odd selection rules

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nemo
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odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:38 am

I've made a small statistics from the data here on your page and I found the following:
for Northeastern University:
Q730 V730 W6.0 P630 accepted
Q790 V320 W3.0 P680 accepted
Q800 V330 W2.5 P800 pending
Q730 V310 W3.0 P710 pending
Q740 V520 W3.5 P740 pending
Q770 V510 W3.5 P950 pending
What means that? Are they selecting the smallest PGRE scores or what?
Then Boston U. :
Q770 V640 W4.0 P720 pending
Q730 V730 W6.0 P630 pending
Q800 V580 W5.5 P750 accepted
Q790 V570 W4.0 P840 pending
Q800 V340 W4.0 P990 accepted
Q800 V510 W3.5 P990 accepted
Q790 V320 W3.0 P680 accepted
Q750 V540 W4.0 P640 pending
Q800 V330 W2.5 P800 pending
Q800 V620 W4.0 P860 pending
Q800 V280 W3.0 P(70%) pending
Q720 V520 W5.0 P550 pending
Q740 V520 W3.5 P740 pending
Q770 V510 W3.5 P950 pending
This is better but still I see people with 680 or 720 accepted and people with 950 waiting...
Brandeis is even stranger :
Q670 V510 W5.0 P710 interview
Q730 V730 W6.0 P630 interview
Q790 V320 W3.0 P680 interview
Q800 V330 W2.5 P800 interview
Q740 V520 W3.5 P740 pending
anyone any clue?

geshi
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby geshi » Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:50 am

Points of consideration:

1) PGRE is less important than you think.
2) Did you look at the type of undergraduate institution? Graduate schools expect lower PGRE from people who attend liberal arts college than from people who attend state schools (people at liberal arts colleges have fewer physics courses available to us).
3) Did you take domestic versus international into consideration? (UT-Austin has average PGRE of 733 for domestic applicants, and 876 avg for international http://www.ph.utexas.edu/grad_admit.html )
4) Did you take into consideration all the other parts of the application? Sure someone might have a 950 on the PGRE, but they might have no research experience or a 3.1 GPA or ranked dead last in their school/program/major/etc.

The physics GRE is the not the most important part of a graduate school application despite what you might believe. You should read this article: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmi ... te-school/

Considering you are an international applicant, you should check to see if any of those acceptances/interviews are for international students.

ultraballer2000
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby ultraballer2000 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:33 am

geshi wrote:Points of consideration:

1) PGRE is less important than you think.


Despite the name of this website, I must agree that the PGRE is not the most defining part of an application. All of geshi's points are extremely valid. Also, not all of grad programs will give the PGRE the same weight (i. e. experimental vs. theory).

nemo
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:15 am

by the way, what do the professors have against internationals? Finally they're working for the same university, contributing to their RA's and to their fame...

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grae313
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby grae313 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:32 pm

nemo wrote:I've made a small statistics from the data here on your page and I found the following:
for Northeastern University:
Q730 V730 W6.0 P630 accepted
Q790 V320 W3.0 P680 accepted
Q800 V330 W2.5 P800 pending
Q730 V310 W3.0 P710 pending
Q740 V520 W3.5 P740 pending
Q770 V510 W3.5 P950 pending
What means that? Are they selecting the smallest PGRE scores or what?
Then Boston U. :
Q770 V640 W4.0 P720 pending
Q730 V730 W6.0 P630 pending
Q800 V580 W5.5 P750 accepted
Q790 V570 W4.0 P840 pending
Q800 V340 W4.0 P990 accepted
Q800 V510 W3.5 P990 accepted
Q790 V320 W3.0 P680 accepted
Q750 V540 W4.0 P640 pending
Q800 V330 W2.5 P800 pending
Q800 V620 W4.0 P860 pending
Q800 V280 W3.0 P(70%) pending
Q720 V520 W5.0 P550 pending
Q740 V520 W3.5 P740 pending
Q770 V510 W3.5 P950 pending
This is better but still I see people with 680 or 720 accepted and people with 950 waiting...
Brandeis is even stranger :
Q670 V510 W5.0 P710 interview
Q730 V730 W6.0 P630 interview
Q790 V320 W3.0 P680 interview
Q800 V330 W2.5 P800 interview
Q740 V520 W3.5 P740 pending
anyone any clue?


Northeastern realizes it's a safety school for people with excellent profiles all around, so probably unless there is a strong research match, they will consider the excellent applicants which they feel would be seriously interested in attending Northeastern first.

