2011 Decisions

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

enthree
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by enthree » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:31 pm

Chicago anyone?

vesperlynd
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by vesperlynd » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:44 am

cryingsun wrote:
vesperlynd wrote:Is anyone on this forum going to MIT? 'Cause that's where I'm headed in the fall. :)
I'm almost decided to go there....almost :?
Still struggling....
Cryingsun ... COME WITH ME!! It's going to be amazing. 8)

What other schools are you considering? Of course, you should go for the best fit. With your options, you can't go wrong.

RabiFlops
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by RabiFlops » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:34 pm

Just accepted Caltech's offer. Anyone else headed to Pasadena?

michael
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by michael » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:52 pm

Yep, looking forward to starting at Caltech (I deferred entry and am currently in Latin America doing physics research and learning spanish).

How much do you know about housing and stuff- I am keen to get those sorts of things figured out pretty soon.

Dreaded Anomaly
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by Dreaded Anomaly » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:22 pm

Decided on University of Maryland. :D

ticklecricket
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by ticklecricket » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:37 pm

Dreaded Anomaly wrote:Decided on University of Maryland. :D
Care sharing some of your reasons for choosing UMD? I'd love to hear other people's opinions of it.

badphysicist
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by badphysicist » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:56 pm

Anyone else going to UCM? :D

Dreaded Anomaly
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by Dreaded Anomaly » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:13 pm

ticklecricket wrote:
Dreaded Anomaly wrote:Decided on University of Maryland. :D
Care sharing some of your reasons for choosing UMD? I'd love to hear other people's opinions of it.
Their department really impressed me when I attended the open house. They have over 70 faculty, with active, exciting research in many different areas. They seem very committed to taking care of any problems that the students have: they're raising the stipend, and they have a student/professor council of sorts that, if necessary, takes care of any academic or research problems. (Examples include student-advisor difficulties, or a professor teaching a class poorly. From speaking to the grad students, I gathered that there was an instance of the latter problem recently, and it was fixed right away, i.e. a new professor was assigned to the course after that semester. This impressed me because my experience has been that subpar teaching is not usually corrected so quickly.) They offer a lot of interesting courses, and also recently modified the qualifier format to make the test more fair.

In my own research area, I was not able to speak to professors working on CMS during the open house, but contacted a few of them right afterward by email and phone. I was very satisfied by the interest and flexibility they showed in our conversations. They have a good spread of research areas on the experiment (hardware, analysis, and computing are all possibilities), and students are encouraged to spend as much or as little time traveling to CERN as they desire. Professors working on CMS there include the department head, the chair of USCMS, and someone who has worked with one of my advisors from my summer REU.

My decision was primarily between Maryland and Rochester (I ruled out Illinois after visiting, as I just didn't feel that it would be a good fit). Rochester also has a very good department, and I know some of the people there already from the REU, but I felt that Maryland had more to offer overall. Also, having been in upstate New York for the past four years, I'd rather have the change of scenery, and there's definitely more to do in D.C. than in Rochester.

The_Duck
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by The_Duck » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:23 am

I'll be going to Columbia! Anyone with me?

Thanks to all on this forum, past and present, for providing a lot of useful information. I haven't posted much, but I've lurked here quite a bit for the past 6 or 9 months!

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HappyQuark
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by HappyQuark » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:26 am

The decisions have been made, the offer has been accepted, I'm going to U Hawaii.

Image

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midwestphysics
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by midwestphysics » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:27 am

HappyQuark wrote:The decisions have been made, the offer has been accepted, I'm going to U Hawaii.

Image
Congrats! Sounds like it will be an awesome next few years for you.

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by WhoaNonstop » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:33 am

HappyQuark wrote:The decisions have been made, the offer has been accepted, I'm going to U Hawaii.

Image
Hope you have room for me when I come out there for spring break. ;)

-Riley

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Dorian_Mode
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by Dorian_Mode » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:39 am

HappyQuark wrote:The decisions have been made, the offer has been accepted, I'm going to U Hawaii.

Image
Glad to hear it! I'll look forward to hanging out in the fall.

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HappyQuark
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by HappyQuark » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:40 am

WhoaNonstop wrote:
Hope you have room for me when I come out there for spring break. ;)

-Riley
I didn't know grad students had a spring break.

