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Need advice on universities

  1. Nov 12, 2009 #1
    A brief introduction: I'm a senior, international, applying to universities in the US (and Cambridge). So far, I've applied to Cambridge, Caltech and University of Chicago (the last 2 were EA). But these are all, I would think, nearly impossible for me to get into - I have the scores (meaning that a fair amount of people have gotten in with worse than what I'm applying with), but I haven't been able to do anything that would demonstrate to them that I am actually interested in physics (and I'm almost certain that I want to major in physics and maths).

    Now, I've talked to my physics teacher a fair bit and the one thing he stressed was that I should look at big universities with a lot of money (where I would get to play with 'the big toys'), and I'm inclined to agree with him. The trouble I'm having now is deciding on places where I have a decent chance of being accepted with a good-very good physics program and said 'big toys'. My question is if anyone has any recommendations here; are there any hidden gems, so to speak, that I should consider?

    Also, for the most part, I have a rough idea of what universities are considered at least somewhat 'good' (though maybe not for physics?), and I know a few which I think I like (UC Berkeley, Reed College & UMich Ann Arbor). But I feel like I'm missing something here when I look things up - is there anything in particular I should be searching for (rather than just 'good physics universities')?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 12, 2009 #2
    Berkeley is rich......probably the richest....
  4. Nov 12, 2009 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Undergraduate (BS) or graduate school (PhD)?
  5. Nov 13, 2009 #4
    Woops, sorry; forgot to mention that. I'm applying for undergrad freshman; currently a senior in high school.
  6. Nov 13, 2009 #5
    Well here is some rankings of the RESEARCH OUTPUT of american uni's (http://physics.about.com/b/2009/04/23/us-news-college-physics-rankings.htm). However, honestly if I was an american I'd recommend doing your undergrad at a quality state school. Undergrad classes will be pretty similar no matter where you go and if you excel at a state school there's nothing stopping you from going to one of the top 5 for grad school. And the reason I'd recommend it is that it's my understanding that state schools are less retardedly expensive than "private" schools. So I'd save your money because once you're in grad school no one cares where you did your undergrad (and once you're a post doc no one cares where you did your grad, and once you're a junior prof... etc.)
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