Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

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jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:36 am

I got rejected at UCSB as well, so no other option except Rutgers in US this year. Any opinion regarding my questions in the last post? Any new suggestion that hasn't been pointed out yet?

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:37 am

Kinbote wrote:Until now everyone seems to agree that not having a strong math background isn't really an issue.
I disagree - if you want to do theory, condensed matter or high energy, you're going to have to have a fantastic math background. By this I mean, rigorous courses in group theory, differential geometry (which is essential in string theory), functional analysis etc. PDEs and Linear ALgebra is a given. I understand the argument that often these subjects are covered in physics courses themselves and that the mathematical level of rigour is unnecessary for physicists but having that background gives you a solid foundation in logic and writing proofs - even if you're doing phenomenology, you're going to have to string together certain pieces of evidence in a particular order to get at your conclusion, which is precisely what math courses teach you to do, albeit very rigorously.
I agree, I should have taken a few more math courses. But unfortunately I can't go back in time and change it, atleast not right now :wink:. So what is your suggestion regarding GRE Math Subject Test, could it help in your opinion (assume 95%, not 99%)?

Kinbote
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by Kinbote » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:54 am

The Math GRE won't help. At all.
It demonstrates merely that you can sit down and study for a test, which your 990 in the Physics GRE already demonstrates.
I'm sure there's very good people at Rutgers doing very good work in your field of interest.
Taking another year off might not be the best idea, unless you take some math courses and supplement it with research.

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:14 am

Kinbote wrote:I'm sure there's very good people at Rutgers doing very good work in your field of interest. Taking another year off might not be the best idea, unless you take some math courses and supplement it with research.
I'm not taking another year off, I plan to accept the offer of Rutgers soon. The questions are about what I should have done and what I shouldn't have, or rather what someone (in future) should do and shouldn't do.

jannyhuggy
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jannyhuggy » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:26 pm

I'm sorry, but this post won't be cute and nice due to the fact I want it to be as evident as it can be.

Previous guys told really truth and I've add a bitter lemon to that.

String theory now is hard math: topology, algebraic geometry, varieties, group theory and even some results in modular forms(elliptic curves) etc. are connected to it. You experienced troubles at math while studying, so...(I mean, perhaps you didn't take very advanced math courses, only advanced physics...)

Besides all it is all around conformal field theory and quite connected to the cond-mat. People with such experience are to be welcome (it is because condmat community is more wide and huge, so you'd probably find postdoc there).

Lots of mediocre hep-th phds are to go to math and condmat or somewhere else, because of funding cutted.
And the most meaningful part is that superstrings experience the most difficult times this year. It is due the fact SUSY was almost put up to the edge and wasn't found at colliders (you should have heard of that 'cause you got research at hep-ex), so many SUSY-postdocs couldn't find further postdocs even having lots of publications. They could got to math departments, though. So, if you are stringy and not good at math....what you are looking for?
For example, why should the department invest time and money into you, who isn't
a) cool at math (so that in any convenient case could go into math postdoc somewhere without quiting physics like going to the bank or precisely Wall street?)
b) isn't well rounded person (as I told previously to have condmat interest would be more helpful - i.e. if not stringy than condmat - not quitting academia)
c) phenomenology is also competetive, but you aren't cool at experiment though...

So, I mean that the situation you got is really quite expectable.
What you should do?
Enter Rutgers without hesitations. Why?

0) Besides all the comparisons and your ego being hurt "top 10" is mostly a name, a perfect fit is much more better. For example, you didn't go to MBA although it is quite prestigious in our times. It's because it doesn't fit you. So "fit" is not the word to say to calm you, it is really important thing. Maybe the most important one.

1) it is big and you can get lots of classes along with finding right prof for you - trying to work with some people along

2) it is in the New York city, not far from New Jersey and Princeton. You need to look on that like on the lucky ticket, I know couple of guys going regularly to Princeton on some events. it's easy and free of charge:)

3) you can't stay for a postdoc at the same university you got your PhD from. So...get PhD at Rutgers and then move on!

Good luck and never-never give up. It's only you who can make you a real scientist and doing research is the main part in that, not taking classes.
Last edited by jannyhuggy on Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jannyhuggy
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jannyhuggy » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:42 pm

jigsaw wrote:
bfollinprm wrote:MIT isn't the only place in the world that prepares you well for a PhD in physics.
Sure it isn't the 'only place', but it certainly is 'one of the places'. Lots of rejections makes you wonder whether you deserved to be part of 'one of the places'. Enough of psychology, lets get back to the business. Can you please take a look at the 5 points I made above, and let me know your opinion.

It is a common mistake.
You are to get rid of your philosophical complexes to be competitive person (being shy of going to Rutgers instead of Cornell or Stanford). There's life besides top-10. In EU there's Amsterdam university not top-ranked, but IMHO is one of the best places to get stringy-PhD.
And they need PhD's and got funding. Also, you perhaps haven't heard of that, but in Russia there's an excellent place for a stringy phd and its named IUM (google it). I bet everybody in the hep-th community have at least heard of it.
So, it is not the place doing science, but the people, the community and thus find the perfect match.
Last edited by jannyhuggy on Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kangaroo
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by kangaroo » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:52 pm

jannyhuggy your english is so...mesmerizing :hysteric:

jigsaw
Posts: 40
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:15 am

Thanks jannyhuggy for your valuable opinion (it wasn't nearly as harsh as you made it sound in your first sentence :) ). Just to clarify, although I don't like experiments, I do like Math - it is just about priorities. I initially thought of double majoring in Math & Physics, but abandoned that idea not because I didn't like Math, but because I didn't want to split my time into two subjects, I preferred to devote my entire time in the subject I liked *most*, and I found out that it was Physics not Math (although not by a big margin). My Math grades aren't so stellar because I devoted less time in them, not because I despise Math. I enjoy Math now, and I always did, so a future in Math doesn't scare me at all, I just prefer a future in HET instead, as I said it is all about priorities.

