Please give info on universities suiting my profile

krishnakumarkowshik
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:52 am

Please give info on universities suiting my profile

Postby krishnakumarkowshik » Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:11 pm

Hi everyone!

I'm new here. This website has been very informative.

I'm from India and I'll be applying to Ph.D in astronomy at the USA for fall 2017. Requesting any of you to give suggestions on where all I should apply given my profile below.

Undergrad Institution: Its a well known college in Bangalore, India. But not for physics. Just good teachers.
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Math
GPA in Major: 3
Overall GPA: 2.7
Length of Degree: 3+2= 5 years. I did masters do. description for the university is same as above.
Position in Class: near the bottom :P
Type of Student: International, male

GRE Scores : (revised or old version?) revised
Q:146
V:153
W:3.5
P: will be writing on oct 29th. scoring 750-800 on practice tests.


Research Experience: (At your school or elsewhere? What field? How much time? Any publications (Mth author out of N?) or conference talks etc...)
working at a research institute for 3 years in astronomy. 3 publications, 2nd author in all and 4 posters in conferences.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: (Within your school or outside?)
0

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)
Did lil' bit of teaching at the place where i work.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: the research institute where i work has a lot of astronomy courses and i've done five of them (school level to master's level) and got certificates saying i'm near the top.

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)0

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: data reduction in photometry and spectroscopy using IRAF, data plotting and function fitting using Origin software and basic programming in matlab and python.

Applying to Where: Please suggest after reading the above :P

Thanks y'all.

PS: Copied the above format from another topic. Thanks

TakeruK
Posts: 817
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Please give info on universities suiting my profile

Postby TakeruK » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:37 pm

Hello! Welcome :)

A lot of people ask questions like this but it's generally really really hard for anyone to answer them. Part of the application process is deciding what you want to get out of grad school and which schools will provide these needs. In addition, it's not just the profile stats that determines whether or you will be admitted, but also how well your research, experience and knowledge fits with what the department is working on or looking for.

So, part of the reason why these questions are not answered is because it's each applicant's job to do their own homework and find out what are the best schools for them. But even if someone was kind enough to spend extra time doing this for you, it would be very hard without knowing why you want to enter grad school and what you want to achieve in grad school. We wouldn't know which programs would be a good fit for you!

I think it might help you to first think about what you want to study in your PhD. Astronomy is a big field. What topics are you interested in especially? What techniques are you interested in using? It sounds like you have some data reduction experience, which is great. Is this what you want to do in grad school? Or do you want to also be an observer? Or a theorist? Or to run simulations?

My advice is to first decide what areas interest you and what is the reason you want to get a PhD. Are you interested in academic research positions? Non-academic research/computational positions? Teaching? Outreach? All of these factors change which schools are good fits for you and therefore affects your chances of admission. An applicant can have a very strong profile but if they say they want to be an observer and they apply to a school with little or no telescope access, it's unlikely they will be accepted due to the bad fit.

Once you decide what you want to do, find schools that offer this. Usually, people start by identifying professors that they are interested in and then look at what school these profs are at. If you are concerned about your ability to be admitted to a certain school, you could try to find out what are typical criteria for admission. If it's not clear, you could try contacting the department or the professors that you are interested in. Some good contact people are the person that has the title of "Director of Graduate Studies" or something similar.

krishnakumarkowshik
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:52 am

Re: Please give info on universities suiting my profile

Postby krishnakumarkowshik » Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:15 am

Hello Mr.TakeruK!

Thanks a lot for being patient with me and giving your suggestions. I have already done a lil' bit of homework and I'm sorry I didnt post all that.

1. What topics am I interested?
Ans: Observing and studying galaxy clusters in order to understand large scale structure of the universe. Also interested in studying open star clusters since that's the field where I have some experience. So, planning to email both kinda profs provided the university has them. Although, I was told to contact those who are in the same field. Its just that I keep up with the literature in galaxy clusters and have a solid idea to work on.

2. What techniques am I interested in using?
Ans: Observational and computational techniques broadly speaking. This is what my scientific experience has taught me.

