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College Guidance

  1. Apr 26, 2014 #1
    Okay the time has come where deposits are soon to be due. However, I'm still stuck between two schools USC and Roanoke. Links for each are below. I have other college options but they are party schools and dont make sense academically / career wise.


    I was hoping to major in physics and hopefully pursue a physics career one day but as I understand it physics jobs are very limited and difficult to get. With that being said I would still like to pursue physics if for nothing more than a general knowledge of how the things around us work, but for career opportunities I will most likely end up switching to computer science.
    I was hoping someone could help to lean my decision in one of these two directions by either pointing out differences in their academics or things of that sort. I'm thinking Roanoke would be better academically, however if the tuition gets to be too expensive up there (50k a year, 40k is covered in aid) the credits are non transferable as i understand it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 26, 2014 #2
    You still have a few days before May 1st; have you tried contacting faculty members from each college in your departments of interest to see if they offer anything unique? I've heard that Roanoke has been gaining momentum as an up-and-coming liberal arts college. I think that Roanoke may be better academically than USC (not trying to say anything bad about USC; it's still a good college), but be aware that it's hard to get A's at that school. I don't know what state you live in, but Roanoke costs the same in- and out-of-state, while USC costs significantly less for SC residents. It sounds like Roanoke is offering a pretty decent amount, but you'll have to take out loans unless you have a way to pay for 10k. Also check to make sure that financial aid at each institution is renewable and not a one-time deal for matriculating freshmen.
    Why wouldn't credits from Roanoke be transferable? I could understand if the college was unaccredited, but it's ranked pretty high and regionally accredited. If that is the case though, you may find yourself stuck if you do decide you want to transfer. Last thing that I noticed is that Roanoke seems pretty homogenous in terms of its student body.
  4. Apr 26, 2014 #3
    I was going to do that today actually lol. I know Roanoke has a strong focus on computer science from my college tour when I went so that would work out if I decided to switch majors and their small student body would make it easier to do undergrad research compared to USC which has a very large student body. I'm from SC so it would be out of state tuition at Roanoke. I have a deans award for 16.5k and a few other awards 5k pell grant etc that would make it to where I would only have to pay 5k a semester at Roanoke. I've heard that as well, about it being hard to receive an A there, however I wouldn't mind the extra challenge. As I understand it they pretty much grade as if it is an Ivy league college despite not being one. As for the credits not being transferable they way they do their INQ core curriculum makes it to where most of my credits would be non-transferable if the tuition gets too expensive. I have the most aid there out of any of my other college options even though the tuition is almost double of USC's. Assuming that my financial aid package is renewable,which I'm hesitant about from reading student reviews about the college. I've seen a lot of students say they received hefty financial aid packets and then ended up stuck with a big bill for their tuition because they were either cancelled or couldn't be renewed. I know the deans award is renewable for up to 4 years, but I would have to check on the rest of my financial aid package.
  5. Apr 26, 2014 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    Roanoke is accredited by SACS, the agency that covers most colleges and universities in the Southeast. If you move to another school later, their courses should be just as transferable as any other school's courses. That doesn't mean guaranteed transfer credit, just that other schools will evaluate those courses to determine whether they "match" their own courses, and award transfer credit on that basis according to their policies. It shouldn't make any difference in that respect whether the courses are from Roanoke or from anyplace else.

    Their physics major looks like a pretty typical small-college physics major: three semesters of intro physics including modern physics, upper-level courses in the "core four" areas that grad schools look for (classical mechanics, QM, E&M, thermo), some labs, and some electives. I went to a school like that and got into Michigan for grad school. (OK, that was nearly 40 years ago.)

    [added] Ah, now I see your latest post. Yes, I agree that "oddball" general-education courses could be problematical for transfer credit, as opposed to the more common collections of more-or-less standard courses in English, history, etc.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014
  6. Apr 26, 2014 #5
    Yeah they're physics outline looks pretty typical as does USC's. If these are the best of my options would you consider it even worthwhile to go in as a physics major? The way I'm seeing my options as of right now is that since they're not outstanding schools (Ivy League MIT etc) my chances of a decent grad school track or physics job in general are going to be pretty much moot considering how hard of a field it is already to break into.
  7. Apr 26, 2014 #6
    I've heard that a lot of physics majors get hired as "engineers" by industry, and your job prospects increase greatly if you can work with computers; now, whether or not that's your interests or desires, I'm not sure. I think that with a combination of physics and computer science, you could easily get a job with a bachelor's degree, and your chances increase greatly if you do a couple years of grad school and get your master's in either field. Regardless, there's a growing demand for people who can work with computers and computer programming, so I think you would do fine if you majored in physics and minored/got a certificate in computer science in addition to picking up a language like Java.
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