3.3 GPA from UCI, where should I be looking?

rhenley
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3.3 GPA from UCI, where should I be looking?

Postby rhenley » Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:07 pm

I have about a year and a half of research experience but no publications and it's very unlikely I will have one at all. I haven't taken either GRE and I'm just wondering how well I have to do to get into a top 30, or if that's even possible. My physics GPA is 3.45 but my physics upper div GPA is just under 3.1. How is my outlook?

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midwestphysics
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Re: 3.3 GPA from UCI, where should I be looking?

Postby midwestphysics » Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:11 pm

There are a lot of factors that play into this, how respected in your undergrad school? A 3.45 from Princeton is one thing and from a no name university it's another. Your upper division is a drawback, that's where a lot of attention is focused. The GRE's are going to be big for you, well the physics one anyway. As for score, check on the posts by The_Duck and RabiFlops here, Pgre Score by School. Does your research align with what you want to do, are the letters coming from those profs and are they good? I wouldn't pin your chances on top uni's only, pick several safety schools. Even the safe one's are sometimes not so safe, especially in this economy. If you look at the results posts, you'll see it can happen, but don't bet the farm on reaches.

bfollinprm
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Re: 3.3 GPA from UCI, where should I be looking?

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:08 pm

From UC irvine, you definitely have a shot at a top 30 (UC Irvine itself is probably top 30, or very close). Talk to your research advisers, they're the ones who will have the best read on where the best fit is. If you want an honest opinion, don't mention any tier as your goal (unless they ask). Just mention your intent to apply to grad school, and desire for help in making a reasonable list. Their responses should guide you to the upper tier of reasonable fits (professors in general overvalue their own students), so you should apply to the list they recommend (and similar) plus some schools lower in ranking (with maybe a shot at a top 10 just so you don't always wonder, and a safety so you know you'll get in somewhere).

As far as what PGRE score to shoot for to get into top 30's, it depends mostly on whether you want experiment or theory, and if experiment how well you can back up your aptitude with instruments. As a theorist you probably need (with that upper level GPA) at least > 850, as an untrained experimentalist > 800, and as a well-trained experimentalist > 750. It goes without saying for all physicists you should shoot for an 800 on the general GRE math (though no need to retake as long as you're over 750). Verbal and analytic should simply not be embarrassing. All this assumes 3 positive recs, with at least 1 extolling excellent research potential/ability and commitment, and another affirming your ability to handle graduate coursework--especially important given your upper level phys grades.

rhenley
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Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:18 pm

Re: 3.3 GPA from UCI, where should I be looking?

Postby rhenley » Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:34 am

Ok, one last question if anyone has any insight. For personal reasons, the only place I really WANT to go is University college of London. Is there any chance of me getting into a British school and having my tuition paid for the way it would be in the states?


TheBeast
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Re: 3.3 GPA from UCI, where should I be looking?

Postby TheBeast » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:45 am

Unlike in North America, for international students applying to British schools, offers of admission are not tied to offers of funding. If you apply to UCL, you will also need to allocate time to apply for various scholarships. Obtaining funding isn't impossible, but it's extremely difficult. One of the awards that you could apply for is UCL's own Overseas Research Scholarship. If you win this, it provides a tuition waiver and a generous stipend. However, the university only gives out 13 of these annually.

If you really want to go there, you might want to work on getting the name right. It's University College London; there's no "of" in there.

Minovsky
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Re: 3.3 GPA from UCI, where should I be looking?

Postby Minovsky » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:10 pm

bfollinprm wrote:From UC irvine, you definitely have a shot at a top 30 (UC Irvine itself is probably top 30, or very close). Talk to your research advisers, they're the ones who will have the best read on where the best fit is. If you want an honest opinion, don't mention any tier as your goal (unless they ask). Just mention your intent to apply to grad school, and desire for help in making a reasonable list. Their responses should guide you to the upper tier of reasonable fits (professors in general overvalue their own students), so you should apply to the list they recommend (and similar) plus some schools lower in ranking (with maybe a shot at a top 10 just so you don't always wonder, and a safety so you know you'll get in somewhere).

As far as what PGRE score to shoot for to get into top 30's, it depends mostly on whether you want experiment or theory, and if experiment how well you can back up your aptitude with instruments. As a theorist you probably need (with that upper level GPA) at least > 850, as an untrained experimentalist > 800, and as a well-trained experimentalist > 750. It goes without saying for all physicists you should shoot for an 800 on the general GRE math (though no need to retake as long as you're over 750). Verbal and analytic should simply not be embarrassing. All this assumes 3 positive recs, with at least 1 extolling excellent research potential/ability and commitment, and another affirming your ability to handle graduate coursework--especially important given your upper level phys grades.


Is it really true that one can have a "definite shot" at the top 30 with only a 3.1 upper div. GPA (+good research & recs.)? I ask since my upper div. GPA is ~3.4 (which I consider pretty big handicap) and my school is ranked ~60 for Physics. I consider my chances at the top 30 to be marginal at absolute best, which makes things challenging for me since most of the schools good in my primary interest (plasma/fusion) are in the top 30. Is it just because Irvine is viewed as a good physics school? Perhaps I'm over-valuing the GPA?

bfollinprm
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Re: 3.3 GPA from UCI, where should I be looking?

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:53 pm

I think GPA, PGRE, and research potential/experience are weighted about equally, for varying reasons*, at most schools. GPA, of course, is tied to the tier of school you went to as an undergrad (research experience is too, in an indirect way). I doubt anyone directly takes the school into consideration.

*GPA--best indicator of your ability to survive, but hard to compare over schools; PGRE--easiest to compare, but bad indicator; research--most important, but toughest to project




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