Discussion of 2009 Profiles

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

Maxwells_Demon
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Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby Maxwells_Demon » Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:46 am

Hi friends,

I'm curious to what people think about my profile :p. Do I have a chance at any of the places I mentioned?

Maxwell's Demon

tmc
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby tmc » Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:44 am

You didn't mention what field you'd be studying in grad school, so it's really hard to say...You mention GR, yet you're applying to applied physics departments, so I'm confused.

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Helio
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby Helio » Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:44 am

I am not sure how you made mcnair as Caucasian :P

Juston
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby Juston » Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:46 am

Dunno, you may have a better chance than me, given my low GPA and the fact that I'm applying in HEP theory. 700 may be a competitive score at UCLA, based on some of the discussions I've had with my professors, but it may depend on the field you're applying in.

I'll wait for more people to post their profiles, so I can bury mine in the middle of the thread.

sterculus
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby sterculus » Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:56 am

It looks like you have a strong research background, which will hopefully counter the PGRE. I don't really know, though.

Anybody have comments on my profile, pending PGRE scores from Nov 8?

Maxwells_Demon
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby Maxwells_Demon » Mon Dec 01, 2008 4:03 am

I'm McNair cuz i'm first generation student and i'm poor, hehe.

i do have a background in both theory and applied... . but i dunno if GR would look good for applied or what. I'm thinking about studying astro/gr for some of the physics places, though. i'll update when i can

-MD

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secander2!
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby secander2! » Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:48 pm

@nonick,

perhaps, you could try putting a copy/pastable layout like this on the 2009 Profiles page to make things easier for people (you should be able to copy and paste the below text into the 2009 Profiles edit box and everything should then work fine)? That way everybody could automatically have the bold and stuff.

[b][b]Undergrad Institution:[/b][/b] (School or type of school, such as big state, lib arts, ivy, technical, foreign (what country?)... Overall Reputation in Physics?)
[b][b]Major(s):[/b][/b]
[b][b]Minor(s):[/b][/b]
[b][b]GPA in Major:[/b][/b]
[b][b]Overall GPA:[/b][/b]
[b][b]Length of Degree:[/b][/b] (Are you graduating after 3, 4, or 5 years?)
[b][b]Position in Class:[/b][/b] (No numbers needed, but are you top? near top? average? struggling?)
[b][b]Type of Student:[/b][/b] (Domestic/International, male/female, minority?)

[b][b]GRE Scores:[/b][/b]
[b][b]Q:[/b][/b]
[b][b]V:[/b][/b]
[b][b]W:[/b][/b]
[b][b]P:[/b][/b]


[b][b]TOEFL Total:[/b][/b] (if applicable, otherwise delete this)

[b][b]Research Experience:[/b][/b] (At your school or elsewhere? What field? How much time? Any publications (Mth author out of N?) or conference talks etc...)

[b][b]Awards/Honors/Recognitions:[/b][/b] (Within your school or outside?)

[b][b]Pertinent Activities or Jobs:[/b][/b] (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)

[b][b]Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:[/b][/b]

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

[b][b]Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:[/b][/b]

[b][b]Applying to Where:[/b][/b]

[u][u]School[/u][/u] - Department - Research Interest
[u][u]School[/u][/u] - Department - Research Interest
[u][u]School[/u][/u] - Department - Research Interest

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Helio
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby Helio » Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:11 pm

I dunno UCLA is a random place to be honest. Theory and low PGRE score never mix well from what I have heard. Anyway, any comments on mine outside that I know my GRE score sucks

dsperka
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby dsperka » Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:02 am

Helio, you will definitely get into one of your top choices, your research experience seems really good.

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secander2!
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby secander2! » Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:45 pm

@sterculus, it looks like you've got a strong application, those publications will probably really help. If you do well on the PGRE I'd bet you'd probably get in almost everywhere. Even without a super PGRE score though, it seems like you've selected enough schools that you are virtually guaranteed acceptance somewhere.

@Maxwells_Demon, I think your school selection is diverse enough that you will definitely get in somewhere! Also, your research is strong and could outweigh the mediocre GPA/PGRE.

dsperka
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby dsperka » Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:28 pm

What do you guys think about my range of schools, do I have enough safetys? I am thinking Brandeis, Davis, and Florida are safe(r).