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grae313
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby grae313 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:33 pm

nemo wrote:by the way, what do the professors have against internationals? Finally they're working for the same university, contributing to their RA's and to their fame...


They cost the university more to fund as a TA and they cost the professors more of their grant money to fund as an RA.

Also if a portion of that funding money is federally sourced, then a University may feel they have an obligation to admit at least 50% domestic applicants. There are a lot more international students than US students, I think if it was purely merit based it would be easy to fill the large majority of the incoming class with exceptional international students.

mobytish
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby mobytish » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:47 pm

The fellowship I've applied for at Kent is domestic students only, as is the summer research program I was admitted to. Actually, Kent's LCI program has significantly more international students than domestic students; they work very hard to recruit domestic.

nemo
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:54 pm

I would like to understand more about the first comment of "the beautiful blue eye"... Why should Northeastern be a "safety" option? My PGRE is 740 (if you have time see my profile) and I intend to consider Northeastern as an option if they accept me...

nemo
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:01 pm

"beautiful blue eye": you seem to know stuff about universities. If it's not too hard can you make some comments about the universities I added in my profile and the way they consider themselves? Which is a "safety" school? What other type of schools are there?
Thanks a lot!

nemo
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:48 pm

otherwise stated: I'm not admitted to Northeastern 'cause I'm too good for them and not admitted to NYU 'cause I'm too bad for them and I remain "suspended" somewhere between hell and heaven... :( :? :?

pqortic
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby pqortic » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:22 pm

grae313 wrote:Northeastern realizes it's a safety school for people with excellent profiles all around, so probably unless there is a strong research match, they will consider the excellent applicants which they feel would be seriously interested in attending Northeastern first.

I disagree with this. you mean they simply ignore a good applicant because they think applicant will not choose that school.
they cannot read applicant's mind. maybe someone wants to study in that area or someone hasn't applied to too many schools.

nemo
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:35 pm

Then why 680 instead of 950? or 680 instead of 740 :| :? I feel it somehow unfair...

bibimbop
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby bibimbop » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:39 pm

pqortic wrote:
grae313 wrote:Northeastern realizes it's a safety school for people with excellent profiles all around, so probably unless there is a strong research match, they will consider the excellent applicants which they feel would be seriously interested in attending Northeastern first.

I disagree with this. you mean they simply ignore a good applicant because they think applicant will not choose that school.
they cannot read applicant's mind. maybe someone wants to study in that area or someone hasn't applied to too many schools.


If you put down the other schools you are applying to, and they are top tier (and you have a strong application), then they might be able to tell that they are your safety, and also that you're going to get into somewhere higher ranked. I don't know if it actually works this way though

nemo
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:55 pm

nope, never wrote other schools, it's optional and I stick to that

geshi
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby geshi » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:38 pm

nemo wrote:Then why 680 instead of 950? or 680 instead of 740 :| :? I feel it somehow unfair...


Did you check international vs domestic applicants? Was that 680 a domestic and the 950 and/or 740 an international? That makes a HUGE difference.

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grae313
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby grae313 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:51 pm

I was not very clear in my comment so it's my fault, but you guys have misunderstood me somewhat.

I'm sure Northeastern has a lot of applicants with great grades, 900+ PGRE, and good research experience and letters. When you see an outstanding profile, you can tell that it's Stanford/MIT type caliber and if they offered admission to just the very best applicants, there's a good chance they would get a very small incoming class because these people will accept offers at higher ranked schools. It's likely that if you have a 950, 3.8 gpa, publications, and are domestic, Northeastern is a safety school. Like I said, there are exceptions to this like if there is a very particular research group there that you are keen on that could make you choose Northeastern over another school...

At the same time they can't just ignore these 900+ applicants because they'd like to get some of them. If I was on the admission committee there, I'd consider the best applicants and look for ones that would have a strong reason for attending, like a particularly good research match. At the same time, I'd also look even harder for potentially excellent students that might fly under the radar at the top tier institutions because of a poor PGRE score. I bet some of those 600 and 700 scorers that have gotten into the school before some people with 900s have great research experience and very strong letters of recommendation. Northeastern realizes that on average they probably have a better chance of recruiting these students than the 4.0 990 applicants. The average PGRE score of students who are offered admission gets lower for lower ranked schools, because schools want to make offers to students they think might attend. That's all.

nemo, with a 740 PGRE I'm sure they don't think they are a safety for you. I was talking about 900+.

