1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Schools University Advice

  1. Aug 25, 2009 #1
    I'm thinking of moving to a state that has a public university with a decent physics program, in which I have a chance of getting into. I don't have much money on me, so I want to keep the costs low; before applying to the college, I'll be staying in the state for a while, so I'll need affordable apartment costs (under only a $12 000 yearly salary...I'll be applying for a job right when I get there, so it may take a few days to start full time). As a state resident, I should be able to pay less for tuition aside from financial aid. My current options so far are (suggestions for adding more and cutting out some are welcome):

    UC Santa Barbara
    UC LA
    UC San Diego
    University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
    University of Colorado Boulder
    University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
    University of Wisconsin - Madison
    University of Washington
    Penn State
    University of Maryland, College Park

    Out of this, California seems to be the safest bet considering it has 4 universities on the list...I'm just not sure about living costs...I also heard from a source, that ideally, the monthly rent for an apartment should be below 50% of the monthly income (30% would be the ideal amount); I will most likely not be able to keep that sort of proportion up...even now I'm not keeping that proportion up (quite frankly, I'm not sure I can do that without a college degree). I want to keep all my moving out/in costs under $1700 (including the first month's rent) for the first month...I'm not sure how practical all this sounds, so any advice is appreciated.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 25, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    A 1-bedroom apartment here in LA is about $900-1000 (give or take), with certain amenities free.

    Just in case it helps you with your budgeting plan
  4. Aug 25, 2009 #3
    Hmmm...its an okay amount...though its quite a lot for the first month. This is some helpful advice, thanks...that pricing is the average in LA, right?
  5. Aug 25, 2009 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    yes, that is the average cost
  6. Aug 25, 2009 #5


    User Avatar

    All the towns you mentioned in CA are expensive to live in. And most apartments will require two months rent up front (deposit). Here are the residency requirements for CA. http://www.registrar.ucsb.edu/residenc.htm You need to live in the state for more than one year before you can be considered, so it's too late now to get residency before school starts next fall. I live in one of the cheapest parts of the country, and it's still hard to live here on a grad student salary (16k or so for most students). 12k a year in CA? Definitely not in a city.
  7. Aug 25, 2009 #6
    I see, thanks for the reply...so I'm guessing that means you suggest otherwise. I'm actually planning to live in a state with a small job (full-time since I won't be a student for a while) for a year or two before starting university. Right now I'm independently studying mathematics and physics through books and the Internet, so I'll be doing that as well while I'm there. The thing is that I need to choose the right state...any further suggestions?
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
  8. Aug 25, 2009 #7
    Michigan is a cheap place to live right now, but you might have trouble finding a job.
  9. Aug 25, 2009 #8
    I see...Ann Arbor has a 42% acceptance rate, which isn't bad...though I need to get a job at full time as fast as possible for the best of interests. Michigan seems like an alright idea so far. Are there any other public universities one can recommend?
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
  10. Aug 26, 2009 #9

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    Before you go, you do realize that many places require a waiting period before you are eligible for in-state tuition, specifically to keep people from living in one state and moving to another to attend school there.
  11. Aug 26, 2009 #10
    yup...I'll have to live in the state for some time depending on residency policies...it'll allow me to save up some money as well...the problem I'm having is trying to find the right state - I'm moving primarily for my chances at a good/decent physics program there (though I do need to take into account living costs).
  12. Aug 26, 2009 #11
    Madison is relatively cheap to live in, you can find a one bedroom economy house or apartment for pretty cheap (600-700/month). Also, cost of living is cheap and there are a TON of places around you as far as getting a job. Plus, it's awesome there :)
  13. Aug 26, 2009 #12
    Sounds good...how is the University of Wisconsin, Madison at physics anyways?
  14. Aug 26, 2009 #13
    In the US News poll, i think they're somewhere around the 20-30 range.

    EDIT: I lied, they're higher! 16th.
  15. Aug 26, 2009 #14
    Thanks for the help, and it looks good...the living costs don't seem too bad either, though I'll still have to look more into things. Anyone have any further advice on other universities and their states?
  16. Aug 27, 2009 #15
    Is there anything anyone can mention about University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign?
  17. Aug 28, 2009 #16
    Have you given a thought to UC -Irvine? That's where I go. Im a pure math-physics (with concentration cin Astrophysics) major and I think they have a great Math and Physics department. Its very friendly with undergrad research.

    Dunno how much an apartment would run out here, I live near the beach so my rent would be higher than it would be if I lived in Irvine. I do know that the OC has cheaper rent than Metro-LA, SD, Santa Barbara and the Bay Area. Plus you dont HAVE to live in Irvine. You could live in Santa Ana, Westminster, Garden Grove, Tustin, etc...that would be cheaper than Irvine AND the drives arent bad. Certainly al ot nicer than ANY drive you'll find in LA (trust me, I know. I went to UCLA for my first bachelors).

    Just throwing out an alternative
  18. Aug 28, 2009 #17
    UC-Irvine?...interesting. I'll be honest, I haven't heard of it. The public transportion between Irvine and the other areas you mentioned is good, right?
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
  19. Aug 28, 2009 #18
    Is there any word out there on University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign?
  20. Aug 28, 2009 #19
    I live near UIUC. It is a great school. I think their condensed matter program is #1. Everything else is pretty good too. I would love to attend grad school at UIUC.

    EDIT: Urbana/Champaign is a small suburban type area 2-3 hours from Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. I've hung out there some. It's a fun town.
  21. Aug 28, 2009 #20
    I see...thanks for the reply. It does sound good from the sources I'm looking through and the living costs don't seem too bad there either. How about job availability there (I'm only talking about jobs that settle around without a college degree)?
  22. Aug 28, 2009 #21
    I don't know too much about jobs really in Champaign/Urbana, but State Farm HQ is in Bloomington. Caterpillar HQ is in Peoria and they have tons of factories and other stuff around Central Illinois. ADM is in Decatur. I'm sure there is a lot more, but I haven't really needed to look for a job in some time. All of those places are within 1.5 hrs from UIUC.
  23. Aug 28, 2009 #22
    That is pretty good. Its not necessary that I live right in the city/town of the university...just the state so that the residency applies. Thanks for the info.

    As one further request, how is the University of Maryland, College Park or University of Colorado Boulder?
  24. Aug 30, 2009 #23
    Yes absolutely
  25. Aug 30, 2009 #24
    How expensive are the living costs in those peripheral areas you mentioned...just as expensive as the big cities I mentioned (is it that California in general is expensive to live in)?
  26. Aug 31, 2009 #25
    If you are looking for a place to attend college and at the same time work, and still have time for other things. Then look for universities that offer programs that allow you to work and at the same time tuition is paid by an outside source.


    Here is a link to something that might interest you. Granted the physics program is no where near a list. This is located in Louisville, KY. I am sure that you may be able to find other programs.

    *Metro-College is not a college, it is just what they call the partnership between UPS, KCTC, and UofL.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook