tsymmetry wrote:A low PGRE can be overcome if the rest of your application is strong. I applied for CMT last year with a 760 and got into 5 top 10 schools including Illinois, Harvard, and Stanford. However I also had a first author publication in PRL.
A lot of top schools are really deemphasizing the PGRE. Of top ten schools, UChicago and Harvard don't care as much about it. They heavily emphasize letters and research experience which need to be top notch.
Some places you might consider in the top 20-30 that are strong for CMT are Rutgers, Penn State, Maryland, UCSD, and Minnesota
I wouldn't bother applying to MIT or Princeton with your PGRE. They are the schools that care the most about it since they have very hardcore quals
Catria wrote:So this is a radical transformation for UChicago with the current administration... first getting rid of the quals (and now students take a placement test two weeks before the coursework begins; quals were phased out in part due to concerns about students' health), and, concurrently, emphasizing research experience more than it did in the past. I think de-emphasizing the PGRE at UChicago is related to the abolition of the quals, which were every bit as hardcore as MIT or Princeton quals are. (I remember a story about some UChicago alum failing quals for almost a decade, and defended his/her thesis almost immediately after his/her passage)
Along with a HEP-TH postdoc at my undergrad that is an UChicago alum (graduated in 2011) and my standard model instructor also being a UChicago alum (unfortunately he couldn't write me the third letter, not even for UChicago) and PhysicsGRE.com of course, the major changes implemented by the current administration influenced my decision to apply to UChicago over Caltech or Stanford.
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