2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

  • 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.

jshale
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:45 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby jshale » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:00 pm

Undergrad Institution: Ivy-like, big reputation in physics
Major(s): Physics + Philosophy
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.6
Overall GPA: 3.5 (but have maintained a 3.9 for the past two years)
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: Probably average? We don't do rankings.
Type of Student: Domestic male, white/Native American

GRE Scores :
Q: 168
V: 162
W: 4.0
P: 950

Research Experience: One year of research on a soft matter project. Another six months on a CMT-related project. They were undertaken concurrently, so I don't know what that counts for. One paper submitted for publication.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: None

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Lab TA last semester, SPS officer

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I held an atrocious amount of extracurricular positions. Mostly unrelated to physics so they probably don't mean that much individually, but maybe the magnitude made an impression.

Special Bonus Points: Took a few grad classes. Two of my recommenders are well known and (probably?) wrote me decent letters.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I only became a physics major at the end of my sophomore year.

Applying to Where:

Harvard - Physics - CMT (Feb. 9: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
Berkeley - Physics - CMT (Feb. 20: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
Stanford - Physics - CMT
Caltech - Physics - CMT
UChicago - Physics - CMT (Feb. 1: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
Cornell - Physics - CMT (Jan. 30: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + one year 30K Fellowship)
Princeton - Physics - CMT (Feb. 9: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
Purdue - Physics - CMT (Jan. 26: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $30K Stipend Fellowship)
Last edited by jshale on Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

asdf1234
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:16 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby asdf1234 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:38 pm

Posting this in hopes I can inspire other people that the GRE/PGRE is a garbage worthless test and you can succeed despite a bad score. Didn't study for it because I had things more important to do and I firmly believe that if a school is going to judge me for test scores over having an otherwise good application, that's not a school I want to go to.

Undergrad Institution: Public school, health science focused with a small physics department.
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.98
Overall GPA:3.75
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: Top
Type of Student: Domestic white male

GRE Scores :
Q:162
V:158
W:3
P:570


Research Experience:
About 3-3.5 years total at different schools. Space weather (observational/theoretical) for a year and a half. Did a summer REU at an engineering school for space weather affects on power grid systems. Worked for a year on my undergrad thesis on building a cosmic ray muon detector tomography system. A couple of internships at NASA: one for space weather, one for observational cosmology. No publications, but a few posters presented at various professional conferences.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
A couple of fellowships/scholarships along the way, an award from my school for science teaching.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
Tutor for 3 semesters, TA for one semester. President of physics club, member of robotics team that competed at NASA competitions multiple times.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
First in my family to get a college degree.

Special Bonus Points:
3 very strong letters of recommendation.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
Older student, went back to school when I was 26. Graduated from community college then went to a 4 year school. Took a bunch of extra senior level physics/astrophysics elective classes.

Applying to Where: All for Astro

Minnesota
Wisconsin - Mar. 7: REJECTED via email
Michigan - Feb. 8: REJECTED via email
UChicago - Feb. 27: REJECTED via email
UIUC - Feb 14: Skype interview request, WAITLISTED Mar. 7 Apr. 2: REJECTED via email (program filled up before the waitlist was drawn from)
Washington - Feb. 7: REJECTED via email
Northwestern University - Mar. 21 WAITLISTED via email
Colorado - Feb. 16: REJECTED via email
Denver
Toronto - Mar. 27: REJECTED via email (note: Had to email the department to find out this information, not very impressed at how that was handled. They got back to me in less than 24 hours, so I'm assuming they had already made this decision, but still made me wait in the dark for an unknown length of time)
Last edited by asdf1234 on Tue Apr 03, 2018 12:29 pm, edited 10 times in total.

kumquat
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:51 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby kumquat » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:44 pm

Undergrad Institution: Ivy, not HYP
Major(s): Mathematical Physics
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: ~3.8
Overall GPA: ~3.8
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: N/A
Type of Student: Domestic female

GRE Scores :
Q: 170 (97%)
V: 164 (94%)
W: 5.0 (93%)
P: 740 (56%) :(

Research Experience: 2 REU programs! One was on suspension rheology in an experimental soft matter lab. The second was refining fabrication processes in a nanophotonics group. I am also currently doing research at my home institution for a senior thesis, in a experimental condensed matter group.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Not really, but I am on the honors track for Physics

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Physics and mathematics tutor for 5 semesters; Grader for intro physics mechanics course (2016 and 2017); one summer working as an assistant for intro labs (wrote a few lab manuals)

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Third author on a publication. It was accepted and published around the time that applications were due

Special Bonus Points: Two of my recommenders are from universities that I am applying to

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Not that I'm aware of

Applying to Where:

All for CME/AMO, with secondary focus on nanotechnology for schools that have active nano research

Boston University - Physics (Feb. 7: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $34k TA/Fellowship) (Declined Feb. 15)
Columbia - Applied Physics (Feb. 12: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $39k TA/Fellowship) (Declined Apr. 9)
Harvard - Applied Physics (Feb. 12: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $36k TA/Fellowship) - WILL ATTEND!
MIT - Physics (Feb. 13: Rejected via website)
UChicago - Physics (Feb. 1: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $30k TA/Fellowship) (Declined Apr. 9)
UMD-College Park - Physics (Feb. 13: Rejected via email)
UIUC - Physics (Jan. 16: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $22.7k TA/Fellowship) (Declined Apr. 2)
Stanford - Applied Physics (Feb. 27: Rejected via email)
Last edited by kumquat on Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:22 pm, edited 10 times in total.

JesseRodriguez24
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:04 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby JesseRodriguez24 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:03 pm

Good luck to everyone, happy to answer any questions.
______________________________________________
Undergrad Institution: Oregon State University, no strong physics reputation
Majors: Physics, Mathematics, and Nuclear Engineering (triple HBS)
Minor(s): none
GPA in Major: 3.93
Overall GPA: 3.93
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Near top
Type of Student: Domestic male; Mexican-American background

GRE Scores : new version of PGRE
Q: 166 (91%)
V: 160 (86%)
W: 5.0 (93%)
P: 790 (67%) (oof)


Research Experience: Three summer research projects; fluid mechanics at OSU leading to conference poster (SACNAS, 1st author), astrophysics at U Chicago, and plasma physics at Stanford leading to conference presentation (APS, 2nd Author of 3) and paper (3rd author of 3)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Math and Engineering department scholarships, Honor roll for every term of enrollment, member of the honor societies of Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Pi Sigma, Pi Mu Epsilon, and Alpha Nu Sigma

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Long-term volunteer work with a couple non profits that includes fundraising and travel experiences.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Founded and helped build a coeducational fraternity.

Special Bonus Points: Strong letters all around, good relationship with and letter from Stanford professor that may help with Stanford admission. Member of the Honors College at Oregon State.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Strong performance with heavily loaded schedules (4.00 GPA in 27 credit hour quarter). Fairly strong writer.

Applying to Where:

Stanford University - Mechanical Engineering PhD - Plasma Physics - Phone interviews: 1/25, 2 on 1/29 ACCEPTED 2/9 via email, full funding guarantee AWARDED SGF and EDGE Fellowship - 3 years full funding, $49860 stipend first year, $43360 for the following two years - WILL ATTEND
Princeton University - Plasma Physics PhD - Plasma Physics - Phone interviews: 1/10, 1/15 (it's worth saying that the second interview went poorly, said they had 9 offers for 16 remaining applicants) WAITLISTED 2/15 via email
MIT - Nuclear Science and Engineering PhD - Plasma Physics - ACCEPTED 2/6 via email, full funding guarantee (no stipend info yet) - Declined
Caltech - Applied Physics PhD - Plasma Physics (Bellan group) - REJECTED via email 3/20
U Wisconsin-Madison - Physics PhD - Plasma Physics - ACCEPTED 1/30 via email, $20k TAship + $10k departmental fellowship - Declined
U Wisconsin-Madison - Engineering Physics PhD - Plasma Physics - ACCEPTED 1/25 via email - Declined
UC San Diego - Physics PhD - Plasma Physics - ACCEPTED 2/13 via email - Declined
UC Los Angeles - Physics PhD - Plasma Physics - ACCEPTED 2/5 via phone call, 2/9 official letter w/ fellowship + TAship ~$32k - Declined
U Washington - Aerospace Engineering PhD - Plasma Physics - WITHDREW 2/12 via phone
Oregon State - Nuclear Engineering MS - Thermal Hydraulics - WITHDREW 2/6
U Michigan - Nuclear Engineering PhD - Plasma Physics - Invited to visit, emailed by faculty about research, but they never sent an offer of admission


