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College Where To Go For What I Want To Do?

  1. Apr 21, 2006 #1
    I hope - in the next one to two years - to be starting to apply to colleges. I'm having a hard time deciding where to go, and I'm wondering what's best.

    I hope to end up with a degree in theoretical physics. I was thinking about MIT, but I'm not sure if they offer something like that.

    So yes, my question is; any ideas? Money is no problem, and if all goes well, neither will requirements. I just want to go to a really good school.

    :smile: Thanks in advance!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 21, 2006 #2


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    Normally you just get a degree in physics, specialization comes after that. If requirements are actually not a problem.... and i hope you really know what the requirements might be for a plac elike MIT... i would say MIT, Caltech, Stanford, Berkeley....
  4. Apr 21, 2006 #3


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    I have heard that University of Chicago is good for physics. Could someone confirm/deny this?
  5. Apr 21, 2006 #4
    I know; serious requirment. But my knowledge - for my age - is most impressive, and I have a bit before college.
    I was thinking Caltech as well! :) Merci!
  6. Apr 21, 2006 #5


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    Well knowledge or not, you need straight A's through high school and 1550+ SAT score (or whatever top 1% is in the new SAT system)
  7. Apr 21, 2006 #6
    It's not the knowledge that's very important. The most that matters is your ESSAYS. If you have a brilliant essay, you can get in without almost any major awards and A grades. For example a person with no awards and an A grade got into Stanford mostly on the basis of his essays last year. And he was an international - an Indian where competition is all the more tougher.
    If you have a dirt cheap essay, then I doubt even an A+ and a good collection of awards will help you.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2006
  8. Apr 21, 2006 #7
    I would recommend Caltech if you want to do Physics. Your other options would/should be MIT, Stanford, Berkeley. There's other schools as well that have pretty top notch professors in that stuff, but they don't really have the best "physics" program in general compared to these schools based on some basic online research. Nevertheless, those are my recommendations.
  9. Apr 23, 2006 #8
    I just finished with my college admission (I am a senior). I have been interested in physics for about 9 years now. Making my decision was hard a first, but it all seemed to fit in the end.

    I was accepted into MIT, Princeton, Rose-Hulman, UChicago, and Grinnell. My original dream was to go to MIT. However, once I did a little research, visited, and heard of some horror (teaching) stories about TAs and the like (along with my final fin. aid. decision) I decided not to go. Princeton was a little better, for they really focus on the undergrad pretty hard (whereas MIT is mostly Grad School). Rose-Hulman was a purely undergrad school that had great credentials. UChicago was a lot like Princeton, but less prestigeous. Grinnell was a lot like Rose-Hulman without the engineering, but with more of a liberal arts education.

    I ended up choosing Grinnell (from a final pool of Princeton, Rose-Hulman, and Grinnell) because it was purely undergrad (more individual attention), a great Grad School placement, and a full-ride scholarship. Also, because of Grinnell's large endowment, they sponser paid research and internships for almost anything I could think of. Lastly, the professor are only professors (not researchers) and they do actually care about you. It ended up being an easy decision.

    I write this because I am afraid that many people will say "Going to a prestigeous school doesn't matter for undergrad." There is some truth to that. However, there are also some things that many people overlook, like the opprotunities available at prestigeous universities and the level of education and drive that your peers will have. However, what is important is that you find the right place for you. I always thought MIT would be for me (it still is my goal for Grad School), but it became clear at the end of my college decision process.

    The best advice that I could give to you is: research, really research, your college choices.

    Paden Roder
  10. Apr 23, 2006 #9
    Wow. A million thanks, Paden! :) I appreciate it. I'm actually considering now Carnegie Mellon for my undergrad, because its close to home and I've heard its a good school (Anyone care for confirm? I'd appreciate it... heh...).

    Okay, so another question along the lines of this.
    I'm a Freshman in HS right now, and I'm working on taking a placement test or something along those lines and placing out of high school. There's a local college, YSU (Youngstown State University), that I'll be able to get into (They have no standards. Hahah). I want to stay for the first semester, then transfer to CMU (Carnegie Mellon). Is that smart? If I get good grades, will I be able to transfer, or will I be stuck in the crappy college for the first year? Like, what I'm asking is will it totally ruin my college hopes altogether?

    Thanks in advance. Sorry for being such an idiot, but I can't find anything about it online. :)
  11. Jun 24, 2006 #10
    Okay, I'm late on this thread. Two months late. Anyhow, I'm sure you can still use the help.

    As far as prestigious schools go, MIT, CalTech, Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton, or Harvard would probably be your best bets. Of course, you have to be top shelf to get in. UChicago also offers some great programs. I would recommend checking out their website. The Cosmic Variance blog would probably be a good stop as well. Another thing you should consider is some summer programs at colleges (Although, these are probably not available till the summer of your Junior year). I know MIT has one, and I would recommend looking around at the other schools websites.

    Carnegie Mellon is also an amazing school, from what I've heard. I know nothing of any of their physics programs, however. I do know that they offer some of the best Computer Science courses around, though. I also think Padan pretty much summed it up in his last two paragraphs - and would highly insist on you following his advice.

    I am not sure, however, on the college transfer aspect of your question. Although, I know if I had a choice I would probably rather not transfer and go straight for my goal, even if that meant lowing my standards a bit. That is just me, though.

    All in all just work hard (and research everything...) and make sure your doing what you love. I'm sure you will do just fine. :wink:
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