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Which of these are match schools for me?

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:16 pm
by tamaghna

I really can't make out which of the schools I'm interested in are match schools for me. My GPA (9.4/10) and PGRE(920/990) are not stellar by international applicant standards, and I have 3 projects (ongoing, no publication yet) in condmat theory which is what i'm applying to. In other sub-disciplines I have one refereed publication and one small national conference (not very well known).

Grad+Undegrad (integrated Masters) Institution: IIT Kanpur, Probably top 3 in Physics in India
Major(s): Physics
GPA in Major: 9.4/10.0
Overall GPA: 9.3/10.0
Length of Degree: 5 years
Position in dept: 4th out of 22 odd students (top 2% or so get admitted i think)

Type of Student: International male

GRE Scores :
Q: 170 (98%)
V: 167 (97%)
W: 4 (54%)
P: 920 (88%)

TOEFL Total: 116

Research Experience (all in area of interest):
Computational Astro- Abstract submitted in small conference, not first author
Nonlinear Dyamics- First author JMP
Supercond 1- DAAD sponsored summer intern in Germany, no result, integrated into Supercond 2
Supercond 2- 2 semester master's project at home insti, one semester over, might get a publication by february
Supercond 3- Summer project that i'm still working on, last phase, expect to submit around end january
Reading Project- Related to strongly correlated materials and superconductivity

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: One fellowship, Delegate at Asian SCience CAmp, one "scholar"ship that isnt anything financial, dean's list two years

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: I teach in a non-profit group (social work)

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 12 advanced graduate courses (including the ones i audited)

Special Bonus Points: I expect my LORs to be strong. They are from people I've done research under and one of them said he had written me "(his) strongest recommendation"

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: i've been told my SOP is above average.

Applying to Where:

u maryland college park
u chicago
ohio state
u texas austin
penn state
texas a&m?

I'm interested in superconductivity, Topological phases, quantum hall systems and am curious about graphene, cold atoms and mesoscopic systems. Details here: ... Resume.pdf If u can think of schools that would be a good match for these interests that i've missed, it would be great if you could let me know.


Re: Which of these are match schools for me?

Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:21 am
by tamaghna
I'd appreciate any comment on my profile and the sort of schools i should consider appropriate, if you have anything to suggest.


Re: Which of these are match schools for me?

Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:13 am
by photomagnetic
top 20
put some safeties 30-50
you are all good

Re: Which of these are match schools for me?

Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:41 pm
by bfollinprm
You're joking, right? You should get in anywhere. Though don't apply to one school only obviously, something can always happen.

Again, for every international applying for PhD programs in the States, the PGRE/GPA/other quantitative tests generally define a floor you must obtain to receive admission. Once you reach that floor (probably somewhere between 850 and 900 on the PGRE, and GPA varies by country) committees will generally stop paying attention to those numbers (which fail to correlate with graduate success on either tail) and start paying attention to the qualitative elements of your record. This is born out in the statistics on this very site. That means letters of recommendation and research history, and a little of anything else that shows you breathe physics, like the electives you took and the extra-curriculars you engage in.

Your profile seems to check every box.

Re: Which of these are match schools for me?

Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:59 pm
by TakeruK
I agree with bfollinprm. At this point, getting a 990 on your PGRE isn't really going to make a huge difference to your profile, so don't worry about things like that holding you back. You have a decent shot at any school, so don't limit yourself. I'm not saying you will for sure get into a top 10 or top 20 school, but you should definitely apply to as many of them as interests you.

Re: Which of these are match schools for me?

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:55 pm
by tamaghna
Does this hold true even if I don't get any more publications before the adcomms meet or if they just dont find out that i have any new publications? I honestly didn't have as good an impression of my application as you people seem to: I have applied to these

U Illinois Urbana Champaign
U Maryland
U Chicago
U Texas
Boston U
U Minnesota
U Wisconsin
Penn State
U Penn
Ohio State

I would have applied to Stanford, as well if I fancied my chances earlier, I guess. An alumni of my institute over there told me I was a good fit for their program. Ah well...

Re: Which of these are match schools for me?

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:22 pm
by bfollinprm
I like that mix. it seems well thought out and not lazy. Includes some highly competitive schools, respecting the strength of your applicaiton, as well as including some lesser-ranked programs that have strengths in your specialization, and may end up being better fits. More people should have lists that look like this.