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Offline Khauruk

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Good undergrad chem schools
« on: September 14, 2007, 01:22:08 PM »

I've gone back to school after a few career changes, and am looking at majoring in Chemistry.  I'm currently doing a combination of Comm. College and state school courses, and will be transferring into University of Vermont for the spring semester.

Is there anybody here who can comment on the strength of UVM's program?  I'm looking for a serious, rigorous program to challenge me (I'm through most of the first semester class here at Johnson State College, and we haven't had our first exam as a class yet...I'm wildly bored),  and will transfer schools if necessary.  Location is not particularly important (the colder the better, however), though cost is of course a factor.

Admissions shouldn't be too much of a problem, I don't think - I have 120 credits and an academic award from the Defense Language Institute, one of the most challenging language schools in the country.  I'll probably be on Dean's list here, and can get good recommendations from the faculty.

So far I've seen Georgia Institute of Tech, UFlorida, UGeorgia, Northwestern, UChicago - any others?

Also, if worthwhile/possible, I'd like to do some study abroad - can anybody list some schools that will send you overseas to good chem programs?


Offline Mitch

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Re: Good undergrad chem schools
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2007, 02:26:39 PM »
I haven't heard of that chem department in particular, but I'm sure its fine. All chem undergrads take the same classes and often use the same books as their counterparts at other schools.
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Offline Khauruk

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Re: Good undergrad chem schools
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2007, 05:31:42 PM »
The school I'm at right now has an odd population of students - student scores in most courses represent more of an inverted bell curve than anything else.  Most of the professors leave shortly after they arrive, as they need to teach the courses at a speed equivalent to a high school class.  This school does give at least B.A.'s in chemistry.  My professor has already told me he expects me to never show up to lecture, as I'm so far ahead of the rest of the class, and that I should find another school asap, for any of the degrees I'm interested in (math, physics, chem).

The quality of a large %age of faculty at the school is fairly miserable as well (my parents work there, so I know the inner workings of the science dept. fairly well), w/ extreme laziness being tolerated (can you say virtual labs?) by the deans, and sorely underqualified PHd's being taken on as professors (many have a *hard* time teaching freshman-level courses, and have a gigantic turn-over rate).

The labs are atrocious.  I'd like to say they're a joke, but they're not....

Anecdotal:  My father was lab manager for a firm in the Detroit area (120 chemists working under him).  After a few years of hiring, he refused to hire students from one of the local universities (a school that was perennially very high ranked, great reputation), as they didn't have enough experience or knowledge to fill the entry level positions.  All of the lower ranked school's students blew them away regularly (Wayne State, Ohio State, Oakland University, most commonly).

So, I have a hard time believing that all schools are interchangeable.  Perhaps on paper they are, but my experience says otherwise.

Maybe I need to narrow my question - do you (collectively) know any schools that put a strong emphasis on high quality, educational, representative-of-real-world-work laboratory periods, and student research?

Offline constant thinker

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Re: Good undergrad chem schools
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2007, 08:18:31 PM »
Rochester Institute of Technology is big on co-ops related to your major. I think it's actually required for some degree programs. If you want practical, real world experience, a co-op sounds like a good option in my opinion.
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