FALL 2008 acceptances

  • 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.

VT
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Post by VT » Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:39 pm

nef7j:

Did that email mean that we were accepted to the Physics dept? It only says that we might possibly be nominated for fellowship and i do not undersand what that means.
Anyways, it feels kinda cool on hearing something positive from at least one grad school amidst thiese glommy waiting days.

I do not understand why they send us such a confusing email though. They could have made it clear that we were accepted or at least we have a good chance of getting accepted. :?
Last edited by VT on Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

nef7j
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Post by nef7j » Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:45 pm

VT,
I'm reasonably sure this means we're in. Not officially of course, but why would they want to nominate us for a university wide fellowship without wanting us for grad school? Congrats!

VT
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Post by VT » Sun Jan 20, 2008 12:11 am

DO u know where does this Univ lie in terms of ranking in Physics program? Does it make top 50?

nef7j
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Post by nef7j » Sun Jan 20, 2008 12:19 am

Minnesota is ranked 27th in physics by US World and News. Not bad, right?

VT
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Post by VT » Sun Jan 20, 2008 12:26 am

cool 8)

vicente
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Post by vicente » Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:23 am

But it is so cold in Minneapolis during the winter, do you all think you will be able to stand it?

Right now the temperature there is -9 F (-22 C), without even counting the windchill!

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zxcv
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Post by zxcv » Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:03 am

Oh my. Now I remember why I (almost) only applied to schools in California.

VT
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Post by VT » Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:16 pm

Any other acceptances from Cornell??

VT
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Post by VT » Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:17 pm

vicente, I live in IN!
Last edited by VT on Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

VT
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Post by VT » Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:11 pm

:cry:
Last edited by VT on Sun Jan 27, 2008 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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butsurigakusha
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Post by butsurigakusha » Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:40 pm

that's weird that they changed the deadline. But the department website still says Dec 15 for the deadline. So I wonder if anyone besides those who have already applied were able to see the new deadline.

@ VT
Are you just guessing that they only got 200 applicants, or do you know that and are guessing that that is the reason they extended the deadline?

VT
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Post by VT » Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:43 pm

jut my guestimation, I know nothing for sure!

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butsurigakusha
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Post by butsurigakusha » Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:46 pm

My guess would be that the UCSD physics department just is really not on top of things, and they haven't even started reviewing applications yet, so they decided to go ahead and extend the deadline.

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zxcv
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Post by zxcv » Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:03 pm

I'm pretty sure they are, in fact, reviewing applications because they wrote me last week to tell me that mine was incomplete (missing physics GRE due to an ETS mix-up).

I think the application website is wrong, not the department website (the graduate studies dept has the same date). Obviously the department can start reading applications whenever it wants so if you followed the deadline in the online application that was at your own risk.

cancelled20080417
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Post by cancelled20080417 » Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:11 pm

I am not sure, why they would suddenly change the deadline on the application form regardless of whether they start reveiwing applications or not!!

What else could be the purpose of changing the deadline on the application? Why would they want to wast their time changing the deadline that has already past? why!
I am sure VT's guess is correct! They did not find enough students this year!

hchemist
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Post by hchemist » Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:53 pm

I go to UCSD. So I can say this. Welcome to the chaotic world of UCSD. And Fasten your sit belt, cuz you're riding on the fastest department in La Jolla, CA.

cancelled20080417
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Post by cancelled20080417 » Sun Jan 20, 2008 5:12 pm

hchemist! No offense but your above post, neither it makes any complete sense nor sounds any funny!!

I am lost in figuring out the meaning behind your post, and I would appreciate if you could convey what you exactly meant! :?

cancelled20080417
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Post by cancelled20080417 » Sun Jan 20, 2008 5:16 pm

I tried to laugh, but there was a fren sitting beside me and she told me there was not anything funny about your post!Then, I immediately stoppped laughing and tried to figure out the meaning, but does not make any sense!
so its little hazy, y'know!

grinjones
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Post by grinjones » Sun Jan 20, 2008 5:38 pm

RG,

dude...relax man.

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zxcv
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Post by zxcv » Sun Jan 20, 2008 6:23 pm

Actually, that form has said January 16 since before I applied. I wrote one of my professors on Dec 13 to clarify that I was pretty sure the deadline was in fact Dec 15.

