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Good undergrad physics programs

  1. Aug 29, 2009 #1
    I'm a high school senior looking into colleges and I'm having trouble picking out good choices for physics programs. I live in Chicago and I'm looking into schools around the Midwest.

    My record
    GPA: 94.2 (My school is weird and they don't like the 4.0 scale)
    My course load is pretty rigorous. In math I've taken algebra I through precalc at my school with Calc I over the summer at my cc (I got a B) and Calc II and III. This year I'll being taking 4 AP classes including chem. I've taken 2 already (they were just history though).
    My EC's are lackluster though.

    UIUC and UChicago are obvious picks, but what other schools are there which have a good physics program?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2009 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Wisconsin, Michigan, Northwestern, Michigan State. (I assume you're looking at large schools, based on UIUC and Chicago).
  4. Aug 30, 2009 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    And if you're also considering smaller schools, Grinnell (Iowa), Carleton (Minnesota), and Oberlin (Ohio).
  5. Aug 30, 2009 #4
    Speaking from experience, I'd say the physics program at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities did an excellent job of preparing me for grad school. I have a friend from Carleton who's also in grad school, and it would seem the program there is really good too.
  6. Aug 30, 2009 #5
    So you say the university is good? How cheap are living costs there?
  7. Aug 31, 2009 #6
    A 1 bedroom in Minneapolis usually runs about $500-$600 per month. It can be cheaper if you live in a house with roommates. There's also the dorms. Dorms are about the same cost, except that you're living in a small room with a roommate and have zero privacy. The upside is that you get a nine-month contract instead of a twelve-month. My recommendation is to live in an on-campus apartment. It's more expensive and you only get one room, but you have a kitchenette and no roommate (at least no roommate who shares the bedroom with you). And more importantly, you aren't required to have a meal plan in the on-campus apartments.

    Unfortunately I don't know anything about Northfield, since I didn't go to Carleton.
  8. Aug 31, 2009 #7
    I see...Thanks for the advice.
  9. Aug 31, 2009 #8
    I did go to Carleton. It's a great school and I had a wonderful time (I did math, not physics). Carleton is switching toward having everyone live on campus, so you would have to check their website to find those rates. You will find that, while Northfield itself is pretty cheap, attending Carleton is pretty expensive.
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