Paying for grad school myself

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jdhooghe
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Paying for grad school myself

Postby jdhooghe » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:28 pm

Well, the count is 4 official rejections, 1 "maybe" rejection and 2 waitlistings. I have worked too long and hard not to get into graduate school this year. Do you think that the graduate schools, that I have applied to, would let me attend if I could secure funding/go part-time at least for the first year? I would then prove to them that I am an excellent candidate(I say this humbly, my ego is small mind you). Maybe I could contact some more prestigious schools and ask. I live in california and eat maybe one meal a day as it is, so food is not expensive for me. Thank you for your input....over and out.

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twistor
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby twistor » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:35 pm

That's a really tough call. Rather than take out a loan, why not sit in on some classes locally, secure a temporary job, and apply next year? I think it's better than going into debt. If you need it, you have an extra year to study for and take the GRE again. I don't think schools will respond favorably to hearing, "Wait though, I've got my own money!" They might let you in as a non-degree-seeking student, though. Good luck.

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jdhooghe
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby jdhooghe » Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:21 pm

Twistor, if you were in my position, would you do everything you could to make your dream come true? I have research experience(awarded $1000 grant),

http://www.spsnational.org/programs/awards/2008/ugr_recipients.htm

my physics grades are top notch except for the semester where I burned myself out:

Mech: A
E&M: A
Heat, Light, Yada: C+ <----(E&M, this course, Calc 3, Diff. Equations at the same time..stupid)
Modern 1:A
Modern 2: B
Classical Mech 1: A
Classical Mech 2:A
Quantum 1: A
Quantum 2: A
E&M 1: A
Nuclear Science: A
Optics: B+
Computational: B (Programming was hard for me...)

Projected grades for this semester:
E&M 2: A
Stat. Mech: A

I tutor(calc as well as physics), volunteer at an observatory, heavy into S.P.S(President) and teach a help session...

How the hell is my physics gre representative of my ability? I would say semester long courses are. I have very bad anxiety...how is retaking this test going to help? Also, apparently I have no *** ability in english since I got such a low verbal score...I don't even know how the *** I am writing this if ich spreche englisch nicht. Let alone my math ability...yes Quantum doesn't require math....Jebus Christ man....I don't see how my profile could become any better if:

a) All the *** jobs I found on teh interwebs require a PhD
b) All the *** research posts are taken by people from more presitgious universities and people from state schools get jack ***
c) I took all the freakin' physics courses at Chico state except...well..ONE
d) I guess I could take a math major except most of the courses are taught by twats with no teaching ability whatsoever.
e)Chico state students are regarded as trained chimps compared to others because there is no *** way anybody from this damn university could ever study physics since we are too busy drinking/smoking pot to give a damn about education

I have an EXCELLENT understanding of the *** physical law governing this universe, which by the way, feels it necessary to *** all over me in every freakin' thing I attempt...

I am so tired of this, I just want things to go my way for once...and if funding is the real issue these schools are spouting for their reasons of rejection, I might as well try to help them out...even if it does mean getting into debt.

excel
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby excel » Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:27 pm

Do the grad schools you applied to know that you won the grant??

excel
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby excel » Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:40 pm

Also, doesnt your advisor have connections in grad schools that he can contact on your behalf? Last year, a friend of mine was in this position. He had strong credentials but flunked on the subject GRE. His advisor talked on his behalf to the program he had got his Ph.D. from...the program promised to reconsider his application if a slot opened up. It actually did not matter ultimately because he finally got a TA-ship (very late, like close to mid-April) at a UC math program, but still...

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jdhooghe
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby jdhooghe » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:02 am

Wow, here I was giving emotional advice to Maxwell, saying everything was going to be ok and then I go and make this post. Apparently I am not as comfortable with my position as I thought. I am sorry people...my nerves are shot, I got homework up the wazoo and other stuff competing for my time and on top of all that, I have to deal with rejection. Oy, I am so tired...

admissionprof
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby admissionprof » Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:02 am

Hi. It is not uncommon for non-degree-seeking students to attend and get credit for graduate courses. You live in California, so you won't have to deal with out-of-state tuition at many good places. Most institutions won't mind a qualified student taking courses.

