what field and schools are you applying to

GTPHYS91
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Postby GTPHYS91 » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:41 pm

Twistor,

Chicago just received accreditation this year. One of my recommenders actually accredited them, so I knew they would be accredited before it showed up on the CAMPEP website. I think this will prove beneficial for us since less people probably applied to Chicago thinking it still wasn't accredited (and because they require the physics GRE). I got a much better vibe from Chicago when I visited than Wisconsin. The department at Chicago is much smaller, but like you said, it's in one of the best hospitals in the world. The campus itself is incredible, and the professors were extremely welcoming. They're only taking five students this year, so I do not expect to be accepted. I got into Chicago as an undergraduate, and I regret that I did not choose to attend.

Let me know if you hear anything.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:45 pm

5 students?! That can't be right! Most schools expect that only 50-60% of accepted students will actually end up enrolling. That means only 2-3 people are going to enroll in the fall? How can you have classes with only 3 people? To admit 5 people they would have to accept 10 or so and there would be no guaruntee they all wouldn't enroll.

How did you hear that they were only accepting 5 people? And really I haven't been too impressed dealing with UChicago. I think they're admissions people were quite rude when I emailed them.

GTPHYS91
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Postby GTPHYS91 » Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:12 pm

Twistor,

You're right. I meant to say that they accept ten and expect five to matriculate. The director of the program told me that. Sorry for the confusion.

I too experienced a standoffish (and at times arrogant) treatment from the admissions reps through email and telephone correspondance. I guess they receive so many questions about applications that they start to get pissed off about it. The faculty and students in the radiology department were completely different. They were very reassuring about my application, but I imagine it's easy to act that way when all you have to do is send a rejection letter to the student and never see them again in person. One thing I was surprised to learn (from Dr. Patrick LaRiviere) is that they usually accept students with physics GRE scores in the 50th percentile, and that they emphasize the reputation of the undergraduate institution and the GPA over test scores when making decisions.

I don't want to go into the specifics about what happened at Wisconsin, but let's just say one very respected professor had a real problem with something I put on my resume and was eager to let me know what he thought about it.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:17 pm

they emphasize the reputation of the undergraduate institution and the GPA over test scores when making decisions.


Well, then I'm screwed...

I don't want to go into the specifics about what happened at Wisconsin, but let's just say one very respected professor had a real problem with something I put on my resume and was eager to let me know what he thought about it.


Without mentioning anything specific, did he/she initiate contact with you to bring up this problem? I can't even begin to imagine what would invoke such a response.

GTPHYS91
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Postby GTPHYS91 » Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:33 pm

I was visiting the department when it happened. The way the itinerary worked was I spent 30 minutes with every professor talking to them about myself and my background and they told me about their research. I finished up with this professor who had been giving me a hard time the whole interview, correcting me on every little detail and trying to make it seem like I didn't know what I was talking about. He basically said a test score I put on my resume made me look pretentious and that no one at the university would be impressed by that information and then turned his back on me and walked out of the room. There's a right way and a wrong way to give advice and I don't think I need to tell you which way he gave it.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:41 pm

Every time you post I become even more curious. How is it that you were visiting the department? Did they invite you, or was this something you did on your own? And how did you manage to catch all the professors in the department on the same day... I really curious to know because I would've liked to have had the opportunity to meet various people in the department.

Other than this one professor that didn't like you, what was the impression you got from the rest of the department? Did you get to look at any of the lab facilities or classrooms? Talk to any current graduate students?

GTPHYS91
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Postby GTPHYS91 » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:17 pm

Haha. I told them I wanted to come and visit and they made arrangements for me to meet the professors, so it was something I did on my own. I scheduled this a few months in advance so everyone made sure to stick around.

You wouldn't know this place was one of the best for medical physics judging by appearances. The department was in this dilapidated old building, but they are moving to the hospital that is on campus. I forget when they said that is going to happen though. I looked at some facilities but not many, and again, since they were housed in the same building as the rest of the department, it wasn't overly impressive. I had lunch with one graduate student and met a few others briefly. The one I talked to the most said the coursework was much easier than her undergraduate physics. I forget where she said she went to school. I did the same thing at the University of Chicago...met with professors, students, etc.