Fellowships:

NSF GRF: REJECTED via email late 4/3 - VG/VG, E/VG, E/G; reviewers were all very complimentary
Hertz Foundation: REJECTED via email 11/8
NDSEGF
Ford Foundation: HONORABLE MENTION (waitlist) 3/28
GEM: Made it past evaluation period 12/4 SELECTED by employer member 3/16 - Declined
SSGF: REJECTED via email 3/28
CSGF: AWARDED(!!!) - notified by phone 3/28 - WILL ACCEPT

ADVICE:
I've had a couple questions in my PM's, so once I get the remainder of my fellowship decisions and make my own final decision between grad schools, I will attempt to answer all of them here.
Last edited by JesseRodriguez24 on Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:17 am, edited 14 times in total.

akander
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:19 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby akander » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:08 am

Undergrad Institution: Duke University
Major(s): Physics, CS
Minor(s): none
GPA in Major: 3.8ish
Overall GPA: 3.75
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: probably top 20%
Type of Student: Domestic Indian male

Master's Institution: University of Chicago
Major(s): Physics
Overall GPA: 3.8ish
Length of Degree: 1 year


GRE Scores : Revised, old PGRE (where you were penalized for wrong answers)
Q: 170
V: 167
W: 5
P: 930

Research Experience: 3 years in theory of far from equilibrium systems in my undergrad. Lead to a first author publication in PRE and a talk at APS March in 2017. Also did a plasma physics REU at Princeton. Masters project is working on neutrinoless double beta decay with snoplus group at UChicago.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list, scholarship at Duke, nothing much

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: None

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Got As in grad GR, Stat Mech, and Solid state as an undergrad. Lots of extra classes in CS, engineering, etc. My Master's classes are the exact same classes required of first year PhD students at UChicago. Advisor that I coauthored my paper with probably wrote me a very strong rec. The other two aren't as strong but still good. I'm currently doing the MS-PSD program at UChicago and am doing research in a high energy experiment group. Being so close with the physics department probably helps.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Not really

Applying to Where: Expressed interest in biophysics and condensed matter everywhere

Uchicago - Physics (Feb 1: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email to check website + $30k Fellowship) :D
Stanford - Applied Physics
Caltech - Physics
Harvard - Applied Physics (SEAS) (Jan 2: Interview with potential PI)(Feb 16: Waitlisted via portal) - Probably going to decline my spot
MIT - Physics (Feb 13: Rejected via website)
Berkeley - Physics (Feb 22: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email to check website)
Cornell - Applied Physics (Feb 5: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $30.4k Stipend for 9 months)
Princeton - Physics (Feb 14: Rejected via website)
UIUC - Physics (Jan 23: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $22.7k TA Fellowship) (Declined offer)
Last edited by akander on Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:27 am, edited 8 times in total.

RustyShackleford
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:44 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby RustyShackleford » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:12 pm

Undergrad Institution: UCSB
Major(s):Physics BS
Minor(s):Math & Science Education
GPA in Major: 3.71
Overall GPA: 3.75
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Top 20% (I think)
Type of Student: US, White, Male

GRE Scores : Taken Fall 2017 (WTF are these scores)
Q: 159 (73%)
V: 167 (98%)
W: 3.5 (41%)
P: 810 (71%)

Research Experience: 1 year with a prominent professor in experimental AMO/Quantum Info/Quantum Sensing
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Department research fellowship over the summer; 2 department awards for physics outreach
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Physics outreach group volunteer all 4 years
Special Bonus Points: Decent letter from fairly big deal PI

Applying to Where:
CU Boulder - Physics - AMO (March 8: Rejected via email)
Princeton - EE - Quantum Info (Feb. 13: Rejected via email)
UCLA - Physics - AMO (March 1: Rejected via email with website link)
UMD - Physics - AMO (Feb. 9: Rejected via email)
UC Berkeley - Physics - AMO (Feb. 23: Rejected via email)
U Washington - Physics - AMO
UCSD - Physics - CMX
UCI - Physics - CMX (Feb. 2: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $10k Fellowship + $6.8k/quarter TA) As these rejections come in I'm starting to get more serious about attending UCI :/
UC Davis - Physics - CMX
Last edited by RustyShackleford on Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:14 pm, edited 5 times in total.

daplovephysics
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:10 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby daplovephysics » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:05 pm

Undergrad Institution: Fast rising young Asia university with high QS ranking, well-known in engineering than physics
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: N/A
Overall GPA: 4.80/5.00
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: top
Type of Student: international female

GRE Scores : revised
Q: 163 (93%)
V: 163 (84%)
W: 4.0 (60%)
P: 910 (86%)


IELTS: Overall: 8.0 Reading: 9.0 Speaking: 7.0 Listening: 8.0 Writing: 7.5


Research Experience: Two projects in the first two years, one is a simulation based project in complexity science, one is a experimental project in a new established cold atom lab. Final year thesis on t-HEP related to CP Violation and Baryogenesis. No publications

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: The FYP won me an award from national academy of science, which is awarded to only a student in the department each year. Full scholarship for undergrad study. Also attended a prestigious scholar program in my uni. Dean list.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Homework grader.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 1.5 years full-time researcher in my home institute after graduated. In a total unrelated field due to the limitation of available job offers. A paper under preparation.

Special Bonus Points: several grad classes, none in t-HEP as they are not offered in my uni.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: LoR are from my current and past supervisor and my FYP examiners. None of them work in this field but they know me well.

Applying to Where: (All for HEP-th)
SUNY Stony Brook - (Feb. 1: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $23k/9 month TA+ possible $5k summer TA) - DECLINED
UW-Madison - (Feb. 6: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $25.5k Fellowship) - WILL ATTEND!
U of Maryland - (interview on Jan 25) (Feb. 13: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $24.6k TAship+$5k - Dean's fellowship) - DECLINED
UCSB - (Feb.28: REJECTED)
UCSD - (Mac 17: REJECTED)
Michigan Ann Arbor - (Feb.8: REJECTED)
John Hopkins - (March 21: REJECTED)
Princeton - (Feb.15: REJECTED)
Cornell - (Feb.13: REJECTED)
Boston U
U of Washington - (March 21: REJECTED)
Last edited by daplovephysics on Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:25 am, edited 5 times in total.

dissonantcricket
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:45 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby dissonantcricket » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:02 pm

Undergrad Institution: Top ranked Indian school. Decent Physics department but quite narrow in terms of research areas.
Major(s): Engineering Physics
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: Doesn't Apply
Overall GPA: 9.23/10
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Top
Type of Student: International Male

GRE Scores :
Q:170 (97%)
V: 161 (88%)
W: 4.5 (82%)
P: 990 (94%)


TOEFL: 116 (R: 30, L: 30, S: 28, W: 28)


Research Experience: An introductory project in theoretical Quantum information focussing on the Orbital Angular Momentum of Light in my school during the summer after sophomore year. Experimental Quantum Information research experience at a lab in Korea during an exchange semester. REU at Caltech with LIGO last summer. Final year project in theoretical Quantum Information/Quantum Foundations. No publications.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: We've got this award for the top 7% percentile every semester. Received it for 5 semesters. Also awarded a scholarship in my sophomore year for being at the top of my class during freshman year. Not sure if these are important though

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA in two physics classes

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Distinction in piano exams, awarded scholarships in music and have won several competitions. Highly doubt it makes a difference though

Special Bonus Points: A recommender is an important member of LIGO's instrument science group. Another is a very senior professor of theoretical physics. Grad classes in Electrodynamics, Non-Linear Optics, Quantum and Non Linear Photonics, Quantum Field Theory, High Energy Physics, Group Theory and General Relativity

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: An internship with a technology start-up at the end of my freshman year. Got acquainted with basic electronics and mechanical design.

Applying to Where: All for Quantum Science (Open to theory but leaning towards experiment for now. Also, not restricted to Quantum Information) and experimental Gravitational Wave Physics where applicable.

