2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

  • 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.

csi2019
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:56 pm

2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by csi2019 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 6:07 pm

This is the most useful resource PhysicsGRE has to offer. If you have used this information in the past or are currently using it to help decide upon schools, I highly suggest you help out and post your own profile once you have applied to schools. Future members of this forum will find it very useful! Don't be shy!

Copy and paste the template below in your reply to keep the formatting.

Note from moderator: Profile threads are best when they only have profiles. Please avoid making other posts on this thread. If you wish to discuss profiles, it is helpful to have a separate "profile discussion thread", as was done in some past years. Thanks.

______________________________________________
Undergrad Institution: (School or type of school, such as big state, lib arts, ivy, technical, foreign (what country?)... Overall Reputation in Physics?)
Major(s):
Minor(s):
GPA in Major:
Overall GPA:
Length of Degree: (Are you graduating after 3, 4, or 5 years?)
Position in Class: (No numbers needed, but are you top? near top? average? struggling?)
Type of Student: (Domestic/International, male/female, minority?)

GRE Scores : (revised or old version?)
Q:
V:
W:
P:


TOEFL: (R: , L: , S: , W: )


Research Experience: (At your school or elsewhere? What field? How much time? Any publications (Mth author out of N?) or conference talks etc...)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: (Within your school or outside?)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:

School - Department - Research Interest (Feb. 28: WILL ATTEND for Ph.D. Accepted via website/email + $Xk Fellowship + $XXk/X month TA)
School - Department - Research Interest (Feb. 14: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website/email + $Xk Fellowship + $XXk/X month TA)
School - Department - Research Interest (Feb. 23: Rejected via website/email)

rjones21
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:47 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by rjones21 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:05 pm

Undergrad Institution: Top 20 Liberal Arts College
Major(s): Math and Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: Math (3.89) Physics (4.00)
Overall GPA: 3.90
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: Top 5% for overall GPA
Type of Student: Domestic White Male

GRE Scores :
Q: 170
V: 167
W: 5.0
P: September: 830 (72%) October: 910 (85%)


TOEFL: (R: , L: , S: , W: )


Research Experience: 1 year math research, 2 REUs. Advisers all said they would write strong recommendations for me. Working on senior thesis and have done research during the academic year for most of college.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Some departmental awards in math and physics

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA and tutoring for 3 years

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Even though I went to a liberal arts college I have 2 semesters quantum, 2 semesters EM, stat mech, 2 semesters mechanics, and tons of electives (mathematical physics, cosmology, gr, differential geometry, condensed matter...)

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where: All for Computational Cosmology/High Energy Experimental

UIUC
MIT
Michigan
Minnesota lol wut
UChicago
UPenn
Ohio State
Indiana withdrawn
Stony Brook withdrawn
Syracuse withdrawn
Last edited by rjones21 on Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:02 am, edited 9 times in total.

geekusprimus
Posts: 52
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:10 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by geekusprimus » Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:18 pm

Undergrad Institution: Large private university, top 75, physics reputation meh
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Math, Computer Science
GPA in Major: 3.98/4.0
Overall GPA: 3.96/4.0
Length of Degree: 4.5 years
Position in Class: Probably near top
Type of Student: Domestic male

GRE Scores :
Q: 166 (89%)
V: 166 (97%)
W: 4.0 (57%)
P: 870 (79%)



Research Experience: Roughly two years of research in computational relativistic astrophysics, probably a paper for submission before graduation. One full summer working at a national lab doing computational cosmology. A few presentations at regional APS conferences and division conferences. Minor author on an exoplanets paper because of a research project in an astronomy class I took from a prominent planetary scientist.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Full academic scholarship, presentation award at regional conference, anticipated graduation from honors program, made the dean's list most semesters.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Two years as a TA, two years as a research assistant

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Erm... I taught myself GR? No? I play the trumpet? Yeah, nothing here that would interest a graduate committee.

Special Bonus Points: Completed a year of graduate coursework in numerical methods, currently taking graduate-level mathematical physics classes. Drafting a paper with a prominent supernova scientist. My thesis advisor is well-connected and well-respected in numerical relativity.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Extra semester was because of odd timing for entering school. Used extra time to finish a second minor, honors program, and take graduate coursework.

Applying to Where:

Reach:
Penn State - Physics, Ph.D. - Numerical relativity - Accepted via email 2/20/20 + $22.8k fall/winter TA + $3k fellowship + $4k summer RA/TA + $1k scholarship pending NSF fellowship application - Will Attend

Match:
UC Santa Cruz - Astrophysics, Ph.D - High energy astrophysics - Rejected 3/23/20
Georgia Tech - Physics, Ph.D - Numerical relativity - Unofficially accepted via email 2/4/20 + $28k TA, official 2/13/20

Safety:
Brigham Young University - Physics, M.S. - Numerical relativity - Accepted via email 2/13/20, funding info forthcoming
Rochester Institute of Technology - Astrophysical Sciences and Technology, Ph.D - Numerical relativity - Accepted via email 2/18/20 + $20k stipend + $6.7k summer term RA

It's a pretty short list of schools, which is admittedly risky, but my interests are pretty specific, so it limits my options a lot.

Update, 2/4/20: I'm excited to get in somewhere! That's 2/2 right now, which I'm sure will change, but at least I won't be homeless in the fall!

Update, 2/20/20: I'm 4/4! I'm pretty sure UCSC will reject me; the application was a little weird, and I didn't have a good feeling about what I sent in. It doesn't matter much, though. Both Penn State and Georgia Tech are closer to my actual interests, and I got into both of them.

Update, 3/23/20: Called it! Man, UCSC sure took their sweet time rejecting me. Penn State and Georgia Tech were my top choices, though, so I can't complain too loudly.

Update, 3/28/20: I think Penn State’s the one! I was really impressed by the faculty I got to talk to, and I feel comfortable with the idea of spending the next few years there. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to visit the school, but a lot of people, including some trusted friends, told me it’s a great place to live and work.

Some final thoughts:
A lot of us this year had to make decisions without ever seeing the schools. Because of that, it was really important to talk with everybody I could, including faculty, current students, former students, and people who live(d) in the community. Some schools went above and beyond to help admitted students get a better perspective on the institutions even though they couldn’t visit, and I really appreciated that.
Regarding the application process, here are my recommendations for future applicants:
  • Research is important, but it’s more important that you have quality research than it is to have research that fits the field you’re applying to. The only school I applied to that matched my undergraduate research is the only institution that rejected me.
  • Do good work for your undergraduate research mentors so that you can get quality LORs. Try to do internships, REUs, or summer schools, even if it’s not in your primary area of research. LORs from professors who had you in class are okay, but the best ones will come from people who can vouch for you as a scientist, not just as a student.
  • Apply to a wide variety of schools. When I look around at my fellow applicants, I realize that I played it really safe. If I had to do it again, I would probably have added Caltech and Princeton to my list. I don’t think I would have gotten into either of them, but now I’ll never know.
  • The PGRE is important, important enough that you should put a concerted effort into it, but not getting a 900+ isn’t the end of the world.
  • Contact potential PIs early. I didn’t do this, and I ended up wasting a lot of time and energy applying to (and exploring after being admitted) a school where both my prospective advisors are leaving. Just a simple message saying, “Hey, I was interested in your research, so I was thinking of applying to your school. Do you anticipate needing more grad students in the next year or two?” would have done the trick.
Last edited by geekusprimus on Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:33 pm, edited 26 times in total.

ES
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:10 am

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by ES » Sat Sep 28, 2019 4:18 pm

Undergrad Institution: international program at Nagoya University (one of the top 5 or so in Japan with a very high reputation in physics)
Major(s): physics
Overall GPA: 3.44, lots of B's in labs and social science courses. I have A's in most of my physics courses tho(aside from the labs).
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: we are 5 in class. I think I'm 3rd so, average position?
Type of Student: International male
GRE Scores :
Q: 169 (95%)
V: 153 (60%)
W: 4 (57%)
P: 870 (79%)

IELTS: 7.5 (Reading: 8, Listening: 8.5, Writing: 6.5, Speaking: 7)

Research Experience:
Unfortunately, we don't have opportunities to do research before 4th year. I tried to do stuff tho.
1. I joined the particle physics theory group last semester. I will do my graduation thesis there. The topic is yet undecided but hopefully it would be something about 2 dimensional CFT which is a topic I'm currently reading about.
2. I had a weekly seminar with my math prof(also my recommender) during my second year where we tried to understand a seminal paper on mathematical diffraction and measure theory.
3. Sometimes I read research papers and write reports about them for fun.(does this count as research experience?)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
I am supported by two merit-based scholarships. one from my university and the other from a foundation in my country.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
I was ranked 7th and 3rd in the 1st and 2nd Egyptian physics olympiad and represented the country in the international physics olympiad in 2016. this was in high school tho.

Special Bonus Points:
my thesis advisor is a known prof in HEP phenomenology and I expect a strong recommendation from him. My other two recommenders really like me so I'm expecting strong letters from them as well.
One of my recommenders teaches unofficial courses outside of uni courses. I took his courses on functional analysis, probability, group theory and representations, differential geometry.
I'm taking qft seminars in my research group since the second semester of my 3rd year.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where: all for high energy theory
Stony Brook University
Johns Hopkins University
Cornell University (rejected via email on Feb 12)
University of Tokyo
Bonn-Cologne Graduate School of Physics and Astronomy (Rejected from the Honor Branch with stipend on Feb 6th. waiting to hear from them about the regular admission)
Nagoya University
Perimeter Institute
University of Colorado-Boulder (rejected on Feb 18 via email to check website)
McGill University
University of Kentucky
ICTP

Update(18/2): I heard that stony brook finished sending their acceptance offers. This means that I was rejected by half the schools I applied to. Things are getting gloomy.

Update(29/2): Since I am not doing well with my US applications, I decided to apply to more programs. so far only applied to ICTP but will probably add more this month. :(
Last edited by ES on Sat Feb 29, 2020 11:45 pm, edited 8 times in total.

GradschoolHopeful
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:46 am

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by GradschoolHopeful » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:10 pm

______________________________________________
Undergrad Institution: Large State School, good reputation in physics
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Mathematics, Astrophysics
GPA in Major: 4.00
Overall GPA: 4.00
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: near top
Type of Student: Domestic male

GRE Scores : (revised or old version?)
Q: 170 (94%)
V: 166 (97%)
W: 4.5 (81%)
P: 840 (74%)



Research Experience: 1 REU in space plasmas. Almost 1 year at my home institute in nuclear physics instrumentation. All of my research experience was writing software for data analysis. 6 conference presentations with my name on them and a second author paper in progress which should be submitted before application deadlines.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list all semester and standard academic scholarship

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Nothing other than research

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Grad class on numerical analysis. I have a ton of coursework in upper division math and physics

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: My advisor has connections at MIT.

Applying to Where: Most in Nuclear or Particle Experiment, I'll only mention those that are in other areas.

MIT - Physics - Rejected
Princeton - Physics - Gravitation-Th - Rejected
Harvard - Physics - Rejected
Stanford - Physics - Rejected
Columbia - Physics
University of Illinois Urbana Champaign - Physics - Accepted
Michigan State - Physics - Accepted
University of Arizona - Physics - Nuclear and Particle-Th - Accepted
Washington - Physics - Accepted
University of Texas: Austin - Physics

Boulder - Astrophysics - Instrumentation - Rejected
Last edited by GradschoolHopeful on Thu Feb 20, 2020 3:54 pm, edited 10 times in total.

RolandoR
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:33 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by RolandoR » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:21 pm

Undergrad Institution: Top 10 Latinoamerica School
Major(s): Physics
Overall GPA: 3.8/4
Length of Degree: 5 years
Position in Class: Near top
Type of Student: International

GRE Scores :
Q: 166 (89%)
V: 153 (60%)
W: 3.5 (39%) :?
P: 970 (93%) Sept 2019


TOEFL: 106 (R: 28, L: 29, S: 25, W: 24)


Research Experience: 1 year in CMT, 1 year in QO

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: MSc Fellowship, Useqip scholarship, Top scorer in Latinoamerica physics exam

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA of upper-division physics courses

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Took grad Quantum Mechanics, Quantum Field Theory, Stat Mech, and Quantum Info

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where: Condensed Matter Theory (CMT) & Quantum Information (QI)

Beyond:
Caltech -
Stanford -
UC Santa Barbara -
Illinois Urb-Champ -
U Chicago -
UC Berkeley -

Reach:
Colorado Boulder -
UC San Diego -
UC Los Angeles -
Last edited by RolandoR on Tue Dec 24, 2019 3:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.

ztruwk
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:20 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by ztruwk » Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:41 pm

Undergrad Institution: US private school, top 40 in physics
Major(s): Physics, Film
GPA in Major: 3.5, 3.9
Overall GPA: 3.7
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Above average
Type of Student: white domestic female

GRE Scores :
Q: 165 (86%)
V: 163 (93%)
W: 5 (92%)
P: 830 (72%)

Research Experience:
No undergrad research, one year post-bac experimental axion research. 7 months half-time, 6 months full-time. One past poster presentation, will have a future conference poster and future conference talk on my CV, and possibly a first-author publication in preparation.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Sigma Pi Sigma

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Physics tutor

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I went through a top arts program while also doing well in a physics major and was fairly accomplished in that (film festivals, awards, hundreds of hours of work experience), so unconventional backgrounds can sometimes be a plus, or a minus, who knows. Also the reason I did not do undergrad research.