I hope this helps.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:35 pm

How did your visit to Chicago go? (Same questions as above) :)

GTPHYS91
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Postby GTPHYS91 » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:49 pm

I did the same thing with Chicago. I called up there a few months ago, talked to Dr. Giger who runs the program, and scheduled a visit. I went to Chicago and Wisconsin the same week, obviously, since I was flying in from Atlanta. The facilities were newer and seemed better, but like I said before, the department is pretty small. It was obvious that Chicago has the monopoly on imaging specialties. If you don't want to do imaging research, or if you think you want to stay on the clinical side of things, you should not go there. I think I might have a hard time convincing them why they should take me because everything I've done has been clinical (brachytherapy, treatment planning, stereotactic radiosurgery, external beam therapy, etc.). On the other hand, maybe if I don't get in it will be for the best. It seems like anyone could succeed in their program with a flawless understanding of Fourier transforms and virtually no understanding of physics. One of the professors showed me an algorithm they developed there for analyzing multiple images (x-ray, CT, and others) simultaneously to improve diagnostic accuracy. The program has since been put to commercial use. It was pretty amazing stuff.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:19 am

Hrm... now I really don't know what to do... I want to work in clinical imaging!!

hchemist
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Postby hchemist » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:12 pm

GTPHYS91, twistor:

Whoa, I missed a lot! It's been a couple days I didn't checked on the forum. Thank you so much for sharing your experience/opinion GTPHYS91. I also applied to UC and UWM. I haven't heard anything from them. :?

I am really worried now. I really should have applied to some physics program like I said I would. I guess UWM is almost over with their selection. (I need another beer)

Just wondering, how come you guys didn't apply UT-Houston? UCLA?

GTPHYS91
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Postby GTPHYS91 » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:22 pm

I did apply to UCLA but I haven't heard anything from them. I really didn't pursue their application like I should have. I kind of just hoped everything would get there and didn't follow up to make sure it actually did. I guess I didn't want to go there that much, for no reason in particular. I guess I just don't know much about it. That's great that they are so interested in you hchemist. Personally, I would like to know how they choose to review applications. They probably look at people with higher GRE scores or significant work experience first. That would explain why UCLA responded to you so quickly. Then again, we have a pretty similar GRE scores, so why have I heard from Wisconsin and you haven't, and why have you heard from UCLA and I haven't? I guess we may never know.

hchemist
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Postby hchemist » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:26 pm

maybe because, I'm from west and you're from east...


I just hope that's not true :lol: Cuz I applied more of east coast school.

But, why didn't you apply UT-H? To me you sound like you're interested in therapy physics rather than imaging physics. I always had an impression that UT-H do lots of radiation oncology related research. Isn't it true?

hchemist
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Postby hchemist » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:29 pm

Also, strangely, none of us applied UF

GTPHYS91
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Postby GTPHYS91 » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:42 pm

I wouldn't say that I'm more interested in therapy than imaging, just that I've been exposed to more clinical aspects. When I found out I was selected for one of the AAPM fellowships, I was allowed to choose where I wanted to work. There were several different hospitals and research labs all over the country that were available, but I had a prior commitment in Atlanta, so I chose to stay and work at Emory University Hospital. The fellowship at Emory just happened to be clinical mostly, so I ended up doing a lot of clinical work and thus know more about it.

The woman I worked for at Emory (Rebecca Howell) has since taken a position at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. She told me the same thing about UT being a clinically focused program, and I probably could've gotten in there now that she works there. I chose many of the places I applied to on the basis of geographic location and the overall reputation of the school or program. Simply stated, UT-H is a good program, but I didn't want to live in Texas.

GTPHYS91
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Postby GTPHYS91 » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:51 pm

Lol. Right on twistor. *** Texas.

hchemist
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Postby hchemist » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:12 pm

I've never been to Texas. In my mind, random shooting and racial characters come first when I think about Texas. But I realize that is due to how Hollywood movies been portraying Texas.

I've applied Texas mainly because I was also interested in their proton therapy research.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:30 pm

That sounds interesting. What does it do?

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:42 pm

GTPHYS91:

What kind of clinical work did you do?

