Which University should I go to for my undergrad in physics?

  • #36
WWGD said:
I suspect, with a handle " Maddy467", she is a girl.
Fair enough. Im Comanche, and first time i seen the name Maddy. I assumed the op is prone to being mad.
 
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  • #37
WWGD said:
I suspect, with a handle " Maddy467", she is a girl.
Nah ... I'm a guy
 
  • #38
MidgetDwarf said:
All are great choices. Stop overthinking. Pick the one with the hottest girls.

Go with the one that offers the higher scholarship amount. This would reduce the hours needed to work, and thus, more time to study.
Well, I do have a girl. And yeah well xD you're right... Rutgers is the cheapest for me... but only by a slight nudge... tbh all of them differ only by a grand or two a year... Although... I do have an admit into the honors college at Rutgers, but its the worst-ranked (qs) among the two, unfortunately. Although, after some research... it looks like a solid college to attend. I am really confused about Rutgers and Stony Brook!!! aghhhhh
 
  • #39
Maddy467 said:
Nah ... I'm a guy
Apologies, Maddy467!
 
  • #40
WWGD said:
I suspect, with a handle " Maddy467", she is a girl.
Her position might well be "Whichever one I choose will be the one with the hottest girls." :wink:
 
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  • #41
If rankings are that important to you, pick the one with the highest ranking and be done with it. Personally, I think this makes as much sense as picking the school with the best football team, but hey, it's your life. You'll learn soon enough that rankings are not everything.
 
  • #42
MidgetDwarf said:
All are great choices. Stop overthinking. Pick the one with the hottest girls.

Go with the one that offers the higher scholarship amount. This would reduce the hours needed to work, and thus, more time to study.
Well I do have a girl... and the costs are around the same... they do differ by a grand or two a year. but yeah... ig you guys are right. I am overthinking. But ig... that's okay, I just don't want to regret spending all this money (yes, it is a lot for me) and think ohhhh I would have been better off graduating from that college.

But yeah... Ig... That won't happen with any of these colleges... I sure will get opportunities, and if I'm good enough, I'll avail them.

ig... Stony Brook it is (probably).. (or maybe Rutgers) xD... idk
I have a couple of weeks to decide, and I will continue researching. But yeah, Ig more than college, I need to research my own interests and ask myself what do "I" want.

Vanadium is right... well... He has been from the very beginning. But I'm glad I had all this discussion. Thank ya'll!

I will post an update about what I chose to do. hehe.. but yeah, thanks for the inputs... Now I do have a sense of what to look for.
 
  • #43
Vanadium 50 said:
Her position might well be "Whichever one I choose will be the one with the hottest girls." :wink:
nahhh lmao... I'm a guy... Maddy was just a nickname I had for how crazy I was... unrelated to Maddie
 
  • #44
Vanadium 50 said:
If rankings are that important to you, pick the one with the highest ranking and be done with it. Personally, I think this makes as much sense as picking the school with the best football team, but hey, it's your life. You'll learn soon enough that rankings are not everything.
Yeah well, you're right. I did post stuff on the subreddit. People told me about their experiences. Stony brook seems fun (a bit introverted physics grads as it sounds)! Rutgers is fun too (but people doing physics there seem to not have the best experience... also not as research-oriented school ig)! UofA has opportunities around the area but largely for US citizens since a lot of them have some defence security involved.

But yeah, Ig I would be good going to either one of SBU or Rutgers. I will indeed calculate the net costs again and see if Rutgers is worth it because of the Honors College thingy. But yeah... one of those it is.
 
  • #45
Maddy467 said:
I did!
Why do you not recommend Stony Brook and/or UofArizona? Do they not have as good of a reputation and research outlook as Rutgers? (They are sure better ranked... Arizona leading in Astro and Stony Brook is just better overall)

Yeah well, Rutgers is big, but I'm just afraid it's quantity over quality. Please correct me if that is the case... I really think Stony Brook and UofA are 2 ends of my spectrum... good overall whereas good specialisation... Rutgers falls in between ig...
Stony Brook because of the miserable campus, UofA because it's optics-focused and you aren't.

