What are my [physics/applied physics] chances for MIT, Stanford, Caltech & Ivies

While on the subject of safeties, have you considered THE Ohio State University? They are #23 for physics, and they entice strong students with generous aid packages (we know two students who went to OSU because of the aid offered).

The EA deadline for OSU was 11/1 so no more merit consideration.

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Carnegie Mellon is one of the school’s mentioned in this list for schools with strength in physics: Best Colleges for Physics.

Also, when looking at College Navigator (feds’ website…school-specific source), there were 10 students who got a degree in astrophysics, 2 in theoretical and mathematical physics, and 18 in regular physics. When combined with the 25 Master’s in physics and 8 PhDs in physics, I think that the department will be plenty strong. Then when thinking of applied physics, that’s kitty corner (in my mind) to engineering, where they also have extremely strong offerings. I wouldn’t eliminate CMU based on a physics ranking.

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Thank you for your feedback, its appreciated! CMU is on my list, I missed not listing it. U. of Rochester I’ll look into. Again, thank you!

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Thank you very much for your feedback. I/we have researched and found these are the majority of the top Physics programs in nation. My preference is MIT (first) or UChicago and went EA on both. CU Boulder has a really good Physics program also and it’s 30 minutes away and my safety school. I’ve been able to visit these schools, plus Harvard and Columbia. When I visited MIT, I really like it, more than my visit to Harvard or Columbia (not a big fan (personal preference) of NYC). The number of top schools I’m applying to is due more to the uncertainty of admissions at this level. If I’m fortunate to be accepted to any of them, then my dad and I will make a road trip out to visit. Again, thank you for taking the time to comment!

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Thank you! I have CMU on my list. Appreciate the comment!

Thank you for your comment. If I was going to go to a state school, CU Boulder (my state) likely would be what I chose. I have a lot of AP courses and am taking two second year Physics courses there now and I would only have two years left for my bachelors. Again, thank you!

Yes, and CMU is ranked higher on Niche than USNWR for physics. On the downside, CMU is stingy with aid and the OP’s family income puts them in the no-man’s land between low-income families who are eligible for need based aid and well-off families that can pay cash on the barrel head. Moreover, because of their gender parity policy for STEM majors, their admissions rates for males are lower than their overall admissions rates.

I am not busting on CMU; it is an amazing school which is strong in disparate fields like comp sci, engineering, business, architecture and musical theater. In fact, I’m an alum and my son was accepted there for MechE. It does, however, have some drawbacks compared to other schools on the OP’s list.

Had your previous post been primarily about the stinginess of CMU, I would have let it be and just made sure the family ran the Net Price Calculator. But since the majority of the post seemed to be questioning the quality of the physics department, that’s what I responded to.

All schools will have drawbacks compared to others. I had suggested CMU in part because most of his list has an admit rate below 5% and then there’s Boulder with a significantly higher one. I suspect that OP will get into one or more of his reaches, but if he wanted some schools with admission rates between the 5%ers and CU, I thought CMU at 14% or U. of Rochester at 41% should be considered, even though neither is known for fabulous need-based aid. But with the strength of OP’s application, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were more generous in determining his need than they are with others (and both do have some limited merit aid as well).

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