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Schools Looking for a decent math/physics/astronomy university to transfer to.

  1. Jun 20, 2011 #1
    I am currently a sophomore math major at Utah Valley University. I want to transfer to a university where I could get a good physics/astronomy degree. I've been looking at MIT, but I was wondering what sorts of universities others would recommend.
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  3. Jun 21, 2011 #2


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    If you've "been looking" at MIT, you undoubtedly know how difficult it is to transfer there. If you have a reasonable shot at transferring to MIT, you don't need "recommendations" from anyone, as MIT is a world-class institution.

    So, I would contend your question is pointless. Of course everyone is going to "recommend" world-class institutions. Whether or not you can get into them is a different story.
  4. Jun 21, 2011 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    A month ago you wanted to be a mathematician. Before that, you say you were a theatre major. I would not recommend transferring until you have made up your mind.
  5. Jun 21, 2011 #4
    It is difficult to give advice as to schools to transfer into without more understanding of what you don't like about UVU, what you want in a university, and how your doing academically.

    Unless you have some impressive accomplishment, it is fairly unlikely that you will get into MIT as a transfer. It has a transfer acceptance rate of ~2%. Already the applicants are self-selected, most doing very well (excellent grades, research, etc) at universities all over the world. Similarly, most of MIT's peer institutions (caltech, harvard, princeton, yale, stanford, uchicago, etc) have similar statistics.

    I would recommend figuring out what you really want to do, whether you can do that at UVU or not, and if not look at lots of schools throughout the spectrum of "competitiveness".
  6. Jun 21, 2011 #5
    I joined this site to ask questions, not to be told that I'm an idiot. My cousin is an MIT grad, so I am well aware of the difficulty to get in, the cost of attendance, and the caliber of the education.

    I was hoping for advice more along the lines of "I went to UC Berkeley, I loved the education I got. The professors were great to work with. The area, although costly is nice to live in, etc."
  7. Jun 21, 2011 #6
    Thank you for being the first person who has been helpful in answering my question.

    I have a 3.9 GPA and am in the < .5% of the student population who has been awarded the institution's presidential scholarship.

    Although UVU is a good university in other things, I feel like I would receive a better physics/mathematics education elsewhere. They also do not offer an astronomy/astrophysics major or emphasis. I am looking for a university that is outside of the state of Utah. I would like to find a university were I would have a decent opportunity for financial aid. Since the growing student population of over 35,000 is overwhelming at times, I would prefer to find a school that is about the same size or smaller. A program with personable professors and small class sizes would be a bonus.

    UVU is also very non-competitive, I am hoping to find an institution with more clout.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
  8. Jun 21, 2011 #7
    I go to school in a neighboring state (Arizona). I put the following in order on what I think would be the best fit for you; judging on what you posted.

    University of Arizona

    They have a physics and astronomy program. On their site they have a list of research opportunities for their physics undergraduates. The faculty post skills and knowledge they would recommend the undergraduates to have to contact for research. Also, I think there is access to the Kitt's Peak observatory. I don't know if the physics and astronomy department are together or separate, but this university has the largest department.

    Northern Arizona University

    They have a physics and astronomy program here as well. This is the school I attend so I can probably give the most details about this one. They like to focus on their undergraduates and the professors are good at recognizing their students. Although, I think this can true of any university if you are willing to put yourself out there and introduce yourself. There is also access to a small on-campus observatory and the Lowell Observatory. The smallest department of the three state universities, but not much smaller than ASU.

    Arizona State University

    Only has a physics program, however I have heard about a new astronomy program going on when I was attending an event there just recently. When I visited, the faculty were very nice. This is all I know about the place that is relevant to what you are wanting to know.

    My Opinion

    I think it would be very helpful to browse around and checking out the places others are attending as well. Also, my professors and many around here as well say that a lot of the education you receive is up to how you treat it, i.e. taking advantage of resources, learning beyond the course material, etc.

    If Vanadium 50 is correct, staying would be a good idea.
  9. Jun 22, 2011 #8

    Vanadium 50

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    I still think it is a mistake to transfer until you are sure of what you want to be doing. Every time you transfer schools, you lose some ground. You've already switched directions twice in a short time - theatre to math to physics. If you start coupling this with transfers, you can find yourself very far behind.

    Another thing to think about. There are 15,000,000 college students in America. Being in the top 0.5% means you are in the top 75,000. MIT accepts around 15 transfers per year. Indeed, the total number of people who have graduated with a BS from MIT, integrated over all time, is probably around 75,000.
  10. Jun 22, 2011 #9
    And also your competing with students applying from overseas that are trying to transfer to the US, places like Tsinghua University, University of Beijing, or the IITs.

    Seeing how money seems to be an issue, your best bet is probably whatever state you live in flagship state university (University of Utah?), I know, it is in Utah :P. I would assume also that any of the HYPSMC (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, Caltech) would offer pretty good financial aid (and probably the rest of the Ivies too). However I would generally wager that most out of state, state universities would be relatively stingy with FA.
  11. Jun 22, 2011 #10
    There's a staggering amount of resources already out there that rank schools and discuss transfer options. I don't see any unique circumstances here...
  12. Jun 22, 2011 #11

    Vanadium 50

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    One addition - Utah Valley University has 32,670 undergrads (according to Wikipedia). So the top 0.5% is 163. That's 10x more than MIT accepts in a year.

    You can't limit yourself to Ivies and Ivy-like universities.
  13. Jun 22, 2011 #12
    Vandium, never once did I say I had limited my search to Ivy League schools. Granted, I began my search there because they are the most well known.

    I am fully aware that credit is lost in transfers, time is not an issue to me.

    As for my previous major changes, I highly doubt that being a theater major for half of my very first college semester is going to detriment my educational progress. I am currently a math major, minoring in physics. Seeing that as a new sophomore I have only completed a year each of calculus and calculus based physics, I would have achieved similar progress on a physics major.

    Pasta, thanks so much for your suggestions. This exactly the sort of help that I am looking for.
  14. Jun 22, 2011 #13

    Vanadium 50

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    I can only go by what you have written. You've mentioned only two places: MIT and Berkeley. Your statement "time is not an issue to me" is in conflict with your statement that you need financial aid. I hope you realize that after 4 years in total, the sources of financial aid start to shut off.
  15. Jun 22, 2011 #14
    Yes, I need financial aid. As an 18 year old with a minimum wage job, I have insufficient savings to pay for an out of state tuition. My parents will not pay for my schooling so I must rely on my own ability to obtain scholarships, grants, and loans. I realize that my ability to obtain financial aid wanes as my education draws nearer to the four year mark. After four years, however, I will hopefully have additional funds saved up should my education require a few additional semesters.

    I hope this helps clarify my situation, since you can only go by what I have written.
  16. Jun 23, 2011 #15


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    I still don't see any advice in this thread that you couldn't have found yourself with just a little bit of motivation and internet search skills. Figure out what you're prepared to spend in terms of travel, tuition, etc. and start narrowing your choices down. We're not going to do your work for you, which is what you seem to be asking for. It's your decision and you're future... start acting like you care enough to put in an ounce of effort.
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