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Need Help With a Fallback School

  1. Sep 13, 2013 #1
    So, I'm a hopeful physics and/or applied physics/engineering physics major. Maybe Materials Science. I have my main list of colleges to apply to, and my record looks pretty good, but the least selective of them is Georgia Tech, at 41.5% admitted last year. I'm going to need good financial aid, as I'm in the lowest income bracket.

    Can I have your guys' help in identifying a not-so-selective school with a good program in one or more of my interests above? I'm pretty sure I'm going to get into Georgia Tech, but I want to make sure I don't have to have a gap year if I don't get into any of the others.
    P.S. I'm coming from WA, but I really don't want to stay here. Preferably a school on the east coast or in CA, but I can be flexible on that end.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 13, 2013 #2
    USC, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Boston College, lots of options. Undergrad isn't as important as grad school. Find an affordable top 100 school in an area you like, get good grades and then apply for a big time grad school.
  4. Sep 13, 2013 #3


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    Check out UMD. I'm particularly biased but there's a lot of research going on here and we just joined the "Big Ten" which means more funding, more research (and there was already quite a bit!). We're also getting a brand new building for physics and a few other sciences.


    The engineering program is also well regarded.


    It's moderately selective but they really do like to bring in a lot of out of state students.

    You're also in a fairly decent area for when you graduate. The DC metro has a decent amount of jobs.
  5. Sep 13, 2013 #4
    Thanks, Greg! I'm kind of just hoping that for my undergrad, I'll be assured opportunities to do undergrad research and/or internships, or co-op. I was hoping to not do as deep a study into 100 more colleges, which is why I came here.
    Thanks, Hayley! I hadn't been considering UMD. Is UMD separate from University of Maryland Baltimore-County? Awh, dawn, UMD isn't on the Common App. That's another application to fill out -_- But hey, it looks like a nice program. I'll check it out. =)
    EDIT: Because of the program I'm in, which is allowing me to replace HS classes with CC classes, UMD has me being a transfer student. That change anything? Hmm... It'd be interesting to be considered a transfer student! :D
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  6. Sep 13, 2013 #5


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    Yes, they are two different schools. UMBC is also very good, but if you want engineering-- UMD college park is the school to go to.

    Additionally, closer to home is Oregon State-- another great Engineering program for a state school. And I worked in a lab there. The facilities for physics are a bit older but the engineering facilities are quite new and well kept. I had friends that chose OSU over other more competitive schools because of the large variety of engineering specializations available.


    Corvallis as a town is more of a "rural meets urban" feel. It's nice, but not the same as College Park where you can take the bus to DC within an hour.
  7. Sep 13, 2013 #6
    I'd rather not be closer to home. Personal issues. Anyways, my true home's in Florida/Georgia, but living near DC/New York sounds awfully swell.
    By the way, I edited my post above. And it seems really nice - if I'm considered a transfer student, my earliest deadline for UMD would be March 1st. No stress to complete it in the next month, hah. ^_^ So it'd be a perfect fallback school!
  8. Sep 13, 2013 #7


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    Well, good luck!

    The only downsides to UMD you might want to be aware of:

    On campus housing is competitive--apply early and don't overlook those living/learning communities
    On campus parking is expensive and limited. Also, the cops give more parking tickets than anything.
    The surrounding area isn't incredibly safe, but isn't *too bad*. If you live off campus, it's important not to be dumb. Be aware of your surroundings and don't walk around alone late at night.
    It's a big school, they lose paperwork/put you off unless you pester. Follow up on everything.
    Also, there's a nauseating amount of school pride. It's nice at times, but I can imagine it would annoy some.

    Just to give you a well-rounded idea. It's not utopia, but it's pretty nice.
  9. Sep 13, 2013 #8
    City College CUNY. Really strong in engineering, incredibly cheap for in-state residents (not bad either for out of state residents).
    There is, on the downside, next to no dormitories. So, living would occur on your own in NYC (might find a way to get it covered).
  10. Sep 14, 2013 #9
    Thanks, guys! Just remembered to do the Thanks on your posts.
    If I manage to get into a cheap school, I might be able to handle my own accommodations with living. Jufro, what experience are you speaking from? Did you go to the school? :) I'd be out-of-state, so I hope it wouldn't be too bad! Any other downsides I should know about?
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