InquilineKea wrote:20-25 LORs
InquilineKea wrote:Well, because I have the money and I'm more likely to regret applying to less rather than applying to more. It's not that much work now that I have form autofill extensions on Chrome.
But also because my GPA is VERY weak compared to the rest of the applicant pool, and I may need to apply to more given that some schools may just throw my application out (hopefully I have other ways to compensate, but I don't know if they will fully compensate)
CarlBrannen wrote:As far as the time required to fill out an LoR on line, I suspect it's longer than just a few minutes. This is from the time delay I've observed between consecutive notices of an LoR writer doing one letter after another.
One way to test this would be to sign up for an application at a school you're not really going to go to, and have yourself set as one of the LoR writers. The only problem is that this seems to require that you pay them the application fee. Hmmm. But there are some schools that waive the fee for some students.
On second thought, this sounds like a bad idea. I'm just going to ask one of my LoR writers...
admissionprof wrote:It usually takes about 2-3 minutes for many schools. Occasionally one takes 10 minutes or so, and even more occasionally one must send hardcopy (which means printing, signing, enveloping and walking it down to the secretary.
InquilineKea wrote:Ah okay, thanks very much for the advice.
Actually, I was thinking of just cutting my applications to most of the easy schools and mostly applying to "fits" and "reaches".
Mostly, it's really just that I know that astrophysics grad school admissions is A LOT more random than undergrad admissions, and due to this randomness, I might be able to get into a top school simply through pure luck (I have some parts of my application that will stand out relative to most others - namely - graduate level courses in Applied Math and other areas). So why not apply to every top school? And spare myself the future agony of believing that I could have gotten an academic position (if I do end up like most grad students and leave academia), if only I got in a better grad school through applying to more places?
InquilineKea wrote:How big was the major hole in your application?
I just missed the 70th percentile for PGRE and averaged about an A- as an undergraduate. I'm hoping to make it up by being very well versed in my field of interest, with publications and experience in major collaborations. Neither of those are death knells, but it certainly makes it harder; I think with my peripherals and an 900 on the PGRE I'd have been a shoe-in at a place like Berkeley (at least as much of a shoe-in as can exist for a top 10 school).
Regarding top 10 schools, they're top 10 because they're good at everything. If you already know what you want to do, there is less of a loss by going to a school ranked 12-30. Just make sure you get assurances that the person you want to work with actually has money for you, you don't want to end up being unable to join the group you went to the university to join. For the same reason, it's really nice if there are several people at the school who you have interest in (in case an professor is hired away to Harvard, or some other such calamity). This isn't actually that hard to find, since if someone is a leading light in the department they generally have the cachet to draw a like-minded collaborator to the faculty.
(BTW, I'm using the word "flagged" in a positive manner here, to mean that someone in the audience has a vested interest in getting you to the school beyond your basic intangibles. I think it's pretty much required unless you have a (1) 3.8+ gpa, (2) >950 GRE and (3) a publication if you want to get in to a top 10 school.)
InquilineKea wrote:Oh wow, I see. But what about astrophysics? Students in astrophysics seem to be weaker than students in physics, and this definitely shows up in their Physics GRE scores.
InquilineKea wrote:Okay, I definitely do *not* want to inconvenience my professors with having to mail out 20-25 LORs. Rather, I know that my school has a LOR mailing service that I can use, and the professors can simply send the LORS to my school and have the school mail them out for me.
Does anyone else use this? What else do you do? Obviously, this takes time, so professors might have to finish letters earlier for me than for others.
InquilineKea wrote:Oh, wow... I just looked at the online applications for several programs, and they all have special reference forms that must be individually completed. This may be a huge inconvenience for them. =/
Well, if everything goes *super* well, I can reduce it to 15. But 15 is going to be the bare minimum.
EDIT: Geez, for a safety school, New Hampshire sure demands a lot out its LORs. I might shift that to a "not apply" due to that.
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