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What exactly is asked on an application?

Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:19 am
by quizivex
Hi, I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of things that are asked on physics grad school apps, so students who haven't applied yet would have time to "do something" about potential "blank spaces" on the apps.

I've visited many sites, and they all seem to make you register something to see the application. Does anyone know if it's possible to put in a fake name/email or whatever, just to see the app?

Or does anyone have a pdf of an app, or a link to an app that is available online?

Otherwise, here's a list of the major things that crossed my mind. If you've seen others, please list them. Thanks. (For ex, one asks if we're fluent in any foreign languages, though I doubt that's a common question.)

1) Biographical Info (name, birth date, phone # etc..)
2) Test Scores
3) Undergrad School Info/GPA
4) Work Experience
5) Publications
6) Awards
7) Other Common Stuff (Recommendations, Transcripts, SOP, App Fee)

Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:16 pm
by braindrain
You can download the paper version for some schools without having to register. You can register as yourself but just don't submit or pay but in one case it picked up the date I first looked at an application and when I submitted said I started the application a year ago. But I don't think that info goes anywhere or means anything. But, sure you can also register as a fake person. It's just that they send e-mails to the e-mail address you give like reminders that the deadline is near.

Other things asked:
-foreign languages (on most applications)
-convicted of a crime (with space to explain)
-probabation or dismissed from a school (with space to explain)
-some apps asked to explain all the time since college
-some asked if you ever had any relatives that went to that school
-the California ones asked about diversity issues (which seems like they are trying to get you to admit things that are illegal to ask outright)(you really don't have to say family or cultural background but they make it a question you have to answer)
-I think they all asked or gave space to explain any hardships of any kind (but not sure this is a good idea or not to answer)
-where else you are applying
-which professors you have contacted
-some wanted an abstract of courses and grades and/or textbooks

The right impression to get is that there is a lot to fill out including the essays so make sure you a lot enough time for it.

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 4:57 am
by quizivex
Looks like they're meant to be filled out in the summer rather than the fall semester.

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 6:46 pm
by schmit.paul
no, most schools don't even release their applications for the upcoming academic year until september...i started filling mine out in early october but most of my friends procrastinated till the end of november/early december and still got them done in time. I don't recommend procrastinating, as I was still filling apps out in december despite my starting early, but you don't need to do more than just give your list of schools some thought over the summer.


Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:02 pm
by braindrain
Actually, its never too early to start the essays - the statement of purpose and it might help you solidify your thoughts on why you want to go to grad school in the first place which may in turn affect which schools you pick out. Even just sketch an outline which is how I start the writing process (before writer's block sets in :) ). I compiled the essay questions of all the schools I thought I might consider and started at least thinking about it months ahead of time. Then you would have lots of time to write and re-write. BUT, then tweaking the statement for each school still took a long time.

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:24 am
by schmit.paul
good point braindrain....i must've edited my original statement of purpose ~20-25 times before I submitted my first app, and by the time I finished my last application a couple months later (I spread them out over a couple months so I wouldn't go crazy), I went back and looked at the first SOP I submitted and the last one and really liked the later ones, despite the fact that I edited the first few a ton as well. Can't beat extra time to tweak and rampant fastidiousness.