Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

  • 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.

dsperka
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:39 pm

Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby dsperka » Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:06 pm

First of all, to everyone who hasn't gotten in anywhere, I'm very sorry and don't mean to cause any hurt feelings. I am not the kind of person who likes to has his ego stroked at all. I've actually turned down a few places already to make room for others, so I hope you believe me when I say that we are all in this together. But...

I wasn't expecting to get in at so many different places. I applied for like 8 REU's last year, and didn't get in anywhere. I knew that grad school would be easier, especially for white guys from big schools, but I still felt like my application had weak points, mainly my GPA. That's why I applied to the schools I did. I really regret not applying just a couple super reach schools, because now I'll never know.

That being said, I am starting this topic to hear feedback from anybody who wants to give it. You can give serious advice, make fun of me, whatever. I just want to get the most information I can about the schools I've been accepted at, check my post in the profile thread. What I really don't want to hear though is "it's whatever feels right to you blah blah blah" sentimental crap. I want your opinions on the physics departments, the cities, the reputations, etc.

Anyone else who wishes to get similar feedback on their profiles feel free to post.

User avatar
dlenmn
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:19 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby dlenmn » Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:29 pm

UCSD, go somewhere warm...

Are you set on experiential HEP/done with plasma/undecided?

Mentioning your choices would be useful for folks who don't want to dig up your profile.

dsperka
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:39 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby dsperka » Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:44 pm

Yea, so I'll list my choices with some pros and cons. I'm pretty set on HEP expt, I was very specific in my statement of purpose. I guess it could change though if I am smart enough for theory (yea right).

UCSD pro: warm, highly ranked con:from what I hear, lacking socially
UC Davis pro: met some professors, they were nice con: low ranked, boring city
McGill pro: awesome city, less teaching duties, master program so could maybe transfer up con: don't know how it ranks
Boston pro: awesome city, large HEP expt group con: lower ranked
NYU pro: awesome city con: small hep expt group, lower ranked
JHU pro: high ranked program, decent city con: city also kind of ghetto

Waiting on UCLA, Washington, Colorado

Brandeis, Florida already out.

User avatar
coreycwgriffin
Posts: 249
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:28 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby coreycwgriffin » Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:49 pm

Just my two cents: I really like McGill and Montreal. It's like going to a European city without leaving the continent.

evilclaw2321
Posts: 118
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:51 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby evilclaw2321 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:59 pm

I will also throw my vote in for mcgill. My most respected professor at my inst who's a well known cosmology theorist spoke very very highly of mcgill and their program. I believe he did a post doc there. Several other professors in my dept also mentioned it when i was asking about canadian schools. Also montreal is a pretty nice place.

User avatar
coreycwgriffin
Posts: 249
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:28 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby coreycwgriffin » Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:04 pm

One of my professors also collaborates with a group at McGill studying multifractal cloud simulations and associated optical transmissions. Kinda neat stuff.

User avatar
Helio
Posts: 809
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby Helio » Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:20 pm

i have no clue about canadian schools,but from the list you have atm. I would pick UCSD. if UCLA (if they ever get their act together) or Washington come in I could say Washington (even with the low pay) because they have a larger variety of projects (not just CMS) and i prefer Seattle over this hell hole that LA is. piece of advice..... VISIT!!!!!! :P

dsperka
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:39 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby dsperka » Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:36 pm

Helio wrote:piece of advice..... VISIT!!!!!! :P


I definitely want to visit, but McGill's acceptance said they want a decision by March 5th (apparently Canadian schools don't go by the April 15th rule) and BU and NYU both have their visiting weekends the 27th!!! This is part of the reason I am already worrying about this.

So in your guys opinions, if you threw McGill in the US News rankings, where do you think it would be? I don't mean school by school, but like a range just so I could get an idea.

cato88
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:46 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby cato88 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:55 pm

Montreal is an awesome city. The nightlife is pretty cool. The city is great and gives you an excuse to learn french but you dont have to because a whole lot of people speak english. French canadian girls, Emmanuelle Chriqui is from Montreal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YK60T5ccVIk. Food was good too and it wasnt any colder than other northeastern i recall.


