Need some help in selection

hussman
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:48 am

Need some help in selection

Postby hussman » Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:44 am

Hello All... I hope everybody did well in their applications. I know it's way too early, but I figure I'll start the ball rolling on Fall 2013 applications. I'm hoping to get some opinions on school selection (the profiles aren't very helpful for me), any advice is appreciated.

My Info in point form:

GPA: 3.5
(Royally screwed up one semester recently where I failed a Math course (an elective) and got B's in physics, but I got my act together and got A/A-'s last semester including in two grad physics courses, co-authored a paper, and founded an IT/applied math based start up)
length of program: 5 years (taking an extra year)
Research: 8 months in an biomed lab, a year in a Biophysics lab, and currently working in an experimental CM lab
Pubs: one published, probably another next fall
Interests: Experimental soft condensed matter and biophysics
plus random small awards and extra curricular things
Nationality: Canadian

I'm looking at PhD programs exclusively (Masters are much cheaper in Canada, so I would stay here if I do a Masters)

The GPA is beyond repair, but my research is decent and my recommender's are not unknowns in their fields.

What would be my chances at a Top 40? How about at NYU or BU? (I'm concentrating on private schools as funding at state schools is hard for international students). How much of a deal breaker is my GPA?

Thanks!

microacg
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:06 pm

Re: Need some help in selection

Postby microacg » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:11 am

Is 3.5 your overall undergraduate GPA or your math/physics GPA?

hussman
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:48 am

Re: Need some help in selection

Postby hussman » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:18 am

microacg wrote:Is 3.5 your overall undergraduate GPA or your math/physics GPA?


Coincidentally, both overall and Math/Physics are ~3.5. Canadian schools do tend to deflate grades compared to US schools (at least that's what an admissions office in the UK told me)

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

Re: Need some help in selection

Postby grae313 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:09 pm

A 3.5 gpa on its own is not enough to keep you out of top 40 programs, especially if it's one anomalous semester among an overall consistently good record. Your research experience sounds very good so at this point I believe the most important factor will be your letters of recommendation, and without knowing how those will be no one can tell you where you'll get in or where you won't. I would focus in the coming summer and fall on really forming a good relationship with your potential letter writers and make sure they know you well personally. Talk to them now about your plans for grad school. The stronger you are in other areas the more your gpa will look like a fluke, so study hard for the PGRE. If you do well on it and if you can manage glowing letters of recommendation I think you won't have a problem. I wouldn't even put top 20 out of the realm of possibility with a strong enough research background / letters / PGRE.

deathinacan
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:19 pm

Re: Need some help in selection

Postby deathinacan » Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:41 am

I have the same kind of thing going for me with a 3.4 overall and 3.6 physics. It amazes me just how many people on this site get 4.0's or very close to that. Hopefully schools will pay more attention to my research and recommendations.

hussman
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:48 am

Re: Need some help in selection

Postby hussman » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:21 am

Thanks for the tips grae! It's good to know there are some veterans out there willing to help out us newbies! :)

@deathinacan keep in mind that a lot of schools inflate grades quite a bit, and in general it's very difficult to compare GPAs. On top of that, from my experience at least, the people who post on forums are not representative of the average applicant, it's mostly the top students who post a lot.

jackshroff40
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 4:16 pm

Re: Need some help in selection

Postby jackshroff40 » Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:29 pm

u should be fine since u r applying for experimental physics plus u mention about 40 schools, NOT TOP 20 SCHOOLS. Just make sure you get decent GRE scores and at least GOOD (NOT OK) recommandation letters.




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