Listing Grad school responses (Admits & Rejects)...

  • 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.

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Post by Gti337 » Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:32 pm

Just got the Stanford rejection.

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Post by schmit.paul » Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:39 pm

ditto on stanford

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Post by artist » Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:49 pm

I haven't been rejected from Stanford yet... maybe my strategy of not applying there has paid off.

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Post by radicaltyro » Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:08 pm

@artist: Yeah, $105.

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Post by shirazu » Tue Mar 06, 2007 2:42 am

I got in to OSU and PSU, but got waitlisted at Case Western. Ouch, lol. At least I don't have to withdraw my offer from there.
Also a shoutout to the guy who got into MIT and Illinois who was at the OSU visit, I was the fat dude in the blue coat, and agree with you about the school but didn't think the grad students there seemed so bad, maybe you were talking to the wrong people. Actually I haven't met grad students from other schools so I wouldn't really know. It is a sick building, which doesn't matter that much, columbus seems alright if you aren't set on california or a big city, and they have some nice programs there, who knows if I will go or not.
I thought it was pretty weird how they (the faculty, not students) asked everyone what schools they applied/got into, is that a standard type thing for those familiar with these visits? I mean, unless they are going to change their offer based on where I got in to get me to go there, I don't see why it interests them. Maybe I should have lied and said I got into Harvard! I guess I was asked in undergrad.

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Post by epsi » Tue Mar 06, 2007 2:06 pm

omg admitted to stony brook an hour ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Post by artist » Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:58 pm

I just got rejected from UIUC... damn.

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Post by xanth » Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:28 pm

Rejection from Brown....damn.

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I little average

Post by fizzics » Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:24 pm

You know the last time I checked their are over 100 schools in this country that grant a Ph.D in physics and it seems like everyone here is in the 99th-percentile and only applying to the top 10 schools. To put some balance I'm putting up my lame stats.

BS in Physics May 2007(7 freaking years)

Overall GPA-2.6 (That's right I actually have a GPA under 3.00)
Physics GPA-Just under 3.0
GRE: V 480 / Q 740 / W 3.0
Physics GRE: 750 (70%)

You may be wondering how someone with a horrible GPA can have such a respectable physics GRE. Well I failed a few core classes. After my sophomore year my GPA wasn't looking so good so I decided to double major in math. Foolishly I tried to do it in a short amount of time which means I had to take 18 hour semesters. This damaged my GPA even more so I dropped to a math minor and I decided the important thing was to graduate. Just about every program I saw required a minimum 3.0 GPA for the last 60 hours. I knew it didn't look good. At this point my options were either to quit physics or stay another 2 years to raise my GPA . I instead decided to just graduate and try to get a masters at a lower ranked school and then transfer for my Ph.D. Of course even the lower ranked schools won't take absolute crap so I had to do my best in my final year. I even took a graduate course as an undergrad and I did well to show that I am capable of grad level work. I also worked in a lab on campus for the past 2 years.

I applied to:

Carnegie Mellon-Rejected
University of Nebraska-Lincoln-waiting
Drexel University-waiting
University of Houston-waiting

UW was just because I felt I should at least try to apply to a top 20. I'm unbelievably happy that I got into UCI. CM and UCI are ranked about the same according to US News. The last 3 were the schools I was counting on getting a masters and transferring. Another miracle might happen with UW but I seriously doubt it. I believe what got me in was lab experience, good letters of recommendation and my essay.

If there's a moral to my story it's that if you truly love what you're doing then you should never give up.

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Post by kutztown » Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:31 pm

and Congrats

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Ohio State Univ

Post by strange.attractor » Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:28 am

@ mcschram & lahardy

You have got in MIT, UIUC, U Michigan and Wisconsin which I think are much better places than Ohio State Univ. Could you please deny the OSU offer if you are not going to OSU? I have been wait listed and I hope you understand my case. Sorry if I offended but please deny the offer if possible.

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Post by ms_phd » Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:12 am

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Post by mathlete » Wed Mar 07, 2007 2:33 pm

I'm just going to post these here for lack of a better place... does anyone know any professors that I should meet with at Carnegie Mellon? They want us to supply a list of those we're interested before we go and I've already got those whose research I am interested in, but I'm curious as if there's any that I would just have to meet (regardless of their research).