Ranking I dont know but I always hear people speak highly of McGill
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Ivies

dsperka
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:39 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby dsperka » Sat Feb 14, 2009 12:39 am

cato88 wrote:French canadian girls, Emmanuelle Chriqui is from Montreal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YK60T5ccVIk.



:shock: Are all the girls that hot!? haha.

Unfortunately, I can't base my entire decision on the cities. I need to know that McGill would at least keep my hopes alive of being a professor, and maybe not just in Canada. Does anyone have any opinions on doing a masters there and then applying again in a couple years? Would I be a stronger or a weaker candidate?

User avatar
Helio
Posts: 809
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby Helio » Sat Feb 14, 2009 12:54 am

dsperka wrote:
cato88 wrote:French canadian girls, Emmanuelle Chriqui is from Montreal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YK60T5ccVIk.



:shock: Are all the girls that hot!? haha.

Unfortunately, I can't base my entire decision on the cities. I need to know that McGill would at least keep my hopes alive of being a professor, and maybe not just in Canada. Does anyone have any opinions on doing a masters there and then applying again in a couple years? Would I be a stronger or a weaker candidate?



If you want a ton of hot girls run around in little clothes on a daily basis you should just go to SD :P

cato88
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:46 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby cato88 » Sat Feb 14, 2009 12:59 am

Helio wrote:
If you want a ton of hot girls run around in little clothes on a daily basis you should just go to SD :P


Depends on the type of girl. The SD girl is more likely to be blonde with enhancements.

cato88
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:46 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby cato88 » Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:11 am

dsperka wrote:Unfortunately, I can't base my entire decision on the cities. I need to know that McGill would at least keep my hopes alive of being a professor, and maybe not just in Canada. Does anyone have any opinions on doing a masters there and then applying again in a couple years? Would I be a stronger or a weaker candidate?

You would be a stronger candidate for many reasons the biggest being the fact that you know professors there which is a big boost (your not application SSN# ), you are a person in their eyes. There is also the fact that youll have two years of graduate study in. I doubt that the fact that it is a Canadian school matters at all there are professors in Harvard's MIT's or UCB departments with PhD's from canadian/european schools

dsperka
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:39 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby dsperka » Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:29 am

cato88 wrote:
Helio wrote:
If you want a ton of hot girls run around in little clothes on a daily basis you should just go to SD :P


Depends on the type of girl. The SD girl is more likely to be blonde with enhancements.


I think this is actually sort of important to me. Not whether there are sleezy girls, but whether or not UCSD is really as nerdy and boring as some people say it is. Helio, have you ever been to UCSD, or know anything about it?

cato88
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:46 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby cato88 » Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:53 am

La Jolla is meh in terms of entertainment. It must of been better when you could visit tijuana without being caught in the drug war or kidnapped.

sterculus
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:16 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby sterculus » Sat Feb 14, 2009 2:49 am

It's been awhile since I was down there but from what I remember I agree with cato88 - La Jolla is kinda an upscale-suburbia type area (not particularly urban, and very expensive). I've heard some good things about McGill but I don't know how it compares to the American schools.

pqortic
Posts: 398
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:24 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby pqortic » Sat Feb 14, 2009 2:55 am

dsperka wrote:Unfortunately, I can't base my entire decision on the cities. I need to know that McGill would at least keep my hopes alive of being a professor, and maybe not just in Canada. Does anyone have any opinions on doing a masters there and then applying again in a couple years? Would I be a stronger or a weaker candidate?


you said you regret why you didn't apply to super schools(probabely, Harvard, mit, cornell... you mean), imo, it's OK to do the master in Mcgill. this school is not as reputed as ucsd but it's good school (top 3 in Canada) and you can strengthen your records (GPA, pgre or publications) and in the meanwhile visit top schools to make affiliations before you apply. I think it works if you are interested in mit, harvard, ...

evilclaw2321
Posts: 118
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:51 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby evilclaw2321 » Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:41 am

Well you could always start the masters at mcgill, usually after a year they give you the option of transferring to a phd program. So if after the first year you love it and are doing good research that your happy with then stay and finish, if not then you could end with a masters and apply somewhere else.

