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How much does where you go for your undergrad matter?

  1. Dec 16, 2013 #1
    I want to go into aerospace engineering and I have really messed up in high school (not going into details) long story short I am definitely not getting into some big name school I am trying to improve but I am beginning to realize how little of an impact I am having. I am not going to stop trying but I was wondering how much it matters if I go to some metropolitan community college for my undergrad as far as going to a better school for my graduate program.
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  3. Dec 17, 2013 #2

    Andy Resnick

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    As a general statement, admissions committees like to see applicants with a clear sense of purpose who can provide evidence that they are focused on achieving their goal. In terms of academics, improvement over time is an example. In terms of scholarship, it's a record of 'products'. In terms of leadership, it's typically service to an organization.
  4. Dec 17, 2013 #3


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    When you apply to a graduate program, you are evaluated on a number of different factors by the committee. Grades, and home institution are part of that. But they are just pieces of the "you" that you are to present as a whole.

    You will also be evaluated by your pGRE scores, research, SOP, letters of recommendation.

    Since you're from a no-name school (assuming), and you didn't do as well in HS, what you can really focus on is gaining a strong upward trend in your grades. A B or C your freshman year begins to hurt a bit less when you continued the sequence with A's.

    Develop a good working relationship with a few of your professors.

    Get involved in research. If there is no research opportunities at your university, there are excellent opportunities via REU programs.

    Really, the worst case is that you take the Masters somewhere, and then do the PhD. But I'm sure you if you work at it, you'll be capable of presenting a product that graduate schools want to buy. They want to know you'll be able to keep up with the pace of the work and produce papers.

  5. Dec 22, 2013 #4
    THanks for the help I'm still in high school and that's what I was worried about.
  6. Dec 28, 2013 #5


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    it is difficult to assess your position without knowing what you consider "good schools" and "bad schools". this being said, getting A's in a CC will get you into a good undergrad program, where A's there will qualify you into a good grad program, should you decide.

    honestly, judging by your initial post, you really have no clue if you'll even like aerospace, since in high school most people don't have a working knowledge of calculus, diff eq, linear algebra, foundational physics, fluid dynamics, PDEs, etc. there is literally SO much ahead i would only focus on getting A's in whats in front of you and let the future worry about itself
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