How much does name matter?

peder
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:01 pm

How much does name matter?

Postby peder » Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:59 pm

I had a funny situation happen to me today. I was talking about Graduate Schools with a friend (non-science person), and I listed the schools I applied to:

Me: "Berkeley, Columbia, Chicago, UCSB..."
Him: "Wait wait, UCSB? Is that your safety school or something?"
Me: "No, it's actually one of my top choices, they're actually very good..."
Him: "Wait, you're telling me that you'd go to UCSB over Columbia, Chicago and Yale???"
Me:" ...very good reputation in physics and materials science."

I suspect I'll get more of the same from my family if I told them if I got into UCSB and I was going there.

How does one feel about the reputation of school to the population at large, compared to the research it conducts? Does it have an effect in the decision of where you want to go to graduate school?

I'll be the first to volunteer that it has crossed my mind (especially with dropping an Ivy League or Berkeley/Stanford PhD bomb on people!) but it's a tiebreaker for me, nothing more. Thoughts?

User avatar
butsurigakusha
Posts: 293
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:05 pm

Postby butsurigakusha » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:15 pm

I know just what you mean. When I tell people I might go to UCSB or Illinois, I always make sure to slip in that they are very highly ranked in physics, especially in condensed matter.

If you are planning on a career in physics, then I don't think the name matters so much, as long as the school has a good reputation in the physics world. I would choose UCSB over some ivy league schools (Dartmouth, Brown) without a second thought, and wouldn't have a problem choosing them over Columbia or Yale, in fact I probably would, although I would carefully consider all options.

It would be nice to be able to tell people that I am going to Stanford or Harvard, or MIT. If I get accepted to one of those schools but end up choosing UIUC or UCSB, I may find myself in conversation slipping in the fact that I chose them over Stanford, or whatever.

I really am a very vain person.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:21 pm

I think name matters only as much as the person hiring you thinks it does. Other than that it's really worthless. People go to Harvard and Yale because of the "wow" factor. They go there so they can look down their noses at people who didn't.

User avatar
fermiboy
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:41 pm

Postby fermiboy » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:31 pm

That's why I applied to Yale. I want to know what's life like on other side. I want to now how it feels to look down on someone rather than be looked down upon.

User avatar
dlenmn
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:19 pm

Postby dlenmn » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:36 pm

@ twistor

"People go to Harvard and Yale because of the "wow" factor. They go there so they can look down their noses at people who didn't."

Don't be hating. I know several people are both places. None of them are like that.

peder
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:01 pm

Postby peder » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:41 pm

I don't think it has anything to do with vanity. It's about keeping your options open.

Say, for example, you decide you want to go to Politics, or Public Policy, or a myriad of other things one can go into where an advanced degree would be useful. For the population at large, they're willing to grant you a modicum of respect if it's an ivy league degree (unfair, but very true).

If one knows for SURE that they want to do Physics for the rest of their lives, sure. But those of us who are 95% sure but want a backdoor open just in case, name helps.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:16 am

Say, for example, you decide you want to go to Politics, or Public Policy, or a myriad of other things one can go into where an advanced degree would be useful. For the population at large, they're willing to grant you a modicum of respect if it's an ivy league degree (unfair, but very true).


You think an advanced degree is useful in politics? LMFAO...

If you want politics start learning to lie with a smile on your face. You'll get farther than you will with any kind of bullshit degree.

People in business and politics don't go far because other people in business and politics respect their schools. They go far because they make a lot of good contacts at ivy league schools. That is the whole point of the so-called secret societies that all the ivies harbor. It's all about making contacts. None of you have blood blue enough to get in them and you are doomed to fail. I'm sorry for the reality check, but that's how the American system works.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:18 am

I don't think it has anything to do with vanity. It's about keeping your options open.


It has everything to do with vanity. Just all at all the people whining on this message board becaue they don't think their scores are high enough to get them into Harvard.

peder
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:01 pm

Postby peder » Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:41 pm

Twistor, I was responding to someone else regarding the vanity remark. And dont you think you want to go to a place like Harvard... because, I dont know, it happens to be one of the best in Physics? If it weren't so good, then I'd have open concern.

