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.

Zn004
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby Zn004 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:18 am

To avoid something like this i applied for several schools that are exceptionally low in us news ranking for physics(60 to 120) so I am competitive and can at least got admitted to somewhere....and to be honest, Im glad I made this decision and suggest you ppl do the same, cuz it really saves me from being crazy

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

Postby Nishikata » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:16 am

Zn004 wrote:To avoid something like this i applied for several schools that are exceptionally low in us news ranking for physics(60 to 120) so I am competitive and can at least got admitted to somewhere....and to be honest, Im glad I made this decision and suggest you ppl do the same, cuz it really saves me from being crazy


That might work for domestic applicants who are staying in the US. For international applicants like myself, I do not see a point of getting in a safety school in the US if the schools' qualities are comparably as low as the ones in my home/neighboring country while having to endure higher living expenses, super-cold weather, and the possibility of getting shot by a random dude with a gun on the street, so probably this plan is not for me.

Of course, I am halfway through a complete rejection (5 out of 10, all rejects so far) and it hurts horribly to see your dreams crushed by each rejection email, but getting admits to a school that I wouldn't be happy to go to seems like a waste of application money and effort.

Zn004
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby Zn004 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:33 am

Nishikata wrote:
Zn004 wrote:To avoid something like this i applied for several schools that are exceptionally low in us news ranking for physics(60 to 120) so I am competitive and can at least got admitted to somewhere....and to be honest, Im glad I made this decision and suggest you ppl do the same, cuz it really saves me from being crazy


That might work for domestic applicants who are staying in the US. For international applicants like myself, I do not see a point of getting in a safety school in the US if the schools' qualities are comparably as low as the ones in my home/neighboring country while having to endure higher living expenses, super-cold weather, and the possibility of getting shot by a random dude with a gun on the street, so probably this plan is not for me.

Of course, I am halfway through a complete rejection (5 out of 10, all rejects so far) and it hurts horribly to see your dreams crushed by each rejection email, but getting admits to a school that I wouldn't be happy to go to seems like a waste of application money and effort.


Well as far as I know schools ranked around 60 to 80ish still have decent programs, but if you can get into a better program in your home country why not do that? That is indeed a smart move. The line here is that you need to be admitted to some program/institute so you don't get totally f--ked up.

Besids, I knew SUNY stony brook offer Master's admission to almost every unselected phD applicants, and their programs are pretty good. so if you had stony brook in your school list, you at least will have somewhere to go.

Last thing I wanted to add: Duuuuuuuuuude, I kinda envy you for getting rejections now. I applied for 13 schools only two got back.... I mean, at this point I'd rather get some rejections instead of a total silence...

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

Postby Cosmicomic » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:00 pm

Nishikata wrote:
That might work for domestic applicants who are staying in the US. For international applicants like myself, I do not see a point of getting in a safety school in the US if the schools' qualities are comparably as low as the ones in my home/neighboring country while having to endure higher living expenses, super-cold weather, and the possibility of getting shot by a random dude with a gun on the street, so probably this plan is not for me.



I'm from here and I've lived all over this country and never once feared some random person would shoot me on the street. Most gun deaths are suicide or gang-related, and of the rest the murderer and victim usually know each other. I think the fear is overblown, in large part due to our media. Of course common sense on the street works well everywhere.

If an international applicant has plans to live in the US after finishing, a low-ranked US school still looks better to many US employers than a high-ranked, and likely unknown to Americans, international school. So many applicant profiles on here seem to think if they don't get a top 10-15, then its not worth it. In reality, our top 50 are better than a large number of schools around the world, and open many doors. But if you can get into a high ranked school in another country that has less applicant competition, more power to you and I wish you the best.

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

Postby panama » Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:08 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.



how common is it to get some kind of paid work to cover the living expenses?

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

Postby Nishikata » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:55 am

I don't think it will be easy unless you can speak German.

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

Postby jabennett2194 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:06 pm

Agreed. I would highly recommend the Duolingo app. Using that app in addition to working with a private language coach/tutor can get you up to speed in a new language very quickly if you put in the work!

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

Postby Cosmicomic » Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:50 pm

jabennett2194 wrote:Agreed. I would highly recommend the Duolingo app. Using that app in addition to working with a private language coach/tutor can get you up to speed in a new language very quickly if you put in the work!


Duolingo is great for beginning lessons. In addition I'd recommend Lingq for rapid progress. An hour on there a day + one duolingo skill a day and you should be pretty good in a year's time.

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

Postby jaio » Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:51 pm

Seconding jdvynk and chris314. If you do research and reapply again, network network network. If possible, find out who the good advisors in the field are (some are not necessarily famous or at top schools). Look for hidden gems at "low ranking" institutions and apply to them next year, so even if you end up going to your backup school you'll be well off.

7anooch
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Re: What if I don't get in anywhere?

Postby 7anooch » Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:11 am

I managed to stumble into a couple of really good programs somehow, but I also had ample cash to spend and applied to 30+ programs (actually filling out that many applications was probably the most painful part..) because I figured if I did that I'd get into at least one top 40 program. That said, that means I'm sitting on 20+ rejections right now and waiting on a few more, many of them from "lesser" departments than the ones I got into. I've heard from people that many departments received uncharacteristically large amounts of applicants this year.

On another note, my undergrad mentor told me that its probably worth applying to Australian programs (different academic year structure) if I don't get into any of the ones I really want to go to, so maybe thats worth a shot?




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