small liberal arts vs. other types of school

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small liberal arts vs. other types of school

Post by hchung » Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:00 pm

I tried to find an answer to the question, but I couldn't really find one.

I'm a rising senior at a top-20 small liberal arts school. Although it's a fine institution, it's not as well known as big schools in both general and physics.
Anyhow, would it be more difficult (or easier) for me to get into a grad school?

actually, I have one more question.
How different is getting into REU programs from getting into grad school?
I was having a hard time getting into an REU program this summer (i applied ~12 programs, but i got rejected except one, which is at Fermilab). I'm not sure if getting into grad schools will be as difficult as REUs.



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Re: small liberal arts vs. other types of school

Post by zxcv » Tue Jun 15, 2010 7:11 pm

If it is clear that you received an excellent physics education (i.e., you have taken upper level mechanics, E&M, quantum and stat mech with usual texts), you should not have any particular problem applying to physics grad school from a liberal arts college. Of course, you still need the usual grades, GRE scores, research experience and letters of recommendation.

It is much harder to get into REU programs than into grad school. In fact, several REU programs that rejected me sent me letters saying I would be practically guaranteed to get into their grad programs (I did). Almost every REU is very competitive to get into, typically receiving hundreds of applications for perhaps 10 slots. This is clearly not the case for most grad programs, which will gladly take most domestic applicants with demonstrated research ability.

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