Lots of grad admissions insight from a Stanford Physics Prof

  • 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.

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InquilineKea
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Lots of grad admissions insight from a Stanford Physics Prof

Postby InquilineKea » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:10 pm


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midwestphysics
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Re: Lots of grad admissions insight from a Stanford Physics Prof

Postby midwestphysics » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:53 pm

Everyone wishes or wished they had a clear cut answer to how admissions worked but it just isn't a standard thing. I remember one of my favorite profs telling me about the process at a school which will remain unnamed and how crazy he thought it was. One prof adamantly refused to look at the PGRE, another thought the correlation between the gen gre and the sop quality was a good indicator, one only looked at letters from research profs, another felt that if they met a bottom line the only way to know was through an interview. It's a crazy process, and you never know who you're going to draw and really what they'll think of your app. The only thing he said he could tell me that was of any real use, which is what they all say, was that we should never give them a single reason to question our ability, and if we do, the game of chance that it is gets interesting.

asdfuogh
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Re: Lots of grad admissions insight from a Stanford Physics Prof

Postby asdfuogh » Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:34 am

So basically, it's a gambling table where the dealer is from an insane asylum and the house isn't necessarily interested in making money is probably on crack? Got it.. :/

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quizivex
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Re: Lots of grad admissions insight from a Stanford Physics Prof

Postby quizivex » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:37 pm

midwestphysics said it best... the applications are evaluated by individuals who each have varying opinions on what matters most. You MUST not take one person's opinion on grad admissions as fact, even if the person is an admission prof. The evaluation of applications can vary wildly by school and by committee member. Profs who say the PGRE doesn't matter are utter idiots... Even if they're convinced it has no correlation with merit, they must know that there are other profs out there who take the GRE very seriously, and therefore that it will matter for prospective grad students. Maybe profs tell their students the GRE doesn't count because they have some ulterior motive (they want you to focus 100% of your effort on working in their lab), or whatever. But it's disrespectful to a student to act like only recommendations matter, which is certainly not the case. Many websites clearly say the PGRE and GPA are important and the profile threads also show it.

kangaroo
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Re: Lots of grad admissions insight from a Stanford Physics Prof

Postby kangaroo » Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:01 pm

And Quora is not the be all and end all of everything. Especially when it is just a community of wannabe intellectuals engaging in back self-patting orgasms...

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Andromeda
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Re: Lots of grad admissions insight from a Stanford Physics Prof

Postby Andromeda » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:29 am

To be fair, while I wouldn't take everything to heart these professors say (looks like more than one were involved in the Q&A) I do think some of the more general stuff is great advice. Or at least very much in line with what I've heard from others who have been involved in graduate admissions.

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midwestphysics
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Re: Lots of grad admissions insight from a Stanford Physics Prof

Postby midwestphysics » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:53 am

quizivex wrote: Profs who say the PGRE doesn't matter are utter idiots... Even if they're convinced it has no correlation with merit, they must know that there are other profs out there who take the GRE very seriously, and therefore that it will matter for prospective grad students.....But it's disrespectful to a student to act like only recommendations matter, which is certainly not the case. Many websites clearly say the PGRE and GPA are important and the profile threads also show it.


Yeah, even if one prof doesn't care about it that person isn't the only one reviewing your app. It sucks, but you literally have to try and ace everything knowing full well that some of the stuff you're going to bust your hump over won't mean jack to some of the people looking your app over, but it might mean the world to others.

bfollinprm
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Re: Lots of grad admissions insight from a Stanford Physics Prof

Postby bfollinprm » Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:20 pm

The above is why you apply to multiple places, and why you play the odds. They go in both directions though, it can help you get into a school when a different weighting of your merits would have excluded you.




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