Letters of Rec. or name of institution

  • 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.

astroboy
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:23 am

Letters of Rec. or name of institution

Postby astroboy » Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:48 am

I'm just about to finish my first year at university here in Australia, and have began building relationships with a few professors and researchers that will hopefully lead to some summer research opportunities and solid letters of rec. Here's the deal - I've applied to transfer to another, slightly more reputable university, at the end of the year. I think I'm in a fairly good position at the moment at my current university in terms of research prospects, and I know that in transferring I will essentially have to start over and perhaps miss out on a small research opportunity this summer. So it comes down to this - if I stay put, I may be able to garner more personal and overall higher quality letters of rec when the time comes, whereas if I transfer I will have the benefit of having a more internationally recognized university next to my name. Could anyone offer advice on what option would more greatly increase my chances of admission into a top US graduate school programm, or if it matters at all?

For the record, my current university typically ranks 6th-8th in Australia, while the university I have applied to ranks 1st-3rd, and has produced 2 Nobel laureates (both in Medicine).

User avatar
noojens
Posts: 187
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:59 pm

Re: Letters of Rec. or name of institution

Postby noojens » Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:13 pm

You're early enough in your undergrad career that switching makes sense, IMO. Just make sure you talk to your current professors about it, and preferably get the one who knows (and likes) you best to agree to write you a letter of recommendation sometime down the line.

Out of curiosity, if your goal is to do a PhD in the US, why not transfer to a US undergrad institution now? Admissions are certainly less competitive for US citizens and foreign nationals than for international students.

astroboy
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:23 am

Re: Letters of Rec. or name of institution

Postby astroboy » Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:31 pm

I just returned from the US earlier this year (dual citizenship). I chose specifically to do my undergrad in Australia primarily because the financial aid scheme is fantastic here, and the unversities available to me far outweighed what was available to me in the US.

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Letters of Rec. or name of institution

Postby grae313 » Sun Sep 27, 2009 11:26 pm

Most people don't start research until their junior year. Transfer to a better school and get a research position there, and you're still ahead of the game research-wise. You'll still have plenty of time to build up solid letters.

User avatar
noojens
Posts: 187
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:59 pm

Re: Letters of Rec. or name of institution

Postby noojens » Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:37 pm

Oh word, dual citizenship. Lucky you :) Australia's one of the few countries that allows dual citizenship with the US (and vice versa), ya?

astroboy
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:23 am

Re: Letters of Rec. or name of institution

Postby astroboy » Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:57 am

One of, yes. :)

With regards to original question... My brother in law is actually a postdoc at my current university, and has offered to put me in touch with another researcher (and friend) who happens to have strong ties to MIT and Caltech (worked as postdoc at MIT for 5 years, continues to collaborate). Worth staying for, or still opt to transfer?
Last edited by astroboy on Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

Mataka
Posts: 160
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:05 am

Re: Letters of Rec. or name of institution

Postby Mataka » Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:57 am

How far is the other university ?

Could you still move to the better university but still do research in the summer with the researcher at your former university ?

astroboy
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:23 am

Re: Letters of Rec. or name of institution

Postby astroboy » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:47 am

Mataka wrote:How far is the other university ?

Could you still move to the better university but still do research in the summer with the researcher at your former university ?


Very close by. I'm sure summer research would still be feasible, but ideally I would have liked to be involved during the academic year also. Transferring might complicate this, if not make it impossible.




Return to “Prospective Physics Graduate Student Topics”

Who is online

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