Tufts: dream or reality?

Catria
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Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby Catria » Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:50 pm

Hello everyone. I'm an international student, with respect to Tufts, and, despite the lack of research experience, which I think will hurt (and hurt quite a bit) regardless of other credentials, even if I did take some TA responsibilities (without officially being one) by running some tutorials for a few math courses. But Tufts became my dream graduate school the day one of my recommenders told me that I might have a chance at Tufts. I'd gladfully take on TA responsibility if that was what I am offered, funding-wise. Despite all the flaws of my file, here's the remainder of my file:

Undergraduate school: University of Montreal
Major: Joint physics-mathematics program
Program length: 3 years (due to the subleties of Quebecer education, undergraduate education lasts 3 years)
GPA: 3.67/3.61 (depending on whether A+s are worth 4.30 or 4.00)

Let me be clear: I understand Tufts is going to be a reach school for me, since the majority of applicants whose profiles are made public here (showing off research experience that are far better than mine) are either rejected from Tufts or withdrew their applications. I want to do astrophysics or cosmology, even though I think I have better options at home for solar physics or exoplanets than Tufts (University of Montreal) so, if I got into Tufts to do astrophysics, I'd do extra-galactic physics.

And I may as well forget about PSU, Rutgers, Brown or BU, except maybe at the MSc level (for which I have less costly options back home since MSc positions at home are fully funded and some of them are not). So, before I study and take the GRE and PGRE, I want to make sure Tufts is reachable, or else I'd stick to my MSc options at home, which are much more accessible IMO, given my file (I know, Canadian MSc programs are more akin to a mini-PhD) and not take the GRE/PGRE at all.

kangaroo
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby kangaroo » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:00 pm

It's ok to dream a little bigger.

bfollinprm
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby bfollinprm » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:24 pm

Am I missing something? What about your application makes you think Tufts is a reach?

Catria
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby Catria » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:08 pm

bfollinprm wrote:Am I missing something? What about your application makes you think Tufts is a reach?


Lack of research experience. It's the only thing I could think of that could turn my file into a reach for Tufts.

Also, I contacted the one professor at Tufts that seemed to have any knowledge whatsoever of Quebec undergraduate schools (that prof went to the exact same undergrad program as I did) explaining my situation.

bfollinprm
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby bfollinprm » Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:44 pm

Lots of people have little to no research experience coming out of undergrad.

Catria
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby Catria » Sat Oct 27, 2012 4:08 pm

And... how could you explain that Tufts rejects people with 2 or 3 summers' worth of research experience (reject #1 and reject #2), yet, somehow, Tufts could be reachable for one without? Tufts isn't exactly among the best or the most popular place for graduate physics students, though.

There has to be... some sort of explanation; the entire process is extremely confusing. :cry:

I contacted a professor at Tufts with my entire situation and a PDF copy of my latest transcript. Even if it turned out not to be a reach after all, I know it isn't a safety by any means.

kangaroo
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby kangaroo » Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:13 pm

Catria wrote:And... how could you explain that Tufts rejects people with 2 or 3 summers' worth of research experience (reject #1 and reject #2), yet, somehow, Tufts could be reachable for one without? Tufts isn't exactly among the best or the most popular place for graduate physics students, though.

There has to be... some sort of explanation; the entire process is extremely confusing. :cry:

I contacted a professor at Tufts with my entire situation and a PDF copy of my latest transcript. Even if it turned out not to be a reach after all, I know it isn't a safety by any means.


Trying to infer a trend from 2 data points is... not good. Anyway, specimen #1 had such good credentials he/she probably didn't bother about the Tufts application that much. And specimen #2 has a pathetic PGRE.

Minovsky
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby Minovsky » Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:34 pm

Catria wrote:And... how could you explain that Tufts rejects people with 2 or 3 summers' worth of research experience (reject #1 and reject #2), yet, somehow, Tufts could be reachable for one without? Tufts isn't exactly among the best or the most popular place for graduate physics students, though.

There has to be... some sort of explanation; the entire process is extremely confusing. :cry:

I contacted a professor at Tufts with my entire situation and a PDF copy of my latest transcript. Even if it turned out not to be a reach after all, I know it isn't a safety by any means.


