Chances to get into top schools

Drewe51
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Chances to get into top schools

Postby Drewe51 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:58 pm

Okay, so I have about a 3.2 in my overall gpa, with about a 3.6 in physics. I had some crazy circumstances in my sophomore year. I've got two published papers and some neat add on type resume highlights (physics department awards and crap). I would really like to go to one of the top schools in plasma/fusion research. If I dominate the gre is that a possibility? I've already counted out princeton and MIT lol, but would wisconsin, ucla, and/or ucsd be reasonable? I've checked their requirements, and I'm not excluded from admissions, but I don't want to waste $300 on app fees if that's an impossibility.

Also I'm not 100%, on my focus, I want the aforementioned topic, but am not very familiar with all the options, the phd guys in my department are mostly experimentalists, and most optics focused(I decided I don't want that) so that doesn't give a lot of insight into possibilities.

any help would be great, thnx

bfollinprm
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Re: top schools

Postby bfollinprm » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:04 pm

From informally talking to admitted students during the admit weekend, UCSD physics seems to be very much into taking students with a strong research record even when there are a few question marks in their grades/undergraduate experience. A 3.2 isn't the end of the world, especially if you dominate the PGRE (though I'd study hard to do that to ensure a chance at a top school). And a 3.6 in physics is what I got, and I got into UCSD with a 770 PGRE (I didn't apply to the other two, and my interests are different, but...)

If you have a first authorship, or are an integral part of a project that has direct analogues at these programs, you should definitely invest in the applications.

Quick plug for a nice guy: Fred Driscoll at UCSD is a very welcoming person, who seems to get a lot of good funding to put together great groups who do great physics. Single handedly got me to join him on the plasma physics tour, despite absolutely no interest in the subject, or instrument building in general.

Drewe51
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Re: top schools

Postby Drewe51 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:38 pm

Thanks, I graduate next year and I'm kind of scrambling the jets at this point. My current research isn't in the field I want to go into, though.(granular physics and computational fluid dynamics) its just what's available in my region.

Does that make it less important? Or is that kind of expected?

also, are professors okay with undergrads contacting them?

cryingsun
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Re: top schools

Postby cryingsun » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:01 am

Drewe51 wrote:Thanks, I graduate next year and I'm kind of scrambling the jets at this point. My current research isn't in the field I want to go into, though.(granular physics and computational fluid dynamics) its just what's available in my region.

Does that make it less important? Or is that kind of expected?

also, are professors okay with undergrads contacting them?


With regard to the last question: I explicitly asked two professors at MIT about people contacting them prior to admission, and they both said that unless you had some kind of connection (say they knew your adviser personally) or you had published a paper directly related to their research, your email got deleted.

The_Duck
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Re: top schools

Postby The_Duck » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:12 am

Before applying places I emailed the one or two professors at each school who work in the rather specific research area I was most interested in (but had never worked in before) just to ask if I could get in touch with any grad students they had. Not all the professors responded, but many did (including a guy at MIT, just as a counterpoint to the above post). Then I asked the grad students a bunch of questions. I think this is a good way to go about it: the grad students were often happy to write me long missives that I doubt a professor would ever take the time to respond with.

Drewe51
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Re: top schools

Postby Drewe51 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:30 am

okay, so basically some profs are a-holes. Like apparently at least one guy at MIT. I won't contact him.

But I should be contacting the grad students if possible?

Will they really be able to help that much? What kind of info can you get from them? I've got lots of particular questions.

This website and these responses are really great btw.

cryingsun
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Re: top schools

Postby cryingsun » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:46 am

All I'm saying is that professors probably don't respond to random emails. Different people have different standards as to what emails are considered random.

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midwestphysics
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Re: top schools

Postby midwestphysics » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:19 am

Drewe51 wrote:okay, so basically some profs are a-holes. Like apparently at least one guy at MIT. I won't contact him.

But I should be contacting the grad students if possible?

Will they really be able to help that much? What kind of info can you get from them? I've got lots of particular questions.

This website and these responses are really great btw.


