Fall 2007 Physics PhD Applicants Post Here

  • 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.

Singularity
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:22 am

Post by Singularity » Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:36 am

Well, it would help if you can tell us what are the Physics courses/Projects you have taken (if any). This is important becuase you need to provide a good reason for specializing in Particle Physics. If you havent had proper exposure to High Energy Physics through courses then I think you'd be better off saying that you are not fully decided yet about what you would like to get into ultimately but app selectively to those places which have a strong group in that field. I dont think it would help much if you state that you developed interest in HEP through popular science literature on String Theory/Random lectures/ and insist that you want to necessarily work in that area.
I know a friend of mine who did his bachelors in Mechanical and got into NorthWestern having specified his interests as Particle Physics/Astrophysics.

vroomfondel
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 9:47 pm

Post by vroomfondel » Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:09 pm

Nirf,

Your last post about being "made to feel stupid" prompted me to post for the first time on this forum.

Background: physics and math from top 10 school in the US, been working at a national lab for the past year and a half, with a PRL pub, and a couple of other. smaller journals. Why have I not gone to grad school? Cause my projects rocked, they're winding down now, and I'm thinking of applying either for this fall or next fall.

1. I didn't do great on the GRE physics ~750. Timing issue. I didn't bother to read your compartmentalization of reasons, so I'll leave you to box that it wherever you wish.

2. I feel stupid on a regular basis, because my advisor is a superstar in his field and doesn't suffer fools well. Does that mean that I'm not 'great' at physics? Categorically not. If taken positively, feeling stupid is the best thing that can happen to you.

a) everyone will feel stupid at some point in their lives
b) some will feel more stupid than others -- they are the ones that regularly push the envelope of their knowledge. they are the ones to watch out for.
c) the key is to not let your lack of knowledge get you down, but to have it inspire you. it's hard, but very possible, and extremely rewarding.

btw, some kid in my lab did his Ugrad in eng-sci from UToronto, he's now working on a PhD in a top 5 program in EE. And guess what? we make each other look dumb all the time. :)

3. Pardon me as I indulge in a little bit of pseudo-psychoanalysis. From your last post, it sounds like you were threatened by feeling stupid. it happens. And you 'thought' (probably for about 10 minutes) about all these people who are great at figuring out angles getting together and dominating the physics world.

And I don't blame you for not questioning your thought process -- it allays your own insecurities. You are one of the people you believe will be succesful in Physics -- great school, great GRE score. And in your mind, you have labeled these non-analytical beings that can't score on a GRE as being 'not good enough'. Cool, pat on the back for you, less competition for you -- it's all good.

You clearly haven't thought it through (reasons outlined in above psychobabble). Quickness has nothing to do with success in the real world. Creative thinking does not happen at the speed of light. Forget the famous examples, ever been to a workshop in physics? I have been to a few in my field, and seen professors duke it out amongst themselves. YOU will be surprised at the amount of "Duh" and "I don't get it" types in those rooms. To the point where I'm thinking to myself, "oh come on Prof, he's explained it 3 times in his presentation, and EVEN I get it".

You come off as inexperienced, insecure, quick to judge, and mentally 'young'. Just my opinion, of course.
------------------
edit- as much as I would love to, I will not have the disposable time to have one of those long-drawn online debates that we all enjoy. So this is my first and last post on the matter, Nirf. You can choose to read it/heed it/ignore it or some combination of those. In the past, I believe I have been where I think you are (in terms of thought process) and have later learnt that I was wrong.

But again, JMT.
Last edited by vroomfondel on Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

graviton
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2006 3:03 pm

Post by graviton » Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:42 pm

I couldn't have said it better myself.

hyejjjj
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:37 pm

Post by hyejjjj » Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:34 am

I hope none of you were discouraged by Nirf's comments. We all forget that, before Einstein, there were thousands of physicists who laid out the foundations of physics. His brilliance came just in the knick of time. There are physicists whose names are written on every single physics textbook and other whose names are not remembered. Without the work of the unnamed physicists, would Einstein have arrived at the same conclusions?

