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What colleges to apply to (undergraduate)?

  1. Oct 23, 2009 #1
    As a current high school senior, I am currently applying to colleges. Which universities have well developed physics programs? I live in California (ie UC system is fairly easy to get into), and am looking for those universities offering undergraduate research opportunities. Money isn't too big of an issue.
    My current list-
    UC Santa Barbara
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 24, 2009 #2


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    And why don't you already know the answer?
  4. Oct 24, 2009 #3
    Just looking for more I might apply to.
  5. Oct 24, 2009 #4
    It really depends on what your GPA is, what your SAT/SAT II's/ACT's are, and what your extracurricular experience is, that way we can get a better understanding of where you are at in the admissions pool for each school... etc., but if you are applying to those schools I assume you are an outstanding student...
  6. Oct 24, 2009 #5
    I feel I have a chance at getting into most schools with my current GPA/test scores. They are by no means the best, but definitely better than the majority of students. A plus is that I have passed BC Calc and both Physics C APs (ie the more advanced Aps) with 5's, as well as having taken a Light and Heat course from Stanford.
  7. Oct 24, 2009 #6
    I don't think you realize how tough it is to get into these schools...

    kids from my school who are going to Caltech/Stanford had 4.2+ GPA's, 34+ ACT's, and a good variety of extracurriculars that showed depth and accomplishment....

    You need to be very, very motivated and have very good credentials...
  8. Oct 25, 2009 #7
  9. Oct 25, 2009 #8
    I think pretty much any of the schools (as well as the UC schools) will give you a pretty good physics education. Also, whatever your chances of getting in, go ahead and apply since you lose very little by submitting an application.

    Also, try not to get too sucked in to the "overachieving career hyper-drive" lifestyle. Having been through that process, I'm pretty depressed sometimes looking at how dysfunctional the system is, so while you do have to deal with this college admission non-sense, try not to let it take over your life.
  10. Oct 25, 2009 #9
    Please also listen to this, I have seen a large number of students loose focus and get depressed because of the ultra-intense atmosphere of academics... just do well, and you will be fine....

    But do realize you must work... a lot...

    But in all honesty unless you have a 4.0 GPA, a 34+ on the ACT and/or a 2200+ on the SAT, 700+ on SAT II subjects, have done some outstanding achievement outside the classroom (club president, commitment to something, and awards for doing so) .... and you have a good background and write good essays and recommendations.... I wouldn't look forward to it... but I do encourage you to apply..
  11. Oct 26, 2009 #10
    What twofish-quant says is very true.. the system is really broken. On the plus side, personally I was very sure I would not get into a a good school, and it turns out I only got accepted to the best school I applied to. So the outcome can really surprise you.

    Since you have MIT on that list, I see you aren't only considering the West Coast. Princeton is also pretty good at physics, and their undergraduate program in general is first or second in the country.
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