A grad student can answer a lot of the same questions you would ask a prof, and if you’re talking to a grad student who is in the group you're looking to possibly get into they can answer even more. The kinds of questions depend on the kind of grad student, i.e. their involvement and seniority. Overall though, most should be able to give you the kinds of insights you're looking for, especially at top schools where these students are in my opinion more involved with a lot of things that happen. You have to remember, they're not just students, they work there too as TA's or RA's at these schools. Never underestimate a knowledgeable, involved, grad student. I think grad student are the hidden info gems in the app process.

vesperlynd
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Re: top schools

Postby vesperlynd » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:11 pm

You certainly don't need to email profs ahead of applying to get in somewhere. I certainly didn't. In fact, my research advisor strongly advised against it - he was pretty adamant about me not emailing anyone.

Drewe51
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Re: top schools

Postby Drewe51 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:26 pm

I guess I'm just looking for a way to get a leg up. Any little thing to get noticed more than the next guy. How does that letter of intent factor in?

I know I'm talking about a bunch of different stuff on the same thread, sry about that.

bfollinprm
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Re: top schools

Postby bfollinprm » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:02 pm

Drewe51 wrote:I guess I'm just looking for a way to get a leg up. Any little thing to get noticed more than the next guy. How does that letter of intent factor in?

I know I'm talking about a bunch of different stuff on the same thread, sry about that.


the only way an individual professor will care about you is if you can show your aptitude for his research is better than the average ability of the entering grad student at that institution. Sorry, but that's the truth. If you can show that, then email the professor; they'll read it (I know I got responses from some pretty famous people, but only because my past research was really focused in their area).

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grae313
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Re: top schools

Postby grae313 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:17 pm

Focus on your success in your research endeavors, and with some good letters and a decent PGRE score I think you have a great shot at the schools you mentioned. It's not a big deal if your undergraduate research doesn't match your interests for graduate school research.

What is the reputation of your undergraduate institution in physics?

Drewe51
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Re: top schools

Postby Drewe51 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:21 pm

I don't know that my undergraduate institution has much of a reputation. Its very small. I think we've only had 1 graduate student since I started as a freshman. Is that bad in and of itself?

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: top schools

Postby WhoaNonstop » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:19 am

Drewe51 wrote:I don't know that my undergraduate institution has much of a reputation. Its very small. I think we've only had 1 graduate student since I started as a freshman. Is that bad in and of itself?


My opinion of this is that it does affect your application negatively, although of course I don't think it is the end of everything. I come from a very small school that probably nobody on this entire forum had ever heard of before. Although I didn't apply to a whole lot of top 30 places, I would "assume" that going to a school that the professors on the committee have actually heard of would make a slight difference. I actually had one of the professors congratulate me in his office during my visit of my accomplishment in getting into the program with my background. He informed me that he was one of the committee members and told me that I almost didn't make it into the program due to no one knowing my undergraduate institution. Even though my PGRE (890) and my research experience was at the level or above many other students who applied, it was hard for them to make the move on my application. Unfortunately, if I was to look back I would have changed my school plans, but alas that can't be done.

However, you definitely have a chance at the schools you have mentioned. If you do well on the PGRE and have publications you should be fine. I wouldn't sweat it too much, just make sure you end up somewhere you enjoy being.

As far as contacting professors I think it really depends on your research background. I contacted a professor (the one I expect to work with at W&M) because my previous research aligned with hers. She responded in delight. After I met her, I realized that she might be more excited about myself working for her than visa versa. Of course, all professors should be excited to get students, especially ones who have a background in their research.

So I would suggest, if you have a decent background in the professor you are contacting, I would go ahead and do so if you feel comfortable. Otherwise, I truly don't think contacting professors will make that big of a difference.

-Riley

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midwestphysics
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Re: top schools

Postby midwestphysics » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:39 am

WhoaNonstop wrote:. Unfortunately, if I was to look back I would have changed my school plans, but alas that can't be done.


Other than actually giving a crap in my early years, which I definitely didn't :0). The one thing I would have changed would have been to transfer to a bigger name school, I had a top 10 and a top 30 school all within very close range. That's one thing I'll regret, not just because of name but because of the resources of the department and breadth of different research opportunities. Still, I'm sure even then there would always be things we'd do differently, we're physicists and as a result have tendencies to be perfectionists.

SSM
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Re: top schools

Postby SSM » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:39 am

Drewe51 wrote:I don't know that my undergraduate institution has much of a reputation. Its very small. I think we've only had 1 graduate student since I started as a freshman. Is that bad in and of itself?