Also, how do I avoid making myself look like an idiot while visiting? :lol: I don't want to ask too many technical questions because I'm not really familiar with anything more than the basics of their research. :oops:

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Post by tnoviell » Wed Mar 07, 2007 2:49 pm

I didn't really ask any questions unless I didn't understand what they were talking about. Other than that, I just asked about funding, grad student happiness, how they enjoy the area, etc.

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Post by HEPdude » Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:10 pm

Hey all,

I'm an American student going into experimental high energy physics.

Cornell sent out an email to multiple applicants last Friday that said they had "not made a final decision" about some applications. I know I saw at least one other person on this forum mention it. Has anyone who received that email gotten a response?

Great forum, guys. Thanks to all the posters.

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cornell e-mail

Post by physicsgirl » Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:16 pm

I got that completely uninformative e-mail from Cornell as well and as of yet have heard nothing.

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Post by HEPdude » Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:47 pm

Figures. I JUST got an acceptance to Cornell. Hooray!

Sorry, I guess my last post was utterly worthless.

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Post by shirazu » Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:55 pm

Yeah, maybe this makes me a bad student but I never seem to have any idea what kind of intelligent questions to ask other than the basics as I never know more than the most fundamental knowledge about exactly each professor is doing. I actually am a bit scared to arrange to meet some of the faculty members because of this.

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Post by braindrain » Wed Mar 07, 2007 4:25 pm

Did you see what someone wrote on thegradschoolcafe web site:

Eric Clapton School For Dexterological Management
Pentatonic Plucking PhD Accepted 2007-03-07 (Postal Service) 2007-03-07 A Got an envelope in the mail containing 2 oz of cocaine. I'm pretty sure this means I'm in with a fellowship!

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Post by mingsy » Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:17 pm

Ummm I didn't get that Cornell email, the one about them still deciding on some applications. Does that mean I didn't even make the wait list?

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Post by braindrain » Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:12 pm

@mingsy, do you think the part III math Cambridge really helped your admissions? It seems you did well, but does it seem that it was bowed down to as much as Cambridge makes it out to be? Don't the schools look more at your physics experience than a year of pure math?

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Post by mingsy » Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:47 pm

@ braindrain.

To be honest, I don't think it help a whole lot, maybe it would have if I were applying for a pure math PhD rather than going into condensed matter. I do agree with you that graduate admission committees in the US are more likely to value my undergrad years more highly than my one year of math and it doesn't come as a surprise to me.

The system in the US is just very different from the UK and the rest of Europe and I suspect that they don't normally get applicants with PartIII. Most of my PartIII coursemates who remained in physics have continued on in the UK or Europe. Anyway, as far as Cambridge is concerned, I don't think they really care about what the rest of the world thinks because they use PartIII as recruitment device into their math department. There is just no way around that if you want a PhD at DAMTP or DPMMS. But PartIII still remains highly recognised over here in the UK. When I talk to prospective supervisors over here, they are more eager to know how I did in it, rather than what I did in London for 3 years.

So in the eyes of the graduate schools, I am on equal footing with most applicants who only have an undergrad or are to receive an undergrad degree. It's just that I've got my degree already and an extra bit. I am also fairly certain of what I want to work on and what to expect from graduate physics, QFT, Lie Algebras, Differential Geometry, Solitons and all.

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Post by braindrain » Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:16 pm

@mingsy: I definitely believe it will payoff in your research. I mean, how could knowing all that math not help you. You will be able to understand a lot more sophisticated journal papers, apply more techniques. Even if they didn't count it upfront for the admissions committees, your research will be all the better for it. Plus, I think its great from the personal challenge perspective to have taken on the hardest course at Cambridge!!!

I do think though that lots of physicists hand-wave too much when it comes to the rigors of mathematics. What is up with that hand-waving business? Are they calling for a taxi or something? :)

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Post by mingsy » Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:51 pm


"Everybody in da house. Wave your hands in the air like u jus don't care!!!"

