A few questions from someone applying next year

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LB
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A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby LB » Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:30 pm

Before the current batch of new grad students leaves the forum, I wanted to ask a couple of questions, as I will be in a similar situation in about a year and would appreciate any advice.

- First, did you notice any correlation between applying early and acceptance? (This applies both to your experience and what you may have heard from others.)

- Second, (assuming your last semester grades were good and you applied early) did you send an updated transcript when the Fall 2008 semester was over? Do you think it made any difference?

- Finally, did anyone have a problem related to taking the GRE in October 2008? I think it's best if I take it in October rather than April (way more time to study), but I just want to make sure everything worked out well for those who did.

I realize it may be a little early to answer these questions, but there's no hurry.

Thanks, and best of luck to those of you who are still waiting for news (I'll be doing the same thing in a year--and no, I don't look forward to compulsively checking my e-mail and phone every minute.)

:)

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby coreycwgriffin » Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:35 pm

1.) Haven't been accepted yet, and I applied in early January with mostly Jan. 15 deadlines.
2.) Didn't send in my fall grades. I don't think any of my programs required me to.
3.) Any of the three GRE dates are early enough to get your scores to grad programs. Take it in October if you're planning on a tough semester, or November if you feel like the extra 3 weeks will help with studying.

tmc
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby tmc » Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:44 pm

1) No, although in some cases (universities with rolling acceptances) it may get you an earlier admission
2) I didn't (mostly because of the cost); it would probably help to do it if your grades are good
3) October is fine; November also isn't too late to take it

evilclaw2321
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby evilclaw2321 » Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:08 pm

1) I submitted applications in early December and still haven't heard a word so I don't think so.
2) I waited until my fall semester grades were on my transcript to send them, but the earliest deadline of my schools was december 31st so my transcripts arrived in time, might have been different with dec 15th deadline
3) The october GRE is fine, I took both october and november ones. Although its hard to find a lot of time to study once semester starts so study study study over the summer.

techodestructo
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby techodestructo » Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:25 pm

1) I doubt there's a correlation, but just make the deadline. I submitted my apps on the last night possible for all schools, and i've gotten into 3/6 so far.

2) not sure

3) october gives you more than enough time.

aristotle
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby aristotle » Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:47 pm

1. I think it really depends on the school. Get your stuff in early, it eases the stress, but I don't think it really affects how soon you hear back.

2. A couple of my schools (with Jan 15 deadlines), I sent fall semester transcripts. A couple (Berkeley, MIT) asked for unofficial fall grades. Overall, if they didn't ask, I didn't send them. Not sure it makes that much difference.

3. Doesn't matter, all the dates will get your scores in on time. If you want to know your score before you apply, take it October or April.

murs
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby murs » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:26 pm

I think 2 and 3 have been answered well, but as for 1:

I applied to the University of Delaware back in November and I guess I was one of the first to submit my application (March deadline). A professor emailed me a week after I submitted it saying he had read my statement of purpose and saw that I mentioned his name. I got an acceptance in early January and am flying out next week to see the school. Not that UDel is the same as Berkeley or MIT, but I found that applying early helped for me.

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Helio
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby Helio » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:53 pm

The applying early can/cannot help. Some say it shows you are interested and want to come, but in other times it can backfire (UWash deadline was Nov. 1, I submitted oct. 27 and i still haven't heard a peep). In that time you could improve your statement, etc. etc. I would say with most schools it just gives you the chance of getting all your stuff in on time, so it does not pile up and you are like sitting at home refreshing the status window to see if they have everything. Also it helps you cheat a little when you have stopped caring about school senior year. :P Smaller programs will be more personal with your app, so you might get a notification earlier if you are accepted

LB
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby LB » Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:20 pm

Thanks for your input. Based on what you said, I will try to send my applications 2-3 weeks before the deadline, but won't rush them if I feel they can be improved. I may also send updated transcripts to my top 3 choices or so.

