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Is the ivy league education worth it for a physics major?

  1. Apr 3, 2017 #1
    Good Afternoon. My name is Nicolas Beltran. I am a high school student who would really like your advice on an issue I have.

    It has always been my dream to study physics, however I never saw it as a feasible choice because in my country, Colombia, there are little to few options in which true research can be done. However, last fall, I applied to the ivy league and surprisingly I got accepted to Columbia, Brown, Penn and Cornell. Unfortunately, the universities that accepted me didn't give me any financial aid at all. Besides these universities, Purdue and Ohio state accepted me as well. I think that I can afford the ivy league schools with huge amounts of effort(and running out of money for my graduate studies and in someways risking the financial stability of my family), but my question is: Do you think it is worth it? Would going to Purdue compromise my future as a true researcher? would the physics education I would get from those schools be radically different from the one at Purdue? I am sorry for asking you. It's just that no one where i live has any idea about Ivy league or physics . I just want to know if the sacrifice would be worth it. I ask you because I think that you have the authority to have an opinion on the ivy league and its education. Thanks a lot in advance, Sorry for Bothering you, Nicolas Beltran
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 3, 2017 #2


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    Please note that here in the US, there are A LOT of universities that are relatively unfamiliar and unknown to those outside the US which are considered to be equally respected. Purdue and Ohio State are two such institutions. For instance, read this brief history of the Purdue physics dept. there:


    You'll notice several significant names came out of this school, or have worked there.

    If you graduate with excellent grades from those two, no one in their right mind would tell you that your undergraduate institution would be compromised. These two schools are nothing to sneeze at.

  4. Apr 3, 2017 #3
    More schools exist than just Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Caltech, Yale, and Brown; you may want to look into the concept of the public ivies, the universities you've been accepted to are definitely up to that par:

  5. Apr 3, 2017 #4


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    First, congratulations on gaining acceptance to so many good schools. You must be a very strong student.

    I think your own statement answers the question, given that you have very good options that are much more affordable than an Ivy. Can there be benefits to to an Ivy degree listed on a resume? Sure. Is there always a significant benefit? No. I would never recommend risking the financial stability of a family for it.

  6. Apr 3, 2017 #5
    Name recognition and alumni networks can be really powerful. Maybe more-so than grades? But just get good grades either way ;-). I chose a half-pay big name over a full ride at a public ivy. My family did suffer somewhat, but they were strongly supportive of the decision. The name recognition has definitely opened doors for me. Some loans can be deferred if you have student status. I'm still deferring loans from 6 years ago without interest because I am a grad student. I guess "no financial aid" might mean you're not even given access to these loans however.

    Best of luck with your decision and beyond. By the way, until now your decisions have probably only opened doors. In high school you can basically just say yes to everything. Now (college and beyond) decisions will mean closing other doors. It was a hard transition for me, learning to say no.
  7. Apr 4, 2017 #6
    One common piece of advice that you'll get around here is to go to a more affordable university for undergrad, do well, and then go to an Ivy League for graduate school where it's not only free, but they actually pay you.
  8. Apr 4, 2017 #7
    Ohio State debt free is a better deal than the Ivy league with lots of debt. Purdue also.
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