Yes, the whole process is very confusing and I'm not even sure if professors know how it works.

For #1, I'm guessing there was something weird with their application since they got into Berkeley (which I imagine is a much harder task than getting in to Tufts). Maybe that year Tufts decided they didn't want any String Cosmologists? With #2, their GPA wasn't too good (lower than yours) and given that they said their grades showed an upward climb, it's safe to say that their earlier grades must have been pretty bad. Their PGRE was also not good. They were pretty vague on their research experience, so it's hard to tell how much 'science' they did. I know I've worked in labs where essentially no science happened.

Did you get a response from the Tufts professor? What did they have to say?

Catria
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby Catria » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:48 pm

Minovsky wrote:Yes, the whole process is very confusing and I'm not even sure if professors know how it works.

For #1, I'm guessing there was something weird with their application since they got into Berkeley (which I imagine is a much harder task than getting in to Tufts). Maybe that year Tufts decided they didn't want any String Cosmologists? With #2, their GPA wasn't too good (lower than yours) and given that they said their grades showed an upward climb, it's safe to say that their earlier grades must have been pretty bad. Their PGRE was also not good. They were pretty vague on their research experience, so it's hard to tell how much 'science' they did. I know I've worked in labs where essentially no science happened.

Did you get a response from the Tufts professor? What did they have to say?


Now I know that there were flaws in #2 that renders it about the same as me...

I only contacted that Tufts professor (Beauchemin) about two nights ago and I haven't received an answer just yet. If/when I get an answer, I will post back on that status. At least I demonstrated interest, which could help me.

On second thought, perhaps I would be better off applying at Tufts after I get a M.Sc. from a Canadian university (since Canadian M.Sc. programs are like mini-PhDs) because I will have much better research experience by then, and publications.

blighter
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby blighter » Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:32 pm

Catria wrote:
Minovsky wrote:Yes, the whole process is very confusing and I'm not even sure if professors know how it works.

For #1, I'm guessing there was something weird with their application since they got into Berkeley (which I imagine is a much harder task than getting in to Tufts). Maybe that year Tufts decided they didn't want any String Cosmologists? With #2, their GPA wasn't too good (lower than yours) and given that they said their grades showed an upward climb, it's safe to say that their earlier grades must have been pretty bad. Their PGRE was also not good. They were pretty vague on their research experience, so it's hard to tell how much 'science' they did. I know I've worked in labs where essentially no science happened.

Did you get a response from the Tufts professor? What did they have to say?


Now I know that there were flaws in #2 that renders it about the same as me...

I only contacted that Tufts professor (Beauchemin) about two nights ago and I haven't received an answer just yet. If/when I get an answer, I will post back on that status. At least I demonstrated interest, which could help me.

On second thought, perhaps I would be better off applying at Tufts after I get a M.Sc. from a Canadian university (since Canadian M.Sc. programs are like mini-PhDs) because I will have much better research experience by then, and publications.


Unless you are hell bent on working with a certain professor at Tufts, I don't understand why you are narrowing your choices to one university. Many Canadian universities are better than Tufts.

Catria
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby Catria » Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:20 am

blighter wrote:Unless you are hell bent on working with a certain professor at Tufts, I don't understand why you are narrowing your choices to one university. Many Canadian universities are better than Tufts.


Is my undergraduate school better than Tufts (for graduate school, I mean, but University of Montreal's undergraduate program is miles ahead of Tufts')?

But yes, I'm applying at Canadian universities too. :D

The Canadian schools I'm applying to do not require the GRE:

*University of Montreal (my undergraduate school)
*McGill (physics and materials engineering so at least I have options)
*Polytechnique (applied mathematics)
*University of Toronto

blighter
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby blighter » Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:36 am

Is my undergraduate school better than Tufts (for graduate school, I mean, but University of Montreal's undergraduate program is miles ahead of Tufts')?


I'm not entirely familiar with University of Montreal's programme, primarily because it is a French language school but schools like UBC, UT and McGill are arguably better than Tufts.

kangaroo
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby kangaroo » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:30 am

Everyone's being pc and stuff, but someone's got to say it. Tufts is blah, run of the mill, average, nothing special. Save your worries for a school that is actually decent.