Caltech - Physics (Feb. 6: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $34000/yr (1st term Fellowship + Subsequent RA) --- DECLINED (This hurt)
MIT - Physics (Jan 17: Skype Interview ; Feb. 9: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email, $3168/month RA) --- WILL ATTEND
U Chicago - Physics (Feb. 2: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email to check website + $30342 TA) --- DECLINED
UC Berkeley - Physics (Feb. 23: Rejected via website/email) feelsbadman.jpg
Stanford - Applied Physics (Feb. 27: Rejected via website/email) sent me two rejection mails (different title, same content). ouch
U Maryland - Physics (Feb. 12: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email, $5000/yr Dean's Fellowship for two years + $24585 TA/RA)--- DECLINED
UIUC - Physics (Feb. 7: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $22715 -9 months TA + 2 months summer TA/RA) --- DECLINED
Louisiana State University - Physics - WITHDRAWN
Syracuse - Physics (Feb. 19: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $25000/yr TA + $500 Fellowship) --- DECLINED
Last edited by dissonantcricket on Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:41 pm, edited 27 times in total.

roacheater
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:18 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby roacheater » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:04 pm

Undergrad Institution: Big state school, top 30 in physics
Major(s):Physics
Minor(s):Computational Engineering
GPA in Major:3.6
Overall GPA:3.6
Length of Degree: 5
Position in Class: Probably average?
Type of Student: Domestic white male

GRE Scores :
Q:168(94%)
V:166(97%)
W:5.5(98%)
P:710(53%) :(


TOEFL: (R: , L: , S: , W: )


Research Experience:
Research for 3.5 years spanning over three major projects, most done concurrently. In additional, I had two summer research opportunities at national labs.

First project involved computational fluid dynamics which resulted in an APS DFD talk (second author and presenter) as well as a first author publication in Physical Review E. Second project involved work in the origin of life doing computational chemistry and molecular dynamics with a manuscript in the works. Third project is a fluids experiment with no notable outcomes so far.

First internship at Brookhaven national lab doing high performance computing in high energy physics resulted in international conference presentation (second author) and conference paper (second author) along with the usual report/poster duo. Second was a computational physics workshop at Los Alamos national lab with no notable outcomes other than poster and final report.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list every semester, Undergraduate research award, state wide scholarship

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Worked as a technician at schools local HPC cluster, founded and helped run local TEDx event doing general science education outreach for 3 years

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:Nothing comes to mind.

Special Bonus Points: first generation?

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:Origin of life research probably gave me an edge at UIUC. Little effort went into customizing SOP's for many of the schools due to a time crunch.

Applying to Where:

I'm mostly interested in fluids (fingers crossed for Stanford!) but I would be perfectly happy with something in nonlinear dynamics or biophysics.

Northwestern - Physics - Nonlinear dynamics
UIUC - Physics - Biophysics (Jan. 23: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $23k/11 month TA)
U Chicago - Physics - Fluids (Feb. 1: Rejected via website)
U Michigan - Physics - Nonlinear dynamics (Feb. 7: Rejected via website)
U Maryland (College Park) - Physics - Nonlinear dynamics (Feb. 13: Rejected via email)
Georgia Tech - Physics - Fluids
Rice U - Physics - Nonlinear dynamics

Georgia Tech - Mechanical Engineering - Fluids (Jan. 16: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $26k RA)
Berkeley - Mechanical Engineering - Fluids
Cornell - Mechanical Engineering - Fluids (Feb. 12: waitlisted)
Stanford - Mechanical Engineering - Fluids (interviewed twice on 1/26 and once on 1/29)
Last edited by roacheater on Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

h-bar
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:37 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby h-bar » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:00 pm

Undergrad Institution: "Liberal arts college" but in effect a tech school. Not sure about reputation in Physics, but generally strong STEM rep.
Major(s): Physics
GPA in Major: 3.9+/4.0
Overall GPA: 3.9+/4.0
Length of Degree: 4 years
Type of Student: International female

GRE Scores : Revised
Q: 168 (94%)
V: 170 (99%)
W: 5.0 (93%)
P: 970 (92%)

Research Experience:
  • One external summer REU (10 weeks) at LIGO doing on-site instrumentation work on the optics side. Did not actually accomplish much, since I was a clueless 2nd year undergrad.
  • Quantum optics research at my home institution during the semester for about 5 semesters + 1 summer now. Did a significant amount of experimental work during the summer, now working on a somewhat more theory-oriented thesis. No publications, but in the process of preparing a paper for submission. Poster presentation at a quantum information conference.
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Nah. Dean's list for a few semesters, if that counts.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Graded for a number of physics courses ranging from freshman- to junior-level. Also graded a junior-level math course. Graded + tutored in computer science intro sequence courses.

Special Bonus Points: I'm female, I guess. Although I've only done formal research with one of my letter writers, the rest all know me very well both academically and personally.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
  • I have a lot of non-major-related courses under my belt: all of the intro CS sequence at my college, including data structures + a couple of EE courses, one of which was an upper-level elective + a bunch of random courses in humanities/social sciences because ~liberal arts~.
  • I was very specific about my research interests in my SOP: for all applications, I named at least three labs (and specific research areas in those labs) that I wanted to work with.
  • A ton of typos in my SOPs because I was in a rush: missing words, duplicated sentences, incomplete sentence due to version control failure. You name an error, I've got it.
Applying to Where:
Caltech - Applied Physics - Optics/Photonics - (Feb 13: ACCEPTED for Ph.D with funding)
MIT - EECS - Optics/Photonics - (Waiting)
Harvard University - SEAS (Applied Physics) - Optics/Photonics - (Feb 12: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email from PI + funding details pending; Jan. 25: Invited for informal interview with PI)
Stanford University - Applied Physics - Optics/Photonics - (Feb. 6: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + RA)
Cornell University - Applied Physics - Optics - (Feb. 5: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + fellowship for first year)
University of Colorado, Boulder - Physics - AMO experiment - (Feb. 2: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email to check website + assistantship)
University of Rochester - Optics - Optics/Photonics - (Jan. 31: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email to check website + assistantship)
University of Washington - Physics- Optics/Photonics - (Jan. 17: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + TA)
University of Oregon - Physics - Optics/Photonics - (Jan. 30: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + TA)

Unsolicited Reflections/Advice for Future Applicants
  • Health and Wellness - The past application cycle has been incredibly stressful both mentally and physically, especially since it was concurrent with a semester of full of hard, upper-division classes. Despite my generally good stats and reseach history, I was still immensely stressed during the process due to a history of high anxiety and my upbringing pre-college. I am still suffering some of the effects of this period of time in the form of recurrent insomnia and gastric issues. For future applicants: please take care of of your health and general well-being during application season; use this as an opportunity to learn how to manage stress healthily---it will probably serve you well during grad school too. I've found that having people to talk to---especially, trusted professors---helps a lot. Reducing visits to this website (and the applicant profiles page in particular) when I was submitting my applications and waiting for my first admission to a program also helped.
  • Statement of Purpose - When I was writing my SOPs, my professors typically suggested one of two models: (1) research-interest focused, and (2) qualifications-focused. Of course, a good SOP should include elements of both, but the difference lies in which aspect you focus on more. People will probably try to convince you that one model is more viable than the other, but IMO it's up to personal preference (and the preferences of admissions committees, which vary greatly, and so you might as go with your personal preference :P) I used the latter model because I'm used to technical writing and am more comfortable talking things that I have already happened (i.e. my achievements/qualifications and why they make me a strong candidate). Some of you might find the research-interest focused SOP easier to write, and the suggestion I received for that was to avoid trite "Since I was a child..." things, and go for coherent paragraph on the area you're interested in akin to an intro paragraph of a grant proposal. This demonstrates that you are genuinely interested, and are up-to-date/knowledgeable enough about your area of interest. Also, don't sweat the typos after you're done :P. I'm getting the sense that they read more for content than execution.
  • Standardized tests - For the general GRE, get it out of the way ASAP (the summer before your last year of undergrad). It's like a souped-up version of the SATs. Do a couple of practice tests to get used to the format and time constraints and go for it. Study for vocab and essay structure, if you need it; the math is not difficult, but relies on high speed and accuracy, so practice that if you need to. For the physics GRE, study. I'm typically too lazy to commit equations to memory, but it's useful to memorize things for this. There are lots of useful guides online...and do all the practice tests you can get your hands on! The time limit is no joke.
  • School search - Strategy varies a lot depending on how specific your research interests are. Talk to a trusted professor/research advisor to figure something out that works for you. I knew very specifically what I want to do, so my search was research group focused as opposed to ranking/school focused.
  • Letter writers - This might come a little late for many, but if you're still at least a year from graduation from undergrad or master's, try to cultivate strong relationships with potential writers. Talk to your research advisors and make sure you make a strong (good) impression; if you have a major research experience, but do not have a letter from the advisor, it can sometimes be a red flag. If you've only mainly worked with one professor (like me), make sure you have course professors that know you beyond "This person got an A in my class." This means going to office hours, etc. For experimentalists, lab professors are good recommenders in lieu of research advisors.
Last edited by h-bar on Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

CagedFaraday
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:12 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby CagedFaraday » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:02 am

Undergrad Institution: State school not well known.
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.7
Overall GPA:3.6
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: not sure
Type of Student: domestic mixed minority

General GRE Scores : revised

Sept.2017
P:570 (22%)

Oct. 2017
Q:146 (24%)
V:153 (61%)
W:3.5 (42%)
P:720 (54%)

Dec. 2017
Q:158 (69%)
V:154 (65%)
W:3.5 (42%)


Research Experience: 1 internship at government lab, 1 REU, and 2.5 years of research at home university. 1 publication.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list multiple semesters

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: 1 confirmed strong recommendation. The other recommendations were, I assume, good if not strong.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
I looked back and occasionally found logical mistakes in my sentences. Misspelled a name...

