Is my list of prospective graduate schools realistic or am I aiming too high?

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ice154
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:48 am

Is my list of prospective graduate schools realistic or am I aiming too high?

Post by ice154 » Wed May 22, 2019 4:46 am

Hey all. I'm sorry to add to these types of posts, but I'm pretty lost. I'm not sure where my application stands and would really appreciate any insight as to whether or not I'm being realistic.

Undergrad Institution: Top ~25 Private School, Top ~60 in Physics
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: 3.70
Overall GPA: 3.63
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: Unknown
Type of Student: Domestic male

GRE Scores: (Practice)
Q: 166
V: 158
W: N/A
P: 820

Research Experience:
  • Summer REU in Computational Astrophysics
  • Summer National Lab Research (unpaid, informal) in Experimental Particle Physics
  • 3 semesters in university's Theoretical Cosmology Lab
    Publication (3rd author of 3)
    Presentation at undergrad symposium
    Hoping for one more publication next fall
  • Summer National Lab SULI in Computational Particle Physics (this summer)
    Poster presentation
    PRAYING for a publication
Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
  • 1 school research grant
  • Dean's List here and there
Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
  • A couple software engineering internships freshman year
  • Involved in many extracurriculars including: AI club, SPS, Astro club, ACM
Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Not particularly I guess...

Special Bonus Points: I know which professor(s) I'd like to work with at each school I'm applying to and am planning on reaching out to them soon. Also have taken 4 courses in CS from university in addition to having certifications in data science, machine learning, astronomical data analysis

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I am hoping to do my PhD work in structure formation simulations and while I have never had a research experience in this topic, I went through each prospective grad advisor's publications to find out how they create their simulations and worked through the documentation for each software, producing examples for each. I have over 12 examples of structure formation simulations I've produced independently and am hoping this might help.

Applying to (all for Cosmology/Astro with a focus in Numerical Simulations):

Cornell
UCSC
Columbia
UCSB
UIUC
Carnegie Mellon

UCBoulder
UPenn
UCLA
Stony Brook
Northwestern

RPI
Brown
Dartmouth
RIT
Rochester

jabennett2194
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:54 pm

Re: Is my list of prospective graduate schools realistic or am I aiming too high?

Post by jabennett2194 » Wed May 22, 2019 4:59 pm

I would recommend:

If money is not an object
~10 reach, ~5 match, AT LEAST 3 safety

If money is an object
~5 reach, ~3 match, AT LEAST 3 safety

To my eye, you don't have any safeties on your list.

fritz
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:58 pm

Re: Is my list of prospective graduate schools realistic or am I aiming too high?

Post by fritz » Wed May 22, 2019 11:27 pm

For structure formation sims, you may want to include Chicago and MIT. They may sound super-reach, but research fit is one of the most important criteria after all and they both have strong simulation groups.

ice154
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:48 am

Re: Is my list of prospective graduate schools realistic or am I aiming too high?

Post by ice154 » Mon May 27, 2019 7:50 am

jabennett2194 wrote:I would recommend:

If money is not an object
~10 reach, ~5 match, AT LEAST 3 safety

If money is an object
~5 reach, ~3 match, AT LEAST 3 safety

To my eye, you don't have any safeties on your list.
Thanks for the response. Do you have any suggestions for good safety schools? And of the schools I had listed, which would you consider matches? Thanks again.

Vineesha
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:35 pm

Is my list of prospective graduate schools realistic or am I aiming too high?

Post by Vineesha » Tue Nov 19, 2019 4:01 pm

Hi, I am facing a similar problem. I have shortlisted some universities but I am not sure about them. Any kind of input will be appreciated.

Undergrad Institution: Indian Institute of Technology, Varanasi (India)
Major(s): Engineering Physics
Overall GPA: 8.90/10
Length of Degree: 5 years (Integrated Dual Degree- B. Tech+ M. Tech)
Position in Class: Near top
Type of Student: International female

GRE Scores :
Q: 170
V: 152
W: 3.5
P: yet to receive scores, didn't go as expected


TOEFL: 105(R: 26, L: 28, S: 26, W: 25)


Research Experience:

1) Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics; 7 Months; Publication(1st author out of 3) in the special issue edition on 'Interacting Rydberg Atoms' of IOP Science's Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics.
2) Masters thesis on Quantum machine learning (Photonic qubits), ongoing
3) Topological Quantum Computing, 2 months (ongoing)
4) NMR QC, 2 moths
5) NV centers in diamond as qubits, 2 semesters
5) Quantum cryptography, 1 semester

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Joint Secretary of the University's Astronomy Club, Student representative of Department's undergraduate committee

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Stood in top 1 percent of the renowned Joint Entrance Examination held in 2015.

Miscellaneous things: Telescope handling skills, Trained in Bharatanatyam(Indian Classical dance form) and fine arts.

Tentative List:

UC, Berkeley
UMD, CP
Univ. of Chicago
Cornell
UT, Austin(should I apply here?)

University of Illinois- Urbana Champaign
Colorado Boulder
Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Boston University
Louisiana State University



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