Image

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grae313
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by grae313 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:11 am

Only theorists and first years have spring breaks.

tady
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by tady » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:22 am

Dorian_Mode wrote:
HappyQuark wrote:The decisions have been made, the offer has been accepted, I'm going to U Hawaii.

Image
Glad to hear it! I'll look forward to hanging out in the fall.
Wait. Is this picture reversed?

badphysicist
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by badphysicist » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:54 pm

HappyQuark wrote:The decisions have been made, the offer has been accepted, I'm going to U Hawaii.

Image
Congratz Mr. (Ms?) Bunny.

cryingsun
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by cryingsun » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:44 pm

M.I.T.

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HappyQuark
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by HappyQuark » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:47 pm

badphysicist wrote:
HappyQuark wrote:The decisions have been made, the offer has been accepted, I'm going to U Hawaii.

Image
Congratz Mr. (Ms?) Bunny.
Mr. Bunny is my father. You can call me "His Royal Highness".

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Dorian_Mode
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by Dorian_Mode » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:05 pm

tady wrote:
Dorian_Mode wrote:
HappyQuark wrote:The decisions have been made, the offer has been accepted, I'm going to U Hawaii.

Image
Glad to hear it! I'll look forward to hanging out in the fall.
Wait. Is this picture reversed?
Looks correct to me.

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HappyQuark
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by HappyQuark » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:07 pm

tady wrote:
Dorian_Mode wrote: Glad to hear it! I'll look forward to hanging out in the fall.
Wait. Is this picture reversed?
After flipping the picture I'm sure it isn't reversed. It just doesn't look quite right.
Image
I've only been to Hawaii once and it was Maui instead of Oahu, but I'm almost positive none of the islands are upside down.

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Dorian_Mode
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by Dorian_Mode » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:09 pm

You have to go down below the equator for that. Tahiti, maybe.

tady
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by tady » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:31 pm

HappyQuark wrote:
tady wrote:
Dorian_Mode wrote: Glad to hear it! I'll look forward to hanging out in the fall.
Wait. Is this picture reversed?
After flipping the picture I'm sure it isn't reversed. It just doesn't look quite right.
Image
I've only been to Hawaii once and it was Maui instead of Oahu, but I'm almost positive none of the islands are upside down.
Well with how blue the sky is, it almost could be a mirror image. Lol. So just to orient myself, which way is north? Is that diamond head in the distance?

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Dorian_Mode
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by Dorian_Mode » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:37 pm

No, Diamond Head would be pretty much directly behind the photographer. The green space in the bottom of the image is Kapiolani park, and the buildings just beyond that are the hotels of Waikiki. Magic Island and Ala Moana beach park are in the middle distance beyond that. I usually run through this area a few times a week.

tady
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by tady » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:44 pm

Yes now I know where this picture is! What an utterly gorgeous place. Are you Kama'aina?

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Dorian_Mode
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by Dorian_Mode » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:55 pm

Just a current UH grad student. And here I go taking this thread off-topic again.

vesperlynd
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by vesperlynd » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:59 pm

cryingsun wrote:M.I.T.
:D
Anyone else headed to MIT with us in the fall?

bfollinprm
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by bfollinprm » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:36 pm

UC Davis :D Will update reasons tomorrow.

The promised update:

Interests: Cosmology Experiment/Simulation (CMB, weak lensing, etc)

Caveat: I have a significant other whose opinion weighed heavily into the decision. I'm pretty sure that I'd have picked the same regardless, but one never knows such things for certain.

I first narrowed the choice to UC Davis, UC Irvine, and UCSD. California schools generally attract solid Astrophysics departments (because of Keck), plus I was getting tired of the east coast. After visiting, here was my impression of each school:

UC Irvine
Very much in the OC suburbia. Strip malls abound. It's not like you can't have fun there, it's just that there's nothing interesting about it. Definitely something I could have gotten over for the right school, which for a lot of people Irvine could be. For my interests they had on paper an excellent program, with Elizabeth Barton, James Bullock, Asantha Cooray, and Manoj Kaplinghat all relatively young, promising, and productive researchers. However, Barton is leaving, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of depth to their observation faculty. Also, there just didn't seem to be a collaborative environment within the subfield. Cooray was rarely around (spending loads of time at Cal Tech) and because of OC traffic people kept weird hours. I think this would conflict with the daily sharing of ideas, etc. Personally, I also didn't really hit it off with any one group; the only research I was excited about was Cooray's, and I'm afraid he might follow Barton out the door to Cal Tech at first opportunity (he has a little bit too big of a profile for a place like Irvine). Note: UC Irvine is expensive, but the department's policy is a 100% RA over the summer, so that adds about $6500 to the stipend for experimentalists (theorists, like theorists everywhere, don't have money).