But politics was a bad example. But there are plenty of other options I can think of that it would be helpful to have an advanced degrees, and Im not just talking business and politics. Even government work might be scrutinized by a bureaucrat that couldn't make heads or tails between Dartmouth Physics or UCSB Physics.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:20 pm

And dont you think you want to go to a place like Harvard... because, I dont know, it happens to be one of the best in Physics?


Well, how do you know it's the best in physics? Because someone told you? Because other schools say it is the best?

Without anything to back-up the claim of it being the best the statement is utterly worthless. As my friend in business tells me, you can always say you're the best at something if you narrow yourself down to something extremely specific:

Example:

"We're the #1 offshore marketing company on the West Coast that deals primarily with widgets."

Meaningless, totally meaningless.

People want to go to Harvard because they associate Harvard with intellectual achievement. Wake up, people. Harvard and other ivy league colleges have a history of catering to rich WASP families.

Do you think Bush got into Yale on merit (no, he almost certainly was a legacy admit)? What about Harvard? What about his buddy, Cheny? He flunked out (his own words). It is the task of Harvard and the other ivies to uphold the American status quo.

If you don't believe this take a look at the membership lists of the secret societies of the ivies. They are filled with politicians, famous businessment, and US presidents.

Harvard, Yale, Princeton, et al. may have some world-class researchers but that is not why they are considered good schools. Many other schools have world-class researches as well. They are considered elite because they are attended by the elite (read: upper-class citizens) who go there for social and business networking opportunities. When you pay big $$$ for Harvard you're not really paying for top quality education. The school doesn't have much control over the individual classroom setting. What you are paying for is the opportunity to brush shoulders with future leaders in American business and politics.

"Recently, both Harvard and Princeton have admitted legacy applicants at a rate more than triple that of non-legacy applicants."

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/13/opini ... ref=slogin

Before you pack your things and move to the east coast don't forget to buy yourself a jacket with some patches sewn onto the elbows.

physicsdude
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 3:16 pm

Postby physicsdude » Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:25 pm

.
Last edited by physicsdude on Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:28 pm

Yeah, unless they die. Then they've achieved death.

cancelled20080417
Posts: 482
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:30 pm

Postby cancelled20080417 » Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:40 pm

I don understand taht Sun Tzu quote. What I understand is somebody gotta find the damn solution to that Ising model problem. Suckkka

User avatar
dlenmn
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:19 pm

Postby dlenmn » Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:50 pm

@ twistor

Sour grapes?

Places like Harvard are probably somewhat overrated due to their elite reputation. So what? They still have great physics programs. Look at the Academic Analytics ranking (which is based on publications -- not a survey of reputation -- see http://chronicle.com/weekly/v53/i19/19a00801.htm ). Harvard still makes their top ten ( http://www.academicanalytics.com/TopSch ... ms.aspx#10 scroll down to "physics, general"). The fact of the matter is that they have a good program, What's with all the whining?

BTW, their top 10 is interesting (I don't know if it's in any particular order):

Harvard U. (Physics)
Johns Hopkins U. (Physics And Astronomy)
NYU (Physics)
UC - Berkeley (Physics)
Cal Tech (Physics)
UC - Los Angeles (Physics and Astronomy)
Stanford U. (Physics)
UC - Santa Barbara (Physics)
U. Pennsylvania (Physics & Astronomy)
UC - San Diego (Physics)

cancelled20080417
Posts: 482
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:30 pm

Postby cancelled20080417 » Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:59 pm

That ranking is just a gross, dlenmn. No MIT in top 10 ranking in Physics. utter bullshit ranking.


That ranking is probably true in some other universe with 10 spatial dimensions.

woooster
Posts: 65
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:27 pm

How much does name matter?

