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How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admitted

  1. Jul 22, 2010 #1
    How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also have been able to get into top programs? I really want to know.

    Like I know a lot of people take a load of college courses in high school and pretty much have the ability to graduate in less than 4 years.

    Are those type of people that really gets into top programs? Or will grad school actually look down on them because of "lack of experience"?

    Are there people that graduate from their undergrad younger than age of 22 (or maybe 23 or 21?)
     
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  3. Jul 22, 2010 #2

    nicksauce

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    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    I don't see why anyone would want to graduate that quickly. Not only do the things you learn set the foundation for the rest of your career, but they are also going to be the most fun years of your life. Why rush through it?

    BTW I graduated at age 21, but really only because I have a late birthday.
     
  4. Jul 23, 2010 #3
    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    When did you enter college, at what age?
     
  5. Jul 23, 2010 #4
    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    There is a girl in my second year undergrad courses who is still in highschool, like age 17. I imagine she will finish her 4 year by age 19
     
  6. Jul 23, 2010 #5

    eof

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    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    There's a guy in my Ph.D. program who is a 3rd year starting this fall and he's 20. In my (and his) concentration we are ranked ~10 by US News.
     
  7. Jul 23, 2010 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    I graduated in 3 years. I don't recommend it.

    I got into the program of my choice, although I waited a year before applying. I worked in industry for that year, although I also took night classes.
     
  8. Jul 23, 2010 #7

    nicksauce

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    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    Age 17.
     
  9. Jul 23, 2010 #8

    mrb

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    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    I graduated in 3 years. I didn't have any credit from high school; I just took summer courses and took an extra class each semester. I actually could have graduated in 2.5 years just as easily (and that was in fact my original plan), except I would have been taking random classes I didn't care about my last summer, so I skipped that summer and took graduate math classes the following semester.

    For my situation, I'm very glad I did this. My undergrad institution was frankly not a good fit for me; everything was way too easy. I can't imagine if I had been taking fewer classes and stretching the process out a whole extra year; I would have been bored out of my mind. For a variety of reasons, the social aspects of college were not a factor for me. College was certainly not going to be "the most fun years" of my life or anything like that.

    I did not get into the level of grad school I hoped for, but I don't think this had anything to do with graduating in 3 years. I think it mostly comes down to the quality of my undergrad school. Maybe if I had been there another year I could have had more flexibility in my schedule and arrange things to have more grad classes on my transcript or something, but I doubt it.
     
  10. Jul 23, 2010 #9
    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    Then is it true that top grad school will want those people as opposed to regular people who goes to college at age 18 and expects to graduate in 4-years? And they throw away any applicants older than that?
     
  11. Jul 23, 2010 #10

    mrb

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    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    gretun:

    Assuming you're replying to me: it's not at all clear to me what you are saying. You seem to be under the impression that I have said that grad schools are only after students who graduate early and throw away applications from older applicants.

    All I can say is, that's not what I said.
     
  12. Jul 23, 2010 #11
    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    gretun, the answer to your question is a resounding NO! People who had done their undergraduate and Masters studies in the country where I live get accepted to top PhD programs (think MIT) "all the time" (an exaggeration, obviously, just to illustrate the point), and from what I gather none of them sped things up. They graduate from a top 500 university at best, do that in the time they are supposed to and they still get in.

    You seem to have a lot of misconceptions in regards to getting into (top) graduate programs, and I feel as if this concentrating on factors other than how you perform only drains you. If you don't stop worrying about that stuff, you'll be in a whole lot of trouble. Focus on what's important and think rationally for a second. Go browse a couple of top grad programs' website and look at where the students did their undergraduate degree. I think you'll find that the universities are equally spread all around the world. I know you probably won't see their age, but seriously, it's ridiculous (yes, this is the proper word for it) to think applications from those who don't finish their degrees faster than they're supposed to get disregarded.
     
  13. Jul 23, 2010 #12
    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    I had a classmate who got a math degree and physics degree in three years, with the help of some AP credit. He got the marshal scholarship and is at Cambridge now.
     
  14. Jul 23, 2010 #13
    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    But it seems like everyone who graduates earlier, say within 3 years all got into top programs, you guys proved it! Should I really give up my life, basically reading non-stop for 2 years and cut off all social contact so I may be even competitive with other applicants?
     
