2012 profile discussions

  • 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.

rhenley
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:18 pm

42% on PGRE. 3.3 GPA from a top 30. Is it pointless to apply

Postby rhenley » Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:00 pm

I know there are applicant profiles but I don't see much that is too similar to me and I'm kind of freaking out, any advice would be great
I've done 2 years of research. No publications but I will do a thesis. Trying to make up for low GPA by taking 2 grad courses that I should get A's in. Is it pointless to apply this year? should I take a year off and try the PGRE again? Or should I just only focus on small schools?
My tentative list looks like this
1. Rockefeller
2. NYU
3. Columbia
4. Cornell
5. Washington
6. Oregon
7. USC
8. Northwestern
9. UPenn
10. PennState

Am I shooting way too high?

borelius
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:33 am

Re: 42% on PGRE. 3.3 GPA from a top 30. Is it pointless to apply

Postby borelius » Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:53 pm

rhenley wrote: Is it pointless to apply?


Yes, it is.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: 42% on PGRE. 3.3 GPA from a top 30. Is it pointless to apply

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:08 pm

You should downtrend your school choices, but you'll get in somewhere.

ultraballer2000
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 4:51 pm

Re: 42% on PGRE. 3.3 GPA from a top 30. Is it pointless to apply

Postby ultraballer2000 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:40 pm

If you're physics GPA is higher and if you have awesome recommendations you're list may be fine, but several of those will definitely be reaches. Having research experience will help.

admissionprof
Posts: 364
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:50 pm

Re: 42% on PGRE. 3.3 GPA from a top 30. Is it pointless to apply

Postby admissionprof » Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:53 pm

rhenley wrote:I know there are applicant profiles but I don't see much that is too similar to me and I'm kind of freaking out, any advice would be great
I've done 2 years of research. No publications but I will do a thesis. Trying to make up for low GPA by taking 2 grad courses that I should get A's in. Is it pointless to apply this year? should I take a year off and try the PGRE again? Or should I just only focus on small schools?
My tentative list looks like this
1. Rockefeller
2. NYU
3. Columbia
4. Cornell
5. Washington
6. Oregon
7. USC
8. Northwestern
9. UPenn
10. PennState

Am I shooting way too high?


I've know people to get into several of these places (the bottom 5 on your list, for example) with lower GREs, but with higher grades. With A's in a couple of graduate courses, you'd have a decent chance at those. Just add a few safeties.

Trigmaster15
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:07 pm

Johns Hopkins Prospective Physics Grad Program

Postby Trigmaster15 » Thu Nov 24, 2011 3:43 pm

Hey guys,

I was looking for a little advice. I am trying to get into Johns Hopkins to pursue a PhD in Physics, and I wanted to know if anyone could give me some idea about my chances. Here's basically where I stand:

Penn State University Triple Major - Mathematics, Physics, Electrical Engineering
Cumulative GPA: 3.52
GRE General Revised Test: Quantitative - 1.6, Verbal - 1.6 (out of 1.7 now)
Physics GRE - 600-700

Just from that information, do you think I have a shot at getting in? Thank you very much for any advice you can offer,

Jon

dfeld31
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:04 pm

Re: 42% on PGRE. 3.3 GPA from a top 30. Is it pointless to apply

Postby dfeld31 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:10 pm

Hi... sorry to tack onto your post, but I'm in a very similar situation and am intersted in many of those schools, (specifically the ones in NY). I have a similar PGRE score, around 2 years research experience with no publications. My physics/math GPA is around a 3.9 though, but not from a top 30 school. My situation is a little unorthodox too... (its explained more here if anybodys interested http://www.physicsgre.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=4293.) Does anyone think i have chance at the NY schools... aka Rockefeller, CUNY, NYU?? I know Columbia is probably still too much of a stretch. Again like the OP said its been difficult to find a similar applicant in the profiles. Any responses would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Andromeda
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:17 pm

Re: 42% on PGRE. 3.3 GPA from a top 30. Is it pointless to apply

Postby Andromeda » Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:25 am

rhenley wrote:I know there are applicant profiles but I don't see much that is too similar to me and I'm kind of freaking out, any advice would be great
I've done 2 years of research. No publications but I will do a thesis. Trying to make up for low GPA by taking 2 grad courses that I should get A's in. Is it pointless to apply this year? should I take a year off and try the PGRE again? Or should I just only focus on small schools?
My tentative list looks like this
1. Rockefeller
2. NYU
3. Columbia
4. Cornell
5. Washington
6. Oregon
7. USC
8. Northwestern
9. UPenn
10. PennState

Am I shooting way too high?


