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Schools Rice or UT Austin Physics Dean's Scholars

  1. Mar 28, 2016 #1
    My kid has been accepted as an incoming freshman at UT Austin and at Rice. Also Vanderbilt, Oberlin and Case Western, but he thinks he has ruled those out. He really is having a hard time deciding. He was worried about the size and bureaucracy of UT, but he would be in a smaller Dean's Scholars programs plus the Plan II honors program, so that would help some. Rice, known for its quirky, smart, creative students, seems like a great fit, but it's a good bit smaller in terms of classes and opportunities, and it's also a good bit more expensive. Any insight into or advice about studying physics at either of these schools? His parents are clueless. Thank you!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 29, 2016 #2

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    I had a niece who went through UT Austin Plan II program. She did well, went on to Harvard Law and became an international lawyer practicing contracts law in London, China and Singapore.

    Rice is a good school too although I don't know much about other than a few students I've met over the years.

    Most students prefer Austin to Houston though as it's smaller, less intimidating, has a diverse music scene and is less impacted by Texas culture than other Texas cities.

    Sometimes though its best for students to go to liberal arts schools where there aren't so many diverse activities where they can have smaller classes and stay focused on their studies. I went to Union College in NY, a small liberal arts school similar in tone to Oberlin where the total student population was about 2000-3000 students on campus as compared to UT Austin where there are 50,000+ students grad/undergrad on campus.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Texas_at_Austin

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice_University

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_College

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oberlin_College
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016
  4. Mar 29, 2016 #3

    MarneMath

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    Education Advisor

    I did my masters at Rice and I enjoyed my time there. Rice has an absolutely beautiful campus in the heart of a major city. There may be less "research" opportunities when compared to UT and that's because Rice is the second smallest research inst in the country,;however, it has has plenty of opportunities for the 3,000 undergraduates there (compared to the 50,000+ at UT). Furthermore, Rice has such a good name that it would not be difficult for your child to find an internship in the industry in the city of Houston. What I enjoyed most about Rice was the caliber of students, not just in an intelligence but also as generally good people. You'll find a lot of people who are filled with depth and breadth.

    I should add that our alumni network is rather strong. It isn't uncommon for someone to reach out to me based on this connection.
     
  5. Mar 30, 2016 #4
    Thanks much to both of you for replying. He has visited both campuses a lot, so he knows most of the general things to know about the schools. But I guess I'm looking specifically for insight into physics education, how the programs are the same/different. Does it matter if he goes to one over the other, especially if he is in a small group of only 50 Dean's Scholars at UT?
     
  6. Mar 30, 2016 #5

    MarneMath

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    Education Advisor

    I don't see what your concern really is, to be honest. Both schools are going to provide your child with an excellent education in physics and provide him with plenty of opportunity to excel if he choses to apply himself. I'm not a physicist, so I can't speak to how these programs are different or the same. I would simply advise him to look at the course catalog and see if there's any electives that one has that the other doesn't that may appeal to him more.

    In truth, I don't think it matters all that much if he goes to UT or Rice. I have had quality interns from both schools and excellent employees from both. While you may focus on the actual physics education, another aspect that matters is the environment. Austin and Houston are completely different flavors of cities. Rice and UT are completely different flavors of colleges. I would advise that you actually do take this in account, because being happy where you study is important. A strong social network goes a long way towards success, especially in a major that requires team work. Lastly though, as a parent, I would also factor in cost. Odds are your son will set his eyes on graduate school. Odds are he will be funded, but having money to help out with living expenses would certainly make graduate school a bit easier for him.
     
  7. Mar 30, 2016 #6
    Thanks for the reply. It's not a concern really. He is fortunate, and we're grateful for his opportunities. Just a parent with a data-driven kid who is stuck in the decision-making process, and I thought some physics folks might have insight I can't provide since I know nothing about the field.
     
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