Can you take a look at my university list and give comments?

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I just need to get into one of these schools. Do I have a good chance to get into at least 1?

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Total votes: 6

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Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 12:09 am

Can you take a look at my university list and give comments?

Post by dobby » Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:33 am

Hi, I'm looking for PhD position in observational astronomy. Indian female. My research interests are: cosmology (masters thesis in CMB), star formation and evolution (a long internship in this domain and even presented a poster on it at a national conference; paper under preparation), dark matter, galactic astronomy. I also have interest in computational astronomy and have participated in a workshop on machine learning for science.
Graduating from a reputed Indian Institute.
My GPA is 8.56/10 (equivalent to US 3.7, I think?)
3 internships in astro at reputed research institutes, also done a research project in the field of nano-particles. Involved in co-curricular activities.

Here is my university list:

I love their departments but they're out of reach so not applying
Ohio State
Penn state

Ambitious, but professors showed interest in my profile so applying
UC Berkeley
U Maryland
UT Austin
UC Irvine

Hopeful about getting into these
Georgia state
Johns Hopkins

Thank you for your time!
PS: I have limited funds for applications so my list is short.

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Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:06 am

Re: Can you take a look at my university list and give comments?

Post by HubbleBubble » Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:16 am

TLDR: Great list, good job. Now apply.

A poster and a paper in prep is good stuff, do you have any other research results we should be aware of? Also I suggest you put the completed draft of the paper up on arXiv as soon as you submit to a journal and update schools (for some areas best practice is to wait for the paper to be accepted but this is a clear exception). If you want to boost your application post-deadline, the best way to to finish it up.

If you have resources for 8 apps I don’t think there is much to change. 4 safer options during COVID is wise. I will mention that, while you don’t have any super reaches like caltech or the top ivies, you have a lot “really good in astronomy schools.” Depending on who you ask, Johns Hopkins, UC Berkeley, Ohio State, UIUC, Penn state, U Maryland, and UT Austin are usually all in the top 20 for astronomy and quite competitive to get into. Competitive doesn’t mean impossible, but during COVID a lot of departments are planning to hire fewer students.

So I look at your list and depending on how bad things really are your only good shots might be at UC Irvine, Georgia state, LSU, and Rice. But that is typical for a lot of students, and in fact the whole point of applying to a lot of schools is to get into a reach. I actually disagree that it isn’t worth applying to Ohio State, UIUC, and Penn state. A chance is a chance and you don’t want to have regrets. So if you do have resources for more than 8 I would choose exactly them.

The deadlines are generally in 3 weeks, i.e. fast approaching, so if you want to apply this cycle as I’ve assumed you need to get moving on researching these schools and fine tuning your application materials.

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