Encouraging European students

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robertson
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:23 am

Encouraging European students

Postby robertson » Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:48 pm

Hi guys!
I just wanted to share some information about how students are classified at my favourite university, MIT. My project supervisor is a friend of someone who is in the admissions comittee of the MIT and he replied with a lot of interesting information. He said that domestic students are statistically worse at the PGRE than Asiatic students, and European students are in turn worse than domestic students. However, he also said that it might be because of the small number of European applicants. Nonetheless, he said that they do not think about European students as International when they looked at the PGRE.
What does that mean? Well, not much indeed, but do not give up so early if you are an European with not that high PGRE, who else might think like this professor? You never know. In addittion, he also said that publications where not necessary but that an independent and completed research project was compulsory. He wanted to see how the student has individually done something that worked, like a part of a big code or a simulation that was already done but you reproduced with your hands. And also this thing that you already know about being very specific in you sub-field preference (I think MIT is the only one asking you to choose very specific topic).
What do you think about this? Do you agree? It might be funny if some Europeans show up and share their experiences, I know I'm the first student in my university that applies to some USA universities in the last 6 or 7 years. Have fun!

Ennio
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:46 am

Re: Encouraging European students

Postby Ennio » Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:57 am

First of all, thank you for starting this thread!
Well, I do hope many admission committees think that way when deciding about European
students...I just got 860, and I believe this would be a good score even for top 10 for
domestics, but I don't know if that's enough for Europeans.

About we europeans scoring lower than domestics, honestly, I didn't know that...I
can try an explanation: european students usually get a master's before applying,
so they have been out of classical mech and all that stuff for years...it's hard to
review all that material when you have less than a month to study, as I did.

Any other opinions? Please share!

surjective
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:16 am

Re: Encouraging European students

Postby surjective » Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:33 pm

I am a European student, got 890 on PGRE, and got offered admission to everywhere I applied:

Stanford, CalTech, Princeton, Berkeley, UIUC, Rochester.

So, I don't think you need to have a 990 to be competitive.

Hopefully this will act against some of the ridiculous "If you're foreign you need a 990" talk on this forum.

Best of luck, Europeans!

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

Re: Encouraging European students

Postby Imperate » Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:16 pm

Wow so glad to see this thread, definitley encouraging me to apply to a few more top places. Do you mind if I ask what the rest of your profile looked like to be accepted in these places surjective? and what area of physics you were going into?

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

Re: Encouraging European students

Postby Imperate » Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:18 pm

Ennio wrote:About we europeans scoring lower than domestics, honestly, I didn't know that...I
can try an explanation: european students usually get a master's before applying,
so they have been out of classical mech and all that stuff for years...it's hard to
review all that material when you have less than a month to study, as I did.


Yeah totally agree with this, I think if I had planned to go to the US earlier, I would have taken it in my third year and perhaps done a bit better

surjective
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:16 am

Re: Encouraging European students

Postby surjective » Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:23 pm

Wow so glad to see this thread, definitley encouraging me to apply to a few more top places. Do you mind if I ask what the rest of your profile looked like to be accepted in these places surjective? and what area of physics you were going into?


I was pretty lucky in undergrad: I had top marks, several terms of independent research, and 2 first-author publications. I suppose that helps somewhat, but my point is that you don't need a PGRE over 900 if you are otherwise well qualified.

I applied for, and am currently doing, condensed matter experiment.

People say that you need a much higher PGRE score for theory than experiment, but talking to the other students in my first-year grad classes, it doesn't seem like the difference is that big. I think the big thing is: if you want to to theory, it helps to have done some theoretical research in undergrad, and hopefully published something, while if you want to do experiment, it helps to have done some experimental research in undergrad, and hopefully published something.

lonetomato
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:51 pm

Re: Encouraging European students

Postby lonetomato » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:03 pm

It might be better to start a new thread, but since all the Europeans are reading this anyways..

Does anyone have any advice for an American student that wants to apply to schools in Europe? Most importantly, how to judge the quality of schools (and how likely I am to get in)? And what is most important to emphasize in the application (grades, research?).

I don't have a very competitive GPA (~3.5) and I took the Nov PGRE so that's up in the air (PGRE doesn't matter anyways, does it?) But I have a ton of research experience, excellent letters of recommendation, a publication that will be out soon (crossing my fingers), and a pretty good undergraduate honors thesis.. anyone?

I want to do nuclear experimental. So far I am thinking about applying to university of manchester and university of bonn (germany) because of their hadron spectroscopy research.