Special Bonus Points: In a well-known research collaboration in the axion world, also woman applying for HET...?

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
- Have been working through textbooks and online courses in particle physics, group theory, and QFT
- Worked at a science education non-profit for ~10 months post grad
- I took like no formal math classes after calc/lin alg, and am applying for theory, so that's not great lol

Applying to Where:
(for all I've expressed an interest in theoretical particle physics, cosmology, or quantum information, all totally reaches, fingers crossed baby!)

Perimeter (PSI) (early decision) - Accepted Dec. 12, will attend!!!
UCLA
Berkeley
UCSD
Stanford
NYU
Columbia
Boulder
UWash

Edit: No longer applying to any others above this year
Last edited by ztruwk on Thu Dec 12, 2019 4:57 pm, edited 9 times in total.

Dirac506
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2019 2:40 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by Dirac506 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:11 pm

______________________________________________
Undergrad Institution: Top School in my country, South America
Major(s): Physics
GPA in Major: 9.2/10
Overall GPA:9.3/10
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Top of my class
Type of Student: International Male

Q: 160
V: 157
W: 4.0
P: 700


TOEFL: (R: 29 , L: 28 , S: 28 , W: 26)


Research Experience:

1. Undergraduate Research Assistant at a Nuclear Research Center, mainly programmed detector simulation.

2. Graduate Research Assistant at a Condensed Matter Center, doing CMT near publishing as first author.


Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Graduated with honors.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Appointed Lecturer at my university after graduation. I've lectured for entry level courses which engineers take but also lectured for an important course that physics majors take.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

I've participated in many international workshops/activities. Some of those events had tests in which I performed well.

I've taken many maths courses so have a strong mathematical background.

Special Bonus Points:

I've taken many CMT grad courses during my year after graduating.

Recommendation letter from a very well known physicist.


Applying to Where: (I won't use reach/safety because I feel everything is a reach. The whole safety term seems sort of arrogant in my opinion.)

Perimeter Scholars International (Early Decision) (Will Attend) Accepted Dec. 10th
LMU, Munich (Mathematical Physics) - Got Accepted in July
ICTP-Trieste
Last edited by Dirac506 on Thu Dec 12, 2019 11:37 am, edited 3 times in total.

Truth_Seeker
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:05 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by Truth_Seeker » Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:22 pm

Undergrad Institution: Big state school, good physics program
Major(s): Aerospace Engineering and Physics double
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: ~3.7
Overall GPA: ~3.6
Length of Degree: 5 years
Position in Class: mid-top to top
Type of Student: White Latino male

GRE Scores :
Q: 161 (76%)
V: 158 (80%)
W: 5 (92%)
P: 700 (48%) (October 2019)


Research Experience:
3 semesters doing research with one professor, 1 summer doing research with another, both at my own university. Nothing publishable or remarkable but you know that's going on my resume.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Two physics scholarships, one big one small.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: None

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Nothing really

Special Bonus Points: Solid letters (I think at least lol). My GPA is back-stacked; all A's in upper level physics courses. i.e. upward trend.

Applying to Where: Interest expressed toward quantum gravity (QG) or high energy theory if department does not explicitly indicate interest in QG. All physics departments.

Big bois:
University of Maryland, College Park - Feb. 28: REJECTED for Ph.D via website
Johns Hopkins University - March 10: REJECTED for Ph.D via email
University of Wisconsin, Madison - Jan. 29: REJECTED for Ph.D via email
Penn State - Feb. 21: Admissions representative in CME reached out for recruitment. I declined because I'm set on QG. :( March 16: REJECTED for Ph.D via email
UC Davis - Feb. 26: REJECTED for Ph.D via email

Medium bois:
University of Florida -
Arizona State University -
UNC Chapel Hill -
Virginia Tech -

Smol bois:
College of William and Mary - Feb. 14: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email
Louisiana State University -
Oregon State University - Jan. 22: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email

Expectations: LOW. I will be so happy to get into 1 school 8) EDIT: Ayyyy not going 0/12!!
Wish me luck bois
Last edited by Truth_Seeker on Mon Mar 16, 2020 12:43 pm, edited 15 times in total.

Redmike06
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:22 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by Redmike06 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:50 pm

Undergrad Institution: Big midwest state school. Not known for physics, Astronomy on rise.
Major(s): Engineering Physics-Aerospace Systems (Interdisciplinary Aerospace Engineering and Physics Degree)
Minor(s): Astronomy
GPA in Major: 3.74 Engineering
Overall GPA: 3.77 at University , 4.0 at Community College. 3.83 Cumulative
Length of Degree: 4 years at university, 1 year at community college
Position in Class: Top of class in aerospace and physics
Type of Student: Domestic, 1st generation college, Mexican Male

GRE Scores : I am only taking the GRE (lightly studied a week), due to my coursework the time needed to study for the PGRE is a waste of time that I instead spent working on research. I also do not want to attend a university for which this is heavily weighted as I want to be in a progressive, welcoming environment.
Q: 161 (76th Percentile)
V: 160 (86th Percentile)
W: 4.0 (57th Percentile)
P: N/A


Research Experience: 1 year in astronomy. Coauthor on published paper, 1st author on in prep paper (submitting in spring). iPoster at AAS, Talk/Poster at small conference for Midwest, talk at Conference for small expert astronomy collaboration, talk at small general science conference. Additional coauthor paper published for work in aerospace class, chosen for presentation at a large conference.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Received full tuition scholarship award from department senior year, will graduate from school honors program and with departmental honors, likely nomination from my engineering field for top graduating engineer.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for 6 semesters, RA for 1 summer, tutor 1 semester. President of space club that had a few outreach activities. Slightly involved in new outreach club.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: My research advisor is a young rising name in the field and attended 3 of the schools I am applying to and knows and carries weight at several others (will be writing a LOR).

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Obviously I am not a traditional application with my major, which will hurt me in high level physics and astronomy knowledge. However, through my aerospace track, I have had a lot of hands on work(shop work, CAD, etc), real life projects that we could test and gather data on, and a LOT of coding experience(several different softwares and programs for different classes). Hoping my unique perspective on problems comes through and my success in my limited exposure to the astronomy field shows as well.

Applying to Where:
All for astronomy and instrumentation
Top 3:
Yale- Phone Interview 01/28/20 and Rejected 02/06/20
UT Austin
CU Boulder-Rejected 02/05/20

Middle 3:
UMass Amherst- ACCEPTED!!! 02/07/20
Wisconsin-Madison

Safety:
Florida- Accepted 02/18/20
New Mexico State
Last edited by Redmike06 on Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:52 am, edited 5 times in total.

Skulltastic
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:22 am

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by Skulltastic » Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:32 pm

Undergrad Institution: State flagship, top 10 in physics
Major(s):Physics, Astrophysics
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.86
Overall GPA: 3.85
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Top 10%?
Type of Student: Domestic Asian male

GRE Scores : (revised)
Q: 168
V: 163
W: 4
P: 920


TOEFL: N/A


Research Experience: In theoretical astrophysics. Spent ~18 months on numerical simulations of protoplanetary disks, which resulted in one first-authored and one second-authored publication. In Summer 2019, performed simulations of galaxy evolution at another institution, with another paper in prep.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Summer 2019 research was a paid fellowship. Dean's List for 3 semesters, and award from the Physics department for earning a 4.0 GPA in two successive semesters.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Teaching assistant for introductory astronomy course during the fall of my junior year. Two stints as a grader for various physics/astronomy courses.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Have taken 5 graduate courses in physics and astronomy. Two of my recommenders are well-known in the field.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Upward trend in grades---GPA was a 3.7ish in freshman year then 3.9+ in soph/junior.

Applying to Where:

Caltech - Astronomy - Numerical hydro, possibly observation
Princeton - Astrophysical Sciences - Numerical hydro
Harvard - Astronomy - Numerical hydrodynamics
MIT - Physics - Numerical hydro/cosmology
UCSB - Physics - Numerical hydro
UCLA - Physics & Astronomy - Theoretical cosmology
Toronto - Astronomy - Numerical hydro
Columbia - Astronomy - Numerical hydro
Arizona - Astronomy - Numerical hydro, possibly observation
Northwestern - Physics & Astronomy - Numerical Hydro
Yale - Astronomy - Numerical hydro, possibly observation

NSF GRFP - Astronomy and Astrophysics
Hertz Foundation Fellowship - Astrophysics

lastgobestgo
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:38 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by lastgobestgo » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:53 pm

Undergrad Institution: mid-tier US program
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.61
Overall GPA: 3.65
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class:
Type of Student: Domestic white male, dual citizen

GRE Scores :
Q: 167
V: 165
W: 6.0
P: 880 (850 last year)

Research Experience:
  • 6 mo.s research on protein folding (2015)
  • 4 mo.s machine learning search for SUSY in ATLAS data (2016) (presentation)
  • 6 mo.s simulating nanoparticle systems (2017) (paper published)
  • 6 mo.s timing resolution studies at CERN (2018) (presentation, internal doc in drafting)
  • 5 mo.s computational complexity in the string vacua landscape (2019) (paper [ublished)
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's scholarship, scholarship to do research abroad twice

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 2019 summer school for quantum gravity

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Presented at an undergrad research conference, and an APS conference on behalf of CMS, 2nd author on nanoparticle simulation paper, contributor to ~future~ CMS publication, stringy paper published, but probably too late for adcoms to notice

Special Bonus Points:

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I applied in the last cycle without much conviction and got totally rejected. Since then I've done a lot to try and improve (self study, conference presentations, retook pgre, etc) so here's hoping! Heavily influenced by the summer school I'm applying for mathematical physics/QG. For PSI I'm getting a letter from a PSI lecturer/fellow which may help.

Applying to Where: Physics (theory)

PSI (PI/perimeter) - MSc Mar 25: REJECTED
Penn St. - Feb 11: ACCEPTED by email from dept. w/ $31k total package Feb 28: won a university fellowship for 35k total and no teaching in the first year
UCSB - Mar 3: REJECTED
UC Berkeley - Feb 20: REJECTED
UC Davis - Feb 26: REJECTED
UT Austin - Jan 28: Invited to visit week Feb 28: ACCEPTED by email from dept w/ $28,654
Stony brook - Withdrawn

Thoughts as results arrive:
  • 1/28: Relieved to finally hear something! Already better than I did last year
  • 2/11: Woah. PS was by far the best alignment with my interests and I think that played a huge role here.
  • 2/28: Got the upgraded fellowship deal! Can't believe it! After utter rejection last year
  • 3/25: Bummer about PSI, but we all know how competitive that program is, c'est la vie
Last edited by lastgobestgo on Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:17 pm, edited 30 times in total.

s1gexc
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:16 am

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by s1gexc » Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:32 am

Undergrad Institution: State school (roughly 10k students), not well known for physics (only 30 in the program)
Major(s): Physics BS, Mathematics BS, Russian and East European Studies BA
Minor(s): Electronics
GPA in Major: 3.7
Overall GPA: 3.8
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Small department, but top
Type of Student: Domestic white male

GRE Scores : (Rev)
Q: 166 (89%)
V: 163 (93%)
W: 5.0 (92%)
P: 600... Oof.



Research Experience: Three semesters of experimental astrophysics (focused on cosmic ray detection) in which I hand-machined my own SiPM box and soldered a full circuit together (CosmicWatch design; SiPM itself seemed faulty), analyzed data from NMDB Event Search Tool, and built a coincidence detector using NaI detectors to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of coincidence detection methods. Presented twice (once for each of the first two parts), planning third presentation in March for final results.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list every semester, full tuition scholarship (recognized financial situation as well as aptitude), Sigma Pi Sigma, Kappa Mu Epsilon, Alpha Alpha Alpha

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Peer tutor (15 hrs weekly), SPS President (3 hours of tutoring weekly for general education physics classes), events coordinator for our on-campus LGBTQA social club (have organized fundraising events for various causes totaling $2500), student worker with our Honors College (3-5 hrs. weekly, some including tutoring) as well as a participant for every year I've been here. Will graduate with Honors.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Three study abroads, two of which were as a student mentor to other students

Special Bonus Points: Three very solid recommendations from faculty I've worked with for several classes, extracurricular activities, research, etc.
First-generation student (will be the first with an undergraduate degree in my family)
Three majors? Kinda lucky how things lined up to make it happen; will graduate with 170+ credit hours.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:

Boston University - Ph.D Astronomy - REJECTED via email, 3/10/2020
U. Maryland - Ph.D Astronomy - REJECTED via email, 2/21/2020 I think? Somewhat vague email, to be frank.
Penn State University - Ph.D Astronomy - REJECTED via email, 1/28/2020 (cited high applicant pool, my low pGRE, and my lack of publications)
New Mexico State University - Ph.D Astronomy -WITHDRAWN 3/11/2020
U. Chicago - Ph.D Astronomy - REJECTED via email (notification to check account), 2/17/2020
University of New Mexico - Ph.D Physics (concentration in Astrophysics) - ACCEPTED via email/letter, 2/4/2020, full tuition waiver and $17k TA stipend, and a visit for open house in March WILL ATTEND!

