Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

  • 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.

giga17
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Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby giga17 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:21 am

Hey guys, just trying to distract myself as I wait for application results, and I decided to compile the data of the applicant profiles for this application season, which can serve as future reference for future batches.

Methodology:
1) For major GPA, I only used the physics one.
2) For both overall and major GPAs, I only used those that are on the standard 4.0 GPA scale. Thus, international grades were not included in my data.
3) All information not given were left as blank e.g.if someone did not state their gender, I did not assume anything.
4) For number of schools applied, for multiple program applications at ONE university, I still counted it as one.

Disclaimer: This is based on my own compilation, and as with all statistics, may be subjected to some sort of bias.

The data, based on 54 applicant profiles so far:

Major GPA: Mean is 3.76. 25th Percentile is 3.65, Median is 3.9, 75th Percentile is 3.95.
Overall GPA: Mean is 3.73, 25th Percentile is 3.63, Median is 3.85, 75th Percentile is 3.92.
GRE Quantitative: Mean is 774. 25th Percentile is 773, Median is 800, 75th Percentile is 800.
GRE Verbal: Mean is 616. 25th Percentile is 550, Median is 620, 75th Percentile is 688.
GRE Writing: Mean is 4.6. 25th Percentile is 4, Median is 4.5, 75th Percentile is 5.
PGRE: Mean is 812. 25th Percentile is 750, Median is 820, 75th Percentile is 915.
Number of schools applied: Mean is 9.1, Median is 9.

Applicants by type:
Nationality: 44 Domestic, 8 International with foreign degrees, 2 International with US degrees
Gender: 39 Males, 10 Females
Domestic minority status: 28 No, 11 Yes

Once acceptances come in completely, correlations will be posted.

t2kburl
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby t2kburl » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:54 am

If you get bored again today, maybe you could examine the distribution of applications. :?: With a mean of 9 schools, how many are top 30 (or 50) vs "safeties". It would be interesting to relate those results to acceptances and scores.
I think this is the biggest mistake marginal applicants (like me) make ... not enough "safeties."

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YodaT
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby YodaT » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:45 pm

giga17 wrote:The data, based on 54 applicant profiles so far:

Major GPA: Mean is 3.76. 25th Percentile is 3.65, Median is 3.9, 75th Percentile is 3.95.
Overall GPA: Mean is 3.73, 25th Percentile is 3.63, Median is 3.85, 75th Percentile is 3.92.
GRE Quantitative: Mean is 774. 25th Percentile is 773, Median is 800, 75th Percentile is 800.
GRE Verbal: Mean is 616. 25th Percentile is 550, Median is 620, 75th Percentile is 688.
GRE Writing: Mean is 4.6. 25th Percentile is 4, Median is 4.5, 75th Percentile is 5.
PGRE: Mean is 812. 25th Percentile is 750, Median is 820, 75th Percentile is 915.
Number of schools applied: Mean is 9.1, Median is 9.

Applicants by type:
Nationality: 44 Domestic, 8 International with foreign degrees, 2 International with US degrees
Gender: 39 Males, 10 Females
Domestic minority status: 28 No, 11 Yes


These are some pretty impressive statistics. In my opinion a person with these generic mean values is most likely going to be able to get into a decent graduate school... we'll have to wait until acceptance letters.

Also, what about research? Might I suggest mentioning how many have done REUs, how many have published papers (major journals separate from conference proceedings, etc.), how many projects they've done, and how many have presented at conferences (oral separate from posters).

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razor
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby razor » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:40 pm

Just a weird thought
While waiting for acceptances this year, why not do the statistical analysis for last year?
:lol:

pqortic
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby pqortic » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:04 am

the stats would make much more sense if you do it at the end of the application season with maximum number of profiles.

giga17
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby giga17 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:40 am

pqortic wrote:the stats would make much more sense if you do it at the end of the application season with maximum number of profiles.


That's why I said correlations will be posted when acceptances come in right? As of now, these stats is just meant to show the "typical" applicant profile. The stats as of now can make as much "sense" as you want it to be, but I'm quite sure the information provided is not detrimental to what you know as of now.

Work try to work in the suggestions, and currently working on the 2010 profiles. I am attempting to write a program that will automatically scan in the data profiles, and once it's working I'll post the code.