UC San Diego
This department really boiled down to Brian Keating. It's a top 15 school, so there's ton of stuff going on, but in Astro, it seems to revolve around him. He's got by far the biggest group, the most money, and quite possibly the biggest profile. Which was fine with me, since CMB (his field) was pretty much exactly what I wanted to do. In all, a decision for grad school based on maximizing my chance for an R1 faculty job would have led me to UCSD. But other things counted heavily against it. Firstly, SD isn't a great place to be a grad student. the ~23k/year base stipend is poverty there (UCSD is extremely expensive). To get anywhere reasonable priced, you need a car. Somewhat mitigated by grad school housing, but you can only live there for 2 years. I also got the impression that the group was more focused on instrumentation, which I abhor (I was promised analysis work, and a spot in the group, without these I wouldn't have considered the school at all). This was a really tough one to turn down, which is why my decision took so long.

UC Davis
I was really impressed by my visit. The 5th floor is just cosmology, and the relative isolation is a really good thing: there was tons of informal collaboration just happening in the hallway. All the grad students in cosmology are in 3 rooms next to each other, and Davis has done a good job of bringing together faculty with similar enough research to provide really strong collaborative effect. Everyone was also really friendly; when I visited professors would drag me into their office to discuss research anytime they noticed me in the hallway. My probable research advisor, Lloyd Knox, is situated on the experiment-theory continuum just where I wanted; he's very close to experiment (working inside the experimental group for SPT and personally being granted time on Herschel) while still less concerned about retrieving the signal than interpreting it. He also just got a ton of money, so that's always good. Also, the city of Davis made me happy; you can bike literally everywhere in town, and it's only a short drive to the Bay, Napa, and Lake Tahoe. Since I'm signing on for ~10% of my life there, it's important that I enjoy my time.
Last edited by bfollinprm on Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

bfollinprm
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by bfollinprm » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:40 pm

cryingsun wrote:M.I.T.
Congrats, and good luck!

axiomofchoice
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by axiomofchoice » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:51 pm

Stanford. Lots of factors involved, but the main one is both Stanford and Berkeley have about 2 times more the number of potential advisers than other places (like 5-6 vs. 2). And I'm eager to get out of the east coast. I was pretty torn between Stanford and Berkeley, but the financial offers seem to be the most weighted of tipping factors at the end. I'm glad that this decision thing is done and I can now be excited about next year :mrgreen:

matto07
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by matto07 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:34 pm

Cornell. The 6 CMT professors there study a wide spectrum of topics (from classical stat mec\renormalization group stuff to highly correlated systems\solid state theory stuff). Moreover, if it turns out I'm not the super-stud I think I am (jk, roflcopter?) the CME research going on at Cornell is INSANE. The (surprising) fellowship offer was a nice bonus too.

Anyone else going to Ithaca this fall?

badphysicist
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by badphysicist » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:16 am

HappyQuark wrote:
badphysicist wrote:
HappyQuark wrote:The decisions have been made, the offer has been accepted, I'm going to U Hawaii.

Image
Congratz Mr. (Ms?) Bunny.
Mr. Bunny is my father. You can call me "His Royal Highness".
I apologize Your Royal Bunnyness.

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YodaT
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by YodaT » Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:58 am

grae313 wrote:Only theorists and first years have spring breaks.
:evil:

guthria
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by guthria » Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:44 am

Who's going to Rochester? Anyone? Anyone??

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satyad18
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by satyad18 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:49 am

grae313 wrote:Only theorists and first years have spring breaks.
8) :mrgreen:

Kaumz
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by Kaumz » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:53 am

matto07 wrote:Cornell. The 6 CMT professors there study a wide spectrum of topics (from classical stat mec\renormalization group stuff to highly correlated systems\solid state theory stuff). Moreover, if it turns out I'm not the super-stud I think I am (jk, roflcopter?) the CME research going on at Cornell is INSANE. The (surprising) fellowship offer was a nice bonus too.