I'd suggest finding a public university that is not too big a stretch (i.e. not Berkeley, UCSD, UCSB, but Davis, UCR, UCI, UCLA), send them your data, and ask if you could sign up as an "unclassified" student and pay your own way. Unless their class is huge, I can't see why anyone would object.

Then, if you get A's in the fall semester, that institution will KNOW you are qualified (and, presumably, friendly, interested and not wacko). If you apply to that institution, you'd have a very strong chance of getting in. Then you wouldn't even have lost a year, since you'll have taken the first year courses.

We've done this several times before. Sometimes the person does well, we accept them, and they do fine. Sometimes they bomb out of the first year courses, and don't even bother applying.

Good luck.

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twistor
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby twistor » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:14 am

jdhooghe,

I considered the situation in which I had no acceptances and decided if that happened to me I would try again the next year and after that I would give up. What's better, to pay for 8 years of graduate school yourself or wait a year to try again?

Your scores are not representative of your ability. Why not take the test again?

hpharty
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby hpharty » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:25 am

I have to agree with twistor here. I was in a bad spot last year when I graduated. I took the GRE in December 2006 and scored 570. That is not great by any means. So I took some time off. Have I enjoyed the time off? Sort of. I went through four months of unemployment, which were terrible. Currently, I work in a job that I can just barely tolerate. On the other hand, I have had the time to take the GRE over again, visit friends all over the country, and move to a new city. All of those things have been very exciting and given me a perspective on the real world that I think many incoming graduate students may lack. We are all still so young, there is plenty of time to go back to school. The university system has been in place for hundreds of years, it will be here next year, just like it was for me.

On a side note, I completely understand your reluctance to go through the whole GRE/application process again. You must have had some idea of what you would do if you didn't get into school. Maybe not a great idea, but some vague picture in the back of your mind. I know I certainly did (if this doesn't work out, I'm going back to my undergrad institution and getting a teaching certificate so I can teach high school physics/science).

excel
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby excel » Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:09 pm

twistor wrote:jdhooghe,

I considered the situation in which I had no acceptances and decided if that happened to me I would try again the next year and after that I would give up. What's better, to pay for 8 years of graduate school yourself or wait a year to try again?



I too have to agree. I too would never even consider paying for the entire duration of grad school. However, admissionprof's method requires you to pay for only 1 or 2 sem of in-state tuition. If you can establish a research relationship with a prof during this time or do well in classes...maybe you can ask the question you have asked here directly to the graduate admission directors at California state schools.

...dont quite understand why grad schools would not want a student who can get the sig pi sig grant and have decent grades, good pgre or not :?

ler1
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby ler1 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:43 pm

From the results page it seems like PGRE matter a whole lot. They have the largest correlation with being accepted. It seems a 570 PGRE 3.9UGPA is likely not to get into most colleges while 3.2UGPA 900PGRE is a sure thing at most colleges. Weird your four years are compressed into one day. Best graduate strategy would be molding your curriculum towards the exam doing MC questions quickly.

rooibos
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby rooibos » Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:15 pm

ler1 wrote:From the results page it seems like PGRE matter a whole lot. They have the largest correlation with being accepted. It seems a 570 PGRE 3.9UGPA is likely not to get into most colleges while 3.2UGPA 900PGRE is a sure thing at most colleges. Weird your four years are compressed into one day. Best graduate strategy would be molding your curriculum towards the exam doing MC questions quickly.


