alarming data from AIP

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braindrain
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alarming data from AIP

Postby braindrain » Sun Feb 25, 2007 12:45 pm

Here is some alarming data from AIP for the year 2005. It's graduate students total foreign and first year for physics graduate programs:
CalTech: 151 69 32
UC Berkeley: 245 58 43
UC LA: 147 32 26
UC SB: 149 28 37
UC SC: 50 3 3
UC SD: 130 31 31
Stanford: 163 81 28
U Colorado (Boulder): 205 48 27
Yale: 98 46 11
U Florida: 131 82 32
UChicago: 136 71 22
UIUC: 304 127 49
Johns Hopkins: 97 49 21
UMaryland: 220 86 40
Harvard: did not provide data
MIT: 232 122 24
U Michigan: 135 60 16
Princeton: 91 49 13
Rutgers: 114 73 23
Cornell: 204 93 25
NYU: 44 36 8
SUNY Stony Brook: 195 109 45
Duke: 76 41 13
UPenn: 101 37 15
Texas A&M: 150 95 34
U of Washington: 206 28 44
Wisconsin: 167 47 31


I thought this data was alarming. I know they accept more people than the number of first years. But, still! Now with such a small number of first year students, it seems that the schools are collecting lots of money in application fees when they could easily provide more info on what gets in for so few spots. It just seems like more of a money scam than before. There also seems to be no evidence except maybe the state schools in California that anybody is looking for domestic applicants. Can schools really justify greater than 50% international students? That's alarming too, that we can't grow our own.

physicslover
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Postby physicslover » Sun Feb 25, 2007 1:29 pm

I really disagree with you on the number of foreign student issue. I think Americans still have the best chance, and the number is reasonable. Consider these schools as the best schools in the world, and ppl from all over the world want to have a chance, and how many countries there are outside of the US...

This is not undergraduate programs, graduate programs produce serious scientists and thus the goal of the schools should not be to be "local".

Another smaller thing is that, I believe in America having PhD is not as big of a deal, there are many other alternatives for people than just continue schooling (working, or even MBA), but in less developed countries degrees mean a lot more.
Last edited by physicslover on Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

braindrain
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Postby braindrain » Sun Feb 25, 2007 1:58 pm

@physicslover: You don't sound like you are taking Americans seriously - we are "local", serious scientists come out of the programs as if we weren't, and not a big deal for us. Give me a break. You are not entitled to the degree more for having less options. It's not a big deal in the US not because we have more options, but because people don't have respect they used to have for scientists and teachers and other low paying intellectual professions. Please remember, most of the money used to support foreign graduate students comes from American tax dollars which feed into the agencies providing the grant money to the universities. People have said that schools are looking for domestic applicants since September 11th, but its really not the case as the numbers indicate. Were the Americans just filler for visa problems for the foreign students? As much as I appreciate the foreign students I've met. I really have enjoyed the interaction, I do think after a certain point, like going over 50% international AND rejecting lots of qualified Americans can be alarming to say the least. If the schools really are the best in the world then the grad programs can fill up with undergrads from these schools, but they don't. It's also suspicious what consitutes the "best in the world". I was just alarmed by the numbers. I don't think the number of countries is the issue - the US has 300 million people and a small country could have a few million. It's just alarming.

physicslover
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Postby physicslover » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:01 pm

No, I really don't mean that about Americans :). In fact I mean the opposite. Americans who choose to do science are all very serious about science. And they are usually very good and very creative. In other countries, *sometimes* people choose to have higher degree for the degree more than for science. I just say there are a lot of foreigners applying, especially to the US, since it's the best place to apply for, so some of those would be good and get accepted.
Last edited by physicslover on Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

artist
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Postby artist » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:06 pm

braindrain: Can you give a link to your source?

braindrain
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Postby braindrain » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:11 pm

Some of that is going on in the US also. Some people come to the US to get a PhD degree just to stay in the US and they have no intention of working in science. They may say there is benefit to having a Wall Street person with a PhD, but its really not needed.

braindrain
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Postby braindrain » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:15 pm


artist
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Postby artist » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:16 pm

You say that "some" people do that. Got any hard numbers?

It's commonly known that only about 50% of physics PhDs go into academia (foreign or not), but I bet most of the rest are still doing science in some form or another.

artist
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Postby artist » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:19 pm

Total numbers are 12977 doctoral graduate students, 6273 of which are foreign, and 2652 first year. That's less than 50% foreign.

braindrain
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Postby braindrain » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:21 pm

So artist, its still greater than 50% at some institutions: alarming!