I didn't get answer to some of the questions I asked in an earlier post, so I'm quoting those here. Please let me know your opinion.
jigsaw wrote:Now, about contacting professors before applying for grad school, are you sure that it is advisable? I certainly didn't contact anyone before I had an offer of acceptance. I was afraid that in most cases the professor will not bother to read (since he wouldn't know me); and even if he does read, he may get the wrong impression that I'm one of those annoying type of students who wastes professors' time even before they know whether they have been accepted at that grad school or not. Was I just being paranoid?

One more question, how important is it to explain your background, hardships and the obstacles you had to overcome, how you became interested in Physics, your achievements and failure in high school (i.e. before college) - this sort of things in the SOP? In the CV, should one include the achievements etc. in high school, or should one just confine himself to the years in college? Similarly, should one include high school transcripts along with college transcripts? Does these things matter for grad school admission? I wasn't sure, so in most cases I included everything that was important to me (not extra curricular though).

TakeruK
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by TakeruK » Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:18 am

I thought I had posted a response to these two questions earlier today but it seemed to not have worked! Here it goes again...
jigsaw wrote: I didn't get answer to some of the questions I asked in an earlier post, so I'm quoting those here. Please let me know your opinion.
Now, about contacting professors before applying for grad school, are you sure that it is advisable? I certainly didn't contact anyone before I had an offer of acceptance. I was afraid that in most cases the professor will not bother to read (since he wouldn't know me); and even if he does read, he may get the wrong impression that I'm one of those annoying type of students who wastes professors' time even before they know whether they have been accepted at that grad school or not. Was I just being paranoid?
I think if they are too busy and ignore your email, sure it's no harm done. It's not like you can really hurt yourself by contacting the prof unless you make it sound like you want them to get you in a back door or something. I avoid this by just simply asking if (1) they are doing the research I'm interested in (research websites can be out of date) and (2) Will they be taking students that are coming in the 2012 Fall cohort. Don't attach any application materials (CVs, SOPs, etc.). Out of the profs I emailed (3-4 per school), the responses were:

1/3 of the profs did not write back.
1/3 of the profs wrote back positive replies (answered questions) and offered to answer any further questions I might have about the application process.
1/3 of the profs wrote neutral replies. These were really short and basically said "Please apply to our school. We just accept students and do not match students with profs until they arrive. So let's talk after applications are reviewed."

I found this process helpful too, since I wanted to find a good fit in research -- someone who was excited to work with me too. So, the profs who wrote back neutral replies went down on my list! It turned out that at least one prof from each school was in the "positive reply" category.
jigsaw wrote: One more question, how important is it to explain your background, hardships and the obstacles you had to overcome, how you became interested in Physics, your achievements and failure in high school (i.e. before college) - this sort of things in the SOP? In the CV, should one include the achievements etc. in high school, or should one just confine himself to the years in college? Similarly, should one include high school transcripts along with college transcripts? Does these things matter for grad school admission? I wasn't sure, so in most cases I included everything that was important to me (not extra curricular though).
[/quote]

I don't think it's important, unless it's a really big deal. For obstacles/hardships/health, I would probably only mention it if it caused me to fail a course or withdraw from a semester. If you think you really perserved despite your circumstances, it could be worth it to make your achievements more impressive, but I don't think it will work to argue something like "well I got a C, but maybe I could have gotten an A in other circumstances."

For achievements, I would stick to college things unless it's a very high honour in high school. Remember that only a small fraction of people go to grad school, so it's likely everyone else is also one of the top students from their schools. Also, impressive achievements would be something like being part of a research project, or maybe being involved in some enrichment event (e.g. starting a charity?). Academic achievements in high school isn't so special since whatever you did in college is likely to overshadow it. Also, for a profile like yours, more "on-paper" academic success isn't going to help, it's already pretty much maxed out. Definitely do not include high school transcripts.

For the SOP, I wouldn't tell some cliche/common story about how some event in your childhood made you realise you love Physics/science. I did this but if I could go back, I would change it! I think it's way better to just jump into your SOP by saying what you want to study and why. Space in a SOP is precious -- in case it wasn't mentioned before you should try to aim for about 1.5 to 2 pages single spaced (750-1000 words I think) for Physics schools, unless the instructions say otherwise.

Overall, it seems like when in doubt, you opted to include things rather than exclude things. This overall attitude was harmful to your application! It showed your lack of understanding of what is actually important to grad school which translated to a lack of focus/motivation to the admissions committees. (The other things you did in this category included your 6 LORs, many of which were not relevant to grad school, and your naming of 5-10 profs). On the other hand, in your coursework, it seemed you demonstrated the opposite -- too much focus. I would argue that in general, a scholar should aim to be diverse -- knowing a medium amount of many things (e.g. theoretical physics, experimental physics, and math) is better than being an expert only at one thing. Ideally, a grad student would know more than anyone else about their thesis topic but still know enough about the general field to be able to understand almost all of the seminars in the department and their peers' research topics. After all, when you TA, you may have to teach courses outside of your expertise! You might have to change topics if a grant runs out or if you fail to get a grant for your favourite project as a postdoc. At the prof level, you would also have to teach and you might end up teaching something outside of your specific field. A flexible and adaptable scholar is a valuable scholar.

cwcomplex
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by cwcomplex » Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:22 am

TakeruK gave a nice answer while I was writing my own, but I'll post it anyway.