Applying to Where:

UCal-Berkeley-Applied Science & Tech.
Stanford-Condensed Matter Physics
UCo.-Boulder-Condensed Matter Physics
Cal Tech-Applied Physics
UCal-Los Angeles-Condensed Matter Physics (Feb. 15: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email $approx 34k 12 months)
UCal-San Diego-Condensed Matter Physics
UCal-Irvine-Condensed Matter Physics (Feb. 6: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email $6.8k per quarter)
USouthern Cal.-Condensed Matter Physics (Feb. 7: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email $32k TA/RA/Fellowship 5 years)
UMd-Baltimore County-Condensed Matter Physics (Feb. 7: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $26k TA 12 months)
UCal-Davis-Condensed Matter Physics (Feb. 15: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email ~$21k 9 months + $5k fellowship + $5.7k summer)
UCal-Santa Cruz-Condensed Matter Physics
UMich-Ann Arbor -Applied Physics (Feb. 6: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email $2.2k per month fellowship)
URochester-Condensed Matter Physics (Jan. 31st: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website/email $20,808 TA/RA 9 months ($27,744 possible))

Clearly I am hoping to be in California by the amount of schools. Lived on the other side of the country for my whole life and there are some good programs in Cali.
Last edited by CagedFaraday on Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rdeb2018
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:37 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby rdeb2018 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:53 pm

Undergrad Institution: Virginia Tech
Major(s): Math (BS), Electrical Engineering (MS)
Minor(s): Physics
GPA in Major: 3.95 (BS), 4.00 (MS)
Overall GPA: 3.97
Length of Degree: 4 years for BS+MS
Position in Class: N/A
Type of Student: Domestic male

GRE Scores :
Q: 169 (94%)
V: 164 (96%)
W: 5.5 (98%)
P: 900 (84%)

Research Experience: No papers published. Worked for a summer in a fluid dynamics lab after my first year. Completed research in physics department (making scanning tunneling microscope tips) and electrical engineering department (modeling antenna patterns in Matlab) my second year. Also worked on Hyperloop design team my second year. Started working on Master's thesis project on plasmonics during my third and into my fourth years.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 2nd place in Virginia Tech's Excellence in Research Competition

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: worked at Boeing as an electromagnetic effects intern during summers between second and third and third and fourth years.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Taken 11 grad classes, almost all of which are relevant to my research area (quantum mechanics, quantum optics, solid state physics, low dimensional semiconductors, nanophotonics, etc).

Special Bonus Points: I think I had excellent rec letters. I also took a lot of time researching professors I wanted to work with.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: none.

Applying to Where:

All for AMO/CME, with focus on quantum technologies:

Caltech - Applied Physics: Admitted Feb 13th, after 1 interview on Jan 22nd. Funding provided through GTA/GRA.
Stanford - Applied Physics: Rejected after I emailed them April 2nd.
U Washington - EE: Admitted Feb 1st, after 1 interview on Jan 23rd. Full funding between GTA/GRA.
U Maryland - EE: TBD.
Harvard - Applied Physics: Rejected Feb 16th, no interviews.
MIT - EECS and Physics: Rejected before Feb 16th (no email, just website) by Physics.
Cambridge - Nanoscience and Physics: Admitted Feb 1st, after 4 interviews. Funding not yet decided.
Oxford - Materials Science: Admitted Feb 15th, after 3 interviews Jan 10th. Funding covers tuition, not stipend.
University College London - Quantum Technologies: Withdrew application.
Imperial College London - Controlled Quantum Dynamics: Admitted with full scholarship after interview in early March.
Last edited by rdeb2018 on Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.

adenchfi
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:27 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby adenchfi » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:43 pm

Undergrad Institution: Small-mid-size private school, Illinois Institute of Technology. Physics dept. not well known but decent connections to ANL.
Major(s): Applied Physics (specialization in Computer Science)
Minor(s): Applied Math
GPA in Major: 3.66
Overall GPA: 3.73
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: Slightly above average? (No rankings)
Type of Student: Domestic male, white

GRE Scores :
Q: 161
V: 160
W: 3.5
P: 770 (64th percentile)

Research Experience:
My institution: Three semesters doing DFT work (computational condensed matter stuff) with a few posters (one on Researchgate getting a lot of reads). One semester doing comp. biophysics. One summer doing both theory + experimental work - theory on quantum efficiency of multilayer thin films explaining our exp. results (got a 2nd author paper), experimental work trying to get a cryostat working and testing tunnel junctions. Also spent a semester parallelizing some 2D superconductor code.
Other institutions: One summer at UNL doing microbiology (didn't have a choice) and one summer at Argonne National Laboratory modeling superconductors and doing an error bound proof (turning it into a 1st author paper now).


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's List, and some awards for contributing to campus life and my job.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: SPS President for a couple years (really changed the organization for the better, trained students to be great researchers), was a Computer Science TA for a semester.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: While at Argonne, helped out another group sometimes getting students started.

Special Bonus Points: Took a few grad classes, got A's in them. At least one recommender is moderately known, the other two are from ANL so I get brownie points for cross-institution stuff.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I applied to the NSF GRFP and so had a good proposal for research, which I included in the statement.

Applying to Where:

UIC - Physics - CMT (Feb 9th: ACCEPTED via email)
UIUC - Physics - CMT
Berkeley - Physics - CMT
UChicago - Physics - CMT (Feb. 1st: REJECTED via email)

DandtheN
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:49 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby DandtheN » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:13 pm

Undergrad Institution: Large Canadian school, well known within Canada for physics, but not well known outside of Canada.
Major(s): Physics, Biology
Minor(s): Math
GPA in Major: 4.00
Overall GPA: 4.00
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Near top
Type of Student: International male

GRE Scores : revised
Q: 170 (97th %ile)
V: 168 (98th %ile)
W: 5.5 (98th %ile)
P: 990 (94th %ile)

Research Experience: 1 summer doing biochemistry. 1 summer doing experimental astroparticle, resulted in internal report. 1 year (ongoing) doing biomechanics. All at home institution, summer research was supported by NSERC USRAs.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's List every year, two departmental physics awards, and a handful of regional and national music awards.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Nah

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Pretty good at programming, which I mentioned in applications. I have a lot of music awards for playing piano (not sure if that matters).

Special Bonus Points: Sitting in on 1 grad QFT class. The biomechanics work I'm doing is very similar to a prof at Cornell.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Great recommendation letters, but two are from biologists, not physicists.

Applying to Where: Only listing American schools here, I also applied within Canada.

Cornell - Physics - Biophysics (Jan. 29: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website/email + $30k Fellowship)
Harvard - Physics - Biophysics (Feb. 21: Rejected via website/email)
MIT - Physics - Biophysics (Feb. 13: Rejected via website/email)
Princeton - Physics - Biophysics (Feb. 14: Rejected via website/email)
Last edited by DandtheN on Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

manbeard95
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:21 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby manbeard95 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:01 pm

Undergrad Institution: Large public school, good physics reputation
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Math
GPA in Major: 3.98
Overall GPA: 3.86
Length of Degree: (Are you graduating after 3, 4, or 5 years?) 4 (Graduated 2017)
Position in Class: (No numbers needed, but are you top? near top? average? struggling?) top
Type of Student: (Domestic/International, male/female, minority?) Domestic Asian Male

GRE Scores :
Q: 167
V: 163
W: 4.5
P: 950 (October 2016)


Research Experience: (At your school or elsewhere? What field? How much time? Any publications (Mth author out of N?) or conference talks etc...)
-2 years in nuclear experiment group (no publications)
-1 year in nuclear theory group (paper in preparation)
-2 months in Europe in nuclear experiment group

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
-Magna Cum Laude
-Highest Departmental Honors

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
- I actually applied last year as well, but for high energy theory. I was rejected from almost everywhere, so I decided to take a year off and do some research in the meantime. I am applying for nuclear experiment this time around.

