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Help!! Year abroad in US

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    Hey guys!

    I'm studying at UCL and have the option of going abroad in my third year

    I have quite a few options all over the world but mainly looking to apply to the american onesso my choices are between Caltech (which is definitely my first choice), Johns Hopkins, University of Washington (seattle campus), university of Texas at Austin and a few others

    I have other choices like university of toronto, melbourne, sydney, national university of singapore and the likes but i really want to go to the american ones

    so my question is, i have three options - Caltech is deffo one of them but not sure about the others, Johns Hopkins seems pretty good but any help would be appreciated

    Thank you
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    It depends on what you want, eh? If you value academics more than anything else, a place like Caltech is awesome. If you want more elements of the American "college experience" (college town, football/athletics, thriving social scene, etc.), a place like UT Austin or UDub may be more up your alley.

    I'm assuming this is your list of options: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/studyabroad/op...dept-exchanges

    Academically you can't go wrong with any of the following:

    • Caltech
    • Chicago
    • Columbia
    • Georgia Tech
    • JHU
    • Michigan
    • UCs (if Berkeley, UCLA, or UCSD)
    • UNC Chapel Hill
    • UT Austin
    • U Washington

    If you want a good social scene, cool college town, and great athletics ➔ Michigan, UNC, UT Austin
    If you want a fantastic city ➔ Chicago, Columbia, maybe the UCs, Washington
    If you want hardcore academics and a quirky/nerdy community ➔ Caltech, Chicago, Columbia
    If you want a strong STEM focus ➔ Caltech, Georgia Tech, JHU

    JHU has some strong science programs, but pre-meds are much more prevalent there than at any of the other schools above. That may or may not bother you. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Also note that some of these are on the quarter system (3 terms per year) rather than the more usual semester system (2 terms per year) -- Caltech, Chicago, the UCs (except Berkeley), and U Washington. Definitely something to keep in mind if you're only coming for part of the year!
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    So here's a list of all USA/Canadian unis
    Caltech - which I really like inspite of the small size and they're strong in the sciences
    UW in Seattle - seems like a fun uni but that's just from online research, sports etc.
    JHU - strong at science research, so potentially pretty good considering I'm studying Chem but really worried about the social scene here
    University of Toronto (St George's) - like UW it seems like a good school, solid social life, massive uni, decent location but I don't think it's for me
    UT Austin - I don't think I'd like it here but I'm still considering it
    University of Chicago - great city and great acdemics, really like it

    Only problem is I would like to go to the UCs like Berkeley, UCLA etc but they're reserved for biologists but if it's possible would love to do a PhD at Berkeley

    And yeah I want a campus with a great social scene and possibly sports - used to play some American football during my first year

    I really like Caltech and JHU

    What do you think??

    Thank you and sorry for the long post
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    Texas and Washington are good schools with good graduate programmes, but they are state schools with huge numbers of undergraduates, and are much less academically competitive than some of the schools you mentioned. They are better for a good social scene and so on though.

    If there are academic criteria other than going to UCL to get into the programmes at Caltech, Chicago and JHU, then you would be passing up an opportunity by going to a state school. However, all of those three are very intense and do not have good social scenes. In terms of competitiveness of admission Caltech > Chicago > JHU.

    Caltech has the highest high school test scores of any US school, and is significantly harder than any UK school for undergraduate. It's chemistry PhD programme is ranked #2 after Harvard. If you think you can handle it, it is the best choice academically. I don't know much about Chicago, but don't have a good opinion of it.

    I went to JHU, and would not recommend it based on my experience. However, it is also a phenomenal school. It was modeled on Heidelberg, and is closer to a European university. It is very intense, and the faculty tend to be old school tough. It also has huge numbers of premeds who will very concerned about grades. You will run into a lot of premeds in chemistry at any of the schools you are considering though.
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    (Original post by mathplustutornj)
    Texas and Washington are good schools with good graduate programmes, but they are state schools with huge numbers of undergraduates, and are much less academically competitive than some of the schools you mentioned. They are better for a good social scene and so on though.

    If there are academic criteria other than going to UCL to get into the programmes at Caltech, Chicago and JHU, then you would be passing up an opportunity by going to a state school. However, all of those three are very intense and do not have good social scenes. In terms of competitiveness of admission Caltech > Chicago > JHU.

    Caltech has the highest high school test scores of any US school, and is significantly harder than any UK school for undergraduate. It's chemistry PhD programme is ranked #2 after Harvard. If you think you can handle it, it is the best choice academically. I don't know much about Chicago, but don't have a good opinion of it.

    I went to JHU, and would not recommend it based on my experience. However, it is also a phenomenal school. It was modeled on Heidelberg, and is closer to a European university. It is very intense, and the faculty tend to be old school tough. It also has huge numbers of premeds who will very concerned about grades. You will run into a lot of premeds in chemistry at any of the schools you are considering though.
    Hey!!
    I was really considering JHU, why wouldn't you recommend it?
    Cos of the social scene? or is there something else?

