Help please: Technical University of Munich vs. Amherst College

Hey, I’m an international from Europe looking to potentially pursue graduate education in physics, chemistry, or engineering in big US grad schools like the Ivies or maybe Oxbridge. I have kind of a strange comparison dilemma. I know how important research is during the selection process to grad schools, so I’m wondering what I should choose here. I have 2 options, and the fees are all covered in both of them. I’m leaning towards Amherst because I want to experience that US college lifestyle, but not sure.

Pros - US college feel; closer to my target grad schools both culturally and connections-wise; most prestigious liberal arts college in the US; lots of opportunities for student exchange programs; from what I saw, outstanding professors; seems very diverse and accepting of internationals and different cultures.
Cons - Potentially fewer research opportunities as it’s a liberal arts college; rural setting is nice but I’d prefer a big city; I’d also prefer a student body that’s larger.

Technical University of Munich
Pros - Best university in Germany; closer to home country; bigger university feel; potentially more research opportunities; located in a big city; I have family in Germany.
Cons - I practically can’t stand the German language lol; I’m less acquainted with German culture than with US culture; I’ve heard German locals aren’t that accepting of internationals (coconut personality vs. peach personality thing).

If you want to conduct research, Amherst.
At TUM, research opportunities will go to graduate students (Year 4 or 5 - you’d probably have to wait till Year 5 to have a shot at competing for US grad schools, if you were among the very top Year 4s.) There’ll be less mentoring at TUM, fewer opportunities sent your way (or existing), simply because it’s a large public university where undergrads are at the bottom of the totem pole no matter how brilliant they were in high school.
The quality of instruction is phenomenal but everything else will be lacking compared to Amherst. The resources overall aren’t the same and especially the resources dedicated to undergrads.
BTW, LACs have research, especially at LACs like Amherst where the professors need to have high-level research like at big universities, the difference being their ability and willingness to mentor undergrads and have them integrated into these research projects (v. large universities where professors have to show willingness and ability to mentor graduate students).
In addition, Amherst College is near UMass Amherst so if you want to be among tens of thousands of people, you can.
Your main “true” con is that Amherst isn’t in a big city and it’d be too bad to pass on Amherst because you want to live in a big city, which you can easily do during the summer and of course for the next 50 years of your life after graduating from college.


Thank you for the feedback. I committed to Amherst :smile:


Do return and let us know how it’s going :smiley: as I’m sure it’ll interest international readers .