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Schools Should I take a gap year to get into UT Dallas?

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I've been admitted to UT Arlington with 100% tuition scholarship. However, even after the scholarship, the living expenses are quite a bit for me (however, with on campus jobs and all, I believe my family will be able to manage so I think that I'll leave the financial issues aside). I'm not eligible right now for the 100% tuition scholarship from UTD, but with about a month's more preparation, I think I'll be able to raise my SAT score from 1370 to 1530+ in order to qualify for the highest scholarship which covers up the tuition, mandatory fees and gives me additional $6,000 which drastically reduces my living expenses which would help a lot.

I ultimately want to obtain a PhD in Astronomy and I understand that my performance as an undergraduate student would carry much more weight than which institution I attended. However, attending UTD (I think) would be better in that it would offer me more opportunities for undergraduate research which would strengthen my application for grad school.

What do you think? Will taking a gap year for UTD be worth it?
 

DrSteve

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It's wishful thinking to assume that your SAT scores will improve by such a large margin, unless there were some special circumstances surrounding your first attempt. Turning down a 100% tuition scholarship for some hypothetical improvement that may lead to a hypothetical scholarship at another in-state institution strikes me as an unsound idea. The time for the gap year decision was before applying, not after acceptance. The UT system may frown on a future application if you turn this one down. It would not hurt, however, to call UTD admissions and run your scenario by one of the admissions officers. Proceed very cautiously.
 
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The UT system may frown on a future application if you turn this one down. It would not hurt, however, to call UTD admissions and run your scenario by one of the admissions officers. Proceed very cautiously.
Will calling them really help? Will they be able to offer me admission? By the way, I won't literally be able to call them. I'm an international student and would most certainly send an email instead.
 

DrSteve

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Will they be able to offer me admission?
No, they won't. The call/email would be to find out the prospects for admission NEXT year, given that you've already been accepted into UT Arlington THIS year. They certainly won't encourage you to do what you propose, but may tell you whether it's theoretically possible at all.
 

Vanadium 50

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In addition to everything Dr. Steve said, I question the very premise that somehow UTD is vastly superior to UTA in research.
 
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In addition to everything Dr. Steve said, I question the very premise that somehow UTD is vastly superior to UTA in research.
Will it really not make that much of a difference? I mean, UTD is in 300-400 in ARWU rankings while UTA doesn't even appear.
 
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Just go to UT-Arlington...

BTW, is the 1370 out of 1600 or 2400?
 

Vanadium 50

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Rankings, rankings, rankings. That's all that matters to some people.
 
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Rankings, rankings, rankings. That's all that matters to some people.
I know, I know, I know! :D

But see, they do give at least some idea of how good of a university really is. And being an international student, I can't really go to the university and see whether it fits me or not, I have just the Internet and both look very similar to me--not much research in Astronomy, but a hell lot in nano, cancer, particle and stuff.
 
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Just go to UT-Arlington...

BTW, is the 1370 out of 1600 or 2400?
Obviously 1600! Else I wouldn't have gotten the full scholarship anywhere!
 
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StatGuy2000

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I know, I know, I know! :D

But see, they do give at least some idea of how good of a university really is. And being an international student, I can't really go to the university and see whether it fits me or not, I have just the Internet and both look very similar to me--not much research in Astronomy, but a hell lot in nano, cancer, particle and stuff.
The problem with the rankings is that they there are legitimate questions about how well they measure just how a good a university is. Rankings is only one piece of information you should consider, and rankings is no substitute for careful research and investigation on all of the factors to take in on whether to go to one particular school or another.

If I were you, if you were offered a full scholarship to UT Arlington, I would recommend that you take it! (as I've already mentioned in another thread you started) Full scholarships for international students at American universities are very competitive (they tend to be reserved for domestic students), so this is an incredible offer for you. If you work hard and do well in your studies, then I am confident you should have about as a good chance as anyone to enter into a good graduate program.

BTW, you mentioned you are an international student. Which country are you from?
 
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But see, they do give at least some idea of how good of a university really is.
They really don't. It may sound weird, but it is possible to be better educated at a number 100 university than at a number 1 university. What matters is how much you put in. If you take a lot of opportunities and self-study or not. Sure, at a top 1 university, you'll get more opportunities. But is that worth not taking a full scholarship?
 
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If I were you, if you were offered a full scholarship to UT Arlington, I would recommend that you take it! (as I've already mentioned in another thread you started) Full scholarships for international students at American universities are very competitive (they tend to be reserved for domestic students), so this is an incredible offer for you. If you work hard and do well in your studies, then I am confident you should have about as a good chance as anyone to enter into a good graduate program.

BTW, you mentioned you are an international student. Which country are you from?
I understand it's difficult getting full scholarship for an international student, but isn't it the case that, for UTA, at least, if someone gets 1300+/1600 in SAT (which is not all that difficult to achieve), he/she will automatically be awarded the 100% scholarship?

