What are my prospects?

  • 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.

Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2015 4:04 pm

What are my prospects?

Postby yatesmv » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:29 pm

I am trying to decide which schools to apply to for admission into the Fall 2017 class, but I can't decide what my cutoffs should be for safety, maybe, or reach schools. Please help me figure this out! I'm wondering if I should complete a master's program to increase my GPA before applying to a good PhD school or not as well.

Undergrad Institution: small state school unknown in physics
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Mathematics
GPA in Major: 3.1
Overall GPA: 2.7
Length of Degree: 4, but completed major and minor in 3 years
Position in Class: upper average
Type of Student: Domestic white female

GRE Scores : (revised
Q: 153
V: 157
W: (find out in 9 days)
P: (not taken yet)

Research Experience:
3 years research experience in nuclear and particle physics and an international internship with collaborators in Italy. One of the particle detectors I helped build and test is currently in use right now at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and will be for at least a few years.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
TA for one semester and 2 years private tutoring

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
Self-taught Python and R Programming Language, have experience with SQL, Groovy, Java, ROOT, Matlab, Mathematica, Maple, Octave, LaTeX and more from research and courses

Special Bonus Points:
Father went to undergrad at UCSD, aunt completed a Master's at UCB

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
Currently in the application process for a Junior Data Scientist job that would require me to get a security clearance, not that it really matters. ^.^
Took a year off to decidewhat I wanted to pursue and to gain a little experience if I figured out what I want pursue fast enough. It's now becoming 2 years.

I am most definitely going to retake the general GRE. Anything below 90-something percentile I find unacceptable in myself.

feel like I should elaborate on my GPA. I started off my college career following in my dad's and sister's footsteps with Chemistry and while I liked it okay enough, I wasn't passionate about it. I took my first physics course in my sophomore year and fell in love, so I switched my major after my first physics course and started working in a research group later that week. My GPA has increased ever since.
Last edited by yatesmv on Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:31 am

Re: What are my prospects?

Postby Dishsoap » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:36 pm

The problem is that a 3.0 overall GPA is the automated cutoff for many schools. That means that, although you may have a good reason for it, your application may not be looked at. Your best bet is to contact the universities to which you want to apply and ask them what your chances are (i.e., if you will be automatically rejected). Your quantitative general GRE is pretty low, but it sounds like you know that.

Honestly, if I were in your position, I would call collaborators of yours at various universities and apply there. Is there anyone you have worked with in the past who is a professor at somewhere where you would like to attend? Hopefully someone that has some pulling strength in admissions?

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