There are others, but I'm finalizing at the moment. Focuses are in instrumentation.


Update, 2/11/2020 - I know some of these departments are working through their lists. While I'm unaware of any departments who outright reject candidates as opposed to keeping everyone on a waitlist, my lack of rejections thus far is comforting. The lack of acceptances, however, spooks me a bit. Not sure at what point I should start making arrangements with the school that *has* accepted me so far; especially since I'm visiting their open house in March. It'd be nice to tour some apartments while I'm in town that weekend. Any advice via PM would be appreciated!

Update, 2/28/2020 - Rejections are rolling in; open house date is approaching, and I'm super excited to check it out. Hit me up if you're going too! NMSU said they're doing a faculty search, and that it'd likely be until the end of February for decision letters to start going out, so that's gonna happen any day (but it seems GradCafe has been silent on that front). Boston U is still a hope, but I'm not too upset if they reject me. Remember: scores don't define you, it really is just luck sometimes, and way more folks are rejected for any program than accepted. Don't take a rejection as a global failure. Tell your impostor syndrome to take a hike!

Update, 3/18/2020 - Committed to UNM. My visit went well, and I'm overjoyed at some of the opportunities I will have there with professors! Likely I will use my first two years as an opportunity to try a few research fields out, then I'll start narrowing down. Their program suits me well, and the open house confirmed it. Albuquerque, here I come!
Last edited by s1gexc on Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:04 pm, edited 12 times in total.

lharvey69
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:33 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by lharvey69 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:48 pm

Undergrad Institution: State school, not known for anything
Major(s): Physics BS, Computer Science BS
Minor(s): Math, Creative Writing
GPA in Major: 3.925
Overall GPA: 3.965
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Top
Type of Student: Domestic white male

GRE Scores :
Q: 167 (90%)
V: 161 (92%)
W: 4.5 (85%)
P: 800 (67%)


Research Experience: 3+ years of computational research in biophysics lab, summer internship with pharma company doing biochem (ew, chemistry) research
2 papers- middle author, 2 international conference posters, co-author on accepted grant
Mentored many students in the lab

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Deans List all semesters, Honors College, Won top physics student award for seniors (as a junior)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Physics tutor, Computational Physics TA

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Taught 2 CS classes at local library

Special Bonus Points: I like tacos?

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I like reallllly like tacos?

Applying to Where:

Reach
Johns Hopkins - Biophysics Interview Accepted
UChicago - Biophysics Rejected
UIUC - Biophysics Interview
U Michigan - Biophysics Rejected

Match
Weill Cornell - Biophysics Interview Rejected
UMD - Biophysics Accepted
U Wash - Physics Accepted
Stony Brook - Physics Accepted
CMU - Physics Accepted

Safety
Purdue - Biophysics Interview
U Rochester - Biophysics Interview
U Del - Physics Accepted

Edit notes:
2/25: I am happy to be accepted to most places and plan to go to Johnny's. This process is painful and terrible and I'm happy to never have to do this again. I would have applied to more prestigious schools in total - probably adding Yale, Columbia, and MIT and removing Purdue and CMU. Additionally, I'm very happy to have been rejected from Weill because had I been accepted there I would have went because NYC even though the grad students did not appear to have a life outside of school and just didn't seem like the type of people I'd like to be around for 5-6 years of my life.
Last edited by lharvey69 on Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:00 pm, edited 6 times in total.

rhmancil
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:52 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by rhmancil » Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:17 pm

Undergrad Institution: Best university in physics in my country and one of the best in Latin America
Major(s): Physics
Master: Theoretical Physics
GPA in Major: 3.6 of 4.0 approx
GPA in Master: 4.0 of 4.0
Length of Degree: 4 years undergraduate and 2 years master
Position in Class: 3/15 undergraduate and 1/16 master
Type of Student: Male International

GRE Scores: revised
Q:164
V:155
W:3.0
P:920


TOEFL: 104 (R:29 , L:28 , S:22 , W:25 )


Research Experience: Introducing chemical term in action Einstein-Hilbert (1 semester) and working on very special relativity to modify some lagrangian in quantum field theory in 2-dimensions (1 semester).

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Outstanding student from 2014 to 2016, Exchange scholarship and Fulbright scholarship. Also, Bachelor's in physics with maximum distinction.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Five-times undergraduate teaching assistant and two-times at the graduate level (Classical Mechanics and Advanced Quantum Mechanics, both courses are mandatory for master and Ph.D. Students).

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I have a Fulbright scholarship with fully-funded. One professor of my recommendation letter did his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan and has direct contact with some faculty there. A professor at UCSB has shown interest in me and we are chatting by email. UCSB is my favorite realistic university!

Special Bonus Points: I took General relativity, Quantum field theory I, Advance Quantum mechanics and other graduate courses. Most of them I obtained the highest score in the class, even better than Ph.D. students.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I learned English in the last ten months, for this reason, my general GRE is horrible. At least, I achieved a decent score in TOEFL and Physics GRE. I hope my horrible general GRE does not harsh my possibilities too much.

Applying to Where: hep-th in each university. I'm interested in AdS/CFT in black holes physics (Thermodynamics and entropy, information paradox) and anything related to Quantum gravity.

Super Reach:
Stanford University - Physics, Ph.D. (Feb. 11: REJECTED)
Harvard University - Physics, Ph.D. (Feb. 13: REJECTED)
Princeton University - Physics, Ph.D. (Feb. 19: REJECTED)
UC-Berkeley University (UCB) - Physics, Ph.D. (Feb. 20: REJECTED)
UC-Santa Barbara (UCSB)- Physics, Ph.D. (Jan. 30: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email from POI 32k TA/RA/fellowship)(Feb. 20: WILL ATTEND)
Cornell University - Physics, Ph.D. (Jan. 30: I'll withdraw) (Feb. 14: REJECTED)

Reach:
UC-Los Angeles (UCLA)- Physics, Ph.D. (Jan. 30: I'll withdraw)(Mar.27 : REJECTED)
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (UM)- Physics, Ph.D. (Jan. 30: I'll withdraw) (Feb. 24: REJECTED)
Johns Hopkins University (JH)- Physics, Ph.D. (Jan. 30: I'll withdraw) (Mar. 10: REJECTED)

Match:
UC-Davis (UCD)- Physics, Ph.D. (Jan. 30: I'll withdraw)(Feb. 26: REJECTED)
New York University (NYU) - Physics, Ph.D. (Jan. 30: I'll withdraw)(Mar. 18: REJECTED)
University of Southern California (USC)- Physics, Ph.D.(Jan. 30: I'll withdraw)

Thoughts as results arrive:

2/01: I am really excited about my first acceptance letter. I've heard Santa Barbara is a beautiful place to live. It is wonderful to start with an acceptance letter instead of a rejection one.
2/20: I will attend Santa Barbara. For completeness, I will continue updating the other results.
2/27: I expected to get 2 or 3 acceptance letters, but still many rejections. Well, It is Hep th. Apparently, I'm going to get an acceptance letter from USC (I had a positive interview). Also, I assume an informal rejection from UCLA and JHU. Well, in any case, UCSB was one of my favorite options.
Last edited by rhmancil on Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:48 pm, edited 27 times in total.

csi2019
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:56 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by csi2019 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 5:03 pm

Undergrad Institution: Top 20 in UK no international reputation
Major(s): Physics
GPA in Major: First ( 3.66/4.0 )
Length of Degree: 4 years with masters
Position in Class: Average overall, near top for final year.
Type of Student: white female
GRE Scores :
Q: 160
V:163
W:4.5
P: 650 -Oct 2019

Research Experience:

DAAD, Quantum simulation for masters thesis, topological quantum computing simulations for summer project and doing a project on dark matter right now. Two possible publications but wont be ready in time for application.


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Poster prize, and a bursary for being a poor student with aspirations.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: :?:

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: I attended two summer schools on quantum computing and detector physics
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where: Quantum information, AMO or condensed matter exp.

Harvard - Rejected Feb 13 - email to check status
MIT - Rejected Feb 12 - email
Princeton
Stanford - Rejected Feb 11 - email
Caltech
Maryland
Berkely
UCSB
Oxford

Fully expecting a full house of rejections at this point.
Last edited by csi2019 on Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:41 am, edited 5 times in total.

eddiebroad123
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:26 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by eddiebroad123 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 7:38 am

Undergrad Institution: Russell group UK university, good reputation in Physics
Major(s): Physics with Theoretical Physics (integrated masters, MPhys)
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 85.1/100
Overall GPA: 85.1/100
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: unknown (top 5 or 10)
Type of Student: International male

GRE Scores :
Q: 168 (93%)
V: 167 (98% - no idea how I pulled this one off)
W: 4.0 (57% - Shouldn't matter?)
P: 950 (90%)


Research Experience: Studied abroad at UC Berkeley and worked on the theoretical/modelling side of gravitational microlensing, 1 paper in preparation. 1 year masters project on topological defects in field theories (kinks, vortices, monopoles) and vacuum decay.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: I got a prize for my masters project

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: I'm currently in a year off after graduating and I have a job teaching maths and another job teaching python.

Special Bonus Points: In my masters year I've taken 2 courses on QFT, and 2 in general relativity. I also took 2 graduate courses at Berkeley, General Relativity which I got an A in. EM which I got an A+. I don't how much this will help.

Applying to Where: All for HEP-th. Particular interest in BSM Phenomenology and non-perturbative techniques.

Canada:
UToronto - PhD - HEP-th (Mar. 5th: Rejected for PhD via email)
UBC - MSc - HEP-th (Mar. 13th: Rejected for MSc via email)

United States:

reach:
Uni of Maryland - PhD - HEP-th (Jan. 27th: ACCEPTED for PhD via email) - Will attend!
UIUC - PhD - HEP-th (Mar. 28th: Rejected for PhD via email)
Brown - PhD - HEP-th (Jan. 30th: Rejected for PhD via email)

match:
NYU - PhD - HEP-th (Mar. 18th: Rejected for PhD via email)
Boston U - PhD - HEP-th

safety(ish):
Uni of Rochester - PhD - HEP-th (Jan. 29th: ACCEPTED for PhD via email)
Northeastern University - PhD - HEP-th (Feb. 12th: ACCEPTED for PhD via email)

UK:

Uni of Manchester - PhD - HEP-th - Withdrawn
Durham University - PhD - HEP-th - Withdrawn

University of Oxford - MSc - Mathematical and Theoretical Physics - Withdrawn
Last edited by eddiebroad123 on Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:07 am, edited 19 times in total.

livelongandprosper
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:42 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by livelongandprosper » Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:04 pm

Undergrad Institution: In the US, ranked 100+ in Physics but decent HEP program
Major(s): Physics, Math (2nd major)
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 4.0
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: School does not rank
Type of Student: International male

GRE Scores :
Q: 164 (84 percentile)
V: 156 (73 percentile)
W: 3.5 (15 percentile)
P: 740 (56 percentile) Sept; 800 (67 percentile) Oct;

TOEFL: N/A

Research Experience: Did about a year of research work in Astronomy at my home institution on two separate projects. One of the projects is leading to two papers (I'm the first author in one and 2nd on the other). Two years (including the two summers) of neutrino Physics (detector R&D) work at my school that led to a publication but I do have about 5-6 more on the way and I'll be the corresponding author in two of them. Spent a couple of weeks at Fermilab designing circuits for a power supply system

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Best presentation award from the APS, Total of 4 scholarships from the Physics and Math departments and a few more from the university (full tuition scholarship as an entering freshman for 4 years).