Postby woooster » Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:02 pm

"I think Harvard is one of the best in physics" has nothing much to do with elite status. They simply are, if u consider the quality of the faculty in their department and overall of the dept. May be for undergraduate, people overrated it a bit because they are ivy. For graduate school, people are smarter to judge if harvard if good for their area. For example, no doubt they are very top, if no the top, in astrophysics, particle theory. you can ask professor around, and I am sure they will tell u so.

woooster
Posts: 65
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:27 pm

How much does name matter?

Postby woooster » Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:08 pm

physicsdude: "Peder,
if at this early point you are not even sure you want to stay in the physics business, you are not going to make it.: "


???What are you trying to do? Are you just trying to scare him, or you really mean it? If it is the later, I don't see why. How would one be sure if he wants to stay in physics for sure at this stage? We are just undergrad. Even thou graduate students are not sure about their research field and switch around. If they don't even know what field they want, how do they know if they want to stay?

I think doubt exists after one has a lot of undergrad research like Peder. He probably sees enough of what is going on in "real physics research" to question himself, rather than someone just takes some cool physics classes and wants to go to grad school and discover the secret of the universe.


I think his doubts only implies that he is really serious about physics.
Last edited by woooster on Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
fermiboy
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:41 pm

Postby fermiboy » Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:08 pm

Any list that has NYU as a top ten physics university is a joke, IMHO.

User avatar
fermiboy
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:41 pm

Postby fermiboy » Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:11 pm

I don't think having doubts means your're not committed. After all, getting a job as a professor is tough; the odds are not good. Any reasonable person would question whether six years of school and four years of postdocs is a good investment of his/her professional life, given that the return on the investment is so low.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:29 pm

Sour grapes?


No. I didn't even apply to those schools. *** elitism.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:30 pm

Harvard still makes their top ten


What does that mean? It doesn't mean anything unless you can tell me how it's determined.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:31 pm

Harvard still makes their top ten


What does that mean? It doesn't mean anything unless you can tell me how it's determined.

User avatar
dlenmn
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:19 pm

Postby dlenmn » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:07 pm

@ twistor

I linked to an article with information about the ranking. Feel free to read it.

@ RG, fermiboy

Yeah, I agree that the results are somewhat odd. Still, it's probably worth something, and it's interesting because it's not a survey of reputation.

I don't know the deal with NYU. It may have something to do with their strong math program (top 10 by many measures). Maybe some NYU math profs are also counted as physics profs so their math publications get factored in to the physics rankings. Or maybe math and physics profs at NYU are likely to coauthor papers with similar effect.

With the exception of NYU, the rest of the schools in their top 10 are in the top 22 of the US news ranking, so I don't think it's inconceivable that the academic analytics is showing what the ranking might look like without reputation taken in to account.

peder
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:01 pm

Postby peder » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:19 pm

@wooster (and @physicsdude):
Thanks for the support, wooster, but there's no chance that physicsdude can possibly scare me off from physics. :D

I think one should note that the PhD production in physics each year is substantially more than the number of academic slots that open up each year. The statistics look better if you include Public and Private laboratories, but it's still quite a disparity. To even not think about a backup plan in case all does not go well, in my opinion, is quite foolish.

@twistor:
Yes, I believe Harvard is one of the best (as well as with UCSB, Berkeley, Chicago). The reason why I know that is that I ask my professors, who presumably are experts in whether or not each respective graduate school can churn out effective scientists.

In all truth, one could say any top-10 school is certainly elite. I believe the goal for many of us to is to go to an elite school, but not an elitist school. If I got into UCSB or Harvard today, I'd be in a very good place.

Regardless, I think it's not fair on others if you impose your preconceptions (or experiences with Harvard alumni) on all of us. By all metrics (be it research production, citations per faculty member, or even reputation by other physicists), Harvard is a top-10 school in physics.

peder
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:01 pm

Postby peder » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:21 pm

And as a caveat, I should note that I did not apply to Harvard. The scientist I wanted to work with is soon retiring. As should be the case, I applied for the scientist(s), not for the school.

woooster
Posts: 65
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:27 pm

How much does name matter?