From what I've heard, potential grad schools like to know--or think they know-- that you've come from a place that gives you good preparation in coursework and research. I don't know how valid this is for most places, since I think my undergrad preparation was probably as good (or worse) then Riley's, but I came from one of the places most people know about and prospective professors never mentioned where I was from like they did with Riley.

That being said, I've heard that if you're an undergrad at MIT you do Jackson E&M, which is kind of insane, but you definitely would be better prepared for grad school that way.

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midwestphysics
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Re: top schools

Postby midwestphysics » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:52 am

SSM wrote:
Drewe51 wrote:I don't know that my undergraduate institution has much of a reputation. Its very small. I think we've only had 1 graduate student since I started as a freshman. Is that bad in and of itself?


From what I've heard, potential grad schools like to know--or think they know-- that you've come from a place that gives you good preparation in coursework and research. I don't know how valid this is for most places, since I think my undergrad preparation was probably as good (or worse) then Riley's, but I came from one of the places most people know about and prospective professors never mentioned where I was from like they did with Riley.

That being said, I've heard that if you're an undergrad at MIT you do Jackson E&M, which is kind of insane, but you definitely would be better prepared for grad school that way.


MIT E&M II books:
Required Text

David J. Griffiths. Introduction to Electrodynamics. (3rd edition).

Recommended Books

At a level lower than our course you may consult
Halliday, Resnick, and Krane. Physics. Volume 2.
R. P. Feynman. The Feynman Lectures on Physics. Volume 2.
E. M. Purcell. Electricity and Magnetism.

At a level similar to our course, there is a nice new textbook
Pollack and Stump. Electromagnetism. Addison-Wesley 2002.

At a level higher than our course, the classic textbook is
J. D. Jackson. Classical Electrodynamics. (3rd edition).

This book could have been used selectively as our text, but Griffiths is less daunting to read, more elementary and pedagogical. Jackson’s book will be useful for you in any advanced EM course. We will use some problems from Jackson, but this book is not needed for 8.07. More demanding but less comprehensive than Jackson is The Classical Theory of Fields by L. Landau and E. Lifschitz.


I used Pollack and Stump, which is basically as they even say at the same level.

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sphy
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Re: top schools

Postby sphy » Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:18 am

Drewe51 wrote:I don't know that my undergraduate institution has much of a reputation. Its very small. I think we've only had 1 graduate student since I started as a freshman. Is that bad in and of itself?

The reply I got after an email inquiry from the admission committee about the reasons for my Rejection from NCSU is given below:
You have not provided a subject GRE score, which is required, particularly if we have no history of students from an institution that we don't know well

(I just could not able to take the test because of some busy schedule and for the only test date in India.)
So after this, I some what believe that one's Previous Schools do matter but not as much as the RECOS and PGRE scores and Research Experience.

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midwestphysics
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Re: top schools

Postby midwestphysics » Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:52 am

An international (I'm correct on that one right Sphy? I forget) who didn't submit a PGRE and gets rejected, when it's required anyway, is not something domestics should base anything off of really. Obviously submit the PGRE, but you're far more likely to have someone who has at least heard of your school if it's a U.S. school, particularly a Physics PhD granting one since there are a limited number of them. In any case just do well on the exams and research and don’t worry about rep because there is nothing you can do about that now.

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: top schools

Postby WhoaNonstop » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:01 am

midwestphysics wrote:Other than actually giving a crap in my early years, which I definitely didn't :0). The one thing I would have changed would have been to transfer to a bigger name school, I had a top 10 and a top 30 school all within very close range. That's one thing I'll regret, not just because of name but because of the resources of the department and breadth of different research opportunities. Still, I'm sure even then there would always be things we'd do differently, we're physicists and as a result have tendencies to be perfectionists.