User avatar
coreycwgriffin
Posts: 249
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:28 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby coreycwgriffin » Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:41 am

I know it was said that the attractiveness of girls is not important, but Montreal's women are indeed very attractive, for the most part. Last time I went up there (about a year and a half ago) even just riding the metro was a thrill because of this.

confused_p
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:50 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby confused_p » Sat Feb 14, 2009 2:41 pm

Do we make our decision to grad school on the basis of sexy girls or built men or whatever your sexual orientation stuff is? I thought it to be an intellectual endeavor. --- Well, I think I should understand that '*** happens' in grad school too.

User avatar
coreycwgriffin
Posts: 249
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:28 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby coreycwgriffin » Sat Feb 14, 2009 3:12 pm

confused_p wrote:Do we make our decision to grad school on the basis of sexy girls or built men or whatever your sexual orientation stuff is? I thought it to be an intellectual endeavor. --- Well, I think I should understand that '*** happens' in grad school too.


I hope I'm not alone when I suggest that you lighten up.

dsperka
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:39 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby dsperka » Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:01 pm

Seriously, we are all going to grad school because we love physics, and we love the intellectual pursuit. But am I really the only one here who actually has other interests outside of physics? Is it taboo to want to go somewhere that will stimulate me socially as well as intellectually? I know there are at least a few people here who take serious offence to this.

So that is the crux of my problem, where can I go that will give me both worlds. I should have applied to Berkeley and U. Chicago. Oh well.

User avatar
coreycwgriffin
Posts: 249
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:28 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby coreycwgriffin » Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:21 pm

dsperka wrote:But am I really the only one here who actually has other interests outside of physics? Is it taboo to want to go somewhere that will stimulate me socially as well as intellectually?


I know I'm with you on this one. My social life as an undergraduate has been incredibly crappy. I can't wait to go to graduate school in a more populated area and be able to find more people like myself to hang out with.

excel
Posts: 257
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:33 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby excel » Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:26 pm

dsperka wrote:Seriously, we are all going to grad school because we love physics, and we love the intellectual pursuit. But am I really the only one here who actually has other interests outside of physics? Is it taboo to want to go somewhere that will stimulate me socially as well as intellectually? I know there are at least a few people here who take serious offence to this.


We PhD students spend 5-6 years at wherever we end up going. Therefore, I would say that it is important to choose a place with the kind of environment in which we feel that we would be happy. Quality of life affects prductivity, and I see no shame in paying close attention to such issues.

confused_p
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:50 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby confused_p » Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:44 pm

excel wrote:
dsperka wrote:Seriously, we are all going to grad school because we love physics, and we love the intellectual pursuit. But am I really the only one here who actually has other interests outside of physics? Is it taboo to want to go somewhere that will stimulate me socially as well as intellectually? I know there are at least a few people here who take serious offence to this.


We PhD students spend 5-6 years at wherever we end up going. Therefore, I would say that it is important to choose a place with the kind of environment in which we feel that we would be happy. Quality of life affects prductivity, and I see no shame in paying close attention to such issues.


Well, I am not offended -- I just was not thinking about the 'stuff happens' in college phrase being repeated in grad school. I understand that stuff happens but what stuff would you like to make happen?

There seems to be some confusion between what is a proper social life. It varies but importantly to what extent. For some people chilling with friends doing/talking what they would not normally talk is a relaxing social life -- for other they want to be at orgy.

I agree to all of you saying we need some fun. We are human being social instincts as well. I am, are you?

tmc
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 1:40 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby tmc » Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:57 pm

So what exactly is wrong with students who prefer going somewhere with an active nightlife?

User avatar
Helio
Posts: 809
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby Helio » Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:14 pm

tmc wrote:So what exactly is wrong with students who prefer going somewhere with an active nightlife?


You can get the puritan ideals to the sheer fact that it is sexist... somewhere in between there. You are supposed to be a pious grad that only cares for his work and no fun because that is for normal human beings

cato88
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:46 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby cato88 » Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:03 pm

confused_p wrote:Do we make our decision to grad school on the basis of sexy girls or built men or whatever your sexual orientation stuff is? I thought it to be an intellectual endeavor. --- Well, I think I should understand that '*** happens' in grad school too.

