Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

  • 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.

Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Yes
4
19%
No
13
62%
Hard to say
4
19%
 
Total votes: 21

kangaroo
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Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby kangaroo » Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:17 pm

This is the most boring *yawn* year we have to date. Less posted profiles than when the site first started, and when even the acceptances thread is pitifully short, you know it's bad.

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Skullgrid
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby Skullgrid » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:07 pm

I can think of two factors that possibly contribute to the apparent decline of posts:

1. Competition has become so severe that people are unwilling to help each other, even if they would themselves benefit.

2. Admissions committees are now well aware of this site. Using the profiles thread they can easily match the user with the applicant, and get info that the poster may not have wanted them to have (e.g. other posts, demographic info, the fact that they're the type of person to post this stuff on a forum, etc...)

Other than that, maybe applicants just aren't as serious about grad school as they used to be (they're just doing it because they don't know what else to do, for example), so they don't care enough to seek out the information contained in this forum.

esopterodactyl
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby esopterodactyl » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:14 pm

Looking at the dates of the posted profiles, seeing how many were posted on or before January 30:

2013: 66
2012: 64
2011: 71
2010: 58

Based on that data, I'd say this site is holding up surprisingly well. If you want to analyze how the site is doing, perhaps page views would be a better statistic?

Do you mean there is a dropoff in non-profile related posts?

Edit: The acceptance list is short because most schools don't release them until mid-February.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby Tom Joad » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:19 pm

Skullgrid wrote:I can think of two factors that possibly contribute to the apparent decline of posts:

1. Competition has become so severe that people are unwilling to help each other, even if they would themselves benefit.

2. Admissions committees are now well aware of this site. Using the profiles thread they can easily match the user with the applicant, and get info that the poster may not have wanted them to have (e.g. other posts, demographic info, the fact that they're the type of person to post this stuff on a forum, etc...)

Other than that, maybe applicants just aren't as serious about grad school as they used to be (they're just doing it because they don't know what else to do, for example), so they don't care enough to seek out the information contained in this forum.


3. People have a tendency to remember the past as better than it actually was and declare the present as the worst of times.
Last edited by Tom Joad on Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

esopterodactyl
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby esopterodactyl » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:19 pm

Skullgrid wrote:1. Competition has become so severe that people are unwilling to help each other, even if they would themselves benefit.


Kind of cynical - I think it's unlikely the mindset of prospective physics graduate students has changed that dramatically in 6 years. But you might be right, it might be a demographic shift towards those who are self-absorbed away from the "forum friendliness" of the early 2000s.

wololo
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby wololo » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:24 pm

There can always be statistical fluctuations from year to year :mrgreen:

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Tom Joad
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby Tom Joad » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:31 pm

wololo wrote:There can always be statistical fluctuations from year to year :mrgreen:

Especially when the signal to noise ratio is so low!

stengah
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby stengah » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:56 am

I've thought that this forum should merge with physicsforums for a while.

But like someone already said, there are NOT less profiles than previous years, I don't know why you keep thinking that. It's still January.

Croixrousse
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby Croixrousse » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:15 am

stengah wrote:I've thought that this forum should merge with physicsforums for a while.


I'm new to physicsgre.com, but one of my first thoughts on visiting was exactly this. I have to imagine that there's a great deal of overlap between the two communities and that both would benefit from a merger.

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twistor
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby twistor » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:41 am

Croixrousse wrote:
stengah wrote:I've thought that this forum should merge with physicsforums for a while.


I'm new to physicsgre.com, but one of my first thoughts on visiting was exactly this. I have to imagine that there's a great deal of overlap between the two communities and that both would benefit from a merger.


physicsforums is an awful site. For one thing, the moderators are complete assholes. If you post something they even slightly disagree with you will be banned. Physicsgre.com is a separate culture free from the elitist attitudes held at physicsforums. To make matters worse, physicsforums constantly pollutes your screen with ads, going so fa as to insert them into the very posts you are trying to read. No, the sites should definitely remain separate.

Meteorshower
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby Meteorshower » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:34 pm

A few thoughts.

1) The sites definitely shouldn't merge. This forum is has a very specific audience, and that's a good thing. Pretty much everyone hear is in the same or similar boats whereas physicsforums is just huge and has a lot of areas pretty much of zero interest to a lot of people here. Different sites, different purposes. Oh and all the reasons Twistor pointed out.

2) Just because there aren't as many posts here as before (which i'm assuming is true otherwise there is just no problem in the first place) doesn't mean this site is dead. The application system doesn't seem to have changed much over the years and most of the ground newcomers like myself are interested in has already been well-trodden. It would just be annoying to create new threads to ask already answered questions. Personally this site has been invaluable for me to gain information about PhD applications, especially as I don't live in the US where presumably this sort of information is more freely available.

