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Best physics school i can get into with my current GPA/SAT score

  1. Sep 21, 2015 #1
    I currently have a GPA of 3.3 and my sat scores are 680-math, 610-reading, 560-writing. I'm pretty set on going for physics undergrad and going straight to grad school for my PHD but I'm open to suggestions. Any college that isn't really really far away from Pennsylvania but I'm definitely open to leaving the state.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 21, 2015 #2
    Hey Bryce,
    I would like to first know if you are a Senior or Junior? If you are a junior I recommend that you should try to get both your GPA and Test scores up if your planning on going on to a highly selective science institution(I say this because most of the 'Best Physics schools' are extremely hard to get in to). I would recommend any state schools which have tech or science as their "thing", that will most likely guarantee you a great physics program and with your current scores you may have a better shot at them. If you would like I can recommend some but I suggest you do some research for yourself. Also I should note that there are many smaller Liberal Arts & Science colleges that have amazing science programs as well.

    - Sensatus
  4. Sep 21, 2015 #3
    Everything Sensatus is true.

    Depending on the rest of your resume, you should definitely apply to both Pitt and Penn State. They both have respectable programs. If you can't get into them, then you could do a quick search of top 100 schools in physics on US news will give a large amount of state schools with expected tuition rates for each school, and take your pick from those.

    You could also do a year at a community college to get good grades in college level courses, which will get you into Pitt pretty easily as long as you have around a 3.5 at that community college (It's what I did). Taking Calculus 1 and 2 with your intro physics courses will look good. It's actually easier to get into a lot of schools once you've been to a community college rather than applying straight out of high school.

    Don't sleep on WVU either. They're better than you might think.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
  5. Sep 22, 2015 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    When I was a grad student at Michigan c. 1980, I had classmates from both Pitt (my roommate for several years, in fact) and Penn State. So they're both definitely decent programs.
  6. Sep 22, 2015 #5
    I just want to interject that while of course you want to go to a "good" school, it is WAY less important how "good" the school is compared to:
    - How good a fit is it for YOU?
    - Do they connect SIGNIFICANT numbers of students with actual work experiences like internships/summer jobs?
    - Do they really help you? Keep track of how you are doing academically? OR are you just left to flounder by yourself, with some professor glancing at your proposed schedule and saying "OK"
    - How are their job placement results?

    You might also consider European institutions due to costs.
  7. Sep 22, 2015 #6
    I'm currently a senior. I have been looking at Penn state, Pitt, and also Ohio State. I know I won't be getting into any top schools like Harvard and other amazing institutions. I'm waiting until the end of the 9 week period to try and raise my GPA up even higher.
  8. Sep 22, 2015 #7

    I completely agree with this and I really think you should think about institution outside the US, other then that I think its up to you to find the place that suits you best, and to make the most of it.
  9. Sep 22, 2015 #8
    What are some universities outside the U.S. that I should start to look into?
  10. Sep 22, 2015 #9
    I suggest reading through this it has some college suggestions
  11. Sep 23, 2015 #10


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    There many public schools which are less selective for undergrad which have really top notch physics/other science grad programs. Rutgers is on your area and has a great program, so do Penn state and Maryland. Farther away there is also Boulder.
  12. Sep 23, 2015 #11
    Is the University of Akron's physics undergrad program good? I definitely plan on going to at least Penn State Main for Grad school and if i get into them for undergrad that's where I would go. When I apply to Penn state main i'm going to apply for the summer program too so that i have a better chance of getting in.
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