ok here I am!! I'm too busy now to catch up on all the posts I need to make, but I'll be back soon. My "spring" break starts next weekend and I'll try to liven this place up again! I really hope RG comes back too!! I so wanted to meet that dude!
I'm sorry again for any comments that either worsened the nervousness the rest of you feel or made those of you striving for non top-10 schools feel bad. I'm very sorry, I have a ton of respect for you. But still, in light of that thread that said 60% of profs at decent universities come from the same 8 schools... if I really want to go the academic route and be successful, insted of relying on myself to be one of the exceptions, I'd prefer to go to one of the 8 schools.
I figured instead of bashing the admissions system over and over again I should just wait until decisions come in to see if all of my concerns that seemed legitimate are worth losing sleep over. I was used to getting harassed by physicsdude and scolded unnecessarily by a few others, but when one of our favorites, fermiboy, was upset by one of my comments, it was time to go. But seriously, after all the courses I've taken and the GRE, I'd hate to have to settle for something less than my dream... and knowing these schools only enroll like 30 students per year, and most of their accepted students are guys like geomar, nvanmeter, drken, gcensr and who knows how many others outside of this forum, compared to whose profiles, mine is a mere proper subset, who applied to all the top schools and got into all of them, I had to wonder whether I could get in without bonus points. For instance, with all due respect to grae313, aanaa and company, I've never seen male applicants with similar profiles kick so much @$$ in the admission process. I'm very happy for you both.
Ok so let it be said once and for all... it is very possible for a student from a mediocre state school with no connections, no prestigeous awards, no first author publications, no minority status and no prior experience with his listed research interest to be admitted to several top schools based on strong performance on the things we have most control over: coursework and GREs. (by the way, VT no I did not apply to condensed matter, lol)
In the afternoon of the same morning I left the forum, I was admitted to Caltech. When I turn down their offer, I'll be sure to send a personal letter saying that admission to their program was very encouraging to me, and that I'm going elsewhere entirely out of research interest. This research interest is fusion, and the next Monday I was admitted to my dream school, Princeton's plasma physics program. I'll now be in a perfect suburban environment reasonably close to home doing the research I had really hoped to do from the first day I decided to major in physics.
I was also accepted to Stanford yesterday. I'll turn down their offer, along with Caltech's and UPenn's this coming week as long as nothing awful happens at my visit with Princeton Plasma. I'll get to meet the legendary forum user schmit.paul!!! I'll also get to walk in the footsteps of Einstein, but that will be offset by the fact that physicsdude also walked these steps... ewww...
I hope you all understood where I was coming from. Afterall, just a week ago I hadn't been admitted anywhere, was nervous as hell and never imagined things would work out so well. It didn't help that I saw an old forum comment from someone who had past experience with MIT's fusion center saying, "the MIT fusion people won't even consider you for their dept unless you're absolutely committed to it." But just like the rest of my applications, I listed multiple research interests in the app/SOP because I heard over and over again that if you pick too narrow a field you have a much higher chance of being rejected because they may not have openings in that area. Is it a coincidence that MIT is just one of the two places I haven't heard from, the rest of which I've been accepted to??
So it looks like I may have missed out at MIT because of some absurd impersonal factor in the system, no surprise since there are tons of stories on here about MIT being fickle, whimsical pricks when it comes to admissions. Good thing that wasn't my top choice. This confirms my point that nobody should scold another student, regardless of his profile, for being worried about his chances. Many of us have that one dream school we'd die to attend (well, dying would defeat the purpose but you know what I mean)... so we could be the perfect applicant, get in to 9 out of the 10 schools we applied to, but miss out on our dream school for any random reason. That would still hurt badly regardless of the other options we have. How could nvanmeter be rejected by Stanford??? Makes no sense.
To give an example of one of the additoinal reasons I was worried... when I looked at Princeton's and Caltech's websites of their former grad students, I saw the majority came from elite universities or other reputable private schools. Ok fine, there were still plenty of exceptions as we'd expect!! BUT... a quick google search would reveal that most of the students from podunk universities were Goldwater winners... so until I was accepted, I had to wonder whether students from podunk schools are expected to win this damn award to prove themselves.
Anyway, I'm glad this chapter of my life is over. Now I need to catch up on my undergrad physics and try to prepare myself for Princeton's grad program. A few of their faculty had called me with a few questions before I was admitted and they seemed like awesome people! I must try my best... I'd hate to disappoint them, or the world who I hope to help bring fusion energy to at some point in my life!
Sadly, very sadly, I don't think I'll get to meet any of you. RG, nvanmeter, grae didn't apply to princeton... and as much as I'd love to visit Caltech and Stanford too see their campuses and meet you guys there, I'll do the right thing and decline their offers promptly. Also, one of the things that surprised me is they only reimburse upto $300 and $250 for travel costs... there's no way that would come close to adequate for those of us back East.
RG, get back here now!! I want you back more than garden! Are you visiting UPenn??? Let me know cuz we could meet up!!!
Until next week,
Last edited by quizivex
on Sat Mar 01, 2008 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.