What should be my safety school(s)?

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mssg123
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2020 11:03 pm

What should be my safety school(s)?

Post by mssg123 » Sat Sep 04, 2021 8:37 pm

Hi all,

I'm thinking about choosing safety schools in nonlinear dynamics/cme/cmt. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated!

My background:
Undergraduate school: Public school in the US (ranked ~30 according to usnews)
Overall GPA: 3.88
Major GPA: 3.75
Research experience: 4 months in chemE (not quite related to physics though :( ) + 12 months in nonlinear physics.
No GRE scores, but will take the October PGRE, and probably at-home GRE. (my current school list doesn't care too much about GRE except Northwestern recommends PGRE)

My major GPA and research experience could really hurt my chance. :(

Right now my reach schools are:
UChicago Physics (for fun)
UChicago PME
Northwestern Applied Physics

Not sure if it's reach or match:
Rice Physics
Rice Applied Physics

If you have any other recommendations, please let me know! Thank you so much for reading my profile and questions!

geekusprimus
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:10 pm

Re: What should be my safety school(s)?

Post by geekusprimus » Sat Sep 04, 2021 10:18 pm

When it comes to picking a good program for condensed matter or nonlinear dynamics, there are actually a lot of really good schools; condensed matter is easily the biggest field in physics. A lot of flagship state universities are usually really strong, and many of them aren't nearly as hard to get into as you might imagine. Penn State, for example, has a phenomenal condensed matter program, and while they're not what I'd classify a "safety", they're certainly easier than Chicago and probably easier than Northwestern (despite commanding similar levels of respect in the physics community). Moving down the list, the University of Arizona has a ton of condensed matter faculty, Texas A&M is pretty decently respected and has some good connections with the DOE national labs (particularly Los Alamos), and I've heard that Virginia Tech is a decent school. I would just choose a big state university somewhere, see what the physics program and admissions statistics look like, and start there. You could also get some good advice from your research advisors, who would certainly have a better idea of what the best safety schools for you are.

mssg123
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2020 11:03 pm

Re: What should be my safety school(s)?

Post by mssg123 » Sun Sep 05, 2021 1:22 am

Hi, geekusprimus! Thank you so much for your detailed information! I will defintely check those schools you've mentioned. And it sounds good to talk to my advisor.



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