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Options with mediocre/bad GRE scores

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:57 pm
by AO
Hello All,
I've been lurking in the shadows here for some time and really appreciate what you all put in to this forum. That being said, desperate times call for desperate measures.

I've reviewed previous years grad profiles and can't really seem to find ones that mirror my scores/experience so I'm just going to throw mine out there and see what you all think.

I took the Oct. 10 PGRE and, for the second year in a row, got a 610. Terrible by most accounts but hopefully not prohibitive. I have very solid research experience and graduated from UCSC with a degree in Astrophysics with honors. I did research as a part of the VERITAS collaboration for 2 years as an undergrad and am entering my second year as a research assistant at a national lab as a part of the Gemini Planet Imager project. I have personally developed a technique that will be used on our optics testbed and may in fact be used on the final version of the device. I've presented these results at the CfAO retreat this year and will be publishing my simulation results in Optics Express with hopefully a follow up paper in a more prestigious journal once I've applied it to our testbed.

I would like to get my Ph.D in physics (except where noted) and am planning on applying to the schools below. I'm interested in plasma, optics, and QM. Do you think any of these schools is out of reach and/or what would you add to this list? Thanks for taking the time to read this.

UCLA (astronomy)
Ohio State
Michigan State
UC Davis
UM-Twin Cities


Re: Options with mediocre/bad GRE scores

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 4:56 pm
by WhoaNonstop
From my observations in choosing schools, I have found that research experience is usually the most important thing. You can look through the profiles on this website of schools that people applied to in the past. Just compare yourself with some of the people and go from there.

As for what you have listed, I don't think anything is out of reach. A few things I have noticed is that California schools seem to get more applicants per available positions than any other school, so there may be some difficulty there. Apart from that I would suggest one thing: pick something that is a sure shot to get into, just to be safe. All of these schools seem to be fairly solid schools. It would probably be a smart idea to pick at least one dud school that you wouldn't mind as well. :)

This is just my opinion though.


Re: Options with mediocre/bad GRE scores

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:33 pm
by AO
Do you think the Colorado School of Mines could serve as that "dud" school? I can't find any specific info on their score requirements ( Thanks for the reply! I'm including UCLA(Astro) because one of my current bosses was just offered a faculty position there AND my primary supervisor went there for his Ph.D and still has a lot of connections with them through GPI.


edited to include extra info.