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How will Covid affect fall 2021 applicants?

Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2020 7:47 pm
by Act2021
Was hoping for some insight into how schools may deal with the problems Covid has caused with the PGRE administration? They gave said that unlike the GRE, there will be no online/at home option. Since the April was cancelled, I only have Sept and Oct options left, and who knows what the fall will bring??

Any info appreciated

Re: How will Covid affect fall 2021 applicants?

Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2020 10:59 pm
by geekusprimus
I can't speak for the GRE (if September and October get canceled, too, schools will probably waive the requirement), but admissions in general are probably going to be tougher. It's not likely that the economy is going to bounce back particularly quickly, so higher education is facing the very likely prospect of decreased federal and state funding, fewer donors, and less money from research grants. In other words, physics departments aren't likely to have as many spots available. At the same time, more people will be applying for graduate school because of the uncertainty in the economy, so you'll have an even larger number of people competing for fewer spots than usual.

Between the possibility of no physics GRE and more competitive admissions, you'll probably want to apply to a wider range of schools than you think you need to. Depending on your current field of interest, you may also want to shop around for a related field with better funding. Things with direct applications like condensed matter experiment and computational biophysics are probably pretty safe, but something more expensive, like particle experiment, will probably have a harder time getting adequate funding.

Re: How will Covid affect fall 2021 applicants?

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 10:14 pm
by Nishikata
Possibilities of schools' actions:
  • Remove pGRE requirement
This is most likely, as many schools have moved toward optional pGRE, etc.

edit: MIT recently removed both GRE/pGRE component for this Fall's applicant. ... index.html

Most likely, other schools may follow.
  • Conditional admission
Like what they do with English language requirement, they may give conditional offers but the admits need to take pGRE in April 2021, for example.
  • Move admission from Sept 2021 to Spring 2022 term, and thus postpone the GRE requirement so that you can take it in April 2021.
Unlikely to happen in the US, but in Japan this is what is done. This is possible because we admit in both Spring and Fall terms.