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grae313
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby grae313 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:52 pm

geshi wrote:
nemo wrote:Then why 680 instead of 950? or 680 instead of 740 :| :? I feel it somehow unfair...


Did you check international vs domestic applicants? Was that 680 a domestic and the 950 and/or 740 an international? That makes a HUGE difference.


and this is also very true, and probably an even bigger factor. When you make your lists of accepted/pending v scores, you should really have two, one for domestic and one for international, because both the standards and procedures are very different between the two.

nemo
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:14 pm

Ok, I'm a poor unfortunate international soul... Just my last question for today 'cause I saw various interpretations to it: Are we now early, middle or late in the application process?
P.S. I was quite proud of my 740 (63%) :cry:
P.P.S beautiful blue eye: thanks for the information

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grae313
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby grae313 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:56 pm

nemo, I don't know your circumstances and there's nothing inherently bad about your PGRE score, and I don't mean to imply it's something you shouldn't be proud of. But it's a fact that you're in the unfortunate situation of competing amongst a great number of qualified international applicants for very few available spots. I was a domestic applicant and I'm female so I had all the odds in my favor. I don't envy the difficult situation you're in! However it's still early in the admissions process. In the next two to three weeks, the bulk of admission offers will be going out. It's hard to do anything other than check your email 10 times a day and despair this time of year, but you and your peers really just need to be patient for now. In two to three weeks if you still haven't heard anything, then you can start despairing :)

nemo
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:58 am

I was thinking about this not so meritocratic process and it came into my mind a situation that happened at my previous grad school in the us. A professor teaching quantum mechanics at graduate level was not very sure if it's B=curl A or A=curl B. Now, I know it's rather convenient to select applications in your own style and in the end it does not bother me so much (I can apply in Europe after all) but who's gonna lose on long term?

serali
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby serali » Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:11 am

grae313 wrote: It's hard to do anything other than check your email 10 times a day and despair this time of year


Try 100

geshi
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby geshi » Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:34 am

serali wrote:
grae313 wrote: It's hard to do anything other than check your email 10 times a day and despair this time of year


Try 100


Just have a program do it for you. I use gmail, so I have gmail notifiers. Means I never have to check my email.

bibimbop
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby bibimbop » Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:47 am

geshi wrote:
serali wrote:
grae313 wrote: It's hard to do anything other than check your email 10 times a day and despair this time of year


Try 100


Just have a program do it for you. I use gmail, so I have gmail notifiers. Means I never have to check my email.



My gmail notifier is my eyes registering motion as I stare at my inbox waiting for new mail

serali
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby serali » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:32 am

I'm aware of the notifiers, but after an email sent from a graduate school was filtered as spam, I started to check it manually as well.

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grae313
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby grae313 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:30 pm

nemo wrote:I was thinking about this not so meritocratic process and it came into my mind a situation that happened at my previous grad school in the us. A professor teaching quantum mechanics at graduate level was not very sure if it's B=curl A or A=curl B. Now, I know it's rather convenient to select applications in your own style and in the end it does not bother me so much (I can apply in Europe after all) but who's gonna lose on long term?


a) You were at a *** university or he was joking
b) how does filling 80% of the program with international applicants who are likely to return to their country after their degree help the situation?

Federally funded universities have an obligation to educate American students. Also, mind you, about a third of the education we receive in college is "general education" -- completely unrelated to math or physics. So there are multiple reasons why the standards are different for American applicants. With the extra physics classes many international applicants have taken by the time they apply to US grad schools, they have the equivalent of a US masters degree, so of course they score better on average on the PGRE. Also, there are applicants from the entire world competing against applicants from one country. To have programs not completely dominated by international applicants, some preference must necessarily be given to US applicants.

Do you really think it should be different? If universities in your home country were flooded with highly qualified applicants from all over the world, do you think it would be any different? Most programs I've seen are between 1/3 and 1/2 international students.

I also think it's essential that US universities do recruit highly qualified students from all over the world, but if the system were purely merit based, it would be hard for very many US students to get a good education and that, I think, is the primary goal of any US university.

nemo
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:00 pm

a) You were at a *** university or he was joking
b) how does filling 80% of the program with international applicants who are likely to return to their country after their degree help the situation?

