Grad school with iffy GRE...

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Chances of success

No votes
No chance
Total votes: 7

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Grad school with iffy GRE...

Post by DarthTater » Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:38 pm

Greetings all. I am worried about my Physics GRE scores (who isn't), and was wondering what some of you thought about my chances. I'm applying to several schools, but I would really like to attend Cornell to study high energy particle physics. I go to a small liberal arts college and have a 4.0 GPA. I've completed 4 separate research projects with a few pubs and even one REU at Cornell in the Lab for Elem. Particle Physics. I expect good rec letters, one of which is from a prof at Cornell in the LEPP. My general GRE scores are 770 and 630 math and verbal and I'm expecting between a 650 and 700 on the subject test. Do you think my chances are good, decent, arbitrarily small...

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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Post by vicente » Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:25 pm

I voted Good

You have a 4.0 GPA: what is your class standing?

REUs are always great to have

You could have had a 600 in the subject GRE, but the fact that you have publications and extensive research experience would make them fools to pass you up solely for having a low GRE score, since that is only one part of the application.

Do you have good recommendation letters?

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Post by sirjetpackbob » Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:41 am

I'm in a very similar situation... 4.0 GPA (from a nowhere school), averaging in the upper 600s on my practice GRE, and about two years of research experience. I don't have any publications unfortunately but I should have some pretty strong letters of rec. I've heard some people say that the posted "minimum" scores on a lot of the top schools' websites aren't really hard minimums, and that it is mostly just to weed out a lot of the lower applications, but I'm not sure how accurate that is. I feel like I'm a good student and have a pretty strong app, and I'd like to apply to a few of the top schools, so I'm also wondering what the chances of someone with these kinds of credentials getting into a place like Cornell would be.

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Post by grae313 » Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:17 pm

I think you have a good chance, especially with the REU at cornell. If the prof you worked with likes you and wants you in his group, you are in. Otherwise, your stats say, "I'm a hard worker with a strong research background." That is certainly not bad and I think you will be a competetive applicant there.

Of course, being a "genius" AND having the above qualities is the best of both worlds for the applications panel, but if they had to choose between a student who scored 960 on the physics gre (or even 860) but had B average grades and no research experience, or a student who scores, say, 670 on the physcs gre but has perfect grades and excellent research experience, I would almost guarantee you they would go with the 670 gre.

A lazy and unmotivated genius only sometimes succeeds, but a hard-working and motivated bright person usually succeeds. This means that the abilities that you've shown you possess are more important to success than killing the GRE, and I have to believe graduate schools understand this.

The perfect apps are out there, but the majority of them have a weak spot here and there, and if you had to have a weakspot somewhere, I'd personally rather score 50-60th percentile on the gre than have bad grades or no research experience.

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Post by DarthTater » Wed Oct 31, 2007 3:28 pm

Thanks for your input! I certainly hope you are right. Best of luck to everyone in a similar position... but no taking my spot ;)

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Re: Grad school with iffy GRE...

Post by DarthTater » Thu Jun 26, 2008 3:33 pm

Well, the results are in...

I scored a 660 on the GRE (less than 50%), but I graduated undergrad with a 4.0 as valedictorian. Cornell rejected me, Princeton rejected me, and Indiana University and Old Dominion University accepted me.

I honestly think I was rejected because of my GRE scores and to tell the truth I'm a little ticked off...

So for all of you aspiring physicists, STUDY HARD!

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Re: Grad school with iffy GRE...

Post by Karatechop250 » Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:35 pm

Wow... Im really suprised. I only got a 580 on my phsyics gre but I had a 3.91 gpa and a cumulative general gre score of 1250 plus a 5.0 on the analytical. Then again I didnt apply to large universities due to coming from a smaller university myself. Plus the fact I only had the financial means to apply to three schools. Im actually going to the University of Alabama for High Energy Particle Physics (Theory) . I was lucky they just graduated theyre last theory student this past year and was looking to bring in a few new ones. Well I wish you the best of luck. Its hard these days to get into gradschool. Use to be a 650 on the physics gre was amazing. I had a professor who gradauted from Flordia State University in 1995 who only got a 560 and got in there. Now Im sure with a 560 theyd just shred your application.

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