I was actually not terribly far off from this profile except if anything I had a worse PGRE and GPA. And I ended up getting accepted to the PhD program at CWRU, which is as fine a physics school as any of them tho I transferred after a M.S. for personal reasons.

I think the trick for an application like yours is there are a lot of schools out there which will just cut you automatically because of your low PGRE without reading things like your letters, statement, etc to see what people say about you (and it goes without saying you should have strong letters etc). You really can't know where that will be (though I'm guessing the top part of your list will do this more often than the lower half), so I would definitely apply to a few more safety schools if you can afford it. So yeah, not hopeless at all, and even if nothing works out just remember you're no worse off than if you'd decided to not apply this year and take a year off.

I would also recommend writing to professors at each university you're applying to whose groups you're interested in asking about their funding situation, who you are, a few bright questions, etc. You never know when that will translate into one of them keeping an eye out for your application.

bfollinprm
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Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: 42% on PGRE. 3.3 GPA from a top 30. Is it pointless to apply

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:08 pm

Case is definitely in the right ballpark for that profile, as are places like Pittsburgh and Riverside (this is not exhaustive). All of these schools have notable faculty, though they probably won't produce a Nobel winner or anything.

pqortic
Posts: 398
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:24 am

Re: 2012 profile discussions

Postby pqortic » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:48 pm

Trigmaster15 wrote:Hey guys,

I was looking for a little advice. I am trying to get into Johns Hopkins to pursue a PhD in Physics, and I wanted to know if anyone could give me some idea about my chances. Here's basically where I stand:

Penn State University Triple Major - Mathematics, Physics, Electrical Engineering
Cumulative GPA: 3.52
GRE General Revised Test: Quantitative - 1.6, Verbal - 1.6 (out of 1.7 now)
Physics GRE - 600-700

Just from that information, do you think I have a shot at getting in? Thank you very much for any advice you can offer,

Jon

I guess we need more information about your application. post your profile in the profile thread first.

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Andromeda
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:17 pm

Re: 42% on PGRE. 3.3 GPA from a top 30. Is it pointless to apply

Postby Andromeda » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:35 am

bfollinprm wrote:Case is definitely in the right ballpark for that profile, as are places like Pittsburgh and Riverside (this is not exhaustive). All of these schools have notable faculty, though they probably won't produce a Nobel winner or anything.


Spoiler alert: most departments people will end up in will never produce Nobel winners, and it's even less likely that you'll be working for one. :P

(Though Case Physics has actually produced two IRC...)

hadron112
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:48 pm

Re: 2012 profile discussions

Postby hadron112 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:50 pm

Hello. I would be happy to have the opinion of people with experience here, that are familiar with the chances to get into different programs, or some of them. I am an international student, and here are my scores and schools I want to get into.
Do I stand fair chances?
Thanks.

My profile is:

Undergrad Institution: A major university in Israel
Major(s): Physics
GPA in Major: 2.9
Overall GPA: 2.9
Length of Degree: 3 years
Position in Class: middle
Type of Student: International, male.

GRE Scores:
Q: 790
V: 390
W: 3.5
P: 790


TOEFL Total: 91

Research Experience: Nothing significant.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: None yet.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA and tutoring (physics).

Special Bonus Points: Taking a few graduate classes right now in my country

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: TA this semester. Also have a few years of experience in teaching physics, in private lessons given by the university.

Applying to Where:

Rice
University of Texas – Houston
University of Oklahoma
University of Nebraska
IOWA

GeorgeThe4th
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:44 pm

Re: 2012 profile discussions

Postby GeorgeThe4th » Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:00 pm

Hello everyone. I am beginning to send out my applications to the universities mentioned in my profile. Although it is last minute to make modifications, I have been somewhat concerned with my decision. I am applying almost exclusively to HET Physics programs, and although I am a double major in Physics and Astrophysics, the bulk of my effort the last few years has been building a strong astrophysics background. This is reflected by the fact that all 3 of my letters of recommendation are coming from astronomy professors, and my research experience has been in computational astrophysics. My physics GRE is also poor, and I believe if given the opportunity to retake it I would perform substantially better. I simply didn't take the time to prepare for it, and I regret that.

