Acceptance Estimator, for Graduate School

  • 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.

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Acceptance Estimator, for Graduate School

Postby uranium » Thu May 21, 2009 1:00 am

Why don't we have one for physics graduate schools?

Somebody start making one please!

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Re: Acceptance Estimator, for Graduate School

Postby cato88 » Thu May 21, 2009 1:26 am

that would be really useful

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Re: Acceptance Estimator, for Graduate School

Postby pqortic » Thu May 21, 2009 5:52 am

I wonder what database they use.

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Re: Acceptance Estimator, for Graduate School

Postby twistor » Thu May 21, 2009 9:47 am

It's interesting to see how it behaves, though.

For instance, based on the same information applied to physics programs with, my CS score was initially 111.

Now I start tweaking 1 thing at a time, keeping other things equal.

If I change my QGRE score from 710 to 800, my score is 123.
Same thing happens if I change my VGRE score to 800.
If I change them both to 800, my score is 137.
If I drop my GPA from 4.00 to 3.00, my score goes waaaaaaaaaaay down to 38.
If I leave it at 3.00, but have a full scholarship it's up to 58.
If I have a highly negative review by my lead letter writer, my score is -3!!!
Lead letter writer = nobody special --> 58
Lead letter writer known to committee --> 122.

And just for shits and giggles, a perfect app has a score of 186.

Any ideas what it means to be "a member of a highly favored group?"I didn't include that in my version of a "perfect app" because to me it implies some kind of favoritism.

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Re: Acceptance Estimator, for Graduate School

Postby Mataka » Thu May 21, 2009 11:53 am

Any ideas what it means to be "a member of a highly favored group?"

A black American women, handicapped, and blind ;)

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Re: Acceptance Estimator, for Graduate School

Postby twistor » Thu May 21, 2009 1:37 pm

You left out 'gay.'

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Re: Acceptance Estimator, for Graduate School

Postby noojens » Thu May 21, 2009 2:36 pm

That thing is almost completely useless, since the only data it seems to draw on is the fluff schools put up on their websites. Now, if someone compiled a database using the information in the profiles threads (we're getting up to a decent sample size) we'd be getting somewhere. Volunteers? :)

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Re: Acceptance Estimator, for Graduate School

Postby quizivex » Thu May 28, 2009 5:49 am

noojens wrote:That thing is almost completely useless.
I disagree... It's completely useless, lol. All it does is use an arbitrary formula to calculate a weighted average of the components of one's application and compare it to arbitrary values they assigned to each program.

-Firstly, the relative importance of things like GPA, GRE, Recs, whether you have a major in the desired field, Minority Status etc... vary by school and are not published. The published data on page 2 only give some averages and cutoffs for GPA and test scores, so your "estimator" results can't really be based on more than these, which clearly aren't enough to give a sensible estimate. This thing can't prentend to evaluate your whole application with that magical weighted average "score" which it says it does.

Even the categorical questions don't make sense...

-Students aren't going to know what their recs say, and even if they've seen them, how "good" they are according to each committee. Nor will they know how good their own SOP is... what they say could be liked by some schools and disliked by others. We may make reasonable predictions about these, as we often do in our profile thread for instance, but to quantify our recs is ridiculous.

-The formula used here could only be accurate if it reflects the formula used by each school. But again these aren't published, and most schools don't even use formulas. It comes down to individual profs, on a committee which changes each year, looking at individual apps and evaluating them however they see fit.

-The formula doesn't even consider the strength of one's undergrad program (which obviously influences how GPA is interpreted).

-By twistor's experiment, it seems the VGRE and QGRE are equally important... downwright wrong for most schools.

From all this, you can't possibly estimate "chances" at a particular school. All the system seems to do is say that better stats give a higher weighted average which gives a higher chance of admission at a given school, and a stronger school requires better stats. DUHHHHH!!! Don't we already know that? The system really isn't personalized to each program's individual preferences and idiosyncrasies. It looks like it's based only on an overall prestige number for each program. The estimator bars are vague and and all you can infer from them is... likely admitted, probably, maybe, probably not, you're screwed... Is that helpful? People already know what schools are reaches and what are safeties, and for schools in the middle, is getting a "probably" vs. a "maybe" from this system going to influence anyone's decisions?

I can't go through every imaginable reason why that system is garbage, but I hope enough people here realize this so that nobody embarrasses our field by trying to create one for physics students, lol.

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