What if I don't get in anywhere?

hopefulastro
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What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby hopefulastro » Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:06 pm

I keep feeling like I'll be rejected from everywhere I applied to. I applied to 10 PhD programs (Physics or Astrophysics) and have so far received two rejections (UW and UT Austin). I keep checking grad cafe results, and I see that some people are now getting acceptances for the other schools I applied to (many UCs). Since I haven't heard anything from them, I'm thinking I'll be rejected and they just haven't sent out those notifications yet for some reason.

Applying to this many programs costs so much money and involves so much preparation. If I don't get in anywhere, I'll reapply next year but will need to retake both GREs and pay about a thousand dollars on application fees again. Anyone else in the same boat? What are your plans if you don't get in this year?

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Nishikata
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby Nishikata » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:45 pm

I try much not to think about it.
I have three rejections so far, with probably additional 2 incoming ones (as acceptances have been sent). So probably worse than yours.

I'll probably apply to Germany this June/July if it really comes down to it.

sadman
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby sadman » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:27 am

hopefulastro wrote: Anyone else in the same boat? What are your plans if you don't get in this year?


Haven't got the rejection emails yet, but I'm sure that I won't be accepted.

I also plan to apply for Master's in Germany, like Nishikata. If even that doesn't work out well, I guess I'll be trying to get some more relevant research experience before applying again next year.

Good luck, and hope you (and the rest of us too) get admits soon.

jdvynk
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby jdvynk » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:03 pm

I feel like I can be of some service here.

Have any of you considered doing a post-bacc somewhere? Gives you time off, you make some money, you're less stressed doing your grad applications than if you were in classes. You'd be doing research.

My experience: I'm in a post-bacc at a national lab. It's been wonderful, and I think was great preparation for applying to graduate schools. Where I'm at, I make almost 1.5 or 2 times as much as a grad student at a university somewhere else, so you can save a lot of money. It was a pain to shell out a grand or so for tests, application fees, and etc., but I could do it comfortably (I don't receive any help from family or anyone, I'm on my own).

I get excellent health care, and I've been here long enough that I've made some great friends.

My story is actually a lot more complicated than what I just gave you, and I'd be happy to talk about it through a different medium, like email or Facebook (so just let me know if you want that). Just not here, because I'm pretty sure anyone who knows me who's reading this already knows who I am now. :lol:

Also in my experience and knowledge I've gained from staff scientists and other grad students, it isn't so bad to apply as an older student. A lot of places like it or prefer it, actually. Also, having one of the national labs on your resume (especially mine) is super useful, if nothing else.

I have a friend here who is a post master's student. This is his third round of graduate applications, and he got into his top school of choice this time - Berkeley. Quite a payoff, if you ask me. I don't think he got into any PhD programs the first two times (and pursued a Master's, meanwhile).

I hope this is useful information for you all and anyone else reading this. I'd be very happy to talk about my experiences and support other people. We're all in this together (I really, really wish HSM didn't make a song out of that :roll: :P). :)

jdvynk
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby jdvynk » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:07 pm

Oh and also, if I literally don't get in anywhere, my backup plan is to hitch it to DC or New York and become a policy advisor. I mean... I'd have to start entry-level and magically create a whole new network of people out of thin air, but I think it'd be a fun transition from science. People problems are sooooo much more complicated than doing STEM (sometimes - don't want to offend anyone here), and we need more scientists doing policy anyway. Like, can you believe, wouldn't it be great if someday the people rewriting energy policy were former scientists? I'm not hating on the current people doing it, but I think it'd be really cool if more scientists stepped up to bat in policy. :lol:

jabennett2194
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby jabennett2194 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:18 pm

sadman wrote:
hopefulastro wrote: Anyone else in the same boat? What are your plans if you don't get in this year?


Haven't got the rejection emails yet, but I'm sure that I won't be accepted.

I also plan to apply for Master's in Germany, like Nishikata. If even that doesn't work out well, I guess I'll be trying to get some more relevant research experience before applying again next year.

Good luck, and hope you (and the rest of us too) get admits soon.



Can you or Nishikata explain the thoughts behind pursuing a masters in Germany if you don't get in anywhere? Masters (to my knowledge) are not funded there right?

chris314
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby chris314 » Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:37 pm

I didn’t get in anywhere last year and was really bummed about it. I attended the March meeting and used that as a networking opportunity to meet a bunch of faculty at universities that didn’t accept me but I felt I still had a chance with if I reapplied. I attended a bunch of talks from labs I wanted to work in to see what work they were presently doing. This improved my SOP and gave me a better shot this time around. These conversations let me know exactly what the labs were looking for and when they liked something I said, I made it a point to tell my LOR to mention what they wanted, a specific story about me doing XYZ that this particular lab wanted. To save money, I didn’t retake either GRE so I didn’t have to resend scores to the same schools. So far I’ve been accepted to 2 out of 3 schools, still waiting on 16 more. One of my acceptances is from a rank 27 school doing the exact research I wanted. I was devastated last year, but so glad I stuck it out one more year.