That said, do you think I have a strong shot at getting accepted into at least one of these universities:

University of Illinois -- Urbana Champaign
University of Maryland -- College Park
University of Michigan -- Ann Arbor
University of Wisconsin -- Madison
The Ohio State University
Pennsylvania State University
Brown University
University of North Carolina -- Chapel Hill
University of Florida -- Gainesville
Texas A&M University -- College Station
University of Massachusetts -- Amherst

When constructing that list, I paid close attention to the average PGRE score of each institution, which was nicely compiled by a fellow physicsgre member here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/713384/GRE_SCORES.jpg

Also, here is a link to my profile: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4274#p38797

Any feedback on my likelihood of acceptance would be greatly appreciated. Alternatively if you think I will need to go into a 5th year as an undergrad to boost my application to be more appealing to physics programs, that would also be nice to know. Thanks!

vesperlynd
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:28 am

Re: 2012 profile discussions

Postby vesperlynd » Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:04 pm

I also did all of my research with astrophysics profs and only had astro profs write letters of rec. For Harvard, I stated interest in condensed matter, for example, and was admitted anyway. For you specifically, your issue is your PGRE rather than the fact that you want to switch fields. HET and CMT require a high PGRE score to be admitted, typically. Experimental fields don't. Are you really sure you want to do HET? If your experience was anything like mine, you'll get to grad school realizing that you don't know enough about the other fields to decide which one you want to do (something I'm having to figure out this year).

wavicle
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:47 pm

2012 Acceptees: When did you submit your app?

Postby wavicle » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:20 pm

If you've already have standing offers for 2012, when did you submit your app? Some of y'all are already accepted and the suspense is killing me!

kangaroo
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:31 am

Re: 2012 Acceptees: When did you submit your app?

Postby kangaroo » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:33 pm

We don't need a new thread for this, just reply in the 2012 acceptances thread.

bfollinprm
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Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: 2012 Acceptees: When did you submit your app?

Postby bfollinprm » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:26 pm

Trust a veteran, people getting acceptances this early are not indicative of whether you will or will not get in to a school. The first real round of acceptances wont happen until the middle of February, with the last round typically in late March.

ol
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:07 pm

Re: 2012 Acceptees: When did you submit your app?

Postby ol » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:49 pm

It really doesn't matter when you get your application in, as long as it's in on time. However, it would not surprise me if recommendations submitted early get read early - bringing attention to the better applicants to begin with.
Last edited by ol on Fri May 10, 2013 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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InquilineKea
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Re: 2012 Acceptees: When did you submit your app?

Postby InquilineKea » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:58 pm

Getting attention too early isn't always an advantage though. If you're several months too early, they might even forget about you once they revisit your application again.

In fact, I'm getting more favorable attention from the departments I contacted very late in the cycle (Yale, Columbia, Brown), as compared to the first departments I contacted (Arizona LPL, Penn State, Caltech).

That being said, this is not a universal rule (and if anything, I always get into situations where I become the exception to the rule).

EDIT: Now that I'm thinking about it, it's really probably because my "prospective grad student" emails got better and better towards the end, due to feedback from emails with professors I had emailed earlier. And I only took the General GRE in mid-December - and my high General GRE score did turn out to be a hook when contacting professors.
Last edited by InquilineKea on Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

kangaroo
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:31 am

Re: 2012 Acceptees: When did you submit your app?

Postby kangaroo » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:46 am

InquilineKea wrote:That being said, this is not a universal rule (and if anything, I always get into situations where I become the exception to the rule).


Everyone does, you're not THAT special.

TakeruK
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: 2012 Acceptees: When did you submit your app?

Postby TakeruK » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:14 am

I had always thought that the admissions committee sat down and debated/discussed the applications in a (series of) meeting(s) at some point after the deadline. I didn't think they would consider each application one by one as they arrived? So I always thought it doesn't matter when you submit your application, as long as it's done on time. I know this is how they do it in the two universities I've been to (BSc and MSc). It is implied that Caltech GPS does the same thing (i.e. the committee meets and discusses which applications to accept at some point after the deadline) -- the email I got said "... we voted to admit you to Caltech for graduate school".

But to answer the original question, the Caltech GPS deadline was Jan 1. I submitted my application on Dec 31. I heard back from them on Jan 20. Looking at gradcafe data from previous years, this is the normal turnover time for Caltech GPS.

Every school seems to have a different timeline for their admissions process, so I think the "absolute" date (i.e. the calendar date) when you hear back from your applications is not that relevant. However, it is the "relative" date that kind of matters (i.e. relative to when a particular school send out their invites/notices). But then again, it doesn't matter too much, since an acceptance, whether it is Feb 1 or April 16, is still an acceptance. The former date may be far less stressful than the latter though!

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midwestphysics
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Re: 2012 Acceptees: When did you submit your app?