Wherever you go, make sure to take the most advanced courses you can (honors/sophomore classes); this will play a big role in developing a network of similarly motivated students.
 
  • #46
Muu9 said:
Stony Brook because of the miserable campus, UofA because it's optics-focused and you aren't.

Wherever you go, make sure to take the most advanced courses you can (honors/sophomore classes); this will play a big role in developing a network of similarly motivated students.
That points me towards thinking Rutgers is the option for me lmao! Well, I will read up few more reddit posts about the undergrad experiences of physics undergrads at each of these univs, and see which one is better. So far, Stony Brook seems to be a good experience (as far as physics goes). But yeah, Rutgers might be great too... whichever it is, I'm now happy with the options I have
 
  • #47
Maddy467 said:
That points me towards thinking Rutgers is the option for me lmao! Well, I will read up few more reddit posts about the undergrad experiences of physics undergrads at each of these univs, and see which one is better. So far, Stony Brook seems to be a good experience (as far as physics goes). But yeah, Rutgers might be great too... whichever it is, I'm now happy with the options I have
Note both are largely suburban settings. You may be within a few hours of NYC, but it wouldn't be an urban setting.
 
  • #48
Maddy467 said:
Well, I do have a girl. And yeah well xD you're right... Rutgers is the cheapest for me... but only by a slight nudge... tbh all of them differ only by a grand or two a year... Although... I do have an admit into the honors college at Rutgers, but its the worst-ranked (qs) among the two, unfortunately. Although, after some research... it looks like a solid college to attend. I am really confused about Rutgers and Stony Brook!!! aghhhhh
A) Nobody cares about QS rankings
B) Even if they did, QS is not a ranking of undergraduate program quality
C) What you do in undergrad is far more important than where you go when it comes to graduate admissions
D) Pick the school that you would be happiest to attend beyond the program or their affiliation with national labs. You can always apply to national REUs in the summer. You don't have to attend a university with a national lab affiliation. Some of the most successful students when it comes to graduate admissions actually attend LACs, not even R1 universities.
 
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  • #49
gwnorth said:
A) Nobody cares about QS rankings
B) Even if they did, QS is not a ranking of undergraduate program quality
C) What you do in undergrad is far more important than where you go when it comes to graduate admissions
D) Pick the school that you would be happiest to attend beyond the program or their affiliation with national labs. You can always apply to national REUs in the summer. You don't have to attend a university with a national lab affiliation. Some of the most successful students when it comes to graduate admissions actually attend LACs, not even R1 universities.
Lakhs of students do fine that way, right @Wrichik Basu ?
 
  • #50
WWGD said:
Lakhs
TIL a new word! :smile:
 
  • #51
berkeman said:
TIL a new word! :smile:
It's an Indian measurement, that's why I pinged Wrichik . They also have a numbering system I had never seen, along the lines of 30,00, 250.
 
  • #52
WWGD said:
It's an Indian measurement, that's why I pinged Wrichik . They also have a numbering system I had never seen, along the lines of 30,00, 250.
well, yeah, the first 3 digits are the same... then we go thousands, 10 thousands, lakhs, 10 lacks, crore, 10 crore... so on... Indian system of counting.
 
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  • #53
gwnorth said:
A) Nobody cares about QS rankings
B) Even if they did, QS is not a ranking of undergraduate program quality
C) What you do in undergrad is far more important than where you go when it comes to graduate admissions
D) Pick the school that you would be happiest to attend beyond the program or their affiliation with national labs. You can always apply to national REUs in the summer. You don't have to attend a university with a national lab affiliation. Some of the most successful students when it comes to graduate admissions actually attend LACs, not even R1 universities.
Yeah, that's alright. But it sure doesn't hurt to try your best to look for something worth it all when you're paying a whole bunch of money. Yes, it will come down to the amount of effort I put in, but it sure would help if I get a research-oriented college that does have people who are meant to help students look for research positions!
 