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Was a tutor for a semester, and officer of the SPS for a couple of years

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Gave about 6 different talks at conferences like the APS

Special Bonus Points: One of my recommendation letters is one of the best (if not the best) letter the professor has ever written and the professor has connections at almost all the schools I'm applying to. But I don't think this would help since he knows neutrino people and I'm applying for graduate school in Cosmology mainly. The other professor is one of the leaders in their field and even though I have barely worked for him for more than 3 months, he knows about my work and will write a strong letter. I do not expect my 3rd letter to be very strong since I didn't do a lot of work for this professor, but we'll see! Will take graduate QM II my final semester! All my recommenders encouraged me to apply to top schools

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I worked 20 hours every week for 2.5 years in my research lab, 45+ hours during the summers;

Applying to Where:

Reach:
Harvard University - Physics, Ph.D - Neutrino Physics or Cosmology
Univ of Hawaii - Astronomy, Ph.D - Observational Cosmology/Instrumentation
Univ of Chicago - Astronomy, Ph.D - Observational Cosmology
Cornell University - Astronomy, Ph.D - Observational Cosmology
Stanford University - Physics, Ph.D - Observational Cosmology
UIUC - Astronomy, Ph.D - Observational Cosmology

Target:
UCLA - Physics, Ph.D - Neutrino Physics or Observational Cosmology
Michigan - Astronomy, Ph.D - Observational Cosmology
Ohio State - Astronomy, Ph.D - Observational Cosmology
UC, Davis - Physics, Ph.D - Observational Cosmology/Neutrino Physics
UC, Irvine - Physics, Ph.D - Observational Cosmology
University of Minnesota - Astronomy, Ph.D - Observational Cosmology

Safety:
Carnegie Mellon University, Physics Ph.D - Observational Cosmology
Texas A&M, Astronomy Ph.D - Observational Cosmology
Last edited by livelongandprosper on Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:56 pm, edited 15 times in total.

elon_musk
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:39 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by elon_musk » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:45 pm

Undergrad Institution: in USA, public
Major(s): Physics and Math
GPA in Majors: 4.0
Overall GPA: 3.99 (A- in an English class lol)
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: ok
Type of Student: International asian male

GRE Scores : (revised or old version?)
Q: 166 (97 percentile)
V: 170 (96 percentile)
W: 5.5 (98 percentile)
P: 980 (94 percentile)
Math GRE: 910 (96 percentile - not sure whether to include this?)


Research Experience:
2 papers in a physics field that is not the one that I perhaps intend to focus on going forward into my graduate studies, talk at an international conference and some other smaller conferences
Some math research that lead to a poster but no paper

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
Some small scholarships from the home physics department

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
Graded for physics and math classes many times

Comments:
My personal statement bad
my rec letters probably 1 good, 1 ok and 1 potentially ok -> not ok
so my hopes are not so high - life is life

Applying to Where:
I flipped a coin on each school which predicts whether or not I make it into the school - I wonder how the coin's prediction will stack up

Caltech (coin: no)
Princeton (coin: yes)
MIT (coin: yes)
Stanford (coin: no)
Chicago (coin: yes)
Berkeley (coin: no)
Cornell (coin: no)
UCSB (coin: no)
Columbia (coin: yes)
Michigan (coin: no)
Last edited by elon_musk on Tue Dec 17, 2019 5:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

erikh94
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2019 7:24 am

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by erikh94 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:51 am

Undergrad Institution: biggest Italian university and 2nd biggest in Europe, long tradition for Pysics
Major(s): Physics (undergrad), Physics (grad), Applied Math (grad)
Overall GPA: 28.42/30 (undergrad), 29.7/30 (grad. Physics), 29.8/30 (grad. Applied Math)
Length of Degree: 3 years + 2 years + 2 years
Position in Class: not used in Italy, but I wuold say around the top
Type of Student: International male

GRE Scores :
Q: 169 (95th)
V: 167 (98th)
W: 4.0 (57th) :?
P: 950 (90th)


TOEFL: 115 (R: 30, L: 30, S: 27, W: 28)


Research Experience:
Graduate: 2 1/2 years at Italian Institute of Technology, 6 months at Max Planck Institute (International). However, only one poster and an article submitteed but not yet published (although the journal is quite important), 1 month international summmer internship
Undergraduate: 3 semesters departmental program, 1 summer internship

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Excellence program (departmental), a few grants for international research and a major residential scholarship (5 years)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: just research internships

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: double Master's degree in Theoretical Physics and Applied Mathematics. It's not something casual, but I thought it trhough and gave the reasons in the SoP. Both masters are with final thesis.

Special Bonus Points: one reccomender is among the most well known physicists, expecially in Statistical Mechanics, the other two academic recommender will write extremely strong letters, a fourth letter from college director for extra info on perosanlity and extracurriculars

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: first generation to college

Applying to Where:
ALL program are PhD (no more master's for me :D )

Harvard - Applied Math
MIT - Instute of Data, Science & Society REJECTED 2 March
Yale - Applied Math REJECTED 13 February
Princeton - Applied and Computational Math REJECTED 12th February
Berkeley - Applied Science and Tech Likely REJECTED (haven't heard anything, no interview)
Stanford - Applied and Computational Math REJECTED 31st January
Cornell - Operation Research (not optimal, but some professors cover AppliedMath) REJECTED
Columbia - Applied Math Likely REJECTED (haven't heard anything, no interview)
Oxford - Math WAITLISTED 3rd March ACCEPTED 30th March with full funding (8k tuition + 15k expenses)
Cambridge - Applied Math and theoretical Physics (it's one program ahah)
Toronto - Math Likely REJECTED (haven't heard anything, no interview)
McGill - Math and Statistics REJECTED
UCLA - Physics REJECTED
UCSB - Physics REJECTED
Chicago - Computational and applied math Likely REJECTED (haven't heard anything, no interview)

A takeaway: America didn't like me, and I have no clue why. The process was exthenuating, without anything positive until late March. I'm so glad it's over, and very happy for one of my first choice!
Last edited by erikh94 on Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:42 pm, edited 4 times in total.

rider
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:13 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by rider » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:45 pm

Undergrad Institution: Top Liberal Arts college with little reputation in physics but with a large, influential space physics research institution associated
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Philosophy
GPA in Major: 4.000
Overall GPA: 3.982
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Top 10
Type of Student: Caucasian domestic male

GRE Scores :
Q: 167
V: 167
W: 6.0
P: 730 (not representative of my physics knowledge, I feel)

TOEFL: N/A

Research Experience:

(1) Two years in space physics at institution associated with home university on two different projects under two prominent researchers in the field. No publications but several poster presentations. Roughly 10-12 hrs per week during school year.

(2) REU at a prominent university (not my own) working closely with a well-known and respected professional in the field. Accepted for presentation at two conferences, one being an oral presentation at the biggest meeting in the field. Short paper accepted for publication in an undergraduate research journal. Longer professional paper in the works to be submitted next year.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:


(1) Inducted to Phi Beta Kappa as a Junior
(2) Four years Dean's List with top-class honors sophomore and junior years
(3) Recipient of full-tuition merit scholarship from undergrad institution

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Member of SPS? Also the research jobs.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

President/Treasurer of club sports team (not a huge thing for this but a big part of my life anyways)

Special Bonus Points:

All strong recommendations (4) from prominent members in the field with whom I have worked closely; part of a strong group.
Will be doing senior thesis in the spring as a culmination of all the projects I've worked on, which have been related in some manner or another.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

None I can think of.

Applying to Where:

Note that my field of interest, space physics, lies at the intersection of astrophysics and computer engineering (remote sensing, etc.) so this explains some of the double-ups below.

CU Boulder - Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences - Feb. 5th ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $23k TA/RA during academic year + $1500 Fellowship + likely $15k summer fellowship - WILL ATTEND
CU Boulder - Aerospace Engineering - Jan. 21: Invited to interview for prestigious fellowship, will withdraw application
Boston University - Astronomy - Jan. 23: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $36k TA or RA
Boston University - Computer Engineering - Jan. 10: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $36k Fellowship
Virginia Tech - ECE - Invited to interview, will withdraw application.
Dartmouth - Thayer School of Engineering - Jan. 24: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $30k Fellowship
UT Austin - Aerospace Engineering - Invited to interview, will withdraw application.
MIT - Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences - withdrawn application
Last edited by rider on Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:18 am, edited 8 times in total.

nazgul
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:32 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by nazgul » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:59 pm

Undergrad Institution: Well known in India, no special reputation in Physics
Major(s): Engineering Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: same as overall
Overall GPA: 9.28/10
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Near top
Type of Student: International

GRE Scores : Revised
Q: 169 (96th)
V: 162 (90th)
W: 5.0 (92nd)
P: 980 (94th)


TOEFL: (R: 30, L: 30, S: 28, W: 28 )


Research Experience:
about 2 years across- 2 international internships, 1 domestic internship, 1 Course project, 1 Bachelor Thesis (last two in-school). One paper in preparation from my thesis. Guide mentions that in his reco.
All the external visits were funded. I don't know if that makes a difference, though. All my research has been in Astrophysics, and I want to specialize in Computational Cosmology, focusing on upcoming CMB experiments.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 1 known international undergrad scholarship, 1 known domestic govt. scholarship, 1 domestic research Institute scholarship, best student award from undergrad-school.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: graduated in 2019

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
Rhodes Scholarship Finalist (only fundamental science candidate to have made it from my country)

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...): 3 grad classes - GR, Astrophysics, Particle Physics

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Some mentorship, teaching activities. Some software-dev hackathon achievements.

Applying to Where:
Astronomy department everywhere, unless stated
Research - Cosmology (observational and computational)

Harvard
UC Berkeley
Univ of Chicago
Princeton - Astrophysical Sciences
Caltech
Cornell
Yale
Univ of Pennsylvania
UCLA
Johns Hopkins - Physics & Astronomy
UIUC
Univ of Michigan
Pennstate

I have no clue if I've overshot. I just hope my SOP and reco. letters are good enough. Otherwise, I do this again next year :/

kalmar
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:04 am

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by kalmar » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:47 am

Undergrad Institution: Top school in physics in my country (Central Europe) 51-75 in ShanghaiRanking
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: ??/5.00 BSc, 5.00/5.00 MSc
Overall GPA: 4.08/5.00 BSc, 4.86/5.00 MSc
Length of Degree: 3 bachelor + 2 master
Position in Class: Top
Type of Student: International white male

GRE Scores : (revised)
Q: 168 (93%)
V: 164 (94%)
W: 4.0 (57%)
P: 990 (95%)


TOEFL: 114 (R: 30, L: 30, S: 28, W: 26)


Research Experience: three publications (1/1, 1/3, 2/6) in international journals, two internships abroad (one in US in top group), several papers in preparation, talks and posters at international conferences

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: multiple national awards and scholarships, 1st place in international undergraduate (team) competition, high-school competitions

Special Bonus Points: many grad courses, recommender from US is well known in my field, some machine learning experience

Applying to Where: AMO/CM theory

Harvard - Feb. 5: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email
MIT - Jan. 21: Interview Feb. 12: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email
Berkeley - Feb. 6: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email
Caltech - Jan. 31: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website
Stanford - Feb. 11: Rejected via email
Princeton - Feb. 19: Rejected via email
College Park - Feb. 3: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email
Last edited by kalmar on Wed Feb 19, 2020 1:21 pm, edited 15 times in total.

Bry793
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:04 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by Bry793 » Sun Dec 08, 2019 3:32 am

Undergrad Institution: Engineering school with a very small physics department, not much of a reputation at all in physics
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Philosophy
GPA in Major: 3.52 (but my school doesn't calculate it)
Overall GPA: 3.57 (but it's not on my transcript so some schools don't want it)
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: N/A
Type of Student: Domestic white female

GRE Scores : (revised)
Q: 162 (80%)
V: 168 (98%)
W: 5.5 (98%)
P: 720 (52%) - up from 590 (26%) when I applied last year


Research Experience:
-About 3.5 years (including summers) doing theoretical research on black holes, general relativity, hawking radiation, holography, and currently quantum gravity.
-I completed a senior thesis on 2D dilaton gravity & black holes with a partner and actually got a pretty significant result.
-2 publications (1 in physics) but only through my university.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
-Summer research fellowship awarded by my university
-Best senior thesis in physics at my university
-member of Sigma Pi Sigma Physics honor society
-Dean's list a couple times, merit scholarship all 4 years

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Extensive teaching and tutoring experience in math and physics (3 years) lecturing, tutoring, reviewing, grading, etc. Also tutor privately. I've worked around 20 hours per week for my entire undergraduate education, which I noted in most applications.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 3 graduate classes (two quantum and math methods in physics)

Special Bonus Points: Grew up very impoverished and I've written about it in every personal statement/challenges question, female, first generation college student, one of my recommenders and my thesis advisor is very well-known in quantum information theory (not my field though :cry:), another recommender is the head of our physics department who I am very close to.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: undergraduate thesis, my school has 7 week classes instead of semesters.

Info that might hurt me: This is my second year applying to most of these schools and I haven't been able to do any significant research during my gap year so far :oops: I got accepted to a couple last year but they ended up being bad fits, not offering hardly any money, or had weird conditions for my attendance.

Applying to Where: (all for Ph.D.)

