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Application being thrown away

Posted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 4:11 am
by poel5279
Hey guys,

I just want to hear your opinions.
One of my professor told me, because there are so many applicants for top-tier universities, there is no way that they read all of the thousands of applications. Many of them simply get tossed away if a test score or whatnot is too low.

He thus advised me to ask my recommenders send direct email to their connections at school in the department, to make sure my application is read.
But, I just don't really want to bother them or don't feel particularly comfortable asking this.. (although I have got very strong lor from them, at least two of them told me so directly.).

Does this thing really happen?
I managed to get really strong application except my PGRE score (810) (low for HEP-theory in top 10 for sure).
I strongly feel like my application will stand out a lot if they decide to read it. I just don't want it to be tossed because my PGRE is too low.

Re: Application being thrown away

Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:43 am
by davidthedavid
I'm not in admissions or anything so my knowledge is limited. But from the people I've talked to, there seem to be "informal cutoffs" at programs, whereby they put applications below a certain GPA and GRE / PGRE score into a trash pile regardless of the fact that there is no "formal" minimum, or the formal minimum is something ridiculous like a 3.0 GPA.

That being said, I find it doubtful that a top-10 HEP program will accept an 810 PGRE (it might be in their "informal cutoff" range), although who knows, you might have multiple well-cited HEP papers published already, or some extreme mitigating circumstance.

Among my friends that got into top-10 PhD programs, the lowest PGRE I've heard of getting in was a guy I know who got into Princeton on a 900 score. He wasn't even in HEP or anything theoretical though, he was an experimentalist. Also, he got in primarily because he had done research for a Princeton professor before based on that connection, and was rejected from all other top-10 programs.

Just my two cents...