That's how I'd like to give a lecture if I ever make it that far. Hand waving is an art and it is a hard one to learn at that. Sometimes you are allowed to do it because you know that eventually if you work it out rigourously, everything will be fine. This is the sorta like having some forsight and intuition. So you can only give evidence of plausibility not fact. This is hand waving because we are lazy, but we are still right nonetheless.

Then there are those leaps of faith like Dick's path integrals and Isaac's calculus. Ideas which have an entirely physical application but whose rigorous mathematical details had not been worked out yet. Here, there is no right or wrong because the correct mathematical structure and theory hadn't been worked out yet. Leo Euler used to do a lot of handwaving like this and had invented or improved many of the notations we used to day (practically all of modern classical mechanics. Before Leo was around you had to do calculations ala Principia or it's German equivalent by Leibniz). But it would take years before Cauchy, Weirestrass and a few others invented analysis that put calculus on a rigorous footing. Same story with Paul's delta function and Lauren Schwarz's theory of distributions. So in these cases, the handwaving predates the actual mathematics and usually serves as inspritation for mathematicians hoping to rigorise the physics. (They even have a special tittle "Mathematical Physicists"). In GR, Riemannian geometry came before Albert found a nifty use for it, so mathematics can sometimes see the future of physics too.

But we are at the stage now where QFT is still hand-wavy in some of it's most important areas. In fact, one of the millennium prizes is for the mass gap problem in Yang-Mills QFT which mathematicians believe can be rigorously proven but still have no idea how. Physicists have been convinced for awhile now after running simulations and accepting QFT for what it is and aren't losing sleep over the problem. So mathematicians will always have to play catch-up.

So I don't think physicists hand-wave too much. Mathematicians need us to hand-wave, so that they can go about building rigorous theories of what we hand-wave about. We need them to find new tools for us and to keep us on the right track by checking rigorously what we had to take for granted. Actually no physicist likes to take too many things for granted... that just creates the wrong kind of science. But as a student, I'd wish I had someone to tell me all this because I used to be very critical of handwaving too.

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Upenn ??

Post by sandy » Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:48 am

Has anyone heard from UPenn?

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Post by nimbus » Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:03 pm

Just got a rejection eletter (website) from UC S Barbara Biophysics

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Post by slee » Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:57 pm

well, that's about it for me. the only one i haven't heard from is upenn astro, but they were a safety school. only rejection was from harvard physics; looks like a 990, all A's in undergrad and grad physics courses, research/observation experience, and letters from the author of one of the top 10 cited astro papers of all time and from a guy who had his picture in this year's nobel lecture weren't good enough! maybe i stressed theoretical cosmology too much in my statement, etc. and should have applied to astro, but really i have no idea why.

oh well, at this point harvard was more about pride. i am really pumped about theoretical cosmology at princeton after my visit; they seem to be the best in that field (and theory in general). the emphasis on research and the small size of the department also are big plusses. i saw some of your names down for future visits, so hope you have one as enjoyable as mine! i got to see einstein's house and saw the lunar eclipse from the plane on the flight home, pretty cool. i'm still visiting chicago and caltech, but they will have a tough time pulling me away from princeton...

anyways, hope my info is of some use to future applicants! glad to be done with the process, and good luck to the rest of you still waiting.

Type of school you went to for undergrad: technical/scientific
Degree received, GPA in major, overall GPA: physics, 5.0/5.0 in physics, 4.9/5.0 overall

General GRE scores. Q800 V710 W5.5
Subject (Physics) GRE score. 990

Department you are applying in like condensed matter or high energy or so on: astrophysics, hoping to do cosmology, CMB studies, or maybe instrumentation

Any research experience: where and what field: some gravitational lens work since freshman year - mostly computational modeling with Mathematica and LENSMODEL; took an observational astronomy class that met at a small observatory and did some binary light curve work for my semester paper; went on an observation run at a large observatory in Chile; did a summer internship at NASA GSFC working on some optical waveguide design. working on a paper analyzing some HST data of a lens, should be done or extended into a thesis next semesterish

Any awards or honors. nothing too specific; i've taken some grad QM, GR, QFT, and CMB courses though if this gets me any points

Information about your letters of rec. one each from the professor i've done lensing work with, the postdoc i accompanied on the observation run, and my mentor at GSFC

Lastly, a list of schools you are applying to.