  • #54
Maddy467 said:
well, yeah, the first 3 digits are the same... then we go thousands, 10 thousands, lakhs, 10 lacks, crore, 10 crore... so on... Indian system of counting.
Ah, yes, I had forgotten the crore, bhai. Kuch Nahi. As N'Sync wrote: " Bye, bye, bhai".
 
  • #55
Maddy467 said:
Yes, it will come down to the amount of effort I put in, but it sure would help if I get a research-oriented college that does have people who are meant to help students look for research positions!
Did you do what I suggested earlier? That is, contact the physics departments at each of the universities and ask them about research opportunities for undergraduates?
 
  • #56
CrysPhys said:
Did you do what I suggested earlier? That is, contact the physics departments at each of the universities and ask them about research opportunities for undergraduates?
I wrote an email to Rutgers... Handed out a link to me with all the places that students get a chance to research. Was pretty nice... as for SBU, I haven't yet
 
  • #57
Woah! I just read up some stuff which makes me think Rutgers might be better than Stony Brook...

Stony Brook housing and food both are trash. To the point that people often end up with food poisoning. Also, the stuff is super pricey for what it's worth.

Rutgers Housing seems much better and cheaper (although I would switch to off-campus after 1st sem/year). The food there also seems to be nicer, if not good. Also, considering I'm an honors student, I would be able to live with other honors students which might be fun eh?

But yeah, As far as the academics go, SBU gives better research opportunities and their curriculum is more "Real Lifey". Rutgers has opportunities but they aren't as good as SBU, where you're working with one of the best people in the industry. Also, the Brookhaven lab's right next to SBU so people get tons of experience (either there or somewhere else) right in undergrad. Rutgers... I'm not quite sure (I know there's Princeton right next doors but still... a little dicey of a situation). But ig the Honors thingy would help at Rutgers! (FR I was going through each of their faculty and SBU faculty members are BEASTS as per Google search, Google Scholar, and researchgate. Yes Rutgers has great peeps too but Hands down, SBU academics are better)

Overall, Rutgers is cheap, but good
Stony is a little touch expensive. The living environment is not very good but academics are top notch!

Which one would you pick? (again academics are my top priority but OFC I don't want to live in turmoil)
 
  • #58
It's a futile exercise to ask what others would pick. Each university has its own particular pluses and minuses. But for each prospective student, the pluses and minuses will vary (and the weight assigned to each will vary) according to the particular needs and desires of each prospective student. All we can do is point out the factors for you to consider (which we have comprehensively by now). The decision rests with you.

Your scenario is a bit unusual: an international student selecting among 4 large state universities. For a US student, the decision would be straightforward: the tuition between in-state and out-of-state residents is substantial. The default would be to select in-state unless there are extremely compelling reasons to select out-of-state. But such is not your case.
 
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  • #59
CrysPhys said:
It's a futile exercise to ask what others would pick. Each university has its particular pluses and minuses. But for each prospective student, the pluses and minuses will vary (and the weight assigned to each will vary) according to the particular needs and desires of each prospective student. All we can do is point out the factors for you to consider (which we have comprehensively by now). The decision rests with you.

Your scenario is a bit unusual: an international student selecting among 4 large state universities. For a US student, the tuition between in-state and out-of-state residents is substantial. The default would be to select in-state unless there are extremely compelling reasons to select out-of-state.
fair enough.. well (tbh that gave me a tinge of machine learning vibes... weights assigned to different factors 😂... makes me wonder if I could write up a code that would determine a "College Score" as per my needs...)

Anyways, Thanks for your help. You're right. Things are right in front of me... I just need to make up my mind. but yeah 1 last question... that's it.


