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Imperate
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Postby Imperate » Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:41 pm

A lot of people give the impression that as an international student one would need exceptional PGRE scores (e.g. If a US student will get accepted into Berkeley with an 800, an international student will need high 900's etc), do you think this would be the case for a student from the UK too? I mean I speak native english, and the places I'd be applying to over here are on parr with the US gradschools pretty much...What is the reason for this discrimination against international students anyway? hah, is it a funding issue or an issue of them not knowing how good your undergrad institute is/value of degree?
What universities in the UK are americans familiar with in general? (except oxbridge obviousley). Since I have to leave my GPA blank, should I write something about the UK degree classification system to explain, (since in the UK first class (top 11% ish) is about 70% but of course in the US system that would be viewed as fairly low) or do you think it will be fine?

I'm trying to work out where to apply to now. My criteria are that I want to be in California/New York/Vancouver (Maybe Florida) in that order of preference I guess, mainly because seems like most of the best schools are in New York/California anyway, but also for the experience/lifestyle etc, being from cloudy england and all. So that has led me to consider:

Caltech,
Stanford,
Berkeley,
UCSB

as my top 4. So I have the "dream schools" portion of my list done, but I'm having real problems with the rest of it. I'm not sure if I should be putting schools like UC Davis as safeties, since even though they have lower rep, they are still state schools, which may be v diff for internationals to get funding too (I keep hearing that the UC's are v bad for an international to get funding from in general). So that kind of puts UCLA,UCSD, NYU? into question......then the other places I can think of are like Columbia, Cornell etc but theyre hardly safe choices.

Oh....I'm applying for string theory btw.....perhaps again making it more difficult for me :(

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trani
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:04 am

Re: Applying

Postby trani » Sat Oct 18, 2008 11:37 pm

I think there are 2 main reason that it is harder for international students to get in schools in the US:

1) people here probably don't know your recommenders unless they are famous OR you are applying to the experiment your recommender is working on (in the case of big collaborations).

2) the expenses that the university covers are higher for international students than for domestic, i.e. you are applying for a quite a bit higher paying job than a US student is when applying to grad schools here.

Now, since private schools are private :lol: they don't really depend on the state or gov't to fund them that much so they usually accept more international students than public school. Because of that you are more likely to get accepted in private school than a public if they both have the same rank otherwise...but you already knew that... so just pick some private schools.

As for making the choice, you might check out the World News Report on who is the best on String theory and just pick some of the schools down the list as safety OR you can wait for the NRC report to come out in November hopefully (however, it is not separated in subfields).

Also I honestly think the best way is to actually look onto school's web pages and talk to prof's who are in your field. Ask them what their research is about more specifically and also if they have room for more students this year. The tricky part is that some schools accept people on general basis (i.e. they will choose these with best profile and let them in) while others will choose on the basis of whether they have spaces open for someone with your interests.

So keep researching. Ask around. Maybe ask professors at your schools that are involved in the field you are interested. They will know who is doing what. Physicists do gossip! :D

Finally, take this with a grain of salt... I am no expert :)

Imperate
Posts: 105
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:01 am

Re: Applying

Postby Imperate » Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:36 am

So looking at http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandr ... h/state+CA (I can't find an individual ranking for string theory programs though, just physics?) I see that for CA I have picked the top 4 in the state for my "ideal schools" (2 of which are also UC's :S, so that should be interesting..) After that it is ALL UC's except for USC which I assume is private? but is ranked 48th...
Which is the problem I'm having really, I guess if I wasn't international I would apply for UCLA UCSD UC Davis after this for my remaining Califonia choices, but I'm hesitant to put them, since I already have two UCs

Then looking http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandr ... h/state+NY, I'll prob apply to Columbia (but hardly a safety!), maybe Cornell (but I have my doubts about living in Ithica, hmmm..). Then I could apply to SUNY is this place state or private? Then there's NYU which is obviously state...

Just seems that all the ones that are just below the amazing schools, that you normally choose next after stanford, MIT, etc are state schools...which could well be equally difficult for me.

At the moment, I'm thinking Stanford, Caltech, UCSB, Berkeley.....UCLA, UCSD, Columbia, SUNY Stony Brook.......I might also apply to one in Canada...and if I'm feeling ambitious MIT.

Just worried because all my list are either top prestigious places are public schools, I think I need some lower ranked private schools, if such a thing exists

bronco199
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:44 am

Re: Applying

Postby bronco199 » Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:36 am

fyi - SUNY Stony Brook IS a state school - and they actually have an excellent theoretical physics program. They just received a 50 million $ grant to develop the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics (i think). Also, they have the CN Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics (check it out). I think they are ranked overall ~20 in physics, but I would guess their theory is top 10 and experiment below 30.

Also - NYU IS a private school.

Imperate
Posts: 105
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:01 am

Re: Applying

Postby Imperate » Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:56 am

bronco199 wrote:fyi - SUNY Stony Brook IS a state school - and they actually have an excellent theoretical physics program. They just received a 50 million $ grant to develop the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics (i think). Also, they have the CN Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics (check it out). I think they are ranked overall ~20 in physics, but I would guess their theory is top 10 and experiment below 30.

Also - NYU IS a private school.


SUNY looks pretty good! Unfortunatley I can only afford to submit about 10 or so apps since theyre about £40-£50 each and I'm not eligible for any kind of fee waiver, so Im looking at spending £500 as it is plus anything addittional that comes about like ETS robbing me. I just don't want to fill up on too many state schools, since I already have UC Berkeley and UCSB, so I don't want to have a list consisting of all prestigious places (Stanford Berkeley etc) and all state schools, I think that would be a big risk for me, and some lower ranked private places are needed. Perhaps NYU could be one of them.

abeboparebop
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:26 am

Re: Applying

Postby abeboparebop » Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:37 pm

NYU is actually a private school, just so you know.

Maxwells_Demon
Posts: 101
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 6:09 am

Re: Applying

Postby Maxwells_Demon » Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:29 pm

Is NYU pretty good for theoretical? Does anyone know?

-Maxwell's Demon

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trani
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:04 am

Re: Applying

Postby trani » Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:45 pm

Here is a ranking in String theory and such:

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/grad/phy/elementary_particle

Just an idea...Here is web site where you can search all universities by some criteria. For example, you can choose under diversity, a school that has the most foreign students.

http://graduate-school.phds.org/phd/physics

Imperate
Posts: 105
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:01 am

Re: Applying

Postby Imperate » Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:00 am

Thanks, good links.

Would it be advantageous for me to not go into detail about wanting to study string theory, it seems super competitive and like it's just going to be another thing (other than being international) that's going to hurt my chances......is it acceptable when applying to US places to just say HEP or something?

User avatar
trani
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:04 am

Re: Applying

Postby trani » Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:02 pm

Honestly. I don't know how it works in theory...

In general I have heard that is better to "know what you wanna do" and express that in your personal statement, but at the same time not be too specific. I believe it also depends on the school. The other day I was reading a thread somewhere that was saying MIT likes more specific stuff.

But its best if some theory ppl's give their opinion here... :)




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