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Cambridge Natural Sciences

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  1. Feb 7, 2014 #1
    I am an international student from Pakistan doing A levels. I applied to St John's College of Cambridge uni for Natural Sciences and have luckily got an offer from there as well. I have also got a full scholarship which includes tuition and living expenses.
    But I have also applied to MIT, Princeton and other ivies. I have also got scholarship offers from HKU and HKUST.
    So my question is that should I go to Cambridge where I would definitely pursue physics? Should I wait for MIT and hope for it? What US unis among the ivies and MIT compete with Cambridge in sciences especially physics? I know I am being optimistic about getting an offer from MIT which is a long shot but should I hope high for it?
    Secondly, could someone describe their experiences at Cambridge studying sciences or refer me to someone or some thread already posted here? I would love to know about anyone studying there as an international student.
    Thanks a lot.
     
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  3. Feb 7, 2014 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Historically, MIT admits two students from Pakistan per year.

    As far as other schools, it is too late to apply for Fall 2014 admission for most schools of MIT's caliber. If you haven't already applied, you probably can't.
     
  4. Feb 7, 2014 #3

    esuna

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    I'd go with the full tuition scholarship
     
  5. Feb 7, 2014 #4
    I have already applied to MIT and other US schools.
     
  6. Feb 7, 2014 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    The point I was making is that it doesn't matter "What US unis among the ivies and MIT compete with Cambridge in sciences especially physics" because all of those universities have deadlines that have passed. If you've already applied to one of them, you have a chance, but it is too late to initiate any action.
     
  7. Feb 7, 2014 #6

    IGU

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    Of course it matters. With an acceptance to Cambridge in hand, now it matters which others that accept him are comparable or better. Ones that are worse can be ignored.

    I think it would help if there are specific schools named.

    My main thought on this is that at Cambridge you will study Nat Sci only. At most US schools you will have a core curriculum including many humanities courses you will be required to take. It's up to you which you prefer, but the educational experience will be quite different.
     
  8. Feb 7, 2014 #7

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    But, as I said, it is too late to initiate any action. If he's accepted by, say Princeton, we can have a discussion of Princeton vs. Cambridge. But he can't go off and apply to Princeton now.
     
  9. Feb 7, 2014 #8

    AlephZero

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    The OP talked about "physics". In the Cambridge Nat Sci tripos, you will only spend 50% of your time in the first year studying "physics" and the core math courses. But the other 50% is studying science courses, not gen-ed humanities.
     
  10. Feb 7, 2014 #9
    I have applied to MIT, Princeton, Yale, Amherst, Harvard, NYU, Tufts, Dartmouth and Williams. So my question is that if i do get an offer from any of these, should I think about going there? I am particularly looking towards MIT and Princeton. So I am asking about MIT vs Princeton vs Cambridge.
    Secondly at Cambridge, I will be choosing 3 experimental sciences along with Maths. I am thinking of Physics, CompSci and Materials science. But the main attraction is the merit scholarship which I think will act as a separate qualification. Am I right in that? My future plan is to go into research.
     
  11. Feb 7, 2014 #10

    IGU

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    I don't know anything about their physics departments, but the first thing you have to decide is if you're fine with spending a fair amount of time your first two years learning "not science" stuff. All of these schools seek to give a good general education outside of your major. You are not specializing in the same way you would be at Cambridge.

    How do you feel about that?
     
  12. Feb 7, 2014 #11
    Well I have always been bored by the humanities courses in school like history and english. Will it be like that at uni?
     
  13. Feb 7, 2014 #12

    IGU

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    Nowadays you can answer that question for yourself better than we can. Go try some humanities MOOC from the university of interest. You can find some Princeton classes here. Practical Ethics starts March 1. You can find Harvard and MIT classes here. Look around to find some reviews so you can take one that's generally well regarded. While the learning process will be MOOCish, the material will likely be pretty much identical to the equivalent course at the university.

    Regardless of what specific classes you take, all these schools will want you to demonstrate proficiency in writing. That means taking at least one course where you write a lot. Learning to write well is a good thing for any future scientist. On the other hand, many are bad writers and don't want to learn to be better. It's up to you to decide what you want.
     
  14. Feb 8, 2014 #13

    ♥ Cambridge ♥
     
  15. Feb 8, 2014 #14

    Vanadium 50

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    You should look seriously at any place that accepts you. Don't be impressed by "big names" - many of the best schools in certain subfields are not the Ivies. For astronomy, for example, the University of Arizona is at the top.
     
  16. Feb 8, 2014 #15

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    Whoops...this is undergrad, right?

    The subspecialization comment is not so relevant at this level, but the advice to give every place a good look stands. Universities are different, and your goal is to find the one that you will get the most out of, not the one that's ranked highest on some list somewhere.
     
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