Well, although I don't consider my application fantastic in comparison to the rest of the forum, in comparison to the caliber of students who have graduated from my undergraduate university it is quite astonishing. Try to picture a university where the physics department had NO PROFESSORS doing research. Luckily the last year I was there, a new professor came in and I fought and clawed to work with him and was even able to acquire outside funding for the project. Was it top notch research? No. Did I have any publications? No. Yet, that is all that was available to me. I had no other options. Even with the summer research opportunities, they are getting more and more difficult to get in to. I found it exceedingly difficult as a white male to acquire one of these positions even with a flawless academic background and "no research opportunities at current school." I applied for three summers (to ~20 programs the first two years and ~5 the third) and fortunately got into one the last year. Ironically, out of the 12 students who participated in this REU, probably 5 of them will not go to graduate school at all. One of them was also from Princeton, which to my knowledge has plenty of research available (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

It also bothers me when I go through previous threads and notice people from top notch schools with moderate PGRE scores and little to no research, yet they are still getting accepted to top notch schools for graduate studies. If I would have had a quality education and those type of opportunities I would have been all over them. You bet your ass I would have had a 900+ PGRE and if not a publication, at least some quality work towards one. Unfortunately it seems like some admission committees weigh this incorrectly, because from my perspective having an 800 coming from a university where they throw you in a pasture and tell you to count cows, is at least equivalent if not better than a 900 where your education was golden. Same goes for research. If you went to a top notch school, it should be expected.

Even with all this, I don't think I'd take back my decision. I truly think I will be attending a graduate school that will be most comfortable for me. I'm actually kind of relieved I didn't get accepted by Princeton, because even though I probably would have attended, I doubt I would feel as happy as I will at W&M. It's sometimes nice to be a big fish in a small pond. =]

Hopefully this ranting will give some insight from people coming from completely unknown schools.

-Riley

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grae313
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Re: top schools

Postby grae313 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:43 am

sphy wrote:
You have not provided a subject GRE score, which is required, particularly if we have no history of students from an institution that we don't know well
(I just could not able to take the test because of some busy schedule and for the only test date in India.)
So after this, I some what believe that one's Previous Schools do matter but not as much as the RECOS and PGRE scores and Research Experience.


Are you kidding? The PGRE was required and you didn't submit it... of course you weren't admitted. Every discussion about admissions assumes you have already met the requirements for admission. It goes without saying that that is the most important thing because without it, your application goes straight into the reject pile.

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grae313
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Re: top schools

Postby grae313 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:54 am

SSM wrote:
Drewe51 wrote:I don't know that my undergraduate institution has much of a reputation. Its very small. I think we've only had 1 graduate student since I started as a freshman. Is that bad in and of itself?


From what I've heard, potential grad schools like to know--or think they know-- that you've come from a place that gives you good preparation in coursework and research.


This. I've heard this as well. It may be bullshit, but they feel more comfortable admitting people from programs they have at least heard of, and especially comfortable admitting students from programs with a good reputation. They'd like to feel like they have some handle on the quality of the education you received, and it also helps if they've admitted students from your program before who have done well.

However, I'm also someone that came from an unknown school (or, in my area, known to be super shitty) and did very well in admissions (check 2008 profiles if you're interested) and in some respects, I think the unusual background allowed my application to stand out. My professors absolutely raved about me in my letters of recommendation, and I think what I was able to accomplish research-wise was more impressive coming from a school without much in the way of research opportunities. When I decided I was going to go graduate school four years before I graduated, I made it my goal to make my academic record show unequivocally that I was "too good" for my school.

The bottom line is that if you're coming from a school without a reputation for having a good physics program, it will make you an unknown for them and that can be scary for an admissions committee. Your grades will also look much worse than similar grades from, say, Cal Tech or places known to be extremely rigorous and unforgiving. Your research experience is your strength here, and if you've impressed your research advisers and they can write you some good letters of recommendation, I still stand by my post that you've got a good shot at the schools you listed.

SSM
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Re: top schools

Postby SSM » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:38 am

midwestphysics wrote:
SSM wrote:
Drewe51 wrote:I don't know that my undergraduate institution has much of a reputation. Its very small. I think we've only had 1 graduate student since I started as a freshman. Is that bad in and of itself?


From what I've heard, potential grad schools like to know--or think they know-- that you've come from a place that gives you good preparation in coursework and research. I don't know how valid this is for most places, since I think my undergrad preparation was probably as good (or worse) then Riley's, but I came from one of the places most people know about and prospective professors never mentioned where I was from like they did with Riley.

That being said, I've heard that if you're an undergrad at MIT you do Jackson E&M, which is kind of insane, but you definitely would be better prepared for grad school that way.


MIT E&M II books:
Required Text

David J. Griffiths. Introduction to Electrodynamics. (3rd edition).

