MIT Surveys Students on Academic Pressures

PRESSURE COOKER: Ever wonder how the best and brightest students cope with being..well, the best and the brightest?! Here's an insightful report from The Tech detailing MIT students' attitudes toward the academic pressure of studying at the nation's top engineering school. The student-run news organization surveyed nearly a third of the school's undergraduate and graduate student population on work ethic, perceptions of self, external pressures, social habits, and overall happiness. They were also nice enough to sort results by age, gender, major, year, and dorm.

The Tech hardly claims any academic rigor in its surveying methods, but we see the most dramatic effect in the gender sort. Females responded quite modestly when comparing themselves academically to other MIT students. Twenty-one percent feel "above average at MIT" compared to 44% for males. They also felt more peer pressure to perform well (69% females vs. 54% males). The numbers could be a microcosm of the larger engineering workforce where a gender gap steadily persists. Equally interesting: almost three times as many students skip class at least once a week as pull all-nighters. 


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