Cosmology/HEP-TH Could use some help narrowing down my list

holocene
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:40 am

Cosmology/HEP-TH Could use some help narrowing down my list

Postby holocene » Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:54 am

I'm having a bit of trouble determining which schools are matches and which are reaches for me. I'd like to focus on early universe/theoretical cosmology/particle physics.

Here is the relevant info about myself...

School: State school not known for research
Major: Physics B.S.
Minors: Math, Astronomy
GPA: 3.86 cumulative, 3.87 in-major, 4.0 math, 4.0 astronomy
General GRE: 167/157/5 for Q/V/AW
Physics GRE: 890 (84%)
Research: Three quarters of research on galaxy clusters/large-scale structure including a summer stipend from my university. No publications. Presented poster at well-known annual astronomy conference.

Here are the grad schools I'm currently considering:

UPenn <-- Probably my first choice
Stanford
CU Boulder
UC Santa Cruz
UC Davis
U British Columbia
UC Santa Barbara
U Washington
Penn State
Carnegie Mellon
Dartmouth
Yale
Boston University

A lot of people may question my Dartmouth choice (I know it isn't great for physics) but I think it's a solid backup for me. I think having Prof. Alexander as an adviser would be a good match for me. Either way, am I overshooting? Also, what are other good safety schools for theoretical cosmology? Thanks in advance!

Catria
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: Cosmology/HEP-TH Could use some help narrowing down my list

Postby Catria » Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:29 am

Perhaps you could replace Dartmouth by Case Western?

As far as UPenn is concerned, you want to work with Trodden? Or Khoury?

tsymmetry
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:59 pm

Re: Cosmology/HEP-TH Could use some help narrowing down my list

Postby tsymmetry » Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:33 am

Penn is very unpredictable for HET. For years they pretty much didn't accept anyone, but after some of the graduate students finished, they had at least one person entering fall 2013 and most likely some this year. But I do think professors canhave a significant influence in admissions so if you mention someone in your statement they may very well see your application.

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

Re: Cosmology/HEP-TH Could use some help narrowing down my list

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:14 pm

Saying this is going to defeat the purpose of a safety, but everyone applying to general HEP-TH/cosmology theory/string theory interests should have Case Western on their list. They're HUGELY underrated at the moment, and I have no idea why.


...OK, I know why. It's because they're in Cleveland and no one seems to want to move there. But it's definitely not a terrible place to live (for one, you can actually afford to live there as a grad student).

Mostly, though, your list looks pretty solid.

holocene
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:40 am

Re: Cosmology/HEP-TH Could use some help narrowing down my list

Postby holocene » Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:20 pm

@Catria: I will look into Case Western. I was actually kind of excited about Dartmouth as a safety. It obviously wouldn't be my first choice as it isn't great for physics but the professors seem interesting. As for UPenn, I was hoping for Khoury.

holocene
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:40 am

Re: Cosmology/HEP-TH Could use some help narrowing down my list

Postby holocene » Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:22 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone. Does my list look too top heavy? I'm mainly worried about how I come from a state school not known for research... I want to make sure I get in somewhere but am a bit confused by where I see people applying to in this forum and on others. I've seen people with my stats applying to almost only top 10s and I have seen others only applying to schools ranked 20th or below. Where do I fit in?

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

Re: Cosmology/HEP-TH Could use some help narrowing down my list

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:41 pm

Applying to just top 10 would be dumb (it is in almost every case), but I'd be moderately surprised if you didn't get into at least one school in the top 20. Your list looks fine; if anything it lacks a sufficient number of reaches; you could consider adding MIT, Harvard, or Cal Tech.




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