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Canadian Applicant Applying to top 20 Schools

Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:39 pm
by rplestid
I am applying to Columbia, Harvard, Chicago, Princeton, Caltech and MIT

I took the GRE and scored worse than I was hoping but I figured I would submit my applications any ways.

I have an honours thesis project currently underway, I worked at the University of Toronto this summer doing atmospheric physics research (programing in FORTRAN and using IDL). I am currently at the University of Guelph (medium sized research university). My average is 82.6 cumulative and 86.6 physics with a very sharp increase in grades in the past 4 semesters (82.6, 91.4, 89.7, and 93 (still pending)). My course work has been relatively comprehensive including Atomic and Molecular, Statistical Mechanics, Group Theory, Subatomic, and Solid-state courses.

I only decided to apply to American schools around mid October so I ended up dealing with midterms and only having about a week to prepare for the GRE and PGRE. My scores are as follows

GRE Verbal 159 80%
Analytical 162 86%
Written 4.0 49%

PGRE 810 75%

I think I will have two very strong letters of reference (from my research advisers) , and one which is a bit of a crap shoot. He is a pretty well distinguished professor (Eric Poisson) chair of the department and I got a 95 in his Advanced Quantum course. He knows me relatively well but I have no research experience with him.

I feel that with a higher PGRE my application would hold up ok but I was wondering how this looks in terms of chances at these school (also all my safety schools are Canadian ones)

Any input would be greatly appreciated including if I should wait and apply again after taking more time to focus on preparing for the PGRE

Re: Canadian Applicant Applying to top 20 Schools

Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:31 pm
by TakeruK
If the schools you listed have groups/profs that are doing what you want to do, then I think this is a perfectly reasonable list of schools to apply to. I'm not sure what your chances would be, but it's good enough to be worth applying to. In addition, I also think you made the right decision when choosing all Canadian safety schools -- it's usually not worth it for us Canadians to go to school in the US if they're not better than the best schools in Canada. Good luck!