Schools list

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gomeyer
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:30 am

Schools list

Post by gomeyer » Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:53 am

I am a senior at a school with a well-respected physics program. My GPA and GRE general test scores are perfectly fine but nothing to write home about. To balance this, I have solid research experience and letters of recommendation. Ideally, I would like to attend graduate school in the Midwest. Below is a list of schools I am planning or at least considering applying to, but I am open to others.

Chicago
Illinois
Indiana
Michigan
Michigan State
Minnesota
Northwestern
Notre Dame
Purdue
Wisconsin-Madison
Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Thanks, any thoughts are appreciated! :)

geekusprimus
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:10 pm

Re: Schools list

Post by geekusprimus » Sat Oct 24, 2020 12:36 am

Those are all good schools to have on your list, but do you have any idea what specific field of research you might be interested in? For example, Illinois is great if you're interested in condensed matter, and Michigan is pretty strong in high-energy physics, and Chicago's got a strong observational cosmology program.

gomeyer
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:30 am

Re: Interests

Post by gomeyer » Sat Oct 24, 2020 2:11 am

I'm definitely interested in astroparticle or AMO, since I have experience in both. However, lots of other areas such as plasma or high energy also seem intriguing, although I have no experience in them beyond my coursework. So, I'll answer your question with another: is it concerning for any reason (to myself or to schools) that I haven't chosen one particular area yet? I greatly appreciate it!

HubbleBubble
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:06 am

Re: Schools list

Post by HubbleBubble » Sat Oct 24, 2020 7:26 am

In terms of schools in the midwest, have you considered WashU? They aren’t top tier for physics, but they have a lot of astroparticle people, and it is good to apply to a mix of schools anyways. Plus St. Louis and the area around the campus are very lovely.

In terms of interest, it is perfectly fine to apply and not be committed to one area. However, it is very important that you demonstrate you have a clear plan, an understanding of what graduate school is, and are interested in their program specifically. Applying to a specific field/professor is an established way to show interest in a program and a commitment to a research degree, but not necessarily the only way. Basically, admission committees want to filter out people who just want to continue undergrad life, who might not follow through on a long research project, or who aren’t actually interested in their specific department. (EDIT: it is commonplace now to contact potential supervisors by email which can help your application in various ways - maybe you could contact multiple people per department? Something to consider, if not absolutely necessary, although you should act soon if so)

It is also helpful in selecting programs to know what professor has the most successful students or what school is best in what area, since those are more predictive for your future than general rankings etc. But picking based on location and community vibe is equally valid, so you are fine!!

gomeyer
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:30 am

Re: WashU, demonstrating interest

Post by gomeyer » Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:07 pm

I haven't considered WashU, but I'll definitely look into it. Also, I like the idea of contacting professors to demonstrate interest and of course learn about their work. Thank you!



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