taking the year off?

  • 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.

Post Reply
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:42 pm

taking the year off?

Post by tau1777 » Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:07 pm

so i've made a post similar to this so i've just pasted some info.

so basically i got Q:720, V:590, and writing 5.0 . PGRE; 680 (52%) . this is really the one that worries me. And the rest of my profile looks something like this:

degree, from small City College, length of degree: 4yrs.

Overall GPA;3.894
Physics GPA; 3.810 ( i think this is bad since, its lower than my overall)

Research Experience: 1 REU at the University of Minnesota, on dark matter stuff

Extra-circulars: `Vice-president of Physics Club (sophmore year), president (junior year) ,and i'm doing some tutoring for intermediate level physics classes this year. i'm also the undergrad representative on the department's executive board.

Work: I work at a stationary/copy place on Saturdays.

Schools I'm applying to (or least wanted to apply to)
UCB (just to keep it there) U of Michigan, U of Washington, Penn State, Rutgers, Stony Brook, U of Minnesota, Syracuse U.

I am saying on the personal statement that I want to do research in dark matter and/ or comic ray stuff. But I'm not indicating whether is theory or experiment.

Other stuff: i've got two awards from science department. one was specifically for physics. and if we include upcoming semester i will have taken 4 graduate classes. one was Math Methods (which makes my crappy math score an even bigger joke). one was for solid state, and the other two for two semester of Grad QM.

So I'm going to retake the physics GRE in april, hopefully get something like an 850. i guess i need something like that now. and i'm going to retake the GRE in June, and get my math up to a 770 at least, and my the verbal up to 650.

So the question really is, what should I do if I don't get into any of these schools next year. I really just want to graduate. It's not that I don't like my school, its more about I don't want to live at home anymore. Anyone know of any jobs I can try applying for? Should I look into trying to get lab jobs as some of the more prestigious colleges around me to bolster my app for next year? does anyone recommend applying in the Spring? I don't want to do this b/c I get the feeling that it is harder to get into b/c of less seats, and less funding. Well all recommendations are welcome and thanks for reading all of that. Good luck to everyone who's applying this year.

Posts: 369
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:50 pm

Re: taking the year off?

Post by admissionprof » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:41 am

I wouldn't worry about it right now. I would think you have a very good chance of getting into one of those schools. At the first three, your PGRE will hurt, so you're less likely, but a domestic student with 52% will be fine for most, if not all, of the rest. I know many students with lower PGREs that have gotten in to most of those places.

Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:42 pm

Re: taking the year off?

Post by tau1777 » Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:08 pm

wow, that's quite a relief, i was getting really worried lately about all of this. i would be really happy going to any of the schools that you mentioned i had a good chance at. thank you very much.
i don't know if you're going to read this post again admissionprof, but i guess others should try to answer this is as well. how important is an REU? i've been talking to a friend who's doing his PhD in physics and he says that it's probably the strongest thing on my application. strong enough to make me a competitive applicant. i know the guy is extremely smart so i trust him, but what are your opinions?

Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:26 am

Re: taking the year off?

Post by abeboparebop » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:53 pm

My sense is that an REU is undoubtedly a good thing, but that so many students have at least one REU on their application, it's not as much of a differentiator as it used to be.

Posts: 193
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:33 pm

Re: taking the year off?

Post by mhazelm » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:46 pm

so I have a question in line with all this. Not that it's likely or anything, but in the rare chance I got an NSF fellowship but didn't get accepted anywhere, what would happen? Does anyone know?

If I don't get in I'm going to stay and take graduate courses where I'm at, but I don't know how NSF would work the details out, or if they'd rescind the fellowship... I can't find any details about it on their website.

User avatar
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:17 pm

Re: taking the year off?

Post by Andromeda » Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:41 am

From what I understand, if you get an NSF Fellowship you should feel free to call up your favorite school of choice and tell them. Odds are they'll take you on because you'd be a free student. From what I gather, this actually happens pretty often- people getting rejected from their first choices and getting in thanks to a Fellowship.

Post Reply