Check out the first graph of this:
http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/re ... onal05.pdf

I didn't read the whole thing yet, but notice the reversal around 2001?

artist
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Postby artist » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:28 pm

Yes, there are more than 50% foreign students at some institutions. But I don't understand what's alarming about that. Foreign students are held to a higher standard academically than domestic students for admission, so it's not like domestic students are having a harder time getting into graduate school.

I see the time reversal around 2001. It appears as though it is getting progressively easier for domestic students to get accepted over foreign students.

artist
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Postby artist » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:36 pm

Also, in your first post you mention it "just seems like more of a money scam than before" to apply for graduate school. I don't think this is true. I have been accepted into two graduate schools so far, and with plane tickets + hotel costs added together for both trips, it totals more than I paid for all of my applications combined. So they are shelling out more money than they are taking in.

I think it's only a "scam" if you apply to schools you don't have a chance at. The AIP publishes data on average GRE scores and GPAs for admitted students for most schools, so that should give you some idea whether you should spend your money applying some place or not. (This data can be easily accessed via http://www.gradschoolshopper.com/ )

epsi
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Postby epsi » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:36 pm

the only alarming thing is that US students with far better resources than most internationals are lagging behind...

braindrain
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Postby braindrain » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:47 pm

I agree with you epsi.

@artist: I seriously doubt the universities are taking a financial loss for the application process. Take Berkeley for example from gradshoolshopper. If 776 people applied then for an average application fee of $70 a pop, they took in $54320. That's a lot of money. I don't think the averages mean a lot in all cases. After all its an average not a median or a range.

epsi
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Postby epsi » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:55 pm

" most of the money used to support foreign graduate students comes from American tax dollars which feed into the agencies providing the grant money to the universities. "

int. students also pay taxes if I am not mistaken, they don't get it all for free.

braindrain
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Postby braindrain » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:58 pm

I dont' mean tax dollars on the graduate student stipend. That's peanuts. The real grant money is worth millions.

epsi
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Postby epsi » Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:00 pm

yes
but they get cheap *high quality* labor

artist
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Postby artist » Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:02 pm

Berkeley is not a representative sample. Are you talking about all universities or just top tier universities? I'm not sure where you got the 776 figure (I can't seem to find Berkeley on gradschoolshopper.com), but I have older figures saved on my computer: 102 were accepted out of 704 who applied.

$70/application * 704 applications = $49280

Assuming all 104 students who were accepted also visited Berkeley, with $500 round trip plane tickets and $150/night * 3 nights hotels costs and other miscellaneous fees (free food and the time and energy expended by faculty and staff setting up these open houses) I'd say $1000 cost per visiting student is a conservative estimate. That's $104,000, more than twice the cost pulled in through application fees.

This is just an estimate, and probably not all students who are accepted visit Berkeley (and some who do might already live in the bay area and thus don't need plane tickets). But you said you "doubt" that universities are taking a financial loss on this by just suggesting that $54320 is such a large number that it must be so. That's nonsense.

braindrain
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Postby braindrain » Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:04 pm

It's naive to think the schools are taking a financial loss for the admissions process.

artist
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Postby artist » Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:06 pm

Also, that was for Berkeley. For other schools that don't have such a large applicant pool, they probably spend even more of their own money on visiting students. Obviously the cost of the application is there to ease the burden of the institution, but I think it's doubtful they are making any money on the application process.

artist
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Postby artist » Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:06 pm

It's naive to think the schools are taking a financial loss for the admissions process.

Haha, why? You say that without any supporting evidence whatsoever. Are you just a troll?

braindrain
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Postby braindrain » Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:26 pm

NO, I'm not a troll. It's just that is how the world works. Where do you suppose the money comes from, elsewhere in the university? The money
has to come from somewhere. It's still to the school's advantage to collect more in application fees especially if you don't think its covering all their expenses. If you were right, it confirms my argument more of not giving out enough info to applicants because they need the money more than I thought.

I don't think your estimate is correct. I don't think they will pay 3 nights in a hotel. How about the Hilton? $1000/student is a bit much.

artist
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Postby artist » Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:33 pm

UC Berkeley has a 2.2 billion dollar endowment. Maybe that's where the money comes from?

Quaoar
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Postby Quaoar » Sun Feb 25, 2007 4:06 pm

"Assuming all 104 students who were accepted also visited Berkeley, with $500 round trip plane tickets and $150/night * 3 nights hotels costs and other miscellaneous fees (free food and the time and energy expended by faculty and staff setting up these open houses) I'd say $1000 cost per visiting student is a conservative estimate. That's $104,000, more than twice the cost pulled in through application fees."

