I looked through examples of 2012 applicants and how they are doing, but I didn't find any who have the same situation as me, so I can't tell if I will be able to get into a physics doctoral program or not. Here is a summary of my candidacy so far:
- I am currently studying for the Physics GRE so I'm hoping to do well (it might be very necessary given the rest of my application)
- I also need to take the regular GRE, which I'm obviously hoping to do well in (my SAT composite was 1450/1600 in ~2002 and I would expect roughly comparable results)
- I have a masters already, but it is in science education (my gpa is almost a perfect 4.0 at least...)
- I have no research experience (thinking this is very bad; I DO have experience as an undergraduate TA, as well as high school teaching experience)
- I haven't kept in touch with any professors from my bachelors (graduated in 2007) so getting academic letters of recommendation (aside from my advisor from my education masters who I did a mini thesis with) will be difficult. I could easily get professional letters of recommendation from school administrators, etc, but I don't think they are sufficient.
- My undergraduate GPA was 3.44 (double major in physics and science education at university of Maryland, college park).
- My math GPA was 3.78
- My physics GPA was 3.27 (double majoring with education really killed my focus on some of my physics class, internships/etc made it harder)
- Already included in the physics GPA is a C in Quantum Mechanics 1 (only C in math/science, but still bad)
- Due to education track, didn't take statistical thermodynamics, quantum mechanics 2, modern physics, or advanced lab
I know this is probably a difficult question to answer, but I'm having a lot of trouble answering it myself with research. If I study hard for the GRE/PGRE and do well on them, does that have the potential to overcome some of my current deficiencies? In other words, if it's pretty clear that there's no way for me to get into any doctoral program in physics, I should find out now and use my time more appropriately.
Alternately, are there things I can do over the next several months that could greatly increase my candidacy? I read a thread about possibly doing research after graduating, for example, although I have no idea how I could make that work.
Thank you very much for any help you can provide.