1. Feb 19, 2006

### PRodQuanta

If you had the choice (ignoring the financial side of the scenario) to attend either MIT, Princeton, or Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology for physics with an emphasis on engineering (undergraduate), where would you go and why?

Also, If you knew you could go to a prestigous (but not as prestigous) college for free, would you pick that college over the ones listed above?

Just taking a general poll. Thanks for the input.

2. Feb 19, 2006

### heman

I would vote for UC Berkeley..............
i have always seen students motivating themselves by thinking that "they have to go Mit/Princeton like that..........."
but i believe if students tend to develop their interest by seeing the real beauty of the subject than rather the status of the college ,,they will go more far than they will think..thats my personal opinion...Because i really see people focussed more on name of college /status rather on something which is more penetrating..that is Beauty of Knowledge

3. Feb 19, 2006

### himanshu121

$$\int = \alpha$$

4. Feb 19, 2006

### heman

what's that abstraction?

5. Feb 20, 2006

### PRodQuanta

Yeah, I understand all of that. I've heard the "It doesn't matter what undergrad college you go to, you get the same education." or "It all depends on how serious you take it."

But you tell me what, then, makes the difference between any college/university!? I can guarantee you that I would find more opprotunities and more resources at MIT or Princeton then I would at Podunk University. Also, I would probably find more motivated students who share my interest at these universities. One of the best things you can do for yourself, as you probably know, is to surround yourself with people who share your passion.

I believe that is the reason why people who really, and I mean really, have a passion for a certain subject seek out schools that accell in that particular subject.

Now, I appreciate your comments on why you think the name or prestige of a college isn't very important, but that doesn't answer my question.

Thank you,

Last edited: Feb 20, 2006
6. Feb 20, 2006

### franznietzsche

As an undergrad, you'd be surprised.

I really wanted to go to a top ten physics program as an undergrad when i was in highschool. I got into one of them, even got accepted into a special program that only took the top ten percent of already accepted applicants there. I wound up not going for financial reasons, and instead went where I am now. Looking back on it, I am actually glad of how things wound up. The school I'm at is entirely undergrad, we have no physics degree higher than a BS. That said, we still have about 30 majors per year, and a very tight-nit community within the major, which makes studying together very very helpful. Because we're a teaching university, and not a research one, the professors are much more available to us as undergrads. I've heard, from both friends at universities like UCLA and UCSD, as well as from recently hired professors who finished their PhDs in the last 4-5 years that this is generally not the case at the major research universities, that often professors are far less interested in teaching than in research, and that the kind of undergrad community we have here is rare (its helped me a lot, especially in our electronics class this quarter). The thing is, research universities are not necessarily what is best for an undergrad education. You are better off with professors that want to actually teach you, rather than professors that just want to do researc and consider teaching to be an unpleasant chore. That said, the faculty at top universities are the best and the brightest in the world, and if anything should be a reason to choose those schools that is it. But just because that's true, doesn't mean they're interested in teaching undergrads.

7. Feb 20, 2006

### Stephan Hoyer

I chose in particular to go to my school, Swarthmore College, precisely because I wanted the strongest general undergraduate program I could find in science and the liberal arts (I was not certain that I wanted to be a physics major). The school has remarkable resources for its size (1400 students), only teaches undergraduates, and has an excellent physics program. If there are only 12 physics majors left (I'm a sophomore) it's impossible not to get individual contact and attention. The students are generally very intelligent and dedicated (they needed to be to be accepted).

My only grievance with the physics department is that due to a sudden boost in physics majors over the past several years there was not enough space for me to do research with a professor this summer. Other than that, though, I will say that I believe this is nearly the best undergraduate education I could receive.

Swarthmore is also one of the few schools of its type (small liberal arts college) with an engineering program. It's worth considering.

8. Feb 21, 2006

### Wishbone

I have gone to 3 different undergraduate colleges in 3 1/2 years some very respected in others not so much. I can tell you this, I do not think it makes one bit of difference for undergraduate. Go somewhere you will think is interesting and fun.

9. Feb 21, 2006

### PRodQuanta

So both Stephan and franz think that a college like Grinnell, Rose-Hulman (both entirely undergrad) would be a better choice than MIT or Princeton (although Princeton has a strong emphasis on undergrad).

Thank you,

10. Feb 21, 2006

### Stephan Hoyer

I'm not entirely confident in this, as I am sure that you would also receive an excellent education with the bright students at MIT or Princeton, but I did choose a small college for this reason.

11. Feb 21, 2006

### franznietzsche

Is that what I said? Hmm, no its not. I certainly didn't mention either of those(nor have I heard of them, so i know nothing about them).

What I did say is that the graduate resources of a school like MIT are not as useful to an undergrad as professors that want to be teaching and are accesible, and having a close community within the department. For your undergrad education I do think those things are more important than graduate research resources, unless you are incredibly ambitious and have the requisite knowledge to be useful to a research group as an incoming freshman, which is very very rare. Not every undergrad teaching school will have those qualities either necessary. Liberal arts colleges will differ from schools with a technical emphasis. Harvey Mudd for example, is an undergrad technical school that I think would be much better for a Physics undergrad than MIT (although, its hard to get into, only 175 students per year. I certainly didn't get in. It also has the highest number of astronaut alumni of any university, IIRC).

If you're going to try to put words in other people's mouths, find a different forum.

Last edited: Feb 21, 2006
12. Feb 24, 2006

### PRodQuanta

Allow me to appologize. My deductive reasoning must have been incorrect and insulting.

That being said, Grinnell and Rose-Hulmann Institute of Technology (number 1 rated undergraduate engineering school in the US) are the only two colleges that were in my list that don't have a graduate program and don't have researchers teaching classes as a requirement.