Another question that I just thought up:

If you applied for summer REUs between your junior and senior years, was your success at getting into those programs similar to your graduate school results? I am applying to several competitive REUs for this summer and am wondering whether the results will mean anything (i.e., whether they can be interpreted as, "you're on the right track," or "you better start busting your ass if you want to go to grad school," depending on my acceptance rate.)

cato88
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby cato88 » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:01 pm

Not exactly, I am under the impression that REU's are designed to help give good students the opportunity to do research who do not have that opportunity in their home institution. A different reason than that for admitting students to grad school.

amit
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby amit » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:01 pm

LB wrote:If you applied for summer REUs between your junior and senior years, was your success at getting into those programs similar to your graduate school results?


My classmate and I both applied to a wide variety of REUs between our junior and senior year, and were summarily rejected. You can check out my info in the profiles page if you're interested. My classmate also had much better grades than me. I spoke with some profs later and got the feeling that a lot of REUs look for fresh meat... the more research experience you have, the less likely that they'll want to take you.

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twistor
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:51 pm

No.

Yes./No.

No.

abeboparebop
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby abeboparebop » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:33 pm

amit wrote:My classmate and I both applied to a wide variety of REUs between our junior and senior year, and were summarily rejected. You can check out my info in the profiles page if you're interested. My classmate also had much better grades than me. I spoke with some profs later and got the feeling that a lot of REUs look for fresh meat... the more research experience you have, the less likely that they'll want to take you.


Well, I applied to 16 REUs over the course of two summers, not having any research experience prior to either application cycle, and got rejected from all but one. It's possible they consider solely the opportunities you have to do research at your home institution, as opposed to whether or not you take advantage of those opportunities.

It's also possible that it's impossible to generalize, who knows.

sirius
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby sirius » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:00 am

I was rejected from a WSU REU but accepted for grad school. So being rejected from an REU doesnt mean anything towards grad school acceptance. I actually wasn't accepted to any REU's and was still accepted to grad school with only one REU from the summer before.

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby coreycwgriffin » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:28 am

sirius wrote:I was rejected from a WSU REU but accepted for grad school. So being rejected from an REU doesnt mean anything towards grad school acceptance. I actually wasn't accepted to any REU's and was still accepted to grad school with only one REU from the summer before.


See, I feel like my situation may be opposite. I got accepted to an REU at Stony Brook last year but have very little faith that I'll get accepted to their grad school (or any grad school...I'm in a very pessimistic mood tonight).

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quizivex
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby quizivex » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:20 am

1) No

2) I did send a updated transcripts. I only think it was required at 1 or 2 schools, but if you have strong grades and/or had a heavy set of couses that semester, it may help. Fall senior year was my most impressive semester on paper, so I definitely wanted to make it part of my application. OTOH, if you slacked off or struggled because of the attention needed for the GRE, then perhaps by submitting the apps before your semester ends, you can justify not including fall grades.

3) No problems at all! I'd advise everyone to take it in October. (If you can be prepared in April, then sure, do it then, but most of us won't be... don't rush it prematurely unless you're sure you'll get a 990.) October has so many advantages:
- Know your score BEFORE applying (duh, this may help :lol: )
- If something goes wrong, cancel your scores and retake it in November.
- You can most of your studying in the second half of the summer and it will still be fresh in your mind in October... and you can probably afford to blow off your classes for studying until October, but not November!

4) About REUs, it's natural to worry whether your success with REU applications is a precursor to your success with grad school apps, but it absolutely isn't! Every time someone brings this up, I share the following because I don't want people to get demoralized. Most of the good students here and elsewhere have had horrible sucecss rates with REUs, but did quite well with GS apps. I always laugh at the fact that I was rejected by REU programs at Wright State University (never heard of them until I applied), University of Nevada at Last Vegas ($$$haha$$$) and Lehigh (who?), but was later accepted to grad programs at Caltech, Stanford and Princeton....

Here are the basic reasons why REUs are so much harder...


