Profile evaluation

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mcfrazzled
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2021 9:11 am

Profile evaluation

Post by mcfrazzled » Mon Aug 02, 2021 5:56 am

Hello, I am going to graduate next year with an Integrated M.Sc 5 year degree in Physics. I want to gauge if I have the chances to get into a decent school in US for PhD in astronomy. Any and all insight will be helpful.

BS+MS Institution: IIT Kharagpur (One of the top schools in India)
GPA: 9.5/10
Length of Degree: 5
Position in Class: 2
Type of Student: Indian female

TOEFL: Going to take it soon. Expecting 110+

GRE: Will take it only if school list requires it. Many aren't accepting or have made it optional.

Research Experience:

- 1 summer internship at MPIfR working on a small part of data from a galactic survey
- 1 summer internship at UBC in cosmology. Worked on a statistical method. (Might turn into a paper I will co-author but won't happen before deadlines)
- 1 ongoing project on multiwavelength analysis of a blazar source. Trying hard to finish it and have a paper ready before deadlines. That would be first author.
- Another short summer intern at MPIfR. Learning data reduction and derivation of physical properties of interstellar regions from molecular lines.
- I will be starting my Master's project now which will probably be related to Fast Radio Bursts


Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
1. DAAD-WISE scholarship for summer research in Germany (was done remotely)
2. Mitacs Globalink Scholarship for summer research in Canada
3. Inspire scholarship for meritorious students studying science in India


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Good coding experience. Comfortable with python and C++. Was part of a robotics group in my second year. We came in second for an autonomous bot competition (IGVC) at Oakland university. I have a co-authored paper from that bot in a not so good conference.

I want to do my PhD in observational astronomy. Like you see my experience has been varied, which is one of the reasons I am choosing US schools so that I can do a 5 year PhD and explore.

What schools do I have a chance of getting selected in?

My top picks for schools would be: Chicago, Maryland, Cornell

Do I have chance to enter one of these schools?

Additionally, what safety schools would you recommend to me, given my profile?

occamsshaver12
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:52 pm

Re: Profile evaluation

Post by occamsshaver12 » Tue Aug 10, 2021 4:30 pm

Excluding publications, you have as good a profile as one can get. Getting a good GRE score won't hurt. You have a pretty decent chance at getting into one of those schools you mentioned. Definitely apply to around 10-12 unis (of varying "ranks" and definitely include the three you mentioned) , as astronomy departments don't usually take many students. So even though a prof might like you, they can't take you because the dept might have fulfilled their slots for that year.

The only negative (slightly) I see is that your research is kinda spread out, and you also mentioned that you are not sure what you want to do. From my experience, the admissions committee sends professors the profiles of students who have expressed interest in their field so that they can evaluate them, so if I were you I would express interest in a subfield which is most interesting to you currently and after you get in, switch if you feel like it (it kind of makes sense if you think about it, the profs take in students and they want to know if you actually want to work with them. Some unis do take students just based on how good a researcher they can be and then the program allows them to test water before they commit to a prof, but it is hard to know which uni works which way). Whoever I know who got into a PhD program, mentioned the profs and the research field they want to work in.

mcfrazzled
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2021 9:11 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Post by mcfrazzled » Wed Aug 11, 2021 5:13 am

Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately due to the pandemic and certain family issues, I am deciding to take a break before PhD and I'll try to apply next cycle. In the meantime, I could end up finishing one of my papers. I also plan to work on a longer research project. Do you have any advice on acquiring research assistantship positions in the field?

occamsshaver12
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:52 pm

Re: Profile evaluation

Post by occamsshaver12 » Wed Aug 11, 2021 11:32 am

Just go through a university's website and find out professors who are working in a field you would like to work on. Send them(1-2 from one dept) an email, elaborating on who you are, what you do, what are you hoping to do, how much time you can spend on the project and if they have anything for you. Attach your CV too. Use your university email to get more traction. Out of 10, 1-3 will reply so it's okay if you don't hear back.

