# Do I have to go to the top school?(undergrad)

1. Oct 11, 2005

### car202

Actually, I don't know what is benefits to go top school.

So what I'm thinking is concentrating more on physics during high school years.

The only problem with this is that I can't go to top school perhaps.

what do you think?

2. Oct 11, 2005

### motai

I'm not sure if it is necessary to go to strictly the "top" schools, in some cases it is quite unpractical to do so. Out-of-state fees are usually extremely high and difficult to fund without scholarships. The salutatorian from my high school got accepted into Princeton... but her attendance has a steep price tag: approximately $40,000 USD per term. Even if I were to be accepted in an Ivy League school, it would be nearly impossible for me to attend such a school because neither I nor my family can afford it. Instead, I opted for the higher ranking in-state universities, which are a lot cheaper (usually around$13,000 depending on states) and a few scholarships and grants are just barely covering that.

I'm not in the right position to compare universities, but given the difficulty level of the classes that I'm in right now, it shouldn't really matter too much (at least undergraduate).

3. Oct 12, 2005

### JasonRox

I'm not sure how it works in the US, but in Canada it does matter. I learned the hard way.

I'm currently at a school, which isn't a top school, and it's a joke. I feel like snapping out everday.

I'm now transferring to the top mathematics school in Canada, and I looked at some of their material and it much more advanced than ours. I want to go to Graduate School, and my current school is clearly NOT preparing me for that.

So, have your long term goals set too. If I would have known the school was going to be a joke, I would have never came. I had the train of thought that all undergrad schools are the same, but I was WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!

4. Oct 12, 2005

I would think the undergraduate courses wouldn't differ much in quality whether it is top uni or a 'reasonable' uni. I would personally think that the reason these rankings are ins uch place is because of the facilities each university has, which in undergraduation, you will not have time to study.

5. Oct 12, 2005

### car202

6. Oct 13, 2005

u of maryland?

seems like a great school. grad program in physics is ranked 13th in the country by us news and world report.

the undergrad program seems pretty unique, too.

a professor at my school (motai's as well--university of florida) went there for undergrad and then went to cornell for grad school. his advice to me when i was a high school senior and deciding on colleges was that it just makes sense to go to a less costly state school for undergrad and THEN go into a top grad program (if possible).

my bank account thanks him for his advice.

really, there isn't much variation between undergrad programs (u of maryland's is the most unique that i've seen, though), so it doesn't really matter that you're not in a top-tier, name-brand school.

(plus, there's the issue of professors often being away for conferences and such instead of being in their classrooms at the top schools.)

7. Oct 14, 2005

### gazzo

What's the average term fees for local universities ?

Here I pay around \$2k US per semester at a reasonable university (University of Auckland - New Zealand).

Shop around for good departments, courses, etc that aren't too expensive. Going to Princeton seems like a waste for undergraduacy (if you're planning to do grad there), wouldn't varying your institutions make you more employable? Atleast in academia.

A lot of students here end up going abroad to do graduate studies, then return to the department bringing back what they've learnt.

8. Oct 17, 2005

### car202

Thank you for all of you