Got screwed at the admissions!

arunaryan
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Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:07 pm

Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby arunaryan » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:43 am

Hi All,

I am an international applicant with a UG in engineering with 77% and a MS in Expt. particle physics from a US school with GPA 3.7, PGRE-860 and GRE 322/340 (Q-166, V-156, W-3.0), two publications in Phys review D and PRL(collaboration papers). I applied to 7 univs (UColorado, UWashington, Duke, Brown, UMinnesota, Ohio State, Texas A&M).I have got a reject from all these places but TAMU and they say they haven't started looking at internationals yet. My question is is anyone else who has seen this pattern? I know competition is fierce but I've seen ppl from forums joining these places with lesser credentials and asking the schools is a joke!! :cry: :cry:

Are there any others who have had a similar experience? Please put your thoughts here about your situation.

TakeruK
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby TakeruK » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:33 am

As you may have seen in other posts in this forum, competition is a lot fiercer for international students. This is mostly because we may cost a lot more (especially in public schools) so the departments are often limited in the number of international students they can take. So, like Texas A&M told you, they might evaluate the international pool separately from the domestic pool. Since international applicants are generally self-selected to be the top students (after all, I don't think very many non-top students apply internationally), it is a lot harder to succeed!

arunaryan
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:07 pm

Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby arunaryan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:30 am

Hi Takeruk,

I don't fear competition but what I fear is not being fair. In fact, I say if you take a close look at the forums, international students have been cheated left and right in this admission cycle. My personal case, I talked to many professors, graduate advisors with my profile in hand and also discussed with profs who said they will be interested in taking me into their group and bailed. I would rather say don't make promises if you are going to say "Oh well. competition sucks" I have applied to some decent schools for expt and with my profile I should land somewhere public school or no public school. Look at the number of people who got rejected on thegradcafe and count how many internationals with decent profiles and how many domestic with below average profiles. This sucks big time. If it were up to me I'll ask every international student not to apply to any US schools who have no respect or fairness left.

bfollinprm
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby bfollinprm » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:38 am

From the throat of a Berkeley professor:

We don't want to evaluate international students on a harder scale, but we have to! We look at each international applicant and know, "You cost 3 domestic students." It's hard to justify, unless they're really, really good.



Not all schools are like Berkeley (whose graduate Dean's office has supposedly stopped all subsidies for international students), but many are.

ol
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:07 pm

Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby ol » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:41 am

There are several pieces of information here:

1) Grant money is tight because of budget problems in the US.
2) International students typically cost more money than domestic students.
3) It's the American taxpayers who are paying for international students (in most cases) through research grant money.
4) Some of these grants are sensitive (defense) and cannot be given to internationals.
5) US schools are, by definition, far more familiar with domestic programs than with international ones. Why take a risk on an unknown if there is someone available who can be judged more easily on whether or not they would do well in the program?

This all leads to the fact, that yes, American students will typically get chosen over internationals even if they have lower scores on average. Or less students get accepted overall if the money is just not there. It's just like an American student applying to a school in Britain or Europe - a lot harder to get accepted, and even harder to get funding. All of this come with the territory.

torch000
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby torch000 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:49 am

arunaryan, it also looks like you aimed a little high with the universities you applied to, hell I'm domestic and
I didn't even apply in the range you did (lackluster pGRE)

TakeruK
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby TakeruK » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:47 pm

arunaryan wrote:Hi Takeruk,

I don't fear competition but what I fear is not being fair. In fact, I say if you take a close look at the forums, international students have been cheated left and right in this admission cycle. My personal case, I talked to many professors, graduate advisors with my profile in hand and also discussed with profs who said they will be interested in taking me into their group and bailed. I would rather say don't make promises if you are going to say "Oh well. competition sucks" I have applied to some decent schools for expt and with my profile I should land somewhere public school or no public school. Look at the number of people who got rejected on thegradcafe and count how many internationals with decent profiles and how many domestic with below average profiles. This sucks big time. If it were up to me I'll ask every international student not to apply to any US schools who have no respect or fairness left.


I don't think what you are describing is "unfair". As I tried to explain above and as bfollingprm also explained, international students costs a lot more than a domestic student at public schools (like UC Berkeley). So, it might be the case that a school will have 15 spots for domestic students and 5 spots for international students. This means you have to be in the top 5 out of all international applicants vs. in the top 15 of all domestic applicants. So, it's possible that the 15th domestic accepted will have lower scores etc. than the 6th international applicant (i.e. first one rejected).