Postby woooster » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:48 pm

I guess one can just go to some good schools' webpage and look at the size of their faculty for your area of interest. There are always a mix of young and old faculty. Then think about this: an old faculty produced 10-15 students in his career, in the case of experiment, but he will only retire once! And still till age, he is holding up a position. My point is it's not easy to get an academic job.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:02 pm

It examines the number of book and journal articles published by each program's faculty, as well as journal citations, awards, honors, and grants received.


lmao.....This means nothing! How does any of this relate to getting a good education?

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:02 pm

The reason why I know that is that I ask my professors, who presumably are experts in whether or not each respective graduate school can churn out effective scientists.


Opinions of respected people are still just opinions.

User avatar
dlenmn
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:19 pm

Postby dlenmn » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:13 pm

@ twistor

"How does any of this relate to getting a good education?"

It's meant to be a measure of faculty quality (and I think that journal citations, awards, honors, and grants received can provide a useful metric for that), and I think good faculty probably have a lot to do with getting a good education. It doesn't measure if the profs are nice or a-holes, but there's only so much you can ask of a ranking.
Last edited by dlenmn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

cancelled20080417
Posts: 482
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:30 pm

Postby cancelled20080417 » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:16 pm

twistor, give me the metric that you use o rank programs.

After that we can dig a big tunnel and throw all the Profs and schools into that tunne who do not fit that criteria. brilliant idea?

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:18 pm

It doesn't measure if the profs are nice or a-holes, but there's only so much you can ask of a ranking.


It also doens't measure their ability to teach or to communicate the skills you need to be successful in your field. It doesn't tell anything important about the graduate school program.

User avatar
dlenmn
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:19 pm

Postby dlenmn » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:19 pm

I think twistor is channeling garden... perhaps we have a new prophet!

User avatar
dlenmn
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:19 pm

Postby dlenmn » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:21 pm

(removed from edit in previous post)

Perhaps it would be useful to us if they added in information about graduation rates, how long it takes, how the pay is etc. The article notes that the national research council's ranking takes that information in to account:

"That is a notable difference between the council's study and Academic Analytics' index. The former takes into account factors that directly influence graduate students, such as whether doctoral students get university-paid health-care benefits, whether teaching assistants have a collective-bargaining agreement, and the graduate student body's racial makeup. Both faculty members and graduate students were questioned for the council's latest study."

I bet the places you despise do well in that department. Harvard, after all, does have a lot of money -- they probably pay their TAs better than Wisconsin does (altough, FWIF, Wisconsin does have a collective bargaining agreement).

It's a shame the new study isn't out yet.
Last edited by dlenmn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:21 pm

twistor, give me the metric that you use o rank programs.


Sure. I talk to people in the graduate department and current students and determine how the program actually operates. I talk to the professors and determine if they have good interpersonal skills. I look and see what classes the department offers and how often they offer them. All of these are subjective ratings.

It doesn't matter if your advisor published 100 papers if you can't work with him/her. It doesn't matter if they're at the forefront of research if they're never around to help you when you need it. It doesn't matter if you're surrounded by Nobel prize winners if you're not happy with the overall program.

User avatar
dlenmn
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:19 pm

Postby dlenmn » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:23 pm

"Sure. I talk to people in the graduate department and current students and determine how the program actually operates. I talk to the professors and determine if they have good interpersonal skills. I look and see what classes the department offers and how often they offer them. All of these are subjective ratings. "

But your unwilling to do this at some places because you irrationally believe they're all elitist bastards? What a wonderfully useful ranking you've got!
Last edited by dlenmn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:25 pm

By all means if anyone thinks otherwise then he/she should go on to Harvard/Yale/Princeton or any other of the Ivy League, Inc.

I'm not saying not to go. I'm just saying not to go because you think the program is prestigious or you heard some rumor or read some horseshit rating from a website or magazine.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:27 pm

But your unwilling to do this at some places because you irrationally believe they're all elitist bastards? What a wonderfully objective ranking you've got!


No. I said it is subjective.

All of these are subjective ratings.


In any case, the admissions statistics say unequivocally that they are elitist.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:30 pm

I also consider the safety of the surrounding neighborhood.

