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

  1. Apr 17, 2016 #1
    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?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 17, 2016 #2

    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.
     
  4. Apr 17, 2016 #3
    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.
     
  5. Apr 17, 2016 #4

    DrSteve

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    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.
     
  6. Apr 18, 2016 #5

    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.
     
  7. Apr 18, 2016 #6
    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.
     
  8. Apr 18, 2016 #7
    Just go to UT-Arlington...

    BTW, is the 1370 out of 1600 or 2400?
     
  9. Apr 18, 2016 #8

    Vanadium 50

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    Rankings, rankings, rankings. That's all that matters to some people.
     
  10. Apr 18, 2016 #9
    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.
     
  11. Apr 18, 2016 #10
    Obviously 1600! Else I wouldn't have gotten the full scholarship anywhere!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
  12. Apr 18, 2016 #11

    StatGuy2000

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    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?
     
  13. Apr 18, 2016 #12

    micromass

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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?
     
  14. Apr 18, 2016 #13
    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.
     
  15. Apr 18, 2016 #14
    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/threa...unknown-university.865860/page-2#post-5446966
     
  16. Apr 18, 2016 #15
    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.
     
  17. Apr 18, 2016 #16
    I wonder whether you can do research over the summer at UTD even if you're at UT-Arlington...
     
  18. Apr 18, 2016 #17

    Vanadium 50

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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!
     
  19. Apr 19, 2016 #18
    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?
     
  20. Apr 19, 2016 #19
    How did you know that? I've searched both of their websites thoroughly and couldn't figure that out.
     
  21. Apr 19, 2016 #20

    Vanadium 50

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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.
     
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