tsymmetry wrote:I'm posting this since I about to submit my applications and am starting to get very nervous.
I currently attend a top ten university and am applying to twelve schools for condensed matter theory, nine which are top ten. I also have one which is top fifteen (I did an REU there), one top twenty, and one top thirty (which should be a safety since my research advisor is very well connected there).
There are several very strong components to my application. I have a lot of research experience in my field at my home school and just had a first author paper accepted to PRL. I also will be publishing a paper (we are a bit behind) from an REU I did last summer where I worked on a theory project. My letters of recommendation should all be very strong. I know my recommenders very well and they all suggested I apply to top programs. I have also received a few awards, one being very significant.
The two negative components of my applications are my grades and PGRE score. My GPA is ~3.6, which is not horrible, but I feel it is low for top schools. The biggest reason is my performance on exams, which in the beginning was very inconsistent due to difficulty timing myself/nerves. However, as this got somewhat better later on, my grades improved by a lot, and for the last 3 semesters my GPA has been closer to a 3.8. I also excelled in several graduate courses (two of which gave a take home test which I do very well on without the time constraint).
For similar reasons, my PGRE score is 760, which is not great. I'm not sure how much this will negatively affect my application. I am female, which may give more leniency to my PGRE score, but I don't really think this affects the rest of my application since from what I have observed, the female physics applicants are a very selective bunch given the very high attrition rate.
I was wondering if anyone knew of any profiles similar to mine (it was hard to find any in the past acceptance threads since my combination of qualities seems to be uncommon) and how they did in admissions.
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