1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Choosing a university

  1. Aug 23, 2013 #1
    Hi all,

    I have been looking at different universities for me to go to for a while now, and I have found 3 good ones so far, in order of the one I want to go to most, to least.

    1. Caltech
    2. Princeton
    3. University of Chicago

    Can anybody give me any good/bad things about this school, and perhaps person experience if you have any?

    Secondly, should I go to the same school for both undergrad and grad? Or should I go to a low cost school with an adequate physics program for undergrad and a better school for grad?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2013 #2
    I went to Princeton for grad school. Liked it a lot. Didn't have much interaction with the undergrads though. They mostly seemed like undergrads at other schools. However, it did seem to me that some of the undergrad activities had an air of snooty superiority that rubbed me the wrong way. However, I'm sure you could avoid that stuff if it was actually there and it bothers you. Note, I went to a dirty hippy undergrad school, so the old money/legacy thing gets to me a bit. I'm sure there are a ton of undergrads at Princeton who are not like that. Just not at the eating clubs :)

    I had a some good friends who went to Caltech. Some did both undergrad and grad there and are doing just fine as post grads. Looks like an excellent place. Also looks like a special place. It's small and very focused. I could see where it might not be a good fit for some people who want a bit more variety.

    As far as money goes, I can't answer you. Debt sucks and I was lucky to go to undergrad for free. I personally would not have gone there had they not offered me a good deal; I was prepared to go to the cheapest of my undergrad options.
  4. Aug 23, 2013 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I hope those aren't the only three schools you're considering applying to. :smile:
  5. Aug 23, 2013 #4
    Thank you! This helped a lot.

    So far, they are. I'm still looking though, if you have any suggestions please tell me!
  6. Aug 23, 2013 #5

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    Don't you have a few years before you need to be making this decision?
  7. Aug 23, 2013 #6
    I do! I am just starting high-school on September 3rd. However, I do plan on graduating early. But even so, I like to plan ahead.
  8. Aug 23, 2013 #7


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Hi, Matthew.

    Do you have a well-regarded state university that has superior programs in your areas of interest? That could save you a lot of money. I was pre-admitted to several excellent universities, but couldn't get enough financial aid to attend any of them, so I settled on the University of Maine (my default) and found out that their chemical engineering program was top-notch. The department even had pilot pulp and paper equipment on site.

    You have time, so don't get too fixated on a particular college until your interests have gelled a bit. Good luck whatever you decide.
  9. Aug 23, 2013 #8


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I think most of the "Big Ten" schools (Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc.) provide a good-to-very-good physics program and would do well as second-tier choices even if you're shooting for the "elite" schools first. If you live in one of those states, of course you get the benefit of in-state tuition which your parents have already paid for partially by way of their tax dollars.

    Most people go to different schools for undergrad and grad. When I was in grad school at Michigan, I didn't know anybody who had done his/her undergrad there. I remember some of my classmates coming from Illinois, Minnesota, MIT, UNC,...
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  10. Aug 23, 2013 #9
    I live in Minnesota, so the U of M is definitely available to me. I hadn't really looked into them before, but I will check them out. Perhaps I will do my undergrad work at the U of M and go to like caltech or Princeton for my grad work, I will look into more options though. Thank you guys!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook