Got rejected from almost everywhere

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bunnysid
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:55 am

Got rejected from almost everywhere

Postby bunnysid » Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:06 am

Hi,

I am an Indian student and I have applied to 7 Universities in US for PhD Program in High Energy Physics. I am sharing my stats here:

Undergrad GPA : 3.0/4 ( Before applying I have asked the graduate school how I should interpret my undergrad score and most of them replied that my score was equivalent to 3 in US system or a B grade)

Master GPA :4/4

Research Experience: I worked at one of the most prestigious institutes of my country for two years in Theoretical High Energy Physics Group and also completed advanced courses in Theoretical Physics. I have good grades in this coursework. Worked on a project in String Theory.

PGRE: 900

I got rejected almost everywhere. In my SOP I expressed my willingness to work in High Energy and also Strongly Correlated Electron Systems. But got rejected everywhere apart from Texas A&M and Arizona State from whom I am still waiting to hear. I had applied to schools whose ranks were beyond 50. I am really surprised at this.

What do you think is my problem?

My undergrad gpa is bad and I have no publications. Are these the two factors that was the reason.

My LORs are good. One of my referees did his PhD in String theory from Caltech and another one did LQG from Stonybrook. They are well known in their fields.

Please help.

TakeruK
Posts: 812
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Got rejected from almost everywhere

Postby TakeruK » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:55 pm

It is hard to say why you are not accepted.

I think you are right that your GPA, combined with your publication record, is a big part of the reason. The other big part is that you are an international student.

Usually, schools are looking for students who have excelled in some way in the past, for example, having a high GPA or being productive research-wise. A 3.0 GPA isn't very good (grad students in the US are generally expected to have been better than B students in undergrad) but it's not so horrible that you would be automatically rejected either. Similarly, it's pretty common for most new grad students to not have publications. But I think the combination of these two things make it very difficult for a committee to admit you.

In addition, you are an international student (I am one too). At public schools, international students cost a lot more, sometimes by a factor of 3. Therefore, because there is limited funds, there is a practical limit on how many international students they can admit (usually there is not a strict quota) so in essence, you are competing with other international students for a smaller number of spots than an American grad student would. This basically means it is a lot harder to get admitted as an international student at a public school and this amplifies the issue from the previous paragraph.

Here are some things you could do to help improve your application for future years (if you don't get in the remaining schools):

1. Apply to private schools or schools that do not charge a higher rate for international students. Even though private schools are higher ranked and may appear more difficult to get in, for me, I got accepted into higher ranked private schools and rejected from lower ranked public schools.

2. Continue building your research experience. Hopefully you can get a publication out of your work soon? From your profile, you sound like you have a lot of experience now, but the fact that you don't have a publication is a little worrisome. Maybe you can set a goal to write some papers and discuss this with your supervisor to ensure that you are on projects that can lead to something fruitful.

3. Consult with your letter writers. They would know you the best and maybe they can offer more useful advice!

4. What are your General GRE scores? If they are low, then maybe improving these would help too.

bunnysid
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:55 am

Re: Got rejected from almost everywhere

Postby bunnysid » Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:44 am

Thanks for your reply. My GRE score is 320. 165(Q) 155 (V) and AW (4.0).

How will I check which private schools charge less for international students. Is there a list?

SoldatOvO
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:03 pm

Re: Got rejected from almost everywhere

Postby SoldatOvO » Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:48 am

Firstly, there is still hope!
And, secondly, it is not too bad to do research for one year and then reapply I think.
Your undergrad GPA was not quite good, but it is not bad anyway. Plus there is nothing that you could do about it. So don't blame yourself for that.
I think a publication or two would help. It would burst a chance (though, I have a nuclear theory first author and still got rejected by my nuclear theory inclined schools). I know it is hard to get a HEP-th publication but you seem to have lots of research experience to have one.
Plus, I have seen from somewhere around this forum that, it would be a good idea for an international to apply to many places (that was what I did).
Also, I have to say that high energy theory has always been very, very competitive.
If really you have to reapply (which I hope not... finger-crossed for you), think also about universities in Canada, and the one-year theory master program of Perimeter Institute (this is a hard one too but they don't charge application fee from what I could recall), and universities in Europe (but pay attention to funding stuff, they may be quite different from the US system).
Good luck!!

TakeruK
Posts: 812
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Got rejected from almost everywhere

Postby TakeruK » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:07 am

bunnysid wrote:Thanks for your reply. My GRE score is 320. 165(Q) 155 (V) and AW (4.0).

How will I check which private schools charge less for international students. Is there a list?


You can go to the school's website and look at their posted tuition rates for graduate students. There isn't a list, but you would have to search each school one by one anyways to determine if the faculty there are a good fit for you, so it's just one more thing to check while you're looking.

Note that I didn't say private schools charge less for international students, but they generally charge the same for domestic and international students.

bunnysid
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:55 am

Re: Got rejected from almost everywhere

Postby bunnysid » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:51 pm

Yes I got it what you meant. I apologize for the lack of clarity in my reply.




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