THANKS EUROPEAN PGRE BOARD PEOPLE!!
Anna

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

Re: Encouraging European students

Postby Imperate » Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:20 pm

Does anyone have any advice for an American student that wants to apply to schools in Europe? Most importantly, how to judge the quality of schools (and how likely I am to get in)? And what is most important to emphasize in the application (grades, research?).

I don't have a very competitive GPA (~3.5) and I took the Nov PGRE so that's up in the air (PGRE doesn't matter anyways, does it?) But I have a ton of research experience, excellent letters of recommendation, a publication that will be out soon (crossing my fingers), and a pretty good undergraduate honors thesis.. anyone?

I want to do nuclear experimental. So far I am thinking about applying to university of manchester and university of bonn (germany) because of their hadron spectroscopy research.

THANKS EUROPEAN PGRE BOARD PEOPLE!!
Anna


I only really know about UK universities, but I've heard it's very difficult for non europeans that didn't do their undergrad in the UK to come over to do a PhD because of the funding restrictions(I dont think you are eligible for the usual EPSRC/STFC grants) (unless you win some kind of scholarship, which are obviouly very very competitive). You are right in assuming the PGRE isn't required.
Another issue might be that in the UK people generally have a masters degree before starting a PhD, which is a usually year long over here in the UK ,and takes two years in most other places in the EU (it's effectivley the first 2 years of US gradschool, hence why PhD's only take around 3 years in Europe), so I'm not sure if a US bachelors would be enough for you to start. (I could be wrong on this point though, I dont know that much abt US undergrad programmes).
I had a friend who did Physics at the University of Manchester so have spent quite a bit of time there, so any questions about that feel free to ask....
Might be useful for you for Manchester: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/internation ... m?id=67550

rohit
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 9:12 am

Re: Encouraging European students

Postby rohit » Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:30 pm

Imperate wrote:
Ennio wrote:About we europeans scoring lower than domestics, honestly, I didn't know that...I
can try an explanation: european students usually get a master's before applying,
so they have been out of classical mech and all that stuff for years...it's hard to
review all that material when you have less than a month to study, as I did.


Yeah totally agree with this, I think if I had planned to go to the US earlier, I would have taken it in my third year and perhaps done a bit better


Then how do Indians, who apply after a Masters, get the highest scores after the Chinese?
:twisted:

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

Re: Encouraging European students

Postby Imperate » Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:11 pm

rohit wrote:
Imperate wrote:
Ennio wrote:About we europeans scoring lower than domestics, honestly, I didn't know that...I
can try an explanation: european students usually get a master's before applying,
so they have been out of classical mech and all that stuff for years...it's hard to
review all that material when you have less than a month to study, as I did.


Yeah totally agree with this, I think if I had planned to go to the US earlier, I would have taken it in my third year and perhaps done a bit better


Then how do Indians, who apply after a Masters, get the highest scores after the Chinese?
:twisted:


I have often wondered why chinese/indian students typically do so much better on the PGRE, maybe your educational systems are more geared towards standardized testing? maybe you just want it more? shrug...

Ennio
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:46 am

Re: Encouraging European students

Postby Ennio » Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:50 am

surjective wrote:
I was pretty lucky in undergrad: I had top marks, several terms of independent research, and 2 first-author publications. I suppose that helps somewhat, but my point is that you don't need a PGRE over 900 if you are otherwise well qualified.

I applied for, and am currently doing, condensed matter experiment.

People say that you need a much higher PGRE score for theory than experiment, but talking to the other students in my first-year grad classes, it doesn't seem like the difference is that big. I think the big thing is: if you want to to theory, it helps to have done some theoretical research in undergrad, and hopefully published something, while if you want to do experiment, it helps to have done some experimental research in undergrad, and hopefully published something.


Thank you for the details surjective. Congrats for your outstanding undergrad career!
Honestly, I believe 2 first-author publications count a lot towards admission. I agree with you: hopefully you don't
necessarily need a score over 900 in PGRE. However, in my view your position was very strong, even without
considering the PGRE.