That is, you cannot compare an international student's profile with an American student's profile.

I don't think this is unfair at all because it is a matter of resources. I applied to a bunch of US public and private schools. Many "lower ranked" public schools rejected me while many "higher ranked" private schools accepted me. When I was picking schools, my professors in Canada warned me to not be afraid of applying to the private schools because I would have a much better shot there (no difference in cost for domestic vs. international at many private schools).

I also heard something from a Berkeley prof regarding physics grad school applications. He said that 75% of their applications were from international students, even though on average, only 10% of Berkeley's graduate students are international. Therefore, you really need to be competitive against other international students!

Ultimately, if I had to pick/estimate some numbers, I'd say that if you are American, you need to be in approximately the top 1/3 of your school/class to get into a US grad school. But if you are an international student, you probably need to be in the top 1/10 of your class.

P.S. This is the same everywhere. Americans (compared to Canadians) have a hard time getting into Canadian schools too!

arunaryan
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:07 pm

Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby arunaryan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:03 pm

To all the domestic guys trying to reply to my thread --> You don't have the right to talk about the fairness of the process.

You think all these big schools would have been in this stage without recruiting internationally?? Also, please don't repeat the same lecture that all the schools have already given me. My point is you as a school already know that you don't have money to hire international students as you used to. You don't provide information on admission statistics and also don't provide right information when a student communicates to you. You wouldn't do it because it will hit the application income from internationals which is quite significant compared to the domestics. Now this same thing is termed cheating or "asymmetric information" in other places.

Regarding you argument about American taxpayer money to fund ---> dude you are so full of ***. America has been draining talent from all over the world through developing pool of international students who are known to be the backbone of science and technological research in the US. Internationals have single-handedly paid back and more to Americans through innovations and IP. Can you tell me about how many international students who used american tax payer money have after being employed either been involved in tax evasion or any other crime directly hurting your govt or US as a country???

I worked as multiple jobs in india to pay for my undergrad. I still am working full-time and prepping for GREs and applications. I have publications, LORs from some very good professors and a decent GRE(and we all know these things vary as time goes). I haven't applied to any ivy league/fancy schools. What you have to say to me is that not even one of these universities have a position to give to me to work in field I am most passionate and clearly qualified for?? I totally heard you my american domestic friends and am considering applying to the Indian universities which I have overlooked for next year and take an admission here in my motherland. I hope all my other international applicant friends understand the scam you guys are running and follow suit as soon as they realize.

I am really sorry that the state of science and education is such in the US and all over and political/economic incentive weighs so heavy against fair chance to everyone!!

And yes don't want your advice on how good I am for sure. I will be interested to know if there are any other international applicants/friends who had similar experience and would like to share it. This may help us international applicants to be more selective and thoughtful of our applications to the US universities from next time.

arunaryan
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:07 pm

Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby arunaryan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:09 pm

torch000 wrote:arunaryan, it also looks like you aimed a little high with the universities you applied to, hell I'm domestic and
I didn't even apply in the range you did (lackluster pGRE)


Hi torch000,

You have a very abysmal pGRE domestic or not. I can't say much but ony thing is that I doubt if I had landed a position even if I applied at the same schools you applied to and that my friend is an unfair as it gets.

torch000
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:24 am

Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby torch000 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:17 pm

Well I'll put it this way, you're acting like a child by whining about it. International students are a gamble for universities, and frankly if you really wanted to continue studying physics you would have aimed for some much lower ranked schools and/or applied to the schools in your own country.

arunaryan
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:07 pm

Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby arunaryan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:24 pm

torch000 wrote:Well I'll put it this way, you're acting like a child by whining about it. International students are a gamble for universities, and frankly if you really wanted to continue studying physics you would have aimed for some much lower ranked schools and/or applied to the schools in your own country.


Thanks torch000. I realize this. I will try to act on your suggestion. Regarding the acting like a child thing. I didn't realize why a domestic guy would reply to my thread in the first place. We have our own problems and you don't get it. Its like crashing an AA meeting and trying to lecture ppl how screwed up they were when nobody wants you there.

blighter
Posts: 256
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby blighter » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:54 pm

arunaryan wrote:
torch000 wrote:Well I'll put it this way, you're acting like a child by whining about it. International students are a gamble for universities, and frankly if you really wanted to continue studying physics you would have aimed for some much lower ranked schools and/or applied to the schools in your own country.