Federally funded universities have an obligation to educate American students. Also, mind you, about a third of the education we receive in college is "general education" -- completely unrelated to math or physics. So there are multiple reasons why the standards are different for American applicants. With the extra physics classes many international applicants have taken by the time they apply to US grad schools, they have the equivalent of a US masters degree, so of course they score better on average on the PGRE. Also, there are applicants from the entire world competing against applicants from one country. To have programs not completely dominated by international applicants, some preference must necessarily be given to US applicants.

Do you really think it should be different? If universities in your home country were flooded with highly qualified applicants from all over the world, do you think it would be any different? Most programs I've seen are between 1/3 and 1/2 international students.

I also think it's essential that US universities do recruit highly qualified students from all over the world, but if the system were purely merit based, it would be hard for very many US students to get a good education and that, I think, is the primary goal of any US university.
------------------------------------------
Thank you again for your competent answer.
He was NOT joking! I was at a university in top 60. During the graduate seminaries of astro-cosmo we were told how large is a Parsec or a Light Year or what are the energy scales from KeV to GeV... Graduate TA's were not able to understand a simple Electrodynamics solution to a homework problem... It was indeed a *** university but very well ranked, that's why I started not to trust "rankings" anymore. The fact that universities tell to their students that they are "the best of the best" cannot hide the level of their preparation. In one word I was very disappointed of what I saw. I am sure they're not all like that but I am a living example of what happens if you put a 700 PGRE student in a 500 school, international or not.
I agree that you have to train domestic students and I respect that but the graduate level is not necessary "education oriented". As I see it, in order to earn your PhD you have to do significant research. I think this is what a grad. student gives to the university or to the society: Valid, significant research, but an institution cannot do that without qualified people. In my opinion colleges should improve their standards and prepare students for a free graduate market. It's odd to decrease the value of graduate schools in order to compensate poor college preparation. Of course, this is only my opinion, and I accept any other opinions.

ddubs
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby ddubs » Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:43 pm

nemo wrote:It's odd to decrease the value of graduate schools in order to compensate poor college preparation. Of course, this is only my opinion, and I accept any other opinions.


I think there are many more factors at work here besides GRE/PGRE scores. And don't forget that committees tend to 'normalize' to how much you've done with your opportunities... if someone from a very bad school gets the same score on the PGRE as someone from from a Top 5 school, which is better? Pure meritocracy may not make sense in this case.

AO
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby AO » Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:00 pm

I know a lot of people have chimed in thus far refuting your concept of who should be admitted to which programs but I think you're missing an even larger point, that a Ph.D. is a research driven degree. The PGRE has absolutely nothing to do with your abilities as a researcher.

I really have no idea why you would choose one aspect of an applicants profile as the arbitrary indicator of quality. I doubt schools deny applicants based on them being too good for their programs. Do you not think the departments would risk under-enrollment in order to ensure they have great students?

-J

Kites
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby Kites » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:12 pm

I can't believe no one has mentioned the obvious, and I've had this confirmed from people who've gone through graduate programs, that international applicants aren't put aside because of scores but... because English isn't their first language.

Professors... advisers... research teams... and students...have all had the nightmare of a really smart guy whose first language isn't English. Graduate schools do realize that you're not only coming to do research, but to work for them as a TA, an RA, or whatever else you're going to be doing there and they want someone that they, and in the case of the students, can understand clearly.

Now... you might be about to remark "But that's what the TOEFL is for" and all that jazz. But let's be honest, the TOEFL is a test and it's coach-able; all tests are.

The person who spoke about international students often leaving after the program also hit the issue right on the nose. They often do leave.

You have to put yourself in the position of a person choosing someone to work with at these graduate schools. NOT, my number (epeen) is bigger than x's.

International applicants can be considered a risk. You cannot tell from someones verbal score, their toefl score, or even their statement of purpose how that person is to communicate with. As a consequence Local students are given favor because it's extremely unlikely that they can't have a good and productive conversation with that person. There probably won't be a student complaining, "I couldn't understand what X was saying".

