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Choice between a few American Universities

  1. Sep 13, 2005 #1
    Hi everyone,
    i am actually studying Physics in a French University (University Paris 6 Pierre and Marie Curie), i have completed my first year and i am now going on my 2nd.

    For my 3rd year (year 2006/2007), I would like to participate in an exchange programm that my university has with a few American Universities (Micefa list aviable here : http://www.micefa.org/french/index.html [Broken] ), and i have to give 3 names (and rank them) by the end of September but i have to say that it is quite difficult for me to choose !

    I already asked people around me and picked up those ones :
    University of Texas at Austin
    Boston College
    Manhattan College
    Georges Washington University

    The problem is that i only need 3 universities, and i dont know how to sort them ! Which one should i put 1st ? 2nd ? Can anyone help me :(
    Has anyone ever participated in an interuniversity exchange programm ?

    Thank you very much,
    Benjamin (yep, i am new here !)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 13, 2005 #2
    On the list you have Boston College and George Washington University are by far the most competitive schools. As to which one you put first that is up to you and your preferences, you can use this site http://www.collegeboard.com/homepage/?student, and search for the colleges, they have overviews and programs they offer. Use this to compare academically your schools, generally a state school will accept around 50% of its applicants, and have using old SAT scores an average of 500 per test. But bear in mind that while some schools concentrate more on academics, other schools may have things such as location, programs etc. that also come into play. So i guess all i can tell you is research.
  4. Sep 13, 2005 #3


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    I wouldnt recommend Manhattan College - Air Force ROTC det 560 is located there..

    could be a problem if you become "too French" for them.

    As for UT Austin, I heard good things, but then again it depends on your climate preferences. I'd go with George Washington University hands down though.
  5. Sep 13, 2005 #4
    i've heard nothing but great things about UT-Austin.

    i sat in on a calc II class at boston college. they were about halfway done with their semester... and they were covering approximation techniques for integrals.

    ...that's stuff that's done before calc one finishes up at my school! :eek:
  6. Sep 14, 2005 #5

    Thank you for those quick answers, and for the website you gave me "what".

    Ok so none of you say good things about the Manhattan college...maybe i should take it off my list then.

    But it's still quite difficult to rank them ! Boston and G.Washington have a lower percent of applicants admitted (more selective) than UT Austin, but i heard a lot of good things about UT Austin.

    Boston Col is situated in the suburbs, which i think isn't very nice.
    But UT Austin is situated....in Texas, and i don't really know if they like French guys !

    Maybe i should do more ressearch on G.Washingotn...
  7. Sep 14, 2005 #6
    i wouldn't let that deter me.

    (you can always say that you're spanish, and the bigots might be dumb enough to believe you! :biggrin: )

    college students would tend to be more accepting than this sort of caricature of the texan common man. just a hunch.

    ...and, may i ask, why these schools in particular?
  8. Sep 14, 2005 #7
    Because they are from the lists that i gave in my first message. My university has an exchange programm with all the universities listed here + Brown University + University of Chicago.
    The advantage of exchange programs is that i only have to pay my university, which cost nearly nothing in France (around 300 Euro), and i dont have to pay anything to the Amercian one.

    However I think that when i'll have graduated i'll go to the US "on my own" so i can choose a better university (at least i'll try to be admitted there ! Like Berkeley or Santa Barbara or...).

    I hope you're right ! lol Because i really think UT Texas is a good univ. for Physics...well that's what some people told me and their courses seem quite advanced.
  9. Sep 14, 2005 #8


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    Staff: Mentor

    Is there some reason why you're not considering the University of Chicago? It has a very good reputation in physics.

    Are you interested in some particular area of physics? If you are, that might affect your "best choice".
  10. Sep 14, 2005 #9
    Hi jtbell,
    I am considering it, only i still have to choose 3 other universities from the list. I may probably choose Chicago if i am admitted there, but i still have to make 3 choices from the list. (sorry i forgot to say it in my last message)

    What area ? Well still hard to know (i am still quite young lol), i know that for my 3rd year i have to study quite a lot electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, relativity and some statistical physics/thermodynamics.

    Thank you for you help.
  11. Sep 14, 2005 #10
    doesn't necessarily mean the curriculum moves slower or is worse...it is just arranged differently.
  12. Sep 14, 2005 #11


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    Er.. you'd put George Washington University ahead of UT-Austin? And this is for PHYSICS?

    I don't recall the last time I read a physics paper that came out of GWU. And if we go by just superficial "reputation" alone, UT-Austin has Steven Weinberg and is consistently ranked in the top 5 schools for particle physics.

    I would rank UT-Austin ahead of BC in terms of physics reputation. In fact, I would rank Boston University ahead of BC in this category. However, note that in all of this, such reputation says nothing about the quality of physics education. I am not arguing that UT-Austin, just because it has Steven Weinberg, has a better physics teaching program than GWU or others in the list. It is not unusual that some small, private schools have better physics education program and system than large, brand-name schools. It all depends on what one is looking for.

  13. Sep 14, 2005 #12
    Yeah someone told me about Wenberg, and also they had, Brice De Witt and his (french) wife Cecile Dewitt-Morette.

    I really think of putting Austin in first place...

    Do you think that for the next ones i should only compare the courses they can offer ?
    I have been for hours on their websites and for example for GWU http://www.gwu.edu/~bulletin/ugrad/phys.html there seems to be advanced QM only in the course called "University Physics III" but it seems strange that in only 1 semester they can study QM, General relativity, big bang theory, Nuclear physics,... !
  14. Sep 14, 2005 #13
    I was only basing it on selectiveness, i thought it was clear perhaps i should have mentioned that, sorry if it caused confusion.
  15. Sep 14, 2005 #14


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    No, look at Physics 167, "Principles of Quantum Physics". That looks like their full-blown Quantum Mechanics course.
  16. Sep 14, 2005 #15
    u chicago!

    that's a terrific school for physics, as well. my friend had an REU there this summer. :cool: . great school. no harm in applying there? unless there's some sort of exorbitant fee and you really don't want to go there, that is...
  17. Sep 14, 2005 #16
    If you have the money, visiting the campus would definitely set your mind in the right direction.
  18. Sep 14, 2005 #17
    UT Austin is an extreamly liberal school, so i dont think anyone would be arrogent or a bigot.

    You will have more fun at UT Austin for sure, and get a really good well rounded education in class and outside of class.
  19. Sep 15, 2005 #18
    Ok thank you all of you for your answers !
    Just one last questions because i don't really know how it works : how many Credits do i need to take if i stay 1 year ? (i think my 1st choice will be UT Austin)

    Thanks again
  20. Sep 15, 2005 #19


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    Staff: Mentor

    You should check the university's Web site for that, because each university sets its own rules. Look for a section named "Academic regulations" or something like that.

    Just as an example, where I teach, we use a semester-based calendar in which a "normal" lecture course meets three hours per week and gives three semester-hours of credit. In order to have full-time status, a student must enroll for a minimum of twelve hours per semester. However, students normally enroll for about fifteen hours per semester, because we require a total of 122 hours for a bachelor's degree, and students normally finish in four years (eight semesters).

    Some physics courses have labs in addition to lectures, of course. Labs usually meet once per week for three hours, and give one semester-hour of credit.
  21. Sep 15, 2005 #20
    Austin should be number one. It's a very nice college town too. There are many great barbeque places for an American experience. As for GWU, for learning the American systemand language (especially our foriegn policies), it would be very good. For physics GWU really has very little going for it. UT will give you the best of both worlds.
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