I think you should look again, because the 3.9/570 got into the best school between the two (SUNY SB)

AstroMan
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby AstroMan » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:01 pm

@ jdhooghe

please don’t be gloomy :(
you will be very pleased
I’m not writing this to merely comfort you
I CAN FEEL IT :!:
I was rejected from almost everywhere
just like you
Keep smiling :wink:

God bless us

ler1
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby ler1 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:13 pm

ler1 wrote:From the results page it seems like PGRE matter a whole lot. They have the largest correlation with being accepted. It seems a 570 PGRE 3.9UGPA is likely not to get into most colleges while 3.2UGPA 900PGRE is a sure thing at most colleges. Weird your four years are compressed into one day. Best graduate strategy would be molding your curriculum towards the exam doing MC questions quickly.

I didnt realize there were two similar profiles to the one I described but if you want to compare you look at 750PGRE 3.2UGPA. A 260 PGRE test difference correlated to an increase in acceptances. The 590PGRE you are referring two also was rejected from more schools than accepted as opposed to the 900PGRE and in the end it is about of getting into any grad school, although it is nice that SUNYSB managed to see past the 590PGRE Brown did not as well as other schools.

schandre
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby schandre » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:54 pm

ler1 wrote:
ler1 wrote:From the results page it seems like PGRE matter a whole lot. They have the largest correlation with being accepted. It seems a 570 PGRE 3.9UGPA is likely not to get into most colleges while 3.2UGPA 900PGRE is a sure thing at most colleges. Weird your four years are compressed into one day. Best graduate strategy would be molding your curriculum towards the exam doing MC questions quickly.

I didnt realize there were two similar profiles to the one I described but if you want to compare you look at 750PGRE 3.2UGPA. A 260 PGRE test difference correlated to an increase in acceptances. The 590PGRE you are referring two also was rejected from more schools than accepted as opposed to the 900PGRE and in the end it is about of getting into any grad school, although it is nice that SUNYSB managed to see past the 590PGRE Brown did not as well as other schools.


@ler1: I was think of something to answer that since my profile matches very well your description of PGRE ~ 900 and UGPA ~ 3.2 and to show you that you jumped to conclusions to fast. But thinking better I don't think you did.

Regarding the 3.2 average: I am an international student and the grading system in which I was evaluated during my undergraduate years is very different from the one US Universities use. It is a 0 to 10 scale in 0.5 points in which I had an average of 7.97, which I approximated to 3.2 over 4.0. Perhaps I shouldn't have done that.

Anyway, in my experience I feel I can say that PGRE matters a lot and, at least to international students in some schools, it may even be the most important part of your application.

Last year I applied to McGill and was rejected. According to http://www.petersons.com/ they accepted 40% of their applicants, which made me somewhat disappointed when I found out. I had a master degree, 4 and a 1/2 years of research experience and 3 publications (1 journal and 2 conference proceedings). I hadn't take the GREs since McGill does not require it.

This year, the only differences in my application were another publication I co-authored, independent research - which I hope one of my recommenders mentioned in his letter - and this time I had taken the GREs. I didn't apply to McGill this time, but I wonder if I would be rejected again. I don't think a single publication and some independent research would have made that much of a difference in my curriculum (it may do if you don't have a lot of research experience), but I'm certain that the PGRE would.

I'm glad to see that SUNYSB was able to see past the PGRE 590 since they (along UIUC) wouldn't see past my TOEFL score in the speaking section. Well, at least they told me it by email when I asked, so I didn't bother applying.

christopher3.14
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby christopher3.14 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:34 am

ler1 wrote:I didnt realize there were two similar profiles to the one I described but if you want to compare you look at 750PGRE 3.2UGPA. A 260 PGRE test difference correlated to an increase in acceptances.


This is my profile you're talking about, but it has one HUGE caveat: when I first applied to grad schools right out of undergrad my PGRE (back then) was 590. So 590 and 3.2 GPA (overall) and 3.5 GPA (physics) didn't cut it and I was rejected from every single school I applied to. (Another caveat: I applied to only 4 upper-tier schools.)

