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Looking for academic advice

by Jacob Chestnut
Tags: academic, advice
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Jacob Chestnut
Dec17-03, 02:29 PM
P: 21
Hello everyone,

I'm one semester away from transferring out of my current two-year school, and I'm looking for input on what Universities might be worthwhile to consider. I'll tell you a little about myself, and then I'd like to hear your opinions.

Upon completion of this program, I will have taken the first introductory series of physics courses (Classical mechanics, thermo, waves, optics, E & M, and circuits) out of the two volume Serway and Beichner "Physics For Scientists and Engineers" set. I've had very little trouble obtaining the top score in these classes and I've developed a close relationship with my instructor. Because of this, I'm sure I can get a really complimentary letter of recommendation.

In Mathematics, I'll have competed Calculus one and two, out of the Hughes-Hallet reform calculus book. This book was really, really, weak on the mathematical rigor and I've had to read other texts to make up the deficiency: I've thoroughly read Morrey's original "University Calculus" text, Anton's Calculus text, and I've browsed Stewart's book as well. I've completed a combination multivariable and vector calculus course, again taught out the reform book. During this class, I consulted Serge Lang's "Calculus of Many Variables," Div Grad and Curl, and Schaum's outline on vector analysis. After these calculus classes, I've taken a linear algebra course out of Anton's "Elementary Linear Algebra" text. In my final semester, I'll be taking a course in ODE's.

As with the physics courses, I've been able to achieve top score and I've developed strong relationships with the faculty ensuring very good recommendations.

I have a lot of extracurricular activities coupled with a 4.0 GPA. I'm the founding president of my college's math club, I've tutored all the above courses, and I've been a TA in a summer class.

My ultimate goal is be to a researcher in mathematics and theoretical physics, so I'm looking for schools, which are strong in both fields. I'll be attending graduate school after my four-year work, so preparation for that is a big priority. I've talked to my instructors, but I'm looking for some outside experience; hopefully from someone who has personally attended one of these schools, or has a high level of experience with the program or its graduates.

These are the schools I'm already considering:
UC Berkeley (I've already applied)
Harvey Mudd (This school was highly recommended)
Cal Tech

If you have any comments about these schools, I'd love to hear them. Also, if you know of a school that is suitable I'd really appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to help me out,
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Dec17-03, 02:33 PM
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Monique's Avatar
P: 4,642
I just love Americans for being so driven in academia, thumbs up! I surely have learned a lot from seeing that..
Dec17-03, 02:44 PM
P: 204
I assume your from Massachusettes is that right? me too what school are u going to?

Jacob Chestnut
Dec17-03, 03:06 PM
P: 21
Looking for academic advice

Originally posted by einsteinian77
I assume your from Massachusettes is that right? me too what school are u going to?
No, actually I'm from Santa Maria, which is located on the central coast of California. I'm about half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Dec17-03, 03:10 PM
P: 204
oh yeah I just saw MIT when I scanned the schools and disregarded the rest.
Dec17-03, 04:29 PM
P: 640
MIT or Caltech.

Caltech is a more selective one though. Average of 1580 SATs in that school.
Dec17-03, 07:49 PM
P: 204
its true SAT's are very important to a lot of good schools
Jacob Chestnut
Dec17-03, 09:56 PM
P: 21
Originally posted by einsteinian77
its true SAT's are very important to a lot of good schools
I agree that SATs are an important measure of the quality of incoming students, but I was more interested in things like the number of students that enter top tier graduate schools upon graduation. Also the number of NSF fellowships awarded, the student faculty ratio, the quality of instruction and mathematical rigor. Another thing that would be good to know is if the various undergraduate programs have particularly strong relationships with any well known graduate schools.


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