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secander2!
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby secander2! » Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:18 pm

If you've got to have a low GPA, having a low GPA in your major is probably the worst place to have it unfortunately. However, I've heard that PGRE and GPA kinda help to balance each other out and you've got a very respectable PGRE. My bet is that you'll be completely fine!!! And yea, Brandeis, Davis, and Florida are probably quite safe so I wouldn't worry too much. If anything, you might want to drop a mid-level and throw in a "reach" school or two: UCSB, Michigan, and Chigaco come to mind. Last year, I applied eight schools and to one reach school (Michigan), was accepted at 7 out of 8 with many nice fellowships, and found myself wondering if I had completely underestimated myself. I personally think that if you don't get about 50% rejections, you either haven't applied to the right batch of schools, or you're just so good that MIT, Harvard, and Stanford would be willing to fight each other to the death for you :D

stardust
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby stardust » Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:25 am

***

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secander2!
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby secander2! » Sun Dec 07, 2008 3:09 pm

@mhazelm, I just saw your profile! I really think you're short changing yourself, most of the schools you listed seem like they'd be complete shoe ins!!! I don't know which schools are good for gravitational theory, but you should really probably apply to some more top schools. I know that 8 days isn't much time to get an application together for the Dec 15th deadline that most of the top 10 have, but it's worth a shot. Also U Chicago has a Dec 28th deadline which I think you could make with no sweat.

Out of curiosity, are you currently on the Rhodes scholarship or were you planning on declining it? I'm interested to know because I decided to wait a year on grad school and take a Fulbright fellowship instead, and it's been one of the best decisions I ever made.

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Helio
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby Helio » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:24 pm

Thread has been pretty dead... i just lookeda the profiles... i dunno there seem to be a great divide between really good PGRE scores and okay to borderline scores and nothing really in the middle.

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby coreycwgriffin » Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:25 pm

Helio wrote:Thread has been pretty dead... i just lookeda the profiles... i dunno there seem to be a great divide between really good PGRE scores and okay to borderline scores and nothing really in the middle.


You forgot the few of us with terrible scores.

sterculus
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby sterculus » Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:01 pm

Hi everybody,
I've updated some details on my profile (new and improved with PGRE scores). I've still been debating adding U. Washington (a nice school with a 1/15 deadline) - what do you guys think? Would it be worthwhile?

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Helio
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby Helio » Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:07 pm

sterculus wrote:Hi everybody,
I've updated some details on my profile (new and improved with PGRE scores). I've still been debating adding U. Washington (a nice school with a 1/15 deadline) - what do you guys think? Would it be worthwhile?


I dunno they seem more a particle school rather than plasma or AMO (i dunno exactly what you want to do in AMO), but you should get into Boulder, which personally I think is the best for AMO

coreycwgriffin wrote:
Helio wrote:Thread has been pretty dead... i just lookeda the profiles... i dunno there seem to be a great divide between really good PGRE scores and okay to borderline scores and nothing really in the middle.


You forgot the few of us with terrible scores.



Well i dunno mine isn't that good either.... I hate how the percentile on the Nov. is better for my score, but I still have to say that i mean 650+ will get you in somewhere, but the range this year is weird

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valentino
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby valentino » Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:57 am

hi guys, please comment on my 2009 profile. tmc? secander2!?
do i have a realistic school pool?
should i worry about my verbal?

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secander2!
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby secander2! » Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:32 am

@valentino, your profile seems strong to me and I doubt the Verbal GRE will hurt too since your TOEFL seems ok, but there are a few factors that I don't know how to weight. For instance, you mention that your country usually only sends one strong candidate to grad school every three years. Hopefully the small size of your country will prevent you from being lumped into the the regular Asian applicant group for which the requirements seem to be much more stringent. Still, I might put in another safety or two since all the schools you listed are among the most selective. If you have bad luck or if you have overestimated your application (especially since you want to do theory), it's always good to have a backup!