Thanks torch000. I realize this. I will try to act on your suggestion. Regarding the acting like a child thing. I didn't realize why a domestic guy would reply to my thread in the first place. We have our own problems and you don't get it. Its like crashing an AA meeting and trying to lecture ppl how screwed up they were when nobody wants you there.


This isn't an AA meeting. If it were, there would have been plenty of people jumping to your defence. Judge for yourself who is crashing whose party. Cheers.

Arbitrary
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby Arbitrary » Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:21 pm

Hi Arunaryan,

I have to say I pretty much agree with you. Getting accepted to a grad school in the US is extremely hard for internationals, especially this year. I've seen several international profiles for the 2014 fall term who were outstanding by any measure, and were accepted to far fewer schools than I anticipated (following the experience of previous years).
However, I do not wish to complain against US grad schools in most cases. True, some have rather absurd standards (e.g. UCSB charging ~100$ from internationals without admitting a single one...). I believe most schools prefer Americans over internationals partly due to a good share of chauvinism and partly due to positive discrimination, but I wouldn't call this conduct "unfair". In my opinion, most schools do give an air of measured indifference towards internationals. Actually I did initially get the feeling that I was not very welcome, and thus prepared a backup option at my home country.

nik
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:10 pm

Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby nik » Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:52 pm

arunaryan wrote:America has been draining talent from all over the world through developing pool of international students who are known to be the backbone of science and technological research in the US.


Help stop Brain-Draining. Stay in India.

arunaryan
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:07 pm

Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby arunaryan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:54 pm

Arbitrary wrote:Hi Arunaryan,

I have to say I pretty much agree with you. Getting accepted to a grad school in the US is extremely hard for internationals, especially this year. I've seen several international profiles for the 2014 fall term who were outstanding by any measure, and were accepted to far fewer schools than I anticipated (following the experience of previous years).
However, I do not wish to complain against US grad schools in most cases. True, some have rather absurd standards (e.g. UCSB charging ~100$ from internationals without admitting a single one...). I believe most schools prefer Americans over internationals partly due to a good share of chauvinism and partly due to positive discrimination, but I wouldn't call this conduct "unfair". In my opinion, most schools do give an air of measured indifference towards internationals. Actually I did initially get the feeling that I was not very welcome, and thus prepared a backup option at my home country.


@Arbitrary: Thanks for your response. Atlast one person who knows what he is talking about. I agree that you have put everything very subtly compared to me. I shouldn't have put all my eggs in one basket (US universities) as I assumed teh schools I applied to weren't like UCSB or other schools with rather high (or absurd) standards for evaluating internationals. What I would like is though to compile admit/reject data from internationals alone here and produce some statistics which will help people in their applications next year and hopefully avoid any unnecessary disaster like my case. As you said US admissions are a ratrace and extremely difficult for internationals and also very expensive affair. It would be nice to have a goto place for admissions statistics which can help internationals decide where to apply. I know people do it well with the help of these forums and I did use them to for what its worth but the old data is useless as it seems this year the equations have changed drastically and I don't see it changing any time soon.

arunaryan
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Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:07 pm

Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby arunaryan » Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:01 pm

nik wrote:
arunaryan wrote:America has been draining talent from all over the world through developing pool of international students who are known to be the backbone of science and technological research in the US.


Help stop Brain-Draining. Stay in India.


Hi Nik, thanks for your comment man. It would be nice to see you kicked out of where it is (UPitt)?? when the dept runs out of funding, no govt fellowships/schols for south asian and they throw you out coz you were the most expensive guy to keep (though you may be say the best of the lot!) in program.

All the best bro! :wink: :wink:

nik
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby nik » Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:15 pm

<Removed>
Last edited by nik on Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

arunaryan
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby arunaryan » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:27 am

Hi Nik,

You dont know my story as well. I am not in US anymore. I cam back in 2012 and started working here in India as a teacher. All I honestly want is a PhD and good education and keep teaching in India after that, that's why I decided I will apply here in India. So please don't just assume things you don't know about.

