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Help with choice of undergrad physics program

  1. Jan 30, 2013 #1
    I am a junior in high school and am beginning to evaluate different colleges to see which one I want to attend. I want to be a physicist so a good physics program is mainly what I am looking for in a college. I have heard that most undergrad colleges provide a comparable education and that the main factors that change are things like research opportunities and elective courses. Is this true?

    As far as college choices go, MIT is at the top of my list. If I cannot get admitted there (which I know is quite likely), I will probably go to a nearby engineering school that has research opportunities for physics undergrads (TN Tech, if you are interested). Does this sound like a good plan? Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for any responses.
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  3. Jan 30, 2013 #2


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    Wait. Is there nothing in between MIT and TN Tech? Is it either MIT or bust?

  4. Jan 30, 2013 #3


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    If you want to stay in-state for financial reasons, I suspect U of Tennessee (Knoxville) has good research opportunities, with its proximity to Oak Ridge.
  5. Jan 30, 2013 #4
    @ZapperZ, No, MIT is just the school I would choose first if I was accepted. I have considered other prestigious schools on the east coast (I live in TN, so I don't really want to go to CA or some other place far to the west), and I think that TN Tech looks like a good, comparatively cheap school to attend if I cannot get admitted into a prestigious school.

    EDIT: I have read that prestige is not that important when considering undergrad programs, so I do not feel like I absolutely need to get into any prestigious school. I merely want to so that I can have the best chance to get into the grad school of my choosing.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  6. Jan 30, 2013 #5
    @jtbell, Thank you for the suggestion. I had previously considered UT, but had not understood the full scope of research opportunities available. After reviewing the website, I now realize that there is indeed quite a lot of research going on, with undergrad assistance readily available. The physics program looks good, and I could probably attend with scholarships that covered a large amount of tuition.
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