This time around my current graduate physics GPA is 3.96, including 2 courses I took at a top 20 school 25 miles away. So I think that, along with the PGRE score increase, is what got me in this time. So mine was a very, very special-case kind of application. It was more than just number-crunching.

ler1
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby ler1 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:53 am

christopher3.14 wrote:
ler1 wrote:I didnt realize there were two similar profiles to the one I described but if you want to compare you look at 750PGRE 3.2UGPA. A 260 PGRE test difference correlated to an increase in acceptances.


This is my profile you're talking about, but it has one HUGE caveat: when I first applied to grad schools right out of undergrad my PGRE (back then) was 590. So 590 and 3.2 GPA (overall) and 3.5 GPA (physics) didn't cut it and I was rejected from every single school I applied to. (Another caveat: I applied to only 4 upper-tier schools.)

This time around my current graduate physics GPA is 3.96, including 2 courses I took at a top 20 school 25 miles away. So I think that, along with the PGRE score increase, is what got me in this time. So mine was a very, very special-case kind of application. It was more than just number-crunching.


You probably don't feel that much different after a year of graduate classes. I think the details of your case show how much graduate schools value PGRE because you increased your PGRE and received different results although you did also take grad classes but it seems if you would have taken grad classes as an undergrad when you applied the first time you still would have had similar results or would
you disagree.

ler1
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby ler1 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:55 am

schandre wrote:I'm glad to see that SUNYSB was able to see past the PGRE 590 since they (along UIUC) wouldn't see past my TOEFL score in the speaking section. Well, at least they told me it by email when I asked, so I didn't bother applying.

I think the telling you part is really valuable because at least you know.

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jdhooghe
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby jdhooghe » Thu Mar 20, 2008 2:41 am

Christopher, your profile is almost exactly like mine. I have a 3.3 overall(I freakin' hate Gen. Ed.) with, well, the physics grades you see above. Would you mind going into detail on what you did during this last year in terms of:

1) Enrolling in a university and taking grad courses
2) Jobs
3) Papers/Conferences

I would really appreciate the feedback.

Also, I would like to apologize for freaking out earlier again...that was uncalled for.

christopher3.14
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby christopher3.14 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 3:50 am

jdhooghe wrote:Christopher, your profile is almost exactly like mine. I have a 3.3 overall(I freakin' hate Gen. Ed.) with, well, the physics grades you see above. Would you mind going into detail on what you did during this last year in terms of:

1) Enrolling in a university and taking grad courses
2) Jobs
3) Papers/Conferences

I would really appreciate the feedback.

Also, I would like to apologize for freaking out earlier again...that was uncalled for.


No problem, I went through the exact same thing 2 years ago.

After receiving my rejection letters, I went on to the web to look for local state schools that offered master's degrees in physics. I also looked for programs to take classes at a local top school. I talked to my referees and told them about my plan and they approved, saying it would show a "commitment on [my] part" towards higher education.

Anyways, after talking to faculty at the state school they hired me as a graduate assistant in classes which really, really helped improve my PGRE score. (In fact, the November test had an exact problem I showed my students how to solve.) Also attended my school's colloquium's to get to meet professors at other schools. So two years later worth of the basic courses -- dynamics, E&M, QM -- I supplemented with grad courses in condensed matter at that top school and now I'm getting the master's next quarter. I don't know if my plan would work for everyone, but it really paid off for me.

ler1 wrote:but it seems if you would have taken grad classes as an undergrad when you applied the first time you still would have had similar results or would
you disagree.


I would have. The problem is that the admissions committees DIDN'T think that, or else I would have been accepted the first time. I needed to do more to show them that they passed up on me. I agree the PGRE increase helped, but I honestly don't think I would have gotten in without the master's degree.

ler1
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Re: Paying for grad school myself

Postby ler1 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:19 am

Oh sorry I meant admissions results not performance in classes




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