User avatar
dlenmn
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:19 pm

Postby dlenmn » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:30 pm

twistor wrote:I'm not saying not to go. I'm just saying not to go because you think the program is prestigious or you heard some rumor or read some horseshit rating from a website or magazine.


You're right... you're not saying not to go. You're just saying that everyone who does happen to go to one of these places is an elitist bastard.

twistor wrote:People go to Harvard and Yale because of the "wow" factor. They go there so they can look down their noses at people who didn't.


EDIT: you're right, "objective" was a poor word to choose in my previous post. I've substituted "useful" instead. What's your repsonce now?
Last edited by dlenmn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:35 pm

dlenmn:

Are you telling me that if you went there you wouldn't brag about it? Are you telling me that you wouldn't expect preferential treatment for jobs because of your educational background? That you wouldn't expect your friends and family to brag and say, "dlenmn went to Harvard! "?

If you're really going for the academics then why do you even care what I have to say?

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:36 pm

EDIT: you're right, "objective" was a poor word to choose in my previous post. I've substituted "useful" instead. What's your repsonce now?


It's useful for me. My evaluation would not be useful to you. You'd have to do it yourself and determine what you think. That's why it's called subjective.[/i]

peder
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:01 pm

Postby peder » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:37 pm

While I'm starting to think Twistor is just a crank, let me say this:

Twistor, not all of us have the money (or time) to go to every Graduate school we applied to and ask the department how it works. As such, rankings are a good guide to where a successful graduate school might be.

As such, I find it just as good to ask a professor in my field where he thinks the best graduate schools are. That in itself is good for a couple reasons: you get an overall feel for the program, you get an idea how the program is perceived within the rest of the community, and so forth.

But to those who dont have access to the professorial advice that I have received, rankings are also a valid indicator. Rankings take into account objective data such as job placement, retention rates, research output, average graduating time, and so forth. Without knowing the statistics for each and every individual professor, this is hard to determine.

Regardless, the best thing you can do is call/talk to a professor who conducts research that interests you, but again, that may be prohibitive. But in general, with the good departments (like Harvard, or Berkeley, or UCSB, or Cornell), you can generally expect across-the-board decency in most pertinent fields of physics. And the fact is, most of them have larger-than-average faculties, giving you a better chance of finding someone for who you can work.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:42 pm

<removed>
Last edited by twistor on Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
dlenmn
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:19 pm

Postby dlenmn » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:46 pm

If you're really going for the academics then why do you even care what I have to say?


Because, you're applying false negative stereotypes to me and many of my friends.

Are you telling me that if you went there you wouldn't brag about it?


I'm not big on bragging. I go to an Ivy. I've got friends here and at other Ivys. I've got friends where quizivex goes to school. I'm proud of the school I go to, and maybe I do smile when people ask me about it. What do you want? I don't rub people's faces in it. I'm a reasonable guy, not an asshole.

Are you telling me that you wouldn't expect preferential treatment for jobs because of your educational background?


I don't think that I deserve preferential treatment simply because of where I went to school, but it does happen, so I can't claim that it couldn't be expected.

That you wouldn't expect your friends and family to brag and say, "dlenmn went to Harvard! "?


So to avoid the title of elitist bastard I'm supposed to control my friends and parents too?
Last edited by dlenmn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:50 pm, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:48 pm

While I'm starting to think Twistor is just a crank, let me say this:


Think what you want.

not all of us have the money (or time) to go to every Graduate school we applied to and ask the department how it works.


Just email them.

As such, rankings are a good guide to where a successful graduate school might be.


Current graduate schools and ratings sites like ratemyprofessors, pickaprof, or studentsreview offer better view of what the university is like from the perspective of a student. Start there and not wth rankings.

And the fact is, most of them have larger-than-average faculties, giving you a better chance of finding someone for who you can work.


Yes, but do they have more faculty just so they have more students? Faculty:student ratio is the quantity of interest here.

I find it just as good to ask a professor in my field where he thinks the best graduate schools are.