Can we all just stop putting each other down? This forum is not made for constant verbal abuse and discouragement. Rather, it's made for guidance and assistance for anyone interested in pursuing physics as a career. If your sole purpose for posting is to make some nasty remarks, do us all a favor and stop.

tnoviell
Posts: 235
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 10:31 am

Post by tnoviell » Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:11 am

Yup hyejjjj, just as I originally stated.

Besides, the physics GRE doesn't mean too much - really it's about studying for that test. I know I didn't do well because I was busy working all summer, and during the semester I was taking challenging courses while still working. I agree that the physics GRE isn't difficult, but boy if you didn't shake the cob webs out you were in trouble.

I was talking with my Real Analysis professor the other day and he said something that was very wise. It's not about how smart you are - it's all about how much work you're willing to put in. He's one of the top 300 most cited scientists in the world, and he said he usually puts in around 14 hours a day of work.

Like I said before, I hope all people who truly want to pursue a higher degree and have the drive and motivation to do it get into a PhD program and really enjoy themselves.

mathlete
Posts: 43
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 12:22 am

Post by mathlete » Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:02 am

edit n/a
Last edited by mathlete on Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

Richter
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:45 am

Post by Richter » Tue Dec 19, 2006 4:02 am

Hello everyone, I am new to the forum.
I studied in a university in Hong Kong, and expect I will get my Bachelor degree in physics next year.
Major GPA: 3.62, overall GPA: 3.57

General GRE scores.
510, 760, 4.0
Subject (Physics) GRE score.
990

Department you are applying in:
Condensed matter physics, biophysics

research experience:
In Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO), doing data analysis and computer simulations

Any awards or honors:
some scholarships and dean's list in my school
Nonacademic honour: world champion in harmonica festival last year

Information about your letters of rec.
1. from my supervisor in final year project
2. from my supervisor during research in SNO
3. from the pro-vice-chancellor and physics professor in my school

A list of schools you are applying to.
Princeton -- rejected, 2/23
Berkeley -- rejected, 3/21
UIUC -- rejected
Caltech -- rejected
Stanford -- rejected
UCSD -- rejected
UCSB -- rejeted, 3/3
Cornell
Maryland at College Park -- accepted
MIT

I want to ask 2 questions:
1. In our school, there are few research opportunities in which undergrad can publish in famous journals in physics. Does that hurt much?

2. Is my chance slim as I am an internation applicant, for those top schools like Princeton and MIT?
Last edited by Richter on Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:14 pm, edited 6 times in total.

tleilax
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2005 2:56 pm

Post by tleilax » Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:44 am

Hi all,

I am in the midst of studying for the Stanford qual, and as I've been reading a stat mech textbook for 6 hours, decided to see what was on the the forum which I frequented so much last year. It has been very interesting reading so far.

Just a couple of comments:

1. I took the first physics class of my life as a sophomore in college
2. I had a 830 physics GRE and got into Caltech and Stanford, among others
3. I went to Stanford mostly for the research rotation, and it has been very helpful
4. I feel slow almost every day--whether it's due to deficient innate ability or lack of familiarity with new concepts (and rather difficult material to my mind), the reason is unknown to me
5. I still love physics and wouldn't want to be doing anything else

Do what you want to do, end of story.

Pchemist
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:17 pm

Post by Pchemist » Wed Dec 20, 2006 12:10 pm

Hi tleilax:

how do you like your time at graduate school? I studied at an mid-sized Ivy for undergraduate and submatric. Found their physics department (not the school overall) too hostile and anti-social. What do you think about your Stanford peers? I have a gut feeling that most physics students, they need to learn to soclalize more.

somebody
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:25 pm

Post by somebody » Tue Jan 16, 2007 5:47 pm

i'll post my not perfect stats so others coming to this site will feel less dumb

Physics major with math minor at smaller liberal arts school
3.57 overall GPA
3.88 upper level physics and math GPA
*freshman year GPA was 2.9 due to lots of partying/drinking which drags down my overall

Research experience:

summer and semester of doing laser optics research

REU doing astrophysics spectroscopy and instrumentation research

GRE:
Subject: 640 (45th %)
Verbal: 600 (85th %)
Quantitative: 730 (78th %)
Writing: 5.5 (87th %)

Maybe I should be applying to law school

Letters : 2 from my faculty at school which should be pretty good and one from my REU advisor which should be decent (his impression of me is that I would be very good at research, but he is not sure if I could get through the academic parts of graduate school because there were some basic physics concepts he thought I should have picked up in my undergrad classes that I didn't know)

Applying to do astronomical instrumentation and observational astrophysics

Schools / depts.

U. Hawaii Astronomy
Johns Hopkins
Ohio State Astronomy
U Florida Astronomy
UC Irvine
Michigan State
U. Oklahoma

braindrain
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:23 am

Post by braindrain » Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:12 pm

How would you ever choose anything over Hawaii? And I think they even have an observatory right there somewhere.

When a professor says something like that, that's when I would be up all night in the library coming up with questions he could not answer :). I think there is a big difference between not knowing and not remembering but being capable of understanding. You just needed to be reminded or maybe it looks different in a new context. I don't think that means you can't get through the academic parts.

somebody
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:25 pm

Post by somebody » Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:15 pm

i probably wouldn't choose anything over Hawaii but I'm not expecting to be admitted :(

astrobio
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:37 pm

Another Average Applicant

Post by astrobio » Tue Jan 16, 2007 9:20 pm

Here's another one to let other non-stellar students feel less like outcasts.

Undergrad Majors:
Physics/Astronomy for 3 years, then transferred and I'm graduating with a BS in Math

Overall GPA: 3.13
Science/Math: 3.3

Verbal: 680, 95%
Quantitative: 760, 85%
Analytical: 6.0, 96%
Subject: 610, 39%

Research experience:

REU at Cornell (astronomy)
1.5 Years on Radio Astronomy studying the Galactic Center
Independent asteroid project using school observatory

Publications/Presentations:
2 Articles in minor (referreed) publication
Poster at AAS meeting on Radio stuff

Applying to:

U. Washington
U. Arizona
U. Michigan
Penn State
Arizona State
(and more, when I figure out some more backups)

I'm applying to all astronomy or astronomy/astrobiology programs. The small liberal arts school I transferred to doesn't have any kind of physics program, so I've been out of the loop and coursework for about 2 years now. Whether that will hinder/help me, we have yet to find out.

braindrain
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:23 am

Post by braindrain » Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:01 pm

Can I ask why you didn't apply to Cornell if that's where your REU was. Sometimes knowing people can help.

Ghagnastiac
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 5:55 am

Post by Ghagnastiac » Wed Jan 17, 2007 2:51 am

I graduated from a liberal arts college (Reed) and am applying to study either optics or astrophysics.

Physics GPA: 3.8

GRE
Quantitaive: 760 (85%)
Verbal: 590 (80%)
Writing: 5.5 (88%)
Physics: 840 (83%)

Yearlong senior thesis

One publication in the Journal of the Optical Society of America (based on my job in applied optics).

Four letters of reference: 3 Professors (including David Griffiths whom we all love/hate) and 1 from my boss

Schools (all physics proper):

MIT
Columbia
Harvard
Northwestern
Cornell
Berkeley
Yale
Chicago
Johns Hopkins
NYU
University of Washington
UCLA

jormiga
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:30 pm

Post by jormiga » Wed Jan 17, 2007 5:14 pm

It's awesome that you have a letter from Griffiths! Kudos!

braindrain
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:23 am

Post by braindrain » Wed Jan 17, 2007 5:20 pm

Did you get your textbooks autographed? :)

Ghagnastiac
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 5:55 am

Post by Ghagnastiac » Wed Jan 17, 2007 5:30 pm

No, but he did have to sign my thesis to make it official... oddly enough, I also have a photo of him in handcuffs. But you didn't hear that from me.

Richter
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:45 am

Post by Richter » Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:48 pm

haha, Griffiths is a very famous person in physics; I think his textbooks of EM and QM has influenced many physicists

phun
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2006 2:53 am

emails from MIT?

Post by phun » Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:52 pm

Has any of you recieved an email from MIT saying you are missing application material(s)? They seem to have lost the GRE score report I requested back in early December, and I requested for a re-send on Jan 8th, but they claim that they still have not recieved it as of today. I don't know what I should do.

somebody
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:25 pm

Post by somebody » Thu Jan 18, 2007 5:00 pm

goto princeton, nj and threaten to burn down ets. i'm sure the other students at your school would chip in for funding for explosives

braindrain
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:23 am

the end of ETS

Post by braindrain » Thu Jan 18, 2007 5:24 pm

I agree we should do in ETS but legally and legitamately. Say if someone funded all graduating physics phd students to take the exam again at the end of their phds, if there is still a spread of scores then what would the test mean then. If everyone aced it then all the biases evened out after grad school. Or, the other option is to start a competing company with a better test and start to push that. We wouldn't need explosives just money and business sense.

CPT
Posts: 77
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:05 am

Post by CPT » Thu Jan 18, 2007 5:37 pm

Seriously! Doesn't anyone file lawsuits aginst ETS?

:lol: Do tell me if you're planning to go ahead with the pyrotechnic solution though, I'd love to donate for a just cause.

mingsy
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:44 pm

Post by mingsy » Fri Jan 19, 2007 11:40 pm

Seems that there weren't any UK entries so I thought I'd add my contribution and my two cents. Here goes,

Physics BSc. (some Uni. in London)
we don't necessarily have majors or minors, we go full out on one subject
Overall grade 82.2/100
PartIII Math CASM (Merit) (some other Uni in the UK)

I spent an extra year doing an advanced "undergrad" qualification in the some other Uni. which contrary to believe isn't really a "masters" but it's sure as hell harder than one. We had our own support group and "counselling" but unfortunately a suicide happened in our year.

GRE scores:
V 390
Q 800
W 4.5
Subject 980
( apparently my Engrish is terrible by ETS standards :P I blame it on "American English")

Letters: 1 Prof. that doesn't know me very well, 2 who know too much and 1 one knows just the right amount.

Research Experience: Practically None

Departments:
Cornell, Chicago, UIUC, Berkeley, Princeton, UCSB, Texas at Austin, Yale, Stanford, U Birmingham

I know wasted my summers by not taking up summer internships and reserach projects and counts for a lot to any admissions committee. But in my defense I didn't know at the time that I'd be trying for a PhD eventually. I figured that I'd do the physics thing until I grew up and then graduate and then find work. Oh yeah, I had a girlfriend back then and I don't know how but she got me to think that I needed a way better job than being just a physicist to support her when we get married bla bla bla. She's my ex now and I am single. Go figure. Now everyone knows too much about me =)

I'd like to be a condensed matter theorist and UIUC or Cornell is where I think I would really like to be. Good theorist working together with good experimentalists equals good physics. I just snuck Princeton in my list because I was strongly urged to try. I figured that MIT and Harvard were totally out of my league and I didn't like being in a highly pressured environment. Takes the fun out of learning. Pure theoretical High Energy (branes, strings etc.) is really really really competitive. The time when I overheard some string theorists choosing postdoctorals out still frightens me =(

Honestly I wasn't really keen on the US intially. If I could, I would have liked to stay in the UK but because I am not an EU citizen, it's next to impossible to find a funded PhD in theory. But the UK has really good departments nontheless. You should consider it when you are looking for postdoctoral positions and all. It's "English" speaking and its super near to the LHC and the ITER. The only downside is the lousy weather. But now I've really gotten used to this "little island" and all the crazy and quirky "islanders" on it.

Yeah, the comment above about feeling stupid and inferior at one point or another really rings true. I used to carry quite an ego around when I was younger and then I did the PartIII. I quickly lost it and sorta found my place in physics which may be second rate but I am doing what I enjoy and that is enough for me.

At the end of the day, I believe that it really has to do with how much dedication you put into it. Physics started out as an interest (addiction really) for me when I was a high school student. Then at Uni I started to put less effort into it when I realised that I was missing out on a lot of other things. Now after getting back to it and finally committing to a PhD, I am trying to get that drive back. Hard work can get you really far. I've seen a Chinaman with absolutely horrible English and little knowledge of physics (he was originally a math undegraduate) go from struggling at the start of nine months to being one of the high scorers of the year. I was blown away to say the least when our results were publicly announced.

