I am new to the board so let me first just say hello - Hello!
To my question - you guys have more experience so your judgement is way more accurate when it comes to graduate physics studies, so I wanted to ask if I have a shot at any of the better (say top 50) physics institutions.
My vague profile -
- Studying general physics, dunno about any particular recognition of my school in physics, even though it is one of the best in my country ( http://www.muni.cz/?lang=en )
- GPA - 3.8
- Among 6% percent of best students of Physics
- Class top
- Every year getting academic scholarship
- I think I could get the GRE's at high 800s
About the research - I did not do any serious research as of yet, since I am really rather theoretically/mathematically inclined and even though I wass really looking for opportunities at my faculty since second semester, everybody kept telling me to rather focus on my studies since theoretical research demands a lot of knowledge.
So I am going to my last year of Bc. studies (in my country the degree is only for 3 years). Until now I had all the physical core subjects, will have some QM next semester. As for the maths I took some advanced courses for grad students - Differential geometry, lie groups, calculus of complex functions, advanced calculus of variations... The study will be ended with thesis, so I am currently studying another maths on my own (symplectic geometry etc) because I will do my thesis on some theoretical topic (haven't chosen particular topic yet) supervised by one of the leading theoretical physicists here (some past topics of his students were "Wentzel - Kramers - Brillouin Approximation and Maslov Indices in Quantum Mechanics" and "Non-Commutative Quantum Mechanics" ). The thesis will be in english and I suppose it could be counted as a research, since I will be heading for some more difficult graduate subject (something like the past works I wrote out).
Other things that could help:
I have been tutoring for several years now and I have also had regular paid classes. I will start my own classes for future physics students in their final year of high school (for free - as a community service)
I have won a prestigeous GE Scholar-Leaders scholarship this year (among 8 in my country) as a reckognition of my good study results and academic/leadership potential to the future ( http://scholarshipandmore.org/global/home/?modal=true ). Part of it is 3000 euros of stipend, also I will be doing the community service mentioned above as a part of the whole thing.
(Dunno if that helps but my one year older brother studies neuroscience at Columbia)
P.S.: I have applied for undergrad studies at several institutions when I was finishing my high school and got admitted to some (NYU, Drexel, IIT) but wasn't able to go there cos I got only like 1/2 scholarships everywhere and did not get to any need-blind schools and I am from rather poor family.
I may have forgotten something, but that's all for now. My question is, what are my chances at some of the top50ish universities? Where should I be aiming and what particularly should I build up?