Postby midwestphysics » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:23 pm

TakeruK wrote:I had always thought that the admissions committee sat down and debated/discussed the applications in a (series of) meeting(s) at some point after the deadline. I didn't think they would consider each application one by one as they arrived? So I always thought it doesn't matter when you submit your application, as long as it's done on time. I know this is how they do it in the two universities I've been to (BSc and MSc). It is implied that Caltech GPS does the same thing (i.e. the committee meets and discusses which applications to accept at some point after the deadline) -- the email I got said "... we voted to admit you to Caltech for graduate school".



Some places do some don't, I know I had hits track-able to the spots I applied on my website well before the deadline and most likely well before the majority of apps were in. Others didn't start until a week after the deadline.

TakeruK
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Re: 2012 Acceptees: When did you submit your app?

Postby TakeruK » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:51 am

midwestphysics wrote:Some places do some don't, I know I had hits track-able to the spots I applied on my website well before the deadline and most likely well before the majority of apps were in. Others didn't start until a week after the deadline.


Good to know! I think you are saying that you included your webpage in your application and tracked who was viewing it? That must have provided some interesting information.

PS: I just asked my supervisor today at my MSc school (we were talking about admissions in general) and he said the committee here really just screens out candidates to some minimum baseline, then forwards the names to the profs that each candidate is applying to. Each prof then decides whether or not to accept that student to their research group. But I guess generally in the US, the committee plays a much more important role, selecting the top X candidates and admitting them?

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grae313
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Re: 2012 profile discussions

Postby grae313 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:26 pm

A few places in the US are known to use a similar method (I've heard MIT, for example, admits students more professor by professor, group by group, rather than as a class), but for the most part that's rare. Generally graduate programs admit the best body of students it can and assume that they will then spend the next year or two getting themselves into research groups. There's often some effort to roughly match areas of interest of the incoming students with available lab positions (example: we have too many theorists looking for groups right now, we'll admit more experimentalists for next year, etc), but for the most part the programs are looking to admit quality applicants and then it's up to them once they start the program to find a good research group match.

I think there's always room for individual exceptions in this process. If a strong applicant expresses really strong interest in a particular professor and the professor sees this application and has a similar interest in the student, I don't think it's unusual to be admitted just based on that.

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InquilineKea
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Re: 2012 Acceptees: When did you submit your app?

Postby InquilineKea » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:11 pm

midwestphysics wrote:
TakeruK wrote:I had always thought that the admissions committee sat down and debated/discussed the applications in a (series of) meeting(s) at some point after the deadline. I didn't think they would consider each application one by one as they arrived? So I always thought it doesn't matter when you submit your application, as long as it's done on time. I know this is how they do it in the two universities I've been to (BSc and MSc). It is implied that Caltech GPS does the same thing (i.e. the committee meets and discusses which applications to accept at some point after the deadline) -- the email I got said "... we voted to admit you to Caltech for graduate school".



Some places do some don't, I know I had hits track-able to the spots I applied on my website well before the deadline and most likely well before the majority of apps were in. Others didn't start until a week after the deadline.


Heh - did they arrive at your website by Googling your name or clicking on a link that you gave them?

I have one of those trackers myself, so this is always of interest to me (although I have an ultra-common name so many cannot find me). With that said, and in spite of that, it still appears that most came to my website via Googling my name + my undergrad institution.

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midwestphysics
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Re: 2012 profile discussions

Postby midwestphysics » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:00 pm

TakeruK wrote:Good to know! I think you are saying that you included your webpage in your application and tracked who was viewing it? That must have provided some interesting information.

Yeah, I was able get some good info out of the process. However, what shocked me a little bit was the responses I got about how well put together my site was. I had built a fully functional independent site that was easy to navigate, not overwhelming in content, and aesthetically pleasing. It went over pretty well.

TakeruK wrote:PS: I just asked my supervisor today at my MSc school (we were talking about admissions in general) and he said the committee here really just screens out candidates to some minimum baseline, then forwards the names to the profs that each candidate is applying to. Each prof then decides whether or not to accept that student to their research group. But I guess generally in the US, the committee plays a much more important role, selecting the top X candidates and admitting them?


GRAE is right, that's not the norm in the US.

InquilineKea wrote: Heh - did they arrive at your website by Googling your name or clicking on a link that you gave them?

I have one of those trackers myself, so this is always of interest to me (although I have an ultra-common name so many cannot find me). With that said, and in spite of that, it still appears that most came to my website via Googling my name + my undergrad institution.


The footer to my PS was my website, so I was even able to avoid wasting space in my PS and making the mistake of acting as if the SP was just an opening for my site. It was a stand alone SP, which was what I wanted, yet still gave the extra info I wanted too. There's a pretty well known actor with my name so unless I gave them a direct link it would never be found, besides I made it so that it didn't come up in searches.




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