Applying to Where: Nuclear Experiment everywhere

Columbia - (Accepted Feb. 19)
Duke - (Accepted Jan. 19)
Maryland College Park - Waitlisted Feb. 12
Michigan -
MIT - (Rejected Feb 13)
Stanford - (Rejected Feb 23)
Stony Brook - (Accepted Jan. 25)
UC Berkeley - (Rejected Feb 23)
UCLA - (Accepted Feb. 9)
UIUC - (Accepted Jan. 27)
U Washington Seattle - (Accepted Jan. 22)
Yale - (Rejected Feb. 7)
Last edited by manbeard95 on Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:41 pm, edited 7 times in total.

anik2503
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:47 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby anik2503 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:04 am

Undergrad Institution: Large public school in Asia
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.8
Overall GPA: 3.8
Length of Degree: (Are you graduating after 3, 4, or 5 years?) 4 (Will Graduate 2018)
Position in Class: (No numbers needed, but are you top? near top? average? struggling?) near top
Type of Student: (Domestic/International, male/female, minority?) Asian Male

GRE Scores :
Q: 158
V: 152
W: 4.0
P: 820 (October 2017)


Research Experience: (At your school or elsewhere? What field? How much time? Any publications (Mth author out of N?) or conference talks etc...)
-2 years in HEP experiment group (no publications)
-1 year in CMPE group
Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...): All recommenders famous in their fields

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
Poor GRE score due to preparation for graduate school entrance examination in the country I am at right now. Also took loads of graduate school courses.
Applying to Where: HEP Experiment everywhere


Maryland College Park -
U Toronto-
Purdue-
Notre Dame-
U Victoria-
U Alberta-

ham
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:02 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby ham » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:57 pm

Undergrad Institution: Fast rising young Asia university with high QS ranking, well-known in engineering than physics
Major(s): Physics and Mathematics
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: N/A
Overall GPA: 4.80/5.00
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: top
Type of Student: international male

GRE Scores : revised
Q: 164 (87%)
V: 155 (69%)
W: 3.5 (42%) :oops:
P: 900 (84%)

IELTS: Overall: 8.0 Reading: 9.0 Speaking: 7.0 Listening: 8.5 Writing: 6.5

Research Experience: 3 years in spintronics. 1 year in theoretical biophysics/ complex system. 3 publications ( two 1st author) and numerous conference presentations. 1 paper currently under review.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean list. Journal publication award. Research Scholar title.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Physics competition trainer. TA for computing course and homework grader.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points:

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Probably good LoR from my current and past supervisors.

Applying to Where: (All for CMT/Biophysics)
Cornell - Feb 2 : Language interview. Feb. 14: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $28,817/9 month TA) :D
Princeton Rejected via email 15 Feb
Stanford Rejected via email 23 Feb
UIUC
UPenn
CU Boulder
CMU (Feb.24:ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
Northeastern - (Feb.7:ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $11,943 for Fall 2018 and $11,943 Spring 2019)
Last edited by ham on Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:49 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Sasuke
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:59 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby Sasuke » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:18 am

Undergrad Institution: One of the top Science institutes in India. Well-Known in Physics(Not much in Astronomy)
Major: Physics
Minor(s): Astronomy, Mathematics
GPA: 8.01/10
Length of Degree: 5 years
Type of Student: International Male - Indian

GRE Scores :
Q: 165 - 89%
V: 150 - 48%
W: 4.0 - 60%
P: 950 - 90%(Oct. 2017); 810 - 71%(Sept. 2017); 700 - 50%(Oct. 2016)

TOEFL: (R: 29, L: 29, S: 24, W: 28)

Research Experience: Two years Masters research in Gravitational Wave Data Analysis. One internship at the University of Western Australia with LIGO-SC. Two internships in Astronomy and Optics in India.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: INSPIRE Fellowship. OzGrav intern Fellowship.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Member of LIGO. Teemo Main!

Special Bonus Points: Thesis guide/Recommender is a part of LIGO.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Look at that PGRE improvement. No PGRE-books, study materials or tutors. Just a 3-month plan.

Applying to Where:

Washington State University - Gravitational Waves/LIGO - Interview 1/21 | Accepted 2/6 - $23k/year
University of Mississippi - Gravitational Waves/LIGO - Interview 2/8 | Accepted 2/20 - $8k/semester
Kansas State University - Astronomy - Waitlisted 2/9 - This.. LOL.

Applied to 10 in total(GAtech, LSU, Syracuse, WVU, RIT, UW-Milwaukee, Northwestern). Will edit after decisions -
School - Department - Research Interest (Feb. 28: WILL ATTEND for Ph.D. Accepted via website/email + $Xk Fellowship + $XXk/X month TA)
School - Department - Research Interest (Feb. 14: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website/email + $Xk Fellowship + $XXk/X month TA)
School - Department - Research Interest (Feb. 23: Rejected via website/email)
Last edited by Sasuke on Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:51 pm, edited 6 times in total.

jaybhambure
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 8:43 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby jaybhambure » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:18 am

Undergrad Institution: University of Pune (India) B.Sc. And M.Sc.
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Math
GPA in Major: 93% (we dont have GPA)
Overall GPA: 89% (we dont have GPA)
Length of Degree: 3 years of B.Sc. and 2 Years of M.Sc.
Position in Class: B.Sc. Rank #1, M.Sc. top 10 percentile roughly Rank #6
Type of Student: International male

GRE Scores : revised
Q:162
V:153 :(
W: 4
P: 880 (81%)


TOEFL: (R: 28 , L: 26, S: 23, W: 27)

Research Experience: Nothing great - all summer programs. 2 months at astrophysics dept - worked on the formation of binary stars in globular clusters, 2 months of summers studying supersymmetry in Quantum Mechanics, 2 months of Nuclear physics dept - radioactivity and stability of nuclei.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 3 scholarships, a number of awards (i guess about 6 of them) for outstanding performance at bachelors and masters level. Best outgoing student. Here in India, we have something very similar to Dean's list, I was on it every single semester.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 5 years of tutoring experience. I have tutored students in physics and math at High school and undergraduate level.

Special Bonus Points: Recommendation letters are fairly strong

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: NOT sure, though the following has played a pivotal role in building me as a person and probably a to be - physicist, please go through this post, you'll understand the entire scenario - viewtopic.php?f=3&t=39898


Research interests : Particle physics (beyond the standard model), theoretical nuclear physics - Quantum Chromodynamics and the nature of strong interaction and stability of heavy nuclei, proton decay etc, cosmology (but I have never had a course on GR during my education)

MIT - (Feb. 13: Rejected via website/email)
Caltech - (Rejected via website/email)
Cornell - (Feb. 12: Rejected via website/email)
Rochester - (Rejected via website/email)
Colorado Boulder - (Rejected via website/email)
North Carolina Chapel Hill - (Rejected via website/email)
Maryland College Park - (Feb. 13: Rejected via website/email) I was expecting to get through :cry:
Michigan Ann Arbor - (Feb. 12: Rejected via website/email)
University of Chicago - (Feb. 08: Rejected via website/email)
Rutgers - (Rejected via website/email)
Brown University - (Rejected via website/email)
North Carolina state University - (Rejected via website/email)
Columbia - (Rejected via website/email)
SUNY Stony Brook - (Rejected via website/email)
Syracuse - (Rejected via website/email)
Virginia - (Rejected via website/email)
Last edited by jaybhambure on Fri May 04, 2018 12:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

fmblanco
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:21 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby fmblanco » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:59 pm

Undergrad Institution: University of Buenos Aires (Argentina). Top Universities in Latin America
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 9.33/10
Overall GPA:
Length of Degree: Bachelor + Master (lasts 6 years)
Position in Class: near top - top
Type of Student: male international

GRE Scores :
Q: 164 (87%)
V: 163 (93%)
W: 4.5 (82%)
P: 950 (90%)


TOEFL: (R:30 , L:29 , S:23 , W:27 )


Research Experience: One year of research in a fluid dynamics lab (Mandatory year of experimental research experience in my university) which ended up with to posters presented in a National Meeting. One year of theoretical research in condensed matter during my Master thesis.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: There are no honors in my University so...

