davis)

University of California, Davis is a public research university located in the college town of Davis. Established in 1905, it is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world. For whatever unknown reasons, though, it gets rather step-brotherly treatment in the field of engineering compared to its Berkeley and Los Angeles counterparts. It is, however, an excellent university, and definitely one that should be given consideration to.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Although it’ll no doubt be fascinating and highly inspiring to read about MIT, it could also give you a serious inferiority complex. Because Massachusetts Institute of Technology is perhaps the best overall college in the world, and it makes sure its students are no less. To get into MIT, you need to be excellent in everything, and even that probably won’t be enough. MIT is absolutely top-notch in everything, from infrastructure to faculty to extracurriculars to placements to alumni. An interesting bit of trivia: the aggregated revenues of companies founded by MIT alumni would rank as the eleventh largest economy in the world. Now, that's MIT. We associate only one word with MIT - WOW.

Stanford University (Stanford)

The very famous Stanford University is a private research university with a high output, located in Stanford, California. Simply, if anyone gets into Stanford, she/he takes it blindly, as the acceptance rate is a mere 4.8% and financial aids are among the most generous ones. To get an idea of exactly how competitive Stanford is, you don’t have to look further than the long list of prominent companies founded by Stanford alumni- Google, Hewlett-Packard, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Sun Microsystems. And that’s not even one tenth of the list.

Cornell University (Cornell)

Cornell University is a private research university located in Ithaca, in the state of New York. Founded in 1865, the college is an Ivy League university, and rightly so – Cornell is, without doubt, one of the finest universities in the USA, if not the world. And since it’s one of the finest, it’s also one of the toughest universities to get into. You’ll find thousands of students applying to Cornell hopefully, only to see their applications being rejected. This doesn’t normally dishearten anyone, though – most people expect it, and those who don’t, well, aren’t terribly smart and definitely don’t deserve to get into Cornell anyway.

California Institute Of Technology (CalTech)

The highly renowned California Institute of Technology is a private research university started in the year 1891. Located in Pasadena, Caltech has gained a reputation as one of the best technological institutes in the world. Understandably, it receives a massive number of applications from all over the world, including thousands from India. However, it isn’t easy to get in. In fact, Caltech is arguably one of the toughest universities to get into; call it bias, prejudice, or racism, Caltech just doesn’t seem to admit enough Indians. Though we think this perhaps has something to do with the extremely high levels of expectation here, and not much else.

Texas A&M University, College Station (TAMU)

Texas A&M University, fondly called as TAMU, is a public research university founded in 1876. It is one of the best universities in the States as the research work and the opportunities opening after Graduation is spell bounding. Although applying to TAMU is nothing short of Ambitious, you stand a decent chance if you have an excellent research work and International papers to back your application. TAMU is a dream college for IITians and NITians.

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

University of California – Los Angeles is a public research university founded in 1919. It’s amongst the top universities in the USA, and is a hot favourite among Asians (specially Indians) although it should be noted that it’s not easy to get in at all. While UCLA is naturally renowned because of its excellent academic programs, that’s not the only thing it’s famous for. A hair-raising statistic about UCLA is its Olympic tradition – the university has had at least one gold medalist in each and every Olympics since 1920.

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

The University of California, San Diego is a public research university founded in 1960 in the La Jolla neighbourhood of San Diego. Students with an average profile should know that it’s not easy to get in UCSD. Asians, especially Indians, aim for this university primarily for two reasons: 1. California 2. Public University (read ‘low tuition fee’)

Iowa State University (Iowa State)

Iowa State University is a public research university located in Ames, Iowa. Founded in 1858, the university has consistently been ranked among the Top-50 in the United States for its engineering, science and agricultural programs. It also holds the distinction of being the birthplace of the first ever electronic digital computer. Pretty cool, eh?

Columbia University (Columbia)

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering of the Columbia University is a private research institute started in 1896. The fifth-oldest university in the United States, CU has achieved Ivy League status thanks to its standing amongst the elite. It is one of the more sought-after schools around, but it isn’t impossible to get in, provided your academics are more-than-decent, and you’ve done a fair share of some kind of research work.

University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)

University of Pennsylvania was founded in the year 1740 by Benjamin Franklin (yes, you read that right. 1740! Benjamin Franklin!) and is one of the few prestigious Ivy League schools around. UPenn, as it’s called, has the nation’s first medical school and also the world’s first business school – the very famous Wharton. The MS programs at the university are very popular among Asians, especially Indians. UPenn is ranked amongst the finest ‘Comprehensive Universities’ in the world, because it is one of the few universities which you can almost never go wrong with, regardless of the course you’re doing – it’s good for everything. Note that UPenn is a private university and has nothing to do with Penn State University.

Harvard University (Harvard)

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, established 1636. Its history, influence and wealth have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Princeton University (Princeton)

Princeton University is a Private Ivy League research university founded in the year 1746. It was set up by the British colonial rulers even before America could gain independence. Over the years, Princeton has gone on to produce students who have gone on to become world leaders, great scientists and inventors. It is, arguably, one of the best universities across the planet. All these reasons have led to Princeton having an ultra-low intake level, so we guess most of y’all are reading this review purely for knowledge and entertainment sake. Jokes apart, every top ranker from the top Indian or Asians universities keeps Princeton as a dream option which means the chances of an admit are next to zero, of course.

University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW Mad)

The University of Wisconsin Madison is a public research university, and is the flagship institute of the University of Wisconsin system. Founded in 1848, the school ranks among the top ten for a number of its programs, including many in various forms of engineering. Of course, this also means that it’s quite a big ask for an average human to get in, but if you have a good enough profile, then it’s definitely worth a shot.

North Carolina State University, Raleigh (NCSU)

North Carolina State University (NCSU) is a public research university started in 1887. It has an enrollment of over 30,000 students, making it the largest university in Carolina by a margin. NCSU is especially well known for programs like ECE, CSE and Computer Networking (which is offered in very few other universities), and this fact coupled with its low tuition fees makes it a dream college for many a student.

University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP)

University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) is a public institution that was founded in 1856. Its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 1,250 acres. The University of Maryland has highly ranked graduate programs in education (top 30 universities in USA) and the noted A. James Clark School of Engineering (ranked at #22 on US News Rankings), as well as well-regarded offerings through the Robert H. Smith School of Business. The university regularly earns accolades for its sustainable and clean energy initiatives, such as its plan to be carbon neutral by 2050 and campus-wide efforts to compost dining hall waste.

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