For contacting professors, as long as you keep the email short and attach your CV at the end, it's fine. In fact it is largely recommended, I think, because you can advertise your research interest (not necessarily specific from the start) to your people of interest and they will tell you if your interests fit theirs well. This should help you clarify your research interests, which is important to writing a good SOP. Also, you can ask if they are accepting students so that you can avoid the error of mentioning the names of faculty members in your SOP who aren't taking students / don't have funding. Even if you don't get a response back, no harm is done (I mean, they won't begrudge you for sending an email! Unless you write in a very cheesy manner.)

For CV, forget all the high school stuff. Even if you won a IPhO medal I don't think the ad-com would care that much, since it does not accurately reflect your work & experience as an undergrad. Keep it short and focus on your undergraduate records and skills that you've learned (programming, machining, etc.), so that you advertise yourself as a potentially competent researcher.

Godot
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by Godot » Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:52 am

I kept a few of the more impressive things I did in high school (RSI, USAMO, research competitions) on the end of my CV; I don't know if they helped, but I doubt they hurt me. I wouldn't shove any high school stuff in their faces, though, and I certainly wouldn't send a high school transcript.

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:19 am

Thanks a lot for your valuable opinions.
TakeruK wrote:Overall, it seems like when in doubt, you opted to include things rather than exclude things. This overall attitude was harmful to your application!
Yes, you are right. My logic was : 'I should provide them all the info that matters to me, and let them decide which of those matters to them; it may hurt to not provide something that might matter, but it shouldn't hurt to provide something that didn't matter'. But apparently I was wrong, it did quite a bit of damage.

Anyway, I asked for opinion in PhysicsForums as well (http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=4312093), can you guys please take a look at the comments, especially the ones by jesse73, and let me know your opinion regarding those comments?

TakeruK
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by TakeruK » Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:27 pm

jigsaw wrote:Anyway, I asked for opinion in PhysicsForums as well (http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=4312093), can you guys please take a look at the comments, especially the ones by jesse73, and let me know your opinion regarding those comments?
I agree with what "jesse73" said regarding networking in the post you linked. I have been reading this book in my spare time: "Marketing for Scientists: How to Shine in Tough Times", http://www.amazon.com/Marketing-Scienti ... 1597269948 and I think it's really great so far (disclaimer: I haven't got really far in it yet!). It came highly recommended by other grad students, but also all of the young faculty members at my current department. The first five-star review on the Amazon site is Debra Fischer, a prof at Yale. In her review, she said that she bought a copy for all her students!

As for jesse73's other comments about requesting feedback from schools, I think if you did it correctly, you can get useful feedback. Clearly, you have done so, since you did get feedback from several places. I know a lot of funding agencies will also give you feedback on your application as well!

bfollinprm
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by bfollinprm » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:24 pm

jigsaw wrote:
bfollinprm wrote:MIT isn't the only place in the world that prepares you well for a PhD in physics.
Sure it isn't the 'only place', but it certainly is 'one of the places'. Lots of rejections makes you wonder whether you deserved to be part of 'one of the places'. Enough of psychology, lets get back to the business. Can you please take a look at the 5 points I made above, and let me know your opinion.
"One of the places" still implies it's a select list. I don't think it is. Granted, MIT definitely does a good job relative to the mean, but there are well-developed, schooled PhD applicants coming from everywhere from state schools, small liberal-arts colleges, and tech schools. I know a very strong junior who just transferred from a community college. Rankings matter much more at the graduate level than they do at the undergraduate level; it doesn't take a nobel prize winner to teach an effective freshman physics course.

TakeruK
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by TakeruK » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:15 pm

bfollinprm wrote: "One of the places" still implies it's a select list. I don't think it is. Granted, MIT definitely does a good job relative to the mean, but there are well-developed, schooled PhD applicants coming from everywhere from state schools, small liberal-arts colleges, and tech schools. I know a very strong junior who just transferred from a community college. Rankings matter much more at the graduate level than they do at the undergraduate level; it doesn't take a nobel prize winner to teach an effective freshman physics course.
Definitely true -- in fact, I'm at a top 10 school now, and the majority of people currently in the program and/or were accepted and visited are not from top undergrad programs!

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:01 am

Thanks a lot everyone for your helpful replies... I'm not so disappointed with the thought of attending Rutgers anymore, I hope to receive the official admission package in a day or two, and I plan to accept the offer by the end of this week. I recently emailed the professors I was actually interested in working with to inquire if they will be taking students this fall (you are right, I should have done it before applying) - so far only one third of them have replied, but half of the replies say that they aren't taking any student this year! I also got some more feedbacks (I'll keep you updated if I get more feedbacks) :

UCSB : "I should note that, unfortunately, the UCSB budget strongly limits our ability to admit non-US students, your non-offer says little about the quality of your application. Unfortunately, next year does not seem likely to be better in this regard."

Rutgers : "The NHETC does not have the resources to support all its research students every semester... Typically, only a fraction of the students who enter the Rutgers graduate program intending to work in high energy theory actually end up doing so."

Is this "only very limited resources are available" thing common to all public universities, or only just a few of them (UCSB, Rutgers, Stony Brook)?

TakeruK
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by TakeruK » Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:35 pm

jigsaw wrote: Is this "only very limited resources are available" thing common to all public universities, or only just a few of them (UCSB, Rutgers, Stony Brook)?
I think it's very common to universities that aren't very well funded, which is mostly public universities. The entire UC system is well known for its low international grad student population (only about 10%). I might have said this before in this thread, but when I was applying, my advisors predicted, correctly, that I would have a better chance at private schools than the UC schools, even though the private schools might be more competitive/higher ranked than the UC schools. In public universities, an international student might cost 2 or 3 times as much as an American student!

