Why so shy?

  • 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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Why so shy?

Post by Toodles » Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:58 am

On the profile topics, why do the majority of the posters simply describe their undergraduate institution, rather than just state where they went? I see a lot of:

"Top LAC, decent in physics"
"Top state school"
"Mid-sized state school - top 20 physics"

Why not just say the name?

Also, are the "top 20s" etc. graduate school ratings or undergraduate ratings? Where do they get those ratings? (especially for undergrad - I didn't even know a list existed for that)

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Re: Why so shy?

Post by quizivex » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:04 am

There are hundreds of schools out there offering physics (thousands if you include foreign ones) and a typical student doesn't know anything about most of them except their own. A brief description of their school and its overall reputation in physics is thus much more informative than just naming the school. A layman might think Dartmouth, Brown >> UCSB, UIUC because they're ivies. And who's really going to know that Penn State >> Oklahoma State unless they looked at rankings?

Of course, students are welcome and encouraged to list the school name too, but then they could easily be identified. Most posters have nothing to hide anyway, but some of us talk openly about our shortcomings on this forum, what schools we consider safeties and have no real interest in, or we cuss off that late recommender, and talk about how much we're going to drink when we get our first acceptance etc, so it's natural to want to be anonymous until decisions are in, haha. :wink:

And for guys like me, twistor and RG who authored these beautiful posts, we don't want the wrong person recognizing that our delightfully sounding SOP was a bunch of BS, lol!!
twistor wrote:"I propose the physicsgre.com ***-a-thon where we all get together for a delightful, no-holds-barred all-night ***-romp at his apartment. BYOB. Sucks to the traditional dating scene."
RG wrote:"my research group will focus on how to cultivate weeds and also design and run experiments that will allow us to distinguish several kinds based on thier smell, taste etc.
( hahahahaah, alrite, people, I am NOT weedoholic and have tried ONLY once when I was home last summer)"
quizivex wrote:Re: Contacting Profs
"Dear Dr. XYZ,

I am a student at XYZ university highly interested in condensed matter physics. I plan to dedicate the rest of my life to the marvels of BECs. Where do you think the field will be heading in the next 5-10 years? I have nothing but high hopes for this fascinating area of science. I am thus dreaming of becoming your graduate student next year, and would appreciate any advice you could give me on succeeding in the admissions process.


P.S. - In short, I'm trying to use you for brownie points to get me into this damn school. I couldn't care less about you or your work. I sent this to you since by that strange hat-like thing you wear in your picture, I think the rest of the department must consider you a god. If you use your influence to get me in, I just might take your hideous daughter to the prom next year as long as you remove her awful picture and life story from your departmental webpage."

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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2008 5:12 pm

Re: Why so shy?

Post by Toodles » Sun Jun 28, 2009 1:07 am

Makes sense. Thanks for the response.

Where do people get the ratings? I don't know of any undergraduate ratings for physics.

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Re: Why so shy?

Post by zxcv » Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:47 am

Toodles wrote:Where do people get the ratings? I don't know of any undergraduate ratings for physics.
The general practice is to use grad school rankings for physics programs.

I stayed anonymous until I was accepted to grad schools, at which points I revealed more personal information so it would hardly be a challenge to figure out who I am now. Mostly I care that you can't find my posts on this forum in Google under my name.

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