3. Am I interested in academic/computational/teaching/outreach?
Ans: Mostly academic and teaching.

4. Here are the schools I am planning to apply.


1.University of Texas, Austin (dream)
2. Iowa State Univesity,
3. Virginia Tech
4. Indiana University, Bloomington
5. Purdue University
6.New Mexico State University
7. University of Utah

Any better suggestions please let me know!

Thanks!

TakeruK
Posts: 817
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Please give info on universities suiting my profile

Postby TakeruK » Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:19 pm

It sounds like you are on a good track. One thing you said was that you will email the profs provided the University has them. But I think you should go the other way---find the profs you want to work with, and then find out about the University they happen to be at. If the program itself is a good fit (location, courses, size, etc.) then you can consider applying there.

Of course, it's not like you will automatically know the name of every person that works on these two topics! But starting with a list of profs that you find interesting, you can at least have a list of schools. Then, if those schools appeal to you, you can also start looking at other profs in the same department to see if there are other people who interest you. Because I've seen many people end up with bad advisor matches and no one else to switch to, I personally would not want to go to a school that doesn't have at least 2 (maybe even 3) professors who I could be happy working with.

You have some research experience already so you are probably pretty familiar with your field (i.e. you probably start recognizing the same names when you see papers on arxiv etc.). So, start with this list of names that you recognize. I think of the process a little bit like a "random walk". It's not always the case that the most prominent researchers will be people I want to work with, but starting with their papers, you can see who their coauthors are, who they cite in their work and you start building this giant list of names. Then, you start looking up these names and finding more about each person. Maybe the person isn't interesting to you but they work at a school with other people that you're interested in etc.

I think your list of schools are good. I hope you have a good reason for putting each one of those schools on your list (you don't have to defend/say them here, but every school should have a strong reason). I don't study the topics you do so I can't comment on their match for you, but I do recognize good astronomy programs there :)

My only comment/suggestion is that you consider the fact that international students have a lot harder time getting into US public schools compared to American students. This is because for an international student, tuition at a public school costs a lot more, so therefore it will cost your advisor/department a lot more to support you compared to a domestic student.

krishnakumarkowshik
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:52 am

Re: Please give info on universities suiting my profile

Postby krishnakumarkowshik » Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:35 pm

Well offhand I'm unable to come up with any names of the profs working at the US. But I do have a lot of papers where I can go and find authors n co-authors. Thanks for this.

Also, I mostly chose these universities because of their programmes and acceptance rates. I figured that if they have a good stellar astronomy program, I could use my observational skills to use because some topics use similar skills, say, like analyzing an HR diagram, using IRAF etc.

I have seen the tuition rates at one or two universities like UT Austin and Indiana bloomington. They certainly seem expensive. Almost unaffordable for me :P

Anyways, thanks a lot for your advice. Looks like I have my work cut out now.

Cheers!

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Please give info on universities suiting my profile

Postby bfollinprm » Mon Sep 26, 2016 2:15 pm

You won't have to pay tuition at any school you matriculate into for a Ph.D. in physics--it's covered by your support letter in like 99% of cases in the United States. The exception will be if you need to pursue a second master's to boost your profile, or your TOEFL score is so terrible they need to make you take English classes before they can give you work to do. The latter, at least, will not apply to you.

As far as schools that do good work in cluster science, UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, and UC Davis (home of the LSST collaboration) are all excellent due to the UC Observatory's access to premier telescopes, but hard to get into with your stats. Pittsburgh is an excellent choice, and is a bit less competitive. I've heard good things about Case Western University in Ohio, which doesn't get that many applicants because it's in Ohio (which is unfair to Ohio). Obviously University of Hawaii, but that's impossible, probably. University of Arizona as well. There are also good programs at the University of Washington, and abroad in Denmark (which is the ancient home of astronomy and still excellent), Germany, and France. In Asia, China and Japan are making good strides to be important members of the astrophysics and cosmology community; in fact, Japan owns Subaru, which is probably the most useful cluster telescope currently taking data. Most of those programs will be taught in English, since it's the language of science worldwide.

krishnakumarkowshik
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:52 am

Re: Please give info on universities suiting my profile

Postby krishnakumarkowshik » Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:30 am

bfollinprm wrote:You won't have to pay tuition at any school you matriculate into for a Ph.D. in physics--it's covered by your support letter in like 99% of cases in the United States. The exception will be if you need to pursue a second master's to boost your profile, or your TOEFL score is so terrible they need to make you take English classes before they can give you work to do. The latter, at least, will not apply to you.