We gave him advice on the intellectual/career part and that has helped him cross of a some schools out. If he is at the point were has a few schools that satisfy his research/education/career needs, how is he supposed to decide? flip a coin? Obviously the environment is the next logical deciding factor. How would you plan on making a decision once thought has already been put into research/education/career needs?

dsperka
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:39 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby dsperka » Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:19 pm

I'm glad that I have stirred up some lively debate.

I have a specific question now. Boston U's and NYU's open houses are the same day. Any thoughts on these two head to head?

User avatar
coreycwgriffin
Posts: 249
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:28 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby coreycwgriffin » Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:54 pm

dsperka wrote:I'm glad that I have stirred up some lively debate.

I have a specific question now. Boston U's and NYU's open houses are the same day. Any thoughts on these two head to head?


Only that I've been through NYU's "campus" and I can't imagine anyone actually studying at that place...but that's just my opinion.

franziaboy
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:47 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby franziaboy » Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:49 pm

san diego lacking socially? nerdy? dude, it's in la jolla. la jolla is beautiful. people in la jolla are beautiful. the weather is amazing year around. the beach is *** fabulous. and from what i hear, it's very fun. i cant speak for the physics department, but the school and community is awesome. go to san diego.

manhattan is also fun. if you're into that and can deal with the extreme weather, go to nyu instead.

cato88
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:46 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby cato88 » Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:04 pm

The average age is for La Jolla is seven years greater than Los Angeles(Easier to compare/findstats than NYC). La Jolla is just on the more expensive side for the area. It also doesnt have a tech boom demographic. Much like Bel-Air there are some beautiful people but these people are significantly older than NYC/Montreal. It takes time for people to be able to have a job that allows to afford to live in a place like La Jolla. There are good looking people in their forty's or fun to be had at that age but it is usually not the same type of fun as someone in their late 20's/early 30's.

cato88
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:46 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby cato88 » Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:06 pm

coreycwgriffin wrote:Only that I've been through NYU's "campus" and I can't imagine anyone actually studying at that place...but that's just my opinion.

That is partly due to the fact that it is in New York city where it would be hard to have the open spaces interspersed with a few students that is synonymous with college/studying.

dsperka
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:39 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby dsperka » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:11 am

franziaboy wrote:san diego lacking socially? nerdy? dude, it's in la jolla. la jolla is beautiful. people in la jolla are beautiful. the weather is amazing year around. the beach is *** fabulous. and from what i hear, it's very fun. i cant speak for the physics department, but the school and community is awesome. go to san diego.

manhattan is also fun. if you're into that and can deal with the extreme weather, go to nyu instead.


Thanks for your opinion. My sources were Princeton Review and Yelp, and a couple friends.

confused_p
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:50 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby confused_p » Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:15 pm

I am all for having fun but that will not come before the intellectual part in making grad school choices. Good luck to you all for making decisions.

If I were you, I would go to BU but there is a good chance that I will go to NYU within the error of margin. I really understand that it is a hard decision to make.

tensorwhat
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:33 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby tensorwhat » Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:14 am

I really regret not applying just a couple super reach schools, because now I'll never know.


i'm new to all of this, but why wouldnt you have applied to everything you wanted??!

cato88
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:46 am

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby cato88 » Sat Feb 21, 2009 3:29 pm

I would assume Time/Money/Recommenders Time.

dsperka
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:39 pm

Re: Where the &%$@! Should I Go!?!?!?!

Postby dsperka » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:22 pm

tensorwhat wrote:
I really regret not applying just a couple super reach schools, because now I'll never know.


i'm new to all of this, but why wouldnt you have applied to everything you wanted??!


I guess I felt I couldn't apply everywhere I would have wanted to go, it gets pretty expensive. That along with the bad REU application experience, I thought that I might not get in anywhere at all. So I added plenty of "my level" schools and a few "super safeties." Hindsight is 20/20 you know, there's probably a bunch of people here who are in the opposite situation wondering why they didn't apply to somewhere more safe.




Return to “Prospective Physics Graduate Student Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 3 guests