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quizivex
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Post by quizivex » Sun Jan 20, 2008 6:57 pm

Congrats on the acceptances...

It must be nice that you can start relaxing now that you have at least one nice choice with probably more to come. However, I doubt you guys were actually concerned, like I am, about the possibility of being rejected from everywhere. Whenever grad schools post admission statistics, they never seem unreachable at all. Yet it seems to me that everyone who does get admitted is a perfect machine with astonishing numbers, research accomplishments and awards.

Maxwells_Demon
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Post by Maxwells_Demon » Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:07 pm

quizivex,

Your PGRE is 990! Shoot, I wish I had that :-)

-Maxwell's Demon

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quizivex
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Post by quizivex » Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:32 pm

You haven't taken it yet, right?? You can do it too! 8)

Sorry, I shouldn't have written the last post... But still I'm a bit worried. I'm very satisfied with my score, though there's a whole lot of 990's out there, 3%, far more than any other score, and according to many posts here, nobody cares about the PGRE anymore... so I'm just worried that a couple of these other things such as,

- First author publications
- Near perfect GPA from a leading school
- "underrepresented minority" status
- A's in 5 graduate classes
- prestigeous awards
- "speaking at a conference" (whatever that means)
- connections
- recommendations from influential people
- random spectacular accomplishments

none of which I have, might be necessary for admission to the places I'm hoping to go. I doubt I or anyone else on the forum will be rejected from everywhere, but since I haven't applied to any safety schools, the non-negligible chance of that happening to me has me a bit nervous... oh well...

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butsurigakusha
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Post by butsurigakusha » Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:42 pm

I know just what you mean. Getting 990 isn't nearly what I expected it to be. I just hope it will make me slightly more attractive to admissions committees. It certainly hasn't made me more attractive to the opposite sex.

I don't have any of those things either except for speaking at a conference.

I just hope I can get in to UCSD. Then when I get rejected by all the other schools, I won't have to make the painful decision of choosing between prestigious school in crappy location vs. less prestigious school in a great location. I think I would be okay with spending the next 6 years in La Jolla.

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twistor
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Post by twistor » Mon Jan 21, 2008 12:27 am

I understand your problem, quizivex.

Physics students and profesionals are among the smartest people in the world. Your PGRE score puts you in the top 3% of all the intelligent people taking the physics GRE. It is quite an accomplishment, BUT it is not enough to guaruntee admissions.

I'm guessing that you think you should have a better shot with such a high score. Though I don't believe the physics GRE is particularly useful I think that you should have a much better odds even without all the other things you listed. But as more and more highly qualified individuals apply to the same slots the opposite is bound to happen. If you have 100 identical candidates how do you choose among them? It's going to be pretty much random, and that's what hurts the most...

maxwell200
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Post by maxwell200 » Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:12 am

To quizivex,

I think seeing the *perfect people* on this forum can give basically anyone looking at top 10 schools heart palcipations. However, as far as g really good schools that go that ar enot quite *elite* like Harvard, Princeton, Caltech or MIT go, there seems to be evidence there is hope for you at least, though who knows about anyone else.

I mean, I was told by the grad admissions committiees for 3 schools I looked at, UMinnesota, UWisconsin-Madison and Johns Hopkins, that the AVERAGE undergrad gpa for students admitted last year was 3.4, 3.59 and 3.65, respectively. Theoretically, if it was much higher, like 3.9 or so, I can't imagine why they would not just come out and say it so they can show off their status. The average subject gre score for these schools was in the 730 to 750 range, and that probably includes internationals who always skew the results. And even here, students have said they were given offers from the likes of Michigan, Yale or even UC Berkeley with physics gre socres of 3-% or lower. Clearly, it is false that *only* 3.9+, 900+ students apply to schools of this caliber. As far as research goes, well we all knew going into it we were in trouble if we did not have strong solid researhc experience by now. I don't have a clue if my research is strong enough in fact.

A couple things that skew the average profile here are that the type of students for whom a school like Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin or Johns Hopkins is a "safety" school are more likely to post than say, someone for whom these schools are a match or even a reach. Also, we do seem to get many students from, say, tiny liberal arts schools with 2000 to 4000 students or unknown state schools, or for various reasons need a 3.8 or higher to get looked at by PhD programs at all. This probably skews the profiles even more so than they already were for this forum. It was even worse last year; out of every 10 or so students who were admitted to good schools who posted here, at least 8 were 4.0, 900 gre students with research experience with Nobel Prize nominees or something ridiculous.

