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AprilWMS

University with a good Geophysics program (Bachelor's)

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AprilWMS

Hello everyone, this is pretty long so bare with me please. If you have time, I hope you can respond to my queries. If not, that is totally okay. Cheers and blessings ^_^

 

I am applying for the CSC scholarships this year. I need help in choosing a good university. I plan to major in either geophysics or geology in college. As of now, I am more inclined towards geophysics. After searching around on CUCAS, I narrowed my choices to four universities which offered a bachelor's degree in geophysics; Tongji University, Jilin University, Wuhan University, and Peking University. In the application form, which I have yet to submit, I listed my preferences in order of Wuhan University, Jilin University, and Tongji University. My considerations in ranking my preferences were,

 

1.) How good the university's geophysics program is

2.) Preferably located in a less cosmopolitan and westernized area

3.) My chance of getting into the university

4.) The campus experience and the people 

5.) The food

6.) The convenience

7.) The campus scenery

8.) The accommodation

 

Obviously, I don't know much about these Chinese universities yet so I based my choices on 1, 3, and 7. As you can notice, I did not list PKU on my choices. My first major reason is that I feel like I don't have a good chance of getting into Beida. Aside from that, I don't feel worthy of studying in Beida knowing how competitive the students are who've earned high enough scores in the bloodbath known as the Chinese gaokao. I've heard that they lowered the bar significantly for international students. And of course, it's located in Beijing. 

 

Although I have ordered my preferences, the three universities I listed are just about equal to me. I based the order on university rankings in which Wuhan was an obvious first choice. I am not so sure about the rankings of both Jilin University and Tongji University as there were some rankings which are vastly different. Frankly, how good their program is in my course is a huge dealbreaker for me. I don't believe entirely in university rankings as they don't tell me entirely if they're actually good in my major. But as of now, I'm roughly basing my choices on the university rankings on CUCAS. And as these three are pretty much the only choices I have as of the moment, I did not think too much about my chances of getting in. Between Jilin and Tongji, I prefer Jilin more because Tongji is in Shanghai. I'd like to study in a relatively more peaceful city and somewhere where I can get in touch with the culture more. 

 

As I don't have any knowledge on the ground in China, those are the only factors I've based my preferences in. However, the campus experience, the people, and the food will possibly change my previous decisions. After all, I want to make my stay a rewarding learning experience. I don't want to be a student who studies too intensively for good grades but has failed to enjoy learning. Don't get me wrong, I am not opposed to studying hard, I just think that actually learning and enjoying the process is far better than getting stellar grades. I don't believe that I can enjoy learning in a toxic environment.

 

With that said, I've heard some pretty bad reviews about Wuhan University's inefficient administration. As of now, it is my first choice because it was reputable but again, I don't want to compromise my mental and emotional well-being if the inefficiency and discrimination were as bad as I've heard.

 

Also, I'm considering China University of Geosciences but I'm not sure if they offer a bachelor's program in Geophysics.

 

Tl;dr: Based on the considerations I've listed above, which university do you think is my best option? If you can recommend other universities to me, that would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance. 

 

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AprilWMS

Apologies, I'm new here and I may have posted this thread on the wrong forum. 

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anonymoose

Unlike universities in western countries (well, the UK at least), most universities in China follow the exact same course content, which is essentially determined by the textbook. In other words, most lecturers will present exactly what's in the textbook, without adding much if any personal material. So I wouldn't place too much emphasis on the quality of the program - in terms of content, I suspect they are all much the same.

 

As you have already ruled out Peking University, I guess you are not that bothered about the name of the university. If you want to try and find a job in China, or pursue a post-graduate degree in China, then I think having a degree from Peking University (even if they have lower entry requirements for foreigners) will be a big advantage. On the other hand, the advantage may not be so significant if you do not intend to stay in China. Certainly, the local students at Peking University will all be study robots, and thus, competition against you will be that much higher. I cannot say, though, how much of a practical difference it would make between Peking and say, Wuhan University. I think you will still have a tough time studying alongside local students.

 

I think things such as the campus experience and the people, the food, the convenience, the campus scenery and the accommodation are very difficult to determine in advance, and are very subjective. Personally, I would place climate high on my list of considerations - if you don't like cold long winters, then I would rule out Jilin straight away.

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AprilWMS

@anonymoose

Thank you so much for your reply. Well if not the content then I would at least want to base my decision on the quality of the educators and how much field experience they provide to students. The same content can be presented in different ways.

