Not sure how to estimate my chances, due to little research experience (Quantum Info/Comp/Foundations)

Schroedingers2c
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:15 am

Not sure how to estimate my chances, due to little research experience (Quantum Info/Comp/Foundations)

Postby Schroedingers2c » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:16 am

Hello guys,

I am really grateful for this forum. It is a huge source of information and tips and in the tough and competitive world of academia we (physics students) have to stick together. Thanks everyone for that.

So, I am an undergraduate student heading towards the completion of my degrees and want to pursue my interests in Quantum Information Theory/Quantum Computing/Quantum Foundations further and would like to attend a graduate school in Northern America. I sort of have a lack of research experience and publications, which makes me a bit anxious about my school choices and my chances for getting admitted. I would highly appreciate it, if you guys with a "better view" (more experience of the application process, unbiased of my own view,...) could comment my profile and my chances of getting admitted at the schools of my choice. Here's my profile:

Undergrad Institution: One of the biggest german-speaking universities with a very strong experimental quantum physics department (esp. quantum optics)
Major(s): BSc. in Physics, BSc. in Mathematics (full degrees)
Minor(s): None.
GPA in Major: 4.0 (Physics), 4.0 (Mathematics)
Overall GPA: 4.0
Length of Degree: Both 3 years, but started with Mathematics one year later, hence in total 4 years (completion of PHYS BSc. 01/2018, of MATH BSc. 07/2018).
Position in Class: Top 5-10 (classes are ~100-200 students)
Type of Student: International

GRE Scores : Will do the test within the next few weeks.
Q: ???
V: ???
W: ???
P: Taking the october 28th exam, expect to score >800-900 having had a quick look at the practice exam.
TOEFL: Will do the test within the next few weeks, but I am confident to score 105-110.

Research Experience:
- I don't know if it counts, but I will have written 2 bachelor theses, both relevant for my graduate purposes.
- Since my PHYS bachelor thesis will be about a topic currently researched by my supervisor, I'll probably get some research experience in the coming months.
- I will give a talk about some topic in Quantum Information or Quantum Foundations (to be specified) in the coming months.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
- at the time of application 3x recipient of the yearly University Merit Scholarship for having excellent grades (always rated ~5th of all physics undergraduate students) (one can only apply for one degree)
- Represented my nation at the international final of a student competition in theoretical physics (PLANCKS, if anybody knows it)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
- Occasionally tutoring fellow students or high school students.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
- I did a 6 weeks internship at the national space agency during an analogue mars mission, at which people from 19 nations where involved (also one guy from NASA attended). But I did nothing physics related, more like supporting the final workings at the spacesuit and being a member of the simulated Mission Control Team during the mission.
- I do an advanced laboratory course in quantum optics in September.
- I'll do two graduate level courses exactly in the field of my interest for graduate studies in the coming semester.

Special Bonus Points:
- My physics bachelor thesis supervisor is quite known in his field, which is Quantum Foundations and Quantum Information Theory, and I will ask him for a letter of recommendation.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
Unlikely.

Applying to Where:
All in quantum information/computation/foundations, preferably theoretical (let's see, if the quantum optics lab course will change that - I highly doubt it).

Schools (in no particular order):

U of Waterloo (MSc. Physics or MSc. Quantum Information)
PSI (special program at the Perimeter Institute)
Caltech
U of Maryland
Stanford U
UC Santa Barbara
U of Oxford (MSc. Theoretical and Mathematical Physics)
U of Edinburgh (MSc. Theoretical Physics or MSc. Mathematical Physics)

I am currently also having a look at the QI/QC/QFound groups of the following:

U of New Mexico
MIT
U of Toronto
U of British Columbia
UC Berkeley

If anyone knows other schools not listed above with strong departments in my field of interest, please share them.



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