@artist: Couple things wrong here. Firstly, the number of students visiting is probably more like 75%, so say 80 students visit. Secondly, half of the people are probably coming from within CA, and a plane ticket to Berkeley isn't going to run you more than 150 round trip. So lets say 250 average to include the out of staters. In addition, they tend to board you in grad student housing, which is free.

The cost for the time and energy expended is difficult to calculate, but I sincerely doubt more than 2-3 faculty members will engaged for any significant amount of time. Factor in food and random expenses, I'd say 300-400 per visiting student is a better estimate. Which hey, is slightly less than the applications bring in! :P

So I wouldn't say it's a money-making scam OR a drain, they break about even.

soluyanov
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Postby soluyanov » Sun Feb 25, 2007 4:18 pm

I think the only school, which does not grab tonnes of money in the application process is, probably, Chicago. At least, they are the only guys who honestly state: "We won't accept you if your GRE subject is below 770". The rest say, that they may accept everyone. This is complete bull..stuff. Do you know anyone accepted to Princeton or Harvard or any other we-are-the-best school, having less than 770? Especially internationals?

Don't name Yale. I mean top 5-7 schools, which I consider are: CalTech, MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Berkeley, Stanford + Chicago and Cornell. As far as I was told, MIT's "first round" is selecting everybody with subject > 900. Then, they make a selection among these people. Others are involved later (if only there are no special recommendations from anyone outstanding for someone in the application pool). I would not be surprised if some applications are even no looked at at all. But to place any limits for the applicants means to place some limits to the income. Do you agree?

artist
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Postby artist » Sun Feb 25, 2007 4:42 pm

In addition, they tend to board you in grad student housing, which is free.

I think during the academic year, grad students live in the grad student housing. If there are "free" slots for visiting students, those have to be maintained, which cost money. It is not free to house visiting students for a weekend.

artist
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Postby artist » Sun Feb 25, 2007 4:51 pm

Harvard's average physics GRE score for admitted students was 893. MIT's wasn't listed, but I'd need to see some evidence before believing their cut off is higher than Harvard's average. Maybe that cut off applies to international students only?

FYI: Chicago's average physics GRE was 867

phun
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Postby phun » Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:09 pm

I think the claim that physics departments fill up half their spots with international students while rejecting "well-qualified" domestic students is pretty outrageous.

If anything, I am pretty darn sure that they could fill up more than 50% of their spots with internationals if the admissions process was strictly merit-based. They probably feel that 50-50 ratio is somewhat "fair".

I am also pretty darn sure departments would be more than happy to give a spot to a domestic applicant if they had to choose between equally qualified domestic and international applicants.

Gti337
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Postby Gti337 » Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:24 pm

@soluyanov

Where does it say that Chicago has a minimum GRE score (unofficial or official) ? I wasn't able to find that on their website or on gradschoolshopper. If I had known that I would have saved my time and not even bothered hoping for a miracle.

Quaoar
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Postby Quaoar » Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:41 pm

@artist: You're misunderstanding. They board visiting students WITH other grad students, in their apartments. That's not always the case at every school, but I'm just talking Berkeley here.

artist
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Postby artist » Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:09 pm

Heh, all right, that might be the case at Berkeley. If so, I think we need to pick another school to talk about, because I seriously doubt that is the standard amongst most universities. The two schools I've been invited to so far have offered me my own hotel room.

soluyanov
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Postby soluyanov » Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:32 pm

Gti331, I was viewing their site in fall, it was designed in a little different way, and the minimum GRE subject was just on the page "how to apply". Probably, the situation has changed a little, but I somebody posted this info (obtained within a phone call) this year on this forum.

artist: I didn't mean cut off, it's just how they work. I know this from a person who participates in it. If there not enough applicants with >900, they look at those with >870 etc.

braindrain
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Postby braindrain » Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:43 pm

phun says: "I think the claim that physics departments fill up half their spots with international students while rejecting "well-qualified" domestic students is pretty outrageous."

If you take a school like Yale with 11 first years (okay maybe they accepted
30 to get the 11 and 15 are foreign and 15 are American), then do you really believe out of 200ish applications, they can't find another 15 well-qualified Americans? That's hard to believe. Very hard to believe. But, I agree it can work the other way too, the whole class can be foreign and all be well-qualified. And what about a lower ranked school in the boonies. Those schools still have 50% international too. Are you saying we can't find lower qualified Americans to fill those spots?

