Recs for a transfer with limited time at new school

Rnth12
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:05 pm

Recs for a transfer with limited time at new school

Postby Rnth12 » Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:31 am

I'm a transfer at a smaller school for a year now, going into my senior year come fall. At my previous school, I was a humanities major and the few basic sciences I took were in classes of 400+ so I will have little luck looking for letters there. I do have my advisor, and I'm hoping the new research lab I'm going to work in this fall will provide another.

Over summer, I had to finish GERs and took an upper-div neuropsych class for interest. I did very well, and established a good rapport with the prof (an active researcher from a school I wish to apply to). Other than that I have a math teacher whose class I did a bit poorly in (a lousy B+), and while there wasn't a lot of academic interaction, there was personal interaction. Basically, we are on somewhat friendly terms; he does know about my heavy courseloads and that I like my major and aim to go to grad school. He is in a very prominent research group and I plan to take him again come fall and do well if that counts for anything.


The problem with my other courses is that they were still a bit large, even if I did make it a point to ask questions, and varied in the professors. I simply haven't been here long enough to know more people. I am basically a sophomore!!!


I want to go to a top school. I'm afraid my application will be extremely weak without good letters considering my shift in majors and lack of research/immersion in my desired field of study. What do I do? Any and all advice is appreciated.

Rnth12
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: Recs for a transfer with limited time at new school

Postby Rnth12 » Sun Aug 28, 2011 10:38 pm

Anybody at all? Or should I just move this to a high-traffic forum??

pqortic
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Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:24 am

Re: Recs for a transfer with limited time at new school

Postby pqortic » Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:38 am

when are you going to apply? have you already taken quantum mechanics and E&M? and did you do any research with anybody?

Rnth12
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: Recs for a transfer with limited time at new school

Postby Rnth12 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:15 am

pqortic wrote:when are you going to apply? have you already taken quantum mechanics and E&M? and did you do any research with anybody?


This fall to hopefully enter in 2012; some top 10s, and plenty of top 30s. My big reaches are the likes of the UCs (Berkley, LA, etc.), UChicago, etc. I have taken mechanics and EM, but since I'm extremely pressed for time, I'm unable to do a full physics BS. The dept here is very small (only graduates about 7-12) and the classes are offered a bit too far apart for me to manage. I can do a chem BS and hopefully a math BA. I am doing research now in the chem department.
Last edited by Rnth12 on Mon Aug 29, 2011 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bfollinprm
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Re: Recs for a transfer with limited time at new school

Postby bfollinprm » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:51 am

Without a physics BS, a first-author publication in a major journal, or better than 900 on the PGRE (probably 2/3), the top 10s are out. The best thing you can think of doing is going for that 5th year/masters, to make your application more complete.

pqortic
Posts: 398
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:24 am

Re: Recs for a transfer with limited time at new school

Postby pqortic » Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:33 pm

Rnth12 wrote:
pqortic wrote:when are you going to apply? have you already taken quantum mechanics and E&M? and did you do any research with anybody?


This fall to hopefully enter in 2013

if you apply this fall, you will start in fall 2012. if you are thinking of starting your phd in fall 2013 you should apply next year in which case you will have enough time to complete your physics degree and research and find professors to write you letters.

Rnth12
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: Recs for a transfer with limited time at new school

Postby Rnth12 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 9:19 pm

bfollinprm wrote:Without a physics BS, a first-author publication in a major journal, or better than 900 on the PGRE (probably 2/3), the top 10s are out. The best thing you can think of doing is going for that 5th year/masters, to make your application more complete.



So you're saying I need at least two of those? The problem with another year is money. I can't afford it where I am now.

And this may be beating a dead horse, but is an applied math major useless? Another option for me is to do a minor in physics (modern physics, and 2 electives) and a minor in math (proofs, linear algebra, 1 elective) with the chem BS. Is this better or worse?



How long would a masters take, and are top ones less competitive? Is there any masters-to-PhD program?

Rnth12
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: Recs for a transfer with limited time at new school

Postby Rnth12 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 9:20 pm

pqortic wrote:
Rnth12 wrote:
pqortic wrote:when are you going to apply? have you already taken quantum mechanics and E&M? and did you do any research with anybody?


This fall to hopefully enter in 2013

if you apply this fall, you will start in fall 2012. if you are thinking of starting your phd in fall 2013 you should apply next year in which case you will have enough time to complete your physics degree and research and find professors to write you letters.


I meant 2012, corrected it. I only have til spring unfortunately, and summer at best, but past this fall probably won't count for much in the apps.

Minovsky
Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:05 pm

Re: Recs for a transfer with limited time at new school

Postby Minovsky » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:57 am

Rnth12 wrote: And this may be beating a dead horse, but is an applied math major useless? Another option for me is to do a minor in physics (modern physics, and 2 electives) and a minor in math (proofs, linear algebra, 1 elective) with the chem BS. Is this better or worse?

How long would a masters take, and are top ones less competitive? Is there any masters-to-PhD program?


Well, technically nearly all physics PhD programs are "masters-to-PhD" as you start out doing what is considered "masters" coursework before you start "PhD" level research. Generally if you are in a masters program you have to reapply to get into a PhD program. MS students generally do not get funding, which seems like it may be a problem for you (adding a 5th year to your undergrad would probably be a better/less expensive solution). A MS in physics typically takes 2 years, but you might be able to get a MS added to your chem or math BS with only one extra year. See if your school has a 5-year BS/MS program in math or chem.

Personally, I would go for a math BS. Some people say that physics is just applied math anyway. :P
You should take this suggestion with a grain of salt as I'm in a math/physics program and I hate chemistry, so I clearly have a bias. I would try to get as many physics courses in as you can, so maybe go with the degree that has the most room for electives.




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