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Choosing Colleges

  1. Apr 17, 2010 #1
    So, recently my college admissions decisions have rolled in with rather mixed and uncertain results. What would be the best option for a student intending to major in physics (and possibly go to grad school)? My school seems to think that I would be able to work together with them to get off of at least one waitlist.

    Accepted to (and most likely attending): Harvey Mudd College (CA)
    Waitlisted at: Cornell (responded no, so it doesn't matter), Dartmouth, Harvard, U of Chicago, Duke, and Williams College (MA).

    -Harvey Mudd is pretty nice and is definitely big in the eyes of many graduate schools, but it is very, very far away from home back East. I also feel that I may fit in better at some of my waitlists (I love intellectual diversity and interacting with people that have very different academic interests than my own). The smog is also a concern for me (I am asthmatic). HMC is definitely a great option, though.

    -Dartmouth: Much, much closer to home and (at this point) one of my top choices, but I don't know much about their physics department. I have looked online, but I cannot find many opinions about their undergrad programs. They tend to graduate a very small number of physics majors every year, but I cannot find out where they go to grad school. Does anyone know much about the reputation of Dartmouth's undergrad physics programs?
    They are increasing the freshman class size so I may have a shot at getting off (this plan was not taken into account during their regular admission cycle). From what I have gathered, their reputation is good, but I just want a few more opinions.

    -Harvard: It's Harvard. Great physics program and a great school overall.

    -Duke: A little bit big but, otherwise, I think I would have research opportunities and a decent shot at grad school. Their waitlist is massive this year, though.

    -Williams: Another great school. I have met two alumni, one who now is at Harvard and another at MIT. Their waitlist is huge compared to their class size, though.

    Thanks everyone!!!!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 17, 2010 #2
    I could be wrong--and someone please correct me if I am--but I've never thought of Dartmouth as a good school for someone interested in physics and mathematics.

    The other schools are all fantastic places to be for physics and mathematics. In fact, they're all so good that it time for you to worry not about which one is best for physics but which one you'll be happy at as an undergraduate.

    Learn about the cultures of these schools, how undergraduate housing works, how competitive the atmosphere is, what the distribution requirements are like, what the partying culture is like, etc., and go with the one that fits your preferences most.

    The bottom line, however, is that you have nothing to be worried about because you have no bad choices to make!
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