betelgeuse1
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 10:14 am

Re: Encouraging European students

Postby betelgeuse1 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:53 pm

Ok, I'm "east-european" and I got the first time something like 720 at PGRE. I was admitted somewhere but I allways thought I could have done better so I'm trying now again. This was also because I had a very clear subject, and a not very easy one too where I had some ideas and I think I really can add some new things...Unfortunately, where I was admitted there were few people doing research on that subject... you know, theoretical research and almost only experimentalists around... (nothing against experimentalists... :) )
Why do europeans get smaller scores? Well, because in europe you learn lots of details and proofs that you essentially never use, while the americans are more "object oriented". Examples: Lie derivative, Moduli spaces, Killing vectors, conformal transformations etc. (ok, I use them, but what will an experimentalist say when he's forced to learn these "deamons"?!) In my country we are learning the Jackson's electrodynamics (a good part of it anyway) during the third year of undergrad... (of course, we don't have the luck to really use jackson so we usually learn the same things from some old russian books... and let me tell you, the russians do use math...) While doing the jackson problems during my last year I had to remember things like Lienard Wiechert potentials from my undergrad-ED lectures... The main difference is that I learned sophisticated proofs while the students in the US are learning simple applications that you really meet while doing research... So, clearly, if you have done all your life only advanced math and 40 pag. proofs you have some hard time doing the PGRE with 1.7 min/problem. I don't know all the details about studying in western europe (although I studied there for a short period too) but what I said was my undergrad experience... Now, my opinion is that it's really very very usefull to do your PhD in the US because I don't think you'll get the research experience that you get there anywhere else.
Good luck to all,
And of course... good luck to me too!

betelgeuse1
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 10:14 am

Re: Encouraging European students

Postby betelgeuse1 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 2:09 pm

I'm encouraged! Take me, Take me MIT!!!
just joking
:D

betelgeuse1
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 10:14 am

Re: Encouraging European students

Postby betelgeuse1 » Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:23 pm

lonetomato wrote:It might be better to start a new thread, but since all the Europeans are reading this anyways..

Does anyone have any advice for an American student that wants to apply to schools in Europe? Most importantly, how to judge the quality of schools (and how likely I am to get in)? And what is most important to emphasize in the application (grades, research?).

I don't have a very competitive GPA (~3.5) and I took the Nov PGRE so that's up in the air (PGRE doesn't matter anyways, does it?) But I have a ton of research experience, excellent letters of recommendation, a publication that will be out soon (crossing my fingers), and a pretty good undergraduate honors thesis.. anyone?

I want to do nuclear experimental. So far I am thinking about applying to university of manchester and university of bonn (germany) because of their hadron spectroscopy research.

THANKS EUROPEAN PGRE BOARD PEOPLE!!
Anna

Hi
The best thing to do is to search for professors that want to work on the area you want to work too. Most of the admissions go by "files". There is always the CERN in europe but this is a research facility, not a school or university. As far as I know the people in Paris, France have some research oportunities on nuclear physics. About best schools: I would choose Switzerland, the german speaking part, essentialy ETHZ(Eitgenossische Technische Hochschule Zurich)... The GRE is not important but if you get a good score you can mention it. It really depends on what positions are available. Ah, you won't be directly admitted into a PhD program so you'll have to go to a master's program first. You won't have much money during that period because the master's program is usually not payed. There is anyway a trick: (I was in paris, france and there it works) Usually americans don't get financial support in france because first, they apply to universities and second, they are considered automatically very rich. Now, if you are very rich you can basically pick your school and go! If not, tell them you would like to go there but the financial part is an issue. If you have luck they'll "find" financial support. (being a poor east-european helps on that part, but I would change that with being a rich american...)
The "schools" are quite different: In france for example university and "grande ecole" is not the same thing meaning "grande ecole" is better. Universities are usually poor and poorly managed while grande ecoles are quite competitive, but not as competitive as let's say Berkeley. If you want experimental stuff there are "ecole d'ingenieur" etc. Look for EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de lausanne). Also look at the imperial college in London.
best of luck
an european heading for america

betelgeuse1
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 10:14 am

Re: Encouraging European students

Postby betelgeuse1 » Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:37 pm

lonetomato wrote:It might be better to start a new thread, but since all the Europeans are reading this anyways..

Does anyone have any advice for an American student that wants to apply to schools in Europe? Most importantly, how to judge the quality of schools (and how likely I am to get in)? And what is most important to emphasize in the application (grades, research?).

I don't have a very competitive GPA (~3.5) and I took the Nov PGRE so that's up in the air (PGRE doesn't matter anyways, does it?) But I have a ton of research experience, excellent letters of recommendation, a publication that will be out soon (crossing my fingers), and a pretty good undergraduate honors thesis.. anyone?

I want to do nuclear experimental. So far I am thinking about applying to university of manchester and university of bonn (germany) because of their hadron spectroscopy research.

THANKS EUROPEAN PGRE BOARD PEOPLE!!
Anna

And, by the way: americans are friendlier...




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