this is really serious

  • 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.
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blackcat007
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Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:14 am

this is really serious

Postby blackcat007 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:59 am

i mailed to some of the profs in U of Toronto for my grad school admission inquiry, being a mech engg i am a bit concerned about my grad school admission.

I wrote :
Sir,
I am pre final year Mechanical Engg student studying at ISMU,
dhanbad, India, whose selection is done by the prestigious IITJEE. I want to change my field of study to Theoretical physics basically in the field of cosmology and gravitational physics. I have taken my GRE and scored 1420 (Q790 V630) and will be taking physics GRE in this coming november(since it is held only in november in india) . I want to apply to university of Toronto for my graduate studies for fall 2010. However,its written in the graduate website that you require the applicants to have physics background, having an engineering
background, am i a potential applicant then? I am attaching my CV.
Please advise.


and this is what they wrote
Dear Nilanjan,
Prof. Mike Luke asked me to respond to your question.
Thank you for your enquiry about graduate studies at the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto. All our latest application information is available at: http://www.physics.utoronto.ca/graduate ... sions.html and yes, with a Mechanical Eng degree your background in Physics will be considered insufficient for graduate studies in Physics here. Students do have an option to either enroll in a undergraduate program in Physics leading to a BSc (for information on the procedure please check http://www.adm.utoronto.ca/) or become special students at either undergraduate or graduate level. Special students are non-degree students which means that they take courses but they will not be getting a degree. (Normally for students with a Physics-related undergraduate degree one year (8 months) of taking senior level undergraduate Physics courses (4-6 half courses) should be enough and the following year you could apply for graduate school.
Either option is expensive for international students. Please check the Fees website at http://www.fees.utoronto.ca/site4.aspx and let me know if you have further questions.

Sincerely, Krystyna Biel


i feel quite dejected.. :cry:

i had written to some other profs of american uni's like purdue, even princeton but they replied with a +ve statement, saying that since i have taken quite a no of courses in physics and in addition have attended summer schools and will be doing a proj this summer i will be a potential applicant., but ofcourse they mentioned that the application procedure is competitive. .. but this reply has really taken me aback..

what do you guys think?

nonick
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Re: this is really serious

Postby nonick » Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:33 pm

An advice from me. Whenever you write to people that could potentially decide your future, try to use proper grammar, punctuation, etc.
The style of your email is OK for a forum like this, but I believe it is unacceptable for an email to a potential adviser. If I were a professor and had received an email written like that, I would just immediately put it into trash, without even bothering replying. I know, perhaps, I am vain, but many of the professors in the top schools are probably vain too...

Just for future reference, use this version of your email:

Dear Mr.(Ms.) [insert name],

I am a student at ISMU - Dhanbad, India, and I am expecting to finish my Bachelor's (Master's) degree in [insert month/year]. While my concentration is Mechanical Engineering, I am interested in studying Theoretical Physics, in particular, cosmology and gravitational physics. I have taken the general GRE and my scores are Quantitative: 790, Verbal: 630, Writing: [insert score]. I will be taking the physics GRE in the coming November.
I am interested in applying to University of Toronto's graduate physics program for Fall 2010. However, on your website you state that you require the applicants to have physics background. Will that be a problem for me, considering my engineering background?
I am attaching my CV for reference.

Thank you for your prompt response.

Sincerely,
[your name]
Last edited by nonick on Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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elzoido238
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Re: this is really serious

Postby elzoido238 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:01 pm

nonick wrote: ...try to use proper grammar...


Try to use proper grammar when giving students advice on using proper grammar.

Instead of "...I am expected to finish my Bachelor's degree..." use "I am expecting to finish my Bachelor's degree..."

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

Re: this is really serious

Postby evilclaw2321 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:05 pm

besides the whole grammar thing you just have to keep in mind that there are differences between canadian schools and US schools and its possible that US schools are just more open to different undergraduate background that canadian ones (or maybe its just toronto not sure). It's clearly not personal its just their departmental policy and if you really want to go there they told you your options. If your not dying to go to toronto then theres plenty of other schools whose policy is different and thats where you apply.

nonick
Posts: 123
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:16 pm

Re: this is really serious

Postby nonick » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:06 pm

elzoido238 wrote:
nonick wrote: ...try to use proper grammar...


Try to use proper grammar when giving students advice on using proper grammar.