I am sorry to all the internationals who feels they're being cheated out of our universities. Excuse me... you can go build a university too if you want. The whole reason we built these were for us.

geshi
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby geshi » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:48 pm

nemo wrote:Thank you again for your competent answer.
He was NOT joking! I was at a university in top 60. During the graduate seminaries of astro-cosmo we were told how large is a Parsec or a Light Year or what are the energy scales from KeV to GeV... Graduate TA's were not able to understand a simple Electrodynamics solution to a homework problem... It was indeed a *** university but very well ranked, that's why I started not to trust "rankings" anymore. The fact that universities tell to their students that they are "the best of the best" cannot hide the level of their preparation. In one word I was very disappointed of what I saw. I am sure they're not all like that but I am a living example of what happens if you put a 700 PGRE student in a 500 school, international or not.
I agree that you have to train domestic students and I respect that but the graduate level is not necessary "education oriented". As I see it, in order to earn your PhD you have to do significant research. I think this is what a grad. student gives to the university or to the society: Valid, significant research, but an institution cannot do that without qualified people. In my opinion colleges should improve their standards and prepare students for a free graduate market. It's odd to decrease the value of graduate schools in order to compensate poor college preparation. Of course, this is only my opinion, and I accept any other opinions.


I think there are a couple things you are missing here. PGRE score ≠ merit/ability/intelligence/etc. Secondly, American education system has it's issues, but a big reason the PGRE is more important for international applicants: a lot of international applicants apply AFTER having obtained their master's. Should their PGRE be higher than someone who just finished their undergraduate work where 30% to 50% of their classes were not related to physics? It damn well better be. You also fail to see another point behind this. There are more foreign applicants than American applicants to a lot of these schools. I think the US has a population of roughly 300 million (I could be wrong). Between China and India, they have I think about 2.5 billion between them. The top 1% of intelligent people in any one of those countries is just as intelligent as someone in one of those other countries. However that 1% of Americans is a much smaller number than that 1% of Chinese or Indians. So there are a lot more qualified international applicants than American applicants. Thus, the competition is much stiffer, even if the same number of slots were allotted for Americans or international students. (Yes, there are other international applicants other than Chinese and Indians. However, I think those are the largest 2 countries in the world, it makes sense for me to use them in this example.)

Another issue you're missing here is where the money comes from to fund graduate students. A large portion of that money comes from the US Federal Government. Where does the government get its money? From taxes which are paid by taxpayers, which are more colloquially known as American residents (the majority of whom are citizens). How do you think Americans would feel if their big research institutions were only training foreign students solely because they score (on average) higher than American applicants? I'll give you a hint: they'd be pissed.

Yes, it's frustrating. Yes, it is, in some ways, unfair. Ultimately it is up to these universities who they let into their programs. Considering international students are more expensive, it makes sense that they want to have more domestic students.

This is just like the way in-state residents vs out-of-state residents are treated when applying to state undergraduate institutions. For in-state residents it is much easier to get into the state undergraduate institution than out-of-state residents.

Mataka
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby Mataka » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:57 pm

Kites wrote:I can't believe no one has mentioned the obvious, and I've had this confirmed from people who've gone through graduate programs, that international applicants aren't put aside because of scores but... because English isn't their first language.

Professors... advisers... research teams... and students...have all had the nightmare of a really smart guy whose first language isn't English. Graduate schools do realize that you're not only coming to do research, but to work for them as a TA, an RA, or whatever else you're going to be doing there and they want someone that they, and in the case of the students, can understand clearly.

Now... you might be about to remark "But that's what the TOEFL is for" and all that jazz. But let's be honest, the TOEFL is a test and it's coach-able; all tests are.

The person who spoke about international students often leaving after the program also hit the issue right on the nose. They often do leave.

You have to put yourself in the position of a person choosing someone to work with at these graduate schools. NOT, my number (epeen) is bigger than x's.

International applicants can be considered a risk. You cannot tell from someones verbal score, their toefl score, or even their statement of purpose how that person is to communicate with. As a consequence Local students are given favor because it's extremely unlikely that they can't have a good and productive conversation with that person. There probably won't be a student complaining, "I couldn't understand what X was saying".

I am sorry to all the internationals who feels they're being cheated out of our universities. Excuse me... you can go build a university too if you want. The whole reason we built these were for us.



Well, what about international students who's first language is English ? According to your logic, they should be treated on the same foot as American students ... but of course they're not. Don't get me wrong, I do get why international students are put aside, but I think this has a lot more to do with funding than with language. You say that the TOEFL can be coached. Well, I presume you never took it, otherwise you would know that the speaking section is almost impossible to prepare. The IELTS which is gaining popularity has an interview where they ask you the most random questions you can think of ... I think it's pretty cheap to dismiss English tests you never took.

Mataka
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby Mataka » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:05 pm

geshi wrote: Secondly, American education system has it's issues, but a big reason the PGRE is more important for international applicants: a lot of international applicants apply AFTER having obtained their master's. Should their PGRE be higher than someone who just finished their undergraduate work where 30% to 50% of their classes were not related to physics? It damn well better be.


