Meh GPA but good research experience and masters

physbosc
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:43 am

Meh GPA but good research experience and masters

Postby physbosc » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:26 am

I have ~3.7 GPA with a DOWNWARD trend (I know this is very bad) and then up again, since I transferred from a not good university but with a 4.0 to one considered top 10 for graduate physics (USNews) that was significantly harder. I do have Bs in my transcript. E.g. Classical Mechanics I, II = B- and Quantum I = B, but later I got an A on graduate quantum instead of taking quantum 2. The rest I believe are As. GRE: 154V, 158Q, 4.0W and I haven't taken the PGRE. I also plan on retaking the GRE.
I am also getting another degree in Math. I am doing a master's with thesis on applied mathematics in Quantum Information Theory, and my research letter writers include a professor with a PhD from MIT (phys-experimental HEP), a professor who was part of the Daya Bay Team that won a Fundamentals (phys-theoretical HEP), and a former post-doc (math) from Berkeley (now at Amherst). (Theoretical & Computational GR, differential geometry). I have done and am currently doing research with all 3 and there is a big possibility of publishing with 2 of them. I am also finishing my first publication on pure math, but completely unrelated to physics. I have 2 internships: one at a Princeton but in some area that I don't want to specialize in, and one at Fermilab. I am looking forward to work there again before applying to graduate school. Part of the reason for my grades is that I want to take a lot of stuff at the same time (have taken most of the time ~18 credits, up to 23) and have horrible test anxiety. I won't mention this in my SOP of course, since it looks like I am trying to find excuses for something that was obviously my fault. Nevertheless, I need ways to guarantee the admissions committees of the places I apply to, not only that I can attend their school, but that I should! The big problem is that, by the time I apply to Grad school, only my first semester grades of my master's will be available. I am also looking forward to apply to Perimeter Institute. Saying this, you can see I am interested in theory, but I am unsure of the specific subfield. I like Cosmology, Quantum Info, and Particle physics. I just want to know if I am ruined because my GPA is obviously not great, or if I can somehow show that I can do this. I will really really appreciate any info I can get on this. I know I can do this and it bums me out that I won't be able to achieve my goals because of my GPA as I have been told.
Last edited by physbosc on Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:18 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Nishikata
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Re: Meh GPA but good research experience and masters

Postby Nishikata » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:01 am

physbosc wrote:I have ~3.7 GPA with a DOWNWARD trend (I know this is very bad), since I transferred from a not good university but wit ha 4.0 to one considered top 10 for graduate physics (USNews). I do have Bs in my transcript. E.g. Classical Mechanics I, II = B- and Quantum I = B, but later I got an A on graduate quantum instead of taking quantum 2. The rest I believe are As. GRE: 154V, 158Q, 4.0W and I haven't taken the PGRE. I also plan on retaking the GRE.
I am also getting another degree in Math. I am doing a master's with thesis on applied mathematics in Quantum Information Theory, and my research letter writers include a professor from MIT (phys-experimental HEP), a professor who was part of the Daya Bay Team that won a Fundamentals (phys-theoretical HEP), and a Berkeley post-doc (math). (Theoretical & Computational GR, differential geometry). I have done and am currently doing research with all 3 and there is a big possibility of publishing with 2 of them. I am also finishing my first publication on pure math, but completely unrelated to physics. I have 2 internships: one at a Princeton but in some area that I don't want to specialize in, and one at Fermilab. I am looking forward to work there again before applying to graduate school. Part of the reason for my grades is that I want to take a lot of stuff at the same time (have taken most of the time ~18 credits, up to 23) and have horrible test anxiety. I won't mention this in my SOP of course, since it looks like I am trying to find excuses for something that was obviously my fault. Nevertheless, I need ways to guarantee the admissions committees of the places I apply to, not only that I can attend their school, but that I should! The big problem is that, by the time I apply to Grad school, only my first semester grades of my master's will be available. I am also looking forward to apply to Perimeter Institute. Saying this, you can see I am interested in theory, but I am unsure of the specific subfield. I like Cosmology, Quantum Info, and Particle physics. I just want to know if I am ruined because my GPA is obviously not great, or if I can somehow show that I can do this. I will really really appreciate any info I can get on this. I know I can do this and it bums me out that I won't be able to achieve my goals because of my GPA as I have been told.


You have letter writers from multiple professors working in top universities. Isn't that a golden ticket to their research groups already?
I think you can just emphasize on your research experience and upcoming publication. Graduate quantum grade should matter more than your Quantum I, and nobody does research on classical mechanics anymore. your GRE scores aren't good enough, make sure your next attempt nails it.

One way you can improve your chance of admission is by securing an external fellowship. Having a source of funding ready should keep you safe from additional filtering stage the committees use to select recipients of their departmental funding. From what you write here, maybe you are a US citizen/PR? If yes, you should be eligible to apply.

If you don't know which subfield to go, then you should make an objective analysis and apply to your strongest area (or the area with least burden). That would make the application process much easier.

physbosc
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:43 am

Re: Meh GPA but good research experience and masters

Postby physbosc » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:35 am

Sorry I was unclear. They graduated or did post-docs in those places. One of them now works at Amherst College, the rest work at my university which is a top 10 program, but my university does no specialize in any of the 3 subfields I am interested. They are not currently working there. I will fix that in the post. I am not a Citizen/PR, but I have looked into fellowships and I have found a few I am eligible to apply to.

Thank you so much for the reply!




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