Average PGRE for condensed matter theory

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epitaxial
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Average PGRE for condensed matter theory

Postby epitaxial » Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:40 pm

I've found very difficult to find what i need in the previous topics of the forum. So I thought to start a new one for my purpose.

I'd like to know which is the average PGRE for international applicants (in particular european ones) admitted in CMT programs.
I am interested in scores from UCSB, UMaryland, UT Austin which seem to be very good schools but not as selective as MIT or Harvard.

I am going to do a senior thesis tutored by one of the world leader of bose-einstein condensation, so my recommendation letters (at least one :P )
should be very strong. PGRE is the only unknown factor in my application. Any info is well accepted even from other universities I've not mentioned
(Cornell, UChicago,.....)

Cheers


epitaxial
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Re: Average PGRE for condensed matter theory

Postby epitaxial » Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:13 am

thank you, but all I've got are profiles from US students (mainly), just few are internationals' and not interested in CMT

By the way, which is the "Most difficult to get in" research areas ranking? (I hope you all will understand what i mean)
First HEP-theory, but which does come next? Or, at least, how difficult is being admitted in a good CMT program?

Forgive my awful English

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: Average PGRE for condensed matter theory

Postby WhoaNonstop » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:35 pm

epitaxial wrote:thank you, but all I've got are profiles from US students (mainly), just few are internationals' and not interested in CMT


I'm sorry, very few people here will be able to give you an answer beyond those application profiles. There are just as many international profiles on that thread as there are domestic profiles. In the same sense, there are very few that always specify their sub-field, but you can still get a broad feel of the people applying.

In your "most difficult to get in" list, it would be very debatable and depends on many different factors each year at each school. Although I would agree that HEP-theory might require the most credentials, I highly doubt most of the committees make decisions solely on the intended sub-field of the applicant. Therefore by looking at international applicants in general to the schools you are interested in is your best way to gauge your application. You won't find any solid answers such as: 930 will get you into HEP Theory and 900 will get you into CMT.

Honestly, I highly doubt you've given the application profiles much attention, as they truly are helpful in this stuff.

-Riley

twinb87
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Re: Average PGRE for condensed matter theory

Postby twinb87 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:45 pm

My understanding is that CMT is not as difficult to get into since there is generally more funding in the field of condensed matter than there is in particle physics. How much less difficult I can't really say. If the profiles aren't helping you, then what exactly is your PGRE score? Knowing this will help determine how concerned you should be about your chances at the schools you listed. Of course, this will just be a rough assessment since no one here can make any guarantees. Hope this helps.

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grae313
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Re: Average PGRE for condensed matter theory

Postby grae313 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:49 pm

The difficulty of finding a research adviser in a particular subfield who is willing to fund you as an RA does not always translate directly into a corresponding difficulty in admission to the department under said stated subfield. Cornell, for example, does not admit based on area of research interest. Just putting that out there.

epitaxial
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Re: Average PGRE for condensed matter theory

Postby epitaxial » Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:18 pm

grae313 wrote:Cornell, for example, does not admit based on area of research interest. Just putting that out there.


What does this mean?
Do I have to look 4 a potential advisor in advance? But the choice of an advisor implies a selection of a research area, so what...

Or is it just enough saying "I want to do theory @Cornell" and they "Great :mrgreen:, now choose the research area you like the most"?

admissionprof
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Re: Average PGRE for condensed matter theory

Postby admissionprof » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:04 pm

epitaxial wrote:
grae313 wrote:Cornell, for example, does not admit based on area of research interest. Just putting that out there.


What does this mean?
Do I have to look 4 a potential advisor in advance? But the choice of an advisor implies a selection of a research area, so what...

Or is it just enough saying "I want to do theory @Cornell" and they "Great :mrgreen:, now choose the research area you like the most"?


Grae is correct. Most schools don't admit based on area of interest (at least for those with bachelors degrees). They accept students that are qualified and will fit in, and recognize that research interests often change. Now, if a place has no plasma physics, and the student says they are interested in plasma, then that is a negative. In some cases, a small institution might know that, say HE expt, has more students than they need (or have money for), and thus the admissions committee will count that as a slight negative. But students change fields all the time...and most don't work with the person they originally thought they'd work with.

SSM
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Re: Average PGRE for condensed matter theory

Postby SSM » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:00 am

Then for a place like Cornell with a relatively big physics program overall, why do they want you to put what subfield you're interested in at all?

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HappyQuark
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Re: Average PGRE for condensed matter theory

Postby HappyQuark » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:58 am

SSM wrote:Then for a place like Cornell with a relatively big physics program overall, why do they want you to put what subfield you're interested in at all?


Because you want the admissions committee to see that you've seriously considered your strengths, weaknesses and interests and that your selection of a specific school was at least partially informed by this information.

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grae313
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Re: Average PGRE for condensed matter theory

Postby grae313 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:40 pm

It's part of developing yourself as an applicant. Having research experience and a bunch of classes in physics, one might expect you to have formulated some slightly more specific area of interest than "physics." Even if only slightly. It also shows if you have considered how the research of the particular department to which you are applying does or does not fit your interests. Cornell looks at your background and interests but does not say "OK we have X theory spots and Y experiment spots, admit accordingly." They just try to admit the most qualified applicants. The downside to that is that the competition for the theory spots here is pretty fierce.

epitaxial
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Re: Average PGRE for condensed matter theory

Postby epitaxial » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:48 am

But once you've stated in your application that you want to do theory, do you have to stay in that field?

For example, if I stand more chances by being admitted as "an Experimentalist", I will say in my SOP that I want to be an experimental physicist.
Then once I've been admitted , can I move to theory?

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grae313
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Re: Average PGRE for condensed matter theory

Postby grae313 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:15 pm

epitaxial wrote:But once you've stated in your application that you want to do theory, do you have to stay in that field?


NO.

The only barrier to getting into any research group is getting the professor to agree to fund you. The professor will not know or care what interest you stated in your application.

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HappyQuark
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Re: Average PGRE for condensed matter theory

Postby HappyQuark » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:41 pm

epitaxial wrote:But once you've stated in your application that you want to do theory, do you have to stay in that field?

For example, if I stand more chances by being admitted as "an Experimentalist", I will say in my SOP that I want to be an experimental physicist.
Then once I've been admitted , can I move to theory?


I think the point being made here is that you don't actually stand to gain any significant advantage by claiming you are considering experiment over theory or vice versa. All the school really wants to know is what experience you have, where your current interests are and how you think your previous experience will make you successful in the field you are interested in.

So regardless of whether 'theory' is harder to get into, if your SOP says, "I did simulations on this thing" and "I designed a new method of numerical analysis for this type of phenomena", etc then you will stand a better chance if you tell them you are interested in theory, because they have reason to believe you would be good at that.




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