  15. Jul 23, 2010 #14
    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    If that is what you want out of life. Most people dont want that though, and are content to have more balance in their life even if it means they dont get into 'top' schools. Its your choice.
     
  16. Jul 23, 2010 #15

    mrb

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    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    I specifically said I did NOT get into a top program... And I promise you, most grad students at top schools did not finish undergrad early. So graduating early is neither necessary nor sufficient to get into a top school. In fact, it's probably mostly irrelevant, except for maybe a small correlation in that students who graduate early are likely to be motivated and reasonably smart.

    What grad students at top schools did do is spend their 4 years of college studying and working very hard. When you say, "Should I really give up my life, basically reading non-stop for 2 years and cut off all social contact so I may be even competitive with other applicants?" Well, literally speaking, no, of course not. But you should be prepared to devote a very substantial portion of your life to studying and learning. If that scares you, why do you want to go into an academic field in the first place?
     
  17. Jul 23, 2010 #16
    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    How did anyone here prove it? Where have you heard of theories being proven by anecdotal evidence? And even more so, by weak evidence as is presented here? Yes, people that have finished early have gotten into top programs. But not everyone that finished early did. On the flip side, even more people that have not finished early have gotten into top grad programs. So what does that tell you?

    And if I may entertain you with a personal anecdote. This year I was basically in the predicament of choosing between changing my career path completely (doing a second degree in Physics) and doing postgrad studies in the field where I had done my first undergraduate degree. Now I do realize there are probably differences in getting into a top Physics PhD program and the Masters program that I applied for (caveat here being that a Masters in "my" field isn't even remotely considered a consolation prize as people here portray Physics Masters degrees), but I don't believe there are huge differences in how hard it is to get in. So basically, to cut my story short, I graduated from a university that makes it to top 500 in the last years, but isn't by any means a prestigious one, not in Europe and not even in the region surrounding the country. It's a good university, but people from outside the country aren't flocking to go there. The degree is supposed to be obtained in 4 + 1 years (the additional year is a peculiar feature of our system) and I did it in roughly 5 years and 3 months. For someone that doesn't know our system that would be as if I took a year and a quarter longer than I was supposed to. In that extra time I took no additional courses. I was top 2% of the class, but no Valedictorian. Apart from the grades, I had nothing, except for a study exchange, lasting half a semester, that took me to another European country to a university that you'd find in the top 100 by rankings, but again, not world class. I got into Oxbridge (but turned it down, as I will in fact be pursuing a second undergrad degree in Physics). So what do you make of that? If all of the stuff you're mentioning matters, how do you explain my case? I believe you are left with two options, a) Oxford and Cambridge are *not* top programs or b) you don't need to finish your degree early.
     
  18. Jul 23, 2010 #17

    eumyang

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    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    Why did the OP start this thread when he/she started on very similar to it a little over 3 weeks ago?
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=413109"

    And I don't understand why the OP is obsessed with getting into a "top program." What's so wrong with finding a school that is a good fit FOR THE STUDENT (academically, socially, financially), regardless of reputation? :confused:


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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  19. Jul 23, 2010 #18
    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    You are jumping to conclusions way too fast. That's not at all what people are saying. Remember, correlation does not imply causation. Just because you hear about a few people who graduated early and got into good grad schools does not mean it was because they graduated early. They may have been especially strong students, which enabled them to graduate early. Those strong students would be the onces accepted into the programs. And on top of that, you're basing your conclusion way on an extremely small amount of data. Basically, your claim is fallacious.
    I would say that a lot of people in the top graduate schools took 4 years to complete undergraduate school. People graduate early mainly because of cost and wanting to get one year "ahead", but not so they can look better to graduate schools. If you want to graduate early, do it for the correct reasons. Graduating early because you think it'll make you look better to grad schools is a terrible idea. On top of having to cut out potentially useful classes that you might have taken if you had used your 4 years, you also cut out a year of research experience, which is vital in applications.
     
  20. Jul 23, 2010 #19
    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    Depending on his career goals, getting into a top graduate program could make him much more marketable, especially in something like academia.
     
  21. Jul 23, 2010 #20
    Re: How many people graduate from their undergrad in less than 4 years, but also admi

    I agree with other people that graduating faster will not help you get into top grad programs. That being said there could certainly be a correlation between people who graduate early and those who get into top grad programs. This could be because the people who graduate early are those who are smarter and work harder. But please realize that I said correlation. This does not prove cause.
     
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