It is unclear why all the international students assume they are better. Is it just the GRE score being higher that makes them better? Plus its also a question of whether a school should or does accept you on your potential rather than being more advanced at the time you apply. I'm sure most applicants want potential to count, but when it comes down to a professor picking a research assistant, they may pick the most advanced person. Why wouldn't they? I'm not against having foreign students, but when schools with large numbers of applicants and small numbers of seats go over 50% international it becomes a question of what is going on. I thought schools easily take the percentages of people who apply. If the applicant pool is 80% international the admitted class will be too. They do that for women and minorities also. But is taking a proportion to the number of people who apply necessarily fair?

soluyanov
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Postby soluyanov » Sun Feb 25, 2007 7:19 pm

Braindrain,
There is a subtlety you omit in your arguments. Most of the universities considered are private. I clearly understand your idea, that US should give all priorities to their origins. But, imagine yourself being an owner of the university. Your income and reputation depends on the quality of the graduated students. The problem is that (I'll consider only "average" case) being at the same age 20-22 foreigners are much better prepared and much more experienced. I could say this is a drawback of American education, but we should judge only by the output, i.e. how many people become strong scientists, and this doesn't depend on nationality. It does depend on the undergrad preparation, but this dependence is also very weak (take Einstein, for example).

I think there are enough spots in US grad schools to satisfy both foreigners and locals, and the real problems are much deeper than the I/A ratio of the incoming students.

Real problems begin, when people from the non top universities realize that the prestige of the university you have graduated is sometimes more valuable than you are.

braindrain
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Postby braindrain » Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:34 pm

But, even the private universities support their graduate students from grants which come from agencies which get their money from at the end of the day, American tax dollars. That means some farmer out in the mid-west is footing the bill for your education. Its not that they don't get anything in return. The foreign scientists do contribute and educating the world does of course give back to science and back to the midwestern farmer.

But I thought the way America always operated was on a market economy. Having a better product elsewhere should make us become better by trying to compete, not selling ourselves out. When Japan dots the i's and crosses the t's, in some ways we sell out, but in some ways we benefit by their improvements.

But, at what point do we say we have to do better as a country for science? I think the US has said it for science education but nothing has improved. The Nobel Prizes this year were mostly (or all?) American. I agree the profs. will take the better prepared students, but given time the US students will catch up to whatever preparation is lacking. Maybe the US solution was to go back to the older generation model of special high schools for science. The Bronx High School of Science ended up producing lots of Nobel laureates. I always thought education needed reform for the smarter kids. The schools teach to the masses, but people who apply for phd's clearly aren't the masses so why can't that be assessed early and education accelerated.

I guess what I was alarmed at is more of America going to the foreign student. It's the same kind of alarm New Yorkers felt when other countries keep trying to buy Rockefeller Center, a national landmark, in NYC? It's like some foreign ownership doesn't bother people, but there is a line that gets crossed when it seems like too much. I guess for me, more than 50% foreign in any grad program is that line - at least a line of question. A wake up call maybe.

The other thing that really bothers me is some of the labs that I worked in have groups that only hire from their own country here in the US. The Americans are kind by having this "equal" opportunity to bring in people from all over the world, but then when the foreign scientist stays and becomes established, they only hire their own and do not provide opportunity for all. That isn't the kind of thinking that got them here. I'll bet that is at the root of the greater than 50% foreign programs - the admissions committee has more foreign scientists.

I also think the output of the some of the top schools isn't what it used to be. Certain students I've observed are very group oriented and pass around completed solutions from years past. The profs. are too busy with their research to update exams and such. Then people with perfect stats aren't the thinkers of generations back, but just the system players. I always thought there were two types of scientists: those that do science and those that play the game of science. The top schools can be fooled into accepting game players and not the true innovators. It's a form of high-class bean -counting. It seems the real elite isn't just the so-called top-schools but can be anywhere for that reason.

No, I'm not cynical. :)

tnoviell
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Postby tnoviell » Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:42 pm

In the words of the Westside Connection, you gotta pimp the system.

epsi
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Postby epsi » Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:55 pm

"I also think the output of the some of the top schools isn't what it used to be. Certain students I've observed are very group oriented and pass around completed solutions from years past. The profs. are too busy with their research to update exams and such. Then people with perfect stats aren't the thinkers of generations back, but just the system players. I always thought there were two types of scientists: those that do science and those that play the game of science. The top schools can be fooled into accepting game players and not the true innovators. It's a form of high-class bean -counting. It seems the real elite isn't just the so-called top-schools but can be anywhere for that reason. "

agreed

phun
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@braindrain

Postby phun » Sun Feb 25, 2007 9:04 pm

"If you take a school like Yale with 11 first years (okay maybe they accepted
30 to get the 11 and 15 are foreign and 15 are American), then do you really believe out of 200ish applications, they can't find another 15 well-qualified Americans?"
Yes, I believe in that case it was hard for them to find another 15 domestic students better qualified than those 15 international students. Just the fact that only 200 ppl applied to Yale tells me that their applicant pool is a very self-selected one, and not one where all physics-superstars of every american univerisity apply, such as Berkeley.

