tsymmetry wrote:I really think you should try applying some top ten schools. Your GRE score is definitely hard enough and if you have good research experience by the time you graduate I think you will be competitive. Penn is definitely a great choice for cosmology though. Mark Trodden and Justin Khoury are wonderful
I would think about adding UChicago, Berkeley, Harvard, Caltech, Princeton, Stanford, and/or MIT. The first ones are top five in cosmology and MIT has Alan Guth.
Maybe also consider Johns Hopkins, UT Austin, Penn State, and Maryland. They are a bit easier to get into than the other ones I listed.
I would eliminate 5-6 of the schools on your current list and add 3-5 of the ones of my first list and 2-4 on the second list.
tsymmetry wrote:I don't know why your list is so heavy on safeties. If you want to stay in physics, it will be even harder to get a job coming from a lower tier school than it already is. I would eliminate Dartmouth and Tufts since they simply are not that strong overall. I would also replace OSU by UT Austin.
As for reaches, Berkeley is good in cosmology and is easier to get into than places like Harvard and Princeton since they have a much larger class size. However, they do weed a lot of students out which is something you may be concerned about. Cornell and Columbia may also be good to add. Harvard and Stanford are as competitive as Princeton so that's your choice.
PathIntegrals92 wrote:I agree with TakeruK!
It's definitely better to apply to places where you feel you will be happy and love the environment ( research and academics ) etc.
Your physics gre is competitive for HEP-Th, so the list you have under reaches is great! Princeton has some great theoretical cosmologists! Justin Khoury at UPenn is a awesome! Michigan has a lot of great profs in HEP-TH and the department overall is very friendly!
I think you should remove Tufts as well. Why not UMD-College park and UT-Austin? UC-Davis is good too.
bfollinprm wrote:just FYI, Rocky is now Dean of Sciences. That usually means very little time for research; it could be different for him, but he'll certainly be a busy man. That doesn't mean don't apply to Chicago, there's still Dodelson, Hu, Turner, etc. I just wouldn't put Rocky down as a person of interest, unless you've talked to him and he seemed interested in having you.
And if you only want to work with Steinhardt at Princeton, it seems to me that you should at least* be applying to Stanford as well (which has Linde, Silverstein, Senatore, and probably whoever they hire as KIPAC director, a position recently vacated by Roger Blandford). Princeton has just Paul, if you discount gravity and the string theorists over at IAS (and Zaldarriaga, I suppose).
tsymmetry wrote:I'm not saying it won't be difficult. High energy theory is the most competitive subfield and it is definitely harder for internationals. However, if you are in fact competitive for the top schools (which you may or may not be, based on you PGRE you are, but it's harder to tell based on your grades, research, and letters), you will have a better chance of getting into one if you apply to more of them.
I would say you should knock off a safety or two (probably Tufts and/or Dartmouth since they are not very strong programs) and apply to 12-14 schools since that is actually a typical number, especially in HET. Then you could do one of Harvard/Princeton/Stanford, Cornell/Berkeley, and then Columbia/Michigan/Maryland/UT Austin, and one of Hopkins/UCLA/UCSD/Wisconsin.
However, if you consider top ten programs, each of them will allow 1 or maximum 2 spots for internationals in HEP theory. You will therefore have to compete for about 15 spots with (likely) upwards of 300 people from around the world.
I also observed that there is a difference in quality of students at top ten schools. You can learn a ton from your peers so this is definitely something to consider.
tsymmetry wrote:Yes, but what I am saying is that if you are competitive for schools like Princeton, you will have a higher chance of getting into one of these schools if you apply to more of them. If you however are not competitive, then it won't matter how many top schools you apply to since you wouldn't be in the range to be accepted anyway.
I'm surprised your professors don't have a better idea of where you stand. Does your university not send many students to grad school? Because most professors I talked to would give very clear answers regarding applications. I don't thibk grad school applications are that unpredictable for the most part. Sure, it's hard to tell where you will get accepted, but if someone is a strong candidate for top ten schools, usually they will get into a few from what I have observed. This is definitely less true for internationals, but that just means you need to apply to more places.
The only times I have heard of students being shut out is if they apply to only four to seven top ten schools.
International students usually apply to more schools, sometimes over 15. It's expensive but the best way to maximize your chances.
bfollinprm wrote:Though I actually applaud you for some considered choices (Tufts probably is a diamond in the rough, and U Penn would be my first choice school for the kind of thing you want to do), I also agree with others posting that it's kind of weird to be talking about wanting to work with, say, Guth, and not applying to MIT. If you want to work with him the best place to do that is obviously MIT, even if he takes Tuft students on occasion (I would imagine this is not very common in practice, since he has tons of motivated, capable, and interested students sitting on campus).
Now, I'm not saying Guth SHOULD be at the top of your list; I don't know him well enough to comment (certainly, he'd be at the top of your list 10-20 years ago), but you seem excited at the prospect of working with him; if so, apply to MIT.
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