Condensed Matter Physics Grad Schools

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Alexanderbot
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Condensed Matter Physics Grad Schools

Postby Alexanderbot » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:27 pm

Hello,

I have been looking about the site and understand that the US News site is supposed to be more of a starting point than a guide, so how did some of you guys go about finding "your" school? Did you start with geography? rating? probably research group activity?

I have little knowledge in who is actually doing great research in Condensed Matter Experimental besides knowing the big names such as the Ivy leagues and a few others (did not know that all Ivy league schools were not considered super awesome) and before I just start going down the rating list looking at every school I wanted to know if there was an easier way.

Any links to previous threads that talk about this would be cool.

Sorry I'm bad at this. Any help is much appreciated.

Additionally, I am about to sign up for the PGRE and it asks me to select four schools to send my score to for free. Considering that I am about to sign up anyways, how much does it cost to send my scores normally?

Thanks again

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midwestphysics
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Re: Condensed Matter Physics Grad Schools

Postby midwestphysics » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:55 pm

Alexanderbot wrote:Hello,

I have been looking about the site and understand that the US News site is supposed to be more of a starting point than a guide, so how did some of you guys go about finding "your" school? Did you start with geography? rating? probably research group activity?

I have little knowledge in who is actually doing great research in Condensed Matter Experimental besides knowing the big names such as the Ivy leagues and a few others (did not know that all Ivy league schools were not considered super awesome) and before I just start going down the rating list looking at every school I wanted to know if there was an easier way.

Any links to previous threads that talk about this would be cool.

Sorry I'm bad at this. Any help is much appreciated.

Additionally, I am about to sign up for the PGRE and it asks me to select four schools to send my score to for free. Considering that I am about to sign up anyways, how much does it cost to send my scores normally?

Thanks again


PGRE is $23 per report I believe, so take advantage of the free four, you can change them up until a week before I believe through the correction stub.

For picking schools, it's very individualized. I personally went in this order: What (in physics) do I want to do -> where am I willing to live -> what schools are there that offer my interest -> what schools can I actually get into -> and finally do these schools have people I would like to work with. My reasoning was simple. I have to know what I want to do or else any decision I make is uninformed. I have to enjoy my environment in order to be productive. I have to find schools in these areas, but also be realistic about what schools in those areas would be willing to take me. Finally, if these schools exist, do I want to work with these people, am I interested in what they're doing. That style made the most sense to me.

Others will have different criteria, some may angrily disagree with me too, but that was my approach take it or leave it. I can't help you on condensed matter, not my area, but I'm sure there's plenty of info spread around here.

EDIT: I should add that for me, each school had to meet my ENTIRE criteria. I just started my search that way, if a school didn't fit all these things I eliminated it from consideration.
Last edited by midwestphysics on Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: Condensed Matter Physics Grad Schools

Postby WhoaNonstop » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:37 pm

1.) School has 3+ research groups you're interested in.
2.) School is in a location you'll be happy and content with for 5 years.
3.) It is realistic to get accepted to the school.
4.) Nearby water park.

These are the important ones.

-Riley

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Dorian_Mode
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Re: Condensed Matter Physics Grad Schools

Postby Dorian_Mode » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:27 pm

Couldn't the water park criterion be absorbed into the point about "location you'll be happy and content with for 5 years"?

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HappyQuark
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Re: Condensed Matter Physics Grad Schools

Postby HappyQuark » Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:05 am

Dorian_Mode wrote:Couldn't the water park criterion be absorbed into the point about "location you'll be happy and content with for 5 years"?


He's got a point Riley. I mean, can anyone really say they are truly happy if they have no water park? I think it's clear the answer is no.

Image

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Alexanderbot
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Re: Condensed Matter Physics Grad Schools

Postby Alexanderbot » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:10 pm

I can tell why people post questions here; the people who respond definitely represent the average physics students and have their best interests in mind. Thank you.

P.S. - Does anyone know where the best fluid dynamics research is going on? That just seems like the place to go for optimal water park potential.

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Alexanderbot
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Re: Condensed Matter Physics Grad Schools

Postby Alexanderbot » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:38 pm

Additionally, seeing how I'm bad at things, if anyone wants to look at my stats and give me some suggestions for some schools in my range I would greatly appreciate it, though I'm sure everyone hates doing that so it is understandable if you don't.

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HappyQuark
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Re: Condensed Matter Physics Grad Schools

Postby HappyQuark » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:17 pm

Alexanderbot wrote:Additionally, seeing how I'm bad at things, if anyone wants to look at my stats and give me some suggestions for some schools in my range I would greatly appreciate it, though I'm sure everyone hates doing that so it is understandable if you don't.


With a PGRE score of 0 I don't know that you really stand a chance of getting in anywhere.

bfollinprm
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Re: Condensed Matter Physics Grad Schools

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:46 pm

Alexanderbot wrote:Additionally, seeing how I'm bad at things, if anyone wants to look at my stats and give me some suggestions for some schools in my range I would greatly appreciate it, though I'm sure everyone hates doing that so it is understandable if you don't.


With excellent recs, preferably one from Rochester, and a PGRE at least in the high 700's, you have a shot at the second tier of schools. If you score lower, start your search somewhere in the low 30's and go down, focusing on schools with a lot of nanotech groups. If you get in the high 800's start thinking about applying to the top 10 schools, and if you get a 950-990 start letting yourself get excited about the prospect of Stanford et al. (though it will by no means be a guarantee).

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Alexanderbot
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Re: Condensed Matter Physics Grad Schools

Postby Alexanderbot » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:01 pm

HappyQuark wrote:With a PGRE score of 0 I don't know that you really stand a chance of getting in anywhere.


I knew that was going to hurt me, but I had my hopes.

bfollinprm wrote:With excellent recs, preferably one from Rochester, and a PGRE at least in the high 700's, you have a shot at the second tier of schools. If you score lower, start your search somewhere in the low 30's and go down, focusing on schools with a lot of nanotech groups. If you get in the high 800's start thinking about applying to the top 10 schools, and if you get a 950-990 start letting yourself get excited about the prospect of Stanford et al. (though it will by no means be a guarantee).


Thanks again. Graduate school isn't the usual option for the physics undergraduates at my school so I don't hear about many of them, though I definitely should have been more prepared.

bfollinprm
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Re: Condensed Matter Physics Grad Schools

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:08 pm

Alexanderbot wrote:Thanks again. Graduate school isn't the usual option for the physics undergraduates at my school so I don't hear about many of them, though I definitely should have been more prepared.


You're welcome and don't worry about it. I came from a small school with very few students pursuing grad study; I grabbed as much info from as many sources as possible.




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