"And what about a lower ranked school in the boonies. Those schools still have 50% international too. Are you saying we can't find lower qualified Americans to fill those spots?"
Those schools would have less qualified international applicants, but in each school's own applicant pool, the same situation would be true (that admitted internationals are better qualified than non-admitted domestics).

"It is unclear why all the international students assume they are better."
I never said a given international applicant is assumed to be better than a give domestic applicant. The only thing I assume is that there would be more qualified students from the pool of entire student population in the world (except US) than from the pool of US student population.
Just in case you assume I am, no, I'm not an international applicant.

"Is it just the GRE score being higher that makes them better? Plus its also a question of whether a school should or does accept you on your potential rather than being more advanced at the time you apply. I'm sure most applicants want potential to count, but when it comes down to a professor picking a research assistant, they may pick the most advanced person. Why wouldn't they?"
I don't know what kind of qualifications average international students have over average domestic students, but I assume that admissions committee members are not complete idiots who only care about numbers and advanced courses.

"I'm not against having foreign students, but when schools with large numbers of applicants and small numbers of seats go over 50% international it becomes a question of what is going on."
I really don't think it's your job to question that. Perhaps when you do become a member of an admissions committee at a university, then you can start asking questions like that.

"I thought schools easily take the percentages of people who apply. If the applicant pool is 80% international the admitted class will be too. They do that for women and minorities also. But is taking a proportion to the number of people who apply necessarily fair?"
Do you have references where you got the relative percentages of the number of applications from domestic and international?

soluyanov
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Postby soluyanov » Sun Feb 25, 2007 9:39 pm

You are definitely not cynical, my friend. I know what are you talking about. I'm an international applicant (other camp:)) ) but agree with you in some aspects. When living in NYC I was always thinking of millions of people from other countries who live there and have no respect to the States. What is the reason for giving these people residence or even citizenship? Some of them don't even want to work... But this question is very complicated and, I suppose, somewhat off topic. And U.S. is not the only country facing this problem. Seems, the roots of your arguments live in this question.....

But some of your arguments are kind of controversial. For example, if you suppose that admission committees consist mostly of foreign scientists, than foreign scientists are the engine of the American science. Their weigh in the universities is big enough to bring in 50% internationals.

Besides, I really doubt, that my, for example, fellowship would be paid out of the governmental donation. I suppose stipends are paid from the pocket of this very university.

Also, your argument about Nobel prize winners being mostly Americans is really shaky. Really. Besides, there are some "underwater" aspects in this award, which are widely spoken about and deserve a separate topic.

Anyway, I think people, who are responsible for I/A policy know much more about the situation than we do. This is this very 50% policy that made US a world scientific center. In the 30-ies Europe was much more powerful in this sphere.

What is really interesting in your argument, and on what I absolutely agree, is the problem of many "science gamers" involved. The situation in nowadays science seems to lead pure science from the field of obtaining the Truth to the field of making business. I know, I'm not the one to judge, but it is really weird when people publish over 10 articles per year. Especially in theory. You have to spend more time typing than thinking on the ideas. And this is not even the reflection of the amount of "gamers" but the signature of the new "business" philosophy in science. There are tonnes of different journals with tonnes of different articles, most of which are only for "I want another grant" reasons, are absolutely useless and never read by anybody. Millions of articles with mistakes, tonnes of those with good ideas, but with a very bad analysis and so on. Manufacturing articles has become the star idea of science.

The most significant work of the past decades, in my opinion, is the Perelman's research. Look at him - he gave up Stanford's invitation, completely isolated himself of the "scientific world" for more than 2 years. Many people thought him to be "out of game". "He doesn't publish anymore....". Is it true, that in order to make something really significant in nowadays science you should isolate yourself? If it is, then the situation is horrible. The story of Perelman's works, described in New Yorker only adds disgust to the situation in science.