Recommended Books

At a level lower than our course you may consult
Halliday, Resnick, and Krane. Physics. Volume 2.
R. P. Feynman. The Feynman Lectures on Physics. Volume 2.
E. M. Purcell. Electricity and Magnetism.

At a level similar to our course, there is a nice new textbook
Pollack and Stump. Electromagnetism. Addison-Wesley 2002.

At a level higher than our course, the classic textbook is
J. D. Jackson. Classical Electrodynamics. (3rd edition).

This book could have been used selectively as our text, but Griffiths is less daunting to read, more elementary and pedagogical. Jackson’s book will be useful for you in any advanced EM course. We will use some problems from Jackson, but this book is not needed for 8.07. More demanding but less comprehensive than Jackson is The Classical Theory of Fields by L. Landau and E. Lifschitz.


I used Pollack and Stump, which is basically as they even say at the same level.


My b. Now that I think about it, that couldn't possibly be true, I just heard they require Jackson-like knowledge on their first day test for incoming grad students. I do know that the freshman physics class at Harvard uses our second year intermediate mechanics book though. (Morin)

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midwestphysics
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Re: top schools

Postby midwestphysics » Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:39 pm

First, Riley great post and yeah I'd say you did really well if the research situation was so desolate. Mine wasn't great but by comparison it looks pretty good in that area. :shock:

SSM wrote: My b. Now that I think about it, that couldn't possibly be true, I just heard they require Jackson-like knowledge on their first day test for incoming grad students. I do know that the freshman physics class at Harvard uses our second year intermediate mechanics book though. (Morin)


I can understand that, you should at least be ready to tackle Jackson, if you're going to a top uni. I will say this, of all my physics classes E&M was the worst. I don't mind the subject, I just hated the class itself, with an unequaled passion.

Edit: I should add though that at some schools, I've heard, they split it into E&M I & II. At mine they didn't, even my prof who went to big name school said we'd have our hands full because he was going to do it all at once. It was pretty insane, at least I thought so, there was no learning curve involved and you couldn't just pick it up at a cursory level. He was very demanding, which was good, because it forced you to really learn it and hold onto it instead of just burning through all the material really fast and forgetting it all afterwards. As much as I hated it, I probably wouldn't have changed it, but I still don't wish it on my enemies :D

grae313 wrote:This. I've heard this as well. It may be bullshit, but they feel more comfortable admitting people from programs they have at least heard of, and especially comfortable admitting students from programs with a good reputation.


Yes, it should go without saying that if they know your school it helps (or if they don't like it, it hurts :) ). I think it's more about rep, if you don't have a good rep it might be better to be unknown :D . Then again, I think some people would be shocked by how many people have heard of their program, not that mine was super well known, but I was shocked by how many schools knew about it, even the highly ranked ones.
Last edited by midwestphysics on Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

vesperlynd
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Re: top schools

Postby vesperlynd » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:45 pm

Here are the textbook requirements for Part I of MIT's exam (the one everyone takes the first week):
http://web.mit.edu/physics/current/graduate/exams/textbooks_part1.pdf

I'm pretty sure Purcell is not Jackson.

Here are the requirements for Part II (the one most people wait to take):
http://web.mit.edu/physics/current/graduate/exams/textbooks_part2.pdf

Part II looks like graduate level to me. But Griffiths is not Jackson.

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midwestphysics
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Re: top schools

Postby midwestphysics » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:58 pm

vesperlynd wrote:Here are the textbook requirements for Part I of MIT's exam (the one everyone takes the first week):
http://web.mit.edu/physics/current/graduate/exams/textbooks_part1.pdf

I'm pretty sure Purcell is not Jackson.

Here are the requirements for Part II (the one most people wait to take):
http://web.mit.edu/physics/current/graduate/exams/textbooks_part2.pdf

Part II looks like graduate level to me. But Griffiths is not Jackson.


Wow, so the first test isn't even at Griffiths level, interesting. See the list I put in, the prof at MIT listed it as below the level of griff or pollack. The second one is a shocker too, I wonder where or even if they ever test at Jackson level.

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HappyQuark
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Re: top schools

Postby HappyQuark » Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:23 pm

grae313 wrote:
sphy wrote:
You have not provided a subject GRE score, which is required, particularly if we have no history of students from an institution that we don't know well
(I just could not able to take the test because of some busy schedule and for the only test date in India.)
So after this, I some what believe that one's Previous Schools do matter but not as much as the RECOS and PGRE scores and Research Experience.


