The Value of an MIT Education

By Daniel Hastings, Dean for Undergraduate Education

I recently visited with the 29 students we currently have at Cambridge University this year as part of the Cambridge MIT Exchange. They are excited to be there and learning in a different environment. We spoke about the differences between MIT and Cambridge University. While many of them appreciate Cambridge, they are also seeing more clearly the structure of an MIT education and the skills we are giving them. We spoke of the value of really hard work that is expected at MIT, the highly collaborative student culture, the easy access to teaching assistants and faculty as well as the highly analytical approach expected at MIT. They can also see more clearly how much they are learning from the humanities, arts and social science requirements that we expect all our students to take.

By contrast, they are finding that the Cambridge culture gives them more time to reflect (which is an excellent idea when used to promote deep learning) but is also more isolated in it’s study habits with more expectations on being self driven. They are also enjoying being mixed up with humanists and social scientists in the dining halls (of course the HASS requirement gives them the ability to converse intelligently with these Cambridge students). Overall, they feel supported and still connected to MIT.

This excellent program is enabled by great work from GECDC and SFS and I want to thank all the staff who make it possible. This is part of MIT’s strategic objectives and consistent with our global theme.