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: I worked in the Science Popularization area of the Physics Department for a year. I also was the student representative of the Physics Department Board.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I went to many congresses and lectures over the years. They are all national so I don't know if they will have impact in the application or not.

Applying to Where:

Accepted Waitlist Rejected

(I applied to Condensed Matter Theory in every University)

Harvard Rejected 2/21
Boston University Waitlisted 3/15 Rejected 4/13
M.I.T. Found Rejection in the website
Columbia Rejected 2/28
NYU Waitlisted 2/26 Rejected 4/13
Princeton Rejected 2/14
Cornell (Asked for a Video Interview to check on my english by e-mail 2/1) Accepted by e-mail 2/13
Berkeley Rejected 2/23
Stanford Rejected 2/23
Santa Barbara Rejected 2/27
UCLA Rejected 3/23
CalTech Rejected 3/7
Oxford Rejected. Had to call directly to the department to find out

I guess cornell it is :D
Last edited by fmblanco on Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:47 am, edited 8 times in total.

physdreams
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:53 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby physdreams » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:38 pm

Undergrad Institution: Women's Liberal Arts
Major(s): Physics & French
Overall GPA: 3.47/4.0
Length of Degree: Accelerated to 3.5 years
Position in Class: Near top
Type of Student: Domestic white female

GRE Scores : Revised
Q: 167 (92%)
V: 164 (94%)
W: 5.0 (93%)
P: 610 (31%)

Research Experience: All experimental AMO, all the time...
8-month internship at a top US institution post-graduation
6-month, fellowship-funded internship with top researchers abroad
Summer research fellowship at my home institution summer after first year
Applied design and prototyping workshop and several machining workshops throughout undergrad
1 talk at home institution

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
Multiple research fellowships, competitive fellowship for three-month, photography-based research project abroad, award for outstanding French major

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
Tutor (for undergrad courses and private), learning assistant (4 semesters of the 5 that I was on campus), grader, lab assistant throughout undergrad, robotics teaching intern second year summer, SPS officer senior year.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
Fluent in French, classically trained vocalist, strong recommendations and good reputation.

Special Bonus Points:
I am a woman in physics. (Female) Have audited several graduate courses by top researchers in my field. Bilingual, studied abroad for 12 months during undergrad. Very skilled in several CAD programs, machining, and coding.


Applied to: (All physics, indicated interest in AMO/Quantum Optics)
Fulbright Research/Study to France - (Mar. 16: Selected! Heading to Paris for a year of M.Sc.) :D
University of Toronto - (Feb. 14: ACCEPTED?! What a good Valentine's Day present! for M.Sc. Accepted via email to check website) :D

UMich Ann Arbor - (Feb. 8: Rejected via email)
MIT - (Feb. 13: Rejected via website)
Princeton - (Feb. 14: Rejected via email)
Harvard - (Feb. 21: Rejected via email/website)
Stanford - (Feb. 23: Rejected via email/website)
Columbia - (Feb. 28: Rejected via email/website)

Conclusions/Take Aways:
Apply to programs that you think are a good fit for your research goals and you. Be ambitious, you can't get in if you don't apply!
Last edited by physdreams on Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:30 pm, edited 5 times in total.

Calibungadude
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:26 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby Calibungadude » Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:54 am

______________________________________________
Undergrad Institution: Large R1 Public University in top 20 for physics
Major(s): Physics w/ Specialization in Materials Physics
Minor(s): Math
GPA in Major: 3.68
Overall GPA: 3.58
Length of Degree: A million years ( part time in C.C. + 4 years in University (changed majors))
Position in Class: top 20%
Type of Student: Domestic White Male

GRE Scores : (Not studying for the general GRE was a mistake) :cry:
Q: 151
V: 156
W: 3.0
P: 750


TOEFL: (R: , L: , S: , W: )


Research Experience: 2 years of research. One year in MAE dept resulting in publication. Another year in physics research.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Provost Honors most quarters, 3 x $5k scholarships, Honors Thesis

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Grad Mechanics and EM.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:

UC Irvine - Physics - CME
UC San Diego - Physics - CME
CU Boulder - Physics - CME
Stanford - Applied Physics - CME
Caltech - Applied Physics - CME
UT Austin - Physics - CME
UC Santa Barbara - Physics - CME
U Chicago - Physics - CME (Feb. 1: Rejected via email to check website)
Last edited by Calibungadude on Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

RazorX
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:14 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby RazorX » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:59 am

Undergrad Institution: Indian Institute (IIT)
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): !
GPA in Major: 9.4/10
Overall GPA: 9.3/10
Length of Degree: 5
Position in Class: near top
Type of Student: International Male

GRE Scores :
Q: 168
V: 165
W: 4.5
P: 980


TOEFL: (R:30 , L:29 , S:29 , W:30 )

Research Experience: 2 years of research. In CME and Photonics

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: One related to academics

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points:

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:
(Somewhat in the order of preference)

Cornell - Applied Physics - CME (Accepted by email 2/20) (JOINING)
Columbia -Applied Physics - CME (Waitlisted by email 4/03) Asked to be taken off waitlist
UPenn - Physics - CME (Rejected via email to check website 3/30)
Northwestern - Applied Physics - CME (Accepted by email 2/14)
UWashington - Physics - CME (Waitlisted by email 3/22) Asked to be taken off waitlist
Purdue - Physics - CME (Accepted by email 2/8)
Rice - Applied Physics - CME (Accepted by email 2/14)
GaTech - Physics - CME (Rejected via email to check website 2/28)


Notes: I would say contacting professors really helped me a lot. Try to find professors in the universities you are applying, who are working in the area of your interest and shoot them a customized mail showing your interest in their group. It surely did help me to get admitted to my top choice, where it turned out my POI was the chair of graduate admissions :D

Few other things: 1.Get done with your GREs as early as possible. Do study for them, but don't be disheartened if you do badly in the Gen GRE. One of my friends got into Princeton with a 320. I have a feeling that Physics GRE is really quite important for admissions in Physics.
2.Start early on your SOP atleast a month ahead and get them checked by grad students in your lab, maybe even one professor. Be sure to give a copy of the SOP to your reco letter writers. (Then they will know which area exactly you are applying to and maybe tune their letters to that end)
3.Choose your reco letter writers wisely. Don't try to get recos from the top professors in your department, who don't even know you properly. Always get them from people who know you well, who can speak about your strengths and weaknesses.
Last edited by RazorX on Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:17 pm, edited 4 times in total.

ulegas
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:13 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby ulegas » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:20 pm

Undergrad Institution: Large state school known for partying (Not known for physics/no physics Ph.D. program)
Major(s): Honors Physics
Minor(s): Applied Mathematics
GPA in Major: 3.83
Overall GPA: 3.11 (I screwed up my GPA in community college, but University GPA: 3.86)
Length of Degree: 2 years at my current university after completing basics.
Position in Class: Near top, if not #1. (Physics)
Type of Student: Domestic hispanic male

GRE Scores : Revised
Q: 164
V:147 (I honestly have no clue what happened.)
W: 3.0 (^^^^)
P: 700

Research Experience: Astrophysics research for about 14 months at my university with favorite professor/mentor. Astrophysics REU at my university. Article submitted in PER (awaiting publication). Multiple poster presentations (including national conference funded by REU). Additional research with particle physicist analyzing accelerator data.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Departmental scholarship, Dean's List every semester, graduating through honors program, graduating with honors (Summa Cum Laude, maybe Magna if I screw up somewhere). I have also been nominated for an additional recognition for graduation (I don't know any details.)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: I have taught labs, and tutored every semester. I am also president of SPS (we do a lot of outreach now).

Special Bonus Points: Currently taking graduate courses, hispanic minority, and first generation college student.