Are you kidding? The PGRE was required and you didn't submit it... of course you weren't admitted. Every discussion about admissions assumes you have already met the requirements for admission. It goes without saying that that is the most important thing because without it, your application goes straight into the reject pile.


This has got to be the most ridiculous thing anyone has ever posted on the forum. You don't send in your PGRE scores, get rejected and then come to the conclusion that you weren't accepted because your school wasn't extremely well known? Grae already said it but I feel it deserves to be repeated. Are you kidding? OF COURSE YOU WERE REJECTED! You don't didn't even submit a complete application. How are you going to be accepted when you didn't give them all of the REQUIRED paperwork? There is a good chance that none of your applications even got looked at so any speculation as to how they would have reacted to your undergrad institution is moot.

What is wrong with your brain?

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sphy
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Re: top schools

Postby sphy » Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:05 am

grae313 wrote:
sphy wrote:
You have not provided a subject GRE score, which is required, particularly if we have no history of students from an institution that we don't know well
(I just could not able to take the test because of some busy schedule and for the only test date in India.)
So after this, I some what believe that one's Previous Schools do matter but not as much as the RECOS and PGRE scores and Research Experience.


Are you kidding? The PGRE was required and you didn't submit it... of course you weren't admitted. Every discussion about admissions assumes you have already met the requirements for admission. It goes without saying that that is the most important thing because without it, your application goes straight into the reject pile.

NO. I know that's really pity. Actually I was having no plan of doing my Ph.D in the US then. I was hoping for that in India. But I just somehow dragged to Ph.D in USA (I gave my GEN GRE without any preparation, just had 13 days to prepare for that test) and I just missed the only date for the PGRE. Before applying to all of my schools (so you can see I have not applied to any top ranked schools) I really contacted all of my schools explaining them about my situation and they all said that I have decent credentials and I should apply anyway without the PGRE and since I have done all of Grad Courses with good grades PGRE would not cast any damage though and they even went on to say that it's just recommended not mandatory. That being said, I thought it would be bullshit if I don't apply. So I tried my luck and the results you all know.

PS: it really sucks me now and i really mean it.

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sphy
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Re: top schools

Postby sphy » Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:31 am

HappyQuark wrote:This has got to be the most ridiculous thing anyone has ever posted on the forum.

Thank you. :(
(Ask moderators to stick this, Haan?.)
HappyQuark wrote:You don't send in your PGRE scores, get rejected and then come to the conclusion that you weren't accepted because your school wasn't extremely well known? ........ your undergrad institution is moot.

That was not my thought, Your Majesty. That xyz prof. emailed me precisely that.
HappyQuark wrote:What is wrong with your brain?

Nothing. I just did what I could given the time constraints (without PGRE) and the result is I was not accepted. That's it.
Sooner or later I am going anyway for my Physics work to the US.
We'll soon meet.
Best of luck for your acceptance and admission.

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grae313
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Re: top schools

Postby grae313 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:53 am

sphy wrote:Before applying to all of my schools (so you can see I have not applied to any top ranked schools) I really contacted all of my schools explaining them about my situation and they all said that I have decent credentials and I should apply anyway without the PGRE and since I have done all of Grad Courses with good grades PGRE would not cast any damage though and they even went on to say that it's just recommended not mandatory. That being said, I thought it would be bullshit if I don't apply. So I tried my luck and the results you all know.


Ah, that definitely changes things. But your case is unusual and I wouldn't make conjectures for other applicants based on it.

I think it sucks that they all told you to apply without a PGRE score... it kind of makes me think that they just wanted your application fee.

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sphy
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Re: top schools

Postby sphy » Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:14 pm

grae313 wrote:
sphy wrote:Before applying to all of my schools (so you can see I have not applied to any top ranked schools) I really contacted all of my schools explaining them about my situation and they all said that I have decent credentials and I should apply anyway without the PGRE and since I have done all of Grad Courses with good grades PGRE would not cast any damage though and they even went on to say that it's just recommended not mandatory. That being said, I thought it would be bullshit if I don't apply. So I tried my luck and the results you all know.


Ah, that definitely changes things. But your case is unusual and I wouldn't make conjectures for other applicants based on it.

I think it sucks that they all told you to apply without a PGRE score... it kind of makes me think that they just wanted your application fee.