As far as that gre score of yours goes, well, in my shcools we get about 50 phsyics majors a year who graduate, and over the past 10 years we've had a grand total of 3 students who've ever even gotten above 800, only 1 who got above 900. So I do suspect someone with your score forma state school will be considered an impressive rarity.

I know you've said it before, but are you *only* applying to 10 ten schools? Maybe you have good resaon to be seating right now if you did, but maybe not. Who knows I guess.

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zxcv
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Post by zxcv » Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:29 am

I just hope having done the physics REU at UCSD gives me a decent chance there. La Jolla is a decent place, though it's both too far from temperate forests than would be ideal and also one definitely needs a car there, which is unfortunate.

BTW, I'm definitely not one of those "perfect people." Still, I feel I have nothing to be ashamed of (850 physics GRE, 3.8/3.9 general/physics GPA from top liberal arts college).

maxwell200
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Post by maxwell200 » Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:39 am

And lastly, you mentioned something about many undergrads applying to grad scholls having taken a bunch of grad level physics classes and aced them all. That was puzzling; I have never really heard of any undergrads taking grad classes in physics unless they come from a type of school where their undergrad cirriculum doesn't cover all of a series like quantum or e/m so that have to finish it as a grad student. Maybe you were being facetious with that part? I don't know.

hchemist
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Post by hchemist » Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:50 am

RG: Why do you think I was trying to be funny? You don't have to laugh after reading my post! As for not being able to write proper English, I can only apologize.

goodfromfar
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Post by goodfromfar » Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:58 am

plenty of undergrads take grad level classes at my university. We call them "overachievers"

Seriously though, there are many classes that are combined undergrad/grad. Both levels of students are in the lecture, but the graduate students have more difficult assignments. There are also grad only classes that undergraduates can take with permission of the department chair. I have never taken one (see above), but know many people who have and definitely had a love/hate relationship with the challenge.

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butsurigakusha
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Post by butsurigakusha » Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:01 am

@hchemist

I too am curious about your post, since I applied to UCSD. Could you elaborate a bit? You make their physics department sound like like a thrill ride, which kind of goes against my usual perception of physics departments.

maxwell200
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Post by maxwell200 » Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:15 am

I guess that makes your school unique in that regard; even the best of the best where I go, those destined for MIT, Caltech, or possbily even some physics school in india or China, don't even really consider taking graduate level physics classes. In fact, i never even met an undergrad student here who bothered trying to fit in a grad level physics course. And I also doubt you see that many students trying to take grad level physics classes at similarly competivie state or science schools unless they're child prodigies; just finishing an undergrad cirrriculum is plenty demanding even for top students.

And if it's really not intensive enough, say you find one of those rare students for whom phsycis in general is a cakewalk, they simply just chose another major, often pure math-these are usually theoretical math type people who consider computationla domianted physics work too simplistic for their liking. Maybe our program is just one of those where the intnesity is such that undergrads have a jam packed load as it is, should they expect to finish in 4 years, without trying to fit in grad level physics classes. So as I previously noted, maybe the trend is only really at less intensive schools where grad level classes are needed to get a complete physics education so to speak-which is a non-issue where I go.

calphys
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Post by calphys » Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:32 am

Undergrads taking grad classes is pretty common at my school. It's definitely not the norm or anything, but since we don't offer GR, QFT, or solid state classes at the undergrad level, any of us that want to take them have to enroll in the grad classes.

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quizivex
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Post by quizivex » Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:13 am

@ maxwell 200 and others

Yea I'm not suggesting that a high percentage of undergrads take grad classes or that it's expected of top applicants... That's not the case, but it is just one of the things students sometimes do to get noticed... or to supplement a deficient curriculum or take something different. Past applicants on the forum have mentioned taking grad classes.

A large program such as OSU I would expect to have a large number of physics courses with ample elective choices. Thus you could always find ways to keep your hands full with undergrad courses. But at my program, for instance, which is quite tiny, we have a total of 14 upper level physics courses. This isn't bad, since everything we need to know as an undergrad is covered (except we do'nt have stat mech or a 2nd semester quantum).

