What should be my application limits?

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nellum98
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:57 am

What should be my application limits?

Post by nellum98 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:27 am

Hi Everyone. I've decided that it's about time for me to narrow down my list of schools to apply to since I've gotten my PGRE score back. It's a 740 :( Please let me know what you think of my potential application below:

Undergrad Institution: Loyola (Maryland); probably zero reputation in physics from what I can tell
Major: Physics
Minor: Math
GPA in major: 3.9
Overall GPA: 3.895
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in class: I'd say top 5%; this isn't a hard school to do well in (in general)
Type of Student: Domestic white male

GRE Scores:
Q: 165 (86%)
V: 163 (93%)
W: 4 (57%)
P: 730 (54%)


Research Experience:
1. A summer working on a strictly computational project in nonlinear dynamics concerning the human menstrual cycle (second author paper as a result!)
2. Currently working on a project remeasuring the work functions of two metals and testing the reliability of a method to do so. I've been doing this since June (with same advisor as in #1)
3. Will be undertaking at least another project next semester in single-photon experiment


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: School's presidential scholarship, MD state delegate scholarship, Goldwater nominee, Dean's list every semester

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Tutor for 3 years (with some brief TA experience), lab assistant for 2 years, physics club president, math club member, a bunch of other clubs

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Probably, but nothing super special

Special Bonus Points: I've been reaching out HARD to professors at some schools I'm looking at, so hopefully that will help me :roll:

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I was an engineering major through my first year (had no job that summer), then switched to physics and did research the following summer. Didn't want to go to grad school until last year, so I feel very behind the curve on research/awards/etc.

Applying to Where: I haven't yet ruled out these places, and yes, I know it's a mixed bag
Penn
RPI
Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)
Michigan
UT Austin
Washington
Ohio State
Northwestern
Penn State
Georgia Tech
Rice
Michigan State
Florida
UVA
ASU
FSU
UNC
Pitt
Notre Dame
NC State
Oregon
UCF
Virginia Tech
Syracuse
Delaware
Alabama
Houston
Clemson
South Carolina

Sorry the list is so long, I just really don't want to blow any opportunities :cry: Please let me know what you think I should take off my list!

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Nishikata
Posts: 152
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:37 am

Re: What should be my application limits?

Post by Nishikata » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:51 am

Dude, the list is too long. Are you sure you have the time to make personalized applications to every one of them?

generic applications are not very well-accepted. It is better to narrow it down so that you have the time to show your interest in the departments/faculties' research and not come off as a desperate applicant.

I applied for ten in the last year. In the end of the applications, I kinda realized that I probably should have only applied to 5-6 of them because upon further look and thoughts (you will ponder a lot during these 3 months), I felt that I didn't really wanna research on the specialized fields in some of the places I applied to.

I suggest you do the same, look whether the faculties' research attracts you. Don't apply if you aren't interested to do the research in those topics.
It's a lot of application fees. Remember, you only need one acceptance.

nellum98
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:57 am

Re: What should be my application limits?

Post by nellum98 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:14 pm

Nishikata wrote:Dude, the list is too long. Are you sure you have the time to make personalized applications to every one of them?

generic applications are not very well-accepted. It is better to narrow it down so that you have the time to show your interest in the departments/faculties' research and not come off as a desperate applicant.

I applied for ten in the last year. In the end of the applications, I kinda realized that I probably should have only applied to 5-6 of them because upon further look and thoughts (you will ponder a lot during these 3 months), I felt that I didn't really wanna research on the specialized fields in some of the places I applied to.

I suggest you do the same, look whether the faculties' research attracts you. Don't apply if you aren't interested to do the research in those topics.
It's a lot of application fees. Remember, you only need one acceptance.
Sorry I didn't make this clear in my description; I won't actually be applying to all of these places. I'm just trying to figure out which places I should take off my list.

geekusprimus
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:10 pm

Re: What should be my application limits?

Post by geekusprimus » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:22 pm

I'm just trying to figure out which places I should take off my list.
Picking schools to apply to is a lot of work. Without having more information, it's really hard for us to pick schools for you. Here are some tips, however, that you can apply to narrow down your list:
  • What fields are you interested in? If you know exactly what kind of research you want to do, you can eliminate the schools that don't have strong programs in it. If you don't know what you want to do, focus on schools that are pretty good all around and have lots of options.
  • If you're worried about your physics GRE score, pick at least a couple schools that don't require the GRE or don't weight it heavily. There are plenty of really good schools, including a few on your list, that fit the bill here. Look through the admission topics on this forum for the last few years and explore each school's website to figure out which ones these are.
  • Is the size of the department important to you? Large departments, for example, are likely to have more research options available, but it's easier to get lost in the crowd than in a smaller program.
  • Pick schools that you'd actually be happy to attend. Some of the things I've been considering in addition to academic qualifications are the cost of living relative to a graduate stipend, geographic location and climate, and school culture. For example, I can't stand the heat, so most of the schools I'm considering have pretty mild summers.
  • Do you have any sort of connection to any of these schools, like a research collaborator, someone your advisor knows really well, or something like that?



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