Applying to Where:

New York University - Physics PhD - HEP (Mar. 5: Rejected via website)
Rice University - Physics PhD - HEP (Feb. 23: Rejected via email)
University of California - Davis - Physics PhD - HEP (Withdrew Application)
University of Houston - Physics PhD - HEP (Feb. 16: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website + $2k Fellowship + $19k/9 month TA)
University of Maryland - College Park - Physics PhD - HEP (Feb. 13: Rejected via email)
University of Texas - Physics PhD - Plasma Physics
University of Washington - Physics PhD - HEP (Withdrew Application)
Vanderbilt University - Physics PhD - HEP (Feb. 15: ACCEPTED for Ph.D. via website + $30k/12 month Fellowship/TA)

I am planning to attend Vanderbilt, so to those on any waitlists, good luck!
Last edited by ulegas on Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

soapdish
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:30 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby soapdish » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:05 pm

Undergrad Institution: Georgia State University
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics
Minor(s): Spanish
GPA in Major: 4.14/4.30
Overall GPA: 3.74
Length of Degree: 5 years
Position in Class: Near top of class
Type of Student: Domestic white male

GRE Scores : revised
Q: 163 (84th%)
V: 163 (93rd%)
W: 4.0 (60th%)
P: 750 (60th%) - Only disappointing part of application: On practice pGRE's under testing conditions I scored 800,850,890.

TOEFL: N/A

Research Experience: One year in HEP-EX running Monte Carlo simulations, one REU in computational plasma astrophysics, two SULI's at LANL (Fall, Summer) doing MCF theory, post-bachelor's employment at LANL continuing work in MCF theory (8 months)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Physics Honors Society, Dean's List, President's List, etc.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Post-bachelor's employment at LANL (8 months)

Special Bonus Points: Presumably very good LoR's

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: No publications as of yet but two of my LoR writers mentioned publications in prep in their letters (up to 4, 2 as first author), failed courses in my sophomore year and withdrew from some others due to external stresses (but then had a greatly improved academic performance).

Applying to Where:

Computational/Theoretical plasma physics

Princeton - Astrophysical Sciences - Program in Plasma Physics - Rejected by email 2/15
No hard feelings, its good to shoot for the stars. Surprised the other applicants to PPPL on this thread did not get accepted.
MIT - Nuclear Engineering- Plasma Physics - Rejected by email 2/6
UMD College Park - Physics - Plasma Physics - Accepted by email 2/12 and invited to open house, $20k/9mo + Dean's Fellowship (signing bonus) + Insurance + Tuition - declined
Columbia - Applied Physics - Plasma Physics - Accepted by email 1/29 and invited to open house, $40k/12 mo + Insurance + Tuition + Subsidized housing in Manhattan - Will attend
UT Austin - Physics - Plasma Physics - Accepted by email 3/12 after attending open house $30k/9 mo - declined
CU Boulder - Physics - Plasma Physics - Accepted by site 2/27 and invited to open house, $30k/9mo + Dean's Fellowship - declined
Caltech - Applied Physics - Plasma Physics (Bellan group) - Rejected by email 3/18

UW Madison - Nuclear Engineering- Plasma Physics - "Recommended for Admission" 1/23 - declined
UCSD - Physics - Plasma Physics - Rejected by email 3/17
UW Seattle - Aeronautics - Plasma Physics - Rejected by email 4/8
U Rochester - Physics - Plasma Physics - Accepted by email 2/13 and invited to open house, $21k/9mo + Insurance + Tuition - declined

Fellowships:
Fulbright - Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics Greifswald (Stellarator Theory) - Semifinalist 1/26, Alternate 3/23 , Principal (granted) 4/17
DOE CSGF - Rejected by email 4/12

NPSC -
Last edited by soapdish on Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:57 pm, edited 11 times in total.

mluka
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:50 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby mluka » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:00 pm

Undergrad Institution: Large State school, top 20 in physics and mathematics
Major(s): Physics, Astronomy, Math
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.3, 3.5, 3.5 (ish... kinda complicated to calculate due to all the classes overlapping in majors)
Overall GPA: 3.5 (4.0 past 4 semesters.... very heavy course load first 2 years with not great results)
Length of Degree: Typical 4 Years
Position in Class: Probably like top 3rd? Not really sure.
Type of Student: Domestic White Male

GRE Scores :
Q: 164
V:165
W: 5.0
P: 910



Research Experience: 3.5 years doing data analysis for a large collaboration. Created my own simulation software over the past year doing cosmic ray anisotropy research. 1 summer REU in Germany developing next-gen hardware as well as constructing read-out software for data collection

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: hahAA

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: "Tutor" for one of my astro classes, taught programming basics to a large chunk of the class after class hours to aid them on a class project we had. Professor for this class wrote me a LoR

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Very strong upward track in terms of GPA.

Special Bonus Points: Due to the size of the collaboration my undergrad research was based in, I have slight connections over a lot of state schools in the US.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I really really really milked that I know a decent amount of programming languages as well as other sys-admin stuff I have picked up over the course of my undergraduate career. Strong history in cluster computing.

Applying to Where: All Ex-HEP

Penn State (Accepted with TA offer and Fellowships)
Indiana (Accepted with TA offer and Fellowships) --DECLINED OFFER
Pitt (Accepted with TA offer) --DECLINED OFFER (they send a lot of emails....)
UC Davis (Accepted with TA offer) --DECLINED OFFER
UC Irvine (Accepted with TA offer) --DECLINED OFFER
Brown (Accepted, 5 year funding)
OSU (Accepted with TA offer) -- DECLINED OFFER
U-Washington (WAIT LISTED) --Pulled Application
Vanderbilt -- (Rejected) ..oh
Arizona(Accepted with TA offer)
Northwesterm (WAIT LISTED) -- (Accepted) --DECLINED
Last edited by mluka on Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:24 pm, edited 4 times in total.

leotrino
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:42 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby leotrino » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:09 am

Undergrad Institution: big state
Major(s): Physics, Astronomy, Math
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.89
Overall GPA: 3.91
Length of Degree: 4 yr
Position in Class: N/A
Type of Student: International male

GRE Scores : revised
Q: 168
V: 158
W: 4.5
P: 990


TOEFL: N/A


Research Experience: 1 year astronomy (1 pub), 1.5 year hep-ex, 0.5 year hep-ph (1 pub in prep).

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: some trivial ones

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: tutor, astroclub stuff

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points:

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where: All for experiment

Princeton - Physics - astroparticle (Rejected via website)
Harvard - Physics - neutrino+cosmology (Rejected via website)Interview doesn't help :)
U Chicago - Physics - astroparticle (ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website)
Berkeley - Physics - astroparticle+neutrino (ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website)
U Michigan - Physics - neutrino+cosmology (ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
Columbia - Physics - astroparticle+neutrino (ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
U Colorado Boulder - Physics - hep-ex+astro (ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
U Penn - Physics - astroparticle+neutrino
U Maryland - Physics - astroparticle (ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
UW Madison - Physics - astroparticle (ACCEPTED for Ph.D via phone)
UCSB - Physics - astro (Rejected via website)
UCLA - Physics - astroparticle
UCSD - Physics - astroparticle+hep-ex (ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
Penn State - Physics - astroparticle (ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
Ohio State - Physics - astroparticle (ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website)
Last edited by leotrino on Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

applepie
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:01 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby applepie » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:41 am

Undergrad Institution: Big state school with US News physics rank about 40
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.99
Overall GPA: 3.99
Length of Degree: 5 years
Position in Class: Top-ish
Type of Student: Domestic white male

GRE Scores :
Q: 167 (92 %-ile)
V: 164 (94 %-ile)
W: 5.0 (93 %-ile)
P: 740 (58 %-ile) Took it a second time (without further prep) and got exactly the same score

Research Experience: One year of relevant research experience with an advisor who is known in the field. I completed an honors thesis. Some math research experience at a community college I attended the first two years. This led to a published paper in an undergrad journal and a presentation at a national convention.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: I got many awards at the community college, including an overall merit award given to a single graduate. I didn't really seek or win anything notable other than that.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Tutored math and physics for a year.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I was a quiz bowl national champion at the CC level. I mentioned it very briefly in my SOP, but I doubt that professors really care about this sort of thing.

Special Bonus Points: My recommenders are respected, and I am assuming they gave strong LORs. My SOP was very strong due to my background and because I had a grant writer/physics professor help me. I am a domestic white male, but I have a very unique cultural background. First-generation college student.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I am about ten years older than the traditional student. I didn't have a classical high school education, and for various reasons, I did not enter college until I was 25. I didn't mention my age in my SOP, but of course my date of birth does appear in my general application.