Instead of "...I am expected to finish my Bachelor's degree..." use "I am expecting to finish my Bachelor's degree..."

oops :oops:

babazula
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:59 pm

Re: this is really serious

Postby babazula » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:33 pm

Also, A good response does not mean an acceptance. Here are some responses that I got before appliying to graduate schools. ( It turns out that I got rejections rom all of them )


Dear BaBaZuLa,

I would be very happy to have you as a graduate student. I am very
interested in the Mirror Symmetry and non-BPS states in Supersymmetric
gauge theories.

Are you planning to start in [name of the University] this Fall ? If so I will contact the
relevant people. I am sure you will be admitted with your background.

Regards,
[Name of the Professor]




Dear BaBaZuLa,

Thank you for your message and interest.
Yes, we would be delighted in having excellent students like you at [name of the university].
I personaly would be able to supervise in your studies, so I would
like to encourage you apply soon.

Best regards,

[Name of the Professor]




Dear BaBaZuLa

Thank you for your kind message.

I am very interested in your application.
I will consult our Graduate Chair about the application process and will let you know
ASAP about the process.

Regards,

[Name of the Proessor]



After I got rejections from all of those schools, I understood that emailing professors is not a necessary, and most importantly not a striking step of the application process. Just take good care of your PGRE, GPA,... That's all what matters eventually.

blackcat007
Posts: 378
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:14 am

Re: this is really serious

Postby blackcat007 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:04 pm

nonick wrote:An advice from me. Whenever you write to people that could potentially decide your future, try to use proper grammar, punctuation, etc.
The style of your email is OK for a forum like this, but I believe it is unacceptable for an email to a potential adviser. If I were a professor and had received an email written like that, I would just immediately put it into trash, without even bothering replying. I know, perhaps, I am vain, but many of the professors in the top schools are probably vain too...

Just for future reference, use this version of your email:

Dear Mr.(Ms.) [insert name],

I am a student at ISMU - Dhanbad, India, and I am expecting to finish my Bachelor's (Master's) degree in [insert month/year]. While my concentration is Mechanical Engineering, I am interested in studying Theoretical Physics, in particular, cosmology and gravitational physics. I have taken the general GRE and my scores are Quantitative: 790, Verbal: 630, Writing: [insert score]. I will be taking the physics GRE in the coming November.
I am interested in applying to University of Toronto's graduate physics program for Fall 2010. However, on your website you state that you require the applicants to have physics background. Will that be a problem for me, considering my engineering background?
I am attaching my CV for reference.

Thank you for your prompt response.

Sincerely,
[your name]

Noted!!! .. thanks a lot.. i will keep that in mind in the future.

blackcat007
Posts: 378
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:14 am

Re: this is really serious

Postby blackcat007 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:10 pm

evilclaw2321 wrote:besides the whole grammar thing you just have to keep in mind that there are differences between canadian schools and US schools and its possible that US schools are just more open to different undergraduate background that canadian ones (or maybe its just toronto not sure). It's clearly not personal its just their departmental policy and if you really want to go there they told you your options. If your not dying to go to toronto then theres plenty of other schools whose policy is different and thats where you apply.



do you really think so? hmm could be..
well actually to be frank i am not that much interested in going to canada , my first preference is american schools.. but due to this engg background i was thinking that getting a MS from a canadian school would allow me to goto the top american schools for a PhD. and i heard that getting stipend for MS in canada is relatively easier than in america.

well whatever it is, after this reply i am surely not applying U of Toronto..

blackcat007
Posts: 378
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:14 am

Re: this is really serious

Postby blackcat007 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:15 pm

babazula wrote:Also, A good response does not mean an acceptance. Here are some responses that I got before appliying to graduate schools. ( It turns out that I got rejections rom all of them )


Dear BaBaZuLa,

I would be very happy to have you as a graduate student. I am very
interested in the Mirror Symmetry and non-BPS states in Supersymmetric
gauge theories.

Are you planning to start in [name of the University] this Fall ? If so I will contact the
relevant people. I am sure you will be admitted with your background.

Regards,
[Name of the Professor]




Dear BaBaZuLa,

Thank you for your message and interest.
Yes, we would be delighted in having excellent students like you at [name of the university].
I personaly would be able to supervise in your studies, so I would
like to encourage you apply soon.

