What can I do with these scores?

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

What can I do with these scores?

Postby Imperate » Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:19 am

Hi,

GRE:
I recently took the general GRE and scored 780Q/560V and still awaiting analytical writing score. I haven't took the physics GRE yet, so I know that will be a major factor too, but assume I get a score of 800+ on that.

Undergraduate profile:
I took a 4 year degree at a UK university (not Cambridge/Oxford/Imperial) in Theoretical Physics, and graduated with a First class degree (UK system is---> 70%+=First, 65-69%=Upper second class, 60-65%=Lower second class etc...........about 10% of students get a First).
I graduated with an average of about 80%, which was about third in my year.
It's hard to convert this to a GPA as the UK and US system are so different, but I think it works out somewhere just under 4.0 (correct me if Im wrong here).
As for research experience, my final year project led to my name on one paper (amongst 4 others).
I have also taken quite a few courses that seem to be on offer as graduate courses in the US already, so Im hoping that might go in my favour.


I'm interested in doing a PhD in theoretical particle physics.

Im just worried that the institute I went to won't be recognised over in the US, and Im also wondering what schools I realistically have a chance with?
Ideally I would like to move to either New York or California. I'm aware of the big names in the these states; Stanford/Berkeley/UCSB/Caltech/Columbia/Cornell.......but do I have a shot at these places? What other 'lower rep schools' , could I apply to in these states for particle physics?

I know I havent done the physics GRE yet which is a major factor, but assuming I work my ass off and get a good score on this, where would you recommend I send my applications?

nowhereguy
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 7:21 am

Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby nowhereguy » Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:51 am

Hi. Apart from those, you should apply to Stony Brook, UCLA and UCSD. Of course, take a look at their websites and see if what they do there in high energy theory matches your interests. Hope it helps.

blueeverest
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby blueeverest » Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:17 am

For theoretical physics, don't forget Princeton. They are highly competitive but 80% is really good for a UK system. We follow Cambridge's system in our country so I know how hard it is to score above 90% or even 80%.

Just out of curiosity, why wouldn't you apply to Cambridge Graduate Physics. Aren't they supposed to be one of the best in the field?

Imperate
Posts: 105
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby Imperate » Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:08 pm

nowhereguy wrote:Hi. Apart from those, you should apply to Stony Brook, UCLA and UCSD. Of course, take a look at their websites and see if what they do there in high energy theory matches your interests. Hope it helps.


OK, will do, thanks. Could these be regarded as 'safety schools' though?

blueeverest wrote:For theoretical physics, don't forget Princeton. They are highly competitive but 80% is really good for a UK system. We follow Cambridge's system in our country so I know how hard it is to score above 90% or even 80%.

Just out of curiosity, why wouldn't you apply to Cambridge Graduate Physics. Aren't they supposed to be one of the best in the field?


Yeah, I will be applying to Cambridge as well this year I think. To be honest, the main attractions causing me to want to go to a US school are:
1) Climate/Scenery/Lifestyle (if I went somewhere like California that is) 2)Experience of going somewhere different, and travelling 3) The high rep of the US physics depts of course...... :D
So it's not an entirely physics based decision, Im sure I could get a comparitively good PhD in England too.

The stage I'm at now is just trying to pick around 6 schools, with 2-3 being high prestige schools, and the rest being not so good, but still good enough that Id want to go if I was to be accepted.

Imperate
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby Imperate » Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:12 pm

Just out of interest, how well are UC davies regarded, as I semi- have had indirect contact with a prof there, from my undergrad years, so could work as an advantage. Im pretty sure they're not a 'great school' (like Caltech or whatever), but are they considered reasonable?

nowhereguy
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 7:21 am

Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby nowhereguy » Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:47 pm

Imperate wrote:
nowhereguy wrote:Hi. Apart from those, you should apply to Stony Brook, UCLA and UCSD. Of course, take a look at their websites and see if what they do there in high energy theory matches your interests. Hope it helps.


OK, will do, thanks. Could these be regarded as 'safety schools' though?


I only mentioned good schools in California and New York, because that's what you are interested in. Unless you think you have a good shot of getting into Harvard or Princeton, then you should only regard UCSD as a "safety". Stony Brook and UCLA are very good for high energy theory, specially the former. Given that you will already have a masters, you should make your list of universities not by name, but by research interests. For example, I applied to Columbia and Caltech only for their names (I didn't get in, though :)); I realized afterwards that there are "smaller" schools whose research interests are closer to mine.

Imperate
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby Imperate » Thu Jul 03, 2008 8:34 pm

nowhereguy wrote:I only mentioned good schools in California and New York, because that's what you are interested in. Unless you think you have a good shot of getting into Harvard or Princeton, then you should only regard UCSD as a "safety". Stony Brook and UCLA are very good for high energy theory, specially the former. Given that you will already have a masters, you should make your list of universities not by name, but by research interests. For example, I applied to Columbia and Caltech only for their names (I didn't get in, though :)); I realized afterwards that there are "smaller" schools whose research interests are closer to mine.