    Thank you
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    (Original post by That_Clever_Guy)
    Hey!!
    I was really considering JHU, why wouldn't you recommend it?
    Cos of the social scene? or is there something else?

    Thank you
    As I implied it is very intense. Half of students are premeds and in pressured environment, and they would mostly be your classmates in chemistry classes. Social scene may not be that bad, but most people are into studying a lot.

    JHU might be the most appropriate though. The state schools you mentioned should be significantly easier than UCL for undergraduate. Caltech is probably harder than top Ivies, definitely than Oxbridge. I wouldn't reccomend any of the name schools you mentioned unless you are above average academically at UCL.

    None of the name schools is big on athletics/football, but the state schools are. Chicago is famous for abolishing varsity sports about 80 years ago when it had a top football team. I think the Caltech Football team plays community colleges and gets crushed. They accept no one based on athletics there, and not many on other "hooks". Johns Hopkins has division 3 sports, except for a famous top lacrosse team, but most of the students aren't very interested in that.

    Someone told me that everyone who went to Hopkins seems stiff, partly because they study all the time. In contrast at the Ivies there is more emphasis on parties and socialization. Ivies and top liberal art colleges accept more based on money and connections, and have a more relaxed atmosphere than the schools you mentioned. The state schools you mentioned are much more relaxed and have more emphasis on college life, sports, etc.
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    (Original post by mathplustutornj)
    As I implied it is very intense. Half of students are premeds and in pressured environment, and they would mostly be your classmates in chemistry classes. Social scene may not be that bad, but most people are into studying a lot.

    JHU might be the most appropriate though. The state schools you mentioned should be significantly easier than UCL for undergraduate. Caltech is probably harder than top Ivies, definitely than Oxbridge. I wouldn't reccomend any of the name schools you mentioned unless you are above average academically at UCL.

    None of the name schools is big on athletics/football, but the state schools are. Chicago is famous for abolishing varsity sports about 80 years ago when it had a top football team. I think the Caltech Football team plays community colleges and gets crushed. They accept no one based on athletics there, and not many on other "hooks". Johns Hopkins has division 3 sports, except for a famous top lacrosse team, but most of the students aren't very interested in that.

    Someone told me that everyone who went to Hopkins seems stiff, partly because they study all the time. In contrast at the Ivies there is more emphasis on parties and socialization. Ivies and top liberal art colleges accept more based on money and connections, and have a more relaxed atmosphere than the schools you mentioned. The state schools you mentioned are much more relaxed and have more emphasis on college life, sports, etc.
    Wow thanks for the reply

    Yeah I got 84% first year average this year so I think that I'm quite capable of handling the name schools

    I don't really mind that their may be quite a lot of pre-meds, I don't think it should make much difference to the social scene at JHU
    But Caltech yeah I can understand that JT may be a geeky sort of social scene, but it doesn't sway me that much

    Quick question, did you stay at dorms whilst at JHU?

    Thank you again for your help
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    (Original post by mathplustutornj)
    Ivies and top liberal art colleges accept more based on money and connections, and have a more relaxed atmosphere than the schools you mentioned.
    Almost all private universities admit a higher-than-average percentage of legacy applicants and a tiny handful (usually <60) of extremely wealthy applicants/donors, the so-called "developmental admits." The Ivies are not in the slightest bit different from Hopkins or other private universities such as Stanford or Chicago in this regard.

    Also, I wouldn't clump them all together. Among liberal arts colleges, for example, schools like Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd are considered exceedingly intense and rigorous.
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    You should be fine for Hopkins if you are above average at UCL, as Hopkins is probably a step up. Caltech has 1000 undergraduates and is more competitive. IMO it would be the better choice if you can get accepted into it and can handle the academics.

    Hopkins has a high work load and tough grading, which is also true of Caltech and Chicago. This is probably partly because they accept a lot of students who have high test scores, but didn't have the ECs for the Ivies. The students tend to be mostly interested in studying and interested in grades and what the best career moves are.

    The school is not that easy to deal with. The students tend to be critical like the faculty. It is very good for training you to do a quality kind of work and preparing you for a professional and managerial career. It is somewhat public school like in those ways.

    When I was there, most of the premeds fathers were doctors and weren't able to buy there way into somewhere else. They had eliminated the honor code, because the premeds were openly cheating in groups. I don't think it is like that now, but the premed environment is very pressured.

    When I was there, the dorms were only guaranteed for freshmen. Most students shared regular apartments (flats). This is one way Hopkins more European style than most US schools.
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    (Original post by mathplustutornj)
    Hopkins has a high work load and tough grading, which is also true of Caltech and Chicago. This is probably partly because they accept a lot of students who have high test scores, but didn't have the ECs for the Ivies. The students tend to be mostly interested in studying and interested in grades and what the best career moves are.
    Are you sure about that comment with ECs? I'd agree if you were talking about UCs or good publics, but not sure about privates, regardless of Ivy or not.
 
 
 
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