TakeruK wrote:1. Determine the professors you want to work with. Find out where their offices are. Apply to the program that would put you in the same building as these professors. (Or, find out who their students are and do the same).
TakeruK wrote:3. Email the professors you are interested in and ask their advice. (When I did this, I got the first two pieces of advice here).
TakeruK wrote:B. Understand that public schools are very hard for international students to get into, especially the University of California schools. Apply to a large number of private schools as well.
muke wrote:Is it okay to let the prof know that he is not the only one I am emailing? I mean right after I ask if he is taking new students next year, is it appropriate to write something like "I have found five faculty[*] in his university working on topics[*] that I am interested in. Your information will be very helpful for me to determine if I will have enough options at his university that fit my interests. "
[*]If it is appropriate, should I say which five?
[*]These are actually 3 different topics.
I am explaining this because I don't want him to feel he is making some commitment to take me as a grad student, and I don't want him to feel he was spammed if he somehow knows I am emailing other profs in the same department. But will it make him think that I have no idea what to do in the grad school or think that he is just one of the mass produced spam targets?
muke wrote:Also, I totally agree with you that UC schools are especially hard to get into for international students. However, I found some strange numbers about international students rate from an AIP survey that I do not understand, for example, stony-brook has 68% international students while Upenn and Columbia has only 15%.
So the question is: I understand we are costing more money than domestic(or in-state) students in public schools, but what might be the reasons that private schools like Upenn and Columbia prefer domestics than Internationals while stony-brook is so generous to us?
bfollinprm wrote:In general, astronomy programs spend less time considering the underlying theory, and more time making observations and phenomenological models (we are some way away from understanding most complex astrophysical phenomena from first principles). That's not to say you won't engage with the theory, it's just that you won't spend that much time working on the theories themselves. That's done predominantly in physics programs.
TakeruK wrote:However, I would certainly not use the wording you provided here. It sounds so "distant" and reserved that it doesn't sound like you really want to work with that professor at all. I understand that different people have different ways of expressing themselves though, so don't change yourself to "fit in". But, if you are not intending to sound this distant, consider a different approach.
TakeruK wrote:Assume that they will compare your emails with other profs to see if it sounds like you are saying different things to each professor (they probably won't, but it's a good test).
TakeruK wrote:I'm curious to see these numbers. Do you have a link?
So it is totally okay that, say, I tell professor A I am enthusiastic about gravitational wave while at the same time tell Professor B that I have a keen interest in cosmology? (•ิ_•ิ) I don't know how they will think of me when they find I am telling different things to different profs...
It is in the AIP Roster of Physics Departments with Enrollment and Degree Data
https://www.aip.org/sites/default/files ... rost14.pdf
One can also find other years' roster of phys dept here
And also astro dept here
The rosters give the total student number and international student number, I calculated the rate myself.
After I looked through the data of 2010-2014, I found Columbia has about 55% international students on average, so the 15% in 2014 may just be a mistake. However, International students rate in UPenn is constantly around 15%...
I do not know for sure if those numbers are reliable, for example, according to the rosters, NYU has over 70% international students, however, NYU website says explicitly the number should be 45%.
http://physics.as.nyu.edu/object/physic ... issionsFAQ
Another thing I found interesting was International student rates in astro depts are usually lower than phys depts(also calculated from the rosters above).
For example, over the past 5 years, Cornell physics has ~46% international, while Cornell astro has ~1/3 or less. PSU physics has over 50% international, while PSU astro has ~1/4 or less.
I understand that astro programs are usually smaller in size, so statistical fluctuation may play a role here, but it is really hard to find an astro department that has a greater international student rate than the physics department in the same university. Although I am more likely to apply to a physics program, and dont want to rely on those numbers too much to decide where to apply, I am very curious about why astro depts usually have less international students. It may also be helpful for future international applicants who do not know which dept to apply. So any insight on this?
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