"Dropout" reapply options

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neon37
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:36 am

"Dropout" reapply options

Postby neon37 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:50 am

Hi, I had a few questions. I graduated few years back from a good liberal arts school with Physics BS (3.4 gpa) and tons of research experience (practically did research for all 4 years). Then I additionally worked at an Ivy league Uni as a research assistant for 1 year. Due to recession I had to do last minute applications and got into an ok Uni. However, I had few problems on the way that pushed me into serious nervous breakdown and depression. I had to dropout to sort of take care of those problems. So after that, to try and salvage my career, I took the GREs again past April and got 870. What do you think my chances are to get into a decent University?

geshi
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:01 am

Re: "Dropout" reapply options

Postby geshi » Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:11 pm

Unfortunately this is a very vague statement. Generally speaking, no one on this forum can look at your post and tell you where you can get in. Hopefully you already knew this. I'm going to assume you did already know this and assume that the question you were really asking, "Is my career as a physicist completely ****** because I dropped out of grad school?" In a word (TLDR), no.

In more than a word, grad school applications are a bit of a "crap shoot" (to use an old cliché). You probably already know this having been through the process at least once before. Having dropped out of grad school can hurt you, I'm sure. How you did while you were in grad school will also affect that. It will depend on what schools you apply to, who is sitting on the admissions committee, and their mood at the time of reading your application (obviously among many other factors). One option would be to explain why you dropped out of grad school in the first place (via your self-statement). If it's not a good reason, it might not be wise to include it. You could potentially not include that detail if they don't *require* it (I think they do). So no, you're not screwed, but it will probably affect your chances. Look through the profile threads. There's usually a section, "other information that might appear on your application." See if anyone else has an application that said they dropped out of some program previously.

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HappyQuark
Posts: 762
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:08 am

Re: "Dropout" reapply options

Postby HappyQuark » Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:31 pm

I think (and anyone who disagrees can chime in) that it is appropriate to treat the graduate school admissions process as a job interview. Your job is to sell yourself and that means highlighting your strengths, downplaying your weaknesses and, whenever necessary, explaining special circumstances. In your case, dropping out of graduate school can be seen as a bad thing unless you address why it happened. If you have good and legitimate reasons explaining why you dropped out and you do a sufficient job of convincing admissions committees that it was a one time occurrence, then you can probably mitigate most of the potential negativity of dropping out.

neon37
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:36 am

Re: "Dropout" reapply options

Postby neon37 » Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:22 am

Thanks guys for the reply. Your replies are motivating for me. Hopefully things will work out. I did have a legit reason, but I'm not sure the people in the Admission boards are interested to listen to them. And additionally, explaining the problems in personal statement will cost me a lot of words. Would I have to send a separate letter to them? I was also thinking of letting the Unis know through my advisers. Third is send the professor the letter, who I'm interested in working with. What would be the best approach?

geshi
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:01 am

Re: "Dropout" reapply options

Postby geshi » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:59 pm

I would think explaining it via SOP is your best bet. Admissions committees don't want to read 2 letters from you. Explaining it via reference seems a little odd (unless maybe it's someone from the program you dropped out of that has some connection/personal knowledge to why you dropped out). Sending a letter to a specific professor would be my guess for a second best option.




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