On the other hand, there are people, who make great research and publish enough every year. But, I bet, some of these people would be happy to have enough time, like Perelman, to work seriously and then to publish the complete variant of the work done. With no "article rush" deviating them from thinking.

braindrain
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Postby braindrain » Mon Feb 26, 2007 8:17 pm

phun says: "Yes, I believe in that case it was hard for them to find another 15 domestic students better qualified than those 15 international students. Just the fact that only 200 ppl applied to Yale tells me that their applicant pool is a very self-selected one, and not one where all physics-superstars of every american univerisity apply, such as Berkeley. "

I completely disagree with that. I think they can still find a smaller number of additional domestic students just as qualified. I don't believe a 200 person applicant pool is more self-selected. I don't think Yale is as popular for many reasons. New Haven is one of those reasons and its also smaller with less opportunities than at other institutions. I don't even agree that only superstars are the only ones applying to Berkeley.

phun says: "Those [lower ranked] schools would have less qualified international applicants, but in each school's own applicant pool, the same situation would be true (that admitted internationals are better qualified than non-admitted domestics). "

That's malarky!! I don't believe that at all. Then you are saying they are running out of Americans at each level. I completely disagree because the class sizes are so small compared to the applicant pool. You can already see people on this list getting into some schools but not others of the same caliber.

phun says: "The only thing I assume is that there would be more qualified students from the pool of entire student population in the world (except US) than from the pool of US student population."

Some, yes, but because of the 11 person class at yale, I don't believe they could not find another 15 in the American pool just as qualified. Many top Americans are rejected.

phun says: "I don't know what kind of qualifications average international students over average domestic students , but I assume that admissions committee members are not complete idiots who only care about numbers and advanced courses."

Then why do you assume they are better? You are saying they are better because the admissions committees said so. That's not really an answer.
Many of the posts on this list are talking about numbers making the first cut and being the highest priority along with name recognition of recommenders. The advance courses come into play in giving the candidate more experience. So, maybe it is knowledge moreso than potential in which case should Americans do 5 years BS/MS degrees and apply at that time? It was also said on this list and cutoffs might be used and committees don't read all the applications. That is strictly a numbers game. I do not think the admissions committees are idiots either, but admissions committee members have their biases and subjectivity like any other people.

Me: "I'm not against having foreign students, but when schools with large numbers of applicants and small numbers of seats go over 50% international it becomes a question of what is going on."
Phun: "I really don't think it's your job to question that. Perhaps when you do become a member of an admissions committee at a university, then you can start asking questions like that."

To this I would say: are you nuts? I should NOT question something? I can question anything I want to question. This is the essence and roots of what it means to be American for me- the individual that doesn't blindly follow everything. Why are you a blind follower? I didn't say I always have to be right, but I sure do have a right question things. I completely and totally believe in accountability. Since these decisions are behind closed doors we don't know what kind of formulas are used - there in effect is no accountability. As an American citizen I do have a right to be concerned with the state of science in my country and the world. If more of the training is going to foreigners than to Americans, I most certainly have a right to question. If its done legitamately without bias (yes, can you really find an impartial jury?), then I still view it as a wake-up call about educational reform in my own country. America is not a holding company for all the other countries where people just come here to see what they can get out of us. And what's wrong with saying if the foreign students are better they are pushing us like in any market economy to strive for better so let's improve.

I do agree with soluyanov, that the foreign scientists did help to make us great. But, I do see lots of foreign scientists who stay here and only staff their labs with their own countrymen. That not only biases against the US, but any other candidate from the rest of the world. Equal opportunity in any form is shot. If that is the same as on an admissions committee we are all in trouble. I also find that foreign scientists may have norms that are different than here and they shouldn't be inflicting those on us, age restrictions for example. I see that Europe is changing with respect to age - saying its now the time since PhD that makes the limits not how old you are. The US is freer and we would have to go backwards on freedoms that were earned and fought for - like people saying 'don't question anything'. This woman scientist I heard at a conference said when she called up for a job with an Iranian scientist here in the US, he told here he couldn't hire her because they already had a woman on staff. We all laughed, but things like that. There were articles recently about people from China wanting Harvard to drop information about race and only make undergraduate admissions merit based. Doing so they claim would make things more like Berkeley which is exclusively merit based and ended up with 70% asians for the undergraduates. Harvard of course is not going to be told what to do. But the trick to this argument is that the Chinese people complaining want admissions done the same way as in China, where there is a single admissions exam for college. We don't do that here. I can totally see foreign scientists who think that way making GRE scores more important than they should be applying there own societies ways of doing things here. I'm sure Americans bias also, but I am concerned about what is going on with a greater than 50% international admissions enough to say 'hey' and ask. Maybe its just that you can't split a class size of 11 in half so 6 for international and 5 for US is rougly half. I said nothing when it was 50%. I guess that was the line for me in combination with miniscule class sizes. I didn't expect the class sizes to be so small. But, if we combine the info from gradschoolshopper.com with the info from the list about, we'll see how many they had to accept to get the 11 for all the schools. The number of turn-downs the school gets would be interesting data.

I do not have data that admissions are kept to the percentages in the applicant pool. Many admissions people said this about the women candidates. If that is not the case, I wonder how they arrive at the 50% value for international students.