Kinbote
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by Kinbote » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:57 pm

This is certainly true for the UC's.
I got into UCSB, but they aren't guaranteeing funding beyond the first year.
Since the advisor has to pay the out of state tuition for international students, it becomes harder to get an RA position after the first year for international students - most of the international grad. students I spoke to there said it was quite stressful.
This is especially true for theory, where the professors don't need graduate students, as compared to experimental or computational groups. The way I see it, if a theorist can solve a problem they will and if they can't, it's unlikely a second year graduate student will (of course, there's always a handful who can). And funding is harder to come by for theory.
So when you add all these factors up, it's not surprising that the number of successful theory applicants is very, very small.

For future theory applicants -

A couple of my friends are applying to experimental groups and have acceptances from Yale, Penn, UCSB, Princeton, even though their application isn't as strong as mine nor is their research experience. That said, they are prepared to start research as soon as they land in grad school, since they can at least contribute to a lab even if they don't have a complete understanding of what's going on. In contrast, if you don't have a background in field theory, stat. mech, diff. geometry, solid state and even more advanced topics, you can't even begin to read most papers in theory, let alone formulate the questions you want to tackle. So unless you're already at that level by the time you graduate, you're unattractive to theorists, since you probably won't make any significant progress until at least your first year. Your advisor also has to be a lot more involved in mentoring you - they can't just say, "Go calculate this." This limits the number of students they can have (maximum 2 at any given time). In a lab or if you're doing computations, your mentor can expect you to work with an optics setup or write a simulation, since you don't immediately require a strong background - you get that as you take courses/read papers. But this is not so in theory. You absolutely need to have that background to begin doing anything, unless you're just doing integrals or other such computations.

This is not to discourage people from applying for theory but rather to show that it really is that competitive, and that there is some logic (unlike what I believed until I visited schools and spoke with the graduate committees) to the admissions process. The most important thing to realize is that advisors are looking for people who can quickly assimilate information and at least begin formulating research questions by their first year. Also, the name of the school (as I have come to realize) is utterly irrelevant if you're in the top 20-30, have a great advisor who is plugged into the physics community, is doing good research, and is publishing regularly with his students and others in the field. Even if you're at a school that's not in the top 50 but have an enthusiastic advisor who is willing to work with you, support you financially, and has great connections, you'll be ready for a good post-doc. Another overlooked fact is that your advisor is NOT the only person you can or should work with during your grad years, so it helps to be in a department where the theorists collaborate with each other and also with experimentalists, giving you an opportunity to learn other ways of tackling similar problems.

blighter
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by blighter » Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:31 pm

TakeruK wrote:In public universities, an international student might cost 2 or 3 times as much as an American student!
I'm just wondering, why do the public schools even admit international students if that is the case? I'm pretty sure there are so many really good American students. I'm not complaining.

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:41 pm

Thanks for the great post, I'm sure it will be very helpful for future theory applicants (to adjust their expectation) :
Kinbote wrote:This is certainly true for the UC's.
I got into UCSB, but they aren't guaranteeing funding beyond the first year.
Since the advisor has to pay the out of state tuition for international students, it becomes harder to get an RA position after the first year for international students - most of the international grad. students I spoke to there said it was quite stressful.
This is especially true for theory, where the professors don't need graduate students, as compared to experimental or computational groups. The way I see it, if a theorist can solve a problem they will and if they can't, it's unlikely a second year graduate student will (of course, there's always a handful who can). And funding is harder to come by for theory.
So when you add all these factors up, it's not surprising that the number of successful theory applicants is very, very small.

For future theory applicants -

A couple of my friends are applying to experimental groups and have acceptances from Yale, Penn, UCSB, Princeton, even though their application isn't as strong as mine nor is their research experience. That said, they are prepared to start research as soon as they land in grad school, since they can at least contribute to a lab even if they don't have a complete understanding of what's going on. In contrast, if you don't have a background in field theory, stat. mech, diff. geometry, solid state and even more advanced topics, you can't even begin to read most papers in theory, let alone formulate the questions you want to tackle. So unless you're already at that level by the time you graduate, you're unattractive to theorists, since you probably won't make any significant progress until at least your first year. Your advisor also has to be a lot more involved in mentoring you - they can't just say, "Go calculate this." This limits the number of students they can have (maximum 2 at any given time). In a lab or if you're doing computations, your mentor can expect you to work with an optics setup or write a simulation, since you don't immediately require a strong background - you get that as you take courses/read papers. But this is not so in theory. You absolutely need to have that background to begin doing anything, unless you're just doing integrals or other such computations.

This is not to discourage people from applying for theory but rather to show that it really is that competitive, and that there is some logic (unlike what I believed until I visited schools and spoke with the graduate committees) to the admissions process. The most important thing to realize is that advisors are looking for people who can quickly assimilate information and at least begin formulating research questions by their first year. Also, the name of the school (as I have come to realize) is utterly irrelevant if you're in the top 20-30, have a great advisor who is plugged into the physics community, is doing good research, and is publishing regularly with his students and others in the field. Even if you're at a school that's not in the top 50 but have an enthusiastic advisor who is willing to work with you, support you financially, and has great connections, you'll be ready for a good post-doc. Another overlooked fact is that your advisor is NOT the only person you can or should work with during your grad years, so it helps to be in a department where the theorists collaborate with each other and also with experimentalists, giving you an opportunity to learn other ways of tackling similar problems.

TakeruK
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by TakeruK » Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:38 am

blighter wrote:
TakeruK wrote:In public universities, an international student might cost 2 or 3 times as much as an American student!
I'm just wondering, why do the public schools even admit international students if that is the case? I'm pretty sure there are so many really good American students. I'm not complaining.
I think schools do value having diversity in their student population -- it's just that they can't afford it sometimes. And it's possible that in some cases, an international applicant is really well suited for their program and also really good, so it's worth it. In my old Canadian MSc school, we would often get international applicants that are really good so last year, the profs voted to basically pool some of their research money to put into a fund that will help offset the cost of an international student.

blighter
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by blighter » Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:10 am

TakeruK wrote:
blighter wrote:
TakeruK wrote:In public universities, an international student might cost 2 or 3 times as much as an American student!
I'm just wondering, why do the public schools even admit international students if that is the case? I'm pretty sure there are so many really good American students. I'm not complaining.
I think schools do value having diversity in their student population -- it's just that they can't afford it sometimes. And it's possible that in some cases, an international applicant is really well suited for their program and also really good, so it's worth it. In my old Canadian MSc school, we would often get international applicants that are really good so last year, the profs voted to basically pool some of their research money to put into a fund that will help offset the cost of an international student.
So it is somewhat of an altruistic thing. Nice to hear.

