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Admission to Stanford,Harvard, MIT or other Top of the line Universities

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According to my experience :
1.All require GRE subject Test. Some claim that it is not needed but in order that your application stands out I recommend you take GRE subject Test. This will facilitate a decision in your favor.
2.They need some research work. Preferably published individually or jointly with a professor. You may even have some peer reviews. People plan this well in advance and somehow wriggle through and get their name inserted along with a professor.
3.Your field of interest should match with a professor willing to accept you as a graduate scholar.
4.Excellent Recommendations written by Professors / Superiors knowing you well and willing to write specifically about your reseach interest and scholarship. These should not be vague or general.
5.Outstanding Essays. Each School should be provided an essay specifically written for it and should not be a ‘copy-paste’ exercise.
6.Excellent GPA
7.Good GRE and TOEFL scores
8. Apply early.
9. Above all plan early about the steps required to be taken. Succesful people start taking the initial steps from Junior year. Do not wait till the Senior year.
All or some of these come to play to decide on your application.

If you are admitted by these institutes than financing your education will not be a problem.
An important observation
Admission in PhD is difficult as compared to admits to MS degree.
Universities generally require good academics and/or good research experience. If you have these you can get into a very high rank university. It is believed that good research experience can lead you to a top 1-20 ranked university.But this does not imply that academics and subject test is not given due weightage.
As you go to low rank universities (21-40) they concentrate more on academics and subject tests.Universities Ranked 41 and below concentrate on academics and experience but not subject test.
But once you get admits 80-90% of the times you get assistantships.
Academics play an important role if you don’t have experience.

A more Important Note

I am well aware that every applicant will not meet each of the criteria listed above.However if you cover about 80-90% of these you have a fair chance of admission and you must try. You may be lucky.GOOD LUCK
NBS

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Admission Process

Five Important points to be noted while selecting universities

1. For graduate programs you have to be accepted by the graduate school as well by the program where you apply.
2. Many universities have a minimum criteria of GPA that means percentage in our case. I have observed that they want at least 60% marks from Indian candidates. Please do check on this aspect before you apply.
3. Several Universities have a minimum TOEFL requirement. Check about this before capplying.
4. Please keep in mind that a Graduate school may have a different requirement than a program where you are applying.
If the requirement varies than generally the programs requirement shall be higher.
5. Observe the application Deadlines. If you cannot then you are likely to be rejected.

You will appreciate this if you observe the process of selection. Every graduate application is scrutinized by the Graduate School and the department you are applying to.

I present below the movement of your application:
1.You send the application to a Graduate School. In some cases you simultaneously send a copy of it to the department you are applying. In other cases the graduate school forwards the applications meeting the basic criteria observed by them.
Every Graduate school has set up a basic criteria like minimum GPA, TOEFL and in some cases GRE scores. Candidates meeting these criteria are only considered further by the department. Upto now the selection is very objective as only those applications are passed to the department which statistically meet the norms set by the Graduate School.
2. When your application reaches the department of your choice it is here that the subjective angle comes into play provided the department has not set any norms for itself. Let me point out that the department if it has set any minimum criteria it is usually higher than what is required by the Graduate School.
3.Once the application comes through this then the departments admission committee makes the final decision and it is here that your higher GRE , RECOS and SOP come into play.