Something happened to me from a good US univ where I was an PhD candidate, I finished all my qualifying requirements but due to budget cuts either I had a chance to join say a group with funding but no room or leave with a MS as they couldn't support me as TA(which is as good as kicking me off without notice, one of my domestic friends had the same issue he just moved to another univ in Spring, which btw would be next to impossible if you were international!). I had a few domestic student friends who were let go with a slap on the hand even when they were failing core courses etc.

Anyways, I didn't want to make it personal but you think your comment wasn't personal?? You did take a long time compiling the message. Atleast it hit you where it should. How concrete do you think your 5 yrs funding offer is gonna be? Do you think you can contest it if they somehow failed to adhere? I am on your side man its only that you dont know some hard things that happen to people. If you wanna know more about what my bitchin' is all about I suggest we take it off this forum. In any case, I apologize for my harsh comments and wish you all the best. Hope people like you wont sit on their asses and help future students.

kathiravangg
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby kathiravangg » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:35 am

nik wrote:Many people (like this one: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=5434) want to come to USA because they also want to settle down in USA for a good life (apart from other facilities like good research, good jobs, etc.). (Check his profile too, he got many admissions with just 77% undergrad marks from India, no MS like you, and I wrote it later how: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5203&p=45938#p45938).They are your county-men (I'm not) - you can have talk with them about your brain-drain issue if u want. But I must point out that, in my opinion, brain-drain IS a serious issue if you are a patriot of that level.


Wow ! I'm referenced TWICE here ! I'm famous, yayyy ! :lol:

My two cents ~

India has some good programs in Physics but their entrance tests require knowledge of Masters-level core Physics courses. This puts people like me (with a UG in Engineering and very less Physics background) at a disadvantage. PGRE on the other hand is easier, in addition, US universities do not expect UG (or Masters or Masters-level preparation) in Physics.

Also, I wanted to just get my questions cleared on the various visas AND my various options after PhD. Not that I intend to settle in USA !
I personally know of a "handful" of people who returned to India for their Postdocs (sort of a reverse brain-drain).

But I am really glad (and thankful) that the US gave me an opportunity to pursue my passion, which might not have been possible (without much greater effort) in India.

I empathize with arunaryan, I hope you found a way out of this terrible situation.

arunaryan
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Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:07 pm

Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby arunaryan » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:04 am

Hi kathiravangg,

congratulations on your success and wish you all the best.
Regarding your queries about the post-doc, academic positions I really don't wanna keep your hopes up as especially for Physics its a bloodbath. I know we all hope for good things in life and hope drives us our way but if you are not prepared to work in the industry then please give your US plans a second thought. Learn a bit more about your options after a physics degree in industry, academia and also just in case you have to come back to india (not just the VISA options but what odds you have to land a job, post-doc etc).

I can discuss with you off this forum if you would like that. I am not trying to scare you but teh best I can do is supply you with contacts of some current international students in physics to throw some light on these things.

I just want to help people so they don't end up like me.

nik
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:10 pm

Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby nik » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:19 pm

Thank you arunarayan for the positive reply.

My high school final was in 2000. I will be entering in PhD with 10 year younger people.

The entire world is unfair. But if you live Physics, you'll get it. if not now then the next time. Right now, Cross your finger for TAMU. I wish u good luck.

arunaryan
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:07 pm

Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby arunaryan » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:47 am

nik wrote:Thank you arunarayan for the positive reply.

My high school final was in 2000. I will be entering in PhD with 10 year younger people.

The entire world is unfair. But if you live Physics, you'll get it. if not now then the next time. Right now, Cross your finger for TAMU. I wish u good luck.


For what its worth man I am working on some projects in theoretical nuclear physics with my advisor. Physics hasnever left me or never will. What the heck may be aI'll be the first "Bill-Gates" of theoretical physics :wink:

Thanks for the wishes....kathiravangg.

User avatar
WhoaNonstop
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby WhoaNonstop » Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:25 am

arunaryan wrote:Physics has never left me or never will.


It's easier to get along with women that don't speak.

-Riley

Lunaray
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby Lunaray » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:14 pm

You probably don't want to hear all this, but here is my candid opinion as an international applicant: I'm not sure it's entirely fair to blame universities for alleged unfair practices when it comes to admitting international students. Gaining admission into graduate school programs is and has always been a crapshoot anyway, especially if you're applying to competitive programs. Your claim that "international students have been cheated left and right in this application cycle" requires much more evidence to substantiate than anecdotal evidence and the five numbers that everyone posts at the grad cafe. I don't think there's any hidden conspiracy going on between university administrators, and even if there is some perceivable difference in standards (again, the five numbers don't tell much) between international and domestic admissions, that can be attributed to perfectly justifiable reasons (e.g. funding, security reasons, etc) in my opinion.

