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Should I transfer schools? I really need help please read

  1. Jun 19, 2012 #1
    Hello all,

    I am stuck in a situation here.
    I have just completed 2 years at, lets call it: University A.
    I wish to get into an excellent physics grad school program, preferably a 'top-notch' school. However, the problem is that University A offers basically no research opportunities. There is however, another state university: University B. And if I transfer, I will be only one semester behind.

    This university offers research opportunities. In fact, it is a requirement that I engage in research during the school year before I graduate. I feel like transferring over, engaging in research, excelling in my classes, and preparing for the PGRE asap will improve my chances. The only thing holding me back is the financial reasons. I receive much better funding at University A than I would at B.

    The things I would miss out on if I stay at University A is research opportunities (I can only rely on Summer REUs, currently doing one at Cornell), and course diversity. There are many more physics classes to choose from at University B.

    What do you think is the likelihood of me getting into top-notch grad school programs, given that I excel on the PGRE, do summer REUs, and have a pretty high GPA? University A is a no-name school when it comes to physics...

    Thanks in advance!

    EDIT: Ahh what the hell, I'll tell you the universities.
    University A = Northern Arizona University
    University B = University of Arizona
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  3. Jun 19, 2012 #2
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  4. Jun 19, 2012 #3


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    i think you need advice from someone at some of the relevant schools, preferably including the grad schools you aspire to. but isn't the answer obvious?
  5. Jun 19, 2012 #4


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    We've had similar questions before about how important school status is at the undergrad level. The general consensus is usually, it's not critically important. Your grades, letters of recommendation, and PGRE score all have a bigger influence on grad school admission.

    A diversity of class choice makes life more interesting for the student. But at the undergrad level, the core classes (QM, E&M) are where you need to put your attention, and both schools offer them.

    Can you do a summer at University of Arizona just to see if you like the school?
  6. Jun 19, 2012 #5
    From what you've said about the research opportunities and the availability of classes, I'd simply say: transfer.

    I was in a similar situation with my first uni lacking research and many electives. I transferred after my second year and was able to do about a year and a half of research and taking many electives including grad courses. Yeah the second uni was more expensive but it was worth it.

    As far as your chances to get into a top notch grad program, well that's more complicated. However you certainly need to have some research (and therefore some strong rec letters), a good PGRE, and above average gpa at least. As for my personal experience, I ended up going to an ivy for grad school and I'm certain that the opportunities I took at my second uni gave me that extra push.
  7. Jun 19, 2012 #6
    I'd say go to the University of Arizona...it's a top notch school. I considered going there for my graduate coursework...even met with a few professors. They seemed like pretty nice guys and they do some interesting research.
  8. Jun 19, 2012 #7
    I also suggest considering a transfer if you're planning on a top-notch grad school. Having research under your belt will definitely help in the admissions process.
  9. Jun 19, 2012 #8
    I saw your post in the physicsgre forums. Honestly, I agree with the responses there. I don't think you should transfer. Way too much of a hassle for what it is worth. I think you should focus more on getting awesome summer REUs, awesome grades, and doing well on the PGRE.

    It's the whole idea of the grass being greener on the other side. You will ALWAYS feel like you should be somewhere else, studying something different. Just focus on doing well at your current school, taking the required courses, learning anything you may miss out on your own (if necessary, and definitely not required).

    Not to mention that transferring will put you a semester behind, which, if you are already two years in, is about an extra 25% more time of what you have left. Just stick with it, do well, and everything will work out.

    PS. If I were on a graduate admissions committee, and I saw that a student had transferred schools simply because he was not 100% happy with his school, I would be VERY reluctant to admit them. What's saying they won't do the exact same thing with their graduate school program, and try to transfer schools, or somehow get out, halfway through the program??
  10. Jun 20, 2012 #9
    nicholls; you make an excellent point.. I have decided to stay :)
    I'll just focus where I am currently at and hopefully that will take me far.
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