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby WhoaNonstop » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:35 pm

Interesting. One thing I have noticed about the early posters on the 2011 list, is that all of them on average have a pretty strong profile. I know that PhysicsGRE.com usually has a better set of applicants than the average crowd, but so far the applicants for this year look pretty strong in comparison to the other years (This is just a gut feeling from looking through those profiles SO many times)

-Riley

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YodaT
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby YodaT » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:42 pm

WhoaNonstop wrote:Interesting. One thing I have noticed about the early posters on the 2011 list, is that all of them on average have a pretty strong profile. I know that PhysicsGRE.com usually has a better set of applicants than the average crowd, but so far the applicants for this year look pretty strong in comparison to the other years (This is just a gut feeling from looking through those profiles SO many times)

-Riley


Yeah, I gotta agree that physicsgre.com has a good portion of top applicants, because I doubt your average physics major spends this much time obsessing over their profiles unless they were adamant and felt strongly that they belong in physics. But I think you being convinced this year's overall applicants are stronger than last year's is... more or less contrived from the fact that you're applying to some good schools this year. So, you feel (to put it indelicately) a little short between the legs.

It's ok. I'm sure I'll feel the same if I end up applying next year.

axiomofchoice
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby axiomofchoice » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:45 am

WhoaNonstop wrote:Interesting. One thing I have noticed about the early posters on the 2011 list, is that all of them on average have a pretty strong profile. I know that PhysicsGRE.com usually has a better set of applicants than the average crowd, but so far the applicants for this year look pretty strong in comparison to the other years (This is just a gut feeling from looking through those profiles SO many times)

-Riley


I had the same feeling, too, though was never motivated enough to check out the statistics. I did counted the number of the 990's this year a while ago, and the percentage seems quite a bit (though probably not statistically significant) higher than the past few years.

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quizivex
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby quizivex » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:45 am

It has been a trend each year that the strongest applicants tend to post their profiles early... then everyone else gradually adds them after the new year all the way until the April decision deadline and beyond. So please nobody feel intimidated by what you've seen on the thread so far... there's a natural bias that makes strong applicants want to post... Also since they often have to have their apps in by December 15th for their schools, they'll be able to post a complete profile earlier... As for the rest of you, your chances are probably better than you think. EVERYBODY should post ... perfect people don't need PGRE.com very much... the website is most useful to average students trying to find their way through this process together. So let's get some more posts :)

So to the above 3 posters, as I insinuated, your conclusions that this year's applicants are better may be due to only having the first half or so of the posters to calculate stats from. GRE scores are indeed increasing, as evidenced by the decrease in the percentile of a given scaled score over the past few years (990 was 97% and now it's 95%)... so that's a lot more 990's. But that may just be due to the spread of good online prep resources such as this site.

Adarsh
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby Adarsh » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:20 am

quizivex wrote:It has been a trend each year that the strongest applicants tend to post their profiles early... then everyone else gradually adds them after the new year all the way until the April decision deadline and beyond. So please nobody feel intimidated by what you've seen on the thread so far... there's a natural bias that makes strong applicants want to post... Also since they often have to have their apps in by December 15th for their schools, they'll be able to post a complete profile earlier... As for the rest of you, your chances are probably better than you think. EVERYBODY should post ... perfect people don't need PGRE.com very much... the website is most useful to average students trying to find their way through this process together. So let's get some more posts :)

So to the above 3 posters, as I insinuated, your conclusions that this year's applicants are better may be due to only having the first half or so of the posters to calculate stats from. GRE scores are indeed increasing, as evidenced by the decrease in the percentile of a given scaled score over the past few years (990 was 97% and now it's 95%)... so that's a lot more 990's. But that may just be due to the spread of good online prep resources such as this site.


This post inspired me to come out of my shell and post my less-than stellar profile on the profiles thread. Thanks quizivex!

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satyad18
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby satyad18 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:53 am

quizivex wrote:It has been a trend each year that the strongest applicants tend to post their profiles early...


Is it? Check my not-so-great profile please. :)

axiomofchoice
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby axiomofchoice » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:02 pm

Adarsh wrote:This post inspired me to come out of my shell and post my less-than stellar profile on the profiles thread. Thanks quizivex!