IF I were to pick Rutgers, would you say I'm missing out on an opportunity to learn and work from Amazing people at Stony Brook? AND that I would not get as many opportunities even with the Honors College thingy? (online, I can see Honors College students get to interact a lot more with professors)
 
  • #60
Maddy467 said:
IF I were to pick Rutgers, would you say I'm missing out on an opportunity to learn and work from Amazing people at Stony Brook? AND that I would not get as many opportunities even with the Honors College thingy? (online, I can see Honors College students get to interact a lot more with professors)
* "Amazing" and "Honors" are indicators that you are still hung up (overly preoccupied) with "reputation" and "prestige". I used to know a couple of physics professors at Rutgers, but they are long gone. And of the Rutgers students that I'm friends with from figure skating, none are physics majors. So no personal insights there. As for Stony Brook, I also have no personal insights. My only comment is that for a student planning to major in physics at a NY state university, Stony Brook is the best choice among the NY state university campuses.

* For an undergrad student, potential access to top researchers and national lab facilities should not be paramount. What you want is ready access to good teachers and good mentors and good research facilities. Note that "good teacher" and "good mentor" are not synonymous with "amazing" on a Google search. You'll have a far more rewarding experience receiving personal attention from a few professors in their own on-campus labs than vying with a multitude of students from all over for attention and time slots with top researchers at national facilities. On-campus opportunities allow you flexibility for pursuing research during the academic year. You can always seek opportunities elsewhere during the summer.

* Money is an issue for you. When inquiring about research opportunities, make sure there are funded research opportunities for international students. Many are limited to US students.

* If you've pared down your choice to between Rutgers and Stony Brook, I'd recommend that you try to discuss your specific concerns via Zoom or other Internet communications service with a representative of the physics department from each. Email them in advance to let them know that you've narrowed your list down to two, and you need further information concerning X, Y, Z to make a final decision. Best case, they both agree. Worst case, they both ignore you. Intermediate case, one accommodates you and one doesn't; that in itself though would be a good indicator of which to choose.
 
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  • #61
Maddy467 said:
Stony Brook housing and food both are trash
Really? Have you experienced either?

That's awfully judgy for someone just parroting back what they read on the internet. It also smacks of ingratitude - scan the forum: you will see many people who would do anything for the opportunities you have. You might think about making some adjustments in that area.

I agree with @CrysPhys . You still seem hung up on prestige. People keep telling yoi that this is silly, especially if you are using it to decide between the #30 and #31 school. Yet you persist. OK, your life - pick the one with the best QS ranking. I personally think that;s foolish. But its your life.

Its also really funny that after you picked two schools in the greater NYC area - the place with some of the highest housing costs in the nation - then you worry about housing costs. You want cheap housing, go to Ames.
 
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  • #62
CrysPhys said:
* "Amazing" and "Honors" are indicators that you are still hung up (overly preoccupied) with "reputation" and "prestige". I used to know a couple of physics professors at Rutgers, but they are long gone. And of the Rutgers students that I'm friends with from figure skating, none are physics majors. So no personal insights there. As for Stony Brook, I also have no personal insights. My only comment is that for a student planning to major in physics at a NY state university, Stony Brook is the best choice among the NY state university campuses.

* For an undergrad student, potential access to top researchers and national lab facilities should not be paramount. What you want is ready access to good teachers and good mentors and good research facilities. Note that "good teacher" and "good mentor" are not synonymous with "amazing" on a Google search. You'll have a far more rewarding experience receiving personal attention from a few professors in their own on-campus labs than vying with a multitude of students from all over for attention and time slots with top researchers at national facilities. On-campus opportunities allow you flexibility for pursuing research during the academic year. You can always seek opportunities elsewhere during the summer.

* Money is an issue for you. When inquiring about research opportunities, make sure there are funded research opportunities for international students. Many are limited to US students.

* If you've pared down your choice to between Rutgers and Stony Brook, I'd recommend that you try to discuss your specific concerns via Zoom or other Internet communications service with a representative of the physics department from each. Email them in advance to let them know that you've narrowed your list down to two, and you need further information concerning X, Y, Z to make a final decision. Best case, they both agree. Worst case, they both ignore you. Intermediate case, one accommodates you and one doesn't; that in itself though would be a good indicator of which to choose.
Sorry... I've been a brat all along. Yeah... You're right. I don't want to be around top researchers to just have a glance at them. I wanna discuss the beauty of the subject with people who find it interesting. I would get opportunities at both places. And okay... Both are well-reputed.. that is incomparable. Both may have different living conditions and costs, and that is something to consider. And yeah, I will write an email to each of them to ask about their research programs for international students! Thank you for your help! I'll keep you guys updated on my position.
 