Harvard - rejected 3/8, e-mail response to e-mail inquiry (physics)
Princeton - accepted 2/6, phone, fellowship offer in mail (astrophysical sciences department)
Cornell - accepted 2/5, package in mail and e-mail, fellowship offer in mail (physics)
UPenn - meh, who knows?
UChicago - accepted 2/3, e-mail, TA/RA offer (astro)
Berkeley - accepted 2/26, e-mail, GSI (TA) offer + bonus (physics)
Caltech - accepted 1/27, phone (applied through physics specifying astrophysics, accepted through astro)
Johns Hopkins - accepted 1/26, e-mail, TA offer (astro & physics)
and the NSF GRFP - maybe later?
Last edited by slee on Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Quaoar » Thu Mar 08, 2007 7:49 pm

Accepted to UCSD Physics just now.

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Post by nervous » Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:20 pm

Anyone heard anything from minnesota-twin cities this week?

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Post by shivaraj » Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:52 am

I got an offer from minnesota on march 2nd by e-mail ( It's from phyics department). Waiting for other materials from graduate school.

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Post by newscience » Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:43 am

@ slee

You already heard back about the NSF fellowship? I wasn't expecting anything until the end of March. Also, I'm visiting Princeton next week; was there anyone in particular that you talked to that really convinced you to go there?

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Post by schmit.paul » Fri Mar 09, 2007 6:52 am

@ slee: Yeah, I'll second newscience's question, when did you hear about the NSF GRFP? Most of these fellowships aren't supposed to report back until late March/early April. Anyway, I'm with you man, I just visited Princeton this last weekend (also accepted to Astrophysical Sciences w/ fellowship, but for the program in plasma physics), and there were so many fantastic aspects to the department/faculty/students that I told them Caltech's going to have a tough act to follow when I visit there in a couple weeks. Maybe to butt in and throw in my answer to newscience's question, when you visit I don't think there's going to be any one person that's going to convince you to go there...the whole experience (of the visit), however, left me with as good an impression of the program as I could have possibly had. I got accepted with a very small group of students (6 domestics/3 foreign total, and i found out sunday that i was the only domestic theory student admitted), and the first thing they did was have about 8-10 grad students take us out and the department paid for a 1000 dollar dinner and then paid for our drinks at the D-bar (in-house bar in the basement of the Graduate College, ie the graduate dormitory). For plasma physics Princeton is #1, and it was immediately obvious why...the PPPL has something like 400 scientists working there, including 40 theorists, and several large and small fusion/plasma projects. I was amazed how little ego I encountered while I was down there considering Princeton's reputation, and walking around campus and talking to the grad students about the university really humbled me quite a bit (did you know John Nash is still a tenured faculty member there?). There seems to be a lot of cohesiveness between the grad students within a program, and going and eating in the graduate dining hall it seemed like all of the other (non-physics) students are completely open to talk to anybody...there's not a whole lot of hard walls and airtight cliques. The intellectual atmosphere around there is unspeakably more prominent than at my undergraduate (top-ranked party) school. Not to mention the speakers and visiting scholars that the place attracts are just incredible.

My general impression regarding incoming theory students is that it's harder for us to pick up a mentor/advisor immediately. While my experimental/computational friends are getting calls and emails left and right from potential advisors that want them to work on specific projects that match their interests, it's been relatively quiet for me, and I think that's in large part because as a theory student there is still some proving ground left untrodden when you first begin a graduate program, and very often it can take a year or two of coursework before you can do really serious, original work and attract the attention of potential advisors. However, my experience with the faculty in princeton plasma physics was that they were all very interested in my goals and interests from the outset, and as the director of the program put it in a conversation I had with him, "we're not hurting for money, and as it turns out, the money follows the student around at Princeton, rather than the student seeking out a project with adequate funding." I can imagine that, to some extent, the attitude of the rest of the astrophysical sciences department and the physics department is commensurate. Congrats, and perhaps I'll see you up there (if I can shake this overwhelming desire to throw caution to the wind and head to the west coast to do some sort of work with ST/QFT duality!)