I'll have to look up the Perelman story - its sounds interesting. But, yes, I think that we do have to work in isolation to get any work done. :) Not only that, it seems difficult to find collaborators you can trust. I didn't know that was so difficult until I heard stories. The other problem related to paper pushing is there is an underlying implication of incremental work is more valued than the risk taking breakthrough. If you wanted to design a way to make a real breakthrough it would be hard in this short-term system. I heard young profs. saying they have to go for tenure and the risks they take are much smaller.

soluyanov
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 1:06 pm

Postby soluyanov » Mon Feb 26, 2007 8:47 pm

Braindrain and others, here is a link to New Yorker's article

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/a ... 28fa_fact2

it really tells much about the dirty sides of science.

Braindrain, you have misunderstood me when talking about isolation. I meant not "working in scielence" but "being disregarded and misunderstood by the others, rejecting all the usually needed forms".

phun
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2006 2:53 am

Postby phun » Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:06 pm

@braindrain

Okay, you have your opinions and I have mine. I won't argue my point anymore, but let me point out just a few things.

"I don't even agree that only superstars are the only ones applying to Berkeley."
--That's not what I said. I said all (well, I should have said most) superstars apply there, not that they are the only ones that apply there.

"You can already see people on this list getting into some schools but not others of the same caliber. "
--The measure of "caliber" is pretty vague.

"Then why do you assume they are better? "
--Again, I did not assume that. To quote myself:
"The only thing I assume is that there would be more qualified students from the pool of entire student population in the world (except US) than from the pool of US student population."

"You are saying they are better because the admissions committees said so."
--I think that's the most objective conclusion we, as outside observers, can come up with.

"To this I would say: are you nuts? I should NOT question something?"
--When I say "it's not your job to question that", of course I don't mean that literally. I was implying that you don't have enough authority to make a difference in the system even if you question the system. So you don't have to bother going into the whole thing about being an american citizen and *** (I'm only using this language because you accused me of being "nuts" and that personally offended me).

By the way, if you are truly concerned about this enough to actually get out there and sign petitions or something to change (or reveal) anything about this whole admissions process, my sincere props for you. I agree that someone has to question things to make improvements in anything, but I personally think that this particular issue is beyond the reach of a college student.

shirazu
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:19 am

Postby shirazu » Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:42 pm

This isn't alarming to me. Almost all of the best schools for physics in the world are in America yet we make up only about 10% of the population of people who have a reasonable chance to go into physics. In addition our system is much worse for preparing people who come out of college to do well in advanced levels of physics, or even something easier like the subject GRE.
Here you might take 32 semester courses over a four year degree. In America maybe 12 would be in physics and another 4-8 in math or something otherwise related to physics. Heck, at my school it is far less than this. At international schools I hear of people taking more classes than we do and they are almost all related to physics - some take 20 semester units or more! And it is worse than this because American high schools are mediocre as well - only the brightest and luckiest students will have even had calculus on graduation, with anything approaching a college intro physics course unheard of. In international schools these would be prerequisites for admission, and I know people who came out of HS having had stuff like linear algebra as well.
The truth is that these numbers with a little less than half american students actually show that they are trying to select domestic applicants even if they are less qualified. I doubt it really has anything to do with preference, heck, half the people on the commitees are international themselves. Somewhere on this forum I read that it costs 1.5-2 times more for a school to have an international student than a domestic one, so that's probably one reason they do so. I would imagine people who speak English tend to make better TA's. Finally in some parts of the world they do hardly any lab work, which is bad news for experimentalists. Still the international applicants tend to be better qualfied, which makes sense. After all, to simply go to undergrad in many of these countries (China and India come to mind) you have to be an incredibly elite student. In America there are tons of very good schools for anyone willing to pay.

phun
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2006 2:53 am

Postby phun » Thu Mar 01, 2007 4:15 pm

@shirazu

ah, finally, someone with reasonable arguments/assumptions. Thank you!

somebody
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:25 pm

Postby somebody » Thu Mar 01, 2007 5:07 pm

do any other americans find it disturbing that we educate foreign students in advanced science and then allow them to go back to their home countries knowing that doing so may pose a threat to our national security? i know part of the rationale behind letting in international students is that if live in america for awhile, they would therefore harbor less ill well against us. but they are not the ones making decisions for the countries or organizations that would do us harm so it really doesn't matter. it just sort of scares me that scientists we educate could help build a weapon (biological, chemical, nuclear, whatever...) and then that weapon could fall into the wrong hands and be used against us. i'm not trying to offend any international people but I think educating scientists from other countries isn't really the best thing for the US as a whole.

epsi
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 1:05 pm

Postby epsi » Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:23 pm

I don't think we make it easy for international students (hard for them to get green cards), that's why they leave, kinda ironic, we educate them and kick them out after 5 years.

nb
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 5:16 pm

Postby nb » Sat Mar 03, 2007 5:46 pm


Descartes
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 9:07 pm

Probably not concerned...