 

As for ruling out Peking University, I do consider the name and reputation of a university but it is not that important to me. I don't plan to stay in China after my studies nor do I plan to pursue my graduate studies there. I love China but if I were to be accepted, I'd like to explore other countries too or go back to my country to apply what I've learned. And you are right, I know the competition will still be extremely tough at the other universities I've chosen, hopefully not as stiff as in PKU. I don't want to be a study robot but that doesn't mean I'm not up for a challenge. Either way, if I want to survive in a Chinese university, I'd still have to put up a considerable amount of effort since I think our course curriculum in high school is significantly different. 

 

Again, you're right, the factors I've chosen were indeed subjective. Nonetheless, I'd still like for people's own experiences on these aspects and try to analyze them into my context. And lol, I totally neglected thinking about climate. I am from a tropical country so my body's not a big fan of colds. In fact, I even feel uncomfortable staying in our airconditioned classroom which only goes to as low as 16 degreed Celcius. Perhaps I'll replace Jilin with USTC. As for the other aspects, I think I can afford to be surprised when I get there but I'd really like to ask about the food. Does anyone know about the characteristics of the cuisine in those places? I can't handle any dishes that are even remotely sweet. Nothing too spicy either but I guess I can adapt to that. I love sweets but not sweet dishes.

 

Cheers and have a good day!

 

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ZC

I can’t personally speak to the on campus climate of any but some of the more fun local students I have met in Shanghai were from Tongji, they seemed to enjoy campus life and I know the transport around the Tongji Uni campus in the city is quite good. Also if it’s anything like the civil engineering program there (which I imagine it might be maybe?) the geophysics courses will not leave you wanting. That said you mentioned you were interested in a quieter city but Shanghai is the opposite of that. Even when it’s dead for new year Shanghai is still super busy even if stuff is closed. You can avoid tourist spots day to day but if you go shopping the only places tourists can’t find are in people’s garages so you will rarely be totally  away from foreigners. Also I wouldn’t say it’s out of touch with the culture so much as that places like Shanghai and Beijing are going to have different cultures from say Suzhou and [insert dongbei equivalent of Suzhou] just like how New York and LA have different cultures from Albany and Modesto to use a USA themed example. That said you will definitely (if you look foreign) have plenty of people at shops talk to you in English which is pretty much the case anywhere in the city even out in the suburbs. One thing to be aware of is that all of the Unis you listed are pretty well thought of and will therefore have smart successful undergrads. That means that almost all of them will have some English and will probably start by speaking English with you if you do not look Chinese. Good luck with finding the right place!!

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anonymoose
9 hours ago, AprilWMS said:

Well if not the content then I would at least want to base my decision on the quality of the educators and how much field experience they provide to students. The same content can be presented in different ways.

 

The point I was trying to make is that, in Chinese universities, I don't think this is a significant factor. Yes, the same content can be presented in different ways in theory, but in practice, nearly every lecturer will use a powerpoint presentation, and the content will mirror the textbook pretty much verbatim. That is just how teaching is done in China. Field experience doesn't really come into the equation. You might have the odd maverick lecturer or two who do things their own way, but this is an exception, not the rule, and I doubt the likelihood of having such a lecturer significantly depends on which university you choose.

 

Regarding food, Shanghainese food has a reputation for being sweet. However, I think there will be enough variety for you to find something palatable.

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AprilWMS
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That said you mentioned you were interested in a quieter city but Shanghai is the opposite of that.

 

If it comes to it, then I guess I could step out of my comfort zone. I've been living in peaceful places all my life.

 

11 hours ago, ZC said:

Also I wouldn’t say it’s out of touch with the culture so much as that places like Shanghai and Beijing are going to have different cultures

I was hoping for a more traditional culture feel but you're right. 

 

11 hours ago, ZC said:

That said you will definitely (if you look foreign) have plenty of people at shops talk to you in English which is pretty much the case anywhere in the city even out in the suburbs.

Well, people have told me that I look kinda Chinese a few times. Personally, I don't think I look Chinese at all lol. I'm Southeast Asian so I don't know if that plays a factor. I had the impression that they're more likely to speak English to whites.

 

Quote

Good luck with finding the right place!

Thank you ^-^

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AprilWMS

@anonymoose

I see, thank you. I guess it's really hard to know the situation hard.

 

Quote

Regarding food, Shanghainese food has a reputation for being sweet. However, I think there will be enough variety for you to find something palatable.

 

TT^TT Then I guess I'd be sticking with more Western food. I highly doubt I can acquire the taste for sweet dishes. I throw up at the stuff.

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