Anyone else going to Ithaca this fall?
me :D

bfollinprm
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by bfollinprm » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:34 am

Today is so exciting! Good luck to everyone who's still holding out on a waitlist; and for those of you making your decisions, remember no matter what you choose, YOU'RE GOING TO GRAD SCHOOL NEXT YEAR!*

*If this doesn't fill you with incredible excitement, I don't know what's wrong with you.

bbsmitz
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by bbsmitz » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:24 pm

UPenn. :D

kapil_ds
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by kapil_ds » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:10 pm

Congratulations to everyone on finally making their decisions. I wanted to say that It has been great listening to all of you and participating in the discussions. The forum definitely feels like a community. Kudos to grae, other admins and all the posters for making it such. It has been nice 'knowing' all of you - grae, riley, carl, bfollinprm, midwestphysics, happy quark, the entire indian / southasian contingent and everyone else too.

Kapil

kapil_ds
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by kapil_ds » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:20 pm

Vesperlynd, Cryingsun (and anyone else going to MIT), I am not going to MIT this year but I have been there in the past. It is a great place and I am sure you will love it. I don't know anything about the physics department but if there is anything else you want to talk about life at MIT, you are welcome to PM me.

Specifically for international students coming to MIT, I have been associated with the alumni association and have mentored incoming international graduate students in the past. Feel free to reach out to me if there is anything I can help you with in making the transition to MIT/Cambridge or life in US.

On behalf of the MIT alumni association, It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to the MIT community.

Kapil

vesperlynd
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by vesperlynd » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:35 pm

kapil_ds wrote:On behalf of the MIT alumni association, It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to the MIT community.
Thank you!! I, and I'm sure everyone else who is going there, am really excited for this fall.

Congrats to everyone else on their decisions!

et
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by et » Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:10 pm

Decided yesterday on Berkeley, starting fall 2012 after doing a master's at Perimeter Institute!

SPat
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by SPat » Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:23 pm

et wrote:Decided yesterday on Berkeley, starting fall 2012 after doing a master's at Perimeter Institute!
Didn't know you could do that (defer 1 yr for academic reasons)...

anyone else joining Berkeley?

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LoronDotCom
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by LoronDotCom » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:09 pm

I'm excited to say I'm finally breaking free of the midwest and will be attending the University of Hawaii in the fall! :D

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Dorian_Mode
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by Dorian_Mode » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:21 pm

LoronDotCom wrote:I'm excited to say I'm finally breaking free of the midwest and will be attending the University of Hawaii in the fall! :D
It's where the cool kids hang out.

gobalicious
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by gobalicious » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:58 pm

SPat wrote:
et wrote:Decided yesterday on Berkeley, starting fall 2012 after doing a master's at Perimeter Institute!
Didn't know you could do that (defer 1 yr for academic reasons)...

anyone else joining Berkeley?
I am joining the crowd.

Astro-K
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by Astro-K » Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:08 pm

LoronDotCom wrote:I'm excited to say I'm finally breaking free of the midwest and will be attending the University of Hawaii in the fall! :D
Congrats! I'll see you in the fall!
HappyQuark wrote:The decisions have been made, the offer has been accepted, I'm going to U Hawaii.
That picture makes me happy--glad the money situation worked out for you!

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by WhoaNonstop » Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:22 pm

Dorian_Mode wrote:It's where the cool kids hang out.
Everyone knows the cool kids hang out at William & Mary.
HappyQuark wrote:Mr. Bunny is my father. You can call me "His Royal Highness".
Shame on you for trying to trick the forum into thinking you're male.

-Riley

tychobrahe_1
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by tychobrahe_1 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:06 pm

I will be attending Lehigh University in the fall.

It's not that great but I'm glad to be going to graduate school. :)

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HappyQuark
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Re: 2011 Decisions

Post by HappyQuark » Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:01 am

WhoaNonstop wrote:
Dorian_Mode wrote:It's where the cool kids hang out.
Everyone knows the cool kids hang out at William & Mary.
HappyQuark wrote:Mr. Bunny is my father. You can call me "His Royal Highness".
Shame on you for trying to trick the forum into thinking you're male.

-Riley
Well to be fair, when you are born with both bits you get to choose which gender you call yourself.



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