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SDSU vs. UVM


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I have been accepted to both the University of Vermont and San Diego State University for an M.S. in Chemistry; it seems likely that I will receive funding for both programs. I am really at a loss as to which offer to accept. I will break down my primary considerations below:

Strength of Department/Faculty

My intention in applying to these programs was to do well and get and M.S. fairly quickly, and then apply to a more competitive program elsewhere. SDSU offers an M.S. program that is well suited to this goal, and offers the possibility of gaining a PhD jointly awarded from SDSU and University of California, San Diego. There are two faculty members at SDSU that have research programs that greatly interests me (in inorganic/organometallic chemistry). UVM has one faculty member whose research interests me, and he recently received a great deal of funding. He seems to be a rising star in the field. I would say that overall, the SDSU faculty have research programs that more closely match my interests. SDSU is equipped with better instrumentation that UVM.

Funding/Cost of living

SDSU has a lower stipend in more expensive city. SDSU has better insurance coverage for students. Both schools offer tuition wavers.

General Vibe of Department and Location

The environment at the UVM chemistry department seems very warm and friendly, and the town (Burlington) seems like a great place to live. They have a very young faculty. San Diego State Chemistry seemed to have a somewhat older and less social faculty, but I couldn't quite tell. They were all very friendly however. San Diego is a good sized city and offers many activities (distractions?) I could participate in. As an LGBT person, both locales are very gay friendly, with San Diego offering perhaps a larger queer community. Meeting people and dating however are lower on my list of priorities; I'd much rather do well in a program academically and research-wise.

Size of school

UVM is significantly smaller than SDSU. Teaching loads are similar at both schools however (as far as I know).

Proximity to home

My family is in Connecticut, so UVM would of course be considerably closer to home.

Weather

This is a less important criteria for me. However, weather can certainly affect ones general state of mind and quality of life. I can tolerate winter well. Burlington Vermont has long winters, but I don't thing I'd mind too much. San Diego weather is always perfect it seems.

At the moment I am leaning towards SDSU, but a recent visiting student weekend made me less sure. I would like to decide by the middle-end of this week. Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks,

A.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi! I think I can help you out a bit.

I am from San Diego. Have lived here my whole life (except during undergraduate years- I went to school in the South). Living in San Diego has been a great experience for me. My family is here, the weather is great, nightlife is fantastic, its diverse, always things going on, the beach etc.... However, there is traffic like you could never imagine (I've only seen worse in Dallas), SD is crowded, expensive and has a high crime rate. If you are not from here I believe that you would find the people to be a bit impersonal and fairly resistant to "foreigners" invading upon their turf. It's a very locals only type community.

I am not a Chemistry major so I can not speak to the credibility of the Chem program. I am in science (neuroscience/biomedical) and know SDSU is not known for its science. On the plus side, San Diego does have a booming biotech industry which could supply you with ample opportunities to get industry experience (if that is what you truly wish to do). I worked for a biotech company for a couple of summers (while doing my undergrad).

I am particularly drawn to your post because I will be attending UVM next year. I think UVM and Vermont for that matter is an entirely different world. I have only been to Vermont once (my interview), but I loved it. I am happy to leave SD and start a new chapter of my life. Again, not being a chemistry major, I can not speak to the credibility of the chem department.

I do know that the people at UVM are great- friendly and encouraging.

It is up to you. I think either choice is a great one. It just depends on what type of atmosphere you wish to spend the next few years of your life in.

I wish you luck on your decision.

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One last thing: The LGBT community is very supportive/ very friendly. If you do choose SDSU I would stay away from the east county though. A general trend being- the farther east one goes the more conservative the city gets.

Hillcrest, North Park, College area, UTC areas are all great.

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Thanks to both of you for replying. As it turned out, I was recommended for admission by the Chemistry faculty, but the graduate school disagreed with their assessment :(

As such, I was declined admission and my decision became much easier -- I will be going to San Diego this summer :D

Michelley262003, thank you very much for your input. I wish you the best in Burlington, it is such a beautiful city and the University is really cool.