---There are typically only 8-10 REU spots available, which is usually less than the size of the entering graduate class at the schools that host these programs. And there are far fewer REU sites than physics grad programs. This is offset a bit by the fact that internationals can't apply to REUs, but there are still fewer spots per domestic applicant in REUs than in G.S.

----NSF is obsessed with diversity, so over half the spots at a typical REU (Ex. 1, Ex. 2, Ex. 3) are allotted to women and underrepresented minorities. Thus, white males are at a huge disadvantage. (Graduate programs also like diversity, but they usually don't take it to extremes... I doubt the student at my REU program who had a 2.7 GPA is at grad school right now. :lol:)

---At the time students apply to REUs, middle soph or junior year, there is an infinite supply of ~4.0 students with research experience and there is no way to distinguish between them since we haven't taken the GRE or many advanced courses yet. By senior year, grad programs have much more info to distinguish among the "good" students.

---Connections sometimes play a big part in REU admissions, whether it's the student having prior communication with a prof at the program, or the prof knowing his recommender.

---The goal of some programs is give research opportunities to students who haven't had them before. Others want to bring in students who they can extract the most benefit out of in the lab. Thus, they're either bringing in the overachievers who've been doing research since high school and already have publications before junior year, or they're focusing on students from places like liberal arts schools that don't have research.

Thus overall, the typical white male student with good grades and just decent research experience is facing ridiculous odds and should apply to as many programs as possible to maximize their chance of getting in somewhere. I applied to I think 9 and was accepted to 2 and rejected by 8... (U of Oklahoma sent me both an acceptance e-mail and a rejection letter). However, I was a soph the year I applied and a few of the rejection letters insinuated they give preference to juniors, so maybe I would've done better the next year.

Edit: Damn, I completely messed up earlier, I wrote "accepted to 8 and rejected by 2, lol

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby coreycwgriffin » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:13 am

My REU was not very diverse: Image

valkyrie
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby valkyrie » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:08 pm

1) Maybe but not really? I am an international student (European) so had a lot of early deadlines, but am getting my undergrad degree in the US and am in that sense like a domestic applicant. I'm sure the fact that my applications were in a month before the regular deadlines didn't hurt, but I'm not really seeing any correlations between where they had earlier deadlines and where I'm accepted so far.

2) I did not, mostly because we write exams after Christmas so I didn't have an updated transcript until end of January. Noone asked for it and there was nothing too special about last semester as opposed to the past three years, so I basically didn't bother.

3) I took it in October and it was not a problem. I was glad to have it out of the way early, and there was some security in knowing I could retake it in November if I felt it went terrible. (If anything that made me work harder for October though - the thought of giving ETS more money and time of my life was so terrible I really, really wanted to only take it once and be done! :) )


Also, for juniors/sophomores out there on the search for research experience: there's more out there than the traditional REUs. I spent last summer in Germany via the RISE program and had a blast.

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Helio
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby Helio » Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:10 pm

valkyrie wrote:Also, for juniors/sophomores out there on the search for research experience: there's more out there than the traditional REUs. I spent last summer in Germany via the RISE program and had a blast.


I was there too... which internship did you have?

LB
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby LB » Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:28 pm

But who said I was a white American male? :P

My situation is kind of strange, actually. I'm a permanent resident (hoping to become a citizen in a couple of years), but originally from a Latin American country. I started my college education in another country and transferred here. I have no idea where that puts me as far as "minority" status, haha. At least I have a neat story to tell about how I ended up getting here and about my frustration of not having research opportunities in my home country. Hopefully that'll make my app stand out a little.

Thanks a lot for the replies, though. You people on this forum are incredibly helpful. I should know some REU results in the next couple of weeks, but I'll try not to read too much into them.

axiomofchoice
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Re: A few questions from someone applying next year

Postby axiomofchoice » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:34 pm

Also, for juniors/sophomores out there on the search for research experience: there's more out there than the traditional REUs. I spent last summer in Germany via the RISE program and had a blast.


Haha I have more a blast doing all the travel around Germany... Physics-wise, I wish my project is better organized, though.




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