To be honest, I don't think GREs are everything and I wouldn't be too suprised if I am rejected from most of the departments I applied to even with a 980 on my subject paper. I believe that they really do consider everything, the good and unfortunately the bad. I am still regreting the bad decisions I made in the past but I wouldn't have been wiser had it not been for my mistakes.

It was nice to know that other ppl are going to through the same nerve wrecking experience as me while applying and it's nice to know that I'm not the only screw up out there. Felt nice to share too =)

Best of luck to you all and hopefully we all get to be physicists one day.

somebody
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:25 pm

Post by somebody » Sat Jan 20, 2007 1:03 am

yeah chicks suck (most of the time not in a good way)

braindrain
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:23 am

Post by braindrain » Sat Jan 20, 2007 5:43 pm

Yes but, this prof. at school had us over his house for dinner. His wife said because she married a physicist she got to see the world because she went with him to all his conferences and she acted like it was the coolest thing in the world. Actually, that is a real issue in science, a supportive spouse. I hate to say it, but some of the wives of the people I worked for thought the science jobs weren't very important. I don't even think that's the real issue because the wives couldn't possibly have understood the science. It's just a cummulative longer term endeavor, so if they don't see money or results right away they don't think it means anything. I think the larger issue is that is takes more to distinguish yourself in science than many other fields. That's why the Nobel prize winners are a lot older. But an artist or a businessman can show something younger.

The bottom line is: long hours, low pay, long time to get established, uncertainty for the future, .... the schools should be *begging* us to come. We shouldn't even have to apply. They should accept all the people dumb enough to sign up for this :) .

myumla
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 1:21 am

Post by myumla » Sun Jan 21, 2007 3:46 am

Not to sound paranoid or anything, but aren't you guys being a little sexist?.. I don't make generalizations like "[all] guys suck" just because I had a boyfriend or two who thought theoretical physics was a waste of time. Ok, its 3 am so I might be just seeing things :roll:

CPT
Posts: 77
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:05 am

Post by CPT » Sun Jan 21, 2007 5:32 am

myumla wrote:Not to sound paranoid or anything, but aren't you guys being a little sexist?
A little??? This is exactly the state of affairs that's responsible for the skewed gender ratio in Physics academia ... but well ... I doubt how much awareness you can raise about such issues on an internet forum.
myumla wrote:Ok, its 3 am so I might be just seeing things :roll:
No, you're not. The fact that you had to append that line to your post shows the degree of internalization of this sexism.

myumla
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 1:21 am

Post by myumla » Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:31 pm

Well I *assume* braindrain was talking about physicists' spouses in general (hence the "supportive spouse" comment), and only said "wives" because in most couples he personally knows its the guy who is a scientist. As for the "chicks suck" post, sounds like someone hasn't been laid for awhile and is being bitter about it. Thats ok, happens to all of us :P

CPT
Posts: 77
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:05 am

Post by CPT » Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:38 pm

myumle wrote:Well I *assume* braindrain was talking about physicists' spouses in general (hence the "supportive spouse" comment), and only said "wives" because in most couples he personally knows its the guy who is a scientist. As for the "chicks suck" post, sounds like someone hasn't been laid for awhile and is being bitter about it. Thats ok, happens to all of us
That sort of generalization is sexism. I'm not saying that braindrain or anyone is intentionally doing/saying this, or wants to be sexist, but that is exactly the point. Most sexism and discrimination is due well-meaning people, after all the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I'm just saying that people need to recognize that they are subconsciously or unintentionally sexist, and decide to change that.

I'm sorry if this rant is off topic for this thread, just wanted to say what I felt. I guess I'd better shut up now.

artschoolapplicant
Posts: 40
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 10:44 pm

Post by artschoolapplicant » Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:50 pm

Yeah, goslings kick so much more ass than chicks. Poults don't even interest me any more. And dude, give me an eyas over a squab any freakin day.

braindrain
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:23 am

Post by braindrain » Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:59 am

I don't think I was being sexist because I was refering to specific people I knew. If it was read and generalized while it was read, then I can see how it might have been interpreted that way. I'll try to word better in the future. I just was trying to say that I witnessed as an outside observer the form of what unsupportiveness might look like. It did not look like a picnic.