As far as schools that do good work in cluster science, UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, and UC Davis (home of the LSST collaboration) are all excellent due to the UC Observatory's access to premier telescopes, but hard to get into with your stats. Pittsburgh is an excellent choice, and is a bit less competitive. I've heard good things about Case Western University in Ohio, which doesn't get that many applicants because it's in Ohio (which is unfair to Ohio). Obviously University of Hawaii, but that's impossible, probably. University of Arizona as well. There are also good programs at the University of Washington, and abroad in Denmark (which is the ancient home of astronomy and still excellent), Germany, and France. In Asia, China and Japan are making good strides to be important members of the astrophysics and cosmology community; in fact, Japan owns Subaru, which is probably the most useful cluster telescope currently taking data. Most of those programs will be taught in English, since it's the language of science worldwide.


Thank you Mr.bfollinprm.

Actually i dont have plans to apply to any of the UC schools. Regarding CWRU, in their website i didn't see any observational studies going on in cluster-like objects. Indiana University at Bloomington does have though. Two scientists, Prof. Constantine and Prof. Eileen are studying star clusters which is what I have experience in. (I kinda gave this up for my colleague coz we didnt wanna create competition between us. Is this a good thing to do?)
Why is U of Hawaii impossible? Is it the coz of the scores I've got? :( I mean, if we make a good connection with a faculty there, wouldn't that help go a long way in improving our chances? There is a Prof. Jessica Lu who's doing photometry of star clusters which is exactly what I have experience in and I plan to mail her soon about her research. Honest questions! :P Please do reply. :)

I had bad luck with europe last year. Didn't get in to any of the places i applied to. Japan as you mentioned is a good option. I shall apply there.
Also, any tips you can offer about how best to make an academic connection with profs at the US?

Qwaps
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:21 am

Re: Please give info on universities suiting my profile

Postby Qwaps » Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:17 am

krishnakumarkowshik wrote:
Thank you Mr.bfollinprm.

Actually i dont have plans to apply to any of the UC schools. Regarding CWRU, in their website i didn't see any observational studies going on in cluster-like objects. Indiana University at Bloomington does have though. Two scientists, Prof. Constantine and Prof. Eileen are studying star clusters which is what I have experience in. (I kinda gave this up for my colleague coz we didnt wanna create competition between us. Is this a good thing to do?)
Why is U of Hawaii impossible? Is it the coz of the scores I've got? :( I mean, if we make a good connection with a faculty there, wouldn't that help go a long way in improving our chances? There is a Prof. Jessica Lu who's doing photometry of star clusters which is exactly what I have experience in and I plan to mail her soon about her research. Honest questions! :P Please do reply. :)

I had bad luck with europe last year. Didn't get in to any of the places i applied to. Japan as you mentioned is a good option. I shall apply there.
Also, any tips you can offer about how best to make an academic connection with profs at the US?


Applying to Japan is quite a hassle. They don't have financial support for their PhD. programs except for a very few scholarships I can count on my fingers. The MEXT scholarship is probably one of the best scholarships there is, but it is an scholarship given to your country, and you'd have to compete with the rest of the candidates of your country that want to go to Japan.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Please give info on universities suiting my profile

Postby bfollinprm » Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:57 pm

krishnakumarkowshik wrote:
bfollinprm wrote:You won't have to pay tuition at any school you matriculate into for a Ph.D. in physics--it's covered by your support letter in like 99% of cases in the United States. The exception will be if you need to pursue a second master's to boost your profile, or your TOEFL score is so terrible they need to make you take English classes before they can give you work to do. The latter, at least, will not apply to you.

As far as schools that do good work in cluster science, UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, and UC Davis (home of the LSST collaboration) are all excellent due to the UC Observatory's access to premier telescopes, but hard to get into with your stats. Pittsburgh is an excellent choice, and is a bit less competitive. I've heard good things about Case Western University in Ohio, which doesn't get that many applicants because it's in Ohio (which is unfair to Ohio). Obviously University of Hawaii, but that's impossible, probably. University of Arizona as well. There are also good programs at the University of Washington, and abroad in Denmark (which is the ancient home of astronomy and still excellent), Germany, and France. In Asia, China and Japan are making good strides to be important members of the astrophysics and cosmology community; in fact, Japan owns Subaru, which is probably the most useful cluster telescope currently taking data. Most of those programs will be taught in English, since it's the language of science worldwide.