Yeah may be! My whole application package (to all universities) did cost me ~3115 USD.

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HappyQuark
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Re: top schools

Postby HappyQuark » Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:57 pm

sphy wrote:NO. I know that's really pity. Actually I was having no plan of doing my Ph.D in the US then. I was hoping for that in India. But I just somehow dragged to Ph.D in USA (I gave my GEN GRE without any preparation, just had 13 days to prepare for that test) and I just missed the only date for the PGRE. Before applying to all of my schools (so you can see I have not applied to any top ranked schools) I really contacted all of my schools explaining them about my situation and they all said that I have decent credentials and I should apply anyway without the PGRE and since I have done all of Grad Courses with good grades PGRE would not cast any damage though and they even went on to say that it's just recommended not mandatory. That being said, I thought it would be bullshit if I don't apply. So I tried my luck and the results you all know.


In that case, you are less ridiculous than I previously said and the schools you contacted are the insane ones. I'm amazed they would make a recommendation to submit an application when they knew in all likelihood that they couldn't select you on account of a missing PGRE. They were correct when they said you had strong credentials so as long as you manage to take the PGRE this next time around you will probably be accepted to most of the schools you were rejected from this time. Good luck!

bfollinprm
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Re: top schools

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:18 pm

sphy wrote:
grae313 wrote:
sphy wrote:Before applying to all of my schools (so you can see I have not applied to any top ranked schools) I really contacted all of my schools explaining them about my situation and they all said that I have decent credentials and I should apply anyway without the PGRE and since I have done all of Grad Courses with good grades PGRE would not cast any damage though and they even went on to say that it's just recommended not mandatory. That being said, I thought it would be bullshit if I don't apply. So I tried my luck and the results you all know.


Ah, that definitely changes things. But your case is unusual and I wouldn't make conjectures for other applicants based on it.

I think it sucks that they all told you to apply without a PGRE score... it kind of makes me think that they just wanted your application fee.

Yeah may be! My whole application package (to all universities) did cost me ~3115 USD.


You have a pretty good sample size to ask for your money back. They all did tell you to apply anyway, and none of them accepted you. That's a lie, and they accepted payment.

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Re: top schools

Postby midwestphysics » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:26 pm

Here's the quote off of NCSU's page
We do require all students to take the GRE and strongly suggest all students take the Physics GRE especially if you do not have a lot of physics course work in your background. This helps us better judge the best path for you.


Which basically mean unless you're a superstar or if you have any unusual aspects of your app you need to submit the PGRE, being an average INTL or having irregular grades, etc. It should go without saying that for an INTL no matter what the school says you need to submit the PGRE, especially if the likelihood of your school being known is very little as your profile indicates. I highly doubt you could get your fee back.

Here's another quote from their page.
I am from India my graduation is of 3 years. Will it create any difficulty or if I have good scores in GRE general and GRE physics, I will get the admission.
Each applicant is reviewed individually. The decision to apply is up to the individual student. High (superior) scores-such as GRE and TOEFL-do favorably support the applicant.

negru
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Re: top schools

Postby negru » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:29 pm

HAHAHA they even wrote it in lolcat so intls could understand =))

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midwestphysics
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Re: top schools

Postby midwestphysics » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:33 pm

negru wrote:HAHAHA they even wrote it in lolcat so intls could understand =))


I didn't want to say it, but I laughed when I read it too. Definitely didn't expect that. :)

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Re: top schools

Postby TheBeast » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:35 pm

bfollinprm wrote:You have a pretty good sample size to ask for your money back. They all did tell you to apply anyway, and none of them accepted you. That's a lie, and they accepted payment.


This whole practice seems shady, but I suspect if push came to shove, the universities in question would claim that the application was rejected for some other generic reason (particularly strong pool of applicants, not enough research, etc.). Though if NCSU specifically told you that not sending the PGRE score would not negatively impact your application (and you have this in writing) and the later communicated to you (again, in writing) that the lack of PGRE score negatively affected your application, I think you are well within your rights to show them this evidence and ask for a refund. The worst that happens is that they say "no."

Edit: this is probably bad advice if you're planning on applying to the same school again. Though if they mislead you about the application process, you might want to reconsider whether you still want to go there.
Last edited by TheBeast on Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: top schools

Postby razor » Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:57 am

negru wrote:HAHAHA they even wrote it in lolcat so intls could understand =))


Wow.

