Journal Publications

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

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Journal Publications

Post by bronco199 » Sat May 17, 2008 5:40 pm

What do you all think about the impact of undergrad publications/conference presentations on grad school admission chances? Obviously it helps - but how much of a factor is it? How much impact would a first person article in a top journal, i.e. Physical Review Letters, or something similar, have amidst a less than stellar gpa?

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Re: Journal Publications

Post by VT » Sat May 17, 2008 7:53 pm

You might want to spend some more time on the forum to find the discussion related to your question. There had been a lot of discussion on this topic in the past.
Also, I doubt anybody on this forum really knows the answer to your question( how much does the publication help). One thing we all know for sure is that having a publication even in some crappy journal out there NEVER HURTS.
Having a first author publication on PRL is not a joke. If you think you can do this, I can guarantee for you that you will get admission to much coveted top 10 Physics graduate school( check NRC or US news). (I am assuming that your GPA >3.0 and you have no criminal record :lol: )
I do not know if I answered to you question, but my advice to you is you should at least "TRY" doing the following:
GPA > 3.6, well known schools (unknown schools, 3.9/4.0)
PGRE > 850
REU- 1 or 2
publication(of course 6th author in PRL, PR -A,B,C,D,E , Science, Nature, Nanotech is lot better than first author in some unknown undergrad journals. This does not, however, mean that you should ignore those undergrad journals)

All these are possible and NOT terribly difficult. Good luck.

Disclaimer: This is just a biased baised opinion of mine. That is what "I think" an applicant(domestic or domesticated international, like me) "need" inorder to be strong enough to compete with other students for grad admission in top-10 schools. Once a student fulfills all the above criteria, the rest of the admission process is just a CRAP SHOOT. Otherwise, nvanmeter would not be rejected from Stanford, quizivex would not be rejected from MIT and grae would not be rejected from Harvard (check the profile thread).
Last edited by VT on Sun May 18, 2008 1:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Journal Publications

Post by zxcv » Sun May 18, 2008 12:13 am

All of VT's suggestions are worth shooting for, but you're not sunk if you don't get any one of them. I really wanted to get a journal article out of the research I did last summer, which my adviser at least claimed was definitely publishable. But I did an REU away from my school and I was never able to get help or feedback from him on writing, so it didn't happen. And I still think I was pretty successful.

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Re: Journal Publications

Post by grae313 » Sun May 18, 2008 1:32 am

The best anyone can do is give anecdotal evidence, and the profiles thread is full of this. I have a first author publication in J. Appl. Phys. and I did pretty well... I think research experience is weighed more heavily in the application process than schools like to let on, at least for top tier schools. I called up a few departments before applying and asked them whether they would prefer a third rec letter from a professor or someone who I had never had a class with but new about my research (given that I was already getting 1 letter from my boss at the research lab and one from a prof.). They all told me to get the letter from the person who knew about my research. They cared about that much more than class (I guess grades do most of the talking here), and I only ended up having one letter from a professor.

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Re: Journal Publications

Post by excel » Sun May 18, 2008 1:59 am

If you would like to get into a top graduate school, you should definitely try hard to get a paper. Even if the paper does not materialize, your research work will be better for your attempt and your recommender will mention this in his or her letter.

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that you are under some sort of pressure to sacrifice your coursework to do more research. If this is the case, I do not accept that you need to sacrifice your grades on a regular basis in order to publish. And, I do not consider it wise to do so either (even though I am certain that publications carry much more weight than good grades). If you produce a consistently strong coursework performance, people in your department will develop a good impression of you. That is important for several reasons, including that other professors will be more happy to let you join their labs if you ever want to not continue with your current research professor.

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