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Math Major Looking to Transfer to a More Relaxed School

  1. Jul 27, 2013 #1


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    Short and sweet
    I am an undergraduate math major attempting to transfer. I am looking for help composing a list of schools to visit.

    Some Information about Myself
    I'm not a terribly academically driven guy. While I've come across some success academically, it's mostly been the result of sincere interest as well as some easy courses. As such, I'm not sure what I want to do after or even during the summers of my undergraduate education. The idea is that I've studied the math that I have because I find the material intriguing and the process of learning it enjoyable and even exciting (as anyone who's ever seen me running and jumping around while I was reading a math textbook can attest to), but that I am skeptical that my relationship with studying mathematics is one that will persist at higher levels. Really what I'm trying to do in this section is separate myself from those students whose eyes are 100% on grad school and PhDs.

    Academic History
    Out of high school, I attended Harvey Mudd, where I enjoyed an academically successful freshman year (including Harvey Mudd's "Summer Math" program), achieving a high GPA and "Dean's List." Sophomore year, however, consisted of a couple of false starts due to personal reasons, ultimately landing me out of school without any sophomore grades to my name. At home during the span of my would-be-sophomore year though, I did pass out of Harvey Mudd's Mathematical Analysis I course and completed the work for it's Abstract Algebra I course, studying in Rudin and Dummit & Foote, respectively. Harvey Mudd has expressed that they would welcome me back if I demonstrate sufficient investment, but for now, I've decided to embrace my current opportunity and look for a better fit.

    What I'm Looking for in a School
    As a math major, I'm obviously looking for a school with a strong math program. I'm also looking for a place with a relaxed atmosphere, where socializing outside of academics and parties is pervasive. Just generally, I'm not into partying and noise, so while I'm fine with it being an option, it would have to be avoidable. I'd also very much prefer a place more in the middle-of-nowhere -- some place that's not smoggy and where I could drive a short while to some nature trails. Finally, I think I'd also fair better at a larger school, where it's possible to achieve some anonymity. Of course, I've only ever attended one college, so all of these criteria are relative to Harvey Mudd. Furthermore, some of these criteria could be misguided, so don't feel like any school you recommend has to match all of them.

    Concluding Remarks
    Just to reiterate, I'm just trying to come up with a preliminary list. Ultimately, the biggest factor in where I go is going to be 'how the place feels' when I visit. I'd also like to note that, in addition to you guys, I'm consulting a college counselor as well as some of my past teachers whose opinion I especially value. The reason I'm coming here at all is that I find that many of you here at Physics Forums are particularly sane and discerning when it comes to matters of career and education and have a perspective that will be hard to come by elsewhere.

    Thanks in advanced for all help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 27, 2013 #2
    While not large, Reed College in Portland is supposed to have a good math program. Very demanding too, I hear. I am near certain that other than Mudd, it may well be the only liberal arts college that has a proof based calculus course before the sophomore year. And that's assuming you haven't tested out of 1st semester calc. But of course, you will not be doing this course.

    I hear that it's practically next to a canyon. But I get the impression that there are lots of hipsters around Portland, though I hear that they also make very good beers there. And they are also home to some Agalloch members (a very good band, whose name is derived from some kind of wood), I believe.

    There is also Cornell, in Ithaca. I doubt it needs a description.

    If you were able to get into Harvey Mudd, I doubt either of those schools would be out of your reach, but you might have quite a bit of work to overcome that involuntary gap year. I hope your college counselor is not one of those charlatans.

    Dartmouth is also in the middle of nowhere. There's also UMass Dartmouth, but I don't know about their math department.
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