Well the problem is I don't really know if I have a good shot at Harvard or Princeton or not, that is part of my problem; trying to asses how my background would translate over to a US place. However I think I would rather go to a good school in California or New york, even if I could get into Princeton, as part of my decision to go to a US school is based on things like Climate/Lifestyle/The experience etc...I know that is rather superficial, but 6 years is a long time and I want to be somewhere I enjoy living (and being somewhere I enjoy living and has a good school would be the dream). Not that I think anything is wrong with Massachussets (I hardly know anything about the place to be honest!), but I guess coming from the UK, I'm looking to live somewhere that constrasts there (e.g. sun, sea, mountains....although I'd make an exception for NY!). I would also maybe consider Oregan, as that seems like a beautiful place, but again I am not aware of the calibre of the universities there.

How do I find the "smaller" schools though? I only know places like Caltech/Stanford etc because they are world renowed. So Im kinda struggling on the lower end of my app list.

So far Im thinking of something like:

Ideal schools:
UCSB (this is my favourite so far), Caltech, Columbia, Stanford or Berkeley
(other possibles to be put up to top 4: Cornell/Stony Brook/UCLA)

Backups
UCSD (once Ive researched this a bit more, assuming interests match)

Also, I read somewhere else a while ago, that the UC schools are much harder for an international applicant to get funded in than a private school, is there any truth in this?

excel
Posts: 257
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby excel » Fri Jul 04, 2008 1:19 am

State universities (like the UC system) have funding constraints that do not allow them to give offers to more than a few intl students, especially compared to private universities.

Imperate
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby Imperate » Fri Jul 04, 2008 4:45 am

excel wrote:State universities (like the UC system) have funding constraints that do not allow them to give offers to more than a few intl students, especially compared to private universities.


That is a pain. So I guess if I was trying to decide between Stanford and Berkeley, Stanford would be the best choice, in terms of probability to get accepted?

Also kinda messes up my first choice of UCSB, and my potential reserve of UCSD hmmmm :?

VT
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby VT » Fri Jul 04, 2008 5:24 pm

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandr ... phy/search

Click on that link to find out the best graduate schools in Physics in the US. The ranking will give you a rough sketch of other 'good' graduate programs in Physics in the US.

Imperate
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby Imperate » Fri Jul 04, 2008 6:38 pm

Hey thanks, I had def overlooked Chicago

excel
Posts: 257
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby excel » Fri Jul 04, 2008 11:29 pm

If you really want to go to a particular program, it may be a good idea to call the program secretary or coordinator, and put the question of funding for intl students to him/ her. I myself did that during the application process, and always found the secretary forthcoming on the matter.

Imperate
Posts: 105
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby Imperate » Sun Jul 06, 2008 6:13 am

Yeah think I will send a few emails out.

Does anyone know about the lifestyle factors to consider on the campuses Im thinking of above (e.g. Columbia, NY or UCSB, Stanford etc)
How much can a graduate student expect to take home at the end of the month, and how much would you expect to pay in rent in one these places?

Also if anyone is a grad student already, any english/UK people over there?

nowhereguy
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby nowhereguy » Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:12 am

Imperate wrote:
excel wrote:State universities (like the UC system) have funding constraints that do not allow them to give offers to more than a few intl students, especially compared to private universities.


That is a pain. So I guess if I was trying to decide between Stanford and Berkeley, Stanford would be the best choice, in terms of probability to get accepted?

Also kinda messes up my first choice of UCSB, and my potential reserve of UCSD hmmmm :?


The UC system is harder to get into for international students. I know that from personal experience and also from people from my masters program.

If you tell us more specifically what your research interests are (not just the very generic "theoretical particle physics"), I think I could give you a list of 6 schools for you to look at carefully. Of course, I will make up the list taking into account the states that you already mentioned and putting 2 safety, but still very good, schools.

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

Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby Imperate » Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:33 am

nowhereguy wrote:
Imperate wrote:
excel wrote:State universities (like the UC system) have funding constraints that do not allow them to give offers to more than a few intl students, especially compared to private universities.


That is a pain. So I guess if I was trying to decide between Stanford and Berkeley, Stanford would be the best choice, in terms of probability to get accepted?

Also kinda messes up my first choice of UCSB, and my potential reserve of UCSD hmmmm :?


The UC system is harder to get into for international students. I know that from personal experience and also from people from my masters program.

If you tell us more specifically what your research interests are (not just the very generic "theoretical particle physics"), I think I could give you a list of 6 schools for you to look at carefully. Of course, I will make up the list taking into account the states that you already mentioned and putting 2 safety, but still very good, schools.



