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strong test scores, not much background experience?

Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 8:38 pm
by escapingentropy
I've searched for a similar post, but can't seem to find one that is applicable, so I hope it's okay that I am posting as a new topic. I am a somewhat non-traditional grad school applicant, in that I finished my undergrad quite a few years ago. My BA is in chemical engineering from a very good state school, graduating with a 3.8 overall. My formal physics education is limited and I've had no industry or physics related research or experience, except for my own self study, which I consider to be pretty extensive, but will concede it is still self-study. My letters of rec will be from one PhD in astrophysics and two others that are not in academia. My practice tests are turning up 170(Q)/163(V) and 780 on the GRE and PGRE, and I feel like my letter of intent will be strong, as I am pretty confident in my areas of interest and hopes for future research.

My question is, does anyone have any experience applying to astrophysics programs WITHOUT the strong physics and/or research background, or who has had to rely more heavily on test scores vs. other factors? Any suggestions for upping my chances of being seriously considered? Any information on schools that are more likely to take non-traditional students, or on schools that put more weight on research/background that wouldn't be worth applying to?