Fine and well, but you should take this advice with care. What your advisor thinks is a good school may not really be the right school for you.

peder
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:01 pm

Postby peder » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:50 pm

@Twistor:
You should be so lucky to find a department that very well suits your needs. I know I've been looking for quite some time now, and I'm still not sure (given the offers I have right now).

(Incidentally, the University of Chicago lost my transcripts, twice)

Anyhow, I don't think that your experience with one school like Chicago should influence what you think about other perceived top schools are to be. At any rate, isn't Wisconsin a top school anyway?

Back to the original topic, though: If you were to respond to me to any person who asked you about graduate school and they ask an (innocent) question why you didn't go to Chicago, I must say that person would be inclined to think your vehement attitude was more attributed to jealousy rather than the lack of proper treatment that a graduate school should afford its students. Just my humble opinion.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:54 pm

dlenmn:

Thanks for being honest. Your last post pretty much confirmed everything I had to say.

I don't think that I deserve preferential treatment simply because of where I went to school, but it does happen, so I can't claim that it couldn't be expected.


Of course you knew that going in. Game, set, match.

And if I may ask, how did you consider your present ivy league school? I'm sure it based on some incredibly objective metric...

For a hilarious description of Harvard, see encyclopediadramatica's entry:

Harvard is sometimes known for producing American presidents, Fortune 500 CEO's, Poets and Civil rights leaders, but mostly it's known for creating pretentious douchebags. A Harvard education instills one with the belief that they are more awesome than anything but they shouldn't dare tell anyone. Notable Graduates include JFK, The Roosevelts, That dude from Audioslave, That emo fag from Weezer, Natalie Portman (because she's a prototype for the New World Order's master race) Thurston Howell III, Captain Crunch and Jesus.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:57 pm

Anyhow, I don't think that your experience with one school like Chicago should influence what you think about other perceived top schools are to be. At any rate, isn't Wisconsin a top school anyway?


Maybe, maybe not. I happen to like their program. I didn't find it by checking out 'top programs". I found it by googling medical physics programs that were within Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Missouri.

User avatar
dlenmn
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:19 pm

Postby dlenmn » Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:02 pm

Of course you knew that going in. Game, set, match.


So what if I knew it going in? Should I try to avoid getting ahead in life? It's not like I'm going to work in a hedge fund, where my school's name might carry some clout. My school doesn't have a great physics reputation, so I don't think that it matters for what I'm doing.

And if I may ask, how did you consider your present ivy league school? I'm sure it based on some incredibly objective metric...


My two requirements were that it was a small school not in an urban setting, and that it have an engineering department. It was a tough choice between here and Rose-Hulman. Both had good professors and programs (I did in depth visits, talked to profs and students, sat in on classes, etc.), but I liked the area of my current school better (Terra Haute was too flat for my liking -- I like to bike). I certainly didn't go here simply because it was Ivy Leage.

EDIT: at any rate, I've got to leave the warm glow of this monitor. Been fun.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:07 pm

If you were to respond to me to any person who asked you about graduate school and they ask an (innocent) question why you didn't go to Chicago, I must say that person would be inclined to think your vehement attitude was more attributed to jealousy rather than the lack of proper treatment that a graduate school should afford its students. Just my humble opinion.


Actually, I have not ruled out Chicago if I am accepted there. I did, after all, apply. It all depends on whether or not the University of Wisconsin can choke up some funding for me. It is, in effect, my "safety" school.

If someone asked me why I didn't go to Chicago I would list the following reasons:

1) I did not think their program trained students as well as Madison.

2) I did not like how their academic year was divided into quarters. Students typcially take 1 class and 1 lab per quarter. I do not think this is enough time dedicated to fully learn a subject area.

3) I did not want to live in the crime ridden Hyde Park neighborhood. Living outside of Hyde Park poses commuter issues.

4) Living in Chicago costs much more than living in Madison.

5) Dealing with the people at the University of Chicago was draining and time consuming and produced few results.

6) I found the faculty and staff of Madison far more helpful than Chicago. I felt I would have no problems building up strong cooperative relationships with the researchers in Madison.




Return to “School Selection”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests