2021 Applicant Profile and Admission Results

  • 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.

BhaadeKaTattoo64
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2021 4:55 am

Re: 2021 Applicant Profile and Admission Results

Post by BhaadeKaTattoo64 » Wed Mar 10, 2021 5:10 am

Undergrad Institution: (Graduation in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. Private Institution in South India)
Graduate Institution: (Physics, Big public institution in North India. TOP 10 in Physics in India)
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: (Undergrad 8.71/10) & (Grad 8/10)
Overall GPA:
Length of Degree: (3+2)
Position in Class: (No idea)
Type of Student: (International, Brown Dude)

GRE Scores: 151V,159Q,4AWA


TOEFL: (R: 28, L: 28, S: 24, W: 26 )


Research Experience: (Two projects. One in Spectroscopy and the other in Theoretical High Energy Physics. No Publications, No Conference proceedings)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: (1 award in High School, 2 awards in Undergrad, 1 award in grad (by an external organization))

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (None. Only volunteering nothing official)

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Presentations (3), affiliations (3), attended multiple conferences and workshops

Special Bonus Points: (I think good LOR's, and Good SOP)

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Completed numerous online courses during the pandemic.

Applying to Where:
U New Mexico - Physics - March 04: (Accepted via email + $17k TA Declined)
Southern Methodist University - Physics - March 30: (Rejected via email)
U Nebraska Lincoln - Physics - March 19: (Rejected via email)
UMass Amherst - Physics - April 4: ( Rejected via Website)
U Alabama Tuscaloosa - Physics - April 4: ( Application Withdrawn)
U Oklahoma - Physics - March 31: (Accepted via email + $21600 stipend) Will Attend!!
U Houston - Physics
Kansas State- Physics - Feb 22: (Rejected/Waitlisted via email)
Last edited by BhaadeKaTattoo64 on Mon Apr 05, 2021 4:46 am, edited 8 times in total.

bkeller
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:52 pm

Re: 2021 Applicant Profile and Admission Results

Post by bkeller » Fri Mar 12, 2021 11:02 am

Undergrad Institution: top ~15 school in US, very big on research
Major(s): Physics, Political Science
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.88
Overall GPA: 3.88
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: good idk, not ranked
Type of Student: domestic white male

GRE Scores: 168V, 169Q, 5.5W. No physics subject GRE


TOEFL: (R: , L: , S: , W: ) N/A


Research Experience: 3 years plus summers on same experiment at home institution, doing CMB instrumentation and data analysis

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: just like deans list, SPS, etc. nothing crazy

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: paid for research, also worked as manager at university recreation center for 3 years.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: not really nope

Special Bonus Points: took a few grad classes, I think my recommenders are well-regarded in the field. Also really emphasized my background in political science to try to show off a unique side of me, not sure if this helped or hurt though!


Applying to Where: Experimental Cosmology, really wanting to do instrumentation and hardware

(in no particular order)
Harvard- Physics: Waitlist 2/10
University of British Columbia- Physics and Astronomy (Withdrew Application)
Cornell- Physics: Accepted! 2/26 WILL ATTEND!
Berkeley- Physics: Rejected 3/5
Stanford- Physics: Rejected 3/1
UCSD- Physics: Waitlist 3/25 (Declined Waitlist)
JHU- Physics and Astronomy: Waitlist 2/27
McGill Physics: Accepted! 2/4 (Declined offer)
Toronto- Astrophysics: Rejected 3/22
CU Boulder- Physics: Rejected 3/11
CU Boulder- APS: Rejected 2/17
Last edited by bkeller on Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.

physicsadvice
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2021 3:46 pm

Re: 2021 Applicant Profile and Admission Results

Post by physicsadvice » Mon Mar 15, 2021 4:21 pm

Undergrad Institution: Transfer student (2+2), unknown private college to top liberal arts school
Major(s): physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.9
Overall GPA: 3.46, 3.9
Length of Degree: (Are you graduating after 3, 4, or 5 years?) 4 years
Position in Class: n/a
Type of Student: Domestic Mixed Woman

GRE Scores: covid saved me from the GRE lol


TOEFL: (R: , L: , S: , W: ), na

Research Experience: Conducted research all 4 years of college. Every summer I conducted research outside of my home institution in the following order: CME, GR,and then QFT .

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: (Within your school or outside?)
One external award in CME, a few internal awards (by math department, schools nomination for scholarships, ect), presented talks and posters at several conferences, and got outside grants each summer for research (by university and applying for external grants)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...) Multiple Year long independent studies in fields I wanted to move into, 4 years of research, and outreach projects.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
Sustained upward trend (got a 3.0 GPA my first year of college and a 3.9ish each semester after)
Published two first author papers in theory, one 7-th author in CME, and a few n-th author publications (LIGO all papers).

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)

Emailed professors I wanted to work with in grad school during the the spring of my junior year. I had called with at least one prof in the universities I wanted to attend by the start of my senior year. I can post more on this if others are interested but I think this was critical. Theory is extremely competitive and I think expressing interest way ahead of applications revealed seriousness and sincerity in my interest in their program.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:
Harvard-Physics- hep-th (Accepted via PI email and email from department Feb 11th + $34k Fellowship)
Yale- Physics- hep-th (Accepted for PhD informally PI email Feb 11th, officially accepted Feb19th by email to check the portal, $36,750 stipend first year)
MIT- Physics- hep-th (Accepted for PhD Feb 19th, and no interview, received Dean's Fellowship with 3 years of funding)
Brown- Physics- hep-th (Accepted for PhD informally during interview Jan 19th, and received official email Feb 11th + financial information to come)
Cambridge- Applied Mathematics- hep-th (Accepted for Masters via email with no financial support, rejected from Churchill Fellowship though accepted to Churchill college)

Oxford-Physics- hep-th (Rejected via email 3/10/21)
Stanford-Physics- hep-th (Rejected via email 3/1/202, rejected from knight-hennessy scholarship )
University of Chicago-Physics- hep-th (Rejected Jan 29th, via email to check portal )
Princeton-Physics- hep-th (Rejected Feb 15th via email )

Columbia and Caltech -Physics- hep-th (haven't heard back from either , rejection assumed)

Dreams really do come true. I have compulsively checked this forum during all four years of college, and felt insane anxiety due to the amazing applicant pool on this website. I am excited to be able to share what I have learned with others who are in my position. Below contains my candid advice about the graduate admissions process.

Advice to those coming to follow:

Do research. Email the professors you think sound interesting. No classes you take will ever actually prepare you for research, so don't be worried about being qualified. You are always starting from square one and that is ok. This is especially important for those who also want to study theory since there are so few advertised research positions. Moreover, this will increase your likelihood of getting published.

Start emailing professors at schools you are interested in as grad advisors during the spring of your junior year. This choice may make your application. Again for those interested PM me and I am more than happy to chat with you about this.

Don't let your pride get in the way of making logical choices for course performance. Drop courses where the teacher makes it unnecessarily difficult to succeed. Be practical about who is teaching the courses you want to take an act accordingly (ex. audit courses while they are being taught by unreasonably challenging teachers or test heavy classes, but take them with profs who allow their students to succeed with sufficient effort). Obviously we attend college to learn as much material as possible, but i dont think this practical advice is given enough.

Awards beget more awards. Apply to your schools research grants. Apply to random awards for your field. Your first award is your hardest.

Plan to take the GRE in the spring of your junior year.

Personal advice: It takes everyone about the same amount of time to learn something, it's just a matter of when you learn it. Believing that you are truly capable has been essential for me to power through the times I have felt imposter syndrome in college and through research.

occamsshaver12
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:52 pm

Re: 2021 Applicant Profile and Admission Results

Post by occamsshaver12 » Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:10 pm

Undergrad Institution: Really good engineering school in my country
Major(s): Mechanical Engineering
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.4
Overall GPA:
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: no idea, probably above average (not proud of it)
Type of Student: International male

Grad Institution: Decent reputation for Physics, great for Gravitational Physics
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.96
Overall GPA:
Length of Degree: 2
Position in Class: no idea, probably top
Type of Student: International

GRE Scores: 166 V, 169 Q, 4.0 AWA
Physics GRE: 920


TOEFL: (R:30 , L:28 , S:28 , W:28 )


Research Experience:
1 year in biophysics at my undergrad institution, resulting in a thesis
2 years in LIGO gravitational Physics, 1 first-author paper, 2 posters, 2 talks, masters thesis
1 summer in Cosmology, worked with a famous Cosmologist, one paper co-authored
1-semester studying Binary Neutron Stars, 1 talk

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Scholarships during my undergrad and graduate studies.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for 4 semesters. Some outreach.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: President of a graduate Physics club.

Special Bonus Points: My recommender is famous in the Gravitational Wave community, pretty sure at least two of my letters are strong.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: After this cycle is over, this is what I can say about my application.
Negative:
Having an engineering background applying to theoretical Physics hurt my application more than I expected.
I also only used letters just from my grad school, I made it a point to talk less about my undergrad. That probably doesn't look good but it seemed like the best way to deal with it.
Positive:
My advisor is famous and my other recommender wanted me to "succeed". Did a lot of work for a Masters's student. Took a lot of classes and made my own code for Parameter estimation of BBH systems for a Computational course.

Applying to Where:
I only applied to places where they were doing LIGO or Numerical Relativity or both. All Physics except RIT where I applied to their Astrophysics program.
UT Austin- Feb 6th (invited to the open house) March 12th (waitlisted) April 13th (accepted 28,654/yr)(GRE sent but later they said they don't require it) WILL ATTEND!
UW- Milwaukee- Feb 22nd (accepted for Ph.D via email 21.5k per annum (will increase from spring since I already have my masters)) (GRE sent) (Their grad coordinator Kate is great!) DECLINED
Johns Hopkins- (rejected via email) (GRE not needed)
Caltech- Feb 19th (rejected via email) (GRE not needed)
Northwestern- April 9th rejected via email (GRE not needed)
UIUC- March 8th (rejected via email) (GRE sent)
West Virginia- 23rd Feb (interview request) 3rd March (accepted via email, 26k per annum) (GRE sent)DECLINED
Penn State - 1st March (rejected via email) (GRE sent)
RIT- (waitlisted) April 13th (application withdrawn)
Applied to Georgia Tech but they weren't taking any Astrophysics students.

I am leaning towards Milwaukee. They have an amazing group working with LIGO.
UPDATE (April 13th): I got accepted by UT-Austin. I am so relieved! While UW-Milwaukee is a great school, I really wanted to do more theory and UT-Austin is exactly what I was looking for. My interview during open house for sure helped but I kept in contact with a prof, which definitely helped me secure this acceptance.

Final notes:
-Cast a wide net! I can't stress this enough.
-Connections help a lot.
-Wherever I got responses, I had to send my GRE scores. I think my GRE scores definitely helped me get these acceptances.
-Learning about the admissions process at my grad school, there are a lot of factors that you just can't take into account. If your profile contains something that is universally considered great, you are good. If not, then try your best but understand that a lot of your achievements are open to interpretation. Some might say taking Grad classes is hard and add a plus to your profile but others might focus on the fact that they are graded relatively leniently. So be realistic and try not to take things personally (easier said than done), recognize your shortcomings, and either overcome them or try to suppress them in your app.
-Grad cafe is toxic, so limit its use.
-You will see that every year grad schools say they got more applications than they expected and applicants complain that that specific year is hard to be applying for Ph.Ds. While somewhat true, it adds nothing because it is true for each year. So just do your thing. I will admit that internationals this year who weren't in the US were not in a good spot. Two committee members admitted to not admitting many international students because of complications in travel/visa due to COVID.
Last edited by occamsshaver12 on Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:16 pm, edited 18 times in total.

Simive
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:28 am

Re: 2021 Applicant Profile and Admission Results

Post by Simive » Thu Mar 18, 2021 5:50 am

Undergrad Institution: an Asian university (little reputation), one year at a state university in US (high reputation) as a visiting student
Major(s): Physics (Honors Program)
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.86 (93.3/100)
Overall GPA: 3.86
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: top 3%
Type of Student: international male

GRE Scores: N/A
TOEFL: 96 (R: 28, L: 22, S: 22, W: 24)

Research Experience:
A project about the model of solar cells in home school for 2 semesters
Quantum information experiment in visiting school for 1 semester
Experiment and simulation of spectroscopy for condensed matter in visiting school for 2 semesters (co-authored 1 paper)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
scholarship for 3 times, an award for my 1st research experience mentioned above, some other trivial awards

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: No

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
Strong skills in using simulation software, programming, and engineering drawing.
I did pretty well in my visiting school in both course and research, which might make up for the unknown fame of my home school.

Special Bonus Points: Recommendation letter
Two from the research advisors of my 1st & 3rd research experience mentioned above (Strong both)
One from a professor of a senior course (Unknown, at least not negative)
One from my dean (Strong, a letter about personality,morality, etc.)

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where: CME or AMO

Reach:
UC-​Berkeley (UCB) - Physics Ph.D. - (Mar. 6: REJECTED)
University of Chicago - Physics Ph.D. - (Jan. 30: REJECTED)
UC-Santa Barbara (UCSB)
UC-San Diego (UCSD)
University of Wisconsin-​Madison (UW) - Physics Ph.D. - (Jan. 29: REJECTED)

Match:
Stony Brook University-​SUNY (SBU) - Physics PhD - (Feb. 20: ACCEPTED, $23k 9-month TAship + summer stipend ($5k RA or $2.5k TA) + 90% of health insurance)
University of Minnesota-​Twin Cities (UMN) - Physics Ph.D. - (Jan. 26: ACCEPTED, $27k including 9-month TAship & summer support + health insurance)
Georgia Institute of Technology (GT) - Physics Ph.D. - (Jan. 31 Interview, Mar. 1: ACCEPTED, $29k TAship)
Rice University - Physics Ph.D. - (Mar. 14: WAITLIST) Declined
UC-Irvine (UCI) - Physics Ph.D. - (Mar. 18: REJECTED)
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)- Physics Ph.D. - (Feb. 3: WAITLIST, Mar. 2: REJECTED)
Boston University (BU) - Physics Ph.D. - (Mar. 2: REJECTED)
Purdue University - Physics Ph.D. - (Feb. 8: ACCEPTED, $18.4k TAship) Declined

Safety:
Florida State University (FSU) - Physics Ph.D. - (Feb. 6: Interview) Declined
Iowa State University (ISU) - Physics Ph.D. - (Mar. 15: ACCEPTED, 1/2 TAship = $19k) Declined
North Carolina State University (NCSU) - Physics Ph.D. - (Mar. 2: ACCEPTED, $19.5k 9-month TAship + summer support + health insurance) Declined
UC-​Riverside - Physics Ph.D. - (Feb. 15: Interview) Declined
University of Oregon - Physics Ph.D. - (Mar. 17: REJECTED)

qm_or_gr
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:29 pm

Re: 2021 Applicant Profile and Admission Results

Post by qm_or_gr » Tue Mar 23, 2021 11:53 am

Undergrad Institution: Top University in Latin America, some reputation in Physics (?)
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): we don't have that
GPA in Major: 9.6/10
Overall GPA: 9.6/10
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: top
Type of Student: International female

GRE Scores: NO GRE REQUIRED FOR THIS YEAR (WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPENED)

TOEFL: 111 (R:30 , L:30 , S:24 , W:27)

Research Experience: Short project on Experimental Nuclear Physics (3 months, paper to appear) at my school and 1-year project on Quantum Foundations at another school (no paper yet)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: ranked 1st in my cohort, scholarships to attend summer schools, a research fellowship

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: QM TA, Physics/Math tutor for High School students

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: female, lesbian (does it help in any way??), only applying to master programs

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: some grad level courses, exchange student in a good school in North America with GPA 4.0

Applying to Where:

Cambridge University - MASt in Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics (Part iii) Mar 9th ACCEPTED via email/website
Perimeter Institute - PSI Masters Dec 10th interviewed, Mar 16th ACCEPTED via email + Full Scholarship
University of Chicago - MS-PSD (Physical Sciences Division Masters Program) Mar 29th ACCEPTED via website + 50% Scholarship

mathtutorass
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2021 9:36 pm

Re: 2021 Applicant Profile and Admission Results

Post by mathtutorass » Thu Apr 01, 2021 9:50 pm

Undergrad Institution: Strong liberal arts school, no reputation for physics
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Mathematics
GPA in Major: 3.96
Overall GPA: 3.96
Length of Degree:4
Position in Class: near top
Type of Student: domestic white male

Research Experience: 3 years research, one summer at high-profile research lab, no papers

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: some departmental awards

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: not much

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: 3 strong recommenders, taking two graduate courses

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:

University of Florida - Physics Ph.D - CMT/QI (Feb. 8: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
Purdue University - Physics Ph.D - CMT/QI (Feb. 16: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
Yale University - Physics Ph.D - CMT/QI (Feb. 19: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email/portal + ~$37k/year stipend)
Cornell University - Physics Ph.D - CMT/QI (Feb. 26: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + ~$28k/year stipend )
UMD College Park - Physics Ph.D - CMT/QI (Jan. 30: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + ~$37k/year stipend + JQI Fellowship)


MIT - Physics Ph.D - CMT/QI (Feb. 18: Rejected via email)
Berkeley - Physics Ph.D - CMT/QI (Mar. 5: Rejected via email/portal)
UCSB - Physics Ph.D - CMT/QI (Feb. 23: Rejected via email/portal)
Harvard - Physics Ph.D - CMT/QI (Feb. 23: Rejected via email)
Princeton - Physics Ph.D - CMT/QI (Feb. 15: Rejected via email)
UC Boulder - Physics Ph.D - CMT/QI (Mar. 11: Rejected via email/portal)
UIUC - Physics Ph.D - CMT/QI (Feb. 14: Rejected via email)
Caltech - Physics Ph.D - CMT/QI (Feb. 19: Rejected via email)

rjk12
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2020 11:05 pm

Re: 2021 Applicant Profile and Admission Results

Post by rjk12 » Sat Apr 03, 2021 12:25 am

_____________________________________________
Undergrad Institution: good US public school, physics reputation good i think?
Major(s): Physics & a little-known degree called Engineering Science (fancy way of saying I started out in engineering, switched to phys, but now have some mechanical/aero experience)
Minor(s): Applied Mathematics
GPA in Major: 3.5 (really bad first year - i was stressy depressy :( )
Overall GPA: 3.5
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: top third+?
Type of Student: domestic white female

GRE Scores: hehe nope

TOEFL: n/a

Research Experience: 3 years at nuclear experimental lab at my school. One thesis project in my fourth year that has actually turned out some really interesting results. An instrument I engineered in production... also produced documentation for a major nuclear physics experiment. And lots of little side projects!

1.5 years at theoretical/computational nuclear group, also at my school. Lots of coding, two posters (presented at a conference) and a PAPER (3rd Author).


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Honor Society membership (and was VP my senior year). Dean’s List at some point


Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Tutor for underserved high schoolers for 2 years now. Grader in intro physics class at my school. SPS Board member for a year (minor role, though)


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: When I was in engineering, I picked up a LOT of skills – solidworks, soddering, basic welding, etc. And I know a few programming languages now, as well as machine learning.


