Losing Confidence with Grad Apps, apply for Masters?

PathIntegrals92
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:42 pm

Losing Confidence with Grad Apps, apply for Masters?

Postby PathIntegrals92 » Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:11 am

Hey Everyone,
I feel like I've already made a billion threads about applying to PhD programs, now I am officially unsure about applying to them.

I feel like my gpa is not high enough, my physics gre is not good enough, and overall feeling pretty lousy about applying. I am already taking a year off, and now I just think I should take some more time before applying to PhD programs and do masters.

I took a year off to improve my pgre scores and it only went from *very horrible* to 700 (52%). I was planning on applying to grad school as undecided between theory and experiment, but to be honest that's freaking me out. I have research experiences in high energy theory and I love(d) it! My app is not strong enough to continue with this field, however. Also, I have no experience in experimental physics at all ( unless if lab courses count) and I have no idea if I will enjoy it.

I am thinking about applying to masters in physics instead. I think a masters program will give me the opportunity to take more advanced courses, hopefully do well and get a high gpa, and get more research experience. I can try experimental or another sub field or something. Of course I hope to raise my pgre scores even higher. This way, if I realize I still want to do HEP-th , I can work towards making my app stronger.

Do you think applying for only masters program is the better way to go? Should I apply for PhD at some places anyways? What do grad schools look for when people apply for experimental physics? (especially if one has no research experience in it?) I have not consulted with my research advisors yet, but I will soon.


I appreciate any sort of advice! =)

uhurulol
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:38 am

Re: Losing Confidence with Grad Apps, apply for Masters?

Postby uhurulol » Fri Nov 07, 2014 2:12 am

What is your GPA? Are you international or domestic? 700 is reaaaalllllly not that bad for lower tier schools. If you are above a 3.0 I'd say still go for it, just apply to a bunch. Choose 12 and make them all matches and safeties.

PathIntegrals92
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:42 pm

Re: Losing Confidence with Grad Apps, apply for Masters?

Postby PathIntegrals92 » Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:27 pm

Thank you for the reply! My gpa is 3.5ish for physics. I really messed up my senior year :/. I know B/B+s grades are not really that bad, but it just doesn't look good getting them senior year. B+s in grad course too :/ Also my grades look more like a downward trend because of that.

I am domestic. I don't think matches and safeties exist for HEP-th haha, at least for me. I came to this conclusion after looking through previous applicant profiles.

I would have done much better in the grad course had I not taken the undergrad physics course I was taking, but it's too late to change that. For some reason, the undergrad one was 10x harder and I just did not find the subject appealing. I burnt out and let things slide. I was doing very well in the grad courses, but I didn't do so well on the midterms.
I just feel that a Masters mean I can redeem myself. I don't know :/

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

Re: Losing Confidence with Grad Apps, apply for Masters?

Postby Catria » Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:15 pm

OK, you can apply for masters but you should have a mix of masters and PhD apps...

wompwomp
Posts: 38
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:00 pm

Re: Losing Confidence with Grad Apps, apply for Masters?

Postby wompwomp » Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:08 pm

Unless you have financial constraints, limiting your options to *only* masters programs doesn't make sense. Why not throw your hat into the ring anyway?

Edit: Mixed my idioms.
Last edited by wompwomp on Mon Nov 10, 2014 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

instrument.santosh
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:20 pm

Re: Losing Confidence with Grad Apps, apply for Masters?

Postby instrument.santosh » Sat Nov 08, 2014 2:23 pm

OMG, do you mean to say masters program are easier to get in compared to Phd ? I was under the assumption that the opposite was true !

PS : am an international student ! that too shifting from engineering ! -.- thank god waiting for my PGR score and am yet to apply !

PPS: all my selections as of now are in Phd with 1 in Masters ! guess need to modify it !

PathIntegrals92
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:42 pm

Re: Losing Confidence with Grad Apps, apply for Masters?

Postby PathIntegrals92 » Sat Nov 08, 2014 11:46 pm

Thanks for the replies guys and the encouragement!

I recently brought it up to one of my advisors and i do have a list of phd programs now too.


instrument.santosh wrote:OMG, do you mean to say masters program are easier to get in compared to Phd ? I was under the assumption that the opposite was true !

PS : am an international student ! that too shifting from engineering ! -.- thank god waiting for my PGR score and am yet to apply !

PPS: all my selections as of now are in Phd with 1 in Masters ! guess need to modify it !


Gaining admission is easier, their requirements are less stringent. However most U.S programs do not provide funding for masters. It's expensive too!


You probably should not modify your list just yet. Email profs you are interested in working and let them know of your interests and that your background is engineering and see what they have to say.

instrument.santosh
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:20 pm

Re: Losing Confidence with Grad Apps, apply for Masters?

Postby instrument.santosh » Sun Nov 09, 2014 2:16 am

ah thank you. will do the same.

On a different note, wouldnt the professor just reply me asking to apply and wait for the decisions if i mail them asking if i am a fit ? because if i am in selection committee , i would want more people to apply even if they are not a perfect fit and hence would ask them to apply anyway !

PathIntegrals92
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:42 pm

Re: Losing Confidence with Grad Apps, apply for Masters?

Postby PathIntegrals92 » Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:58 am

I don't know what your gpa is or anything, but it really depends on what you want to do?Also if you had done electrical engineering there are some overlaps between that and condensed matter !

I think some professors will give you some good advice, but you will have to email multiple maybe.




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