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Stony Brook for Undergrad?

  • #26
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Yes, but one observation I've made repeatedly over the years is that parents who are paying tend to do a better job of enforcing good student responsibility and choice than government. Government tends to keep paying as long as a school will have them.
No doubt; though I wouldn't want government and institutions to be excluded from culpability for passing kids en masse to please parents who don't care enough. If it's a multifaceted phenomenon, we need a multifaceted solution.

I think students who genuinely want to be in college to get an education, and are committed to working hard, are likely going to do well no matter who is paying. On the other hand, I know from my own experience that having parents who pay willy nilly can make such a commitment impossible.
 
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  • #27
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If you don't mind my asking, how did your attending your state school hurt you now as a graduate student?
I'm not going to claim that this is the case for all (or even most) students from state schools - and it was less that I came from a state school and more that I came from a state school with a subpar physics department. I don't regret going to a public "state" school, I regret getting into UIUC and choosing instead to go somewhere where I got a full ride.

It's not a decision I truly regretted until attending graduate school this past year - on the contrary, I used to think I had an advantage being the "star pupil" (which was only true because I was in a small not-so-great department). That advantage, however true, was definitely not worth the huge disadvantages I faced.

The number of classes that weren't offered due to lack of interest/funding, the nonexistence of an experimental physics program (mostly), and the lack of information about graduate school in general (had I not done REUs at other universities, I would have never learned about the physics GRE, NSF GRFP, etc.) were all things I was vaguely aware of at the time and spoke to the department chair about before leaving, but I had no idea how much these things would hurt me until going to graduate school at a top 10 university.

I prepared for the prelim (an oral exam for us) for months and recouped much of the knowledge I was lacking, but they asked me a question over a topic that I simply hadn't covered when teaching myself classical mechanics, the second semester of which was only offered once every 6-7 semesters at my university (once before the first semester, and once after I graduated), and I failed. It's difficult, but possible to come up to speed to where the other graduate students are, but it is difficult to do this in a finite amount of time which must be less than or equal to the time by which you must pass your prelim exam.
 

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