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Thoughts On University of Missouri Science and Technology?

  1. Feb 21, 2015 #1
    Here in Missouri, MST has a very good academic reputation, but it seems this is not true everywhere. This is all wildly imaginative at this point (HS Senior), but if I were to major in physics at MST, (assuming I made good grades), is it unreasonable to hope to get into grad school at some of the more prestigious universities? No, I'm not concerned with brand names or labels, but the research opportunities at these universities are far greater than most places, as is (presumably) the education.

    I would likely want to study cosmology, so I would be looking at places like Princeton, Cal Tech, MIT, Berkeley, etc. Cal Tech, for example, I've read only takes grad students from itself, Harvard, MIT and the likes. I would assume the others are similar in this respect.

    I would assume that undergrad research would play a role, as would the GRE (which I expect I would score well on). Is there anything else I could do, or will these schools take one look at my undergrad college and trash the application?

    And I'm sure I'll get questions about this, but the reason I'm not going to these schools for undergrad would be my grades. I cared nothing about my grades throughout high school, but have recently (this year) sort of had an awakening. I've always been in AS/Honors/AP/IB classes, but haven't touched homework or projects, and therefore have a low (3.3uw) G.P.A. My ACT score was certainly worthy though, so if those grad schools still look at that, it might help.

    Anyway, sorry for the essay, any help would be appreciated, thanks!!!

    BS Physics degree from University of Missouri Science and Technology to grad school at Cal Tech, MIT, Princeton, etc?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2015 #2
    Undergrad prestige doesn't matter that much for graduate admissions as long as you have good research experience, grades, letters of recommendation, etc.
  4. Feb 21, 2015 #3
    Ah, that's one I forgot about. Letters of recommendation. Besides the obvious, how do those really work? Does who writes it matter more, or what they say?

    Also, obviously, (for example), Harvard will never accept anybody from Park University. Conversely, it is fairly likely, (depending on the circumstances), that a philosophy undergrad from Yale might be accepted to Harvard Law I'm trying to find out if MST has a chance. Does this make sense?
  5. Feb 22, 2015 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    Where did you read this?
  6. Feb 22, 2015 #5
    I've been looking for about 15 minutes now and can't find the exact place that I would have read it. It may have been more of an inferred idea.
  7. Feb 23, 2015 #6
    Missouri S&T is a great school. If you do well there, you should have no problem getting into a top grad school of your choice. As others have mentioned, research experience is EXTREMELY important, so make sure that is something that you will get at S&T.

    I am also from Missouri and had a similar situation in high school - didn't really start trying until my senior year so couldn't get into any brand name schools for undergrad. I decided to go to Mizzou to study physics and am now in my senior year and applying to PhD programs. So far, I have had good results getting into top notch schools - offers from Columbia, Yale, and Brown (my top 3 choices!). More than anything, research experience has been my biggest asset (Mizzou has TONS of research opportunities). In the summers, definitely apply to the NSF REU's.

    Have you considered Mizzou? Have you visited S&T? I realized after visiting that I would not be happy living in Rolla, MO... Maybe it will be different for you, but I would really encourage you to visit both. Mizzou has a really solid physics department with a lot of research going on. It is important to know that Mizzou is a "tier 1" research institution while S&T is not. The more research opportunities you have, the more likely you are to find a good fit for you!

    Good luck and send me a PM if you want to chat more

    disclaimer: I might have a bias towards MU :)
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2015
  8. Feb 23, 2015 #7
    Thanks for your reply! I will definitely get as much research experience as I can. Does the research have to be in the field you intend to study, or any field? For example, I would likely be interested in cosmology, but MST seems to focus on condensed matter. Therefore it would seem that I would be researching in condensed matter, rather than other specialties. Also, how hard is it to get into research? Can anybody just 'sign up' and do research? (I understand that it's not quite that simple, but I'm just trying to determine if it is a competitive position). Can you get research experience as a freshman? Thanks again to all replying.
  9. Feb 23, 2015 #8
    The research definitely does not have to be in the field that you intend to study, but it would be nice if it were because if nothing else, it will help you determine whether you truly enjoy the field. For instance, I started out doing biophysics research but later changed to geophysics. That is why NSF REU's (Research Experience for Undergraduates) programs are so valuable - They allow you to spend a summer at a different institution doing completely different research. It was through one of these experiences that I found the field that I was most interested in... also they pay pretty well.

    You can definitely get involved as a freshman. Wherever you end up, look around for research programs during the semester. Most programs will pay you, but often are only for upper level students. However, I found one for incoming freshman and started research in my second semester... it's possible. Whether you are in a program or not initially, just jump into a research group.

    Sometimes it can be tricky to get into a research group, especially as a freshman. I think a lot depends on what kind of institution you are at and how that specific professor views undergraduate researchers. It really helps if you are in a research program, that way they know you will not flake out after one semester and they don't have to pay you out of their own pocket.
  10. Feb 23, 2015 #9
    That's really good to hear. I haven't heard of the NSF REU programs before, I'll definitely look into that.
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