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An Extremely harsh condition for Grad Apply

Posted: Mon May 15, 2006 3:27 pm
by pxh185
Hey all,

I am an international student studied in Penn State University for my junior year physics major. I am going to apply for the graduate school over the summer. I have just done the general GRE and subjects test recently. Although, I have scored 2350 on the general one and 990 on the subject one and I think I can get a good recommendation letters from the faculties, the problem is I have very weak GPA from other competitors. Only 3.36 overall( I sucked on the Gen Ed course on my sophomore year but have an average 3.9 on my junior year). And also, as an internation student, it is really harsh to have a intern or research opportunities from the citizenship elegibility. I have tried on the REU program at my univesity but was also hurrdled by the citizenship requirement. After I talked to my adviosr recently, he told me that is the wrong information that did not take off from the webpages. However, it is too late to apply for any research vaccancies over this summer. Now, I am going to apply for the Graduate school. I was so worried about the conditions that I have now. I am worried that none of the graduate school willl accept for these kind of low GPA and non research experience applicationer like me. Can anybody give me so suggestions or advises? I am really dismayed now.

Posted: Mon May 15, 2006 6:27 pm
by phun
:( ... indeed that's a very tough situation to be in. From your description I can tell that you are probably as qualified academically as any other applicants, and you proabably are enthusiastic enough about physics that, if you are given opportunities, you will work hard on research projects. What I can suggest in the limited amount of time you have left is, find out if universities in your home country have positions available for students like you. I know a couple of my Korean friends who are not able to work in U.S. during the summer but are doing research at Universities in Korea. I'm not sure how they got those positions though. I'm thinking most likely it's some kind of connection that their parents have, but you could also try randomly emailing professors. Secondly, make sure you get started on some kind of senior thesis research beginning of next school year. Even if you are an international student, I'm sure you can work on a senior thesis with a professor. Decide what field of physics most interests you, ask around if there's any prof in the field who would be willing to advise you, and work on it! Of course make sure you mention whatever you've done/you are doing when you apply to schools.
By the way, don't except to get paid for any of these. haha...

Posted: Mon May 15, 2006 7:22 pm
by pxh185
Thanks for the suggestions. It is really helpful for me and I will try to do what u have said.

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 12:58 am
by icarus137
As long as it is above average (3.0 or higher), they could care less about your cumulative grade point average. The gpa they are more interested in is the one of your physics classes as well as math classes. I doubt your grades will be any issue.

Research on the other hand could be a bit of a factor for some schools. You do not need to do an REU program though it would be nice. What you should do is definitely talk to a professor in the department that is working on a project that you are interested in. Ask if you can do anything to help on the project as you are looking for research experience. Then maybe sign up with him under an independent study type thing.

Anyway with your test scores, your gpa (the fact that you attended an American university for those is important), recommendations, and last minute research experience, I am sure you will get into a good physics program.

I had a friend who was from India. He had the same situation that you have except that his test scores were lower and he had research experience. He attended an American university for his undergraduate degree. He didnt have any problems getting into a program and he just recently got his doctorate in physics at Stony Brook.