You definitely missed one big plus on your profile - taking class from da man Griffiths himself (you did, right, since you are from Reed?) 8)

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satyad18
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby satyad18 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:19 pm

axiomofchoice wrote:
Adarsh wrote:This post inspired me to come out of my shell and post my less-than stellar profile on the profiles thread. Thanks quizivex!


You definitely missed one big plus on your profile - taking class from da man Griffiths himself (you did, right, since you are from Reed?) 8)


I was wondering the same. :)

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grae313
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby grae313 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:00 pm

Adarsh wrote:This post inspired me to come out of my shell and post my less-than stellar profile on the profiles thread. Thanks quizivex!


Thanks for posting your profile! It will be a lot of help for people in the future with similar backgrounds to yours to see how you do in the admission process this year. gl!

Adarsh
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby Adarsh » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:01 pm

satyad18 wrote:
axiomofchoice wrote:
Adarsh wrote:This post inspired me to come out of my shell and post my less-than stellar profile on the profiles thread. Thanks quizivex!


You definitely missed one big plus on your profile - taking class from da man Griffiths himself (you did, right, since you are from Reed?) 8)


I was wondering the same. :)


I did indeed! Unfortunately I didn't experience him in upper-division courses - only second year (modern) physics. I've heard that Griffiths teaching electro from his textbook is quite something.

Also, he retired last year - my last major interaction with him was cataloguing his books in the summer before he cleared out his office. He was gracious enough to let me take some books as well - I have a 1911 textbook by J.J. Thompson (I think that's the author), and some other fun astrophysical reference books from his collection back at my place in Portland.

@grae313: Thanks!

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby WhoaNonstop » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:52 pm

grae313 wrote:
Adarsh wrote:This post inspired me to come out of my shell and post my less-than stellar profile on the profiles thread. Thanks quizivex!


Thanks for posting your profile! It will be a lot of help for people in the future with similar backgrounds to yours to see how you do in the admission process this year. gl!


I agree here. I've went through these profiles many times and quite a few of them aren't very helpful. 990, 3.9+, and research experience doesn't help the average person on here very much. I wish more people with average profiles would post myself.

-Riley

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YodaT
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby YodaT » Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:01 am

axiomofchoice wrote:
Adarsh wrote:This post inspired me to come out of my shell and post my less-than stellar profile on the profiles thread. Thanks quizivex!


You definitely missed one big plus on your profile - taking class from da man Griffiths himself (you did, right, since you are from Reed?) 8)


I would have liked to have gone to Reed to meet Griffiths and tell him to add more formalism in his book. How do students enjoy Griffiths? Is it weird, or just some awkward effect from cultural differences, that I don't enjoy (or understand) books that use excessive analogies, aren't terse, and not straightforward?

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satyad18
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby satyad18 » Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:35 am

YodaT wrote:I would have liked to have gone to Reed to meet Griffiths and tell him to add more formalism in his book. How do students enjoy Griffiths?


I don't know much about Griffiths' EM book, but before using his QM book, I had referred to 'The principles of quantum mechanics' by P. A. M. Dirac. It was then that QM felt enjoyable! :)

Adarsh
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby Adarsh » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:34 am

YodaT wrote:
axiomofchoice wrote:
Adarsh wrote:This post inspired me to come out of my shell and post my less-than stellar profile on the profiles thread. Thanks quizivex!


You definitely missed one big plus on your profile - taking class from da man Griffiths himself (you did, right, since you are from Reed?) 8)


I would have liked to have gone to Reed to meet Griffiths and tell him to add more formalism in his book. How do students enjoy Griffiths? Is it weird, or just some awkward effect from cultural differences, that I don't enjoy (or understand) books that use excessive analogies, aren't terse, and not straightforward?


I myself love the exposition in Griffith's books: it's not bogged down by excessive formalism, and you can hear him 'speaking' through the book, trying to explain the material. That might just be me though. In another example, I disliked Kittel's textbooks (thermal and solid state) because they were pretty light on explanations and appeals to physical intuition, but I liked Reif's thermal physics book since it had some of both.

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby WhoaNonstop » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:44 am

YodaT wrote:I don't enjoy (or understand) books that use excessive analogies, aren't terse, and not straightforward?


I have used both of his books and they communicate the material well to me. I can actually read the books without being bored out of my mind by the end of the 10th page.