Harvard - Physics - HET/String theory (Feb. 13: REJECTED via email to check status)
CU Boulder - Physics - Gravitation (Feb. 18: REJECTED via email to check status)
Stanford - Physics - Theoretical Physics (general) (Feb. 11: REJECTED via email)
Tufts - Physics - Cosmology and Relativity (March 16: REJECTED via email to check status)
Brandeis - Physics - Unspecified (Heard they didn't want any HEP people this year :? )
Brown - Physics - High Energy Theory (Jan. 30: REJECTED via email to check status)
Northeastern University - Physics
University of New Hampshire - Physics (Feb 18: ACCEPTED but with funding TBA)
Last edited by Bry793 on Mon Mar 16, 2020 4:24 pm, edited 6 times in total.

BrianIsBald
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:05 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by BrianIsBald » Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:17 pm

Undergrad Institution: Large state school, ranked top 20 in physics
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 4.00
Overall GPA: 4.00
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: Top
Type of Student: Domestic white male

GRE Scores :
Q: 166
V: 158
W: 4.0
P: 890


Research Experience:
1.5 years in high school doing accelerator physics, 2 presentations, 0 posters, no publications;
1 year doing HEPex at home institution searching for dark matter at LHCb, no presentations, 1 poster, no publications;
3 years of CME research at home institution, ~10 posters and presentations, 2 Nth author publications (one in Science), 3 papers in prep (although the timetable about all of these is up in the air, none will get out before apps are due).
3 months at NIST doing collaborative research with home-school PI.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
Departmental scholarship, university-wide 4-year scholarship, 2019 Goldwater, honorable mention for TA award.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
TA'd for 4 semesters (2 years) in introductory physics majors courses, and quantum 1;
volunteered at a local elementary school teaching kids science after school for 1 year.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points:
2 grad classes so far, and will take a third in the spring.
Have talked to a prof at one of the schools I'm applying to and they are interested in having me as a student.
PI has connections at almost every school I'm applying to.
Very solid recommenders.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Applying to condensed matter experimental physics for all.

Applying to Where
JHU - Accepted 2/4
UIUC - Accepted 12/19
MIT - Interviewed 1/8 - Accepted 2/12
UMD - Accepted 1/24
CalTech - Accepted 1/31
Berkeley - Accepted 2/6
Stanford - Accepted 2/11
Harvard - Interviewed 1/24 - Accepted 2/5
Princeton - Accepted 2/13
Last edited by BrianIsBald on Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:20 am, edited 6 times in total.

venersis
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:14 am

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by venersis » Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:19 am

Undergrad Institution: METU
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Double Major: Physics
GPA in Major: No such thing
Overall GPA: 3.4/4.0 mech and 3.75/4.0 phys
Length of Degree: 4+1 ( 1 year extention due to double major)
Position in Class: 20/400 in mech, better in phys.
Type of Student: International, male

GRE Scores :
Q:170
V:146
W:3.0
P:860 (%77)


TOEFL: (R:25 , L:27 , S:19 , W:27 )


Research Experience: 2 summer internships in leading companies for mechanical engineering. Worked part time in one of them during one semester. 1 capstone project in ME and 1 capstone in Phys. Took many project courses in ME. Two weeks summer research school in theoretical physics. No papers.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Many Departmental High Honors and Honors, Double Major scholarship

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 1 year private tutoring in math and phys

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Will graduate by completing 75 courses overall, 1 grad class in physics but we have large pool of theoretical physics courses in undergrad such as string theory, group theory. Probably will have good letters.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Contacted some professors during summer

Applying to Where: QFT, QCD, Quark gluon plasma, String theory, Gravitation

Ohio State - Physics-- 03/03 REJECTED via email
Penn State - Physics--- 03/03 REJECTED via email
Rutgers - Physics
Virginia Tech - Physics-- 02/10 REJECTED via mailing to string theory group
Kentucky - Physics
Toronto - Physics--- 03/06 REJECTED via email
Indiana Bloomington- Physics
Pittsburgh - Physics
North Carolina State- Physics-- 02/10 ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email, Will Attend
Kent State- Physics-- 03/08 ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email
Rochester-Physics(Nuclear Engineering)-- 03/06 REJECTED via email


Comments: Happy about acceptance, what a relief! It seems that master students in my uni have many acceptances from very good places, so I wish that I had a master degree or a research paper published. But still I am quite satisfied with acceptance from NC State!
For my application to Kent State University I applied at the end of January therefore, reference letters are taken from instructors in senior year courses. I aced in their courses and I believe all three letters were quite strong. I wish I could take references from them for other schools.
Last edited by venersis on Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:07 am, edited 17 times in total.

kenny7
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2019 5:21 am

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by kenny7 » Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:22 pm

Undergrad Institution: small state university in central Europe, ranked 400-500 according to ARWU Shanghai, not especially renowned
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 4.00
Overall GPA: 4.00
Length of Degree: five-year integrated Master's degree (finished 1 year earlier)
Position in Class: top
Type of Student: international (European) white male

GRE Scores:
Q: 168 (93%)
V: 166 (97%)
W: 4.5 (81%)
P: 990 (95%)

TOEFL: 112 (R: 30, L: 30, S: 23, W: 29)

Research Experience:
participated in the International Physicists' Tournament once, published a first author article related to the tournament
participated in one summer school as well
not much other experience (REUs aren't that common in Europe)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
mostly awards from high school competitions in physics
one scholarship for academic excellence
a few state-level recognitions

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
won two bronze medals in the International Physics Olympiads
participated in the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics

Special Bonus Points:
I'm expecting strong letters of recommendation from all three referees

Applying to Where: all for PhD in Condensed Matter Theory, Physics department

Texas at Austin
MIT - Feb. 12: Rejected via email
Harvard - Feb. 13: Rejected via website (notified by email)
Caltech - Feb. 19: Rejected via email
Chicago - Feb. 11: Rejected via website (notified by email)
Cornell - Feb. 21: Rejected via email
Yale - Feb. 19: Rejected via website (notified by email)
Princeton - Feb. 19: Rejected via email
Berkeley - Feb. 20: Rejected via website (notified by email)
Columbia
UIUC - Mar. 8: Rejected via email
Last edited by kenny7 on Sun Mar 08, 2020 12:02 pm, edited 8 times in total.

quantumbio
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 6:16 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by quantumbio » Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:26 pm

Undergrad Institution: Small US liberal arts state school. Above average overall and in physics, but no grad program/almost no research
Major(s): Biophysics
Minor(s): Mathematics
GPA in Major: Biophysics: 3.57 Math: 3.84
Overall GPA: 3.59
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: No rankings given, but probably top quarter of physics
Type of Student: Domestic hispanic white male

GRE Scores: revised
Q: 170 (96%)
V: 165 (96%)
W: 5.0 (92%)
P: 790 (65%)


Research Experience:

1 physics REU in computational protein binding. Learned a lot of computational/analysis skills and did small separate individual optimization project. Will be presented at 2020 Biophysical Society Conference.

3 semesters of optimization algorithms research. Designed new algorithm and tested against previous algorithms. Presented at a regional conference and 1st author on a submitted paper.

1 semester of a class research project on biological modeling that involved creating differential equation models and performing sensitivity analysis. Presented at home college symposium.

2 semesters of experimental protein characterization project. Presented at home college symposium.

1 summer research program at home college in genetics. Presented at home college symposium.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

McNair Scholar
Dean's list most semesters

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

1 semester of tutoring physical chemistry to McNair scholars

Special Bonus Points:

McNair Scholar / Hispanic

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

I'm gonna include some more specific info in case I get into some top 10/20 schools with a meh GPA/PGRE, for those who would be wondering. If I don't, well gg.

I have a somewhat unique interest in pursuing quantum biology / quantum molecular modeling (not metals/superconductors but small molecules/biomolecules) that is potentially rare among applicants (can't be sure though). My professors thought I did a great job of explaining my intellectual reasoning behind my interest and my relevant skill work in my PS/SOP (I tried to be very direct/concise/explicit).

I took way more credits than needed for my degree (190 vs 120 required) because, as I explained in my PS/SOP, I wanted to gain as many relevant skills for research even at the cost of taking many more credits per semester than the standard load. I took many additional upper level electives in physics, math, and philosophy (critical thinking skills). This might make schools interpret my GPA in a better light.

All 3 of my letters should be very strong (came from REU, optimization project, and biological modeling project). My writer for my biological modeling project has also been my advisor/McNair mentor for 3 years (he has made clear he thinks highly of me both skill-wise and in other personality ways like maturity and focus) and has a unique/direct way of writing that might make this letter stand out even among other strong letters.

I emailed my top choice for professor at my top school (Cornell) about my interest and he said my skills specifically in optimization make me a good fit for his lab (although he might not take on new students).

Applying to Where:

All Ph.D. applications, only theory interests (read above section for more info)

Reach:

Cornell University - Physics - Condensed Matter Theory
University of Michigan - Physics - Condensed Matter Theory
University of Illinois - Urbana - Physics - Condensed Matter Theory
Columbia University - Chemistry - Chemical Physics

Match (hopefully? maybe still Reach):

Purdue University - Chemistry - Theoretical (Jan. 10: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $25,000 TA/RA)
University of Minnesota - Chemistry - Chemical Physics

Safety (good school, might be Match):

University of Rochester - Chemistry - Theoretical (Jan. 2: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $27,500 stipend)
Last edited by quantumbio on Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:36 am, edited 3 times in total.

mforman307
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:41 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by mforman307 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:12 pm

Undergrad Institution: Mid size public school in California, good physics program
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.53
Overall GPA: 3.60
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: "Good Standing" on transcript
Type of Student: Caucasian male, USA

GRE Scores:
Q: 154
V: 145
W: 3
P: 590 :(, studied but not enough, only took once. Also forgot to address in PS or SoP.. I hope the PGRE dies as fast as the aether did in the early 20th century

Research Experience: 2.5 years straight of undergrad research in experimental particle physics (SUSY model analysis using simulated FCC data), currently working at a national lab working on dark matter detection R&D project (will be 9 months of full-time research). A couple of poster presentations at university and national lab.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Thesis Honors (SUSY analysis), Undergraduate Research Award (funding for summer research), Honors in the major (I think, not clear on transcript).

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Currently working at a national lab working on dark matter detection.

Special Bonus Points: 2 strong letters from both mentors (I think, I mean I have no clue what they wrote but both know me very well and have good opinions of me), 1 letter from well-known physicist who was my prof for GR.

Applying to Where:

UC Berkeley
Stanford - REJECTED - (2/11)
Brown - REJECTED - (1/30)
UCSB
UCLA
UC Davis
UC Berkeley
UC Santa Cruz
UC Irvine - ACCEPTED - (1/30) 8)
Harvard - REJECTED - (2/13)
UPenn - REJECTED - (2/13)
Cornell - REJECTED - (2/12)
CU Boulder
U of Oregon
UW

grad school process is awful, godspeed fellow physics humans
Last edited by mforman307 on Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:57 pm, edited 12 times in total.

luci
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:28 am

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by luci » Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:14 am

Undergrad Institution: Top university in my country, but has no HEP research
Major(s): Physics
GPA in Major: 5.0/7.0
Master Institution: Smaller university, but top hep-ex in my country (I'm guessing both will be largely unknown so it doesn't really matter)
GPA in Master: 6.0/7.0
Length of Degree: 4+2
Type of Student: international male (south america)

GRE Scores :
Q: 164 (86 percentile)
V: 160 (84 percentile)
W: 3.0 (15 percentile) :shock:
P: 850 (April 2019, 75 percentile)


TOEFL: 119 (R: 30, L: 30, S: 30, W: 29)


Research Experience: At my master's institution, in two different big hep-ex collaborations (data analysis). Over a year in each. No publications.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA in undergrad.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Awarded a small grant at master's institution for a small research project with two fellow grad students.

Special Bonus Points: I can get my own funding through a government program. My research interests are extremely focused, so that helps I guess? For all places I'm applying to I did at least some minimal contact with professors I'm interested in working with.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I'm applying for neutrinos even though all of my research has been in other subareas (QCD and Higgs).

Applying to Where: (All for PhD in physics, experimental neutrinos)

US:
MIT (go big or go home 8)) - Feb 12: Rejected via email
Chicago - Feb 11: Rejected via website
Minnesota (Minneapolis) - Jan 24: Rejected via email to check website

UK:
Manchester - Dec 12: Interviewed Feb 05: ACCEPTED (conditionally to finishing my master's) for Ph.D via email - No funding offered
Warwick - Dec 16: Interviewed In the end I didn't go through with the application because I'm a dummy.


Concluding thoughts:

Well, this is it for me. I've been browsing this forum for over two years, I knew I had to apply to more places, contact more people and maybe retake my tests, but time and money were a constraint. It's always excuses with me, I know, I know. If there was a self-sabotage GRE I would get 990 in it. I hope I can get the funding and finish my master's in time to qualify for Manchester's offer, I really really like it, it's precisely the experiment I wanted to be in. I'll update here for completeness sake. Congratulations to everyone who got an offer, and good luck to everyone still waiting for one.
Last edited by luci on Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:37 pm, edited 6 times in total.

unseen.academical
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:56 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by unseen.academical » Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:08 pm

Undergrad Institution: Top institution in Canada (not necessarily for physics though)
Major(s): Math and Physics
Minor(s): Pure Mathematics, Astrophysics
GPA in Major: 82/100
Overall GPA: 79.8/100
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Excellent standing on transcript
Type of Student: Canadian citizen; "non-European" Caucasian female

GRE Scores: I did not take it.