TakeruK
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby TakeruK » Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:26 pm

Hello fellow Canadian!

I have to echo the advice of the above and say that there's no reason for you to go to Tufts if you can get into a Canadian University that's equal to or better. To be honest, if you want to do exoplanets, I think there are better places to go in both Canada and USA. I think your reach schools should be UBC or Toronto -- they are much better than Tufts! In addition, there's a good exoplanets guy at U de Montreal, right? David Lafrienere (forgive my spelling)?

For astronomy and astrophysics though, the top 3 Canadian schools -- UBC, Toronto, McGill are the best choices probably. Outside of that, there are other Canadian schools that are probably about level with Tufts -- U Victoria, McMaster University, etc. It will be much easier and cheaper to stay in Canada than to go to the US, in my opinion! Hence, I always recommend to other Canadians that they only go to a US school if it's better than any school in Canada (according to best fit etc).

Also, I think you are not representing yourself correctly if you mention that your BSc is only 3 years, especially if you are talking to people outside of Canada/Quebec system. You basically have the same experience as a 4 year undergraduate anywhere else in North America right? In Quebec, "high school"/"secondary school" goes to Grade 11, then you have two years at CEGEP then 3 years at a University for a Bachelors. Elsewhere, it's 12 years to finish secondary school, then 4 years to finish a BS. So, you have the same schooling as anyone else, just divided differently! So, you might be giving yourself a disadvantage if you introduce your experience as a 3 year BS right off the bat.

Finally, in astrophysics, there are NO schools in Canada that will require the GRE or the Physics GRE for Canadians. In addition, every MSc program in Canada in physics/astrophysics is fully funded.

Catria
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby Catria » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:20 pm

TakeruK wrote:I have to echo the advice of the above and say that there's no reason for you to go to Tufts if you can get into a Canadian University that's equal to or better. To be honest, if you want to do exoplanets, I think there are better places to go in both Canada and USA. I think your reach schools should be UBC or Toronto -- they are much better than Tufts! In addition, there's a good exoplanets guy at U de Montreal, right? David Lafrienere (forgive my spelling)?

For astronomy and astrophysics though, the top 3 Canadian schools -- UBC, Toronto, McGill are the best choices probably. Outside of that, there are other Canadian schools that are probably about level with Tufts -- U Victoria, McMaster University, etc. It will be much easier and cheaper to stay in Canada than to go to the US, in my opinion! Hence, I always recommend to other Canadians that they only go to a US school if it's better than any school in Canada (according to best fit etc).

Also, I think you are not representing yourself correctly if you mention that your BSc is only 3 years, especially if you are talking to people outside of Canada/Quebec system. You basically have the same experience as a 4 year undergraduate anywhere else in North America right? In Quebec, "high school"/"secondary school" goes to Grade 11, then you have two years at CEGEP then 3 years at a University for a Bachelors. Elsewhere, it's 12 years to finish secondary school, then 4 years to finish a BS. So, you have the same schooling as anyone else, just divided differently! So, you might be giving yourself a disadvantage if you introduce your experience as a 3 year BS right off the bat.


Maybe Tufts wasn't a "reach" for me after all; McGill has become one of my reach schools, U Toronto being the other. But I think it is good to have a few more out-of-town options also, and Tufts is not my first "out-of-town" choice anymore.

As far as David Lafrenière is concerned, he'd take on one student (transit timing) provided that his current one isn't going on to the Ph.D. under him.

bfollinprm
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby bfollinprm » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:39 pm

There is some advantage to coming out of the US system if you want a job at a US institution afterwards, and given that most institutions reside in the US, that's a significant consideration in favor of a US PhD. Also, Tufts has some 'borrowed' quality due to its close proximity to Harvard, MIT, etc. which gives students access to some better quality invited speakers than may make their way to some Canadian schools that have been listed (Nobel Laureates never fail to visit Boston, for instance), and increases the collaboration pool for advanced graduate students.

That said, Tufts is (1) stronger theoretically than observationally in Cosmology, and (2) not that well regarded overall (in the 50's in most people's mind, I think). That puts it on a level of a safer school for most people seriously considering a PhD, though it doesn't accept a huge student body so there's obviously Poisson fluctuations* in admittance probability, and no school in the top 100 is inherently guaranteed to anyone. A shotgun approach of 3-5 schools in this range will generally give admission somewhere, and might even net a fellowship as well from someone.