-Riley

Goran15
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby Goran15 » Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:38 am

WhoaNonstop wrote:
YodaT wrote:I don't enjoy (or understand) books that use excessive analogies, aren't terse, and not straightforward?


I have used both of his books and they communicate the material well to me. I can actually read the books without being bored out of my mind by the end of the 10th page.

-Riley


ahem there are actually 3 (As far as I know) and the one you haven't read (presumably) is the best one by far - Introduction to Elementary Particles. I recommend it even if you're not interested in particle physics. I read it in 4 hours (it was that good :D )

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YodaT
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby YodaT » Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:23 pm

Reif's book is good. When I read Griffiths I sometimes feel like I'm four years old again and learning how to read by being referred to Dr. Suess. When I took E&M last semester I switched from reading Griffiths to reading an old book by Panofsky & Phillips (I believe it's a Dover book now).

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grae313
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby grae313 » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:57 pm

YodaT wrote:I would have liked to have gone to Reed to meet Griffiths and tell him to add more formalism in his book.


If that's your style you can choose any other textbook. Griffiths is unique in what it offers students who benefit from that style (as many do), and on the other side of the spectrum there are plenty of excellent options.

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby WhoaNonstop » Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:19 pm

YodaT wrote:Reif's book is good. When I read Griffiths I sometimes feel like I'm four years old again and learning how to read by being referred to Dr. Suess. When I took E&M last semester I switched from reading Griffiths to reading an old book by Panofsky & Phillips (I believe it's a Dover book now).


What is wrong with being four years old again? I sure as hell would rather build sand castles all day than do string theory.

-Riley

signminus
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby signminus » Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:32 pm

WhoaNonstop wrote:I sure as hell would rather build sand castles all day than do string theory.


And the difference is...? :lol:

(Sorry if that offends anyone...I'm only kidding. :) )

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby WhoaNonstop » Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:07 pm

signminus wrote:
WhoaNonstop wrote:I sure as hell would rather build sand castles all day than do string theory.


And the difference is...? :lol:

(Sorry if that offends anyone...I'm only kidding. :) )


I said build a sand castle, not build a sand castle out of strings. =P

-Riley

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YodaT
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby YodaT » Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:14 pm

signminus wrote:
WhoaNonstop wrote:I sure as hell would rather build sand castles all day than do string theory.


And the difference is...? :lol:

(Sorry if that offends anyone...I'm only kidding. :) )


Haha, I love it! :lol:

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sphy
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby sphy » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:25 am

Adarsh wrote:I myself love the exposition in Griffith's books: it's not bogged down by excessive formalism, and you can hear him 'speaking' through the book, trying to explain the material. That might just be me though. In another example, I disliked Kittel's textbooks (thermal and solid state) because they were pretty light on explanations and appeals to physical intuition, but I liked Reif's thermal physics book since it had some of both.


True his books are superb. All of them.
When I study from his books I feel like he is really sitting next to me and making me understand the physics of nature.
Long live Griffiths.
We love you Man..

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sphy
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby sphy » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:32 am

Goran15 wrote:..... Introduction to Elementary Particles. I recommend it even if you're not interested in particle physics. I read it in 4 hours (it was that good :D )


Hallo are you talking of Novels. Well He does mentions about "actors" in the initial pages but to complete all the meat in that book in four hours. Are you crazy, How did you do that?
You're particle physicist already now. :wink:

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sphy
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby sphy » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:35 am

grae313 wrote:
YodaT wrote:I would have liked to have gone to Reed to meet Griffiths and tell him to add more formalism in his book.


If that's your style you can choose any other textbook. Griffiths is unique in what it offers students who benefit from that style (as many do), and on the other side of the spectrum there are plenty of excellent options.


Let him try the J D Jackson book. I am sure he would love it.

Goran15
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Re: Some statistics for the applicant profiles of 2011

Postby Goran15 » Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:08 pm

sphy wrote:Hallo are you talking of Novels. Well He does mentions about "actors" in the initial pages but to complete all the meat in that book in four hours. Are you crazy, How did you do that?
You're particle physicist already now. :wink:


It's one of the easiest classes I had. My school may not be ranked high but they make for it in curriculum :)

p.s. you mentioned Jackson - we covered him in third year (and in cgs system at that) :)




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