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valentino
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby valentino » Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:47 am

well, im in not in anyway related to chinese. more of malay decent.
yes, luck is a factor. any suggestions for a back up? can you be more specific about what you said, i'm curious to know what points make my app weak? just so i'm aware...

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secander2!
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby secander2! » Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:07 pm

What I mean was this: if you were a European or domestic applicant with the same application, I'd say that you'd definitely get into a good number of those schools. As it is, I don't honestly know how admissions committees consider students from south-east Asia. If they lump you with the Chinese applicants, it might be harder to get into good programs... if they don't, you'll probably be fine. I don't know which schools to recommend as I know little about HEP-theory, but I would recommend adding some less-well-known state schools that still have good programs. In general, places like Michigan State and Penn State are less competitive than similarly ranked programs such as Brown or Duke (presumably due to the fact that Brown and Duke are part of a very prestigious institution and that institutional name attracts candidates even if the physics department itself is not as strong). Ultimately, I'm not an admissions councilor, so I don't honestly know, but I think you've got a very good shot! It's just that if I were you, I'd add a sure safety or two just to set my mind at rest. I hope this helps.

tmc
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby tmc » Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:13 pm

Well, let's see. First-author Phys Rev publication, near perfect gpa, high gre...You should have no problems getting in somewhere. Maybe not everywhere, since being from Asia will play against you, but you should have no problem getting into the majority of these places.

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valentino
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby valentino » Thu Dec 11, 2008 3:52 pm

secander2, point taken. hopefully they won't lump me in with the rest. asia is big and while it has giants like china, japan, korea, it also has small third world countries which i think should fall under a different category.

the thing is, if i'm not getting into a good school, i rather go elsewhere (europe, ictp diploma programme first maybe...) to build credential, then reapply.

hopefully your estimate is reasonable, tmc.

question: will it matter if i instead declare that i'm going into cond-mat theory, which im really also interested in anyway? im asking this thinking of the following:
1. does shifting to the pool of cmp-theory give me a better chance? (cmp-theorists, take no offense) or will it instead lessen the chances since i think more people apply with this interest?
2. one publication is in statistical mechanics.

matonski
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby matonski » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:25 pm

Is there a quick way to see someone's profile? Or do you have to go to the 2009 Profile thread and then scroll through till you see that person's name?

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valentino
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby valentino » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:55 pm

i use ctrl+f then type the name, or whatever information.

tmc
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby tmc » Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:22 pm

matonski wrote:Is there a quick way to see someone's profile? Or do you have to go to the 2009 Profile thread and then scroll through till you see that person's name?

If people filled out their profile properly, you can click on that (I have; you can try right here on the left). Unfortunately, most haven't, so you need to go through the thread.

Hypernova
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby Hypernova » Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:00 am

Could you guys please take a look at my profile as well? I know some schools are not possible (I just want to say that "I tried"), but do I stand a chance to get in somewhere? Or should I start thinking about working on my mom's restaurant? :(

nonick
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby nonick » Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:18 am

@ hypernova


It is gonna be pretty tough to get into Princeton or U Chicago with your GRE scores (both PGRE and Verbal). However, I think you will be able to get into at least one of the others listed. Still, you may wanna add one more school as a safety just in case.

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secander2!
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby secander2! » Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:16 am

@Hypernova, like nonick said, Princeton and Chicago will be very hard to get into with little research and poor PGRE. Also, the fact you took the PGRE twice and they came out similar means that it will be hard to play the "fluke" card. Also, since you're doing theory, the PGRE is pretty important. Unless you have bonus points from some other category not listed on your profile (e.g. you know people at Princeton and Chicago who want you, or you can write a killer SOP, etc...), I would guess that Princeton, Chicago, and maybe even Michigan might be serious stretches. But if you've got the money for the application fees, go for it!!! Anything can happen and if you get accepted by all the schools you applied to, then you didn't choose a very good list of schools, so it's good to have some "reach" schools.

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xudis149
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby xudis149 » Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:28 am

@secander2, nonick and others too

guys please comment on my profile...is my list fine?

here are the features in brief..
*Bachelors in electrical engineering.. with just average grades...
*PGRE 940, 92%le ... :) the only good factor i guess
*Research in embedded systems. [not physics]
*Zero research in physics :(
*one of the recommender's will be a physicist

nonick
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby nonick » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:08 pm

@ sidharthsp

look at this: http://www.physicsgre.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1925. That pretty much describes your situation. i think you will definitely get into some of the top 20 - top 50 schools, but with no research in physics, it will be a tough one for the top 20.

