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Another Good resource

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:57 am
by doom
I think it would be a good idea if as many people from this forum as possible went over to to post their stats and where they're applying. It's just another resource to get a handle on this grad school stuff.

My stats are posted under the user name triplescoop. I would appreciate as much feedback from all of you as possible, and I will gladly return the favor. ... p?uid=4005

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:54 pm
by TheHawkBat
Well, here is mine. I'm doubting I get in anywhere, because my test scores are terrible. But I may as well try this year, and if I don't get in, retake the GRE's for the next years application process. ... p?uid=4021

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 1:35 pm
by vicente

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:44 pm
by grae313
OK, I'll play too. ... p?uid=4017

I can't get applycorner to work right, I try to edit my notes at the bottom and my test scores and it doesn't work! I'm expecting around 800 for my physics GRE, not less than 760 (my score when I took the 0177 test before I had ever looked at it or finished studying), and possibly much higher since I answered WAY more questions on the actual test and felt much better about most of my answers.

Anyways, I'm also a female applicant, and I think that matters more for some schools than others, so it should be taken into account for the ratings.

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 6:03 pm
by vicente
For my reach schools, I dropped Stanford and put in UT Austin instead. Anyone want to rate my chances for UT?

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 7:29 pm
by fermiboy

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:52 pm
by butsurigakusha
Here is mine: ... p?uid=3740

It seems the 3 people who have already rated my chances don't think I have much chance at MIT or Stanford. I don't feel like there are any major areas lacking in my application. True, I don't have several publications spanning 3 separate research projects, nor do I have a 4.0 at a top ten school. But I do have 2 years of good research experience, and my GPA (especially major GPA) is still quite good, in my opinion. And I don't think my test scores will limit me.

I am not whining here. I really am curious. I haven't really observed the admissions process before, and I really don't have a clue what sort of students get accepted to top programs. If anyone who thinks I don't have much chance at MIT or Stanford could let me know why, I would be very appreciative.

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:59 pm
by tnoviell
If I were you I wouldn't take the advice of anyone on this board, not to sound insulting or anything of that sort towards anyone. But, honest to goodness, who knows what a school is looking for? That's why it's encouraged to apply to a diverse amount of schools ranging from the dubbed "best" to ones you don't feel are the best, dubbed "safety schools."

Just apply, and enjoy the process. No need to stress out, in no time flat you'll be contacted about interviews, and when you go to these interviews you'll be treated like a king (that's where they make you think you'll be really happy there, as if grad school isn't hell). Take advantage of the free vacations, enjoy yourself, and think long and hard about what makes you happy, because ultimately that is what comes first.

I hope that somehow answers your questions without need of a response as to why someone thinks you aren't cut for MIT or Stanford, butsurigakusha.

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 12:17 am
by will
I didn't rate you, but from the looks of it, your average for MIT and Stanford both correspond, if I understand this, to "reach schools."

I hardly think you don't have a shot; not by any stretch, but I'm hard pressed to see those schools being too much less than a reach for anyone unless you did your undergrad there with perfect test scores and significant research experience. This goes along with the above comment of "who knows?" I don't think anyone's saying you have a bad record or have no chance, just that there's thousands of us, and they only take a couple dozen each.

Anyway, your scores are awesome and it looks like you have the background to fill out the rest of an application too, so don't stress it. You'll get in good somewhere.

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 12:58 am
by butsurigakusha
Thanks for the advice. I learned awhile ago that no one really knows what it takes to get in to these schools. So obviously I am not going to be deterred by the fact that a few people think that I am not a shoe-in at MIT. I suppose there are probably few people who have a high probability of getting in, and most who apply probably consider it a "reach" school.

Anyway, even if I don't get in to any of my reach schools, I think I will still be content, as long as I get into at least one of my schools. I just am a little worried that I will spend years in regret that I didn't work harder to get decent grades in all my classes, not just physics, and also worked harder in my research to get the paper published, and applied for some REUs. If I had known how important that was, I would have tried harder. If I had done my best and got rejected, I could live with that, but procrastinating and getting rejected and thinking that I may have had a chance is a lot harder to live with.

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:01 am
by vicente
I think people didn't rate you higher for MIT and Stanford because you didn't put down any national scholarships, physics awards, or that your recommenders were leaders in their fields who are writing enthusiastically about you.

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:37 am
by geomar
Here are my 2 cents:

I agree, there is nothing lacking in your application; you are a great candidate for applying to top tier schools, and will get careful consideration at all of them. However, just remember there are more applicants with A averages, 800 or 900+, and good research experience than there are spots at those top schools.

There are very few people that can truly feel confident about getting into any single top tier school. Then there is everyone else who is qualified.

That being said, I wouldn't bet your life on getting into any one school, but I would certainly bet money (with 1:1 odds) that you will be accepted into one (probably more) of your top tier choices based on stats alone.

As for no one knowing what it takes to get in at these top schools, thats true and not true at the same time. Everyone knows you need GPA, test scores, letters of rec, and research experience. What draws the fine line between accepted qualified applicants and rejected? No one knows.

Every school does their application process differently.
In Stanford Applied Physics, as an example, they try to get the best possible students, without worrying much about intended field of study. Then how does it work out that certain labs/areas aren't understaffed? It just magically does.
The process for Stanford Applied Physics is:
Two people read your application in the process, and every committee member has different things they stress when inspecting applications: GPA in certain classes, test scores, research, reqs. You never know who is reading yours.

In the end, I would try not to worry. Though you probably won't get in everywhere (although who knows),
you'll go somewhere real good.

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 12:27 pm
by tchotchke

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:09 pm
by tamasir

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 11:21 pm
by will
Anyway, even if I don't get in to any of my reach schools, I think I will still be content, as long as I get into at least one of my schools. I just am a little worried that I will spend years in regret that I didn't work harder to get decent grades in all my classes, not just physics, and also worked harder in my research to get the paper published, and applied for some REUs. If I had known how important that was, I would have tried harder...

It does suck. I didn't really even consider graduate school until halfway through my junior year, so while I have an outstanding record compared to all the other students in my department, it's pretty mediocre for grad school applicants, since I didn't know what was expected of me.

Then again, I didn't know what I wanted to do out of high school either, and I certainly wasn't an 8-year old math prodigy, yet academically I managed to turn out okay. If you're passionate about physics and you can get with a good advisor (there's plenty of top tier physicists who don't work at top-tier schools) who shares that passion, you might not always get the same chances as the kids with heftier undergraduate resumes, but you'll never be unable to do first rate physics.

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 5:33 am
by quizivex
Yeah I'm so sick of getting the feeling that the only people who can succeed in science are those who've been preparing their whole lives for it, not people like us who decided late in high school that "hmm, I like science, I think I'll do that."

It seems like every prof I know has kids in the top schools and clearly has been raising them from day one to be like themselves. They had their kids doing research programs back in high school. Scary...

@ butsurigakusha

Your stats are great. Don't mourn over your lack of first authored publications in Nature. Indeed, that may stop both of us from getting where we want to be, but for our own peace of mind, we know from our test scores and grades that we've completely mastered the fundamentals of physics and that's far more comforting (in my opinion) than getting my name on someone else's research.

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 4:20 pm
by VT
how the hell do we put our info that way!

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:49 am
by schmit.paul
i'll second tnoviell's comment. be sensible and use whatever potentially flimsy metric you'd like (gradschoolshopper, this forum, your professors, etc) to adjust the width of the gaussian distribution of schools you'll try applying to, but make sure you pick each school for the right reasons, and don't trim off the tail of your distribution because you think you don't have a shot. It's worth a try, and on the grand scale of your future earning potential, forking out a couple hundred more to apply to your dream schools is not going to be a blip on the radar...this is your future career we're talking about. Hell, it's your life! We all know physicists have a hard time separating the two, and I think most of us take some pride in that fact, despite the occasional repercussions. But once your apps are out, stop worrying, be rational--your daily heartburn is not going to influence any admissions committee, so allow yourself to enjoy the suspense without getting too worked up over it. And when the offers do come in, especially the first one (regardless of where it sits on that curve), it will feel great, and the fun of visiting grad schools and eventually choosing one will begin!

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:38 am
by tnoviell
And if you stress about the application process, wait until graduate school itself. You'll be entering a whole new world of pain.