since this is my first attempt to communicate here, let's introduce myself. I'm french (from Toulouse, Airbus headquarters) and I am 25 years old. I followed physics studies in my country and happened to get a Master degree in theoritical physics. Actually at the end of the master I didn't have the level to find an interesting Phd position here, since It's very difficult to find any of these when you're not from ENS (our best institution for research, you might have heard about it). So I gave up, and I had to find some job to survive. It was three years ago.
A couple of months ago, I found about the existence of the GRE physics test on the web, and just for fun I tried to take them by myself in "exams conditions". Surprisingly I got the highest score to the four sample tests, which I could explain by the fact that It's a Bachelor level test. So I wondered if I could apply to american universities, and I found this forum and read about graduate schools applications. But some questions remain.
First, about the GPA. Making a conversion from french system to GPA seems to be difficult, or even impossible. In France we have a 20 points grade system, and usually a 14 is a very good grade. Grading above 16 is quite rare, and is considered as an excellent grade. It's very rare to get a twenty. So I can not just make a simple calculation and say for example that 14 corresponds to 2.8 It doesn't make any sense. Plus the average grade for a student strongly depends on the university. The same student could get a 15 at university A, and a 12 at univerisity B for the same credits ...
Nevertheless I found some "conversion methods on the web", and with these the best GPA I could get is around 2.8
Which suprised me a lot since for example I ranked 78 among 1090 at my first year ...
So I'd like to know your opinion about that.
Some more informations : I have a small research experience :
- Three months at a leading fusion research centre in Germany (IPP), mainly doing numerical calculation. No paper, no talk.
- Four months in a AMO laboratory in France, doing numerical calculation about femtolasers. No paper, no talk.
So far as I know, I could hope a 990 at GRE physics test, a poor 2.8 GPA, a small research experience, and probably no recommandation letters since I didn't see my teachers for a long time. I have been a high school teacher during one year (physics, chemistry), and I could probably get a 990 at the mathematics GRE tests if it can help ...
So i'm aware it's not possible for me to get admitted to a prestigious university like MIT or Caltech, but I would like to know if you think I can get in somewhere, even an unknown university, and what I should do to succeed. My field of interest is Quantum Optics : femto lasers, atom/molecule cooling, quantum information ... And I'd like to do experiments. I have enough of numerical calucations.
Oh, and I should say I'm 25, and I would apply for September 2009, which might be a little too old ??
Thanks for reading and answering
PS : I apologize for my poor english. Maybe I should improve, 'cause I don't know how much I can score to the TOEFL