Same school for graduate degree as undergrad

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  • Thread starter voyager77
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  • #1
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Maybe this is a no brainer but I figured I'd ask...

I've heard both sides from many different people...some say universities encourage undergrad students to apply elsewhere for grad school, thus if you are going to say, UC Berkeley like me and apply there for grad school as well, it will be harder for you to get in than it would be for a student applying from a different school. Other people say this isn't true and there is no bias against students re-applying admissions wise.

I can see the obvious benefits of going elsewhere for grad shool (gaining experience in a different enviroment, working with different professors, etc.) and I know that this is most definitely the norm for physics students, but I was just thinking...it is Berkeley. I mean why not stay. I love it here and it's arguably the best public university in the USA. I have other reasons to stay as well...friends, family, a great girlfriend, I love the bay area...the school just feels like home. I know I've got to leave the birds nest eventually but if I could get 5-6 extra years out of going to Berkeley that would be pretty awesome.
 

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  • #2
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First, you're talking to the wrong people. You should talk to the faculty at school.

Second, I don't think it's an either-or thing. A school can both encourage you to go elsewhere and also not to bias against their own students. They can think it's a bad choice without taking steps to make sure you don't make it.

Third, you have to consider where you want to go after graduate school. My experience has been that students who go to the same place for graduate school are, with few exceptions, substantially worse than students who have moved on. This is even true for top tier schools. A choice that leaves you less prepared may have negative consequences down the road.
 
  • #3
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I realize the admissions department is the best place to ask, and of course I will consult them on the issue, however I'm at work with nothing to do except browse forums so I figured I'd throw the question out there.

Substantially worse? That's pretty harsh, although I guess I'll take your word for it.

Why do you think this is the case? It seems strange that one top tier grad program versus another could mean the difference between a well rounded student and an abysmal one.

Could you elaborate?
 
  • #4
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I don't know why - is it that good students are poorly served by this program, or that less good students ignore their faculty's advice. I couldn't even tell you cause from effect.

Nevertheless, that is my experience.
 
  • #5
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It's not harder to get admitted, it's harder to get somewhere later. There's a catch though. If the graduate program to which you're applying is a different faculty than the one from which you're getting your bachelor's, that won't hurt you as much. For example, I got my undergraduate degree in biological sciences, and at the same LARGE university, got my Ph.D. in animal sciences. I never had any of the animal sciences faculty teach me for any of my undergraduate work, so it was all brand new for me. Had I gone into one of the programs that fit within the umbrella of the life sciences division, that would have been bad, since I already had those faculty teach my undergraduate courses. To expand upon your education in grad school, it is best to have new faculty teaching your formal courses so your perspectives aren't limited to those of one group of people.

(Yes, I asked around about this same question before I decided to pursue a Ph.D. at the same university where I obtained my B.A.)
 
  • #6
Choppy
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It's not harder to get admitted, it's harder to get somewhere later.
I've heard this before, but I'm not convinced it's the truth. While there are advantages to going elsewhere - expanding your horizons, exposure to other teaching styles, etc. I don't think they weigh heavily on applications for post-doctoral work. Ultimately, an employer is interested in work you've done, the program you've come through and work you will be able to do, rather than whether or not you changed schools at any point in time.

Voyager77, it sounds like you have lots of good reasons to stick around. So, I wouldn't consider "change for the sake of good looks." I would consider applying elsewhere for things like: more interesting projects available, travel experience, securing a graduate admission (sometimes it's a good idea to appy to less competative programs), studying under professors you admire, etc.
 
  • #7
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Thanks for everyone's input. :)
 

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