Best regards,

[Name of the Professor]




Dear BaBaZuLa

Thank you for your kind message.

I am very interested in your application.
I will consult our Graduate Chair about the application process and will let you know
ASAP about the process.

Regards,

[Name of the Proessor]



After I got rejections from all of those schools, I understood that emailing professors is not a necessary, and most importantly not a striking step of the application process. Just take good care of your PGRE, GPA,... That's all what matters eventually.

yes this is really true, i had such +ve talks with a prof of heidelberg about the prospective of a summer project, and from his reply i thought i was sure to get it. but then he never replied.

i promise, when i will be a prof one day, i will never delude the students.. :D

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

Re: this is really serious

Postby evilclaw2321 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:21 pm

blackcat007 wrote:do you really think so? hmm could be..
well actually to be frank i am not that much interested in going to canada , my first preference is american schools.. but due to this engg background i was thinking that getting a MS from a canadian school would allow me to goto the top american schools for a PhD. and i heard that getting stipend for MS in canada is relatively easier than in america.

well whatever it is, after this reply i am surely not applying U of Toronto..


Well it is true that canadian schools generally gauruntee funding for MS while american schools do not always for MS. However they also do not waive tuition so it can be expensive still. Also university of toronto is one of the best canadian schools, if youre still interested in pursuing that line try like simon fraser, st marys, ubc, alberta, some of the others.

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secander2!
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Re: this is really serious

Postby secander2! » Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:37 am

@blackcat007, don't get dejected. Other candidates from engineering backgrounds have clearly been accepted into high quality physics programs (such as sidharthsp). If you're sending an email with imperfect grammar and without yet having a solid PGRE score to show that your interest is genuine, it could be very difficult for professors to take your seriously. Rock the PGRE, use nonick's corrections, and then start emailing profs. It will probably help you get much better responses.


Also, I just have to add my two cents on grammar ...
elzoido238 wrote:Instead of "...I am expected to finish my Bachelor's degree..." use "I am expecting to finish my Bachelor's degree..."

Maybe I've just been living outside of the US for too long, but I thought that "I am expected to finish my Bachelor's degree" was still proper grammar even though it is in the passive tense. True it sounds a bit odd, so I still agree with elzoido238 that the active tense: "I am expecting to finish my Bachelor's degree..." or "I expect to finish my Bachelor's degree" is definitely better.

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elzoido238
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Re: this is really serious

Postby elzoido238 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:57 pm

The sentence

"I am expected to finish my Bachelor's degree in May, 2009,"

is improper grammar because it uses a mixed verb tense; the verb am is the first-person singular, present indicative tense of the verb be and the verb expected is the past participle of the verb expect (whereas expecting is the present participle of expect). It is considered improper grammar to change tense in the middle of a sentence.

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Julius_Sumner_Miller
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Re: this is really serious

Postby Julius_Sumner_Miller » Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:41 pm

Gosh, I must be on the wrong forum. I thought this was for prospective physics students, not English majors. I'm amazed you guys are so picky about grammar, considering the average verbal and writing GRE scores of the profiles on this site. When it comes to writing to professors/bosses/etc. I think short and sweet is better than elegant and grammatically correct, show that you value this person's time by not wasting it, just my two cents.









"Grammar is my business"

cato88
Posts: 420
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Re: this is really serious

Postby cato88 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:44 pm

The physics forums in general seem to have an odd disposition towards being picky about grammar I think its probably due to older posters/posters not very active on the internet. I think mirroring(Do as the person youre communicating with) is the best with slightly-pretty formal in first contact.

kaosgrace
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Re: this is really serious

Postby kaosgrace » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:53 pm

elzoido238 wrote:The sentence

"I am expected to finish my Bachelor's degree in May, 2009,"

is improper grammar because it uses a mixed verb tense; the verb am is the first-person singular, present indicative tense of the verb be and the verb expected is the past participle of the verb expect (whereas expecting is the present participle of expect). It is considered improper grammar to change tense in the middle of a sentence.


Nope, sorry. "I am expected" is the correct first person, present tense, passive voice form. A similar construction would be "Rain is expected later today." Changing "expected" to "expecting" changes the whole meaning: the sentence becomes present progressive tense, active voice.

Frankly, I don't think either the present progressive or the passive construction is desirable in this particular circumstance. I would simply use "I expect."

cato88
Posts: 420
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Re: this is really serious

Postby cato88 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:03 pm

Nobody wins when an argument on grammar is started.