I've seen similar comments on this forum before and never really understood the logic behind them ... the PGRE tests really introductory physics, physics that all physics students are somewhat familiar with, how is getting a master's with advanced courses like say GR and QFT going to help you do better on the PGRE ?
Last edited by Mataka on Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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grae313
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby grae313 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:06 pm

Mataka wrote:Well, what about international students who's first language is English ? According to your logic, they should be treated on the same foot as American students ...
No, his logic was that this was yet one more factor in a long list of factors. And from what I've seen, these applicants do have a handy leg-up on the non-English as a first language applicants. The majority of the international students in my program are Canadian, or got their undergraduate degree from an English-speaking country.

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grae313
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby grae313 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:07 pm

Mataka wrote:
geshi wrote: Secondly, American education system has it's issues, but a big reason the PGRE is more important for international applicants: a lot of international applicants apply AFTER having obtained their master's. Should their PGRE be higher than someone who just finished their undergraduate work where 30% to 50% of their classes were not related to physics? It damn well better be.


I've seen similar comments on this forum before and never really understood the logic behind them ... the PGRE tests really introductory physics, physics that all physics students are somewhat familiar with, how is getting a master's with advanced courses like say GR and QFT going to help you do better on the PGRE ?



The more times you see it, the easier it gets. I hadn't mastered freshman-level physics after I took freshman level physics, but after I had upper division classes on the same topics and then tutored it for a year, I was much better. Graduate classes continue to build on and reinforce basic concepts.

Mataka
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby Mataka » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:10 pm

Fair enough, now I do understand this argument ;)

geshi
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby geshi » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:33 pm

grae313 wrote:
Mataka wrote:
geshi wrote: Secondly, American education system has it's issues, but a big reason the PGRE is more important for international applicants: a lot of international applicants apply AFTER having obtained their master's. Should their PGRE be higher than someone who just finished their undergraduate work where 30% to 50% of their classes were not related to physics? It damn well better be.


I've seen similar comments on this forum before and never really understood the logic behind them ... the PGRE tests really introductory physics, physics that all physics students are somewhat familiar with, how is getting a master's with advanced courses like say GR and QFT going to help you do better on the PGRE ?



The more times you see it, the easier it gets. I hadn't mastered freshman-level physics after I took freshman level physics, but after I had upper division classes on the same topics and then tutored it for a year, I was much better. Graduate classes continue to build on and reinforce basic concepts.


This is one reason. Another reason is actually seeing the material. If you have a master's degree, you've probably at least seen all the material once. There was at least 20-30% of the PGRE that I had never seen (I was already overloaded the semester my department offered condensed matter for example). My department did not offer optics while I was there. I also only took advanced E&M (well I *took* intro E&M, but the class didn't learn anything). Basically anything under "Advanced Topics" I did not see in UG (a small bit of that material I took in my last semester, so I saw it before my 2nd attempt on the PGRE). The list goes on, but I'll stop there.

Mildly entertaining side note: Our intro E&M was taught by a monkey who allegedly had a degree. The professor was notorious for her awful teaching. She actually did not have a specific department she belonged to. She was passed from department to department to teach random classes. My class made sure (through evaluations) that she would never teach in the physics department again. I typed a 2 page essay on why she was an awful instructor and submitted it with my evaluation. Other students in the class hand wrote 4-5 pages on her evaluation. She did not have tenure, so I'm not sure why she had a job still ... long story short, we skimmed all the stuff we HAD to know from intro E&M in the first month of advanced E&M because no one knew anything.

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noojens
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby noojens » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:40 pm

Interesting discussion.

Does anyone have a link off the top of their head to statistics about where US citizens and international students find work after finishing their PhDs? How many international students stay in the US and eventually become citizens; how many US citizens emigrate to other countries; etc?

Seems like the AIP should have some information on this, but my google fu is weak today.

johnpauljones
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby johnpauljones » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:41 am

A very short google search yielded this:

http://chronicle.com/article/Fewer-Fore ... ents/40782

It looks like it's typically on the order of 2/3 to 3/4 stay, at least within the first few years of graduating.

I'm sure there are more thorough sources of information out there, but I'll leave that for someone with more time to waste than I.