And yeah, it does make sense to go with UTA instead of wasting a year. I can always do research during the summer, so I guess it's all right. :)

Also, I'm from India.
 
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They really don't. It may sound weird, but it is possible to be better educated at a number 100 university than at a number 1 university. What matters is how much you put in. If you take a lot of opportunities and self-study or not. Sure, at a top 1 university, you'll get more opportunities. But is that worth not taking a full scholarship?
I understand. And I'm very well aware of the number 100 university vs number 1 and also that my efforts will be more important the school I go to. Check this out:
https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/how-to-get-into-a-top-graduate-school-from-an-unknown-university.865860/page-2#post-5446966
 
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Here's the thing with rankings, especially of the AWRU variety - they are heavily weighted based on research output. Many of the (primarily) undergraduate institutions won't show up, but these are the schools where undergraduate education is heavily valued and nurtured. You might want to think a little more about opportunities to enhance your overall educational experience rather than focusing too strongly this early on the extent and quantity of research opportunities - for example, is there an honors college there with smaller class sizes where you get more contact with the faculty?

Also, undergraduate research is intended to get you used to how real research goes. It's less about the content and more about the experience.
 
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I wonder whether you can do research over the summer at UTD even if you're at UT-Arlington...
 

Vanadium 50

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I have just the Internet and both look very similar to me--not much research in Astronomy
What's weird is that UTA does research in astronomy, and UTD really doesn't - it's more cosmology/GR. This is in the wrong direction!
 
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Here's the thing with rankings, especially of the AWRU variety - they are heavily weighted based on research output. Many of the (primarily) undergraduate institutions won't show up, but these are the schools where undergraduate education is heavily valued and nurtured. You might want to think a little more about opportunities to enhance your overall educational experience rather than focusing too strongly this early on the extent and quantity of research opportunities - for example, is there an honors college there with smaller class sizes where you get more contact with the faculty?

Also, undergraduate research is intended to get you used to how real research goes. It's less about the content and more about the experience.
Makes perfect sense, thank you! :)

Also, does it really not matter which area of Physics I do my research in? I mean, say that I wanna do my PhD in Astronomy. Will it be all right if I do research in Particle Physics during my undergraduate studies? Does the sub-field really not matter?
 
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What's weird is that UTA does research in astronomy, and UTD really doesn't - it's more cosmology/GR. This is in the wrong direction!
How did you know that? I've searched both of their websites thoroughly and couldn't figure that out.
 

Vanadium 50

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How did you know that
Go to their home pages: click on "Reserach". Click on "Astrophysics" for UTA or "Cosmology & Relativity" for UTD. Read what they do.
 
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I mean, say that I wanna do my PhD in Astronomy. Will it be all right if I do research in Particle Physics during my undergraduate studies? Does the sub-field really not matter?
Maybe someone else will correct me if I'm wrong, but do you want to do astrophysics or astronomy? At some schools, the astronomy department is completely separate from the physics department (and much more competitive to be admitted into), so if that's your goal you're probably going to want astronomy research. But if you're doing astrophysics (which is generally in the physics department), it doesn't matter, you just need to be admitted into physics.
 
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Go to their home pages: click on "Reserach". Click on "Astrophysics" for UTA or "Cosmology & Relativity" for UTD. Read what they do.
http://www.utdallas.edu/~mxi054000/cosmogroup/res.html
http://www.uta.edu/physics/pages/research/groups/astrophysics/index.html

Okay, I had actually already seen them. There was a mention of 'Astrophysics' in UT Dallas' website and so I thought that they had research in Astronomy too. Though, it seems as though neither of the universities has been actively involved in research. UT Dallas had students in 2008 and 2007 in their UG research program and UTA did research in Astronomy in 2012 and 2013.
 
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Maybe someone else will correct me if I'm wrong, but do you want to do astrophysics or astronomy? At some schools, the astronomy department is completely separate from the physics department (and much more competitive to be admitted into), so if that's your goal you're probably going to want astronomy research. But if you're doing astrophysics (which is generally in the physics department), it doesn't matter, you just need to be admitted into physics.
That again, I'm not sure. While I am always open to join any sub-discipline in Physics for I'm only 17 and have had exposure to those fields only via books and online courses, I had narrowed it down to something related to Space Science. Now, I don't know at all if I wanna go into Astronomy or Astrophysics or Cosmology. Or even whether I wanna be a theorist or an experimental (though, I think that I'll most probably end up doing the latter).

P.S. "However, nowadays, the two terms are more or less interchangeable since all astronomers use physics to understand their findings." http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/about-us/145-people-in-astronomy/careers-in-astronomy/general-questions/892-what-s-the-difference-between-astronomy-and-astrophysics-intermediate
 

Vanadium 50

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UTA did research in Astronomy in 2012 and 2013.
I don't know where you get this. They submitted a paper last Friday.

These two threads of yours involve a lot of jumping to conclusions. This is not a trait most scientists find useful.
 
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