But, in reality, if mingsy's x-girlfriend told him not to do science and he listened who's fault is that that he no longer did science .. HIS. 'Somebody' seems to be blaming the x, but I think if someone tells you to do something and you listen, its the person's fault for listening not the influential person. If someone tells you to jump off the roof, and you did it, whose fault is that? I guess there is aiding and abetting as a legal term, but ultimately, don't we have to take responsibility for our own career decisions?

I also think throughout our careers there might be many things to tempt us out of science. Money for example, a stretch of no results, budget crises like what's going on now, political influence, family, someone less worthy getting more funding. Are we going to crack every time someone says, get out of science? If we truly got bitten by the science bug, it may be difficult for us to just walk away.

icarus137
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:43 pm

Post by icarus137 » Thu Jan 25, 2007 4:49 pm

Nirf wrote:
(PS if you don't think the consequences of going into physics and not "making the cut" can be severe, then i suggest you read on what a lot of physics PhD's end up doing after their degree... scary stuff like teaching at community college or high school, i.e. unable to do research or do something you can enjoy, and never making it as tenured profs).
I have to say that this is absolutely absurd. I think some people go into the field of physics for completely the wrong reasons. They seem to view it as a status symbol of how intelligent they are. To be perfectly frank, the vast majority will never make any truely significant contributions to the field itself.

If you are interested in theory as you seem to indicate, it really doesnt matter where you end up. In fact, there is nothing impeding a layman from studying and contributing to physics. The PhD is a piece of paper. You do not go from being a nobody without it to being someone with it.

In any case, you are not forced into a path of teaching. A lot of doctorates go from academia to the private area where they make many times the money they would have if they had become a professor. This decision doesnt stop them from contributing or writing papers if they wish it. In fact, it can be a lot less stressful.

Being a professor isnt about sitting in your office working on problems. You have to write grant proposals, goto conferences, teach, serve on committees, and a whole host of other duties.

I do worry about people when I see them say they have to accomplish a certain thing or their life will be ruined.

Gti337
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 10:26 am

Not sure where I stand.

Post by Gti337 » Sat Jan 27, 2007 10:37 am

Hey. I'm not really sure where I stand; I have some good parts to my application, but the important ones aren't that great.

Type of school: Ivy
Overall GPA: I transferred after my second year from a large public university:
There: 3.93 Here: 3.43

Test Scores:
Q: 790
V: 580:
A: 5.0
P: 750 (That one hurt)

Research:
-A year in granular materials
-A semester in Condensed matter theory
-A semester in Particle Physics
-A summer in experimental cosmology.

Publications:
-Internal memo for my research in particle physics
-Article in Nature for work in granular materials.

Courses:
-Quantum field theory
-Differential geometry

soluyanov
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 1:06 pm

Post by soluyanov » Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:28 pm

An article in Nature?

That would be more than enough for every school, I think.

If there were less than 150 authors, of course...))))

Daharoni
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 1:49 am

Post by Daharoni » Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:23 am

So I have been looking at schools on GradSchoolShopper where most physics departments publish stats about their acceptances from last year. Some schools give the average GRE scores of last years accepted applicants but some schools say

"The minimum acceptable score suggested for admission is..." (then they list scores for the GREs)

Now I don't really know what this means. Does it mean that these scores are the cutoffs for your application to even be reviewed? Does this mean that these scores are the minimum scores that the department will likely accept an applicant with? What do you all think?

somebody
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:25 pm

Post by somebody » Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:58 am

alot of grad departments require at least a 1000 on the general GRE, as far as subject scores, it wouldn't surprise me if top 10 caliber schools immediatley throw out anyone with a percentile score say under 40% (maybe even higher) unless they've done something remarkable (like publish in Science or something)

Daharoni
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 1:49 am

Post by Daharoni » Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:09 am

Well for example Cornell's Physics Department says.