However, 14 courses over the final 6 semesters, you'd only be taking an average of 2.3 serious courses per term, which just doesn't feel rigorous enough. I filled the space by double majoring in math and in most cases I liked the math classes more than the physics ones. But if I didn't like math, I probably would've tried to squeeze a few grad classes in. Otherwise I wouldn't have felt like I was learning or accomplishing enough.

I applied to 5 top 5 schools (hehe) and one decent school (top 20) I hoped would count as a safety, but it's still ivy and I don't know if I can count on it or not...

hchemist
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Post by hchemist » Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:46 am

Okay, so here is what I really wanted to say. Someone pointed out the fact the UCSD has changed their deadline while the department website doesn't indicate such change. While such thing could happen, it just happens a lot with UCSD department. I've made three attempt to talk to graduate student adviser at the department. Every time of my visit, she wasn't there. No one knows where she went. At my last attempt, I've waited an hour. Another example, I'm taking a class which needs department's consent. I've took this class twice already in the past. I've completed all the paper work and submitted a month ago. Now I'm at the second week of the quarter, but the class hasn't been added. If adding a class takes a month, I would hardly trust their way of handling rather complicated graduate application packages. There are more horrible stories that circulates through among us but I rather not share anymore. After all, it is still my school. Now, please, take my story only lightly. I only wish you will come here to see it for yourself. :wink:

Maxwells_Demon
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Post by Maxwells_Demon » Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:54 am

I'm physics/math too, quizivex.

I was told by the graduate advisor at my University that if I stayed a 5th year and took a few grad courses and made sure I got an A in them, then that would help me for grad apps. But I won't stay another year just for that, since my coarse load is already full.

-Maxwell's Demon

geomar
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Post by geomar » Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:59 am

Yup, here grad classes is pretty common, especially among people going to grad school. Many (I think all) students going to grad school in HEP theory take QFT in their senior year (a few as juniors).

And there are some kids coming in as freshman that have taken college level physics, are IphO medalists or at least did physics Olympiad training in their respective country (mostly international on the latter two). They have no problem skipping an introductory year of physics and getting to grad classes really early.

I also double majored in math, but still the physics major here is so short that you can easily finish in 3 years and take some grad classes on top of that.
1st year - intro physics
2nd year - intermediate E&M, mechanics and labs
3rd year - quantum, statmech, labs
4th year - basically grad classes

There is certainly no deficiency in our undergrad curriculum, but I think the general thought is: If you are interested in it, take it. Basically, Everyone here is very self-motivated and very intelligent.

Oh, and Calphys, we do have an undergrad solid state course (which is pretty solid ...no pun intended). = )

Quizivex, don't worry too much. I was worried about my verbal score being rather low for domestic students at top end schools (I think Harvard's total average is 682 and cornells 630 on gschoolshopper) and even more worried when I saw the rest of the 4.0/990/800/700+ people on this board (of which i believe you are one) applying. I know you probably can't help worrying, but try to not to.

cancelled20080417
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Post by cancelled20080417 » Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:38 am

US intro physics( 1 yr) is 11 th grade physics in the country I came from! We do not need to be an Olympiad to master Young and Freedman in 11th grade( every one does so). special relativity, intro thermo/stat, all Eugene Hetch optics is covered in 12th grade physics curriculum.
so it is pretty insane, may be not.
I guess MIT uses Young and Freedman if I am not mistaken!

cancelled20080417
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Post by cancelled20080417 » Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:46 am

hchemist:
Like I said, I was not quite sure about the meaning of ur sentence, and thought may be it shud be somethig funny and started laughing( apparently for no reason and a clear eg that I am lil stupid) then my fren( from the US) who was sitting beside me told me that there was not anything funny on that sentence, so I stopped laughing!!
so its my bad! :oops:

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twistor
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Post by twistor » Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:22 am

In fact, i never even met an undergrad student here who bothered trying to fit in a grad level physics course. And I also doubt you see that many students trying to take grad level physics classes at similarly competivie state or science schools unless they're child prodigies; just finishing an undergrad cirrriculum is plenty demanding even for top students.
I once tried to do this. In face there was a whole thread about it at one time. I chose not to not because of the difficulty of the curriculum (it was graduate level Electrodyamics taught using Jackson) but because the instructor was terrible. I can read the book myself. I don't need someone to read it to me. At my school there are no restrictions for undergraduates taking graduate classes as long as you have the prerequisites. The graduate classes never fill up anyway. I would've gotten credit for it as a physics elective.

