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Schools University of Rochester or Boston University (for physics undergrad)?

  • Thread starter TI-84
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Hi,

I am an international student who has been admitted to Rochester and BU. I am having a difficult time deciding which college to attend. As an aspiring physicist, I plan on going to a graduate school for physics after completing undergrad.

I think the Geneva Physics Program (study abroad @ CERN) at BU is amazing, but I like the overall atmosphere at Rochester better as it seems to be more academic. Also, I am highly interested in the Kapitza Society at Rochester, where the professors teach graduate-level theoretical physics for a small group of undergrads.

Regarding tuition, I received a similar amount of aid from both so the cost doesn't matter. Also, being an international student, I have no idea where I will be happier - all I've heard from Reddit is that almost everyone prefers Boston over Rochester (city) and that the weather at Rochester is gloomy.

Which college do you think will better prepare me for grad school?

Any advice on Rochester or BU, whether that be about college in general or specifically about the physics department, would be very appreciated! :)
 
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I graduated from Rochester in Physics in the 1970's. I lived there into the 1980's and visit there from time to time. I was accepted Boston University for a summer course for two weeks. BU was inviting and receiving, and I cannot say enough about it pleasantly.

I always liked visiting and touring Boston. Nevertheless, My impression is that Rochester students in physics or optics were more academic. The Rochester weather is often gloomy, and snowier than Boston, but you get used to that quickly.

Rochester has a philharmonic, Eastman school of Music is top-notch, and many cultural opportunities. Rochester's planetarium (I know some physics graduate students at Rochester, did not even know they had one) is very good. Their Planetarium and Museum and science center are much better than many cities twice their size (such as St Louis).

Rochester University is a river campus about 2 miles from downtown. It resembles and is called a suburban campus. BU is an urban campus. Outside of the campus, most areas of Boston are safer than most areas of Rochester.

At Rochester, you can be a big fish in a small pond. Rochester has got the best physics department for at least 100 miles. (From East e.g. Cornell to West (Maybe Case Western) to South (Maybe Penn State or Carnegie Mellon). At BU you might be able to claim you are in the best physics department for 2 miles. You are always in the shadow of Harvard and MIT.

It is interesting that many student visitors to the University of Rochester from the Boston area (students who I invited there from graduate school, when I lived in Rochester), told me U of Rochester reminded them of a smaller MIT.

All told, I prefer U of R, but after writing this, I am not sure why. I think it is the campus, removed from the downtown area, (only 2 miles away), but sill a "suburban" campus, and some cultural diversions, but not so much as to be overwhelming.
 
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Congrats! Would you be able to visit either in person?
Sorry for the late reply - I just found out that replies have been posted!
Although I couldn't visit either schools in person, I decided to go to Rochester and I'm happy with my decision!
Thank you for your reply anyways :)
 
3
2
I graduated from Rochester in Physics in the 1970's. I lived there into the 1980's and visit there from time to time. I was accepted Boston University for a summer course for two weeks. BU was inviting and receiving, and I cannot say enough about it pleasantly.

I always liked visiting and touring Boston. Nevertheless, My impression is that Rochester students in physics or optics were more academic. The Rochester weather is often gloomy, and snowier than Boston, but you get used to that quickly.

Rochester has a philharmonic, Eastman school of Music is top-notch, and many cultural opportunities. Rochester's planetarium (I know some physics graduate students at Rochester, did not even know they had one) is very good. Their Planetarium and Museum and science center are much better than many cities twice their size (such as St Louis).

Rochester University is a river campus about 2 miles from downtown. It resembles and is called a suburban campus. BU is an urban campus. Outside of the campus, most areas of Boston are safer than most areas of Rochester.

At Rochester, you can be a big fish in a small pond. Rochester has got the best physics department for at least 100 miles. (From East e.g. Cornell to West (Maybe Case Western) to South (Maybe Penn State or Carnegie Mellon). At BU you might be able to claim you are in the best physics department for 2 miles. You are always in the shadow of Harvard and MIT.

It is interesting that many student visitors to the University of Rochester from the Boston area (students who I invited there from graduate school, when I lived in Rochester), told me U of Rochester reminded them of a smaller MIT.

All told, I prefer U of R, but after writing this, I am not sure why. I think it is the campus, removed from the downtown area, (only 2 miles away), but sill a "suburban" campus, and some cultural diversions, but not so much as to be overwhelming.
Thank you so much for sharing your detailed experience at the University of Rochester and Boston University! It is nice to know that my impression of both schools is similar to yours, who have actually been there. I have decided to go to Rochester, and I will definitely check out their planetarium. Thanks!
 

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