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Transfer from UCLA to Caltech? (Physics undergrad)

Raindrop11Raindrop11 Posts: 8Registered User New Member
Hi, I'm a physics major undergraduate at UCLA.
I entered UCLA as an incoming freshman in Fall 2012, and after my first 2 quarters at UCLA, my GPA is 2.89.
I did very badly in my first 2 quarters: my GPA doesn't even include two Ds which I repeated and a 'No-Pass' (a.k.a. Fail) which doesn't count in the GPA.
However, I am confident of getting straight As for the rest of undergraduate at UCLA. (I have made major improvements in my life)

I am very passionate about Physics: I love solving challenge problems and am keen to keep improving my abilities. I hope that by going to Caltech, I could take advantage of the environment achieve extraordinary things.

Should I transfer to Caltech?

Also, if I apply to Caltech in February 2014, does this mean that I would be admitted in Fall 2014?
I want to complete college in 4 years, and I am aware that if I transfer to Caltech, I need to complete 6 terms (2 years). Thus, it makes sense that I should apply to Caltech in Fall 2014; 2 years after entering UCLA.
Post edited by Raindrop11 on

Replies to: Transfer from UCLA to Caltech? (Physics undergrad)

  • Raindrop11Raindrop11 Posts: 8Registered User New Member
    Firstly, there are so many other threads on transferring to Caltech, so it's pretty unproductive to reply to this thread.
    Secondly, I feel that I should focus on getting into Caltech for graduate school instead of transferring there.
    Although I originally wanted to go to Caltech simply because Caltech is challenging 'enough', I really want to be challenged to the maximum, and I love being pushed to my maximum ability instead of having things easy, I feel that I should just stay at UCLA and ace everything.
    To be honest, the real thing discouraging me from applying to transfer is the prospect that I would spend so many hours on the application just to get rejected.
    I honestly don't think I have much chance of getting into Caltech simply because I don't have enough time to get enough research experience by February 2014.
  • collegealum314collegealum314 Posts: 6,410Registered User Senior Member
    I honestly don't think I have much chance of getting into Caltech simply because I don't have enough time to get enough research experience by February 2014.

    Concentrate on doing well at UCLA, and you will have good opportunities afterwards. The most important thing is to do well in the classes, especially in physics. If you are doing well, then maybe start doing research the second semester junior year or the summer after junior year.

    Getting one "B" in a science class generally means that you have almost no chance to get in Caltech. You don't have any chance to get in, so don't put the cart before the horse and try to pile on research hours as a freshmen and sophomore. This will hurt your development as a physicist. Again, try to right the ship at UCLA and aim high for graduate school.
  • collegealum314collegealum314 Posts: 6,410Registered User Senior Member
    FYI--if you did have any chance of getting into Caltech as a transfer student, you would need to start getting the high grades in all of your science classes right now and continue it until you applied (mid-way sophomore year I'd guess.) The research won't make any difference.
  • Raindrop11Raindrop11 Posts: 8Registered User New Member
    Thanks! Your quote "don't put the cart before the horse" is really meaningful to me. I was thinking of self-studying lots of Physics courses in preparation for the Caltech entrance examination instead of learning programming languages which are important in the UCLA photonics research group which I am preparing to join (in sophomore or junior year).

    Self-studying lots of Physics courses is a gamble: if I self-study lots of Physics courses, I win if I ace the Caltech transfer examinations and get into Caltech. However, if I don't get into Caltech, I would be lagging in the research since I would have to start learning programming languages when everyone wants me to write code. Plus, my GPA would obviously suffer some dent due to me wanting to do many Physics courses at once instead of having a healthy balance of core and GE classes...

    Else, if I learn programming languages, I can do useful photonics research here at UCLA. Of course, my research interests are quite volatile; however, I was risking everything to get into Caltech.

    Just to keep things clear, I learnt from a friend that there's a lot of programming in the photonics team. That's why I keep associating knowing programming languages with success in the research team. Also, just as extra information for anyone interested, the 'programming languages' are C++, Matlab, AutoCAD and LabView.

    Although getting into Caltech would be amazing, I understand that taking actions to improve my chances of getting into Caltech would mess up my undergraduate career if I don't get into Caltech. On top of that, my chances of getting into Caltech are very low. Therefore, I 'officially decide' that instead of transferring to Caltech, I will focus on getting solid GPA and producing amazing research here at UCLA.
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