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College Recomendations

  1. Jan 19, 2005 #1


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    What College's would you guys recommend for me to look into,
    I am unsure of what i want to major 100% in but Physics is one of them, but also to double major/minor in either astronomy or psychology,

    The Quantum Physics level is what really interests me the most.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 19, 2005 #2
    What are your stats? ACT/SAT, SATII's, W/UW GPA, and class rank, etc? That will really determine what your choices are.
  4. Jan 19, 2005 #3


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    Also, do you have any constraints regarding things like geographical location or need for financial aid?

    For starters, since your possible majors include both physics and psychology, you should start out looking at liberal arts colleges rather than technical colleges (for example, I wouldn't recommend MIT if you might decide upon a psychology major). You'll need some flexibility.

    Some other things that would help: have you thought about the size of the school you want to attend? Do you want small classes and a lot of contact with your professors, or can you handle huge lectures where you'll have to learn more on your own? Small colleges offer the benefit of small classes and faculty who are really dedicated to teaching, but larger universities offer the benefit of more variety of classes available, and more extracurricular activities/opportunities at the expense of larger lectures and sometimes being taught by teaching assistants rather than professors. Some people have preferences for one over the other, others can thrive wherever they wind up.

    Also, look at the core curriculum. Are the classes you need to take outside your major things you can deal with?

    What about housing? Are you interested in being in dorms the whole time, moving to a fraternity/sorority house after your first year, living off-campus, etc?

    Choosing a college isn't only about the academics, though of course the academics is the main reason for attending. You need to find a place where you'll feel comfortable for the next 4 years of your life and an environment where you'll thrive.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2005
  5. Jan 21, 2005 #4
    The thing I've really learned going to college for my freshman year with a physics major is that as long as you go to a pretty good school, not some community college, as long as the school is up there and has a fairly good reputation, the physics professors will know so much more than you at the undergraduate level, that it won't matter to much where you are, there is always so much to learn at this level, it is at the graduate level where the exact schools and the exact ranking of the faculty really matter, but now, you're so far behind they all look like gods

  6. Feb 2, 2005 #5


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    Ok, i had to deal with a lot of stuff through out my High School career and sadly it affected my studies, so my freshmen-junior year grades really do range from good to barely passing, this year first semester and so far this semester i have good grades. The classes i've taken in high school atleast are "higher level" classes, but like i said i did from pretty bad to average my first three years of high school. I've taken the ACT twice and got 21 both times, but neither time did i study and both times i was dealing with other stuff(i wasn't as stressed the second time though).
    I do plan on taking it again, on april, but with those obstacles what type of college would you recommend, again i do want to major in physics, quantum or theoretical. I know it is very hard and i need lots of math, but i am good at that, that is not one of my concerns, I've had an A in Physics all year, this year.
  7. Feb 2, 2005 #6
    I would suggest looking into a flagship state school. State universities are classified as 'research universities'. State and federal funding and an immense size will give you many options within the fields of physics.

    I would strongly recommend staying away from satellite universities. They often have little in the area of physics, and are much more LAC-esque.

    I think you should try your best to raise your ACT to around 25 or so. It will give you a better edge against other applicants. You could also try taking the SAT. The two tests are very different in style, and you may find that you do much better at one than the other.

    If you're really yearning to go to a big name (more selective) school, such as UVa, UMich, UWis, or a decent private, you could keep the idea of transferring in the back of your mind. NEVER go to any university with the plan to transfer, as it is quite the hassle and often dissappointing. But if you get a 4.0 for a couple semesters at a college, your HS GPA, ranking, and SAT/ACT scores won't be counted for much, if anything, should you decide to try to transfer.

    Check out the site www.collegeconfidential.com and go to their discussion board. There are a lot of knowledgeble people there, and near a million posts in the archives.
  8. Feb 2, 2005 #7
    I agree. One thing I'd like to mention for all high school students is this:

    It's great to be interested in physics. But - you need to be flexible about your options. There's a decent chance that you're going to college and find that:

    (1) Something else interests you more than physics
    (2) College-level physics is too difficult and you can't handle it ( I would not let the first term discourage you though)
    (3) You find that you don't like physics as much as you thought you did as time goes on.
    some combination of the above

    Plus - whatever specialty field of physics you think you're interested in - it may be out of vogue by the time you're a college senior (4 or 5 years from now) and looking at grad schools.

    This holds actually for any major, actually. So - it's sometimes just better to pick a good school that offers a well-rounded set of depts rather than a specialty school.

    Couple of examples:

    1. My best friend from college graduated from a top public high school. Wanted to do math and/or physics, and was good at it in high school. Got C's in math and physics first semester of freshman year. Switched to poly sci (=government). Now has a PhD in poly sci from Berkeley. And doesn't miss math and science at all.

    2. One of my brothers started as a premed at Harvard (wanted to be a neurosurgeon back in high school), switched to economics between his first and second year, went on to do investment banking and private equity, and having just finished B-school at Stanford, is now working at a hedge fund.
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