jabennett2194
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby jabennett2194 » Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:27 pm

chris314 wrote:I didn’t get in anywhere last year and was really bummed about it. I attended the March meeting and used that as a networking opportunity to meet a bunch of faculty at universities that didn’t accept me but I felt I still had a chance with if I reapplied. I attended a bunch of talks from labs I wanted to work in to see what work they were presently doing. This improved my SOP and gave me a better shot this time around. These conversations let me know exactly what the labs were looking for and when they liked something I said, I made it a point to tell my LOR to mention what they wanted, a specific story about me doing XYZ that this particular lab wanted. To save money, I didn’t retake either GRE so I didn’t have to resend scores to the same schools. So far I’ve been accepted to 2 out of 3 schools, still waiting on 16 more. One of my acceptances is from a rank 27 school doing the exact research I wanted. I was devastated last year, but so glad I stuck it out one more year.


This is wonderful advice :D How did you determine those that you "felt I still had a chance with if I reapplied." ???

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Nishikata
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby Nishikata » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:54 am

Masters in Germany are not funded in a sense that you won't receive a stipend for living expenses. However in Bavaria (Munich), there are no tuition fees, so you only need to pay for your own expenses. Therefore, this is better than US/UK schools where you have to pay for huge tuition especially as an international student if you do not have a financial aid.

Not the ideal scenario, but not so bad either.

sadman
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby sadman » Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:36 am

jabennett2194 wrote:Can you or Nishikata explain the thoughts behind pursuing a masters in Germany if you don't get in anywhere? Masters (to my knowledge) are not funded there right?

Mainly because of the very low tuition fee (essentially you only have to worry about the living expenses) and late application deadlines (application periods for many schools haven't even started yet), along with the quality education. Although they are not funded, there are scholarships available in many programmes.

jabennett2194
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby jabennett2194 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:35 am

Nishikata wrote:Masters in Germany are not funded in a sense that you won't receive a stipend for living expenses. However in Bavaria (Munich), there are no tuition fees, so you only need to pay for your own expenses. Therefore, this is better than US/UK schools where you have to pay for huge tuition especially as an international student if you do not have a financial aid.

Not the ideal scenario, but not so bad either.


Huh! I've heard that the Bavaria waiver only applies to German citizens. Can you provide a source that says otherwise? I'll look into it too!:)

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Nishikata
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby Nishikata » Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:20 am

There is no citizenship requirement, as stated here:

https://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/students ... index.html

chris314
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby chris314 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:56 am

jabennett2194 wrote:This is wonderful advice :D How did you determine those that you "felt I still had a chance with if I reapplied." ???


I definitely started with the two threads with PGRE statistics on what percentiles are usually admitted. I'm a numbers person, so I used this along with info on gradschoolshopper to try and estimate the difficulty of being accepted. Another thing that helped me sort through them was whether or not I was rejected right away, waitlisted, or ghosted. If I was part of the first round of rejections, I figured my chances of getting in would be low without huge changes. I sent emails to schools that I was waitlisted at or didn't receive any notification from after April 15. I told them about the conversations I had with faculty at the March meeting, and provided my fall grades which were outstanding.

Some schools were blunt with their rejections, others commended me for showing initiative and encouraged me to reapply for next year.

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Nishikata
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby Nishikata » Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:39 am

Nevertheless, I think we should still maintain some sort of hope until the rejection letter comes.
It's damn hard considering all the rejections we've received, but hey, all we need is one outlier. Just one, and it'll change everything.
Let's see this month through together.

jabennett2194
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby jabennett2194 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:57 am

chris314 wrote:
jabennett2194 wrote:This is wonderful advice :D How did you determine those that you "felt I still had a chance with if I reapplied." ???


I definitely started with the two threads with PGRE statistics on what percentiles are usually admitted. I'm a numbers person, so I used this along with info on gradschoolshopper to try and estimate the difficulty of being accepted. Another thing that helped me sort through them was whether or not I was rejected right away, waitlisted, or ghosted. If I was part of the first round of rejections, I figured my chances of getting in would be low without huge changes. I sent emails to schools that I was waitlisted at or didn't receive any notification from after April 15. I told them about the conversations I had with faculty at the March meeting, and provided my fall grades which were outstanding.

Some schools were blunt with their rejections, others commended me for showing initiative and encouraged me to reapply for next year.


Brilliant advice :D

Cosmicomic
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby Cosmicomic » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:35 pm

I'll pick a dream school, quit my job, sell most of my stuff and equip my car for sleep, then work all day at that school for free while sleeping in my car at night and bumming for change to eat.




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