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Re: odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:04 am

You know what's strange? That we are asked twice about our intentions to stay or to leave after the PhD. First by your government when we apply for visas and they say they may even reject visas if people say they intend to stay. Second by schools that can even reject students if they say they don't stay. So technically speaking a person that gets into a program has to lie at leas once. :twisted:
P.S. I usually don't argue about things I am not in love with... The fact that I've started this debate about US schools means essentially that I love them :twisted: :wink:

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Re: odd selection rules

Postby Kites » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:20 am

nemo wrote:P.S. I usually don't argue about things I am not in love with... The fact that I've started this debate about US schools means essentially that I love them :twisted: :wink:


I don't see why your love is relevant.

I can understand why the VISAs and the schools ask... they don't communicate with one another. They're pretty much two independents; internationals are the ones who need both.

I think the person who mentioned taxes hit a key point. People who live here, our families and ourselves, have all in some way helped pay for the grants and funding that these schools and programs receive. It makes more sense to return the favor than to give it to some random person from another country.

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Re: odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:47 am

what eludes this observation is that you pay the universities for something else. You pay them to improve your life with innovations and discoveries. When an American citizen gets the nobel prise you don't ask if he is of ie. south-African origin but your are happy that the US got another nobel and the discovery was made at one of your universities. It's not that you are very happy if you pay a restaurant for a fish dish and you get an excellent Pizza, or what?

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Re: odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:53 am

grae313 wrote:
Mataka wrote:
geshi wrote: Secondly, American education system has it's issues, but a big reason the PGRE is more important for international applicants: a lot of international applicants apply AFTER having obtained their master's. Should their PGRE be higher than someone who just finished their undergraduate work where 30% to 50% of their classes were not related to physics? It damn well better be.


I've seen similar comments on this forum before and never really understood the logic behind them ... the PGRE tests really introductory physics, physics that all physics students are somewhat familiar with, how is getting a master's with advanced courses like say GR and QFT going to help you do better on the PGRE ?



The more times you see it, the easier it gets. I hadn't mastered freshman-level physics after I took freshman level physics, but after I had upper division classes on the same topics and then tutored it for a year, I was much better. Graduate classes continue to build on and reinforce basic concepts.


But you don't see it again, or at least not in most of the masters in Europe. Here you are inserted in new subjects like QFT, QCD, Gen. Rel, Weak Interactions, Programming. Essentially a master is a preparation for a PhD so it is very "subject oriented". It's not like in the US where you make Quantum Mechanics and Electrodynamics again. You never repeat QM in a European master. After that, the European PhD is essentially research oriented. You don't have to take undergraduate or master classes again at a higher level so you do have the chance to forget classical mechanics if you do for 1.5 years molecular dynamics or elementary particle physics.

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Re: odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:55 am

and about poor professors... They're everywhere, Europe, USA and I bet they're in china&india as well

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Re: odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:14 am

come on grad schools: wake up! it's morning, sunshine! :lol:

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Re: odd selection rules

Postby sl74 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:43 pm

For what nemo has said, Masters in Europe is very similar to Masters in South America. I had courses on all this stuff like Classical Mechanics, E&M, QM, Solid State Physics on the last undergraduate year. During the last two years, in Masters, you are exposed to QFT, Advanced Stat. Mech and courses that have an special focus on the research you're developing (Quantum Optics or Mesoscopic Physics or SUSY, depending or your area).

It is true that people doing Masters have had more time to maturate some subjects. But it is also true that your head starts to operate in a different way. You know the undergraduate Physics stuff, you know how to obtain the results if you're given time, but you don't remember all the results so that when you see a PGRE question that specific subcase will just pop out of your head and give you the right answer. Given that speed is key to good PGRE score, 1.5 yrs of Masters is not an advantage. I'm pretty sure that I'd have a better score had I taken the PGRE when I had just finished undergraduate school.

Kites
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Re: odd selection rules

Postby Kites » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:48 pm

nemo wrote:come on grad schools: wake up! it's morning, sunshine! :lol:


It's a federal holiday; president's day.

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Re: odd selection rules

Postby nemo » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:54 pm

kites: THANK YOU! I was very :?: about what happened!
I don't know how it is like in south America but it's true, we don't have any advantage at all for the GRE after the master BUT we would have some advantages in doing REAL RESEARCH... but, who cares about research anyway?

