Top 10 (or 20) Program Chances for a Female EE?

CygnusX1
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:40 pm

Top 10 (or 20) Program Chances for a Female EE?

Postby CygnusX1 » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:27 pm

I’m new to the board but I’ve been perusing the threads for the past few months. I’m very much interested in applying to several PhD programs, but I’m concerned (like many other folks) about the quality of my credentials. With the understanding that admissions selection is a black art, what do you folks think are my chances of getting into a top 10 or 20 physics program? Here are the details:

    BS Electrical Engineering from University of Central Florida, 2002
      3.4 Major GPA, 3.2 Overall (A's in Calc I/II/III, Diff Eq; C in Physics I, A's
      in Physics II/III)
    MS Electrical Engineering, Photonics concentration, Johns Hopkins University, 2008
      3.6 GPA
      Mostly As and some Bs in Spectroscopy, Electromagnetics, Stellar Dynamics,
      Wave Optics, Fourier Optics, Lasers, etc.
      No thesis, this was a part time program primarily geared toward professionals
    7 years work experience in the defense industry, working on free space optical communications research and development for US military customer
    No patents but I do have 1 trade secret on fiber optics hardware and 1 published internal paper for company symposium
    Should be able to obtain good letters of rec from our company sector’s R&D tech director (PhD) and undergrad/grad profs
    GRE score of 1300 (in 2003 – so top score was 1600) 570 verbal, 730 math, haven’t taken the PGRE yet
    Company-sponsored so no financial aid required
    Member of under-represented groups, female and Hispanic

Assuming I rock my PGRE (of course!), my main concerns are my subpar GPA from a not-so-distinguished school, lack of published work, degree program, etc. I’m also concerned about spending the time and energy to put applications together for schools that are not in my reach.

What do you think?

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

Re: Top 10 (or 20) Program Chances for a Female EE?

Postby nathan12343 » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:44 pm

I wouldn't worry so much about your undergrad or even Masters grades since it's been so many years since you left school. However, this means you will have to do very well on the PGRE. I'm assuming you're applying next year since there are no more PGRE dates before the application deadlines for this year, so I'd suggest
you spend the next year boning up on your basic physics.

CygnusX1
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:40 pm

Re: Top 10 (or 20) Program Chances for a Female EE?

Postby CygnusX1 » Tue Nov 10, 2009 7:17 pm

Thanks for the reply, nathan. It feels like eons since I received my undergrad, but at least the grad degree is still fresh. :) And your assumption is correct, I'd be applying for the 2011-2012 school year, but I'm trying to get a leg up on the process if I feel confident enough to apply.

vesperlynd
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:28 am

Re: Top 10 (or 20) Program Chances for a Female EE?

Postby vesperlynd » Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:11 pm

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Last edited by vesperlynd on Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
noojens
Posts: 187
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:59 pm

Re: Top 10 (or 20) Program Chances for a Female EE?

Postby noojens » Wed Nov 11, 2009 12:24 am

CygnusX1 wrote:
    BS Electrical Engineering from University of Central Florida, 2002
      3.4 Major GPA, 3.2 Overall (A's in Calc I/II/III, Diff Eq; C in Physics I, A's
      in Physics II/III)
    MS Electrical Engineering, Photonics concentration, Johns Hopkins University, 2008
      3.6 GPA
      Mostly As and some Bs in Spectroscopy, Electromagnetics, Stellar Dynamics,
      Wave Optics, Fourier Optics, Lasers, etc.
      No thesis, this was a part time program primarily geared toward professionals
    7 years work experience in the defense industry, working on free space optical communications research and development for US military customer
    No patents but I do have 1 trade secret on fiber optics hardware and 1 published internal paper for company symposium
    Should be able to obtain good letters of rec from our company sector’s R&D tech director (PhD) and undergrad/grad profs
    GRE score of 1300 (in 2003 – so top score was 1600) 570 verbal, 730 math, haven’t taken the PGRE yet
    Company-sponsored so no financial aid required
    Member of under-represented groups, female and Hispanic

Your ability to selectively indent shows great promise! I suggest writing your SoP in HTML.

Uh, other than that, could you get a research-oriented position for the next year -- either within the defense industry (DoD? Private contractor?) or at a national lab or something? Getting a year's worth of research in (preferably unclassified so you can publish it) would help your application a lot, IMO.




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