uhurulol wrote:Hi everyone. I've posted here before, but upon receiving my abysmal PGRE score, I've decided to completely overhaul my school list in favor of some much easier schools to get into. Everything is for Astro research. I've found a lot of programs that don't require the PGRE, and I'll be applying to mostly those. If you can think of any other Physics, Astro or Planetary programs that won't require submission of the PGRE score, I'd be happy to hear about them. As of right now, here is my profile, with the school list below:
Undergrad Institution: State University, no rep for physics
Undergraduate Major(s): Physics
GPA in Major: 3.18
Overall GPA: 3.17
Type of Student: Domestic White Male
Q: 155 (60%)
V: 155 (67%)
W: 3.5 (38%)
P: 500 (9%) (obligatory )
Two years on a significant astro instrumentation project funded by a huge NSF grant. Advisor of this project is my primary recommendor, and he will write me a stellar letter. The research itself is highly notable and should look really great on my application. Publication pending in a reputable journal.
I also just recently started some research with another notable Yale professor doing observational stellar astronomy -- the details of which she doesn't really want me to discuss, as we're fighting time on this project. If we're successful, this will provide significant evidence toward a recent theory about a specific Milky Way satellite, and that will lead to another publication on which I will be the second author. This advisor is my second recommendor.
Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
Tutored physics to the youngins' at my school, did generic lab work/repair work for the physics department. Presentations regarding my research for the Physics Club, and I've represented the Physics department at a number of university events.
Major coursework such as E&M, Classical and Quantum came way later in my studies than they should have. Also worked 30+ hours a week (plus research) for most of my college career.
Applying to Where:
Schools that will not require PGRE scores are noted by "NO PGRE." The schools that do require a score are mostly programs at which my advisors have colleagues (some of whom I've met) and thus I stand a better chance in spite of my poor score. These I've marked with a *.
University of Delaware - Physics & Astronomy *
University of Hawaii - Astronomy
Caltech - Planetary Sciences NO PGRE
Georgia State - Physics & Astronomy *
Stony Brook - Physics & Astronomy NO PGRE
University of Pittsburgh - Physics & Astronomy NO PGRE
Florida Institute of Technology - Space Sciences NO PGRE
University of New Hampshire - Physics & Astronomy NO PGRE
Clemson - Physics & Astronomy NO PGRE *
University of Iowa - Physics & Astronomy NO PGRE
University of Oklahoma - Physics & Astronomy NO PGRE
If you know of any other Space Science, Planetary Science or Astro programs that don't require a PGRE and that I'll stand a good chance at, please let me know. Likewise, if any of these look horribly out of my reach, let me know so I can avoid wasting the app fee. Obviously my research is my selling point -- as such, schools like Caltech, which prioritize research, are at the top of my list. I really don't care about getting into a "prestigious" university; I want to do astronomical research and that's all I care about. If my career is spent doing research like I have been the past two years, I will die a very happy man.
Forget Stony Brook. Grades and no PGRE are a death sentence. University of Iowa, University of Pittsburgh are very unlikely. The rest are good choices.
uhurulol wrote:Really? I spoke with some of the researchers at all three of these institutions and specifically asked if not having a PGRE score would hurt my application, and they said it wouldn't. Still, if this is the general consensus on these schools, I will reconsider applying to them. They are lower on my list of schools I'm interested in, anyway.
uhurulol wrote:Fortunately UPITT has a free application, and I've spoken with some researchers about applying and they seem to be interested in my research. So it won't hurt to apply.
uhurulol wrote:Perhaps I'll drop Stony Brook -- do you have any suggestions on some very safe schools to replace it with? Planetary Science programs are fine. I know those are typically easier.
RonaldoMcDonaldo wrote:The PGRE and your transcripts/GPA both meant to demonstrate that you understand the undergraduate physics curriculum. That's why schools ask for it. There are some schools, as you pointed out, which don't necessarily require the PGRE. It seems that, in general, if a school doesn't require it that is mainly because they don't want to discourage people who are good candidates but did poorly on the exam.
What this means, for you, is that if you are applying without a subject GRE the only thing the schools have to go on in terms of your undergraduate preparedness is your transcripts. Based on your GPA, I'm betting your grades are well below average.
TakeruK wrote:Keep in mind that we are specifically talking about Astronomy and Planetary Science programs, which does not put as much weight on the PGRE as Physics programs. Specifically, two of the best planetary science programs on uhurulol's list (Caltech and U. Arizona LPL) explicitly say they do not need the PGRE and I know many students in these programs without any PGRE scores. In addition, Caltech Astronomy data shows they have admitted students with PGRE from 500 to 990 (http://mahalonottrash.blogspot.com/2014 ... fails.html). Also, not everyone that enters these programs holds a Physics undergrad degree.
In uhurulol's case, I think it won't make a big difference whether they report their PGRE score or not. I agree that the GPA is below average, but I think with the listed experience, it is still a good idea to put top Planetary Science programs as "reach schools".
To uhurulol: Yay! Glad you are getting considered for LPL . After my application year, they changed the format to holding visit weekends prior to their final admission decision but I think getting invited to visit is a pretty good sign. I found out around early February, if I recall correctly. Good luck
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