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Grad School Advice

Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:54 pm
by gradk.92
Hi Everyone,

I'm new to this forum and decided to ask people for help with grad school. I'm a graduating physics senior from a top-10, small, liberal arts college in US. And I really want to go to grad school. The thing is I have a low gpa of about 3.2 :cry: by the time I graduate, but my major GPA is over 3.4. It's because of a mix of personal issues and a bunch of other classes that I was exploring as part of liberal arts education. However, I did well in standard undergrad physics curriculum, I got A- in quantum mechanics, A- in thermodynamics, A in electrodynamics, A in general relativity. Basically, I didn't put much emphasis on gpa early in my undergrad career because I thought it's better to take challenging classes and get B than take easy A classes. And now I've been reading admission posts here and a lot of people have gpa well-above 3.5, which concerns me. Do people like me still have a shot at grad school? I've substantial amount of research experience, I did two summer researches at my school, and possibly a paper in the future. So, I guess my question is what are my chances for grad school if could pull off a good PGRE score (like above 900), good research experience and well-written LORs and SOP? What are some good schools to look at that I can possibly get into? I would like to go into quantum optics/information/computing. Any help/suggestion would be appreciated. Thanks!

Re: Grad School Advice

Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:32 pm
by Lunaray
All I would say is don't be intimidated by the scores and the general cynicism in this forum. I didn't discover this forum until I actually applied for grad school. If I had, I probably wouldn't have applied to any of the schools I actually applied to in the end. The best resource you have is your physics advisor and other physics faculty members at your institutions. Talk to them about your motivations, what you want to do, what to emphasize, etc.

Re: Grad School Advice

Posted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:26 pm
by turbina
Some words of encouragement: I applied this year for quantum information too. My gpa was a lot worse than yours, my pgre was mediocre, and I only had a few weeks of research experience - far from what anyone would call substantial. I, too, felt discouraged about my chances when reading this forums a few months ago, but tried to ignore the naysayers and, contrary to what they might have you believe, was accepted to several really good places (I'm not talking about highly ranked physics programs, but schools with strong QI groups ad interesting research in that field, which is what mattered to me). I'll be attending USC in the Fall, am really excited about it, and my stats are posted on the 2014 profile thread in case you want to check it and get some reassurance.