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midwestphysics
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby midwestphysics » Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:26 pm

You're likely to get post drops on a site like this over time simply because it exists to spread information and answer questions about the process. Over time those questions and answers thin out and they don't need to be asked anymore. In fact for those of us who've been around this site for years know we can get pretty snippy with people who don't search the forums beforehand.

However,

Skullgrid wrote:2. Admissions committees are now well aware of this site. Using the profiles thread they can easily match the user with the applicant, and get info that the poster may not have wanted them to have (e.g. other posts, demographic info, the fact that they're the type of person to post this stuff on a forum, etc...)


Skillgrid has an interesting point there. While I wouldn't have cared when I was applying had I used this site and don't care now that I'm in grad school I can see others not sharing that sentiment. Think Facebook, as soon as employers started using it as a tool a lot of people changed their habits, and privacy settings. That's why I wouldn't recommend posting all your data until after admissions are over. Seeing as the current batch's usefulness is pretty completely focused on the next round of applicants. Yeah you can find out who you're up against right now, but you'd be up against them anyway whether you knew it or not. You can post acceptances as they come in like we already do. But just wait until the end and then everybody could enter their profiles, giving the next round something to gauge with. That way all the real important information is available still, at least the useful stuff is. And the rest comes in at the proper times, thus making it a lot hard to connect the dots.

wololo
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby wololo » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:55 am

A thing that I realize is that mostly domestic applicants post their profiles. Is this because this site is unpopular among international applicants or there are significantly more domestic applicants?

Minovsky
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby Minovsky » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:18 pm

esopterodactyl wrote:Looking at the dates of the posted profiles, seeing how many were posted on or before January 30:

2013: 66
2012: 64
2011: 71
2010: 58

2009: 77
2008: 22

It is still early in the admissions process to use the Acceptances thread as a measure of activity. Some schools only had their deadlines less than three weeks ago (1/15)! Most schools advertise that they make decisions in late February to mid March.

admissionprof
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby admissionprof » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:36 pm

midwestphysics wrote:However,

Skullgrid wrote:2. Admissions committees are now well aware of this site. Using the profiles thread they can easily match the user with the applicant, and get info that the poster may not have wanted them to have (e.g. other posts, demographic info, the fact that they're the type of person to post this stuff on a forum, etc...)


Skillgrid has an interesting point there. While I wouldn't have cared when I was applying had I used this site and don't care now that I'm in grad school I can see others not sharing that sentiment. Think Facebook, as soon as employers started using it as a tool a lot of people changed their habits, and privacy settings. That's why I wouldn't recommend posting all your data until after admissions are over. Seeing as the current batch's usefulness is pretty completely focused on the next round of applicants. Yeah you can find out who you're up against right now, but you'd be up against them anyway whether you knew it or not. You can post acceptances as they come in like we already do. But just wait until the end and then everybody could enter their profiles, giving the next round something to gauge with. That way all the real important information is available still, at least the useful stuff is. And the rest comes in at the proper times, thus making it a lot hard to connect the dots.


I'm chair of an admissions committee and am aware of this site. I'd guess that 20% or so of admissions directors are as well. But for most schools, trying to match up all people that have applied to their school would take a lot of work and would provide little if any useful information. Same reason I can probably find applicants on facebook, but have never done so. I do see my school's name on the profile threads, and look to see what our competition is, but I don't do any matching with real people (and if I did, it wouldn't matter). AFTER someone is admitted, and posts that fact, then I occasionally look to try to judge the chance that we get them. That seems fair. But to hold something said on this forum against somebody would be, IMO, unethical and I wouldn't do it.

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midwestphysics
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby midwestphysics » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:03 pm

admissionprof wrote:I'm chair of an admissions committee and am aware of this site. I'd guess that 20% or so of admissions directors are as well. But for most schools, trying to match up all people that have applied to their school would take a lot of work and would provide little if any useful information. Same reason I can probably find applicants on facebook, but have never done so. I do see my school's name on the profile threads, and look to see what our competition is, but I don't do any matching with real people (and if I did, it wouldn't matter). AFTER someone is admitted, and posts that fact, then I occasionally look to try to judge the chance that we get them. That seems fair. But to hold something said on this forum against somebody would be, IMO, unethical and I wouldn't do it.


Is it really unethical? I too feel it is but I'm closer to the point of someone who was looking for admission then I am to being someone offering admission. That perspective, when I try to envision it, makes me feel a little less like it is unethical. As a school you're investing a great deal into each student, you are very limited in your resources, and so each investment needs to be worth it. And yes, while many won't go through this site and look for any connections, that might not be universal. I can see even bigger benefits myself in doing that. As we've talked about before the majority of profiles here are from the top applicants, a large percentage of your first round acceptances. We all also know that at times it can be hard picking between applicants. Say you have 10 open spots, 14-15 applicants you'd like to offer a spot, and a budget that says you can't go over even a little bit. What do you do if the differentiation between applicants 8-15 isn't big enough to make the choice of who gets in and who doesn't a truly educated one? If you could put 2 and 2 together on this site to recognize who is who you now have more information on these people, unguarded information at that, to make your final list. Things like a personality trait that is inherent in their posts could be enough to shift their acceptance course, good or bad. The schools they're really interested in. A bunch of different things could be used.

