Astophysics major with four options

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: Astophysics major with four options
By Jainax (Jainax) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 04:05 pm: Edit

Alright, I'm an astrophysics major. Possibly with a geophysics double major and a french or japanese minor. I'm also a serious cellist but only as a hobby, not as a career. I'm from NY and I've been accepted into Berkeley, U Chicago, U Mich @Ann Arbor, and Boston U.

Thoughts on each:

Berkeley: I've wanted to go here for a long time now but I really wasn't expecting to get in and now that I'm in, I'm a little bit daunted but still very excited. As an extreme liberal, this school seems like the place to be. My dad has no problem with it but my mother and the rest of my family thinks it's too far. It's got a number one astrophysics program. And where better place to study geophysics than CA. I'm a spring admit though, which means I'd have to either do fall extension there or do community college here which isn't so bad since our CC is ranked number one. I'm leaning towards Berkeley.

U Chicago: Great school. Lots of family in Chicago, one actually attending U of C. Mother keeps chanting it like a mantra. Great programs all around. A little too serious? Offering no financial aid. As you can see, I'm not quite so enthusiastic about this. But it's a great school, and the highest ranked academically so I feel like I should certainly be considering it.

U Michigan: My dad's favourite and I've always felt like my dad knows me best. He thinks I'd enjoy Mich the most and that I'd have the best college experience here. He says everyone he knows that's gone has a lot of school spirit, they get really into supporting their school and they love it a lot. It sounds like a lot of fun and it's ranked number 3 as most liberal after berk and columbia. My dad's really making me want to go there. My only reservations are really the fact that I've wanted UCB for so long and it's amazing I got in and the fact that I hate the cold.

BU: BU is really making this difficult for me. I got in as a University Scholar and into the honors program. There offering me a half-tuition scholarship and I received a personal letter from the head of the astronomy department. BU doesn't have the same sort of top 25 rank as the other schools but is a great school nonetheless and is offering me a lot in terms of programs, money, and most likely a great college experience. I love the city of Boston. It's great for music and culture and I love the urban atmosphere. I need to be by or near a city or in at the very least, a great college town like Ann Arbor. BU has the second largest Astrophysics program after Berkeley.

So there ya go. Any advice? Please, if you choose to respond, don't just tell me a school. Give me some reasons.

By Sac (Sac) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 04:29 pm: Edit

Great choices. Congratulations! I can only offer insight on two of the schools on your list: UCB and U of C. You will get much more faculty attention and access at U of C, if that is an important aspect to your decision. Given that I'm assuming you would pay out of state tuition, UCB might be a better place for grad school.

Since you seem pretty set on your field, you might look up the undergrad physics student organizations at every place on your list. See how active they look from their websites. E-mail some of the students and ask them your questions about how hard it is to get the classes you need (an issue at UCB in some areas), what the classes are like, research opportunities, professor accessibility, what their fellow students are like, etc etc

By Jainax (Jainax) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 07:42 pm: Edit

*bump* Still hoping for a few more opinions.

By Garland (Garland) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 09:12 pm: Edit

It sounds like you're parents are willing to help you attend the more expensive schools, so you may not want to be swayed by the BU scholarship if that's your only reason to go there. I've heard Chicago is unbelievable for astro, but Mich also has a very strong dept. I went to Mich long ago, and from what I hear, the atmospheres are a lot different between it and U Chi (so your dad might be on to something). My son (also looking at astrophysics) rated Mich as one of his top two choices. I don't know enough about Berkeley, but from what I hear, it's pretty similar to Mich.

By Clickspring (Clickspring) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 10:20 pm: Edit

go 2 Berkeley

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