Profile Evaluation

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gaugeinvariance
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:33 am

Profile Evaluation

Post by gaugeinvariance » Sun Jul 11, 2021 4:23 pm

Hi all, while being rejected from all schools the last cycle, I am planning to do it once more this cycle. Throughout this year I have done more researches to strengthen my profile. I am not sure whether my profile is now good enough to be admitted into grad schools

Undergrad Institution: Some schools in East Asia
Major(s): Physics
GPA in Major: 3.86/4.00
Overall GPA: 3.52/4.00
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: ~ top (?) Got 1st class honors
Type of Student: International Asian male

Master Institution: Some schools in East Asia
Major(s): M.Phil In Physics
GPA in Major: 3.86/4.00
Overall GPA: 3.86/4.00
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: N/A
Type of Student: International Asian male

GRE Scores: Not yet taken

TOEFL Total: 105

Research Experience:
1. 3 years at home institution on computational astrophysics and numerical simulation. One first author in ApJ, one first author submitted to APS
2. 0.5 years at some US institution on machine learning. One paper coming on.
3. One conference talk in AAS
4. One short tea talk (~ 5min) in a renowned top 10 school
5. One conference talk in the home institution

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
1. 3 years dean list
2. 5 scholarships

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
Got a B in a grad course DURING COVID-19. But then get two A's after COVID
Mentioned by an admission committee in a grad school last year that my grade and letter is just a little bit weaker
Cannot be admitted because there are lot more students applying while there are only a reduced number of seats (hopefully this is true)

I would like to apply to schools with astrophysics departments that conduct research in computational astrophysics and numerical simulations. I am not sure whether my profile is strong enough to be admitted. In particular, I am aiming for the top 10-20 schools. Am I too weak to be admitted?

Thanks all

occamsshaver12
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:52 pm

Re: Profile Evaluation

Post by occamsshaver12 » Mon Jul 12, 2021 11:19 am

Hey, I think you have a good profile. Good enough to at least get admitted somewhere where you will get to do impactful research in the area of your interest. Aiming for schools based on rank is a bad idea. While I get the allure of it and obviously, rank carries some weight, but it can be easily overcome by doing good research for a prof who is doing good research. I know someone who got their BS from Caltech and got admitted into top 20 schools. They ended up going to a school which is barely top 100 but advisor is really well known in our field. This is just one example, but for Ph.D advisor is the key. So look at schools from 1-100, their research, the profs and email them. And wherever you feel you would like being there, apply, with zero consideration to rank. If you end up getting into a top 20 school, good for you. If not, it honestly isn't the end of the world as long as you do impactful research for a prof who cares.

But if you want a direct answer to your question, no one can answer your question with certainty when it comes to top 20 schools but you have a decent chance. You should definitely apply.

gaugeinvariance
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:33 am

Re: Profile Evaluation

Post by gaugeinvariance » Mon Jul 12, 2021 11:26 am

occamsshaver12 wrote:
Mon Jul 12, 2021 11:19 am
Hey, I think you have a good profile. Good enough to at least get admitted somewhere where you will get to do impactful research in the area of your interest. Aiming for schools based on rank is a bad idea. While I get the allure of it and obviously, rank carries some weight, but it can be easily overcome by doing good research for a prof who is doing good research. I know someone who got their BS from Caltech and got admitted into top 20 schools. They ended up going to a school which is barely top 100 but advisor is really well known in our field. This is just one example, but for Ph.D advisor is the key. So look at schools from 1-100, their research, the profs and email them. And wherever you feel you would like being there, apply, with zero consideration to rank. If you end up getting into a top 20 school, good for you. If not, it honestly isn't the end of the world as long as you do impactful research for a prof who cares.
Thanks for your reply, my friend. I do know that advisors and research projects are important factors. But honestly, I am really eager to get into top 10 - 20 schools. At least within my knowledge, the best research on computational astrophysics and numerical simulations are conducted at the top 10 - 20 schools. Therefore, I would really need to know my level and to aim for schools that I match ... :cry:

occamsshaver12
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:52 pm

Re: Profile Evaluation

Post by occamsshaver12 » Mon Jul 12, 2021 11:30 am

After applying twice for Ph.D, it is honestly a lot of luck. By applying only to top 20 schools, you should be ready that there is a really good chance you will come out empty handed. If you are okay with that, then you should give it a try.

gaugeinvariance
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:33 am

Re: Profile Evaluation

Post by gaugeinvariance » Mon Jul 12, 2021 11:33 am

occamsshaver12 wrote:
Mon Jul 12, 2021 11:30 am
After applying twice for Ph.D, it is honestly a lot of luck. By applying only to top 20 schools, you should be ready that there is a really good chance you will come out empty handed. If you are okay with that, then you should give it a try.
Thanks for the suggestions. Which part of my profile do you think I am not capable enough to be admitted to top 20 schools?

occamsshaver12
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:52 pm

Re: Profile Evaluation

Post by occamsshaver12 » Mon Jul 12, 2021 1:24 pm

If you are not from top 20 schools or if you haven't worked with a well known researcher (at least in the specific field), then you are basically trying your luck. I am not saying you won't get in, but you will competing with equally good if not better students applying for the spots. It just boils down to luck then.



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