VT
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Post by VT » Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:04 pm

Although outdated 2006), the following list will give us a rough idea of ranking of Universities in Condensed Matter Physics in general ( both theory and exp). This ranking is acc to US News and World Report!
( this ranking makes sense to me coz this was how I had ranked programs based on my preferances after I went through each of their research descriptions)

1 U Illinois–UC
2 Cornell
3 Harvard
4 MIT
5 Stanford
6 UC Santa Barbara
7 UC Berkeley
8 Princeton
9 U Chicago
10 Cal Tech
11 UC San Diego
12 Pennsylvania State
13 U Maryland–CP
14 Yale
15 Columbia
16 U Pennsylvania
17 Ohio State
18 U Minnesota
19 U Michigan–AA
20 U Texas–Austin
21 Rutgers


I was foolish enough not to have applied to Penn state and U penn!

cancelled20080417
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Post by cancelled20080417 » Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:11 pm

Thanks VT!
I was looking for this list for all the time and had never found it. Thanks for posting it here on this thread!!
appreciate it!

The ranking is pretty good and concur with what I had speculated too.

Maxwells_Demon
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Post by Maxwells_Demon » Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:17 pm

Would the ranking be similar for applied physics? From what I've found, it is rather similar...

-Maxwell's Demon

woooster
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FALL 2008 acceptances

Post by woooster » Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:42 pm

@maxwell 200

"I guess that makes your school unique in that regard; even the best of the best where I go, those destined for MIT, Caltech, or possbily even some physics school in india or China, don't even really consider taking graduate level physics classes."

what do u mean by that? Do u mean u met people from mit, caltech, china, india, or u went to universities there? people from mit, princeton have to do honor thesis to graduate. So, in the case of theory student, that means they have to learn QFT somehow somewhere to write the thesis. It's normal for them to take the class as an undergrad.

Taking grad classes is quite normal for the potential theory student, usually in their last year. And it's not really a big deal. Grad classes trends to be easier in term of grading anyway. It only looks hard in the beginning. I guess it's hard for someone who has never taken one and in that kind of environment imagine taking grad class.

I don't think people should not worry about if u have taken it or now, it's really not a big deal. Admission people don't care, they know grading means nothing in grad classes. But I did feel good filling out the 4 advanced physics courses taken form from harvard application. Most people who have taken grad courses are applying to theory, and that's why theory applicants are competitive. So, there will be some kids got rejected, even they have taken grad classes.
Last edited by woooster on Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

maxwell200
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Post by maxwell200 » Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:45 pm

To Wooster,

I menat the students from my undergrad who go on to schools like MIT, Caltech, Princeton or some school in India/China, just for clarification. Not undergrads at these schools-that i wouldn't know. Though I would doubt they need to put grad level classes int heir cirriculum if their undergrad is trully intensive enough.

woooster
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FALL 2008 acceptances

Post by woooster » Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:01 pm

Yeah, that's totally true. That was exactly my point. Undergrad grading is harder. Also, admission mostly look for research if u apply to exp. Most people that I know, who got into the top program, also didn't take grad classes, but they have a lot research. And theory is hard to get into the top one.

VT
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Post by VT » Mon Jan 21, 2008 7:20 pm

Hey nef7j,
did you hear anything back from U Minn,(Minneapolis) after the first email?
if you do not mind, can you plz share any info u may have received from them after the first email! I have not heard anything after that email!
Thanx.

nef7j
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Post by nef7j » Mon Jan 21, 2008 7:34 pm

VT,
I have not yet heard anything from Minnesota after I sent my diversity statement.


I have now also gotten an email from a prof at Northwestern asking to talk to me about my application. Scary?

VT
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Post by VT » Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:13 pm

good luck !


What is your field of interest? Is it condensed matter or something else!

nef7j
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Post by nef7j » Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:15 pm

I want to do Experimental High Energy/Astroparticle 8)



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