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College help

  1. Feb 10, 2005 #1
    Hi, im currently a HS junior and i'm just starting to think about college. i've narrowed my choices of major down to engineering, physics or even math... what schools should i look at? heres my "stats" if it helps...

    gpa- 3.5/4
    act's- english- 30
    reading- 28
    math- 36
    science- 36
    as for my courseload im taking ap physics c, ap calc bc, and ap comp sci ab, ap stats and intro to discrete math (or something like that)this year alongside all the other "humanities" stuff that my school requires...
    i dont have a ton of ec's but i work a good number of hours each week so i guess that should kinda make up for it... at least i would hope so..

    financial aid is probably a big factor as my parents both teach and dont make too much dough.. i live in illinois so i'm definitely looking at University of illinois at urbana as ive heard a lot that that their engineering program is very good. not to mention itd be a financial fit. i know a lot of people here are engineers so if you guys dont mind me asking how good is it exactly? and what about their physics and math programs? and what are some other schools with strong engineering/physics programs that would give me financial aid so that we can have something left over for grad school? any help is appreciated. :cool:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2005 #2

    ZapperZ

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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I will risk sounding like a broken record (how many people still remember what those are?) and say that, honestly, where you go for your undergraduate education matters less than where you go for your graduate education. A large, well-funded public school is as good as any "brand name" school. What will affect you more is the quality of instruction (a factor that is very seldom listed in most schools ratings) and the range of classes.

    Here is what you should do:

    1. Contact an undergraduate student there, preferably in the major areas that you might be interested in. Ask him or her on how the classes are going, how good/bad the instructors are, about the faclities, etc.

    2. Look at the class schedule and class offerings in a particular semester. Is there a large selection of classes beyond just the required classes being offered each semester for undergraduates?

    3. Are there any faculty members actively engaging in research in education? Look at their publication list.

    Never, ever be seduced by the amount of "research fundings" or research projects. As an undergraduate, unless you actively seek participation in research groups, you most likely would not get to see any of these funds. Such info are more of a value to prospective graduate students.

    Having said that, you will NOT go wrong with UIUC. Besides having the #1 ranked Condensed Matter program in the country (people at Stanford may argue with that assessment), their engineering programs have consistently ranked extremely high. Again, these things may not mean much for incoming undergraduate students (in fact, UIUC has more graduate students than undergraduate, so you will be a minority there). Being an Illinois resident, and UIUC being a state school, you will get favorable tuition and even support. However, keep in mind that getting a place there is extremely competitive. You are literally competing with other students not only for the rest of the country, but also from the rest of the world.

    There are other schools in Illinois that you may want to consider. If you are restricting yourself only to public schools, then UIC is the next best bet, since you will still be within the U. of Illinois system. Again, it has a respectable physics program, and a large engineering program, for undergraduates. (there are more advantages for graduate students, since the school has ties to Argonne and Fermilab, both of which are nearby).

    Zz.
     
  4. Feb 11, 2005 #3

    cronxeh

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    Gold Member

    collegedirt.com or campusdirt.com

    princetonreview.com - enter name of the school and then click on view what students have to say about it
     
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