What schools am I looking at?

Savoy457
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 5:29 pm

What schools am I looking at?

Postby Savoy457 » Wed May 18, 2011 5:37 pm

I am looking for particle physics

Double major in Physics and Math with minor in Psychology (averaging 20 credits per semester, hence the GPA)
GPA: 3.293 (overall), 3.298 (physics)
GRE: 430/780/3.5 (V/Q/W)
PGRE: 700
Doing research with three professors, will graduate with at least two publications, maybe three.

Want to get into Cornell, but doubt that can happen...
What graduate schools should I be applying to? What schools are a reach that I still have a chance of getting into?

SSM
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:57 pm

Re: What schools am I looking at?

Postby SSM » Wed May 18, 2011 6:17 pm

Savoy457 wrote:Doing research with three professors


:shock: :?:

Savoy457
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 5:29 pm

Re: What schools am I looking at?

Postby Savoy457 » Wed May 18, 2011 8:49 pm

Yeah, one isn't very active though. Mainly starting simulations and waiting for a month or so for them to finish....

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: What schools am I looking at?

Postby bfollinprm » Thu May 19, 2011 7:00 am

Savoy457 wrote:I am looking for particle physics

Double major in Physics and Math with minor in Psychology (averaging 20 credits per semester, hence the GPA)
GPA: 3.293 (overall), 3.298 (physics)
GRE: 430/780/3.5 (V/Q/W)
PGRE: 700
Doing research with three professors, will graduate with at least two publications, maybe three.

Want to get into Cornell, but doubt that can happen...
What graduate schools should I be applying to? What schools are a reach that I still have a chance of getting into?


A note: Working with 3 people at a time might come off as unfocused, a negative trait for your thesis-writing years. Be careful how you word that on your application.

What graduate schools should I be applying to?

If you have a well-defined interest in Particle Physics backed up with research experience in that particular field, you should apply to everywhere that is known for that field (and hope your skill set intrigues some famous guy who needs another set of hands in his lab). Otherwise, your range is probably starting somewhere in the low 20's down to the mid 60's in terms of US News rankings (which are mostly useful in measuring selectivity, not excellence). Places in that range that are better than their selectivity indicates (non-exhaustive list):

Most UC's (Irvine, Davis, Riverside, Santa Cruz...)
U Penn
Stony Brook
Arizona
NYU
Washington University in St. Louis


Of course, this list is dependent on your field of interest, so not all of these apply to Particle (and I certainly missed some, since my interests are cosmology). Mostly, schools in the mid-west and republican south are the best "value", and schools out west are a better "value" than the schools on the east, though that isn't as strong of a correlation (this is all of course a personal opinion, though I think it's one shared by many people).

What schools are a reach that I still have a chance of getting into?

Cornell is probably on the top of this range, especially if you have a connection. Look at schools in the Michigan/UMCP range for about an O(5%) chance of getting in, U Chicago/Cornell range for an O(1%) chance.

physguy
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:15 pm

Re: What schools am I looking at?

Postby physguy » Fri May 20, 2011 1:40 am

Hi. Not to hijack your thread, but I have a very similar question and have similar credentials.

PGRE: 710, 57%
GPA: 3.85 overal/3.9 Phys
General GRE: TBD
Research: 1 REU in optics at U of Rochester, 1 REU at Princeton Plasma (this summer), 1 year doing research for a professor at my home institution (nanotech/condensed matter). I'll be doing a senior research project for the same prof next year (senior year). 1 Letter of Rec from each research advisor (note: home university prof was also instructor for one of my upperclass labs). Unfortunately no pubs yet.

Not 100% decided on a field yet, hence the research in various areas. I can say I'm definitely interested in experiment over theory, and possibly looking into applied physics. Also if it helps complete the profile, I'm a plain ol' domestic white male.

I'm looking at similar schools as the OP:

Maryland, Wisconsin, OSU, UC (LA, Davis, San Diego, Irvine), Boulder, Duke etc.

I'd like one or two reach schools. I was thinking Columbia or Stanford. Any suggestions for some safety (safe-ish) schools? I checked gradschoolshopper, and the results section and I think I'm on target. Any suggestions or comments? Any help would be much appreciated.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: What schools am I looking at?

Postby bfollinprm » Fri May 20, 2011 6:36 am

you might have better returns if you applied to applied physics programs as your reaches. The low(er) PGRE score won't really matter as much, i think. Also, your grades are much higher than the OP, which matters. You might be able to aim a bit higher (places like UCSD seem a good fit to me).

EDIT: This is mostly true since you're very experimentalist-oriented. If you have good lab experience, and things like clean room clearance, that will count more than even a few 100's of points on the PGRE because professors know that (1) you can do a good job day-to-day, because you have already, and (2) they don't have to waste a summer paying a grad student to simply get his/her clean room badge and/or get trained up on the microscope/laser/etc. Someone in theory or analysis needs to understand the concepts a lot more thoroughly (relies almost exclusively on phenomenological intuition and mathematical acumen). That's closer to what the PGRE measures, so schools look for higher scores from these applicants (fair or not).

Oh, and to answer the safety question, why not Rochester? You'll almost certainly get in (assuming the REU went well), and that is the point of a safety. For others I'd ask your REU advisors where their collaborators/respected peers are. They make very good safeties because the school can see the reason why you're applying, and will not only accept you but actively recruit you into the program/group of your choice.

physguy
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:15 pm

Re: What schools am I looking at?

Postby physguy » Fri May 20, 2011 1:54 pm

Thanks for the reply bfollinprm.

I figured applied physics programs would give me a better shot. I think both stanford and columbia have applied physics departments.

Also, thanks for the tip on Rochester. I'll add that to the list.




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