Applying to Graduate School: a Timeline

  • 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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Applying to Graduate School: a Timeline

Postby Andromeda » Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:36 am

This post appeared today on Astrobites, an astronomy site run by graduate students (usually for research but also other career advice as well). While the focus is on astronomy grad schools, I think pretty much all of it covers how things would work in physics, so thought some folks here might like to check it out.

They also did a similar article on how to apply for grad school in Europe, for anyone interested in a shift for grad school to there!

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Re: Applying to Graduate School: a Timeline

Postby Catria » Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:12 am

This looks a little condensed for my taste... my personal timeline gives a greater spread for a less stress-packed application season. I took the GRE one semester earlier so I could have it out of the way long before the rest of the materials.

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Re: Applying to Graduate School: a Timeline

Postby TakeruK » Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:21 am

I enjoy reading Astrobites and this article is no different! I think this is the perfect timeline for grad school applications, mostly because it's basically the exact same timeline (but replace NSF with the Canadian NSERC) I ended up using. I agree that perhaps writing the General GRE earlier would be a good idea (I wrote mine in June of the application year since it involves traveling a few hours to Toronto to do so). However, I wrote the Physics GRE in November!

In my opinion, I don't think this is too condensed because it's basically a 3 month process from September to December! Other than writing exams earlier, I can't really see how you can (or would want to) spread the process out any further. There is some optimal number of hours you should be working on applications and I think spending more months on the process means you will more likely reach diminishing returns on improvement of application quality vs. time spent! So, I like this timeline because it forces you to not waste time on application materials.

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