Special Bonus Points: I am a lady… I took a few grad classes and did pretty well. I also have zoomed with some of the professors I’m interested in and, in retrospect, think this was my saving grace for the schools I got into.


Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Significant upward GPA trend throughout undergrad (lately I’ve rocked it 😊)


Applying to Where:
U of Virginia - Physics - Nuclear experiment - Waitlisted in Feb. - I actually applied to work with the prof I did my thesis with, but he asked me if I still thought I would want to come and by this point I'd gotten into 2 schools and felt I should be honest (hmm... I wonder where I did undergrad? :wink: ) - (April 2: Rejected via email to check portal)
UC Irvine - Physics - Plasma theory - (Feb. 4: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
CU Boulder - Nuclear experiment - (Feb. 23: Rejected via email to check portal)
U of Washington - Nuclear theory - (March 16: Rejected via email to check portal)
UCLA - Physics - Undecided experiment - (March 14: Rejected via email to check portal)
UCSD - Physics - High Energy experiment - (Jan. 15 ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
UC Berkeley - Physics - Nuclear/HighE experiment - (March 3: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email with $41000 total first year stipend) - WILL ATTEND!!! :D

Sooo I'm still in shock, personally, and also ecstatic... a part of me was terrified I'd be rejected everywhere with my GPA. Berkeley was my super reach but I got incredibly lucky. I think that talking with the professors there before I applied was really helpful (and also made me really excited about the slim slim chance I would get in). I also think I had really good essays and really good rec letters, and a ton of research in the field I applied. But of course, at this point, I can really only guess!

Thanks everyone for all your help over the years with this site. And congrats on getting through applications and decisions this year - I know COVID was tough. Best of luck to everyone on their paths

brnkh
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:25 pm

Re: 2021 Applicant Profile and Admission Results

Post by brnkh » Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:27 pm

Undergrad Institution: High Ranked UC
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics
Minor(s): Political Science
GPA in Major: 3.426
Overall GPA: 3.310
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: School doesn't rank us but I'd guess mid
Type of Student: American white male

GRE Scores: V = 164 (94th percentile), Q = 166 (87th percentile), A = 5.0 (92nd percentile)

Research Experience: 2 Projects in the same lab, both lasting six months, both in high energy physics. One paper

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: None

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Physics/Math tutor for lower division students, Lab assistant

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I have a lot of experience in circuit building and quite a bit with FPGA and ASICS. I've got experience with essentially every power tool, soldering, crimping wires. Lots of leadership experience (IDK if that's important), captain of the sailing team, president of a school charity for a year, etc.

Special Bonus Points: 2 great letters of recommendation from my research advisors and one good one from a very well known cosmology/astrophysics professor

Reach:
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Medical Physics Ph.D. - Rejected via email
University of Chicago (UC) - Medical Physics Ph.D. - Rejected via email
University of Washington (UW) - Particle Physics Ph.D. - Rejected via email

Match:
University of Wisconsin, Madison (UW-M) - High Energy Physics Ph.D. - WAITLISTED, REJECTED via email
University of Virginia (UVA) - High Energy Physics Ph.D. - WAITLISTED, REJECTED via email
University of California, Davis (UCD) - Particle Physics Ph.D. - REJECTED via email

Safety:
University of Oregon (UO) - High Energy Physics Ph.D. - REJECTED via email
University of Pittsburgh (PITT) - High Energy Physics Ph.D. - WAITLISTED, REJECTED via email
University of Southern California (USC) - High Energy Physics Ph.D. - REJECTED via email

I don't know what to do anymore. My dream since I was a kid was to do physics and now it feels like I have no way to do that. I have no options moving forward. My friends with worse GPAs all got in, most of them only applied to like 3 or 4 places and they got in to every single one...

I'm already taking a gap year, have absolutely no research opportunities, and am working an unrelated job in IT. I feel like I have no more chances, I'm at the end of my rope here.



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