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sphy
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Re: top schools

Postby sphy » Thu Apr 21, 2011 3:47 am

bfollinprm wrote:
sphy wrote:
grae313 wrote:Ah, that definitely changes things. But your case is unusual and I wouldn't make conjectures for other applicants based on it.

I think it sucks that they all told you to apply without a PGRE score... it kind of makes me think that they just wanted your application fee.

Yeah may be! My whole application package (to all universities) did cost me ~3115 USD.


You have a pretty good sample size to ask for your money back. They all did tell you to apply anyway, and none of them accepted you. That's a lie, and they accepted payment.

I don't think that they gonna give me any damn bucks back to my wallet. As far as I can remember all The Money is Non refundable.
As far as the dealings were concerned I think UTD has a superb business team. They told me that I should apply and if get selected then I can pay later but they need every thing as to be the official copies. This offer was initially from them and I didn't ask about suppressing the application fee until the decision. Noble souls.

Now about NCSU, I also requested NCSU that they should not dispose my application so that this November I can submit the PGRE score and the response is yet to come and it was one month ago. fcuking hell.

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sphy
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Re: top schools

Postby sphy » Thu Apr 21, 2011 3:56 am

TheBeast wrote:
bfollinprm wrote:You have a pretty good sample size to ask for your money back. They all did tell you to apply anyway, and none of them accepted you. That's a lie, and they accepted payment.


This whole practice seems shady, but I suspect if push came to shove, the universities in question would claim that the application was rejected for some other generic reason (particularly strong pool of applicants, not enough research, etc.). Though if NCSU specifically told you that not sending the PGRE score would not negatively impact your application (and you have this in writing) and the later communicated to you (again, in writing) that the lack of PGRE score negatively affected your application, I think you are well within your rights to show them this evidence and ask for a refund. The worst that happens is that they say "no."

Should I try?

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midwestphysics
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Re: Chances to get into top schools

Postby midwestphysics » Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:55 am

sphy wrote:Should I try?


You could, but the most likely response you'll get will be no response at all. They know like everybody else that you're not going to take them to small claims court over something that can be easily explained away. No doubt it sucks, but I'd say just eat the loss, especially if you plan to reapply there next year. No need to ruffle feathers when there is realistically no chance of getting your money back, even if it were, you'd need to forget about reapplying there.

bfollinprm
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Re: Chances to get into top schools

Postby bfollinprm » Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:40 pm

sphy wrote:
bfollinprm wrote:You have a pretty good sample size to ask for your money back. They all did tell you to apply anyway, and none of them accepted you. That's a lie, and they accepted payment.


Should I try?


I'd start by inquiring the specific reasons behind your rejection. If they say PGRE, bring up that you talked about not having it before applying, and they said apply anyway. Ask if it would be possible for you to receive an application fee waiver for applications next year; let them know you've signed up to take the PGRE. Most reasonable institutions should say yes to that. If you don't want to reapply, demand a refund.

Goran15
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Re: top schools

Postby Goran15 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 2:13 pm

sphy wrote:NO. I know that's really pity. Actually I was having no plan of doing my Ph.D in the US then. I was hoping for that in India. But I just somehow dragged to Ph.D in USA (I gave my GEN GRE without any preparation, just had 13 days to prepare for that test) and I just missed the only date for the PGRE. Before applying to all of my schools (so you can see I have not applied to any top ranked schools) I really contacted all of my schools explaining them about my situation and they all said that I have decent credentials and I should apply anyway without the PGRE and since I have done all of Grad Courses with good grades PGRE would not cast any damage though and they even went on to say that it's just recommended not mandatory.


It's like I wrote this :D
Couldn't you do standby testing for the PGRE? I did it and well it wasn't great but I did it.
Of course they are gonna say to apply anyway. It's like I called Harvard and said I have bad PGRE should I apply? I doesn't cost them anything and who knows you might be the next Einstein.

Now about NCSU, I also requested NCSU that they should not dispose my application so that this November I can submit the PGRE score and the response is yet to come and it was one month ago. fcuking hell.


The people at US univ. in general are very lazy to respond. My advice - call directly on the phone. They may not like it but at least you get your answer. :)
Hint: tipe free calls to america/US in google :wink:




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