HET - Help narrow down/critique list

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Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 2:16 am

HET - Help narrow down/critique list

Post by kenyans » Thu Nov 06, 2014 3:01 am

Hi everyone. I think I'm in a bit of a unique situation so I was hoping to get some advice on fixing my list of schools. I did my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering (EE) and then started doing my Master's degree in EE before deciding late in my first semester that I wanted to switch to physics. I was on track to finish my EE Master's in one year, but that didn't end up happening (adviser didn't approve my thesis) and I officially switched to physics in the summer of 2014. Since I decided too late into last year to switch to physics, I could not apply to PhD at different schools at the time and Purdue was gracious enough to accept me into their Master's program. I am on track to finish my Master's in physics in May 2015 and am looking into options of continuing onto my PhD in Physics elsewhere. I know I want to do HET, just don't know specifically what area

Undergrad Institution: Purdue - Not a great rep for physics but came here for engineering, for which it is top 10
Major(s): Electrical Engineering (will have Master's in Physics in May)
Minor(s): Physics
GPA in Major: 3.99 undergrad (4.0 grad)
Overall GPA: 3:93 undergrad (4.0 grad)
Length of Degree: 4 years undergrad, 2 grad
Position in Class: Top
Type of Student: Domestic, male, half Chinese, half white

GRE Scores : (revised)
Q: 170 (98%)
V: 158 (78%)
W: 4.5 (82%)
P: 910 (86%) Expected a bit higher, took again in October so will hear back in a few weeks

Research Experience:
- 1 year graduate research in EE (nanoelectronics simulation)
- 2 years undergrad research in EE (spintronics and MEMs) 1 publication, 2nd author out of 3
- 4 summers working as a research assistant at a microelectronics company. 3 publication "acknowledgements", not listed as author
- 1 summer working at Boeing doing EE radiation hardening design. 1 publication, 4th author out of 7+

Full fellowship for my Master's in EE at Purdue
Eaton Award (within school) - Prize given to one student for outstanding accomplishment in EE senior design (out of 70 students roughly)
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship – Honorable Mention (Engineering)
A bunch of scholarships within Purdue (7 total, some multiple times)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
Currently a half-time TA to fund my way through my Physics master's
A bunch of extracurriculars as an undergraduate with leadership positions, almost all related to engineering. Still a part of some of them.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: None that I can think of

Special Bonus Points: I will have a lot of grad credit by the time I finish my Master's in May, including:
3 semesters of Physics department math courses (one of which is group theory)
1 semester of elementary particle physics (Griffiths level)
2 semesters of quantum mechanics
2 semesters of quantum field theory (Peskin and Schroeder)
1 semester of "beyond the standard model" physics (follow up to 2 semesters of QFT)
1 semester of String Theory (independent study)
1 semester of computational physics
1 semester of EE E&M class
1 semester of EE semiconductor physics
1 semester of linear algebra

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
I have an incomplete for one of my EE research classes (which I took for 5 credits that semester) because my focus switched from EE to physics.

Unfortunately, my switch from EE to physics has burned some bridges in terms of LORs. I will have some two decent LORs from my physics professors and have many options for EE professors, but none who I did significant research with. I also have the option to get a very good LOR from my mentor from Boeing, but I don't know how much weight that will hold.

Applying to Where: All HET (in no particular order)

UC Berkeley
UC Santa Barbra
University of Chicago
University of Washington
UT Austin
UC San Diego
CU Boulder

Any help narrowing down programs or suggesting other places to apply would be more than welcome. Of course I would like to go to a school where they accept much of my physics graduate credit. I haven't started contacting the schools individually to see what their policy is, but that will start in the near future. I eliminated Princeton, MIT, and Cornell from the list because I've heard those schools are hard to transfer credit toward. Also, I'm not applying to any Midwest schools because I am sick of being here :). I would prefer some place where the weather is nicer or there is a little more culture. Thanks ahead of time for help and if I can provide anymore information please let me know!

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