Do I have any chance of beeing accepted ?

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Mdac_sud
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 12:53 am

Do I have any chance of beeing accepted ?

Post by Mdac_sud » Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:21 pm

Hello to everyone, unfortunately I discovered this page a few minutes ago and I just finished submitting all my applications :(. However, I would like to know if I have any chance to enter at least one of the universities to which I have applied. I am from Argentina, I am 25 years old and this is my profile:

____________________________________________________________________________________________
Undergrad Institution: (National University of Cordoba, Argentina)
Major(s): Aeronautical Engineering
Minor(s): There is no Minor in my university
GPA in Major:(8.67/10) equivalent to 3.7 in the US... (according to scholarlo)
Overall GPA:(8.67/10) equivalent to 3.7 in the US
Length of Degree: I did the first 2 years, then I took a gap year to work on a research project and after that I transfer to Balseiro Institute to study Physics.
Position in Class: first of my class in the first two years(very hard to achieve perfect GPA in the aeronautics department of UNC)
____________________________________________________________________________________________
Undergrad Institution: (Balseiro Institute, Argentina) best in my country and one of the best of LATAM for studying Physics (Only 15 new students per year)
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): There is no Minor in my university
GPA in Major:(8.37/10) equivalent to 3.7 in the US... (according to scholarlo)
Overall GPA:(8.37/10) equivalent to 3.7 in the US
Length of Degree: 2.5 years
Position in Class: middle (best students of all the country)
____________________________________________________________________________________________
Graduate Institution: (Balseiro Institute, Argentina)
Major(s): Technological Physics
Minor(s): There is no Minor in my university
GPA in Major:(9/10) equivalent to 4.0 GPA in the US... (according to scholarlo)
Overall GPA:(9/10) equivalent to 4.0 GPA in the US
Length of Degree: 1.5 years
Position in Class: I was the only one studying a Ms. in Technological Physics
____________________________________________________________________________________________
Type of Student: International,Male , White Latino


GRE Scores: couldn't take it because quarantine and $$$ (I am very poor and my country put many limitations on the population to buy things online, mainly everything that has to be paid in dollars)

TOEFL: had COVID by test date, so I had to change it and then I took the exam almost without preparation because of a tight agenda (f&%k covid) but decent score anyway (explained in my SoP)


Research Experience:
-1.5 years at home Institution in the development of metalic foams recycling AZ91 shavings. 1 paper as co-author, speaker at International congress in Material Science.
-3 Months at Balseiro Institute, Nanostructured perovskite LaFeO3 fabrication, characterization and resposne to VOCs. No paper but 3 congress presentations as speaker, 1 of them was an international congress.
-7 Months at Balseiro Institute, Development of High Entropy Alloys. 2 papers as first author, 1 of them in a Q1 top 10 material Journal and the other in revision at the moment of application. Also 4 presentations as a speaker in several congresses, one of them international and in other country.
-Undergraduate (and Master degree) thesis in development of a software simulation for a famous private satellite manufacturer company of Argentina. The thesis was about a Hall Effect Thruster simulation and it was on a confidential agreement with the company and other multinational from Turkey. Presentation of work as a guest speaker in a National congress of physics.

To summarize: 9 presentations (as a speaker) in congresess with one award and 3 papers (two published and 1 in revision) and two of them as first author).


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Best poster presentation Award at a crystalography congress. First author.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Mentor of a finalist team in a space competition. The team mentored by me turned out to be among the top 5 teams (of 200)

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Leader of a team that currently is developing a lunar rover, very confidential so I can not say much of this (btw I gave more detailed information in the SoP but asked for confidentiality).

Special Bonus Points: 3 strong LoR's, one of them from the Aerospace Division CTO of a very important aerospace company of Argentina, with connections to NASA and also SpaceX

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: -

Applying to Where: (Plasma physics to all of them except MIT)

¿Beyond Reach? :

MIT - AeroAstro PHD
Princeton - PHD at PPPL <3
Caltech - PHD Applied Physics
UCLA - Physics PHD

¿Reach?
UCSD - Physics PHD
Michigan Ann Arbor - Engineering Physics PHD
Wisconsin Madison - Physics PHD

(yes only 7)

¿secure?
None, go big or go home... btw I did not have enough money so I tried to apply to my dreams universities and well... Let's see how it ends. If I'm not selected in any University I'm going to try again next year but with 1 more year of experience simulating space plasmas in the industry and maybe with more money. The other option is to apply to Europe in Jan, Feb 2021 for the fall semester (I am 25 years old and I do not want to wait too much time for starting a PHD)... I will wait to the response of US Universities first.
Last edited by Mdac_sud on Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nishikata
Posts: 239
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:37 am

Re: Do I have any chance of beeing accepted ?

Post by Nishikata » Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:38 am

I won't group UCSD, Michigan Ann Arbor, Wisconsin Madison together with MIT, Caltech and Princeton.
However, they're still not safety schools obviously. But maybe you have some chance if there's a good fit.

I like the mentality. Go big or go home.

Mdac_sud
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 12:53 am

Re: Do I have any chance of beeing accepted ?

Post by Mdac_sud » Tue Dec 15, 2020 5:02 pm

Hi Nishikata, thanks for your response, I certainly agree, I have separated the schools in two groups. I understand that it is impossible for you to tell me if I am going to be admitted or not in any of the universities to which I applied. However, do you think my profile is good enough for beeing admitted? or did I aim too high? (without taking into account variables such as international competition with other applicants, funds, space, etc). My priority is Princeton and maybe Michigan.

profw
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:04 am

Re: Do I have any chance of beeing accepted ?

Post by profw » Thu Dec 17, 2020 8:47 pm

If you want the truth - most US professors know little about academic institutions in Argentina. So if your research is something mainstream (as opposed to something Argentina-specific, e.g., some observatory in south hemisphere where US astronomers use/frequent, or some specific areas that require US researchers carry out field work in Argentina and you happen to work at their local partners' institution), it would be very hard to get in, unless one of the following is met: 1) your ranking in your class is top 1 and all the reference letters from your university stress that you are the best student in a generation, for example; 2) you have published some research that caught the attention of some US professor and you happen to reach out to him/her; 3) your research experience skills match some professor's needs and you reach out to them and they know about your application

User avatar
Nishikata
Posts: 239
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:37 am

Re: Do I have any chance of beeing accepted ?

Post by Nishikata » Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:31 pm

Balseiro maybe known in the US. I do not think that you already understood the admission process based on your request:
However, do you think my profile is good enough for beeing admitted? or did I aim too high? (without taking into account variables such as international competition with other applicants, funds, space, etc). My priority is Princeton and maybe Michigan.
You did all you could during your masters at Balseiro: perfect GPA, have research experience.
Whether those will be good enough has to be compared relative to a reference. If we remove the other applicants, then there is only one way to know:

Do you/your professors know whether there were Balseiro students in the schools that you apply to?
Some professors are given this question in their recommendation letter, and to compare you to the other alumna who were previously accepted at the school. This information will be used by the school to understand whether you will be able to perform using the previous student as a benchmark.

However, you have done all you can on grades, so there's little to worry or little you can do. Suppose MIT's previous Balseiro student also had a perfect GPA + research experience as you do:
  • if that student does well, it helps your case
  • if that student flunks, it usually brings doubt to the subsequent Balseiro alumna. But with perfect scores you will not be harmed as rational human beings would think that the other student must have some other unique problem.
So, answering this question is the only way in your corridor to know whether you're good enough.
Even then, there's a big factor of international competition that will decide whether you actually will be admitted or not.
So I suggest don't bother. At this point, the race is either already won or lost.



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