Research Experience: 1 REU after third year in computational solid state physics; undergraduate research project in quantum games.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Honors in the major

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Active in science outreach programs at my university. President of the Physics student society. Dorm RA for two years. Tutor to first-year students in calculus and mechanics while in undergrad.

Special Bonus Points: 3 LORs that I believe will be strong ones.

Applying to Where: All MSc's except UofT which is a direct-entry PhD.

Reach:
University of British Columbia (Astrophysics, Cosmology) - Rejected
University of Toronto (Astrophysics, Cosmology)
McGill University (Astrophysics, Cosmology, HEP)
University of Waterloo (Astrophysics) - Interviewed, no response

Match:
Queens University (Astroparticle physics, HEP) - Accepted
Simon Fraser University (HEP, Cosmology)
University of Victoria (Cosmology, HEP)
Western University (Astrophysics)
University of Guelph (Astrophysics) - Accepted

Safety:
Carleton University (HEP)
Last edited by unseen.academical on Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

EBULLIENT
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:39 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by EBULLIENT » Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:56 pm

Undergrad Institution: Large state school, ranked top 20 in physics
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 4.00
Overall GPA: 4.00
Length of Degree: 3.5
Position in Class: Top
Type of Student: Domestic Male, Black+White

GRE Scores :
Q: 167 (90%)
V: 160 (86%)
W: 4.5 (81%)
P: 980 (94%)


Research Experience:
9 months doing HEPex at home institution, 1 presentation, 1 poster.
1 summer REU doing gravitational wave experiment at another institution, 1 presentation.
1 summer REU doing QIT/CMT at another institution, 1 first author paper in prep, 2 presentations.
2 years doing QIT/CMT at home institution, 1 first author publication, 1 presentation, 2 posters.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
2019 Goldwater Scholarship, TA award, research fellowship, departmental scholarships, community scholarship.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
TA'd for 3 semesters in mathematical physics and quantum II.
President of an athletic club.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points:
5 grad classes.
In contact with a few professors at the schools I am applying to.
Recommenders are well-known and have connections.
Minority.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Applying to QIT/CMT.

Applying to Where:
Brown - Interviewed 1/15 - Accepted 1/28
Caltech - Accepted 1/31
Harvard - Accepted 2/5
MIT - Interviewed 1/21 - Accepted 2/12
Princeton - Accepted 2/13
Stanford - Accepted 2/11
UChicago - Accepted 2/7
UMD - Accepted 1/24
Waterloo -
Yale - Accepted 2/19
Last edited by EBULLIENT on Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:08 pm, edited 5 times in total.

lfwh
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2019 2:47 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by lfwh » Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:09 pm

Undergrad Institution: Very good German school, ranked top 20 in physics worldwide
Major(s): Physics BSc, Applied and Engineering Physics MSc
Overall GPA: 1.8 BSc, 1.4 MSc (1.0-4.0, 1.0 max., massive grade deflation at my school, I mention that in SOP)
Length of Degree: 3+2 years
Position in Class: near top
Type of Student: international male

GRE Scores : revised
Q: 167 (90%)
V: 159 (83%)
W: 5.0 (92%)
P: 910 (85%)


TOEFL: (R: 29, L: 30, S: 26, W: 29)


Research Experience: 1.5 years full time in condensed matter physics (CME) close to what I want to do in grad school.
- One 1st author publication (got featured) on machine learning and CME
- 2nd author (out of 5) publication on CME
- 1st author paper on CME currently under review
- 1st author paper on CME in final prep
My advisor mentions all in his letter, presented at the APS March Meeting 2019

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Visiting scholar in the US for 1.5 years, Scholarships for international thesis research

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: A lot of volunteering: youth counselor for 5 years and other social work

Special Bonus Points: Gard classes -> MSc, connection to famous profs at schools I am applying to (one of them proofread my SOP), 2/3 recommendations hopefully should be really good (did research and wrote papers with all my recommenders)


Applying to Where: all with focus on CME

Stanford - Applied Physics: Rejected via email Feb 11
Cornell - Physics: Feb 19 Accepted via email with $30.5k TA/RA support
Harvard - Applied Physics: Rejected via email Feb 24
MIT - Physics: Rejected via email Feb 12
Princeton - Physics: Rejected via email Feb 19
UC Berkeley - Physics: Rejected via email Feb 20
UCSB - Physics: Jan 22 informal interview, Jan 30 Accepted via email with $32k TA/RA support
UCLA - Physics: Rejected via website Mar 26
University of Virginia - Physics: Jan 17 Accepted via email with fellowship, $25k + $10k additional fellowship support

Also, according to MIT professor, hep with focus on gravitational physics is big this year and most graduate student spots are offered to students in this field (at least there).

I'm happy to be attending UCSB! With its surge in quantum computing materials and engineering at their new quantum foundry, it's one of the best places for CME at the moment and also fitting my other criteria for grad school.

Final thoughts
- I am really excited about my offers and going to UCSB, but I think I could have done better especially with the amount of my research experience and output. I think I made the mistake of writing my SOP to much like a research proposal in the sense that I did not focus enough on the actual experiments I have done and skills I acquired, but more on the scientific side of the results and on the topics I would be interested at each specific school. At least that's what I also noticed from the questions I was asked in the interviews. I should have focused more (at least two thirds) on what I can bring to their program and how my research experience can translate to their experimental work.

- Generally, shooting for the top schools, you need to be close to the top in GPA, GRE etc. and have one outstanding criterion, preferably research experience with results to back it up, in my opinion.

- Reaching out to professors (preferably on the admissions committee who you are interested in) is worth it, as some even continued our correspondence from November when admission time came around. Hence, they remembered me from before. This is no guarantee, however, as I have skyped with a prof from Princeton beforehand, too, and did not get in there.

- Finally, my 99.99% safety of a fellowship at UVa with my previous advisor allowed me to go for this very ambitious grad school list. I am lucky it paid off and really excited about my PhD in Santa Barbara!

Good luck to everyone still waiting and future applicants in the coming years!!!
Last edited by lfwh on Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:58 am, edited 14 times in total.

neutrinojz
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:40 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by neutrinojz » Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:52 pm

Undergrad Institution: big state in the US
Major(s): Physics, Astronomy
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.97
Overall GPA: 3.96
Length of Degree: (2 yrs transferred) + 3 yrs
Position in Class:
Type of Student: International Female
GRE Scores :
Q: 169
V: 155
W: 5.0
P: 970


TOEFL: Waived


Research Experience:
2-year home university astrodynamics research, several presentations;
A short term nuclear physics research;
1 REU in MHD simulations;
1-year solar physics research;

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Research jobs

Applying to Where: (Astronomical dynamics + stellar and planetary physics)

Harvard - Astronomy (Feb. 10: Rejected via email)
Princeton - Astrophysics (Jan. 17 Skype Interview Feb.6 Accepted via phone)
Caltech - Astrophysics (Jan. 21 Interview Jan. 30 Accepted via phone, will decline)
Cornell - Astronomy (March 6: Rejected via email, potential advisor no longer available, mentioned in rej letter)
Columbia - Astronomy (Feb. 2 Accepted via email)
Univ California - Santa-Cruz - Astronomy (Application Withdrawn)
Michigan State University - Astronomy (Jan. 27: Rejected via email)
Stony Brook - Physics (Feb. 4: Accepted via email, will decline)
Univ of Illinois, Urbana - Astronomy (Feb. 13: Accepted via email, open house likely cancelled...?)

Cambridge - M.Phil. Astronomy (Jan 29: Skype Interview; Jan. 30: Accepted via email, will decline)
Last edited by neutrinojz on Thu Mar 12, 2020 4:43 pm, edited 6 times in total.

obee1
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:03 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by obee1 » Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:22 pm

Undergrad Institution: Hamilton College (US News Rank 14 for Liberal Arts Colleges)
Major(s): Math and Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: Math (>3.9) Physics (>4.0) [A+s are 4.3s but our gpa is out of 4.0]
Overall GPA: >3.9
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: Probably top couple of percent
Type of Student: Mixed Asian/White Male

GRE Scores :
Q: 168
V: 163
W: 4.5
P: 950


TOEFL: (R: , L: , S: , W: )


Research Experience: Summer of research through math department into neural networks. 1.5 years in a quantum gravity group. 1 summer REU in neutrinos.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Math award within my college

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Tutoring and a lot of grading

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points:

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I had an error on my personal statement that I sent to multiple schools...

Applying to Where: Gravity/Cosmology Theory Ideally. Put down undecided because I need to get in somewhere...

Syracuse
Rochester
Minn
Northwestern
Penn State
Michigan
Penn
Yale
Chicago
Princeton
Harvard
Caltech
Berkeley

Probably forgot one

Sifyrena
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 5:40 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by Sifyrena » Tue Dec 17, 2019 11:26 pm

Undergrad Institution: Little Oceania physics department with US Exchange for a year
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 4.0
Exchange Year GPA (not counted in home institution): 3.9
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: top
Type of Student: International to US. Of Asian descent.

GRE Scores : revised
Q: 169
V: 168
W: 5
P: 950


TOEFL: 115
(R:30 , L: 30, S: 27, W: 29)

Research Experience: Two well-developed projects in dynamics and quantum optics. Ongoing (programming) duties at quantum optics lab.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Graduating student with highest GPA, and some other awards like that within my university.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA. Lab technician. SPS during exchange.

Special Bonus Points: -


Applying to Where:
Theoretical (HeP-Th/ Mathematical Physics)

MIT
UC Berkeley
UC Santa Barbara
UCLA
Caltech
Stanford (Feb 11: Rejected via email)
Chicago (Feb 11: Rejected via Website)
Cornell
Georgia Tech
UW Madison
UT Austin
SUNY Stony Brooks
Johns Hopkins
Brown (Jan 31: Rejected via email)


[... a few more]
Last edited by Sifyrena on Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.

niacin
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:05 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by niacin » Wed Dec 18, 2019 12:53 am

-
Last edited by niacin on Tue Feb 04, 2020 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

LSS
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2019 6:08 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by LSS » Wed Dec 18, 2019 6:37 pm

Undergrad Institution: medium private school - no physics reputation
Major(s): Physics (completed theoretical and general tracts)
Minor(s): Math
Overall GPA: 3.64
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: top of the middle/bottom of the top
Type of Student: domestic white female

GRE Scores :
Q: 166 (89%)
V: 162 (90%)
W: 3.5 (39%)
P: bad (most of my programs don't require it)

Research Experience: some small, short term stuff as an undergraduate
1.5 years full time at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in high energy astrophysics: developing/fabricating new miniature x-Ray optics and multiplayer fabrication - I worked fabricating/analyzing optics as well as writing several significant software programs for the lab. My lab is partnered with NASA, LLNL, and other national labs, I traveled to Huntsville, AL to take data at the Marshal Space Flight Center multiple times.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Deans List, one physics department award

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Was the head of a fundraising organization in undergrad which gave to a lot of local charities (many education related)
Tutored high schoolers from under-funded schools in SAT prep

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 2 publications (1 first author) and 3 others currently in preparation

Special Bonus Points: I've basically been doing graduate level research in the 1.5 years since I graduated... I'm confident that 2 of my 3 letters of recs are very strong, and the third still solidly good

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: my profiles pretty weird because I was a pretty middle of the road student in undergrad (definitely not bad but also no notably amazing) but I have a ton of research experience in connection with a lab at an Ivy League...

Applying to Where: Astronomy / Astrophysics - particularly interested in galactic evolution & computational astrophysics

Ph.D
Univ of Chicago - Astrophysics -
Northwestern - Astrophysics -
Univ of Michigan - Astrophysics -
Univ of Colorado Boulder - Astrophysics -
Rice - Astronomy -
Johns Hopkins - Astronomy -
Harvard - Astronomy -

MS
McGill - Astrophysics -

linktothepast
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by linktothepast » Wed Dec 18, 2019 7:26 pm

Undergrad Institution: Mid-Size State University (no reputation in physics)
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics
Minor(s): Computer Science
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 3.97
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Top
Type of Student: Domestic Asian Male

GRE Scores :
Q: 168 (93%)
V: 159 (83%)
W: 4.0 (57%)
P: 950 (90%)

Research Experience:
1.5 years computational math research at my school
2 years theoretical cold atoms research at my school
1 REU in computational condensed matter physics
1 semester post-bac research at national lab (will do another semester in spring)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Graduated in honors program. Selected as outstanding junior math student. Received the physics department award given to one graduating senior.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Worked as physics tutor for 6 semesters. Was a LA for one Intro Mechanics course.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 6 posters (one poster presented at a national conference). 1 talk at my university.