*This is obviously the reason why at least the first of your 'data points' was rejected. The second might have been due to the PGRE score.

Catria
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby Catria » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:46 pm

I hate Tufts because of its lack of funding transparency. I mean, I already know how much I'll receive in funding from the schools I applied to, if admitted to any of these, all of which would still make graduate students pay tuition:

University of Montreal: $1,300/month + TA top-up (varies by the # of TA hours in a course, with TAs paid on an hourly basis)
Polytechnique: $17,000/year
McGill University: $16,700/year + $4,700 TA top-up
University of Toronto: $27,902/year (but my parents have objections about UofT that aren't of an academic nature)

I may as well not apply at Tufts at all if:

1) The funding doesn't allow me to live in Boston (even modestly with roommates)
2) Tuition isn't covered or, at least, brought back to the Quebecer level ($2,168) or similar

kangaroo wrote:Trying to infer a trend from 2 data points is... not good. Anyway, specimen #1 had such good credentials he/she probably didn't bother about the Tufts application that much. And specimen #2 has a pathetic PGRE.


I'd love to have more data points but I looked through and through this site for more students who didn't withdraw their Tufts apps. It appears that there were more people who withdrew applications at Tufts than people who actually went through with that school's admissions process. :roll:

bfollinprm
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:19 am

Yes, tuition is covered (100%). The school seems to set TA appointments at $15000/9 months, but that number could be slightly different for physics (generally we're paid a little better than average). That comes out to about $1600/month, which is about 2k/year less than the average.

TakeruK
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby TakeruK » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:25 pm

I feel your pain when noting most US schools' lack of funding transparency! Compare to Canadian schools, where everything is listed, dollar for dollar, before you even apply: http://www.phas.ubc.ca/graduate-program ... al-support (this is an extreme example, but most Canadian schools will say $X per year minimum and the tuition rates are always published somewhere).

Most US schools will not tell you their funding level until they accept you. There was at least one school that I would not have applied to if I knew the funding level beforehand! In addition, US schools will pay us a salary and expect us to work as long as it takes to TA etc. (or even worse, say that TA-ing is "part of degree requirements" and don't even pay us -- I agree that TAing is an important part of grad school but it's labour/work, and we should be paid!). Unfortunately, it's not like international students, used to different systems, can really change the US system -- we're "guests", after all, but it also doesn't seem like the domestic students think this is a bad thing at all. And even if everyone didn't like it, the sad truth is that the balance of power is all on the school's side, not ours!

bfollinprm
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:15 pm

TakeruK wrote:In addition, US schools will pay us a salary and expect us to work as long as it takes to TA etc. (or even worse, say that TA-ing is "part of degree requirements" and don't even pay us -- I agree that TAing is an important part of grad school but it's labour/work, and we should be paid!). Unfortunately, it's not like international students, used to different systems, can really change the US system -- we're "guests", after all, but it also doesn't seem like the domestic students think this is a bad thing at all. And even if everyone didn't like it, the sad truth is that the balance of power is all on the school's side, not ours!


Not true; the majority of schools have rules in place preventing more than 20 hrs/week of TA work, and the salary/hours worked at the stipend level is very often above the hourly wage given in other countries. It also comes with fee remissions, which means they don't have to list the tuition cost--students with stipends (and almost every physics PhD student has a stipend) don't pay tuition in the US. I much prefer my salaried position to an hourly one.


EDIT: Particularly for Tufts: http://www.physicsgrad.com/university-profiles/tufts-university

Catria
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby Catria » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:24 pm

bfollinprm wrote:Not true; the majority of schools have rules in place preventing more than 20 hrs/week of TA work, and the salary/hours worked at the stipend level is very often above the hourly wage given in other countries. It also comes with fee remissions, which means they don't have to list the tuition cost--students with stipends (and almost every physics PhD student has a stipend) don't pay tuition in the US. I much prefer my salaried position to an hourly one.

EDIT: Particularly for Tufts: http://www.physicsgrad.com/university-profiles/tufts-university


$22,660 in a school in Boston just isn't the same as $22,660 would be from a school in Montreal or Toronto, given the costs of living at each city.