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Post by slee » Fri Mar 09, 2007 7:44 am

oops, sorry guys. i just copied/pasted my post from another thread, and didn't add info about the nsf fellowship. i haven't heard from them either! it's edited now.

i've got to run now, but i'll elaborate on princeton later...

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Post by mathlete » Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:46 am


If Harvard rejected you who the hell did they accept?

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Post by nimbus » Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:54 am

@slee (very impressed with your Verbal score)
Now I´m absolutely and completely sure I´ll be rejected from Harvard...Where in the world is that blessed rejection mail?

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Post by slee » Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:38 pm

heh, i'd like to see some of the admitted profiles myself! but i do know of a couple of my classmates here that would be strong contenders...they were in a couple of my grad classes last year and took some pretty dense math classes so i have a great deal of respect for them, but i'm not sure how the rest of their stats (gre, etc) worked out. admissions are kind of a crapshoot anyways so i'm not too disappointed; like i said, it was just a matter of pride.

princeton impressed me across the board. i got to talk one-on-one with a lot of profs and grad students, and they were all working on interesting stuff. the environment seems really close-knit and informal; i especially liked their coffee, tea, and thunch traditions (even though i'm not a big drinker myself...i am sure you will hear about their great new coffee machine, though). also, the area around there seems really nice. it's upscale and a bit rich for my tastes, and on the weekend there were a lot of kids running around and people walking their fancy dogs and such - but overall it seems more friendly and less pretentious than i expected (compared to harvard square, for instance). lots of book stores and cafes and things, as well. (i found a new copy of peebles's principles of physical cosmology for $6! compare to raven books in harvard sq., where everytime i go i have to listen to somebody from "the college" ramble on about oh look "go-dell" escher bach i have heard of what a wonderful book this is but unfortunately never had time to pick it up myself because i have been preoccupied on the squash courts and oh my a volume on "toe-poe-logy" i chose not to take classes in this particular subject but i find it fascinating nonetheless etc etc. entertaining, but i don't know how long i could stand it on a daily basis.) the undergrads at princeton do seem a bit preppy and rowdy too, but the grad students say they're ok...

research-wise, their theoretical and computational resources seem unparalleled - a lot of legendary faculty (peebles, gunn, ostriker, steinhardt, spergel, etc.) and department computer clusters. they also have a hand in many observation projects and access to data - wmap, sdss, act, etc. so it seems like the best place to do theoretical cosmology. however, they did admit that caltech and berkeley have better access to telescope time, if you're interested primarily in observation. i also like the emphasis on semester projects and variety. this gives it a leg up over chicago, which is pretty deep in cosmology (hu, dodelson, etc) but not so in other subfields.

anyways, enjoy your visit! check out the grad college dorms too (fancy! completely unlike any dorms we have over here), and try to get up the tower if you can, it's pretty cool. the new science library building is a bit trippy as well, but i guess i have gotten used to gehry.

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Post by llsop » Fri Mar 09, 2007 7:15 pm

slee: that's interesting, what you say about Harvard's "pretentiousness". I'm wondering if you're aware of anything similar at MIT?

I'm going to be visiting both next week ... but just curious.

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Post by slee » Sat Mar 10, 2007 1:42 am

haha i was being a bit facetious but there is some truth there. i guess you'll have to see if you agree. princeton and harvard definitely give off different impressions than mit, both from the campus architecture and the students alike. but you can still find plenty of "entertaining" people here too. there is some intellectual one-upmanship and fakery (i graded hw for a lot of classes, and you wouldn't believe some of the cheating that goes on), but there are also some really humble and smart people too. of course i'm talking mostly about the undergrads at all of these places; grad students in general seem pretty on the level intellectually and socially.

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Post by fizzics » Sat Mar 10, 2007 4:09 am


With stats like that why didn't you apply to MIT? Is there something about it that really turned you off?

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Post by slee » Sat Mar 10, 2007 7:33 am

hi fizzics, basically because after 4 years i'd like to get out of here! also, it is a little frowned upon to stay for your phd (e.g. read feynman's memoirs). plus, i had already gone through the main grad coursework here and wanted to get some variety. and finally, although the astro and physics departments are great here, there are better places to do theoretical cosmology.