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Re: odd selection rules

Postby geshi » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:34 pm

nemo wrote:what eludes this observation is that you pay the universities for something else. You pay them to improve your life with innovations and discoveries. When an American citizen gets the nobel prise you don't ask if he is of ie. south-African origin but your are happy that the US got another nobel and the discovery was made at one of your universities. It's not that you are very happy if you pay a restaurant for a fish dish and you get an excellent Pizza, or what?


That did not elude anything. That's a moot point. The Nobel prize would most likely happen regardless of the student. I think you entirely missed my the point I was making about students. The universities do have to answer to the American taxpayers. The American taxpayers would prefer to have domestic students educated in their graduate programs rather than international students. Not to mention there are grants that the US government gives out that state you need ONLY domestic citizens or x% of domestic students. For example, a lot of US defense funding specifies that you are REQUIRED to have ONLY domestic US citizens working under that funding (I have friends who are under such grants). It works the EXACT same way as undergraduate institutions when it comes to state lines. Someone who lives in Arizona who is applying to go to University of California for UG has much harder requirements than someone who lives in California. Every country/state/province/etc does this. You could obtain a PhD in your country rather than in the US. If I were to apply to PhD programs in your country, I would probably have much harsher requirements placed upon my application than you would.

nemo wrote:But you don't see it again, or at least not in most of the masters in Europe. Here you are inserted in new subjects like QFT, QCD, Gen. Rel, Weak Interactions, Programming. Essentially a master is a preparation for a PhD so it is very "subject oriented". It's not like in the US where you make Quantum Mechanics and Electrodynamics again. You never repeat QM in a European master. After that, the European PhD is essentially research oriented. You don't have to take undergraduate or master classes again at a higher level so you do have the chance to forget classical mechanics if you do for 1.5 years molecular dynamics or elementary particle physics.


You missed the point. You repeat the material by having to TA (not all masters make you TA, but some do). You also continue using the UG material. You also completely ignored the point I made about having a masters ...

Honestly, I'm done with this thread.

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Re: odd selection rules

Postby fc_pga » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:54 pm

geshi wrote:You could obtain a PhD in your country rather than in the US. If I were to apply to PhD programs in your country, I would probably have much harsher requirements placed upon my application than you would.


This is simply not true.

In fact, my country of origin just set up a PhD fellowship scheme, with a goal to attract 'the brightest talents in science and engineering all over the world'. Let me tell you what, the stipend offered by this fellowship is way higher than the TA allowance at most top schools in the US.

Still, this does not stop us from applying to PhD programs in the states - as I recall, most applicants of the aforementioned fellowship are Chinese and Indians who probably don't have the slightest idea of what PhD studies in my country is like. Let me tell you what, there is unspoken consensus that universities in my country don't prefer to hire our own PhD graduates; we prefer PhD graduates from the top schools in the US (and sometimes Europe) in a bid to 'improve our academic standing', and we offer them a salary comparable to most schools in the US (if our low tax rate is taken into account, the salaries of academics in my country would probably be even better than those in the US). So where do our PhD grads end up? Very few end up with a decent academic position, some have a chance to do postdocs, very few get postdocs overseas, and quite a number of them end up in high schools (you don't need a PhD degree to teach in a high school anyway).

This means that completing a PhD here in my own country is simply not an option.

There is no need to mention how far behind our research falls behind the US - most of our departments are small and our research is crap; it is not always possible to find a professor working on a subject of our interest (for instance, we have < 10 particle physicists here, only until last month did someone start working on topological insulators, something already very popular in the US).

Even before the introduction of this crappy PhD fellowship scheme, we didn't have any restrictions imposed on foreign applicants.

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Re: odd selection rules

Postby YellowXDart » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:07 pm

fc_pga wrote:This is simply not true.

In fact, my country of origin just set up a PhD fellowship scheme, with a goal to attract 'the brightest talents in science and engineering all over the world'. Let me tell you what, the stipend offered by this fellowship is way higher than the TA allowance at most top schools in the US.
here, only until last month did someone start working on topological insulators, something already very popular in the US).


I'm not sure what country you're from, but this is probably the exception rather than the rule. It sounds like your country is trying to build a reputation for academics, but this certainly wouldn't be the case in all countries. If I tried to apply to a program in China, it would definitely be much harder for me than a Chinese citizen. Why would China want to educate a foreign applicant when it can educate it's own student for much cheaper? Plus, in the long run it makes China look better when its own citizens get PhDs. I'm not saying it's fair, and it definitely sucks for international students who want to get the best education possible, but the interests of the universities don't always lie in getting the most qualified applicant.




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