Advantages of exchange at Uni. of California

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amiphysicist
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Advantages of exchange at Uni. of California

Postby amiphysicist » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:29 am

Hello
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grae313
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Re: Advantages of exchange at Uni. of California

Postby grae313 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:08 pm

The effectiveness of a year as an exchange student is entirely in your hands. If you kick ass, ace your classes, impress your instructors and form solid contacts, the year can be very advantageous indeed. If you don't, well, it may not make much of a difference in your application either way but you will probably still have a good time and learn a lot (it's always an educational experience to live in a different country, in my opinion). As for whether top 20 is out of your league, one cannot say without knowing where you and your GPA stand as compared to the other students in your class. A 3.3 can mean very different things at different schools. Are you a top student at your school? Is your GPA very high compared to the average? If so you may be fine for top 20 schools. Are there other things on your application that are impressive such as research, tutoring, or community service?

Keep in mind that the UC schools are known to admit smaller numbers of international students for graduate school that the average US school due to the funding situation in California. I'm not sure if this is relevant at all to exchange programs, but I just wanted to give you a heads up that if you haven't already, you should do some research into various exchange programs and try and gauge where you will have the best odds.

amiphysicist
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Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:16 am

Re: Advantages of exchange at Uni. of California

Postby amiphysicist » Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:51 pm

It is a small program
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grae313
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Re: Advantages of exchange at Uni. of California

Postby grae313 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:09 pm

My opinion: Berkeley > Santa Barbara > UCLA > San Diego > Santa Cruz > Davis > All others

Obviously Berkeley is one of the very best physics programs in the world, Santa Barbara is top notch in condensed matter and excellent overall, UCLA and maybe San Diego are top 20, Davis and all the others are less competitive.

Community service isn't terribly important if you have good research. It's just a bonus if you need one, and will also help if you ever plan to apply for fellowships like NSF.

You cannot compare gpa's very well between different schools within the US, let alone between schools in different countries. Every school scales the average to something different, and each school has different quality students. Graduate schools will look to how you performed relative to your class and your class's average, to your letters of recommendation, and to how well you do on the physics GRE to try and get better measure of your physics knowledge and classroom performance.

amiphysicist
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Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:16 am

Re: Advantages of exchange at Uni. of California

Postby amiphysicist » Sun Jan 10, 2010 5:12 pm

An
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CKtalon
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Re: Advantages of exchange at Uni. of California

Postby CKtalon » Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:05 pm

If you are into quantum computing, you should be looking more into Quantum Information/(Optics even) depending on the system used to describe qubits. Some use photons, and some use solid state systems.

If you are into theory, the study of the Quantum Hall system and its topological properties are believed to be useful in building a quantum computer..

Well, everyone has to start somewhere in research, so if you seem (academically) mature and show interest, why not?

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zxcv
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Re: Advantages of exchange at Uni. of California

Postby zxcv » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:09 pm

There are strong research programs in both theoretical and experimental quantum computation at both Berkeley and Santa Barbara. Quantum computation is an interdisciplinary field that in physics often falls in the categories of condensed matter or atomic/molecular/optical (AMO), but also in fields outside of physics like computer science, chemistry or math. Berkeley, for instance, has two theoretical groups in quantum computing, but they are in chemistry and computer science, not physics, although physics students often work in them. I don't think the difference in subfield US News rankings is meaningful except as a rough guide, because ultimately what matters are the specific researchers you might work with, and all sorts of hard to predict individual factors (e.g. their reputation, how easy they are to work with, whether you like them, whether they have money, etc.).

I think you have a perfectly reasonable chance of getting started in research if you show strong interest, although this is harder in theory than experiment. You will need to directly and persistently approach potential research advisers.




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