Thank you Mr.bfollinprm.

Actually i dont have plans to apply to any of the UC schools. Regarding CWRU, in their website i didn't see any observational studies going on in cluster-like objects. Indiana University at Bloomington does have though. Two scientists, Prof. Constantine and Prof. Eileen are studying star clusters which is what I have experience in. (I kinda gave this up for my colleague coz we didnt wanna create competition between us. Is this a good thing to do?)
Why is U of Hawaii impossible? Is it the coz of the scores I've got? :( I mean, if we make a good connection with a faculty there, wouldn't that help go a long way in improving our chances? There is a Prof. Jessica Lu who's doing photometry of star clusters which is exactly what I have experience in and I plan to mail her soon about her research. Honest questions! :P Please do reply. :)

I had bad luck with europe last year. Didn't get in to any of the places i applied to. Japan as you mentioned is a good option. I shall apply there.
Also, any tips you can offer about how best to make an academic connection with profs at the US?



I would apply to every school that makes sense for you, and tell your friend the same. As far as Hawaii, yes, because of your scores--and because they accept so few students each year (many years less than 10 total). It's about as hard to get into their astro program as a top 10 physics school.

As far as tips on how to get in contact, you should say that you're starting your applications for grad school, noticed their research, talk about how their research relates to you and your interests, and ask if the group is in a position to accept another member starting next fall.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Please give info on universities suiting my profile

Postby bfollinprm » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:04 pm

krishnakumarkowshik wrote:
bfollinprm wrote:You won't have to pay tuition at any school you matriculate into for a Ph.D. in physics--it's covered by your support letter in like 99% of cases in the United States. The exception will be if you need to pursue a second master's to boost your profile, or your TOEFL score is so terrible they need to make you take English classes before they can give you work to do. The latter, at least, will not apply to you.

As far as schools that do good work in cluster science, UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, and UC Davis (home of the LSST collaboration) are all excellent due to the UC Observatory's access to premier telescopes, but hard to get into with your stats. Pittsburgh is an excellent choice, and is a bit less competitive. I've heard good things about Case Western University in Ohio, which doesn't get that many applicants because it's in Ohio (which is unfair to Ohio). Obviously University of Hawaii, but that's impossible, probably. University of Arizona as well. There are also good programs at the University of Washington, and abroad in Denmark (which is the ancient home of astronomy and still excellent), Germany, and France. In Asia, China and Japan are making good strides to be important members of the astrophysics and cosmology community; in fact, Japan owns Subaru, which is probably the most useful cluster telescope currently taking data. Most of those programs will be taught in English, since it's the language of science worldwide.


Thank you Mr.bfollinprm.

Actually i dont have plans to apply to any of the UC schools. Regarding CWRU, in their website i didn't see any observational studies going on in cluster-like objects. Indiana University at Bloomington does have though. Two scientists, Prof. Constantine and Prof. Eileen are studying star clusters which is what I have experience in. (I kinda gave this up for my colleague coz we didnt wanna create competition between us. Is this a good thing to do?)
Why is U of Hawaii impossible? Is it the coz of the scores I've got? :( I mean, if we make a good connection with a faculty there, wouldn't that help go a long way in improving our chances? There is a Prof. Jessica Lu who's doing photometry of star clusters which is exactly what I have experience in and I plan to mail her soon about her research. Honest questions! :P Please do reply. :)

I had bad luck with europe last year. Didn't get in to any of the places i applied to. Japan as you mentioned is a good option. I shall apply there.
Also, any tips you can offer about how best to make an academic connection with profs at the US?



Also, regarding Case Western:

Stacy McGaugh and Idit Zehavi fit the bill as I traditionally understand cluster cosmology.

krishnakumarkowshik
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:52 am

Re: Please give info on universities suiting my profile

Postby krishnakumarkowshik » Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:57 am

Qwaps wrote:
krishnakumarkowshik wrote:
Thank you Mr.bfollinprm.

