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UChicago Astronomy and Astrophysics

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 8:19 pm
by drken
Does anyone know if this is really true?

"For fall admission, 2006–07, 4 students were admitted from 189 applicants."

That's from the UChicago Astronomy & Astrophysics page at (

That's a ridiculous number! I was thinking about applying there, but now I think I'll just apply to their Physics department, where the chance of getting in is greater than zero....

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 8:48 pm
by will
I doubt admission was only offered to 4 applicants, rather that only 4 of those who were offered admission chose to enroll.

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:45 pm
by quizivex
Can someone vouch whether the gradschoolshopper/AIP handbook of grad programs is accurate and useful...

I thought reading through the handbook would tell me everything I need. But so many things about it seem preposterous.

For instance, there are tons of schools I never heard of giving admission statistics that are worse than the top schools...

Rockefeller University accepted 69 out of 698
Univ of Rhode Island 4 out of 25
Vanderbilt 23 out of 152
William and Mary 11 out of 71 (holy crap, even at a school where the answer to everything physical is "god did it," we have a 1 in 7 chance)
U. of Wisconson, Madison 2 out of 70 (maybe this isn't a nowhere school but still, 2 out of 70 damn)
Wayne state 10 out of 60 (Wayne state? who state??)

and the list goes on and on

So are the schools we're all thinking of as safety schools really safe? If we have a high GPA/GRE and apply to a nowhere school are we really guaranteed to get in with such scary odds?

Also, I think there's some serious flaws in the data they list. One nowhere school boasts an average quantitative score of 830... and I know that's not just a typo because they list the total, verbal + quant, added properly as if 830 was correct. WTF?

Finally, Caltech isn't even there and neither is Harvard physics. Some schools are missing important data such as what research is going on and what the outline of their phd program is... grrr..

drken, I'd be terrified to, but maybe just call the department and ask if 4 were admitted or just 4 chose to go there....

i think admitting 4 would be a retarded idea since there's a good chance none of them would end up going there, and they'd have no entering class.

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:04 pm
by will
Wayne State isn't a world renowned physics program, but it is a fairly well known school in the midwest, and they are an REU site for high energy physics, which is probably why I've seen a few people here list them as a safety. Looking at the department webpage, I doubt that they enroll less than 10 students a year, which makes it inconceivable that they would only offer admission to 10.

All in all, you don't really know who your competition is, who is hiring at the schools you're looking at, or how much money they have to take on new students. Couple this with the fact that the "statistics" are compiled by as many different people as there are numbers, much of the information is a half-decade old at best, and what's not flat-out factually incorrect is at often at least misleading... Well, it's enough to make you want to get a finance job and feed your kids.

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:51 pm
by drken
Yes, I might contact them just to find out whether that year was a statistical anomaly.

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:26 am
by fermiboy

I posted my hypothesis about this in another recent thread on here. I think the best bet is to look at the school's number of ADMITTED, and then look at the number of first year students. Sometimes the data comes from different years but if these 2 numbers are close, then I think often times the school lists ACCEPTED as ADMITTED. University of Southern California is a perfect example:

In 2006 13 students were accepted from 190 applicants.

In 2006 they had 13 first year grad students.

They can't have 100% yield, no school can.

In fact, from the research I have done and the amount of mail I have received this fall, I would guess most programs outside of the top 20 type places are pretty desperate for qualified domestic applicants. Just my own opinion.

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:44 pm
by twistor
How can Wisconsin be 2/70? It's a state school... sorry, I just don't see how....

I mean, they're not THAT good or THAT small.... most curious...