Do I have a shot to top 10?

poel5279
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:36 am

Do I have a shot to top 10?

Postby poel5279 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:51 pm

Hey all.
Thank you for reading my post!

I have lived in United States for 12 years, but I am unfortunately still international student(F1) in status. It would be nice if you can give me some insight on the likelihoods for me to get in to top 10 (Esp with my recently not so great Sep 2013 PGRE score.)

Undergrad Institution: California, Small Private University.
(Physics Program is very new here, but we are growing fast.)
Major(s): Physics and Mathematics
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: 3.97 (one A-.)
Overall GPA: 3.98
Length of Degree: 4.5 years
Position in Class: Top in both mathematics and physics program. (But our physics program is very small, so somewhat meaningless.)
Type of Student: International Asian Male (Korean)
Type of Degree Applied For: PhD

GRE Scores :
PGRE: 810
Q:169
V:159
W:did not receive result yet

Research Experience:
- Astrophysics (numerical analysis) research in galaxy formation for 1 year leading to publication in MNRAS (co-author)
- Quantum Gravity (theory) (ongoing) research beginning this summer of 2013. May lead to publication, but not entirely sure.
- Research in Mathematics: 1) Hyperbolic Analysis research last year (wrote up some stuff, but may not submit.). 2) Sheaf theory and bicomplex holomorphic functions (recently started). 3) Generalized Fourier Analysis (somewhat basic research, will submit a paper soon.)

Letter of Recommendations:
1 from well-known quantum gravity physicist.
1 from well-known astrophysicist
1 from my school chancellor (well-known mathematician).
All three of whom I did/am doing research with.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
-Received 7 different scholarships from community college that I transferred from, received 3 different private scholarships from my current university ($34,000 per year). Received men of distinction award at community college (15 graduating men and 15 graduating women per year)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
-Amateur Astronomer (do astrophotography).

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
- I have worked as an editor for this one physics book, which was a compilation of different papers by very well known physicists (3 Nobel Laureates, and many very big name physicists).
- I think I might have unusually stronger background in mathematics for physics major.
I have read many graduate texts in mathematics, and have taken / taking algebraic topology, sheaf theory, bicomplex analysis, and will take differential geometry.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
International Asian Male who lived in US for 12 years (went to elementary / jr. high/ high school here in US)

Applying to Where:
I want to apply to Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, UCSB, UCB, and Colorado. (for theory)


I thought I might have a pretty good shot if I do well on GREs, but with my recent score, I lost my confidence. I literally prepared for less than 2 weeks for the PGRE. It is my fault, but I know if I take another year, I will be able to do very well on the exam. Do you think I have a good chance as I am right now? I sincerely thank you for helping me out.
Last edited by poel5279 on Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

blighter
Posts: 256
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:30 pm

Re: Do I have a shot to top 10?

Postby blighter » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:09 pm

There's no reason why not.

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WhoaNonstop
Posts: 851
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:31 am

Re: Do I have a shot to top 10?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:24 pm

Generally it is difficult for "international" students to get into top 10 without superb PGRE scores. From being around this site it seems that 900+ is usually the benchmark for international students getting into top 10 schools. However, your research background seems pretty expansive, so this may make up for some things.

I would say you'll probably get wait listed at best (maybe not at UCSB), but anything can happen and you should still try to get in wherever you'd like to. I'm just trying to be realistic! I would say you would have a good shot for sure if your PGRE was over 900 and hopefully all that research you have can make some impressions.

-Riley

poel5279
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:36 am

Re: Do I have a shot to top 10?

Postby poel5279 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:14 pm

WhoaNonstop wrote:Generally it is difficult for "international" students to get into top 10 without superb PGRE scores. From being around this site it seems that 900+ is usually the benchmark for international students getting into top 10 schools. However, your research background seems pretty expansive, so this may make up for some things.

I'm just trying to be realistic!


Riley, thank you so much!
I was looking for a realistic evaluation of my circumstance, and I am very grateful for your response!
As you may have noted, I am sort of 'international student' just by status, since I attended all my schools here in the US. Do you think they will treat my applications like they treat other international students' apps?

I was also made aware that higher PGRE score is expected for theoretical physics. Maybe that will really hurt me as well. Hopefully my October score is better.

You think I've got a good chance for top 20?
Thank you.

TakeruK
Posts: 812
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Do I have a shot to top 10?

Postby TakeruK » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:50 pm

If you are F-1 then you will have to pay international tuition, which means you cost more. So, it would be harder to get an admit, since you have to be much better than a much cheaper domestic student. However, when you apply to schools that don't charge higher tuition to international students (e.g. private schools usually), then you will probably be treated exactly like an American student since you have all your schooling here etc.

I think you have a strong enough profile to apply everywhere you find a research/personal interest -- i.e. don't let prestige or rank scare you away. Of course, very few people are "for sure" going to get in anywhere, so make sure you have a diverse list of schools too!

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WhoaNonstop
Posts: 851
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:31 am

Re: Do I have a shot to top 10?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:53 pm

poel5279 wrote:Do you think they will treat my applications like they treat other international students' apps?

I was also made aware that higher PGRE score is expected for theoretical physics.

You think I've got a good chance for top 20?


Just from your post, it is quite obvious you have been in the United States for school. It will vary between committees I'm sure, but I'd like to "guess" that most of them will place you with the rest of the international students, maybe making a note of where you went to school. I think it may have more to do with having only so much funding for people classified as "international" compared to domestic students, but I'm not sure. On paper, you will definitely be classified as international.

IT seems they do generally expect higher scores for theory.

Probably, top 20 may be more realistic. Since I have only done an in-depth study of domestic profiles on this site, you might try to find the applicant profiles and look for some international males to compare yourself to.

-Riley

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

Re: Do I have a shot to top 10?

Postby bfollinprm » Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:54 pm

TakeruK wrote:If you are F-1 then you will have to pay international tuition, which means you cost more. So, it would be harder to get an admit, since you have to be much better than a much cheaper domestic student. However, when you apply to schools that don't charge higher tuition to international students (e.g. private schools usually), then you will probably be treated exactly like an American student since you have all your schooling here etc.

I think you have a strong enough profile to apply everywhere you find a research/personal interest -- i.e. don't let prestige or rank scare you away. Of course, very few people are "for sure" going to get in anywhere, so make sure you have a diverse list of schools too!



Just casting my vote on this response, which I think hits it right on. You should probably look into more 'safety' schools, keeping in mind you shouldn't apply anywhere you don't want to go. If your PGRE doesn't improve much, consider Waterloo, which is excellent in theory due to the proximity of the PI, and doesn't require PGRE submission (though you'll have to apply for a masters there, since you need one to apply for the PhD).

EDIT: On a side note, why not consider Steve Carlip here at Davis?




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