Actually i dont have plans to apply to any of the UC schools. Regarding CWRU, in their website i didn't see any observational studies going on in cluster-like objects. Indiana University at Bloomington does have though. Two scientists, Prof. Constantine and Prof. Eileen are studying star clusters which is what I have experience in. (I kinda gave this up for my colleague coz we didnt wanna create competition between us. Is this a good thing to do?)
Why is U of Hawaii impossible? Is it the coz of the scores I've got? :( I mean, if we make a good connection with a faculty there, wouldn't that help go a long way in improving our chances? There is a Prof. Jessica Lu who's doing photometry of star clusters which is exactly what I have experience in and I plan to mail her soon about her research. Honest questions! :P Please do reply. :)

I had bad luck with europe last year. Didn't get in to any of the places i applied to. Japan as you mentioned is a good option. I shall apply there.
Also, any tips you can offer about how best to make an academic connection with profs at the US?


Applying to Japan is quite a hassle. They don't have financial support for their PhD. programs except for a very few scholarships I can count on my fingers. The MEXT scholarship is probably one of the best scholarships there is, but it is an scholarship given to your country, and you'd have to compete with the rest of the candidates of your country that want to go to Japan.


Uh-oh! :(

I guess i'll give it second thoughts then :P

krishnakumarkowshik
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:52 am

Re: Please give info on universities suiting my profile

Postby krishnakumarkowshik » Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:03 am

bfollinprm wrote:
krishnakumarkowshik wrote:
bfollinprm wrote:You won't have to pay tuition at any school you matriculate into for a Ph.D. in physics--it's covered by your support letter in like 99% of cases in the United States. The exception will be if you need to pursue a second master's to boost your profile, or your TOEFL score is so terrible they need to make you take English classes before they can give you work to do. The latter, at least, will not apply to you.

As far as schools that do good work in cluster science, UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, and UC Davis (home of the LSST collaboration) are all excellent due to the UC Observatory's access to premier telescopes, but hard to get into with your stats. Pittsburgh is an excellent choice, and is a bit less competitive. I've heard good things about Case Western University in Ohio, which doesn't get that many applicants because it's in Ohio (which is unfair to Ohio). Obviously University of Hawaii, but that's impossible, probably. University of Arizona as well. There are also good programs at the University of Washington, and abroad in Denmark (which is the ancient home of astronomy and still excellent), Germany, and France. In Asia, China and Japan are making good strides to be important members of the astrophysics and cosmology community; in fact, Japan owns Subaru, which is probably the most useful cluster telescope currently taking data. Most of those programs will be taught in English, since it's the language of science worldwide.


Thank you Mr.bfollinprm.

Actually i dont have plans to apply to any of the UC schools. Regarding CWRU, in their website i didn't see any observational studies going on in cluster-like objects. Indiana University at Bloomington does have though. Two scientists, Prof. Constantine and Prof. Eileen are studying star clusters which is what I have experience in. (I kinda gave this up for my colleague coz we didnt wanna create competition between us. Is this a good thing to do?)
Why is U of Hawaii impossible? Is it the coz of the scores I've got? :( I mean, if we make a good connection with a faculty there, wouldn't that help go a long way in improving our chances? There is a Prof. Jessica Lu who's doing photometry of star clusters which is exactly what I have experience in and I plan to mail her soon about her research. Honest questions! :P Please do reply. :)

I had bad luck with europe last year. Didn't get in to any of the places i applied to. Japan as you mentioned is a good option. I shall apply there.
Also, any tips you can offer about how best to make an academic connection with profs at the US?



I would apply to every school that makes sense for you, and tell your friend the same. As far as Hawaii, yes, because of your scores--and because they accept so few students each year (many years less than 10 total). It's about as hard to get into their astro program as a top 10 physics school.

As far as tips on how to get in contact, you should say that you're starting your applications for grad school, noticed their research, talk about how their research relates to you and your interests, and ask if the group is in a position to accept another member starting next fall.


Damn! Well.. I'll push hawaii into my bucket list then :P

Thanks a lot of these tips on talking to a prof. I guess the important thing is how their research relates to what i've been doing. But how do i make a case if its kinda half-related or 1/4th related? :P

Say for example, I like their research on some X aspect of stars but i can relate because i know the basics of X and use similar tools and software to find X.




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