TakeruK
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by TakeruK » Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:32 pm

blighter wrote:
So it is somewhat of an altruistic thing. Nice to hear.
Not always purely altruistic though! I think the top international students (i.e. the ones that get into US schools) can be better than some American applicants. Although they might cost 2-3 times more, I don't think they need to be 2-3 times better in order for it to be worth the school's "investment". The top schools probably can afford to spend more to get the best applicants, and the lower tier schools might not have as strong domestic applicants.

In addition, the school/department has something to gain by having a diverse student population. In a purely practical sense, they would like to be able to point to the international students and say to their donors/alumni/incoming students that "look, we're so great that people from all over the world come to study here". If a school's population is not diverse, it might also portray a slightly negative image. When my MSc school's principal visited our department, he encouraged us to recruit more international students to give the school a stronger global brand name power. Ironically, when the profs in the department asked for more funding in order to do this, the principal evaded giving any answer!

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:57 pm

Guys, I recently heard something interesting. Say, A is a graduate student of university X, while Y is another university / research institute not so far from X, Prof. B of Y does research that A is interested in, so A does his PhD under Prof. B although A is a student of X and B is a faculty of Y (A has a co-adviser Prof. C who is a faculty of X)! Do such things happen? If yes, under what circumstances? I've seen a student of one university taking classes at another university before (e.g. MIT-Harvard cross registration, or MIT-Cambridge exchange etc), but the above scenario is something I had never heard of before. I mean, if A & B aren't from the same university, how would B know A well enough in the first place to agree to be his doctoral advisor (and why would he even bother to take A instead of a student of his own university)? And wouldn't C be offended (A is asking him to be a co-advisor, not advisor)?

Kinbote
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by Kinbote » Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:57 am

jigsaw wrote:Guys, I recently heard something interesting. Say, A is a graduate student of university X, while Y is another university / research institute not so far from X, Prof. B of Y does research that A is interested in, so A does his PhD under Prof. B although A is a student of X and B is a faculty of Y (A has a co-adviser Prof. C who is a faculty of X)! Do such things happen? If yes, under what circumstances? I've seen a student of one university taking classes at another university before (e.g. MIT-Harvard cross registration, or MIT-Cambridge exchange etc), but the above scenario is something I had never heard of before. I mean, if A & B aren't from the same university, how would B know A well enough in the first place to agree to be his doctoral advisor (and why would he even bother to take A instead of a student of his own university)? And wouldn't C be offended (A is asking him to be a co-advisor, not advisor)?
First of all, it's highly unlikely that someone from another university would want to be your doctoral advisor - surely they have enough good students at their own institution. Also, I doubt a university would look favourably upon this.

However, what may happen is that you're dissatisfied at your institution, meet a faculty member at another institution (through a conference or get introduced by someone you know), convince them that you really want to work with them, and then they may explicitly tell you that if you apply for a transfer, they'll take you on. I know this has happened to someone I know.

More practically, what's likely to happen is that you have an advisor and a few others who closely mentor you. These other people would be faculty members at your own institution or at other places. Your advisor will introduce you to others in your field and you'll collaborate with them on papers (ideally, of course - not everyone's advisor is that fantastic). In this way, you'll develop a close working relationship with them. For instance, even in my undergrad, I've been working with my advisor closely but he's also introduced me to faculty at other institutions, and we often collaborate with them. As far as I can tell, this is highly recommended at the graduate level, since you want to network and build professional relationships so that when you apply for a post-doc, you're not just that guy who wrote a good thesis, but someone they know personally.

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:04 am

To be specific, I heard that students of Princeton University have the opportunity of doing their PhD under someone from IAS. Is it true or just a myth?

photonic
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by photonic » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:32 am

To be specific, I heard that students of Princeton University have the opportunity of doing their PhD under someone from IAS. Is it true or just a myth?
Its true, the IAS doesn't have graduate students but there have been plenty of times where they've advised princeton graduate students. I know Seiberg and Witten have both been advisers to grad students.

TakeruK
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by TakeruK » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:32 pm

I agree with Kinbote, it's not normal to have a doctoral advisor at another university. However, the IAS is not a university, it's a research institute. I think it's actually pretty common for a student at a school to be mentored by a supervisor at a research institute in the same city. When this happens / is common, the faculty at the institute will generally have adjunct status or something similar at the nearby school. These profs will generally appear on the department webpage of the nearby school.

When the situation is common between school/institute, there will be lots of protocols in place to make the collaboration seamless. If you had visited the school, you would probably have had the chance to sit down and talk to profs at the institute where you're interested (this is how you could meet someone not physically at your school). The profs from the institute would probably regularly attend department events like seminars etc. There would be some kind of formal partnership between the department and the external institute.

But it's much more rare to have an advisor that is more physically distant. It might happen if a prof moves away, or like Kinbote said, in the unfortunate case where the fit doesn't turn out as good. Usually you can make these connections to outside people through a conference, or more likely, someone else in your current department is already collaborating with the external person. They might be able to introduce you and set you up. However, on paper, it's likely you would still keep your local advisor as your primary advisor while the external prof is your co-advisor. So it will be the local advisor that would have to sign off on your progress reports, etc.

