Should I transfer schools? I really need help please read

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Should I transfer schools? I really need help please read

Post by rap238 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:35 am

Hello all,

I am stuck in a situation here.
I have just completed 2 years at, lets call it: University A.
I wish to get into an excellent physics grad school program, preferably a 'top-notch' school. However, the problem is that University A offers basically no research opportunities. There is however, another state university: University B. And if I transfer, I will be only one semester behind.

This university offers research opportunities. In fact, it is a requirement that I engage in research during the school year before I graduate. I feel like transferring over, engaging in research, excelling in my classes, and preparing for the PGRE asap will improve my chances. The only thing holding me back is the financial reasons. I receive much better funding at University A than I would at B.

The things I would miss out on if I stay at University A is research opportunities (I can only rely on Summer REUs, currently doing one at Cornell), and course diversity. There are many more physics classes to choose from at University B.

What do you think is the likelihood of me getting into top-notch grad school programs, given that I excel on the PGRE, do summer REUs, and have a pretty high GPA? University A is a no-name school when it comes to physics...

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: Ahh what the hell, I'll tell you the universities.
University A = Northern Arizona University
University B = University of Arizona

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Re: Should I transfer schools? I really need help please read

Post by blighter » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:37 pm

I would stay at university A. The funding is an important factor. Get a great GPA, score well on your PGRE. That, along with a couple of REU's, the top schools won't have any reason to reject you.

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Re: Should I transfer schools? I really need help please read

Post by TakeruK » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:47 pm

I agree with blighter -- you already are doing an REU after your 2nd year Northern Arizona U. and you say you have a high GPA. It doesn't sound like U. Arizona has that much more to offer. Course diversity is nice but not really that important -- you will learn what you need to when you get to grad school. Having research opportunity during the school year is really great though (my undergrad had a co-op program where we took a whole year off classes to just do full time research) but if you get another REU for your 3rd summer, and then do a senior thesis in 4th year, then you would have strong research experience as well.

So, because you are much better funded at Northern Arizona, and it doesn't seem like you would get much benefit from going to U. Arizona, I would also advise to stay at Northern Arizona. That is, because you can get REUs at either school, the only real difference for your applications would be the name of the school on the transcript, and that is a small effect that I don't think is worth switching schools for.

If you feel your research is lacking, can you do your senior thesis with an advisor from U. Arizona (or another school) perhaps (probably you would have a local advisor at Northern Arizona as well as another one from U. Arizona).

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Re: Should I transfer schools? I really need help please read

Post by twistor » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:02 am

Don't let apparent course diversity sway your decisions. Many universities keep classes on the books that might only be offered once every 2-3 years or more. Sometimes they stay listed even though the one faculty member that taught that class has died. In some cases courses listed may have only been taught as a one time deal. If diversity of courses is important to you make sure you research which courses have been taught in the past few years. And do not rely on emails from department secretaries who are often overly optimistic: do you own research.

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