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xudis149
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby xudis149 » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:21 pm

@nonick

I guess you are right..
do you think my school list is ok..

I am interested in experimental HEP.
Last edited by xudis149 on Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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secander2!
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby secander2! » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:39 pm

It looks like a good list to me, and I don't think you're shooting too high since it's always good to have some "reach" schools. The EE experience, especially the device drivers bit (and maybe the embedded systems although I don't honestly have any idea what embedded systems are, so I can't really say), would be quite valuable in a HEP-experimental context where the building and operation of detectors has, at least for the past ten years, held at least as large a role as the physics program itself.

Even if you're not sure that you want to do HEP, it's probably best to "sound" sure in your SOP. Avoid saying mushy things about how much you love physics: since you come from an EE background, such statements will make you look like you don't know what you're getting into. Be sure to spin your experience in such a way as to indicate that you know what HEP research is like and perhaps how you'd be able to contribute to an HEP group even before the LHC starts taking real data (probably 2010 at best), assuming that you want to work with the LHC of course. Also, look around on the faculty websites to get ideas as to how your experience is similar to their research.

You're definitely up against some challenges because you're from India and because you have an EE degree, but it looks like you're up to the challenge! Best of luck, and bear in mind that everything I said is just my 2 cents, I'm not an admissions councilor!

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valentino
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby valentino » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:39 pm

question: will it matter if i instead (of HEP) declare that i'm going into cond-mat theory, which im really also interested in anyway? im asking this thinking of the following:
1. does shifting to the pool of cmp-theory give me a better chance? (cmp-theorists, take no offense) or will it instead lessen the chances since i think more people apply with this interest?
2. one publication is in statistical mechanics.

nonick, what's your take on my profile?

Hypernova
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby Hypernova » Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:28 pm

Thanks for the comments secander and nonick. I think you're too kind by saying it's "very tough" or "serious stretches". It needs a miracle, really. (and whether it's called miracle because it won't happen or it's called miracle because there is a (very small or negligible) chance that can happen is up to debate :) ). I'm more concern about safety school. Do you still think there is not enough safeties? Any recommendation? It's hard to ask for more recommendation letters at this point, but maybe I can.

@sidharthsp: My comment won't be any useful, but I think you got the list right on. Even a bit too low I think. I mean, your profile is better than me, but... Well, forget it :oops:

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secander2!
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby secander2! » Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:53 pm

@hypernova, I just don't know how they'll treat an Asian international who has done his undergrad in the US. If they treat you more like a domestic, then places like Florida should be pretty safe. If they treat you like an international, then places like Florida and UO shouldn't be taken for granted. My guess is that they'll treat you more like a domestic (you're not from China, and you did your undergrad in the US), thus, your list is probably ok, however, if there are other schools that are lower ranked which you're interested in, you might want to consider adding some of those.

tmc
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby tmc » Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:35 pm

Should be treated as a domestic for application, but international for funding

nonick
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby nonick » Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:10 am

@ valentino

If you know that you want to do condensed matter, i think you should state that. You don't wanna get into a school that doesn't have any openings for the condensed matter research you want to do. Also it is much easier in the SOP to talk about why you want to do research in a certain field if you really wanna do it, as opposed to lie. Also, I had the impression that HEP is more competitive than CM, so I don't really see why you would choose to say that you want to do HEP.

Apart from that I think your profile looks very strong. Don't worry from being from a country that does not produce too many Physicist going to the states, that is probably better than being from India or China where each year there are hundreds of people applying to grad schools here. Also your research work looks impressive, so unless something really screws up, you will get into good places.

nonick
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby nonick » Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:16 am

@ sidharthsp

I agree with hypernova. You should be able to get into most of the schools that you are applying to right now, but you should probably add at least one reach school (two will be even better).