  • #63
Vanadium 50 said:
Really? Have you experienced either?

That's awfully judgy for someone just parroting back what they read on the internet. It also smacks of ingratitude - scan the forum: you will see many people who would do anything for the opportunities you have. You might think about making some adjustments in that area.

I agree with @CrysPhys . You still seem hung up on prestige. People keep telling yoi that this is silly, especially if you are using it to decide between the #30 and #31 school. Yet you persist. OK, your life - pick the one with the best QS ranking. I personally think that;s foolish. But its your life.

Its also really funny that after you picked two schools in the greater NYC area - the place with some of the highest housing costs in the nation - then you worry about housing costs. You want cheap housing, go to Ames.
I'm not awfully judging... I looked up dozens of subreddits complaining about the same thing with similar anecdotes. Yes, judging based on online information is the only thing I can do as for the personal student experience while I'm sitting miles away.

When you're leaving your home to a place where you've heard people say, "I have been to the hospital several times for the food served here that has been stale for weeks, and almost all students around do experience the same", you do take things into consideration. Yes, I know the opportunities I have are valuable. Yes, I am sacrificing a lot myself. I am from India. Here, even the top colleges would have worse living conditions from whatever has been described in those subreddits. It's not like I can't handle that.

I have taken all the pain of applying abroad while preparing for my national exams which I have aced. I am eligible for colleges in India, pretty much all of them. But I know research in India is not that great. Amidst all the competition, the pure beauty of education has somewhat been lost out here. Yes, I can even live in rags while I'm enticed in unravelling mysteries that I have dreamt about. But when you're away from your house, ig its okay for me to be judgy about getting the best of what I'm worth.

It is expensive for me... Yes, I can pay up the bills but I sure want to make it easier for me and save up as much as I can.

Have I been a brat? Yes. Do I love physics? YES! (I love learning in general tbh... Physics, Maths, Biology, Engineering and even history, economics, and architecture... but physics.. ohhhh! its got its own charm, comes naturally to me)

I am sorry for being very repetitive. I do come down to the same "online" measures because that is pretty much all I can do. Yes, I will make efforts to personally reach out to people and make up my mind on what is best for me. Thank ya'll for telling me what to consider...
 
  • #64
Maddy467 said:
but it sure would help if I get a research-oriented college that does have people who are meant to help students look for research positions!
I know there are schools that have career offices that help students land internships, and alumni networks can be valuable in that regard, but I'm not sure that the career offices even at the most heavily resourced private colleges are engaged in providing assistance at the level you seem to be implying. No one is going to hand you research opportunities on a silver platter. It will be on you to proactively source and seek out those opportunities for yourself. Initiative and personal drive are personality traits that frequently separate those who do ok and those who excel, and is not predicated on attending a specific college. In fact studies have shown that students who were accepted to top colleges but choose for whatever reasons to attend lower ranked schools do just as well. It comes down to hustle. You can be academically successful at all of your choices so pick the school where you would be happiest to attend.
 
  • #65
How many is "most" students who are hospitalized for food poisoning? 80%? That's about 20,000. When a restaurant in Stony Brook sent 12 people to the hospital, it was big news. Do you really, really think 20,000 would not be? Really?

And you want to be a scientist?

You called it "trash" based solely on second-hand reports. This was foolish. While you are free to make decisions based on any criteria you like, poor critical thinking will likely not lead you to the optimal choice.

As a PS, nobody in the US will care about how many tests you aced in India. Really.
 