Postby Descartes » Sat Apr 07, 2007 10:08 pm

Hey people,

First post and all, here goes...

I don't particularly worry about this... Sure it kind of bothers you a bit, "So you and your extended family has never paid U.S. taxes... and they're not going to start, and now you'll be getting an education on the U.S.'s dime?"

Gotta think about that, yeah?

But then, the alternative is to deny the 'best', dispense with international relations, and stifle competition in the tech sect? That would be silly foreign policy in my opinion.

Hold the phone, though... what do I think about students learning say closely guarded secrets of the U.S. only to return to their homeland. (Having stolen fire from our tribe, have we lost our advantage?)

Except.... Fact is, pretty much everything that you'll learn in a graduate program ,at even flagship U.S. theoretical programs isn't really weapons science. Most of the "theory" can be found on the internet. All of our texts can be ordered off half.com. So bring the best smartest whoevers from whereevers. We'll pick their brains.

Fact is, the real weapons secrets, (yes, lowly 'engineering' secrets) are kept at places like oh....

Lockheed
Boeing
Raytheon
Rand
Los Alamos
Starbucks....

You gotta clock that if you want to get in on say... nsa action, a student visa isn't going to get you in. But hey, say you're some foriegn super-genius (great personality, low body fat, solved reimann, slept with a senator), and you do get a job at numero uno, and you get in on the plans to our suitcase-sized isotope mix/chop/frappe/seperation machine...

Do you think you're EVER going to leave the contiguous 48 so long as you live? DIdn't think so.

BUT!!!

I see two real dangers.

1.) We isolate ourselves from international leading edge theory... DUMB
2.) No outside comp. so americans continue to indulge in 12 hours of tv-myspace-halo-cosmo a day and we all end up... DUMB.


Wow, I hope I didn't just get myself kicked outta this forum.

Zack

EducationUSA Serbia
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:55 pm

US Tax Dollars and Graduate Students

Postby EducationUSA Serbia » Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:27 pm

Let me say this about the funding of Graduate School Programs. Tax Dollars are rarely financing these high end research projects. Most of these are private foundation grants to carry out research. In fact that is why it is so difficult for international students to get undergraduate funding - that is where the tax dollars come in.
If you trace the departmental funding, you will find huge amounts of private money going into the programs to carry out research for private enterprises. Believe it or not, some of these grants are funded by non-US companies. For example, British Telecom provided a rather large grant to an engineering department at a school - something in the millions of dollars. Thus, some American students are getting an education on British Telecom's dime.

The idea behind bringing in international students is also so that American students can benefit from the experience as well. Most international students, in fact, all the international that I know of, are engaged in work as research and teaching assistantships, hardly a "free ride".

On the other hand, I have noticed that many American students are not always aware of all the information out there on the application process. There are so many great books on getting into graduate school and I am sure that this type of forum is also a great way to really understand the process. However, one really great book is from the Greene's Guide series, "Making it into a Top Graduate School". There is also "the PhD Handbook". Asher's great book on how to write an outstanding personal statement is also a winner. I think that one thing that can hurt American students is that after so many years in academia, working fannies off, students do not always avail themselves of the many resources that can help them tweak their applications.

I always feel that American students have some decided advantages in that they can get papers published, present at conferences, visit grad departments, and really network on the ground. Most international students have to apply without visiting the department.

My advice to any American student would be to really think as strategically as possible about your application. Determine exactly what your advantages are and work from that angle.

So Good Luck to everyone. I hope that I learn a great deal here and that it will make me a better advisor to students interested in Physics.

vicente
Posts: 195
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 12:24 am

Postby vicente » Sun Oct 07, 2007 12:41 am

I used to sympathize with American students, thinking that perhaps American universities had a vested interest in accepting international students over their own compatriots, and therefore valued their own desire for international students over patriotism and helping the American economy.

But all my sympathy for U.S. applicants disappeared once I read on the UT Austin page:

"Admission is highly competitive and is more so for International students due to the higher volume of applicants and fewer admits. For Fall 2006 admission we had approximately 287 Foreign applicants and only accepted 23 for admission. For US applicants there were approximately 183 applicants and 60 were admitted." - http://www.ph.utexas.edu/grad_ad_faq.html#7

Only 8% of international applicants are accepted, while almost a third of American applicants are accepted.

If you're an American and are blaming your rejection on foreigners taking your place, then maybe you're just not good enough.




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