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monocles
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Re: this is really serious

Postby monocles » Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:35 pm

cato88 wrote:Nobody wins when an argument on grammar is started.


everyone loses :( :( :oops: :cry:

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twistor
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Re: this is really serious

Postby twistor » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:03 am

THIS IS TEH INTERNETS WER GRAMMIR AND SPELING DONT' APPLY. LOL!!!11

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quizivex
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Re: this is really serious

Postby quizivex » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:15 am

cato88 wrote:Nobody wins when an argument on grammar is started.

Nobody wins when an argument on grammer is started, period! :shock:

blackcat007
Posts: 378
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:14 am

Re: this is really serious

Postby blackcat007 » Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:03 am

secander2! wrote:@blackcat007, don't get dejected. Other candidates from engineering backgrounds have clearly been accepted into high quality physics programs (such as sidharthsp). If you're sending an email with imperfect grammar and without yet having a solid PGRE score to show that your interest is genuine, it could be very difficult for professors to take your seriously. Rock the PGRE, use nonick's corrections, and then start emailing profs. It will probably help you get much better responses.


Also, I just have to add my two cents on grammar ...
elzoido238 wrote:Instead of "...I am expected to finish my Bachelor's degree..." use "I am expecting to finish my Bachelor's degree..."

Maybe I've just been living outside of the US for too long, but I thought that "I am expected to finish my Bachelor's degree" was still proper grammar even though it is in the passive tense. True it sounds a bit odd, so I still agree with elzoido238 that the active tense: "I am expecting to finish my Bachelor's degree..." or "I expect to finish my Bachelor's degree" is definitely better.

thanks a lot.. i really forgot about sidharth.. i will keep this in mind...

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xudis149
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Re: this is really serious

Postby xudis149 » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:01 am

blackcat007 wrote:
secander2! wrote:@blackcat007, don't get dejected. Other candidates from engineering backgrounds have clearly been accepted into high quality physics programs (such as sidharthsp).


thanks a lot.. i really forgot about sidharth.. i will keep this in mind...


Gulp….ahem... humbled .. :)

wasfou
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Re: this is really serious

Postby wasfou » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:28 pm

blackcat007 wrote:well whatever it is, after this reply i am surely not applying U of Toronto..


You will absolutely get a different response from a Professor than you would from someone like Krystyna Biel, who is the administrative staff for Graduate Students in the Dept. of Physics at UofT. She is the one that goes through applications and makes decisions with the Graduate Chair on who gets admitted in the program. She will not care whether your grammar is strong or not, just what it is you're saying. What she gave you was an honest and OBJECTIVE response on the Department's policies and it is important to remain consistent across the board, as this is what maintains the University's standards and ALSO ensures your success in the program.

Professors will look at your interested areas of research and will either tell you that this correlates with their research or doesn't. They only care about you contributing to their research's efforts, provided you make it through the administrative loops.

Now whether you took the response personally is truly your problem. The response was anything but personal and was very professional.

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Dorian_Mode
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Re: this is really serious

Postby Dorian_Mode » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:24 pm

That was an impressively late reply.

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HappyQuark
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Re: this is really serious

Postby HappyQuark » Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:41 pm

Image

bloggo11
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Re: this is really serious

Postby bloggo11 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:01 am

Good to bear in mind: decisions on admissions are made by a committee of professors who read everything -- your transcripts, your personal statement about your career ambitions, letters of recommendation. They'll debate whether you have enough Physics background, but it would be really unusual for a mechanical engineering student to have a sufficient background (I'm an MS Eng and a MSc Physics, plus PhD Physics, so I'm pretty familiar). Admin assistants just assist with the admin, ;-), they don't make decisions... BUT they've usually seen it all. They can save you wasting your admission fee, whereas at some places they're willing to take your money and then say 'sorry' -- they don't even provide this quick-look advice, before you pay a fee up-front. That said, if you're basically anywhere close then admin assistants won't turn you off applying.

Also good to bear in mind: you're up against people with higher GREs, more research experience, AND they have a full background in Physics, including high-level quantum mechanics to Dirac equation, general relativity, high-level mathematical methods in physics and such materials that even the very best mechanical engineering schools in the world will not think it very relevant to cover.

A late response! But I hope it's helpful to someone new.




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