Deciding between Stanford and Caltech

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Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:05 am

Deciding between Stanford and Caltech

Post by salvation » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:47 pm

Hello everyone,

I have been admitted to both Stanford and Caltech. I am now so confused as to where I want to go.
About myself:
Interested in theoretical astrophysics (I am interested to work on some observational projects, but mostly interested in theoretical works). Pretty much open to any kind of theoretical astrophysics, from first stars to glactic and extragalactic astrophysics. Not so much interested in hard-core cosmology, and particle astrophysics.

Caltech seems to be an obviously better choice interms of research, diverse faculty, and the resource they have. However, their incoming students population is pretty large, and the number of graduate students in the department is also massive. Thus, it does not feel like home. Moreover, I heard that the environment there is too intense. That is obviously good, if one can withstand that. However, I feel very uncomfortable working in a too intense environment.

In that regard, Stanford is better, as the department size is relatively small. The downside is there are not many astrophysics faculty members whose research interests me. However, I have 3 people whom I want to work with, and they are also positive about it. In this regard, I feel like Stanford is definitely not a bad choice.

Any suggestions/comments?

Posts: 941
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Deciding between Stanford and Caltech

Post by TakeruK » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:29 am

If you are interested in observations, Caltech is definitely the better choice for resources. No other US institution, except maybe U. Hawaii, has any where close to the same amount of telescope access.

Are you considering the Caltech Astro dept or the Caltech Physics dept? I feel that they are fairly different places in terms of size and environment. Send me a private message if you want to discuss it further.

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