What tier of schools am I looking at (examples)?

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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:12 am

What tier of schools am I looking at (examples)?

Post by beresjacob » Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:37 am

I just finished my second year of undergraduate physics studies at UCLA. I had an extremely rough first quarter, but have been increasing my GPA every quarter since. My cumulative is now a 3.3 with a 3.5 in physics classes. I am transferring to Wisconsin-Madison next year due to financial reasons, and my ultimate hope would be to get to a 3.6, but realistically probably a 3.5 at least by the time I graduate.

Interest: My main interest is in HEP, experimental.

Research: Worked for 6 months with a UCLA professor doing electronics testing for muon detectors at CERN. Spending the whole summer at CERN with another UCLA professor doing research with CMS. Next year at Wisconsin I will be joining IceCube for a research position and then coming back to CERN each successive summer and possibly winters as well. So in total by the time I will graduate, 3 years with CERN (UCLA CMS and Wisconsin CMS), 2 years with IceCube (Wisconsin), and 6 months with detector hardware testing.

Letters of Recommendation: Should have very solid letters from all research areas including UCLA CMS professor, Madison CMS professor, and Madison IceCube professor.

What kind of schools am I looking at, at this point? Any chance at all of top 5 or 10 if continue to improve GPA and can do very well on PGRE? Let me know your thoughts.

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Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:23 pm

Re: What tier of schools am I looking at (examples)?

Post by baconface » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:30 am


I think it's a little early to say. You appear to have the right attitude and awareness at this point. Keep up with your classes and get good grades. More importantly, though, pour your effort into research. Be that guy who's always there, doing what needs to be done and eager to learn. Try to make contributions (maybe an alternate design on a circuit, etc) and really immerse yourself in that. Someone who is that dedicated to research and has shown that level of competency should be able to get into an excellent school. Also, the PGRE is something you can concern yourself with later and does not affect your stats the same way research and grades do (in my observation).

In summation, don't worry about ranges yet. You have plenty of time to agonize about that once you've already done all you can do. Just focus your effort now on doing well in classes, research, and most importantly learning some physics! the rest will follow.

Oh, and have fun in Madison!

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