Catria
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby Catria » Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:05 pm

arunaryan wrote:Internationals have single-handedly paid back and more to Americans through innovations and IP. Can you tell me about how many international students who used american tax payer money have after being employed either been involved in tax evasion or any other crime directly hurting your govt or US as a country???


Sorry for this belated answer...

That sort of students who ended up committing these crimes usually committed these crimes well into their careers, often at a point where they actually got managerial positions in industry or in finance.

ashleygreene
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby ashleygreene » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:44 pm

Why do international students cost more? I thought everyone gets the same stipend.

Strange_Beauty
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby Strange_Beauty » Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:25 pm

7 is a low number of applications I think. And I would spread the so-called ranking range wider.
I am international and studying undergrad in the US. My scores probably didn't make the cut off for top schools, but otherwise, I think i have a relatively easy time getting acceptances, I feel more so than domestic. (below a cut off school, I got 100% accepted, so i think that's quite consistent)
so may be, I costs more, but having experience at places familiar with faculty (e.g a national lab ) gives an advantage over international undergraduates.
All the places I visited, it seems like they have a 50-50 ratio domestic/international and I didn't get any impression about 'cheating' internationals.
(this is not a paper, I am just contributing an alternative perspective on being international)

Catria
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby Catria » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:49 pm

ashleygreene wrote:Why do international students cost more? I thought everyone gets the same stipend.


They only really cost more at public schools; at Minnesota I would cost $52,466 (tuition waiver+insurance+stipend) to the school while a Minnesota resident would cost $44,244, when taking in account all the costs mentioned in the offer letters. I am not aware of any international-specific overhead other than tuition waivers.

And Minnesota is actually rather "free-trading" when comparing public schools due to the size of the tuition waiver difference vs. the overall cost.

ashleygreene
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby ashleygreene » Tue Apr 14, 2015 2:44 pm

Catria wrote:
ashleygreene wrote:Why do international students cost more? I thought everyone gets the same stipend.


They only really cost more at public schools; at Minnesota I would cost $52,466 (tuition waiver+insurance+stipend) to the school while a Minnesota resident would cost $44,244, when taking in account all the costs mentioned in the offer letters. I am not aware of any international-specific overhead other than tuition waivers.

And Minnesota is actually rather "free-trading" when comparing public schools due to the size of the tuition waiver difference vs. the overall cost.


So international students cost just as much as non-Minnesota residents? A lot of people I met at the UMN Open house this year are not from Minnesota. I don't think the overhead costs would be too much to justify preferring out-of-states residents to international students.

seeyouauntie
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby seeyouauntie » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:35 pm

ashleygreene wrote:
So international students cost just as much as non-Minnesota residents?


Yes. The distinction is made because residents of a particular state pay taxes that go towards funding the universities (assuming it's a public institution) of that state.

astroprof
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby astroprof » Tue Apr 14, 2015 5:23 pm

The details depend on the state and how they have set up the regulations regarding qualifying for in-state tuition at their public universities. For some public universities, the rules are such that you can never qualify as an in-state student if you move to the state for the purpose of attending school. In those instances, an out-of-state student and an international student are probably similarly expensive. However, in some states, US citizens and permanent residents can qualify for in-state tuition as soon as they establish residency in the state. In these cases, international students are significantly more expensive than domestic students, since international students will require payment of out-of-state tuition throughout their graduate career. You can infer the policies applicable in each state by comparing the domestic and international acceptance rates for the public universities.

TakeruK
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Re: Got screwed at the admissions!

Postby TakeruK » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:28 pm

To add to astroprof's reply, this is especially apparent at California public universities, especially the UC system. If you read their graduate website, you also see that US citizens are required to attain in-state residency within one year as the out-of-state tuition supplement is only provided for one year. I mention these schools explicitly because I know they are often very popular amongst international students and that many international students I've talked to confuse Berkeley as a private school (since, at least in Canada, it's often referred to as just "Berkeley" rather than "UC Berkeley").




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