I would view the external supervisor thing to be a last ditch attempt to salvage a research project -- i.e. if the other choice was to quit grad school. I wouldn't plan on attending a certain school while working with a prof elsewhere on my thesis.

That said, I would recommend working on more than 1 project during your PhD. If your school/department/advisor is okay with it (usually it's an issue of who's funding your time), it could be a good idea to work on a side project with people externally or a combination of local and external people. You could wait until you're settled and have a certain PhD topic before doing this -- maybe you'll think of a cool idea while at a conference or something. In addition, you could also talk to your PhD advisor about bringing in someone external but I wouldn't do this unless that person could really add something to the project.

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:23 pm

There has been some minor changes in my situation recently :

MIT - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
Caltech - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
Harvard - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
Stanford - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
Princeton - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
UC Berkeley - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
Chicago - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
Cornell - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
UCSB - Physics - hep-th - Rejected

UMich - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
UT Austin - Physics - hep-th - No answer yet! Rejection assumed
Stony Brook - Physics - hep-th - Accepted to MA program without support
Rutgers - Physics - hep-th - Accepted with TA offer

Cambridge - DAMTP - hep-th - No answer yet! Rejection assumed
Oxford - Physics - hep-th - Rejected

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quizivex
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by quizivex » Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:39 pm

Regarding IAS, they definitely do advise some students from the physics and astrophysics departments. I met a student who said he works with Witten. Incidentally, I saw Ed at the supermarket a few days ago haha.

friedrice
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by friedrice » Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:32 am

jigsaw wrote:There has been some minor changes in my situation recently :

MIT - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
Caltech - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
Harvard - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
Stanford - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
Princeton - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
UC Berkeley - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
Chicago - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
Cornell - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
UCSB - Physics - hep-th - Rejected

UMich - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
UT Austin - Physics - hep-th - No answer yet! Rejection assumed
Stony Brook - Physics - hep-th - Accepted to MA program without support
Rutgers - Physics - hep-th - Accepted with TA offer

Cambridge - DAMTP - hep-th - No answer yet! Rejection assumed
Oxford - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
That's weird that UT hasn't gotten back to you. Have you sent them an email asking for what the current status is?

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:15 am

friedrice wrote:That's weird that UT hasn't gotten back to you. Have you sent them an email asking for what the current status is?
It isn't actually that weird since they release the decisions for domestic students first, and then for international students much later... However I did email them, and was told to get in touch with 3 particular professors, which I did, and one of them 'unofficially' said that it is unlikely - hence the 'Rejection assumed' part above and the feedback from UT Austin posted in the last page... Although no *official* rejection by website/email yet, hence the 'No answer yet!' part. Same explanation applies to Cambridge.

BTW, has anyone received Fellowship or RA-ship offer from Rutgers? Everyone seems to have received only TA-ship offers! Do they offer RA-ship or Fellowship only after students accept their admission offer?

And what is with Stony Brook? After rejecting me a long time ago, they suddenly sent this 'MA without support' offer yesterday! The email also says : "You may be able to find external sources of support (government study grants) or make contact with a research group for partial RA support during your first year". What is this 'government study grants' thing? Are international students eligible for it?

StewieVader
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by StewieVader » Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:35 pm

BTW, has anyone received Fellowship or RA-ship offer from Rutgers? Everyone seems to have received only TA-ship offers! Do they offer RA-ship or Fellowship only after students accept their admission offer?
I believe that most theory grad students are supported by TAships for a major part of their graduate life and some of them find RA support much later on in their 4th or 5th years only. I got this from a theory post doc at a university I've been accepted into so I can't say if this is true in all schools.

As for Stony Brook, I guess by now many students who've received better offers would've started turning them down so that might have freed up a few more spots for people they had previously rejected.

Kinbote
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by Kinbote » Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:13 pm

Not always true - I have an RA offer starting first year and I'm doing theory.
Depends entirely on the advisor, how much funding they have, and how many students they have.

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:57 am

Rejected at UT Austin... Accepted Rutgers... Declined Stony Brook...

In retrospect, this was actually my *personal* preference :

01. Princeton - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
02. Harvard - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
03. Stanford - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
04. Caltech - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
05. UCSB - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
06. MIT - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
07. Cambridge - DAMTP - hep-th - No answer yet! Rejection assumed
08. Rutgers - Physics - hep-th - Offer with TA support - accepted :)
09. UC Berkeley - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
10. Chicago - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
11. Stony Brook - Physics - hep-th - MA without support - declined
12. Oxford - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
13. UT Austin - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
14. Cornell - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
15. UMich - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
Last edited by jigsaw on Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:11 am

Feedback from my former advisor (and 1st recommender) : "I do not think there is any obvious reason why things did not go that well.... I can only imagine that some of your referees did not know you that well and perhaps the letters were a bit impersonal (I have not seen them, though!).... I hope you go to Rutgers, which, happily, is a pretty good place to do a Ph.D."

Feedback from my 5th recommender : "Rutgers is a good school and you will do fine if you go there.... You are competing with 4.0 students who have published first author papers. In terms of a career, this does not matter, but at the moment, this is what distinguishes between students...."

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Andromeda
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by Andromeda » Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:47 am

jigsaw wrote:OK, so in short, the general consensus is that the first 4 points I mentioned aren't very harmful, but the 5th point (POI in SOP) is. Basically I included two separate lists in my SOP - first, a list of Professors I'm truly interested in working with (2 professors for each school); and second, a separate list of all Professors I have even the slightest interest in (another 5-10 professors for each school). I thought it made my application safe, but everyone here thinks that it sends the wrong message that 'I am not sure about what I want to do in grad school' - which was totally unintentional. I should have optimally limited myself to 3-4 professors (in total) for each school. That makes sense now.