GTPHYS91
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Postby GTPHYS91 » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:31 am

I was present for three brachytherapy procedures in the OR (prostate implant, ocular implant, tandem and ovoid procedure), all of which I designed the treatment plan for with a dosimetrist. I constructed the eye plaque for the ocular melanoma patient and conducted the radiation area survey after the procedure. During the prostate implant of Iodine-125 seeds, I told the oncologist where to put the seeds based on the treatment plan I had designed. I administered external beam therapy to a number of cancer patients under the supervision of a radiation tech. I also planned many of these treatments. I treated one patient for trigeminal neuralgia (i.e., suicide disease) with a single dose of cone-collimated 40-gray radiation. I conducted monthly quality assurance on several of the accelerators and patient-specific quality assurance on several of the intensity-modulated radiation therapy accelerators. I participated in lung cancer imaging modalities (e.g., x-ray and CT) research to try to determine a successful method for the early detection of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and it is because the methods we have to detect the disease can only identify it in a non-terminal stage. Also, we don't do early screening in the United States. The work I did at Los Alamos (secondary malignancies from proton beam radiotherapy) was also part of the fellowship. We analyzed neutron spectra in energy domains relevant to proton beam therapy (i.e., greater than 100 MeV) using a modified Bonner sphere spectrometer design. Conventional Bonner sphere spectrometers have minimal response above 20 MeV, so they offer little insight into the effects of contamination neutrons that form when a proton beam interacts with the tissue of the treatment site.

GTPHYS91
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Postby GTPHYS91 » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:35 am

[quote]Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and it is because the methods we have to detect the disease can only identify it in a non-terminal stage. [quote]

*can only identify in terminal stage*

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:43 am

you can edit your post

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:37 pm

GTPHYS91:

You have made my research look like child's play. I have to say that I'm highly impressed and I'm sure you will get in to every single school that you apply to. I'm stunned by the amount of responsibility you were given without years and years of experience. Amazing.

GTPHYS91
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Postby GTPHYS91 » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:26 pm

grae313:

Thanks for the tip.

hchemist
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Postby hchemist » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:54 pm

Still no news for me -_-;

@twistor: I don't know much about proton therapy. Most of my information were collected through google search. I just know that there are only few research group in US including texas houston. Another one is Harvard General Hospital. I have talked to the professor at Harvard about possibility of graduate student working for them. He's reply was very encouraging accept that he recommends student to apply to MIT's nuclear engineering program rather than MEMP. Since my ultimate goal is to get ph.d in medical physics at one of the accredited programs(UT-H is accredited program as well) and continue on to residency program I pulled out my self from applying to MIT and Harvard. Anyway, like GT, I have not yet decided my mind on what research to pursue. All my experience comes from MRI lab and it is very exciting and fun working there. I might as well continue doing it.

Guys, please let me know with your status as you hear from more schools. I'm desperate!

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:20 pm

hchemist:

MRI is the field I'd like to work in, although I've been very interested in radiation therapy lately.

You're right, you can always do a CAMPEP residency program, but I figured it would be easier and would save a lot of time doing it in the same place. Right now, CAMPEP is not required for graduates to get a job in medical physics but after 2012 if you don't graduate from a CAMPEP program you'll have to take a radiology exam to become board certified. Then you can fetch a better salary.

hchemist
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Postby hchemist » Thu Jan 31, 2008 10:14 am

I got an invitation for interview for UT-Houston. Although it didn't say I am admitted, I am relieved that I now have two interview. :lol: Seriously, I feel like doing physics homework today!

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:10 am

Good job! Tell 'em what they want to hear.

victory118
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Postby victory118 » Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:22 pm

congrats twistor and hchemist...i haven't heard back from any of the medical physics programs yet, which probably means bad news...

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:25 pm

No, it probably just means you didn't make first cut. I haven't heard from Chicago yet...

GTPHYS91
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Postby GTPHYS91 » Thu Jan 31, 2008 3:53 pm

I got an email from the University of Pennsylvania today telling me I was accepted into their medical physics program. Funding information will be sent by the end of February, after which I have two weeks to inform them of my enrollment decision. That kind of sucks because I won't get to see the Wisconsin open house by the time I have to decide on UPenn. At any rate, I got into the Ivy league for graduate school, so I'm pretty excited.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:03 pm

GTPHYS91:

Awesome! Congratulations!

