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Topic: Choosing a College for Chemistry  (Read 12720 times)

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Offline pzona69

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Choosing a College for Chemistry
« on: May 20, 2008, 04:38:49 PM »
I've been looking at colleges, making visits, doing all the research, etc. and now I'm trying to get personal advice. If anyone knows anything specific about any of these schools or has personal experience with any of them, or even if you know someone who does, I'd be interested in hearing about it. 

Schools I'm looking at:
Northwestern
Illinois
University of Chicago
Michigan State
Ohio State
Carnegie Mellon
Johns Hopkins
Penn State

P.S. Any college in basically the eastern third of the US is pretty much still up for consideration, if you can give me an idea of some good ones besides these.

Offline enahs

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Re: Choosing a College for Chemistry
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2008, 08:03:46 PM »
Undergrad or grad?

Either way, do you have an idea what kind of Chemistry/Research you are interested in? If so, pick a school with professors in that field, so you can work with them!


Offline pzona69

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Re: Choosing a College for Chemistry
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2008, 09:31:58 PM »
Undergrad, but I'd like to stay at the same place for grad school if possible. I'm more interested in organic than anything, but I'll take just about any research job I can get.

Offline macman104

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Re: Choosing a College for Chemistry
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2008, 01:13:24 AM »
I was explicitly told by my professor that anyone in the undergrad chem department applying for graduate education he denies.  He says that in order to get a well-rounded experience and establish connections and relationships to help you further it is important to diversify your education.  I'm in the midwest right now, and he said he would encourage me to look somewhere on one of the coasts or somewhere at least not in Illinois.  Also, if you are planning on doing graduate and Ph.D work, then it's possible where you go for your undergrad will have some influence but little.

Offline pzona69

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Re: Choosing a College for Chemistry
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2008, 07:37:37 PM »
macman,

Can I ask where you're going now?  I'm looking into some colleges in Illinois and I'm trying to get as much information as possible

Offline macman104

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Re: Choosing a College for Chemistry
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2008, 01:51:35 AM »
macman,

Can I ask where you're going now?  I'm looking into some colleges in Illinois and I'm trying to get as much information as possible
I go to Illinois Institute of Technolgoy.  However, if you are looking to go for chemistry, it is a very small department.  The focus of the school is really more the ECE, BME, and the engineering departments, but they're working on it.

Do you have any thoughts as to what area of chemistry might interest you?

EDIT:  On the other hand, if you have a good GPA (3.75-4.0), they do throw money at almost all students like crazy.

Offline pzona69

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Re: Choosing a College for Chemistry
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2008, 02:53:52 PM »
So far I'm really interested in organic chem, and maybe bio. I'm still trying to find out where is a good place to go for organic. I've got the grades (about a 3.7) to get to a decent school and my SAT was a 1250.

Offline macman104

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Re: Choosing a College for Chemistry
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2008, 10:50:22 PM »
The organic department at my school is very small.  Moreso since the chemistry department is small.  It is an adequate education, and made bearable since they are paying for 75% of my tuition.  But if I had the funding to go to a better school without a loan, I probably would have.  It is of little consequence since I plan to go to graduate school, but...yea.  Unfortunately, I don't have much information to offer about other schools in the area.

Offline Shaun

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Re: Choosing a College for Chemistry
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2008, 11:17:39 AM »
This is my opinion only - but for your BS, aim for the university that has the best overall reputation.  Don't go based on reputation for chemistry only.

Chemistry rankings are based on research output, funding, and other factors that have to do with the PhD programs and almost nothing to do with undergraduate programs.

There is little correlation between being a good teacher and being able to land big grants.  Most of the really famous professors only teach graduate level courses - if they teach at all.

Graduate schools will be far, far more impressed if you get your BS at Dartmouth or Amherst College than Penn State, even though Dartmouth is only ranked 74th and Penn State is ranked 16th.  I'm not sure that Amherst College even has a graduate school.

Offline constant thinker

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Re: Choosing a College for Chemistry
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2008, 07:37:21 PM »
Talk to professors that teach organic chem at colleges your considering and ask them about where their undergrads go, and if they have any contacts at other better colleges.

I'm entering college this fall, but so far what I've gathered (a lot from the people here, and a good deal from the people I know that have gone through college and acquired a graduate degree or are professors) when it comes to education graduate school is more important than your undergraduate education.

Good luck.
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