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xudis149
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby xudis149 » Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:44 am

@hypernova

I think you have a decent chance at least in the lower half of your list, also because you u did ur undergad in usa and have research experience .. something which I am dearly missing....

@hypernova & nonick

I am thinking of adding two or three out of PSU, rutgers, northwestern, UT austin, UMD??
i honestly do not want to give a penny to the top 10 schools...my chances are really NIL..
i think till top 30 schools are "reach" for me... I would be lucky to get into a TOP 50 hopefully.
Please do suggest which two or three I should take..

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valentino
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby valentino » Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:55 am

Thanks nonick.

The things is, i'd like to work in HEP. but if, as you say, the competition is tight there, i don't have a problem with going into cond mat instead. i am really interested in field theoretic methods, which has its context in HEP and in cond mat as well.

my SOP right now is written with HEP research as my target. do you think that changing to cond mat will make a SIGNIFICANT improvement to my chances? personally, i don't think so. but i'm asking to be sure because if it does then i will consider that change. it would still be fair anyway since like i said i also like certain aspects of cond mat.

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Helio
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby Helio » Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:06 am

hey meowful doesn't michigan have a planetary science phd in their AOSS department?

bencpp
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby bencpp » Sat Dec 13, 2008 12:57 pm

valentino, your background is very strong, don't worry. As you can see in the 2008 profile, there are very few applicants have the background as strong as you (less than 10% probably). However, I have a question about you in fact. What is the research area of your PRE paper?

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valentino
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby valentino » Sun Dec 14, 2008 4:55 am

thanks bencpp. statistical mechanics, specifically the generalized langevin equation. why do you ask?

bencpp
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby bencpp » Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:48 am

valentino wrote:thanks bencpp. statistical mechanics, specifically the generalized langevin equation. why do you ask?

Your PRE paper focused on statistical mechanics rather than other interdisciplinary subjects such as biophysics might be helpful for you to apply HEP. I think the fact that you have a PRE paper strongly show that you have the competence to do a "complete research", which is cruical for a promising research scientist.

Hypernova
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby Hypernova » Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:44 pm

I agree with bencpp. Your paper should make you a quite strong applicant. Research experience doesn't tell much compare to paper, which say that you did and you did sucessfully. I'm still think that you should add a top school. I think you have a chance, honestly.

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valentino
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby valentino » Sun Dec 14, 2008 8:25 pm

well i dropped brown in favor of cornell. most top schools have dec 15 deadline, what else can i add if ever? just curious, i'm currently satisfied with my list.

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meowful
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby meowful » Sun Dec 14, 2008 11:25 pm

Helio wrote:hey meowful doesn't michigan have a planetary science phd in their AOSS department?


This is a very good point. Right now I'm thinking I'll apply to the astronomy department because I'm interested in the dynamics of planetary systems but not so interested in their atmospheres or geology, and the faculty whose research I find most interesting are in the astronomy department. I'm having a similar dilemma on which department to apply to at all CalTech and may end up opting for the Earth and Planetary Science department vs. the Astronomy department. Another complication is that I'm also very interested in extrasolar planets, which seems to usually be an area of research for astronomy departments vs. planetary science departments. :/

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Helio
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Re: Discussion of 2009 Profiles

Postby Helio » Mon Dec 15, 2008 12:15 am

meowful wrote:
Helio wrote:hey meowful doesn't michigan have a planetary science phd in their AOSS department?


This is a very good point. Right now I'm thinking I'll apply to the astronomy department because I'm interested in the dynamics of planetary systems but not so interested in their atmospheres or geology, and the faculty whose research I find most interesting are in the astronomy department. I'm having a similar dilemma on which department to apply to at all CalTech and may end up opting for the Earth and Planetary Science department vs. the Astronomy department. Another complication is that I'm also very interested in extrasolar planets, which seems to usually be an area of research for astronomy departments vs. planetary science departments. :/


ohh okay, well i just know somebody who graduated from michigan in the AOSS department, but on the atmosphere of titan.

Anyway... I am still not sure about UIUC whether to apply for astronomy or physics... i opted for physics (because of my degree and maybe changing my emphasis to particle physics) and hope that they maybe move my application there if they reject me in physics.




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