I am an international student and about to complete my MSc from a Canadian University. My undergraduate thesis was on Feynman's path integrals in particle physics. Then in my master's I worked on experimental subatomic physics. I have applied to several US universities to do PhD in theory-HEP. I have good research background and recommendation letters
But my PGRE score sucks
(620). Plus, I'm changing my field from experimental to theory!. I don't know if any US university gonna select me.
I have applied to following universities:
SUNY,SB: Rejected already
U Chicago: Rejected already
U CLA : Rejected already
U Mass Amherst : Yet to hear
Virginia Tech : Yet to hear
Hi, I'm sorry your application season is not going the way you hoped. Admission for theory is very competitive and, unfortunately, I don't think your pgre is strong enough. Since you are international, it's even more competitive. I noticed that you applied to mostly public/state schools. I think you would have had a better shot if you had some more private schools, but do not apply to all top 10-20.
If you end up getting rejected from all schools, my suggestion is that you spend time studying very hard for the PGREs and try to aim for a score 800+ ( 900+ is better). Do more research and get excellent LORS. If your gpa is not quite good, maybe take some classes to raise it, otherwise really aim for high pgres+strong research.
HEP-th is the most competitive, so maybe think about whether you really want to do it. If you do, read what I wrote above.