Special Bonus Points: I have done research with all four of my letter writers and they should all be very positive. I have also visited Rice University and met with a professor there.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I applied to graduate schools last year (you can check out my profile in the 2019 thread) but did not get into the schools I wanted to go to. 4/15 schools I am applying to this year I already applied last year (UMD, UIUC, UT, Rutgers). I think I picked a better selection of schools this year and I applied to more schools just in case.

Applying to Where: All for Theoretical Condensed Matter or Ultracold Atoms Theory (listed in rough order of preference) for Physics Ph.D.

University of Colorado at Boulder - Physics (Feb. 18 - Rejected via email to check website)
Universitiy of Texas at Austin - Physics (Jan. 28 - Invited to Graduate Open House) (Feb. 27: Accepted for Ph.D. via email to check website + $28K/year TA) Declined
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Physics (Mar. 11 - Rejected via email)
University of Maryland at College Park - Physics (Mar. 1 - Rejected via email to check website)
Rice University - Physics (Feb. 17 - Rejected via email to check website)
Ohio State University - Physics (Feb. 13: Accepted for Ph.D. via email + $26K/year TA) WILL ATTEND!!
Georgia Institute of Technology - Physics (Feb. 4: Accepted for Ph.D. via email to check website + $28K/year TA) Declined
Rutgers University - Physics (Feb. 26 - Waitlisted via email) Declined
University of Minnesota - Physics (Jan. 24 - Rejected via email to check website)
Pennsylvania State University - Physics (Feb. 20 - Accepted for Ph.D. via email + $22K/year TA + $4K Summer + $4K Fellowship) Declined
Boston University - Physics (Mar. 30 - Rejected via email)
University of Pittsburgh - Physics (Mar. 04 - Application Withdrawn)
Washington University in St. Louis - Physics (Mar. 02 - Application Withdrawn)
City University of New York - Physics (Feb. 19 - Interview Request) (Mar. 03: Accepted for Ph.D. via email to check website + $30K/year Science Scholarship) Declined
University at Buffalo (SUNY) - Physics (Feb. 17: Accepted for Ph.D. via email + $22K/year TA) Declined

NOTE:

I am really happy to be admitted to OSU. I received more acceptances this year than I anticipated and this made my decision hard. Ultimately, I decided on a school that I felt not only has a strong research program with many PI's I'm interested in, but also one that is located in a nice urban environment. My gap year of doing research allowed me to improve my resume as well as spend more time in preparing a better application and I would recommend taking this route if given the opportunity.
Last edited by linktothepast on Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:24 pm, edited 12 times in total.

kzheng16
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2019 2:49 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by kzheng16 » Thu Dec 19, 2019 3:06 pm

Undergrad Institution: Undergrad Big State U in US, Master slightly more prestigious big state U in US.
Major(s): Materials Science
Minor(s):
GPA in Major:3.41 undergrad, 3.87 grad
Overall GPA:3.38 undergrad, 3.87 grad
Length of Degree: 3.5 BS 2 MS
Position in Class: Unknown
Type of Student: Chinese international male

GRE Scores :
Q: 170 (96%)
V: 159 (83%)
W: 4.5 (81%)
P: 860 (77%)


TOEFL: (R: , L: , S: , W: ) N/a


Research Experience:
-Undergrad: several projects of superconductor-related applied research for 2.5 years, 2 co-author papers published, 2 addition co-authorship expected in 1 year.
-Grad: Read some paper, restored some tools. And a cool superconductor project from internship. No publication.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's List, Small college scholarship, First place in a regional Hackathon.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Interned as a process engineer in a semiconductor company for 7 months.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Not sure if materials science grad classes would count. They're basically solid state physics without too many equations.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Took quantum I and II as undergrad. Know programming.

Applying to Where:

Yale - Applied Physics - Quantum Engineering
MIT - EECS - Applied Physics and Quantum Information Processing
Stanford - Applied Physics - Quantum Engineering
U Chicago - Molecular Engineering - Quantum Engineering
Caltech - Applied Physics - Quantum Engineering
Florida State - Physics - Condensed Matter Experiment
Maryland College Park - Physics - Condensed Matter Experiment and Quantum Information
UC Berkeley - Physics - Condensed Matter Experiment and Quantum Information
University of Southern California - Physics - Condensed Matter Experiment
UIUC - Physics - Condensed Matter Experiment
U Pittsburgh - Physics - Condensed Matter Experiment
Wisconsin Madison - Physics - Condensed Matter Experiment
Washington St. Louis - Physics - Condensed Matter Experiment
Princeton - EE - Quantum Engineering
Purdue - Physics - Condensed Matter Experiment
UCSB - Physics - Condensed Matter Experiment

muryelgp
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:34 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by muryelgp » Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:01 pm

Undergrad Institution: Top 10 in South America (Brazil), good astrophysics group
Major(s): Physics
GPA in undergrad: 7.4/10
Master Institution: Same as undergrad
Master Major: M.Sc. Physics/Astrophysics
GPA in Master: 8.5/10
Length of Degree: 4 years (undergrad) + 1.5 (Master)
Position in Class: Don't know
Type of Student: International Male

GRE Scores: revised
Q: 158
V: 153
W: 3.0 :(
P: didn't take, just applying to Astro


TOEFL: (R: 30, L: 30, S: 23, W: 23)


Research Experience: 3 years as an undergrad research assistant (20h/week) in the astrophysics group + 1.5 grad research assistant in the same group, all with Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development's scholarship.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Several research scholarships and travel grants.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 6 Poster presentations, one talk in another Brazilian's big university, several Summer/Winter Advanced schools in Astro, P.I. in a Telescope Time Proposal, one first-author paper submitted to MNRAS.

Special Bonus Points: 3 graduate courses, E&M, Quantum Mechanics and Stellar Evolution.


Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: lots of research experience in Astro, experience with observations and astronomical data reduction. Strong Letters (one from a well know collaborator with connections in some schools I'm applying)

Applying to Where: Astronomy / Astrophysics - particularly interested in extragalactic and observational cosmology.

Reach:
Texas Austin - Astronomy - Rejected 02/04
Michigan - Astronomy - Rejected 02/07
Colorado Boulder - Astrophysics and Planetary Science - Rejected 02/05

Match:
UMass - Astronomy - Rejected 02/27
Ohio State - Astronomy - Rejected
UIUC - Astronomy - Rejected 01/28
Michigan State - Astronomy - Rejected 01/27


"Safety":
Arizona State University - Astrophysics - waitlist via email from POI 2/18
Texas A&M - Astronomy -
Rochester IT- Astrophysics - Rejected
Florida - Astronomy - Rejected
Indiana - Astronomy - waitlist via email 1/22
New Mexico State Uni - Astronomy - waitlist
Oklahoma - Physics with astrophysics concentration - Interview 02/28 Approved 03/5, I'M GOING TO THE US!!
Wyoming - Physics with astronomy concentration
Last edited by muryelgp on Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:12 pm, edited 9 times in total.

kudravkya
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2019 1:34 am

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by kudravkya » Tue Dec 24, 2019 1:47 am

Undergrad Institution: Public University in US, not known for Physics
Major(s): Physics, math
GPA in Major:4.00
Overall GPA:3.89
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Might be among top of class (not sure)
Type of Student: international female

GRE Scores : (revised or old version?)
Q:159(70%)
V:158(80%)
W:4.0
P:620(32%) :cry:


TOEFL: N/A


Research Experience:
2.5 research experience, 1 paper submitted as 1st author in exoplanets, summer research at University, 3 presentations at University

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
Departmental scholarships from Physics and Math, University scholarship for UG degree, research scholarship, named in dean's list

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
Worked as Resident Assistant (1.5 years), Tutor in math department(current)

Special Bonus Points:
Completed Honors in Physics

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where: (Theoretical Astrophysics)

Ohio State: Rejected (checked admissions portal)
UIUC: Mar 10: Rejected via email
U of Chicago: Feb 11: Rejected
U of Michigan-Ann Arbor: Feb 24: Rejected via email
UC Irvine: Rejected
Kansas State: Jan 30: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $21.6k/year GTA)
U of Pittsburgh:

03/23: Very disappointed with the results. I was expecting at least 2 admits. I applied to schools that didn't require PGRE seeing my score. I would suggest future students to take physics GRE very seriously and score at least 750+. I also thought my recommender (who I have been working with for the past 3 years) would give a strong recommendation letter as he has promised me. However, the recommender submitted a letter that has my name misspelled, no signature and no institute header. He had written very good things about me but I believe the mistakes might have affected my decision.
Last edited by kudravkya on Mon Mar 23, 2020 1:30 am, edited 4 times in total.

rixcrix
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 25, 2019 8:08 am

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by rixcrix » Wed Dec 25, 2019 8:16 am

Undergrad Institution: Top school in US
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: Dunno
Overall GPA: 4.1
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: NA
Type of Student: Domestic Male

GRE Scores :
Q: 170
V: 163
W: 5.5
P: 980


TOEFL: NA


Research Experience: Did at school every year; 1 conference paper on solar cells, 1 internal publication on HEP, 1 internal publication on detectors; upcoming conference for detector work


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: NA

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: NA

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Pretty strong recommenders

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:

(All physics; condensed matter experiment)
-Harvard
-Stanford
-MIT
-Caltech
-Princeton
-UC Berkeley
-UCSB
-UCLA
-Yale
-CU Boulder

(feels like an all-or-nothing school lineup; hopefully it works out well)

Mizar
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2019 8:54 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by Mizar » Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:46 am

Undergrad Institution: Flagship state school; not well known for physics
Major(s): physics (1st degree English)
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.88
Overall GPA: 3.8-ish
Length of Degree: 4 years, with an 8-year gap between 1st and 2nd year :shock:
Position in Class: near top
Type of Student: domestic white female (late 30s)

GRE Scores :
Q: 165 (86%)
V: 169 (99%)
W: 4.0 (57%)
P: 790 (65%) (up from 720 (52%))


Research Experience:
~2 years with nuclear physics group at home institution working on a project that was more engineering than physics
6 months post-bacc research hyperpolarizing noble gases
A few posters, a senior thesis, a 1st-author paper on arXiv that I'm still working on getting published for real

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
1st-place poster at undergrad research conference at home institution
2nd-place poster at computational summer school
Research grant from home institution

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
Learning assistant for freshman physics class, but only for one semester

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: I had 4 LoRs for most of my programs. Two of my letters should be really good; the other 2 are probably somewhere between meh and good.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

I'm in my late 30s, which means I'm ancient according to some of you. If I'm satisfied with my success, I'll include more details to help out future non-traditionals.

Applying to Where: (all for direct DM detection and/or quantum info)

UChicago -- Feb 11: Rejected via website
Stanford (applied physics) -- Feb 11: Rejected via email
Columbia
U of Wisconsin-Madison -- Jan 28: Accepted for PhD in physics via email + $22k TA + $15k scholarship
U of Washington -- Feb 18: Accepted for PhD in physics via email + $22k TA + $1.5k scholarship
University of British Columbia -- Jan 9: Accepted for M.Sc. in physics via email + $15k RA + $10k TA
Purdue -- Jan 30: Accepted for PhD in physics via email + $1,059 biweekly TA salary
Dartmouth -- Feb 13: Interview; Feb 14: Accepted for PhD via email + $31k stipend
Northwestern Feb 21: Rejected via email
Rice -- Feb 17: Rejected via website
UC Davis
Utah -- Feb 6: Interview -- WITHDRAWN


Final thoughts:
Assuming rejections from the last two schools, and unless Columbia shocks me with an acceptance, I'm going to leave it at this. I'm quite pleased with my results, especially in light of several "red flags" in my application (e.g., a few leisurely semesters, mediocre undergrad research, many-years break and nothing to show for it).

I did everything I could to make myself look good on paper. I am burdened with test anxiety and rage-quit my first attempt at the general GRE. Being financially advantaged I ended up taking it three more times (!!!) to get my quantitative score up to a competitive level. Imagine my dismay upon learning that UChicago and UBC require you upload an unofficial score report (all scores showing) with the application. I also took a gap year to beef up my application. This turned out to be an excellent decision for me, but I caution that if you’re going to take a gap year, make sure you have a research position lined up.

SoPs: Mine were very well crafted and specific to each program. I wasted no space making excuses for my weaknesses or otherwise explaining my anomalous background but got right down to business outlining my research experience and how I thought my background made me a good candidate for my stated interests. I reached out to PIs ahead of time and had several phone and Skype conversations, which helped me write more convincing statements. I also made a personal website that was basically a visual depiction of my CV and included the URL in my SoPs. No idea how well that played, but some of my POIs visited my website before I applied and had nice things to say, so perhaps it helped.
Last edited by Mizar on Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:20 pm, edited 18 times in total.

