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Torn Between Different Schools

  1. Dec 8, 2013 #1
    Hello, I am new to these forums, though I have found myself here for homework help on more than one occasion :tongue:. I was at a small liberal arts college for three years as a biology major with the intention of going to medical school. During my second year I decided I wanted to pursue science, and so I took calc based physics, calc 2, and so on. After my third year I decided to switch my major to physics and I transferred to Iowa State because I figured it would be better graduating from a larger, science oriented school rather than a liberal arts school. I am currently enrolled in modern physics, multivariable calc, diff eq, and mechanics, and I have a year left to finish up after this one due to switching my major late. The problem is, I'm not happy here and I gravely miss my old school and I want to transfer back. However, if this would compromise my future I don't think it would be worth it, and I'd rather suck it up for another year and a half. Do physics graduate schools select applicants based on the school they graduated from? Would Iowa State look better than a small liberal arts college? Thank you all for any help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 8, 2013 #2
    Why are you not happy? What makes you want to transfer back?
  4. Dec 8, 2013 #3
    I feel that a smaller college was a much better fit for me on a personal and educational level. The professors knew me, I knew them, and if I'm being completely honest, I feel as though I was getting a better education at my old college.
  5. Dec 9, 2013 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    It's factored in, yes.

    Depends on the college.
  6. Dec 9, 2013 #5


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    I would focus on what will help you to learn physics better and attain the substantive factors that grad school admissions committees evaluate (actual courses taken, grades, research experience, letters of recommendation from people who really know you), rather than on what might simply "look good". Getting into grad school is more about what you did than about the name of your school.

    The school you get your bachelor's from does matter, by way of the facilities and opportunities that it provides you. I obviously don't know how your former college stacks up in terms of course offerings and research. But many small colleges do produce physics majors who get into grad school and do well.

    I may be a bit biased here because I graduated from a small college with three physics faculty members, and enjoyed my time there. All four of the physics majors in my graduating class got into grad school: three in physics (including me of course) and one in operations research (that one was a double major who was more oriented towards math).
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