: State school, ranked in lower third of U.S. physics top 100.Major(s)
: Astrophysics; Pure Math double-major.Minor(s)
: None.GPA in Major
: Physics 3.78; Math 4.05Overall GPA
: 3.91Length of Degree
: Uhhhh, 5? But see below for extra info.Position in Class
: Near top - small class so hard to say, those of us doing well had strengths in different areas.Type of Student
: Domestic white female, graduating this semester.GRE Scores
: 164 (86%)V
: 166 (97%)W
: 5.5 (98%)P
: 740 (57%) Research Experience
- One year of proofy math research (but topic does relate to physics) culminating in successful formal defense of honors thesis in that department;
- Eight months as "undergraduate physicist" for university-associated company that works with space industry;
- One physics REU at a significantly higher-ranked institution;
- Two semesters of research methods credit in QM (emphasis on topics crucial to QFT), cosmology. Mostly supervised learning, no publications. Awards/Honors/Recognitions
- Phi Beta Kappa;
- Summa Cum Laude Mathematics
Departmental Honors and Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award;
- Sigma Pi Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, and a couple departmental and university merit-based scholarships awarded in middle of degree.Pertinent Activities or Jobs
- Three semesters of employment as math, physics, astronomy tutor by university;
- Three semesters (ongoing) as TA in physics and chemistry (covered 4 different courses, two of them junior-level, 7 lecture sections total);
- All research listed above was paid/funded except the last;
- Worked a second non-physics-related job to support self throughout undergrad. Bonus: skilled labor (many people go to school for this work, but I trained myself to high quality), self-employment/own business built from scratch.Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help
- Active classical violinist and studied multiple foreign languages for any places that care about well-roundedness? Special Bonus Points
- Female, vaguely nontraditional student (in late 20’s).
- Disabilities/medical conditions have chronically impacted performance and were a source of serious physical and financial barriers, shows I’m able to overcome bad circumstances/demonstrates that grit and determination committees like to see.
- Took courses in cosmology and GR, currently taking particle physics, all of which are highly relevant to my research interests for grad school.
- Once upon a time, before I fell mysteriously ill and had a gap in education, I graduated high school with about 95 credits earned (including 30 in math) from a different state university.Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter
-I have a strong interest and track record in teaching (including both paid and volunteer work) and emphasized this in addition to primary research interests, particularly at those schools where Physics Education Research is a thing;
-Worst couple grades on current transcript explained fairly well by outside circumstances.Applying to Where
All for whichever areas of HEP, Gravity and/or Cosmology each school is strong in (strong emphasis on theory, with a slight possible willingness to bend towards experimental/observational depending on the exact topic and mentor). Applied for physics (not astro). I know that HEP-TH is highly competitive and there will be plenty of applicants from more well-known schools and with higher personal stats, so hopefully this long list with some spread will work out for me! Listed in order of overall department rankings, not necessarily in order of preference.
Harvard - Gee, sure is taking them a long time to reject me!
Cornell - Feb. 19: REJECTED
U Michigan - Feb. 14 contact confirmed I will be rejected and unusually small number of HEP-TH offers made this year Feb. 15: REJECTED
U Maryland - Feb. 14: Rejected.
U Penn -
U Wash -
UT Austin -
Penn State - Feb. 21 ACCEPTED - $22k Fall/Spring TA + $4000 Academic Year Fellowship + $4000 Summer Fellowship Support = $30,000 for first year. Pretty excited about this one! I had started to give up hope with how late in the month it is and here they come WITH fellowship money!
U Minnesota - Jan. 14: ACCEPTED - approximately $26.5K total TA and summer support, told that number may increase slightly.
UC Davis -
Brown University -
North Carolina Chapel Hill - applied a couple days past "priority" deadline
U Pittsburgh -
U Mass Amherst - Jan. 30: ACCEPTED - financial details came later: "at least" $23,050.50 TA + "up to" $8,565.00 summer RA support to be "negotiated" = $31,813.60. Departmental fellowship winners have not yet been decided and there "may be" more money.