And... after seeing the data on that page, Tufts is a reach for me once again. It will still be a pretty long shot, and perhaps a poorly chosen, out-of-town reach.

Minovsky
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby Minovsky » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:07 pm

Catria wrote:$22,660 in a school in Boston just isn't the same as $22,660 would be from a school in Montreal or Toronto, given the costs of living at each city.

And... after seeing the data on that page, Tufts is a reach for me once again. It will still be a pretty long shot, and perhaps a poorly chosen, out-of-town reach.


$22,660 is more than you're likely to get at Toronto (they list their stipend as $19,500). Also, Tufts is outside of the city, so cost of living is a little lower than it is inside the city (like at BU or MIT).

What about that page makes it look like Tufts is a reach for you? The 28% acceptance rate? That's actually pretty high as far as acceptance rates for physics graduate programs are concerned.

Catria
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby Catria » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:01 am

Is Danilo Marchesini any good as a researcher? If so, it's the one I'd want to work under at Tufts.

Minovsky wrote:$22,660 is more than you're likely to get at Toronto (they list their stipend as $19,500). Also, Tufts is outside of the city, so cost of living is a little lower than it is inside the city (like at BU or MIT).

What about that page makes it look like Tufts is a reach for you? The 28% acceptance rate? That's actually pretty high as far as acceptance rates for physics graduate programs are concerned.


The programs with much lower acceptance rates are much better, too (I crossed BU and PSU off my list, the former because it was too expensive to live, the latter because, unlike Tufts, it was a "reach-for-anyone" like MIT is). High acceptance rate (in the context of graduate physics programs) with an abysimal yield (4/22; best yields are about 50%) makes me uneasy about applying there, since I can get into better programs back home.

TakeruK
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby TakeruK » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:17 pm

bfollinprm wrote:Not true; the majority of schools have rules in place preventing more than 20 hrs/week of TA work, and the salary/hours worked at the stipend level is very often above the hourly wage given in other countries. It also comes with fee remissions, which means they don't have to list the tuition cost--students with stipends (and almost every physics PhD student has a stipend) don't pay tuition in the US. I much prefer my salaried position to an hourly one.


I think the difference is the funding structure as well. And our stipends covers more than just TA work -- RA / research work counts as "work" too. When we perform research work, sure it is going towards our thesis, but it is still "labour" (although not physical labour) and we should be paid for it. In Canada, this is explicit in our funding. We are told how much of our stipend comes from TAing (for me, about 1/3 of it: I worked 4.5 hours per week and was paid $38/hr), form RAing (for me, also about 1/3: we were paid $22/hr for 20 hours per month*), and 1/3 was from fellowships. If a student did not have a fellowship, they would get a slightly smaller stipend but the difference would be made up with increased funding from TA (department funded -- they'd work 9 hours a week instead) and increased RA (their prof would pay them more).

I put a star next to the RA hours because that's kind of made up. In reality, the department decided that each prof would contribute $X towards their student's stipend (with the department paying for the rest in TA etc.) and there is some standard RA rate so our # of hours per month is just $X/hourly-rate. Since it takes much more than ~20 hours per month to actually do graduate level research, that's where the problem comes in. However, I understand that we are like apprentices, where we are gaining valuable mentorship and work experience. And, technically PhD/MSc research is like a "course" so we aren't supposed to be paid for coursework (however, I'd argue against that since if the goal is to produce publication quality research, we are actually providing a benefit to the school as well). And finally, our TA wages are grossly inflated (but this is due to the fact that we are underpaid as researchers). Overall, I can add up my annual stipend in Canada, divide by 50 (since we get about 2 weeks off), and divide by # hours worked per week (let's say 50 if you don't count coursework), and I get $11.60/hour. The minimum wage in the province I lived was $10.25/hr. This figure is BEFORE considering I have to pay tuition in Canada too -- after taking out tuition, my take home pay was $8.80/hour.

Now that I'm in the US, my stipend is actually a little bit higher (although cost of living is dramatically increased despite minimum wage being dramatically lower). All in all, if I work for 50 hours/week here, since tuition is waived, my hourly wage is about $12/hr.