Best,

Aaron

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Thanks to both of you for replying. As it turned out, I was recommended for admission by the Chemistry faculty, but the graduate school disagreed with their assessment :(

Now that's puzzling... :shock:

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Now that's puzzling... :shock:

Not only that, but I attended the admitted students weekend. The faculty were all very welcoming, and the chair even said "see you next fall." A week later, decision time was fast approaching (I had to respond to SDSU by April 2). I had not yet received an offer letter by postal mail, so I phoned the department secretary to confirm my admission. She did, and sent me a copy of an acceptance letter that had been signed by the chair of the department but not the dean. A day later, the Graduate Admission Chair wrote to inform me that thought the department had recommended me for admission, the Dean of the graduate school did not agree with their recommendation, and thus there was in fact no offer. The situation was strange -- I thought usually graduate schools more or less rubber stamp the applications after the individual department approves it? Thats the way it works at my undergraduate institution.

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  • 4 years later...

Hi! I think I can help you out a bit.

I am from San Diego. Have lived here my whole life (except during undergraduate years- I went to school in the South). Living in San Diego has been a great experience for me. My family is here, the weather is great, nightlife is fantastic, its diverse, always things going on, the beach etc.... However, there is traffic like you could never imagine (I've only seen worse in Dallas), SD is crowded, expensive and has a high crime rate. If you are not from here I believe that you would find the people to be a bit impersonal and fairly resistant to "foreigners" invading upon their turf. It's a very locals only type community.

I am not a Chemistry major so I can not speak to the credibility of the Chem program. I am in science (neuroscience/biomedical) and know SDSU is not known for its science. On the plus side, San Diego does have a booming biotech industry which could supply you with ample opportunities to get industry experience (if that is what you truly wish to do). I worked for a biotech company for a couple of summers (while doing my undergrad).

I am particularly drawn to your post because I will be attending UVM next year. I think UVM and Vermont for that matter is an entirely different world. I have only been to Vermont once (my interview), but I loved it. I am happy to leave SD and start a new chapter of my life. Again, not being a chemistry major, I can not speak to the credibility of the chem department.

I do know that the people at UVM are great- friendly and encouraging.

It is up to you. I think either choice is a great one. It just depends on what type of atmosphere you wish to spend the next few years of your life in.

I wish you luck on your decision.

HELLO!!!  I would like to ask a few follow up

 

Hi! I think I can help you out a bit.

I am from San Diego. Have lived here my whole life (except during undergraduate years- I went to school in the South). Living in San Diego has been a great experience for me. My family is here, the weather is great, nightlife is fantastic, its diverse, always things going on, the beach etc.... However, there is traffic like you could never imagine (I've only seen worse in Dallas), SD is crowded, expensive and has a high crime rate. If you are not from here I believe that you would find the people to be a bit impersonal and fairly resistant to "foreigners" invading upon their turf. It's a very locals only type community.

I am not a Chemistry major so I can not speak to the credibility of the Chem program. I am in science (neuroscience/biomedical) and know SDSU is not known for its science. On the plus side, San Diego does have a booming biotech industry which could supply you with ample opportunities to get industry experience (if that is what you truly wish to do). I worked for a biotech company for a couple of summers (while doing my undergrad).

I am particularly drawn to your post because I will be attending UVM next year. I think UVM and Vermont for that matter is an entirely different world. I have only been to Vermont once (my interview), but I loved it. I am happy to leave SD and start a new chapter of my life. Again, not being a chemistry major, I can not speak to the credibility of the chem department.

I do know that the people at UVM are great- friendly and encouraging.

It is up to you. I think either choice is a great one. It just depends on what type of atmosphere you wish to spend the next few years of your life in.

I wish you luck on your decision.

HELLO!! I am not sure if any of you still uses this site but I am giving it a try!! I am admitted into SDSU's MS in Bioengineering, I am not sure if I can compete with all other graduates from UCSD, UCLA and UCI, do you think it will be hard to find industory experience for me if I go SDSU??

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