What kind of bragging rights do we have on ivy league schools if we decide not to go?

"Yeah, I turned down Harvard for the Mexican Institute of Technology..."

hchemist
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Postby hchemist » Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:04 pm

@GT: Upenn for master degree program right? Do they also provide funding for master student?

@victory: I called UWM this morning and talked to Deb because I found out the UWM website where you can check your status says I'm missing my university transcript. Anyway, she went through my file and found the transcript is actually there. She said they have about 180 application this year. While talking to her, I had impression that my application didn't even get reviewed by the faculty yet. It took her like 5 minutes to search and find my stuff from her desk. She's the only person who has to open the envelope, make sure everything's there, check on few numbers, and finally paper clip everything in order for faculty to see it later. So, let's wait for the good news.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:10 pm

hchemist:
As long as it doesn't say "rejected" I wouldn't worry too much! You're probably right, if they didn't even know they had your transcripts it probably hasn't gotten looked at yet.

victory118
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Postby victory118 » Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:20 pm

That is true. "Pending" is better than "Rejected."

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zxcv
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Postby zxcv » Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:07 pm

GTPHYS91, you should ask UPenn for extra time. It certainly doesn't hurt to try.

Also, I was pretty sure that grad schools were required by some agreement to have the same deadline for notifying them of matriculation (April 15).

GTPHYS91
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Postby GTPHYS91 » Thu Jan 31, 2008 6:35 pm

I guess I'm going to have to ask for more time. This is an excerpt from the letter Penn sent me:


"As you are aware, student funding for the MMP program is limited. Although we are working diligently to maximize student funding support, we are not ready at this time to offer funding to any applicants. You will receive a decision about funding in a separate correspondence prior to March 1st. If you choose to wait for a funding decision before making your enrollment decision, you will have 2 weeks after receiving funding information to make your decision and fill out the Intent to Enroll Form. After that time, you will no longer be guaranteed a place in the MMP program for Fall 2008."

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:13 pm

I'm having trouble with funding too, but at Wisconsin. It seems that they don't have enough RA positions for everyone they offer admission to. It's even worse though because the professors who hire won't know if they have the grants they applied for until summer.

Why is funding in this field so hard to find?

It's easy to justify MRI research... it helps people. Why does the government care so much about particles?

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fermiboy
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Postby fermiboy » Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:19 pm

Actually the goverment doesn't care about particles either, or science in general for that matter. Have you seen the effect of this year's budget cuts on science funding?

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:21 pm

Yes, but even despite that funding in medical physics is still much more difficult to get than in pure physics. Are medical physicists naturally bad at writing grant proposals?

hchemist
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Postby hchemist » Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:52 pm

Well, I think medical physicist are at dilemma when asked to write a grant proposal because you have to ask bio-minded (NIH) people to give you money to do something that they can hardly comprehend. :D

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:00 pm

It's very unfortunate. In any case, if you can't break something into simple terms so that people can understand it you should have someone who can write you grants. I believe that even the most difficult things in the world are built upon really simple concepts that most people could understand if you explained it correctly.

GTPHYS91
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Postby GTPHYS91 » Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:28 am

Has anyone heard from Chicago yet? I think one of us should call to see what the deal is, but I don't want to be the one.

hchemist
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Postby hchemist » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:58 am

Well, let's ask twistor in that case. :lol: cuz my English is rotten

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:31 am

Nope, haven't heard from them.

Frankly I think it's their own loss. The longer they take the more likely I am to accept UW's offer without a second thought.

victory118
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Postby victory118 » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:11 pm

twistor: Did you finally get funding from UW?

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:12 pm

Funding is still touch-and-go, but I remain optimistic.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Tue Feb 05, 2008 5:13 pm

No fear. The UChicago medical physics admissions committee won't be meeting for another week or so.

GTPHYS91
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Postby GTPHYS91 » Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:11 pm

Thanks for the info about Chicago, twistor. I can stop checking my email obsessively for the next week.

hchemist
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Postby hchemist » Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:03 pm

Same here, thanks twistor

Now I really appreciate what you were saying before about Purdue's financial support. I got a letter saying that they will admit me with no financial support. This is really frustrating. According to their website, they claim all of their ph.d students are receiving aid.




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