Hi, yeah I realise "theoretical particle physics" is a bit vague, but to be honest I am still at the stage were my research interests are not fully defined yet (there are quite a few different areas of particle physics that I would like to learn still). However my limited research background was in supersymmetry and extensions to the standard model (MSSM, NMSSM etc), so this is of interest to me, also I am keen to persue sting theory.
I'm sorry if that is still too vague, but my idea about gradschool really is to take the graduate courses( i.e. so I gain a deeper understanding of QFT/String theory etc), also spend time with research groups , then be in a better place to make a decision on what I want to research.
Ultimatley I think I'll end up in string theory, and the HEP dept of UCSB seems to fit the bill of what Im after in the long run (http://www.physics.ucsb.edu/research/hept.html). So I guess Im after places sim to that....

nowhereguy
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby nowhereguy » Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:53 am

Oh, I see. I thought you had already done a MSc or MPhil. Anyway, from the schools mentioned so far, I think UCSB is probably the one that would give you more flexibility in high energy theory. I think this is a nice list of schools in CA and NY that have a broad spectrum of subfields in high energy theory:

- UCSB
- Berkeley
- Stanford
- Stony Brook
- UCLA
- UCSD
- University of Washington (the state, not DC. From what I have heard, the place is really nice)

Unless you are interested in string cosmology, don't apply to Cornell. I wouldn't bother applying to Columbia either, unless you really want to live in NYC or really would like to work with a specific professor there.

Hope it helps.

Imperate
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby Imperate » Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:06 am

nowhereguy wrote:Oh, I see. I thought you had already done a MSc or MPhil.

I've done an 'MPhys', which is a 4 year taught undergraduate course in the UK, it's basically a continuation of a BSc. So I've taken quite a few grad courses(but not in string theory, and only intro gen rel and QFT), and was mostly taught, with only 3 months of research really.
nowhereguy wrote:Anyway, from the schools mentioned so far, I think UCSB is probably the one that would give you more flexibility in high energy theory. I think this is a nice list of schools in CA and NY that have a broad spectrum of subfields in high energy theory:

- UCSB
- Berkeley
- Stanford
- Stony Brook
- UCLA
- UCSD
- University of Washington (the state, not DC. From what I have heard, the place is really nice)



This list sounds pretty good. I guess I'm going to have email a few people at the UC's on it however, and find out just how difficult it will be for an international student. If the UC's turn out to be a no go then the list is gonna need a serious rethink.
Did you say you had personally experienced it being difficult to get in at a UC for an international student?.....where are you from if you don't mind me asking, and did you get in in the end?
Is this the case with all state schools?

Unless you are interested in string cosmology, don't apply to Cornell. I wouldn't bother applying to Columbia either, unless you really want to live in NYC or really would like to work with a specific professor there.


Yeah, I'm not interested in string cosmo so I think I can prob cross Cornell off, and Columbia doesnt seem to fit the bill either, thanks.

Thanks for your help.

digital19
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby digital19 » Sun Jul 06, 2008 5:42 pm

Imperate wrote:Yeah think I will send a few emails out.

Does anyone know about the lifestyle factors to consider on the campuses Im thinking of above (e.g. Columbia, NY or UCSB, Stanford etc)
How much can a graduate student expect to take home at the end of the month, and how much would you expect to pay in rent in one these places?

Also if anyone is a grad student already, any english/UK people over there?


Craigslist.org is a good place to check out rent prices. My guess is that near University of Washington would be the most economical place to live.

vicente
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby vicente » Tue Jul 08, 2008 6:38 pm

I heard from a friend who got into UCSD that they had over 200 international applicants and they let in less than 15.

However, not all state schools discriminate against international students.

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WontonBurritoMeals
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby WontonBurritoMeals » Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:10 am

Man, I totally misread one of the above posts. I thought that it claimed that Craig's list was a great place to look for schools to go to.

Trying to imagine what that would be like...

I'm pretty sure that international students make up most of the grad. programs at the UC's. I don't know what that means about admission percentage.

May the wind be always at your back,
-Wonton Burrito Meals

Imperate
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby Imperate » Sat Aug 02, 2008 5:22 pm

Are there many english international students enrolled as postgrads over there?

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grae313
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Re: What can I do with these scores?

Postby grae313 » Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:02 pm

Imperate wrote:Yeah think I will send a few emails out.

Does anyone know about the lifestyle factors to consider on the campuses Im thinking of above (e.g. Columbia, NY or UCSB, Stanford etc)
How much can a graduate student expect to take home at the end of the month, and how much would you expect to pay in rent in one these places?

Also if anyone is a grad student already, any english/UK people over there?



All of this information can be found at http://www.gradschoolshopper.com :)




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