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schools

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 4:58 am
by butsurigakusha
Here are my stats:

Overall GPA: 3.65
Major GPA: 3.92
Physics GRE: 990
Q: 800
V: 650
2 years of research experience, including a presentation at APS March meeting, but no publications as of yet (one in the works)
2nd tier university with respectable undergraduate physics program

Here are the schools I am applying to (as of now):

MIT
Stanford
UIUC
UCSB
UCSD
UC Berkeley

I feel like I should probably choose one more safe school, as it is, UCSD is my safe school, but I'm not sure how safe it really is.

If anyone out there thinks I am overestimating my chances at the top schools, let me know, and maybe I will apply to some different schools, and maybe remove a couple from my list to save myself some money.

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:23 pm
by grae313
Hm... this is a tough one, I think you are pretty certain to get into San Deigo and I always advise people to apply to at least one school where you are close to 100% certain you will get in (you never know if the crap shoot that is grad school admissions will roll you snake eyes). I think one more safe school, even a bit safer than San Diego couldn't hurt. It's only $60-$100. However, I wouldn't call you foolish if you didn't, I just always like to play it safe.

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:56 pm
by schmit.paul
what are you hoping to do in grad school as far as a specialization goes? I think your list of schools is entirely reasonable based on stats only, but how does your research experience as an undergrad relate (or not relate) to your desired pursuits in grad school? A little bit of continuation can be immensely helpful in gaining positive marks from admissions committees. As a case-in-point, my undergrad research included biophysics, theoretical/computational CM, and a DoE fellowship sent me to do plasma research on the east coast one summer. I applied to a number of top schools for plasma and for particle theory. I got accepted to every plasma program to which I applied, and I'm sure the relevance of my undergrad research contributed to that success. On the other hand, my success with schools for which I only expressed an interest in particle theory was hit and miss, certainly not a clean sweep like the plasma programs had been. Bear in mind I had no direct experience with particle theory research as an undergrad (which not too many undergrads are fortunate enough to have, at least in the US). So this would lead me to conclude that high marks and good test scores aside, your background as an undergrad can play a significant role in gaining the attention of admissions committees at top programs (where everyone who's being seriously considered already has top grades and test scores).

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 4:08 pm
by quizivex
crap...

I want to do <deleted for anonymity>. My undergrad school had nothing remotely related to that to offer.

:(

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 4:50 pm
by butsurigakusha
I am hoping to do research in condensed matter physics, probably experimental. My research has been experimental condensed matter, so that should be okay. Just about every top school has condensed matter research, so my specialization shouldn't be too limiting, I imagine.

So, I think I will choose one more safety school, and also find one or two more top tier schools, which I think will increase my chances of at least getting in to one of them. I'd like to think that someone will be impressed with my background.

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 6:38 pm
by quizivex
Also, since you're fairly set on doing CM, filling out a few extra applications shouldn't take much time. Your personal statement can be reused since it will outline the same research interests for each school.

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:35 pm
by schmit.paul
ha, just don't accidentally send the wrong one to one of the top-tiers. i accidentally forgot to change the word "Stanford" to "Harvard" on my statement of purpose when I was filling out applications last year (though I managed to change the body of the essay to fit Harvard's program appropriately...it's always the dumb stuff that gets you), and needless to say, I didn't get into Harvard (though I'm sure that's not the only reason).

quizivex: My school didn't do a lick of plasma research either. The DoE fellowship (the NUF) helped a lot, but I don't think it was absolutely necessary. If you want to do fusion research, I'm sure someone with your credentials won't have too hard of a time getting into some good programs. The best ones are Princeton, MIT, UCLA, Columbia, UW-Madison, UT-Austin, Maryland, and UCSD, roughly in that order, though certain factors could make one program markedly better than the other in specific areas of research. UT-Austin, for instance, has a much bigger theory group than Columbia. If you manage to get into Princeton, my fellow grad students and I will likely be wining and dining the accepted students during the visiting days in the spring...it was a lot of fun when I went through it!

Re: schools

Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 11:59 am
by quizivex
If you manage to get into Princeton, my fellow grad students and I will likely be wining and dining the accepted students during the visiting days in the spring...it was a lot of fun when I went through it!


See you tomorrow 8)

Re: schools

Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 12:04 pm
by doom
***! quiz got into his favorite P.......N!

Re: schools

Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 12:10 pm
by dlenmn
Congrats! Knew it would happen sooner or later.

Re: schools

Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 1:19 pm
by quizivex
Thanks guys! I hope you get/got in where you want also!

Re: schools

Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 2:18 pm
by nvanmeter
congrats man! now you have to post your profile (or at least tell grae all the open houses you're going to).

Re: schools

Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 2:36 pm
by schmit.paul
wow, i thought I was one of the heaviest posters on this forum for a long time standing...you guys (quizivex and grae to name a couple) have taken GRE-induced neurosis to a new level :-P 600 posts?!

safe travels quizivex

Re: schools

Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 2:54 pm
by tnoviell
They're pretty intense, indeed.

Re: schools

Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 2:55 pm
by tnoviell
Aw man schmit.paul, you registered one day before me.

Re: schools

Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 3:01 pm
by rooibos
schmit.paul wrote:wow, i thought I was one of the heaviest posters on this forum for a long time standing...you guys (quizivex and grae to name a couple) have taken GRE-induced neurosis to a new level :-P 600 posts?!

safe travels quizivex


I don't want to hijack the festivities but do you know anything more about plasma physics at Columbia?

Re: schools

Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 3:11 pm
by schmit.paul
hi rooibos-

Columbia's touted to be one of the better plasma physics programs out there. I didn't visit when I got accepted last year, though I did exchange emails with one of their plasma physicists (I was more turned off by living in NYC than I was with the program itself). I think if you're inclined to do experimental plasma physics then they'll be a good program, but I thought they had a pretty limited faculty as far as theory is concerned, and their most reputed theorist Allan (sp?) Boozer spends most of his time at Princeton anyway...it's actually quite funny, he's got an office right down the hall from my adviser in the theory wing of PPPL, and he's there all the time. It's as if he's Princeton faculty and not Columbia.

Anyway, I'll check back on the forum later and see what's been going on since I disappeared (which was primarily a result of three months of insanely overblown preparation for the princeton physics qualifiers, which I passed thankfully), but I have some actual hw to get done before the new admits visit tomorrow evening.

Re: schools

Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 3:11 pm
by grae313
quizivex wrote:See you tomorrow 8)


I knew it :P I told you that you had nothing to worry about but you WOULDN'T LISTEN!
Congratulations!

Re: schools

Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 11:37 pm
by rooibos
schmit.paul wrote:hi rooibos-

Columbia's touted to be one of the better plasma physics programs out there. I didn't visit when I got accepted last year, though I did exchange emails with one of their plasma physicists (I was more turned off by living in NYC than I was with the program itself). I think if you're inclined to do experimental plasma physics then they'll be a good program, but I thought they had a pretty limited faculty as far as theory is concerned, and their most reputed theorist Allan (sp?) Boozer spends most of his time at Princeton anyway...it's actually quite funny, he's got an office right down the hall from my adviser in the theory wing of PPPL, and he's there all the time. It's as if he's Princeton faculty and not Columbia.

Anyway, I'll check back on the forum later and see what's been going on since I disappeared (which was primarily a result of three months of insanely overblown preparation for the princeton physics qualifiers, which I passed thankfully), but I have some actual hw to get done before the new admits visit tomorrow evening.


Thanks for the info! Maybe I'll see you at a talk or something one day :)