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Post by krymelchen » Sat Mar 10, 2007 12:17 pm

Yesterday I finally got my offer of admission to the University of Maryland, complete with a TA offer! I was getting a bit nervous because international students seem to have more problems securing a place.

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@mcschram&those who have got more than a couple of offer

Post by anomahi » Sun Mar 11, 2007 6:49 am

Hi mate.... congratulations for ur offers! as u have also got offers from places like ohio state...which u'll definitely not join.... it'd b a favor to all of us (as we are eagerly waiting for replies) if u decline ur offer, as a big chunk of guys are still in the waiting list. Thanks in advance :)

Anne Nonymous
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Really off-base

Post by Anne Nonymous » Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:04 pm

Hey everyone,

Lots of people on this forum, myself included, are waitlisted at schools they really want to attend. Some of these people make general appeals for all applicants who got into those schools but don't intend to accept the schools' offers to withdraw their applications quickly and give the waitlistees a chance. I think that's fine.

Lately, however, some of my fellow waitlistees have been making direct, person-to-person pleas for members of this forum to accept some schools and reject others. These people are way out of line.

This forum is supposed to be a place where people come together to discuss and weigh their options freely. NOT a place where we try to pressure each other into making decisions. Regardless of your academic situation, other people who have been granted acceptances have the right to do ANYTHING THEY WANT with them until April 15th.

I agree that the polite to do is to withdraw your application from places you have no interest in attending. But no one should try to decide where YOUR interests lie except YOU. Even if you have to choose between MIT, Harvard, Princeton, and University of Suck, that's YOUR decision to make, not anyone else's.

I know first-hand how stressful the admissions process is. Some people are worried they won't get in to their top choice, and others are worried they won't get in anywhere at all. I get it. But that doesn't give anyone here the right to pressure anyone else. I don't care how many smiling emoticons you put at the end of your post. It's still a mean thing to do.

Enough of that rant. I'm sure people will keep doing it anyway.

-- Anne

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Post by slee » Sun Mar 11, 2007 3:51 pm

got the official rejection letter from harvard physics yesterday. one of those aforementioned classmates of mine who i thought would be a shoo-in (he took 3 semesters of qft here at mit, some grad string theory and math classes at harvard, high scores on the putnam, ipo gold medal, etc.) also got rejected. what the hell, harvard?

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@Anne Nonymous

Post by anomahi » Sun Mar 11, 2007 5:58 pm

wats wrong in requesting those who r not goin to join the universities low in their order of preference to decline their offers, as they must know that how much stressed we are. i dont think wat i said was kinda "PRESSING" them. n everyone knows here that april 15 is the deadline for accepting/declining offers, but everyday u open ur mailbox wishing every time to get an acceptance from an university of ur choice and to ur disgrace u c "no new mails" how do u least i feel quite frustrated and so are other waitlistees. so it wud b very kind of u if u can let us do wat we wish to do, this forum being a public forum everybody has the right to say nethin he wishes to... hope i m quite clear about my motive this time...

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Harvard entitlement?

Post by braindrain » Sun Mar 11, 2007 8:37 pm

@slee: Congratulations on your great acceptances!! Why are sooo obsessed with the one school you didn't get. Move on and don't look back, man!!! I thought everyone understand that there are more qualified candidates than spots at any given school and it doesn't mean you aren't good enough. Maybe there are too many string theorists applying and your friend was just another one. Maybe funding for theorists is lower across the board. It could be any number of reasons some of which you can't possibly know. But, you seem to think you and your classmates are entitled over the other few hundred people who were also rejected and qualified. I don't THINK so. Not everyone even gets their first grant proposals funded or all the postdoc positions they want. The successful people just keep moving forward. You can keep wining or be the best physicist you can be at Princeton or wherever you decide!!! In other words, put a cork in it :) !

