What range of schools should I be looking at?

Duke91920110
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 5:13 pm

What range of schools should I be looking at?

Postby Duke91920110 » Tue May 11, 2010 5:32 pm

Hi all,

I'm a rising Duke junior thinking about grad school. When I graduate, I will probably have a 3.5 gpa, 4 years of research (but probably no publication, I didn't do much the first few years) in HEP, and a projected 850+ on the PGRE (I do well on standardized tests).

My dream school is UCSB because of it's presence on two top 10 lists...top 10 physics grad schools and playboy top 10 party schools :twisted:

Anyways, with those kinds of stats, do you think I could aim for the 10-30 range in terms of ranked physics programs?

I'm not really sure how good or bad a 3.5 is from a tough school like Duke. All I know is that, supposedly, a 3.8 from this place gets you into the top 10 pretty quickly.

But I know that in terms of prestige, numbers 10-20 are nowhere close to the big boys in the single digits...am I looking in the right place? 10-30?

I plan to go into HEP or Biophysics/nonlinear dynamics.

Also one other thing that I'm not sure will make a big difference, I might take two years off between Duke and grad school to do peace corps, teaching physics somewhere. With any luck I can leverage that and grab a fellowship...which should make me more attractive to grad schools (though I doubt I can get the fellowship).

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grae313
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: What range of schools should I be looking at?

Postby grae313 » Tue May 11, 2010 7:27 pm

Duke91920110 wrote:All I know is that, supposedly, a 3.8 from this place gets you into the top 10 pretty quickly.


A 4.0 from anywhere gets you nowhere without the test scores and letters of recommendation and hopefully research to round out your profile. Grad schools consider your entire application as a whole and your overall gpa is only one important factor. Just wanted to put that in your head. Your profile looks fine for 10-30 assuming you get some good letters of recommendation. Put a few top 10 schools in there and some safeties just in case and you should be fine. Just make sure you have at least one good research group match at the schools you apply to and preferably more. You need to apply to a school based on more than their reputations in different rankings.

Duke91920110
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 5:13 pm

Re: What range of schools should I be looking at?

Postby Duke91920110 » Tue May 11, 2010 9:45 pm

grae313 wrote:
Duke91920110 wrote:All I know is that, supposedly, a 3.8 from this place gets you into the top 10 pretty quickly.


A 4.0 from anywhere gets you nowhere without the test scores and letters of recommendation and hopefully research to round out your profile. Grad schools consider your entire application as a whole and your overall gpa is only one important factor. Just wanted to put that in your head. Your profile looks fine for 10-30 assuming you get some good letters of recommendation. Put a few top 10 schools in there and some safeties just in case and you should be fine. Just make sure you have at least one good research group match at the schools you apply to and preferably more. You need to apply to a school based on more than their reputations in different rankings.


Thanks for the reply.
This is still pretty preliminary, but I'm aware of the need to connect with groups/faculty over the need to connect with rankings... (I read PhysicsForums a lot, they're pretty apt about that).

But thanks for the reply, I've seen you around here a bunch so it's good to have your insight.

sinv
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 2:22 pm

Re: What range of schools should I be looking at?

Postby sinv » Mon May 17, 2010 2:13 am

I have a cgpa of 8.6/10, with no research experience, from IIT Delhi, ranked in top Asian Technology Universities, and a pretty tough curriculum ;), I am starting my third year right now, but want to know what I can expect, and what more is required, I expect to complete 4 research projects before completing my degree.

I just wanted to know what areas I need to work on, and what I should expect.

michael
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:21 am

Re: What range of schools should I be looking at?

Postby michael » Mon May 17, 2010 7:28 am

I have a cgpa of 8.6/10, with no research experience, from IIT Delhi, ranked in top Asian Technology Universities, and a pretty tough curriculum , I am starting my third year right now, but want to know what I can expect, and what more is required, I expect to complete 4 research projects before completing my degree.

I just wanted to know what areas I need to work on, and what I should expect.


As I understand it, if you are in an IIT, you are doing an engineering degree rather than a physics degree (forgive me if I am wrong). It this is indeed the case - you should aim to get at least one of your research projects in physics (but preferably all of them). Also, try if you can to work with professors who have connections to US institutions where you will be applying. Your referees from professors you do research with are very important - and it may help if they are written by people who know those who will read them.

In your application you should give your percentile rank clearly (maybe in your statement), since the normalisation of cgpas vary a lot between institutions.

When arranging projects, try and gauge with your supervisor what the chances are of you getting something published by the time you will be applying. Publications are not necessary to get admission, but if you get one or two publications they will be the most important part of your application (more important than GRE and GPA). For this reason you may wish to consider doing two projects with the same person to allow more time to continue the work through to the level where it can be published. Also, if you are aiming for the most competitive places, I am under the impression that very few international students are admitted without at least one publication.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

sinv
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 2:22 pm

Re: What range of schools should I be looking at?

Postby sinv » Thu May 20, 2010 4:07 pm

michael wrote:
I have a cgpa of 8.6/10, with no research experience, from IIT Delhi, ranked in top Asian Technology Universities, and a pretty tough curriculum , I am starting my third year right now, but want to know what I can expect, and what more is required, I expect to complete 4 research projects before completing my degree.

I just wanted to know what areas I need to work on, and what I should expect.


As I understand it, if you are in an IIT, you are doing an engineering degree rather than a physics degree (forgive me if I am wrong). It this is indeed the case - you should aim to get at least one of your research projects in physics (but preferably all of them). Also, try if you can to work with professors who have connections to US institutions where you will be applying. Your referees from professors you do research with are very important - and it may help if they are written by people who know those who will read them.

In your application you should give your percentile rank clearly (maybe in your statement), since the normalisation of cgpas vary a lot between institutions.

When arranging projects, try and gauge with your supervisor what the chances are of you getting something published by the time you will be applying. Publications are not necessary to get admission, but if you get one or two publications they will be the most important part of your application (more important than GRE and GPA). For this reason you may wish to consider doing two projects with the same person to allow more time to continue the work through to the level where it can be published. Also, if you are aiming for the most competitive places, I am under the impression that very few international students are admitted without at least one publication.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

thanks a lot, your reply is very helpgful, and you are right i am pursuing a BTech degree in engineering physics, but I want to go into reseearch. Thanks :)




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