Is my list of prospective graduate schools realistic or am I aiming too high?

ice154
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:48 am

Is my list of prospective graduate schools realistic or am I aiming too high?

Postby ice154 » Wed May 22, 2019 4:46 am

Hey all. I'm sorry to add to these types of posts, but I'm pretty lost. I'm not sure where my application stands and would really appreciate any insight as to whether or not I'm being realistic.

Undergrad Institution: Top ~25 Private School, Top ~60 in Physics
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: 3.70
Overall GPA: 3.63
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: Unknown
Type of Student: Domestic male

GRE Scores: (Practice)
Q: 166
V: 158
W: N/A
P: 820

Research Experience:
  • Summer REU in Computational Astrophysics
  • Summer National Lab Research (unpaid, informal) in Experimental Particle Physics
  • 3 semesters in university's Theoretical Cosmology Lab
    Publication (3rd author of 3)
    Presentation at undergrad symposium
    Hoping for one more publication next fall
  • Summer National Lab SULI in Computational Particle Physics (this summer)
    Poster presentation
    PRAYING for a publication

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
  • 1 school research grant
  • Dean's List here and there

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
  • A couple software engineering internships freshman year
  • Involved in many extracurriculars including: AI club, SPS, Astro club, ACM

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Not particularly I guess...

Special Bonus Points: I know which professor(s) I'd like to work with at each school I'm applying to and am planning on reaching out to them soon. Also have taken 4 courses in CS from university in addition to having certifications in data science, machine learning, astronomical data analysis

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I am hoping to do my PhD work in structure formation simulations and while I have never had a research experience in this topic, I went through each prospective grad advisor's publications to find out how they create their simulations and worked through the documentation for each software, producing examples for each. I have over 12 examples of structure formation simulations I've produced independently and am hoping this might help.

Applying to (all for Cosmology/Astro with a focus in Numerical Simulations):

Cornell
UCSC
Columbia
UCSB
UIUC
Carnegie Mellon

UCBoulder
UPenn
UCLA
Stony Brook
Northwestern

RPI
Brown
Dartmouth
RIT
Rochester

jabennett2194
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:54 pm

Re: Is my list of prospective graduate schools realistic or am I aiming too high?

Postby jabennett2194 » Wed May 22, 2019 4:59 pm

I would recommend:

If money is not an object
~10 reach, ~5 match, AT LEAST 3 safety

If money is an object
~5 reach, ~3 match, AT LEAST 3 safety

To my eye, you don't have any safeties on your list.

fritz
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:58 pm

Re: Is my list of prospective graduate schools realistic or am I aiming too high?

Postby fritz » Wed May 22, 2019 11:27 pm

For structure formation sims, you may want to include Chicago and MIT. They may sound super-reach, but research fit is one of the most important criteria after all and they both have strong simulation groups.

ice154
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:48 am

Re: Is my list of prospective graduate schools realistic or am I aiming too high?

Postby ice154 » Mon May 27, 2019 7:50 am

jabennett2194 wrote:I would recommend:

If money is not an object
~10 reach, ~5 match, AT LEAST 3 safety

If money is an object
~5 reach, ~3 match, AT LEAST 3 safety

To my eye, you don't have any safeties on your list.


Thanks for the response. Do you have any suggestions for good safety schools? And of the schools I had listed, which would you consider matches? Thanks again.




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