Now, about contacting professors before applying for grad school, are you sure that it is advisable? I certainly didn't contact anyone before I had an offer of acceptance. I was afraid that in most cases the professor will not bother to read (since he wouldn't know me); and even if he does read, he may get the wrong impression that I'm one of those annoying type of students who wastes professors' time even before they know whether they have been accepted at that grad school or not. Was I just being paranoid?

One more question, how important is it to explain your background, hardships and the obstacles you had to overcome, how you became interested in Physics, your achievements and failure in high school (i.e. before college) - this sort of things in the SOP? In the CV, should one include the achievements etc. in high school, or should one just confine himself to the years in college? Similarly, should one include high school transcripts along with college transcripts? Does these things matter for grad school admission? I wasn't sure, so in most cases I included everything that was important to me (not extra curricular though).
1) I would say yes, paranoid. Professors know that interested students contacting them is part of the job! I'm not saying you should've spammed the entire department or innundated someone with ten messages a day or anything, but a polite email indicating your interest, briefly saying who you are, and asking what their potential funding situation is/ a question or two about a paper of theirs you've read can go a long way.

As an aside, I have noticed that if anything most students tend to sell themselves short when it comes to marketing themselves in this manner, paranoid like you that they'll be a nuisance where frankly you're just trying to put yourself on the radar and there's nothing wrong with that. Frankly the worst that happens to a polite email is they just ignore it and you move on with your life.

2) I wouldn't say how you got interested in physics because frankly it doesn't really matter cause everyone has a similar story- there is a long-running truth in astronomy departments that you immediately stand out if you don't start with "I have wanted to be an astronomer since I was six years old" for example, since virtually everyone does (and they know you are passionate about it, else why would you apply?). Similarly I don't think anyone cares about what you do in high school, certainly don't send your transcript from those days unless it's asked for... and unless it's an extracurricular like the undergrad physics club involvement etc, no one cares that you enjoy hiking or playing trombone in your spare time (I mention this latter one because people do mention it in Europe).

Regarding flaws in college, I've heard the argument that if your application has flaws in it and it's not because of, say, a medical reason that's no longer an issue, then you should not address the flaws in your SOP yourself and instead ask one of your letter writers to do so. I do think this is a good argument because a student explaining away something like a bad grade often just comes off as rationalizing and makes the committee members just notice the flaws more when your SOP should be explaining to them why you're so awesome... a professor telling another professor in a letter what happened, on the other hand, has much more weight. Obviously your mileage may vary on this one, but I mention it because I believe most people never even consider this as an option when they should.

Lavabug
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by Lavabug » Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:04 am

jigsaw wrote:Feedback from my former advisor (and 1st recommender) : "I do not think there is any obvious reason why things did not go that well.... I can only imagine that some of your referees did not know you that well and perhaps the letters were a bit impersonal (I have not seen them, though!).... I hope you go to Rutgers, which, happily, is a pretty good place to do a Ph.D."

Feedback from my 5th recommender : "Rutgers is a good school and you will do fine if you go there.... You are competing with 4.0 students who have published first author papers. In terms of a career, this does not matter, but at the moment, this is what distinguishes between students...."
A recent article in Physics Today discusses science funding in the US for '13 and beyond, and high energy physics is taking a cut which will undoubtedly affect the field across the board. So it's not your fault, the US falling behind Europe in this area right now. Rutgers is an excellent place (I've been on the campus), I've come across many successful people who did phd's there including several tenured profs(just browse through the physics faculty at Rutgers and NJIT). One word of advice: just stay away from downtown Newark!

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Wed May 01, 2013 11:49 pm

Feedback from Harvard : "A perfect Physics GRE score is helpful but not key to admission... Research experience and research-related recommendations are very important. While recommendations attesting to high performance in course work can be helpful, letters that provide a first-hand account of a candidate's research background and abilities are crucial." - In other words, lack of research recommendation was the main cause.

Feedback from University of Chicago : "Your application was quite impressive... The ratings you received from two faculty reviewers were both quite high... Under normal circumstances you would have been admitted by not only Chicago but by other comparable schools as well... But unfortunately for this year your research interest (Particle Theory) affected your chance of being admitted... Unfortunately, we admitted really a very small number of theorists because our theory faculty members have been unable to get research funding easily, which means that they are unable to support our graduate students as research assistants... Of the 20 students we will be getting this year, only 2 are theorists despite the fact that Chicago is very strong in theory... The admissions situation may be much better for theorists next year with us... Everywhere you look nowadays, people talk about tight budget situations. I will therefore actually not be surprised if all schools tightened their admissions policy this year, especially for theory applicants." - So basically my timing was wrong.

kangaroo
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by kangaroo » Thu May 02, 2013 9:59 am

Gosh, it's already May, you have to start letting it go. Of course rejections are hard to take, and sure you can try to find whatever reasons to help you come to terms with the facts. But now that things are done and dusted, it's time to think about your impending graduate school career and not rehash all these reasons and build up an attitude of "it's not my fault that I'm not in some place better". This thread just seems to me to be an ego-soothing exercise, with the main aim of deflecting as much blame away from yourself from what you see as a completely unsatisfactory application season. While I can sort of take it during the periods of March and April, maybe just so that you can vent, but this thread has definitely outlived that grace period.

blighter
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by blighter » Thu May 02, 2013 10:27 am

He is just posting for the future applications. I don't see anything wrong with that.

bfollinprm
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by bfollinprm » Thu May 02, 2013 11:04 am

yeah, if you read above, we asked him to.

