Advice for switching from HEP-ex to optical science?

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Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:15 pm

Advice for switching from HEP-ex to optical science?

Post by extrememango » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:00 pm

I only applied to 5 schools this application cycle including my own home institution. I didn't get into the 2 top 30-40 schools(both UCs, perhaps a mistake given that I am a foreigner and I hear the UCs have trouble funding us) but got into 2 between the 60-70 range and also my home institution. I know i made the mistake of not applying to enough schools this year. I am planning on sitting it out for a year and apply to some schools between 40-60, and perhaps with a focus on optical science. First, is that a bad idea to do that, given that I have no background in optical science? Other than the obvious university of rochester and university of Arizona, are there other places that I should check out? I listed my profile below as reference. I wonder if university of arizona/univeristy of rochester would be too far of a reach given my profile and background in HEP instead of optics. I think i can improve my PGRE score quite a bit to 7x%. Otherwise, what are some reputable programs that I should check out? Thanks in advance.

Undergrad Institution: American State school with little reputation for physics
Minor(s):philosophy, mathematics
GPA in Major:3.5
Overall GPA:3.5
Length of Degree: (Are you graduating after 3, 4, or 5 years?)5 years
Position in Class: First 1/3
Type of Student: International, asian, female

GRE Scores : Revised
Q:168 95%
V:162 89%
W:3.5 38%
P:720 56% [Will retake]

TOEFL Total: 117(technically i did my undergrad in the US and it is waived in most cases)

Research Experience: HEP experiment on detectors for 3 years. Lab manager right now. the team's "Expert" on the detector. Also worked on a small astrophysics project on the side and a GR project on a solution to einstein's equation. One summer in my home country on a simulation project, but didn't really do very much. No publication. A couple of different talks. One of them in a national conference.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: A lot of different travel funding scholarships; some department scholarships; sigma pi sigma

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: school physics Tutor

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I took a self study session on GR and practically taught myself tensor calculus and solving Einstein's equation with occasional help

Special Bonus Points: taking 2 graduate classes right now.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: My GPA took a great hit in my 2nd and 3rd year because I was really homesick. I grew out of that though, got 4.0s in my last 2 semesters. but some of my 3000, 4000 level physics courses have less than pretty grades

Applying to Where:

Result this year:
School university of illinois chicago ->accepted for experimental HEP
School University of Nebraska lincoln-> accepted for experimental HEP
School Home institution->accepted
School UC santa cruz->rejected
School UC davis ->haven't hear back, not optimistic.

Plan next year
Boston University
U of Arizona
University of Rochester
university of Oregon

Posts: 354
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: Advice for switching from HEP-ex to optical science?

Post by Catria » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:47 pm

Northwestern on the reach end of the scale, if you can manage a 70th percentile and better on the next try... my intermediate EM instructor seemed to rave NWU, even going so far as to suggest NWU to one of his undergraduate summer assistants.

Again, given the peculiar nature of students at my undergrad, many AMO-bound kids would turn down even a direct-PhD at NWU in order to stay at their undergrad, even though they had the ability to succeed once at NWU.

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Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:15 pm

Re: Advice for switching from HEP-ex to optical science?

Post by extrememango » Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:42 am

Hey. thanks for the input.
I guess i wasn't clear on what i mean by optics. Really, I want to study laser: properties, how to make them etc. I am not so interested in the optics program in NWU since it seems more like they are using light to study material.
Where do you go for undergrad btw?

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