"The minimum acceptable score suggested for admission is: verbal–80%; quantitative–90%; analytical–5.0. The GRE Physics Subject Test is required for all applicants. The minimum acceptable score suggested for admission is 80%."

The verbal, analytical, and subject seem pretty high to be initial cutoffs. I mean a lot of really good physics applicants are not going to have verbal scores above 80%.

Asianbob
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 10:30 pm

Cutoff

Post by Asianbob » Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:45 pm

I emailed the Program Administrator of a couple of schools to figure that out. There's a cutoff-- but with a loophole. Their argument is that programs are so competitive, this is an easy way to shorten the stack. But, if you have something else to impress a committee, then you may have a little marginal room around the bottom cutoff score. Some schools have a 1000 as their cutoff- others use 1200. I was 30 pts shy of the 1200 one. That school told me to retake the general GRE, but I'm not interested in memorizing words I will never use.

With the Physics GRE, I have no idea what happens according to those. It would have to be a cutoff for top schools and a measuring tool to see who gets more money than others.

I'm no expert- this is my best guess work.

theorygirl
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:31 pm

physics GRE at Cornell

Post by theorygirl » Mon Feb 26, 2007 11:23 pm

The 80% subject cutoff at Cornell is SO not enforced. Maybe they put it there to scare away possible applicants who are less qualified so they don't have to read as many applications. I got 67% on the physics GRE, but above 90% on general GRE verbal & quantitative. I was admitted at Cornell the first week in February w/ a fellowship offer. 8)

ms_phd
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:12 pm

Post by ms_phd » Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:31 am

Thank everyone to put up profiles on http://applycorner.com/graduateschool it much easier to search.

cancelled20080417
Posts: 482
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:30 pm

Post by cancelled20080417 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:11 pm

:o

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1530
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Post by twistor » Thu Dec 06, 2007 2:37 pm

My girlfriend didn't need to tell me that doing theoretical physics was a low-paying job (if one is lucky enough to get a job at all). I came to that conclusion on my own and now I'm seeking a Ph.d. in an applied field.

User avatar
quizivex
Posts: 1036
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:13 am

Post by quizivex » Thu Dec 06, 2007 2:47 pm

My girlfriend didn't need to tell me that doing theoretical physics was a low-paying job (if one is lucky enough to get a job at all). I came to that conclusion on my own and now I'm seeking a Ph.d. in an applied field.
Finding a girlfriend is even more difficult than tolerating the miserable pay in that field.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1530
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Post by twistor » Thu Dec 06, 2007 2:50 pm

Girls are everywhere! You just have to know what to look for....

KB
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 12:03 am

Post by KB » Thu Dec 06, 2007 6:17 pm

Top 10 Liberal Arts College
BA Physics/Japanese, 3.5 Physics, 3.74 Overall

690V/790Q/5.0W
680 54% Physics

Applying to Astronomy/Astrophysics Programs

Attended semester-long study abroad-type program in Astronomy
6 months researching variable stars
3 month REU in planetary science (experiment on Martian carbonate formation)
1 year thesis on optical spectroscopy of supernova remnant/shock physics
1 post-grad year as Fulbright scholar researching cultural astronomy (star lore, etc.)
1.5 years teaching high school math/science

Unfortunately no publications, but I am a coauthor on an informal Chem text which will be published in the spring.

Awards/Honors: Sigma Xi Grant, Fulbright Fellow, Honors in Physics

Letters of Rec: One from thesis adviser, one from Fulbright supervisor (non-technical), one from current boss (principal) -all strong
am thinking I should ask another research adviser to submit a fourth recommendation. Now that I write it down, it seems like two non-technical recommenders is not the best idea. What do you guys think?

Schools:
Harvard
Berkeley
Arizona
Hawaii
Wisconsin Madison
U Chicago
Colorado Boulder
all astronomy/astrophysics

vicente
Posts: 195
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 12:24 am

Post by vicente » Thu Dec 06, 2007 6:26 pm

Let's create a new thread instead of making the 2007 thread even longer.

but anyway i think you have a good chance for most of them except for maybe Harvard and Berkeley.



Post Reply