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Thu May 02, 2013 11:15 am

kangaroo wrote:Gosh, it's already May, you have to start letting it go. Of course rejections are hard to take, and sure you can try to find whatever reasons to help you come to terms with the facts. But now that things are done and dusted, it's time to think about your impending graduate school career and not rehash all these reasons and build up an attitude of "it's not my fault that I'm not in some place better". This thread just seems to me to be an ego-soothing exercise, with the main aim of deflecting as much blame away from yourself from what you see as a completely unsatisfactory application season. While I can sort of take it during the periods of March and April, maybe just so that you can vent, but this thread has definitely outlived that grace period.
Please chill. If you care to go through the thread, you will see quite clearly that I asked for (and got) constructive criticisms, it was never meant to be what you make it sound like. My goal was to pinpoint my mistakes (it isn't a consolation thread), but that doesn't mean I should exclude positive feedbacks (it isn't a bashing thread either), all factors should be included for completeness. Perhaps you don't care at all, but there are a lot of future applicants who will care quite a lot about this thread (after all it is rich with feedbacks from many experienced persons - ranging from applicants to professors in admission committee). Isn't that the whole point of this site - to learn from the success and failure of past applicants? If you are not interested, there is a simple solution, just ignore it.

NoGodTryScience
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by NoGodTryScience » Thu May 02, 2013 2:19 pm

kangaroo wrote:Gosh, it's already May, you have to start letting it go. Of course rejections are hard to take, and sure you can try to find whatever reasons to help you come to terms with the facts. But now that things are done and dusted, it's time to think about your impending graduate school career and not rehash all these reasons and build up an attitude of "it's not my fault that I'm not in some place better". This thread just seems to me to be an ego-soothing exercise, with the main aim of deflecting as much blame away from yourself from what you see as a completely unsatisfactory application season. While I can sort of take it during the periods of March and April, maybe just so that you can vent, but this thread has definitely outlived that grace period.
You are too harsh! I found the replies from adcoms very useful and I'm sure many others have!

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:06 am

Rejected at DAMTP, Cambridge at last! With this last rejection, here ends my highly unsuccessful second application season. I'm not sure whether I'll go for a third one, but even if I do, I'll restrict myself to my top 4-5 choices.

01. Princeton - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
02. Harvard - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
03. Stanford - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
04. Caltech - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
05. UCSB - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
06. MIT - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
07. Cambridge - DAMTP - hep-th - Part III without support - on 09/20 :evil:
08. Rutgers - Physics - hep-th - Offer with TA support - attending :)
09. UC Berkeley - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
10. Chicago - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
11. Stony Brook - Physics - hep-th - MA without support - declined
12. Oxford - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
13. UT Austin - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
14. Cornell - Physics - hep-th - Rejected
15. UMich - Physics - hep-th - Rejected

Feedback from Cambridge : "You have just completed the undergraduate degree at MIT. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, we require beginning PhD students in theoretical physics to first take Part III, following the policy stated on our website: 'Please note that a very large majority of the successful applicants for PhD studentships with the HEP, GR and QI groups will have taken Part III of the Mathematical Tripos'. I hope this explanation is helpful". I wonder what took them till July if it was that straightforward!
Last edited by jigsaw on Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:44 am

And just for the sake of completeness, this was my profile in my first application season :

Undergrad Institution: MIT
Major(s): Physics
GPA in Major: 4.6/5.0 (first 3 years)
Overall GPA: 4.3/5.0 (first 3 years)
Length of Degree: 4 years as usual, 2008-
Type of Student: International Male

GRE Scores : Haven't taken GRE

Research Experience: 4 UROPs at MIT LNS (hep-ex) and 1 UROP at MIT Kavli (astro) - none in Theoretical/Mathematical Physics though, No publication.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: some scholarships for 'scholastic performance', some direct funding & once honorary special funding for UROP - thats all

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: taught math for SAT to high school students in MIT ESP in my freshman year, graded freshman physics courses at MIT for the last 2 years.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: 3 recommenders : 1 from hep-th, 1 from astro, 1 from philosophy

Applying to Where:

A1 : Imperial - Theoretical Physics (Physics) - PhD : Rejected
A2 : Cambridge - Theoretical Physics (Math) - PhD : Rejected
A3 : Oxford - Theoretical Physics (Physics) - PhD : Withdrawn (Scholarship Denied)
A4 : Oxford - Mathematical Physics (Math) - PhD : Rejected
A5 : Edinburgh - Theoretical Physics (Physics) - PhD : Withdrawn (Scholarship Denied)
A6 : Edinburgh - Mathematical Physics (Math) - PhD : Rejected

B1 : Cambridge - Part III (Math) - MASt : Accepted - No Scholarship :evil:
B2 : Imperial - QFFF (Physics) - MSc : Accepted - No Scholarship :evil:

C1 : Harvard - Theoretical Physics (Physics) - PhD : Rejected
C2 : Caltech - Theoretical Physics (Physics) - PhD : Rejected
C3 : Maryland - Theoretical Physics (Physics) - PhD : Rejected

Had to take the year off even after offers from Cambridge & Imperial :cry:

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lordbadri
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by lordbadri » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:23 am

lordbadri wrote:Are you from India? If that's the case count yourself lucky that you went to US. I didn't have enough foresight to see through the flaws in the system back then. The entire system is horrible. If you think it's just the admissions, you'd be wrong. Even all the classes in college are like that. You are graded just based on a couple of exams. The exams are a complete joke. We get three hours and a bunch of questions which cannot be solved in three hours. The people who solve the most get A's and people like me who are slightly slower end up getting D's and even F's. The workload is around 60 hours a week. It's all about competition all the way. I think the problem lies in the fact that those who end up being professors here have gone through this very same system and they happen to be the lucky ones who actually flourished in this. So the support for the system gets reinforced. I believe that's the reason you don't see quality research in India. Nobody really cares about research. It's all a rat race chasing grades.

True man...really the system in India needs to change.

jigsaw
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Re: Unexpectedly rejected almost everywhere, Please explain..

Post by jigsaw » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:26 am

Rutgers is indeed quite nice...



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