I don't know I've always had an affinity for the kind of modeling done in subjects like micro-economics, you can create a whole new metric for admission if you use this site to reveal unpolished information about your applicants.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby Tom Joad » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:01 pm

There's also the possibility that you could be wrong about who you think a poster is. It seems as if there are a lot of similar applicants who post on here and it'd be hard to know for sure, especially if all you have to work with is the profile. What if you decided to not offer admission to someone because you thought they were the guy who obviously had an abrasive and arrogant personality that would be a poor fit for the university's environment, only to find out later that you had him mistaken for somebody else?

There are several profiles that I was convinced were people at my school until I saw that, for example, they took a graduate level class not offered here.

admissionprof
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby admissionprof » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:17 pm

Say you have 10 open spots, 14-15 applicants you'd like to offer a spot, and a budget that says you can't go over even a little bit. What do you do if the differentiation between applicants 8-15 isn't big enough to make the choice of who gets in and who doesn't a truly educated one? If you could put 2 and 2 together on this site to recognize who is who you now have more information on these people, unguarded information at that, to make your final list. Things like a personality trait that is inherent in their posts could be enough to shift their acceptance course, good or bad. The schools they're really interested in. A bunch of different things could be used.


Fortunately, your scenario never actually occurs. There are typical 3-4 times as many offers as spots, and going over one or two never matters (one just goes down a bit the following year or two, so the net "cost" is one year's interest on one student). That's why the micromanaging that you refer to isn't worth the time. We're too busy to do that. In any event, I'd be surprised if ANY admissions people use the information here to make a decision.

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midwestphysics
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby midwestphysics » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:57 pm

Tom Joad wrote:There's also the possibility that you could be wrong about who you think a poster is. It seems as if there are a lot of similar applicants who post on here and it'd be hard to know for sure, especially if all you have to work with is the profile. What if you decided to not offer admission to someone because you thought they were the guy who obviously had an abrasive and arrogant personality that would be a poor fit for the university's environment, only to find out later that you had him mistaken for somebody else?

There are several profiles that I was convinced were people at my school until I saw that, for example, they took a graduate level class not offered here.


You're sitting here though just going by what you know of a classmate through what they tell you. In my scenario you have their entire application at your disposal, number for number, research exp for exp, etc. Given that info, identifying the profiles that match your applicants is too easy. It's just too easy to do it, it really is. However, as AdmissionsProf points out...

admissionprof wrote:
Say you have 10 open spots, 14-15 applicants you'd like to offer a spot, and a budget that says you can't go over even a little bit. What do you do if the differentiation between applicants 8-15 isn't big enough to make the choice of who gets in and who doesn't a truly educated one? If you could put 2 and 2 together on this site to recognize who is who you now have more information on these people, unguarded information at that, to make your final list. Things like a personality trait that is inherent in their posts could be enough to shift their acceptance course, good or bad. The schools they're really interested in. A bunch of different things could be used.


Fortunately, your scenario never actually occurs. There are typical 3-4 times as many offers as spots, and going over one or two never matters (one just goes down a bit the following year or two, so the net "cost" is one year's interest on one student). That's why the micromanaging that you refer to isn't worth the time. We're too busy to do that. In any event, I'd be surprised if ANY admissions people use the information here to make a decision.


The whole thing may be moot. Because those who may have the resources to do this type of mapping don't need to, and those that might need to don't have the resources to do it.

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Andromeda
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby Andromeda » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:54 am

I think this forum is similar to years past (I dip in and out) and if it's whithering on the vine it's just because I've noticed a shift from posts in the past year or two from them. Basically when you have Facebook, Twitter, and all the other bits of social media in existence people don't feel as much a need to seek out forums.

walczyk
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby walczyk » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:53 am

I linked my statement of purpose on this site last month, I'm a little nervous that hurt my chances? I don't know, I'm not a strong candidate anyhow.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Has physicsgre.com passed its peak and never thrive again?

Postby Tom Joad » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:11 am

walczyk wrote:I linked my statement of purpose on this site last month, I'm a little nervous that hurt my chances? I don't know, I'm not a strong candidate anyhow.



I wouldn't worry about it because it was only on here for a few days. I doubt that any admission committees religiously check this site, especially in January before they start looking at applications. Even if they did see it, the only real risk I'd say would be being accused of plagiarism.




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