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Post by slee » Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:19 am

haha thanks braindrain. i really didn't mean to come across like that, i am very excited about princeton as i hope you can tell! i know that i was lucky to get into such a small and selective department, and was just as anxious about getting in there if you see my earlier posts. i certainly didn't feel that i was entitled to my spot! my bad impressions of harvard are mostly from the undergrad culture, but i have no real beef with the grad school for rejecting me or my friend. but your post nails the very thing that is frustrating about the whole process - that there are so many factors that are out of your control! and when you invest application fees, test fees, and whole lot of time you might be a little curious about specific reasons you got rejected. but such is life.

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Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:45 am

Post by Richter » Mon Mar 12, 2007 7:11 am

Well, slee, firstly I should congratulate you for all those acceptances.... All the schools accepting you are sending rejection letters to me. To be frank, I really feel depressed when you moan about not being able to get into Harvard.
You may be able to become a successful physicist in the near future, however, I guess showing off all those Princeton, Caltech, Stanford, Berkeley before all of us receiving rejections from these schools and guessing why Harvard does not send you acceptance is not an act of courtesy. From my point of view, all the physics PhD applicants are of similar quality, and being a MIT undergrad is just advantageous because you guys have much research opportunities and recommendation letters from well-known professors as MIT is a world-renowned university.
Please consider the feeling of readers when you speak inside this forum....

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Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 7:10 pm

Post by slee » Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:35 am

er, thanks richter. again, i did not mean to offend so i apologize. but i don't feel that i was "moaning"? i wasn't THAT disappointed about it. and saying "oh well, it's a crapshoot, such is life, good luck to the rest of you, hope this is helpful, etc." doesn't exactly translate in that way for me. i also hope if you go back and look at my posts you will see that i wasn't "showing off" (and that i didn't apply to stanford); i posted my stats, and where i heard from and when, with some offhand remarks that i perhaps should have omitted. i'm sorry i didn't completely excise every aspect of personality from my posts; perhaps just the info would have been more appropriate. but i feel my posts are FAR less anal about the whole admissions process than some of the stuff i've seen on this forum (e.g. oh no i got a 990 am i going to get in? wait, i got a 990, are you sure i'm going to get in? oh by the way, 990. etc.). saying that "i don't know the reason why i was rejected" is not at all the same as saying "there was no reason for me to get rejected." harvard stung a little solely because i would have liked to remain in the area for certain reasons, even though i think princeton is a better place to do cosmology. but even so, i didn't really go into it until people commented. but i understand the ambiguous nature of internet forums, hence my many mea culpas above and this one, too. hopefully it will be the last one?

i really don't see the harm in speculating on why a particular applicant got rejected. what is the use of these forums if we are just going to assume that everybody is about the same and the process is that random? going back and looking at some of the strong profiles that got rejected in previous years just emphasized the importance of every part of the process to me before i started applying. and it also highlighted things that i didn't want to do, e.g. apply in a field that i wasn't interested in to get better chances, etc. i mean, i did feel better about my rejection from harvard after i found out that my more qualified classmate also didn't get in, so maybe others will too if they are in the same boat. we are all in this together, no?

so to clarify!
-i am excited about the schools i got into and feel fortunate that i did
-i am a bit disappointed about harvard, but feel better knowing that my friend and probably other stronger candidates got rejected too
-if you also got rejected, you should feel better too!
-there are undergrads with "personality" everywhere, but in different ways
-the princeton area was more laidback than harvard, to my relief
-good luck to the rest of you! in admissions and the rest of grad school!
-sorry if i offended anybody! don't read too much into anything, this is the internets!

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Post by physicsed » Mon Mar 12, 2007 2:31 pm


I didn't think any of your comments were out of line by any means. Of course that could be because I'm not really close to your level as far as scores and undergraduate preparation. So I'm not exactly looking at the same schools as you are. (780 Q, 470 V, 4.5 W, 660 Subject, 3.47 GPA, 3.82 Physics GPA).

I've done my undergrad in physics education (math and chem minor), and I'm just hoping that a lower tier school will recgonize that I could be a unique addition to their program (I'm sure that most applying don't have as much education experience as I do).

Does anyone know if selection commities generally meet during the school's spring break? I'm assuming not, but I'd like to know if I should still be keeping an eye on the e-mail inbox.

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