MNK
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2021 9:51 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Post by MNK » Sat Sep 11, 2021 10:36 am

occamsshaver12 wrote:
Tue Aug 10, 2021 4:30 pm
Excluding publications, you have as good a profile as one can get. Getting a good GRE score won't hurt. You have a pretty decent chance at getting into one of those schools you mentioned. Definitely apply to around 10-12 unis (of varying "ranks" and definitely include the three you mentioned), as astronomy departments don't usually take many students. So even though a prof might like you, they can't take you because the dept might have fulfilled their slots for that year.
Hello brother, can you please evaluate my profile also?
I am an International Asian student

Master in Physics (2 Years)
GPA in Major: 3.87
GPA Overall: 3.56 (3rd position in class)

Bachelors in Physics (4 years)
GPA in Major: 3.36
GPA Overall: 3.34 (1st Position in class = Gold Medalist)

I will take TOEFL (but not GRE and PGRE as they are waived this year also)

1-year experience in theoretical Quantum Optics and Quantum Computing
6-month experience in Computational Physics

1 publication in IOP Science (2/3 author), 1 publication in springer (2/2 author), and 1 manuscript is in progress (1/2 author)

I will be applying this year to the AMO Physics/ Quantum Optics program. Which universities should I target (ranking-wise)?
I am considering

NYU
Ohio State University
Georgia Tech
Washington University in St. Louis
University of Texas Austin
University of Washington
University of Maryland, College Park

Can you comment on that? Also which universities could be my safe side?

Thank you :)

occamsshaver12
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:52 pm

Re: Profile evaluation

Post by occamsshaver12 » Mon Sep 13, 2021 12:13 pm

Hey, you should have made a new post so that others can also benefit from it. But anyways, your GPA (both undergrad and master's) seem problematic. I suggest taking the GRE. I see you mentioned that you were 3rd during your Master's but if that is not mentioned in the transcript, it becomes irrelevant and the only thing they will see is 3.56, which they will think is low. Your publications are great and you should start sending emails to prospective profs to see where you should invest more of your time.

As I see it, your best bet is to advertise your research which is the strongest thing about your profile. If you find profs working on things you worked on, you have a great chance of getting in. If you can get solid letters, your chances will increase. Take GRE to offset your GPA. Also, apply to places which are less sought after but are equally good.

gaugeinvariance
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:33 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Post by gaugeinvariance » Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:17 pm

occamsshaver12 wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 12:13 pm
Hey, you should have made a new post so that others can also benefit from it. But anyways, your GPA (both undergrad and master's) seem problematic. I suggest taking the GRE. I see you mentioned that you were 3rd during your Master's but if that is not mentioned in the transcript, it becomes irrelevant and the only thing they will see is 3.56, which they will think is low. Your publications are great and you should start sending emails to prospective profs to see where you should invest more of your time.

As I see it, your best bet is to advertise your research which is the strongest thing about your profile. If you find profs working on things you worked on, you have a great chance of getting in. If you can get solid letters, your chances will increase. Take GRE to offset your GPA. Also, apply to places which are less sought after but are equally good.
Hi

I thought the OP had major GPA of 3.87, which is good, why would it be low?

occamsshaver12
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:52 pm

Re: Profile evaluation

Post by occamsshaver12 » Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:06 pm

Thanks for pointing it out. I just read the 3.56. So @MNK your Masters GPA is good, sorry for freaking you out.

MNK
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2021 9:51 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Post by MNK » Sat Sep 18, 2021 3:12 pm

occamsshaver12 wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:06 pm
Thanks for pointing it out. I just read the 3.56. So @MNK your Masters GPA is good, sorry for freaking you out.
Thank you brother for your detailed analysis. Yeah, the 3rd position is mentioned in the transcript. My GPA decreased due to irrelevant compulsory engineering courses :( .

Anyhow, Thanks for your response. :)



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