Although as grad students, we are generally more qualified to get jobs that pay more than $12/hr, I wouldn't complain too much as long as the stipend is livable. I enjoy my work, I would rather get paid an effective $12/hr doing something I like than working in a job I hate with no chance of progression. But the truth is that in some places, $12/hr isn't enough to not have to worry about having enough money to pay the bills and buy food. And the worst part is that despite my school's grad society publishing results of an anonymous surveying showing that a large fraction of students are not making ends meet, no one, including me, is going to confront their departments about it. In academia, we are too dependent on our bosses (for LORs etc.) on our future careers to be able to say anything like that.

Catria
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby Catria » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:34 pm

Now I can kiss Tufts goodbye...

kangaroo
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby kangaroo » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:14 pm

Catria wrote:Now I can kiss Tufts goodbye...


I don't understand why you're being such a drama queen over a school that is at the bottom of the barrel. FFS at least choose a top 20 school if you want to be overly dramatic.

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quizivex
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby quizivex » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:07 pm

^^ agreed. This thread has gone on way too long. The OP should just apply to Tufts as the dream school and some safeties (if there are any safeties relative to Tufts) and stop yapping emotionally about it.

Catria
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby Catria » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:20 pm

kangaroo wrote:
Catria wrote:Now I can kiss Tufts goodbye...


I don't understand why you're being such a drama queen over a school that is at the bottom of the barrel. FFS at least choose a top 20 school if you want to be overly dramatic.


The earliest I could take the PGRE is way past the December 15th deadline... I'd stick to my GRE-optional schools. It's not because I feel Tufts is unreachable.

But I swapped Tufts for York in the process.

halley00
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby halley00 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:08 pm

Hey dude, perphaps you could help me to clarify a doubt. I am an international students and my dream university is Mcgill, however I did not take the GRE and PGRE. Do you know, since you talked to a professor from there, if there are real chances to be accepted without them? I mean, they say on the website that these exams are not required but recommended, so for me it is not clear how relevant these exams are in the end.

bfollinprm
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:44 pm

The PGRE isn't necessary outside of the USA.

Catria
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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby Catria » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:50 pm

Tufts, at the bottom of the barrel? Schools at the bottom of the barrel aren't nationally ranked to start with. OK, I'll acknowledge that Tufts is a little on the low side of nationally ranked PhD programs, though (#77 for physics, if USNWR is worth anything).

halley00 wrote:Hey dude, perphaps you could help me to clarify a doubt. I am an international students and my dream university is Mcgill, however I did not take the GRE and PGRE. Do you know, since you talked to a professor from there, if there are real chances to be accepted without them? I mean, they say on the website that these exams are not required but recommended, so for me it is not clear how relevant these exams are in the end.


Yes, provided that your recs and your GPA are good enough (the threshold for last year at the MSc level was 3.5/4; source: Tracy Webb, a McGill prof) and, for PhD admission, your research track record.

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Re: Tufts: dream or reality?

Postby TakeruK » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:30 pm

Some Physics programs in Canada require the PGRE for non-Canadian students. I think if you have a strong GPA and if the program only says "recommended", you can probably be okay without it.

However, in Canada, when you are admitted to grad school, you often (not always) get admitted by a prof / research group directly. This means that you are a direct cost for a prof and international students likely cost more. I think if you are international and you really want to get in somewhere, you would want to make yourself look as desirable as possible. In addition, you want to make it clear that you would be worth the investment risk. If the department (or prof) could take an equally talented domestic student, they will likely do that since domestic students cost a lot less!

If it helps, I was part of a meeting in my old (Canadian) department where the profs decided what to do with growing numbers of international grad students. The problem was that International students cost more and the University only provides X number of "top-up awards" to offset the cost to the department. However, X is very small and there are currently 2X international students. So if a prof wanted to take on a domestic student, they can just make an offer and that's that. But if a prof wanted to take on an international student, the prof will either have to pay the extra costs out of their own grant (in addition to the domestic costs), or they have to petition the department to use its reserve funding that's set aside for funding good international students. Not all schools work this way, but I was trying to convey the idea that the bar is set much higher for international students than domestic students in Canadian schools! This is likely true in every country though!




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