SchrodingersWife
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:43 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by SchrodingersWife » Sat Dec 28, 2019 5:03 pm

[/b]Undergrad Institution: M1 state school, no reputation in physics
Major(s): Applied Physics (BS) and Engineering Physics (MS)
Minor(s): Math
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 4.0
Length of Degree: 5 year BS + MS
Position in Class: Around the top
Type of Student: International Asian male

GRE Scores :
Q: 152 (54%)
V: 160 (72%)
W: 3.5 (39%)
P: 710 (51%)
:(


Research Experience: 3+ year research in condensed matter physics, 6 Nth author publication in major journals. 2 REU at NIST, one in atomic layer deposition and one in data modeling, no paper. Couple posters and talks at local conferences and at NIST. 1 year participation at a national competitive solar vehicle team.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Best senior award in Physics; Couple small school scholarships. NSF S-STEM scholarship

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Tutored for intro Physics and Math, Intro physics lab instructor.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: "Strongish" programming, electronics and instrumentation background

Special Bonus Points: Strong recommendation letters from my research advisor and department chairs.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: LGBTQ? Founding member of a student inclusion club


Applying to Where:
Quantum Information/CME, Applied Physics programs if applicable

Lottery:
Caltech - 2/19 Rejected
Berkeley - 2/20 Rejected
Stanford - 2/10 Rejected
Yale - 2/7 Rejected
Harvard - 2/24 Rejected
UCSB - 3/3 Rejected


Match:
Duke (ECE) - 3/27 Accepted $32k

Safe-ish:
University of Rochester - 2/6 Accepted $28k / 12 months
University of Oregon - 1/25 Accepted $24k/ 12 months + $6k 1st year Award

Update:
From what I learned during Duke's visiting weekend, it seemed like making yourself attractive to potential advisers is the most important aspect of the application process for schools in general. So perhaps really tailor and sell your research skills & interest to target your potential advisers. If you are a good fit to a lab then your grades/scores are less likely to matter much (maybe not for top schools?). My statement of purpose was quite general and I imagine that is one the (many) reasons for all these rejections.
Last edited by SchrodingersWife on Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:52 pm, edited 9 times in total.

VeryLuminous
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2019 11:29 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by VeryLuminous » Sun Dec 29, 2019 11:45 pm

Undergrad Institution: Medium sized state school, no reputation in physics
Major(s): Physics and Math
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 4.0
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Not Listed
Type of Student: White Male

GRE Scores :
Q: 167 (90%)
V: 160 (86%)
W: 4.5 (81%)
P: 880 (80%)

Research Experience: 3+ years in experimental condensed matter at my university. 2 REUs (condensed matter), 1 international REU (condensed matter), and 1 SULI internship at Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. 6 publications in major journals, 1 of which I am first author. 1 more under review.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list, some small presentation awards, Barry Goldwater Scholar 2018

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Tutor for introductory physics and have been a TA for a couple physics/math courses. Was president of Math Club and my university's SPS chapter for a couple years.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Should have very good letters of recommendation, one of which from the director of a graduate program I am applying to (he was my research advisor for an REU). Presented at three national conferences and several regional conferences as an undergrad.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:
(Applying to department of astrophysical sciences at Princeton, everywhere else I am applying to the department of physics indicating an interest in both plasma and condensed matter theory)
-Princeton (Invited for phone interview for Jan. 15) (2nd interview through skype on Jan. 20) (Feb. 14 ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $31k/10month fellowship + $8k summer) Best Valentine's day present :wink: - Will Attend!!!
-Cornell (Feb. 21 REJECTED)
-University of Wisconsin at Madison (Jan. 28 ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $22k TA + $15k scholarship) - Declined
-University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Mar. 2 Withdrawn)
-University of Colorado at Boulder (Jan. 30 ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $24k TA + $3k upon enrollment) - Declined
-Rice (Feb. 3 ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website + $32,500/12 month TA) - Declined
-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Jan. 16 ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $22,500/11 month TA) - Declined
-Baylor (Invited for open house Feb 7-8) (Feb. 25 Withdrawn)
Last edited by VeryLuminous on Mon Mar 09, 2020 4:56 pm, edited 19 times in total.

Alvin1949
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2019 9:49 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by Alvin1949 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:20 pm

Undergrad Institution: A young university in China
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major:
Overall GPA: 3.88
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: near top
Type of Student: International, Male

GRE Scores:
Q: 169 (96%)
V: 153 (61%)
W: 3.5 (41%)
P: 990 (95%)

TOEFL: (R: 30, L: 24, S: 24, W: 28)

Research Experience: Did a project of building a photoluminescence spectrometer and measuring the bandgap of 2D materials; roughly 9 months studying light-matter interaction in condensed matter; a summer project at UC Berkeley in Biophysics

Special Bonus Points: two strong recommendation letter from professors at home institution; one letter from professor at UC Berkeley

Applying to Where: Condensed Matter Experiment/Biophysics, applied to Physics PhD unless stated
US:
Berkeley - Rejected 2/20 :|
Cornell - Rejected 2/20 :|
Columbia - Rejected 3/18
Michigan (Applied Physics) - Rejected 3/24
UIUC - Accepted 12/18 + 24K TA/RA :D - Will Attend!
UCSD - Rejected 3/13
UW - Rejected 3/18
UT-Austin - Accepted 3/10 + 28K TA/RA
Maryland (MSE) - Interviewed 1/20; Rejected
WashU (IMSE) - Interviewed 12/21, 2/20; Accepted 3/10 + 31K TA/RA
PennState - Accepted 2/12 + 27K TA/RA + 2k Fellowship
Florida - Interviewed 2/12; Accepted 2/20 + 25K TA/RA

Non US:
NUS (MBI) - Interviewed 11/7, 2/20
HKU (EE) - Interviewed 1/7
Last edited by Alvin1949 on Sun Apr 05, 2020 6:47 am, edited 22 times in total.

hopefulastro
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed May 23, 2018 9:56 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by hopefulastro » Wed Jan 01, 2020 5:13 pm

Undergrad Institution: Top public school (transferred here halfway through from a different state school)
Major: Physics
GPA in Major: 3.61 (most recent school), 3.68 total (calculated from both undergrad schools)
Overall GPA: 3.63 (most recent school), 3.76 total (calculated from both undergrad schools)
Length of Degree: 4 years + 1 quarter (graduated fall 2018)
Position in Class: don't know
Type of Student: Domestic white female

GRE Scores: revised version
Q: 163 (83%)
V: 159 (83%)
W: 4.0 (57%)
P: Oct. 2019, 650 (38%)

Research Experience:
- Summers 2017 and 2018: Research in the Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences department; research focused on asteroids and mainly involved programming
- Fall 2017 through Fall 2018: Research in theoretical astrophysics focusing on early galaxy formation (programming-heavy)
- Jan-June 2019 (after I graduated): Research in observational astro, did a lot with classifying galaxies by morphology (based on my own program) and analyzed polarizations of various emission lines in QSOs.
- July 2019-Present: I've been working full-time as a research assistant analyzing data from a space satellite that is run out of my undergrad institution. I write code in IDL to analyze the data and assisted with the release of first-light data.
- Poster on effects of dust on high-redshift galaxies, presented at a national conference + my school's Undergrad Research Poster Day
- Publications: I'm a co-author of one in prep by my current PI

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
- Honors College

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)
- Math tutor for a national company
- Grader for the Physics Department
- SPS officer
- Women in the Physical Sciences officer
- Manager of an undergrad-led research project team (mainly teaching Python skills to underclassmen in physics)
- I've been doing paid research since I graduated (listed above)

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
- Founded a student organization at my first university (and was President)
- Was a member of a sorority for science majors
- Vice President of another student org (unrelated to physics)

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)
- Female
- Grad class: Cosmology. After I graduated I enrolled in a grad-level cosmology/extragalactic class at my undergrad school, and got an A. The prof for this class is also one of my former PIs and is a letter-writer.
- For the schools that allow it, I have 4 letters of recommendation

Other Important Info:
This is my second time applying to PhD programs. I applied last year (mainly to a bunch of UCs for theoretical cosmology), and got rejected everywhere. This year I'm only re-applying to a few of those schools, and the rest are new. I'm also interested in observational instead of theory now, and have been very involved in research since I last applied.

Applying to Where: (for observational cosmology/extragalactic astronomy)

Super Reach
University of Chicago (Astronomy and Astrophysics PhD) - Feb. 17: Rejected for PhD program via email to check website
Columbia University (Astronomy PhD) - Feb. 4: Rejected for PhD program via email to check website
UC Santa Cruz (second time applying) (Astronomy and Astrophysics PhD) - Mar. 23: Rejected for PhD program via email to check website

Reach
UCLA (second time applying, also my undergrad school) (Astronomy and Astrophysics PhD) - Mar. 26: Rejected for PhD program via email to check website
UC Irvine (second time applying) (Physics PhD)
U Washington (second time applying) (Astronomy PhD) - Jan. 31: Rejected for PhD program via email
Ohio State (Astronomy PhD) - Invited for online interview (Dec. 28), interviewed Jan. 3, Jan. 13: ACCEPTED for PhD program via email + $27,240 TA/RA (+tuition waiver) + first-year fellowship :D - WILL ATTEND!
Penn State (Astronomy and Astrophysics PhD) - Jan. 24: ACCEPTED for PhD program via email + $30,462+tuition TA/RA + $6k first-year fellowship - declined

Target
University of Pittsburgh (Physics PhD) - Jan. 29: ACCEPTED for PhD program via email + $27,900+tuition TA/RA + first-year fellowship - declined
UMass Amherst (Astronomy PhD) - Feb. 11: ACCEPTED for PhD program via email + $23,233 (9 mo. TA)+tuition - declined
USC (Physics PhD) - Invited for Skype talk by POI (Jan. 27), interviewed Jan. 27, Feb. 6: ACCEPTED for PhD program via email unofficially - declined
UBC (Astronomy MSc w/ direct transfer option to PhD) - Jan. 9: ACCEPTED for MSc program via email + $25,284 TA/RA base funding for year - declined

"Safety"
University of Toledo (Physics PhD) - Invited for online interview (Jan. 11), interviewed Jan. 13, Jan. 27: ACCEPTED for PhD program via email + $24,000 TA/RA (academic year+summer) funding + $2,000 merit scholarship/year for first few years - declined
CSU Northridge (Physics MS) - withdrawn

Final Thoughts:
I was extremely discouraged after being rejected everywhere last year. But I worked to improve my apps, and was much more successful this year than I could've hoped for! If you really want it, don't give up. I think having that extra year of time devoted exclusively to research did wonders.
Last edited by hopefulastro on Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:46 pm, edited 24 times in total.

mballen
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:43 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by mballen » Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:05 pm

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Last edited by mballen on Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

natefoulk4
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:13 pm

Re: 2020 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Post by natefoulk4 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:19 pm

______________________________________________
Undergrad Institution: BYU
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Mathematics
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 4.0
Length of Degree: 3 years
Position in Class: Top
Type of Student: Domestic, white male

GRE Scores :
Q: 170 (96%)
V: 165 (96%)
W: 4.5 (81%)
P: 940 (89%)


TOEFL: N/A


Research Experience: Three years of computational materials physics research at my school. 3 conference talks and 1 poster. No publications. Currently writing a senior thesis.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Outstanding Student Presenter at APS Four Corners Section Meeting. Outstanding Tutorial Lab TA for Winter 2018

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Lived in Russia for two years on volunteer work.

Special Bonus Points: Semi-famous research adviser/letter writer. Dean of college.


Applying to Where: (All CMT- Physics)

Princeton - Feb 19: Rejected via email.
Harvard - Feb 13: Rejected via email to check website.
MIT - Feb 12: Rejected via email.
Yale - Feb 19: Rejected via email to check website.
Penn - Feb 13: Rejected via email to check website.
Maryland - Jan 24: Accepted $26-31k 12 mo. stipend + 2.5k fellowship for first two years!
Virginia - Jan 17: Accepted $25,600 12 mo. stipend + 5k fellowship for first year!
UIUC - Feb 25: Accepted via email! $24k 11 mo. stipend + fellowship TBD
Chicago - Feb 11: Rejected via email to check website.
Caltech - Feb 19: Rejected via email.
UC Santa Barbara - Mar. 3: Rejected via email to check website.

Update: I'm very excited about getting into University of Maryland, it was one of my top choices!
2/19/20: Sheesh! Rough day :) Oh well, all these rejections are just making my decision easier!

3/4/20: Final insights -- I'm thrilled to be accepted to two of my top choices! UIUC has a world famous CMP program. Maryland has an excellent CMT group for quantum computing as well. It will be a tough decision. It certainly seems like if someone wants to get into a "prestigious" university, then they NEED to have publications. I had a 4.0, great GRE score, and 3 years of research in computational condensed matter theory. But I think my 0/8 for "prestigious" universities speaks for itself.
Last edited by natefoulk4 on Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:05 pm, edited 13 times in total.



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