  • #66
Vanadium 50 said:
nobody in the US will care about how many tests you aced in India. Really.
Yeah, I know... not to brag about it, but yes, I did! Just saying that I do know how to give up on "partying" and just focus on my studies. I'm over with my leaving examinations. Non-Stem Students are all having fun. But STEM students are studying for the currently going on JEE examination. Me too! I don't need to... I aced it in the first attempt. But I love learning. And so I am.
Vanadium 50 said:
And you want to be a scientist?
Oh yes, out of all the search results when the top 15 tell you it's not good at all, I would be concerned and call it trash.

20 students?
"Kumo Sushi and Steakhouse of Stony Brook is officially closed after twenty-eight guests who dined on Saturday, September 9, suffered from intense food-borne illness almost immediately after their meal. This food-borne illness was caused by 'improperly stored rice' according to a Suffolk County spokesperson."

that's 28 hospitalised in a day... and that is still a restaurant. People on Reddit say the restaurants are better than the dining halls, to say the least. Safe to assume not most but half of the students would at least suffer through some degree of food poisoning at some time (AND I'M OK WITH THAT, India has much worse conditions. Its just something I'm taking into consideration). Am I judgy because I'm listening to feedback on Reddit? Maybe you can call me that, ok.
(eg post )

That being said, I did ask people myself who've recently graduated from Stony Brook and they say it's not entirely poor, but okay... "mid" and they prefer eating at restaurants most of the time; little overpriced, not the best you can get at a college, but works.

So yeah ig you are right I should not have assumed anything but well, I am not wrong in taking factors into consideration when I'm moving a long way from home.


The housing: like food, several people said it's bad and old while some were ok with it. I'm ok with the costs as long as the living environment is healthy. Yeah, I don't mean I want luxury suits. But at least I wanna stay happy.
gwnorth said:
pick the school where you would be happiest to attend
@gwnorth yeah... that is what I was wishing for and I don't think there is anything wrong in researching about how student life at each of those colleges is.

@Vanadium 50, you've given me good input that I'll keep in mind. but yeah, if you wanna think I'm pushing it too much, well I am, and I want to be sure of where I'm going.

Currently, I'm Still considering Stony Brook to be a good option. But yeah, Rutgers might be a good option for me too! I'm just there looking at what each side has to offer over the other... and yeah ig that would indeed be "judging"!
 
  • #67
gwnorth said:
You can be academically successful at all of your choices so pick the school where you would be happiest to attend.
<<Emphasis added>> That's what the OP is trying to assess. Difficult to do when you're on the other side of the world.

@Maddy467 . Do you have the time and money to fly over to visit the campuses, now that you've narrowed the choices to the same region?
 
  • #68
Another thought: these universities likely have specific discord servers for physics majors, or a university-wide discord server with a channel for physics majors. They're likely to be much more active than reddit, so hopefully you can get better answers to the question of research opportunities for undergrads
 
  • #69
CrysPhys said:
<<Emphasis added>> That's what the OP is trying to assess. Difficult to do when you're on the other side of the world.

@Maddy467 . Do you have the time and money to fly over to visit the campuses, now that you've narrowed the choices to the same region?
There are issues with that. In order to come to the US, I would require a visa. I only get a visa when I have an I-20. I-20 is a document I recieve from the university after I accept my offer letter and pay a deposit.

So short answer : no I can not visit US colleges before my final decision. Which is exactly why I am so cautious in choosing what's best for me, both academically and socially.

Rutgers is fun, I might get more interaction with professors as an honor student.

Stony brook has great academics and network (does not mean Rutgers does not). Life there is slightly more expensive comparatively and little 'less fun'. I would be happy with that as well.

(I am not a 100% sure about all these. I do have to rely on information present online... So I have to be judgy. And yes, I will contact each of their departments.)

But yeah, I'm considering both to be solid options for me and would love to explore more on what each has to offer.
 
  • #70
Muu9 said:
Another thought: these universities likely have specific discord servers for physics majors, or a university-wide discord server with a channel for physics majors. They're likely to be much more active than reddit, so hopefully you can get better answers to the question of research opportunities for undergrads
Ayyy yeah.. thank you! Slipped out of my mind!
 

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