Help analyzing my potential

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Skribb
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 5:22 am

Help analyzing my potential

Postby Skribb » Sat Aug 22, 2009 5:43 am

I need some help figuring out what kind of schools I should be looking at to apply to based on my grades and PGRE. I am well aware that I can kiss any hope of top ten but hopefully I can salvage some top 50 schools. I started out relatively strong but as is common, life happened and with full time work and a number of other problems my upper division coursework suffered. My grades are as follows

Calc I: A-
Calc II: A
Physics for Scientists and Engineers I: A-
Linear Algebra & Differential Equations: A-
Physics for Scientists and Engineers II: A-
Mathematical Methods for Physics: A-
Scientific Computing (Labeled as physics but I'm not sure how it will be viewed by grad committee): B
Discrete Math: A
Quantum Physics: A
Abstract Algebra: A
Physical Chemistry (Labeled in transcripts as Quantum Mechanics): B
Classical Mechanics: B
Optics: C
E&M: A-
Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics: C+

My overall gpa is 3.498. My hope is that decent grades in most of my math classes, good letters of recommendation and good score on the PGRE can outweigh the 2 C grades keeping me out of some of my desired schools. The specific area of study I would like to go into is theoretical or experimental high energy particles and I'm not sure if the particular shortcomings in my grades (e.g. optics and thermo and stat mec) are especially damaging and, if so, is some way to fix this. Unfortunately the price of classes at my school would make it impossible for me to retake the classes, especially with my financial situation. I am curious if you think I will be able to get into any of my top five schools, those being: Columbia, UCLA, USC, Syracuse or Rutgers. Also, what schools would you recommend for particle physics that I would be capable of getting into?

I realize that there are a lot of questions here but I would really appreciate your help. Thanks in advance for anything you can contribute.

nathan12343
Posts: 249
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:34 am

Re: Help analyzing my potential

Postby nathan12343 » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:32 pm

Those grades in Stat Mech and Optics do stick out to me especially since those are both ussually electives taken towards the end of your degree. What year did you take those classes? If it was in your Freshman or Sophomore year, it might look better, especially if there is an upward trend in your grades.

That said, grades aren't everything and good research and PGRE scores can help your application look much better than your GPA might imply.

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grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Help analyzing my potential

Postby grae313 » Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:16 am

Skribb wrote:I need some help figuring out what kind of schools I should be looking at to apply to based on my grades and PGRE. I am well aware that I can kiss any hope of top ten but hopefully I can salvage some top 50 schools. I started out relatively strong but as is common, life happened and with full time work and a number of other problems my upper division coursework suffered. My grades are as follows

Calc I: A-
Calc II: A
Physics for Scientists and Engineers I: A-
Linear Algebra & Differential Equations: A-
Physics for Scientists and Engineers II: A-
Mathematical Methods for Physics: A-
Scientific Computing (Labeled as physics but I'm not sure how it will be viewed by grad committee): B
Discrete Math: A
Quantum Physics: A
Abstract Algebra: A
Physical Chemistry (Labeled in transcripts as Quantum Mechanics): B
Classical Mechanics: B
Optics: C
E&M: A-
Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics: C+

My overall gpa is 3.498. My hope is that decent grades in most of my math classes, good letters of recommendation and good score on the PGRE can outweigh the 2 C grades keeping me out of some of my desired schools. The specific area of study I would like to go into is theoretical or experimental high energy particles and I'm not sure if the particular shortcomings in my grades (e.g. optics and thermo and stat mec) are especially damaging and, if so, is some way to fix this. Unfortunately the price of classes at my school would make it impossible for me to retake the classes, especially with my financial situation. I am curious if you think I will be able to get into any of my top five schools, those being: Columbia, UCLA, USC, Syracuse or Rutgers. Also, what schools would you recommend for particle physics that I would be capable of getting into?

I realize that there are a lot of questions here but I would really appreciate your help. Thanks in advance for anything you can contribute.


You ought to have a decent chance at Syracuse and Rutgers, the others seem like more "reach" schools IMO, but remember there is a lot more to your application than grades, as nathan said, and you will have a difficult time getting admitted anywhere without a strong, well-rounded application. Grades are only one tiny, peice of the pie so it's difficult for us to say much at all about your chances. Have you browsed the two stickied profiles threads? You can search these threads for keywords like "Rutgers," "Syracuse," "Columbia," etc and see what types of students were admitted to or rejected from these schools. This is the best way to gauge your chances.




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