Applying to Where: Ordered roughly by preference

CU - Boulder - Physics - Hep-th (Feb. 21: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email to check website + $30k/year TA/RA + $3k signing bonus)
U of Washington - Physics - Hep-th
Michigan State - Physics - Hep-th (Jan. 19: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $28k first year Fellowship + $27k/year TA/RA for remaining years)
Yale - Physics - Hep-th (Feb. 7: Rejected via email to check website)
U of Arizona - Physics - Hep-th (Feb. 20: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $9.2k/semester TA) DECLINED
Ohio State - Physics - Hep-th (Feb. 1: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website/email + $28k/year with University Fellowship first and fifth year) DECLINED
UCSD - Physics - Hep-ex (Feb. 14: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website/email. No financial information) DECLINED
IU - Bloomington - Physics - Hep-th (Jan. 5: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $18.3k/year TA + $4k summer RA + $5k signing bonus) DECLINED
Florida State - Physics - Hep-th (Jan. 11: Withdrew application)
U of Utah - Physics - Hep-th (Jan. 11: Withdrew application)
Washington U - St. Louis - Physics - Hep-th (Jan. 11: Withdrew application)

crosser
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:23 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby crosser » Sat Feb 24, 2018 2:38 am

Undergrad Institution: ~top technical university in Poland, some reputation in Optics
Degree(s): BSc, MSc (in progress)
Major(s): "Technical" Physics (quite stupid name, generally equivalent to Applied Physics)
Overall GPA: 5.12/5.50 in BSc, 5.45/5.50 in MSc so far
Length of Degree: 3.5 years BSc, 1.5 MSc
Position in Class: ~top
Type of Student: international white male

GRE Scores :
Q: 167 (92%)
V: 156 (73%)
W: 4.0 (60%)
P: 970 (92%) (Conquering the Physics GRE by Khan and Anderson is an absolute MUST)

TOEFL: 111 (R: 30, L: 29, S: 24, W: 28)


Research Experience:
-About 3.5 years research work at my institution, including 4 projects with national funding - 3 in optical spectroscopy/material science, one in information theory/topology. Two publications, second author (J. Phys. D and J. Appl. Phys.), one possibly coming but not too soon.
-2 months internship at the Faculty of Chemistry of a German University (ARWU ~200), realization of two independent projects in production and characterization of porous glass/ceramics.
-Two semesters of internship at the research facility in my city, department of nanotechnology, production, and processing of transition metal dichalcogenides.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
The best undergraduate student award (faculty).
Rector's Award.
Polish Science and Higher Education Minister’s Scholarship - two times.
Stefan Bryła’s Scholarship, Santander Group.
Dean's Award.
Special Scholarship of my University.
Erasmus+ scholarship.


Pertinent Activities or Jobs: --

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: --

Special Bonus Points:
-I received 4 recommendation letters, which were quite strong, including one from a foreign institution. All of them were written by professors with reasonable achievements and h-index~30 (including dean). I asked all of them to include some real stories to make the letters authentic.
-I believe that the SOP was well-written and designed to show me as a person, rather than describe boring details on research work or studies. I also included a brief discussion on one or two interesting details in research work of some scholars working at the particular university, then explained why it is interesting for me.
-Joint certificate program - a cycle of courses on nanotechnology and spintronics provided by the University of Würzburg and my institution.
-I prepared the whole application using LaTeX to make it look more professional - maybe it helped to stand out.
-My thesis advisor has some connections at Stanford and UCB, he spent the sabbatical there and was a visiting professor a few years ago.
-Possibly MSc and a few grad courses - solid state, QM, ED etc.
(Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: --

Applying to Where:

Stanford - Applied Physics - Nano/Quantum Eng/Optics (Feb. 6: Accepted via email + $10,146/quarter RA) WILL ATTEND
Caltech - Applied Physics - Nano/Quantum Eng/Optics (March 20: Rejected via email)
University of Chicago - Physics- Nano/Quantum Eng/Optics (Feb. 2: Accepted via website/email + $30,342/year TA) DECLINED
Berkeley - Physics - Nano/Quantum Eng/Optics (Feb. 22: Accepted via email + $35,032/year TA and summer RA)
UCSB - Physics - Nano/Quantum Eng/Optics (Feb. 28: Rejected via email)
University of Rochester - Physics - Nano/Quantum Eng/Optics (Feb. 14: Accepted via email + $27,744/year) DECLINED
University of Maryland - Physics - Nano/Quantum Eng/Optics (Feb. 12: Accepted via email + $24,585.74/yr + $5,000 Dean's fellowship for 2 years ($2,500/yr); Update a few days before the deadline for response: $10,000 Dean's fellowship for 2 years ($5,000/yr)) DECLINED
MIT - EECS - Nano/Quantum Eng/Optics (March 2: Rejected via email)

Conclusions:
It is possible to reach the world's top universities even if your undergraduate institution is around ~1,000 ARWU if you work hard enough.

Basing on my applications, you can see it is not crucial to have perfect test scores or grades (I got 3.0/5.5 once for the Physics classes, where 3.0 is the lowest possible to pass the course). Therefore, even if you did some mistakes during your freshman year do not worry, just push harder to make a progress.

The test scores should be reasonable - especially the math section of GRE and Physics Subject test, but you can find people with Q: 170 & Phys: 990 rejected from schools, where I got into.

I believe the most important were:
1) Research Work - I did as much as I could, starting during the early second year of my studies. This approach shows involvement and passion to what you do.

2) The Statement of Purpose is extremally important - be sure you did everything to make it as good as possible, also make it look professionally (I recommend using LaTeX). Start your research and preparation of this documents EARLY, I started writing about two weeks before deadlines I found it very exhausting. Be sure you are showing you as a person through describing the steps you took in your academic life.
I was rejected by three schools, which I attribute to the low quality of my SOPs, I did not really know which research group I was interested in at Caltech, MIT, and UCSB. Moreover, I was already tired with the rest of my SOPs so I made some more or less random choices with poor argumentation.

3) If you are accepted I strongly recommend attending the Open House, first of all, to make sure your dream school is really for you. Secondly - you can benefit, I feel that it is easier to communicate with the administration after visiting the particular school, I think it shows your dedication.

4) As you can see on the example of the University of Maryland the funding is somehow flexible - you can try to wait for a better offer. Maybe you can even negotiate with some universities.
Last edited by crosser on Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:49 am, edited 4 times in total.

Acouvert
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:09 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby Acouvert » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:46 pm

Undergrad Institution: Small/Medium Tech School, Nationally Recognized for Physics (By research done in Troy, NY)
Major(s): Physics and Mathematical Science
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.57 and 3.55
Overall GPA: 3.54
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: No numbers given outside of top 5, so I would say middle of the pack, maybe upper quarter
Type of Student: Puerto Rican Male

GRE Scores : (Took both once only, rookie mistake)
Q: 158 (69%)
V: 157 (76%)
W: 4 (60%)
P: 660 (42%)


TOEFL: (R: , L: , S: , W: ) N/A


Research Experience:

Summer Research in Experimental Optical Physics (2 Months), mentioned in publication in work finished by advisor's graduate student.

Summer REU at BYU for theoretical Quantum Optics (7 Months at time of applications), report public on BYU's archives, also resulted in an APS 4C conference oral presentation. Research is ongoing and may result in publication.

Senior Thesis (Ongoing, 5 Months at time of application) in Theoretical Quantum Information Systems at home institution. Working toward future publication in JURP.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Received a minority academic scholarship, that's about it!

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Fraternity member (may be a double-edged sword) that participated in leadership positions (Treasurer and Scholarship Chairman).
SPS Member.
Introductory Physics Lab Instructor for 5 Months.
Intermediate Physics Course TA/Paper Grader for 5 Months (3 Months at time of application).
Academic Center Tutor for 8 Months (5 Months at time of application).

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Too busy to do much else :?

Special Bonus Points: Minority

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Technically first generation to go to college!

Applying to Where:

Color Code:
(WILL ATTEND)
(ACCEPTED)
(REJECTED)

Reach

Massachusetts Instittue of Technology - Physics - QI (REJECTED February 13th via website, not too sad they weren't really a top choice.)
California Institute of Technology - Physics - CMT/QI
University of Maryland - Ann Arbor - Physics - QI/QC/AMO-T (REJECTED February 14th via email (that went to spam), they were my first choice :( )
University of Waterloo - Quantum Information MSc - QIT/QIS/QIP
Carnegie Mellon University - Physics - CMT/Quantum Electronics

Match

University of Southern California - Physics - CMT/QI/Quantum Electronics
Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute - Physics - Computational (ACCEPTED February 22nd via email to check website. Stipend information to come mid-March.)
University of Rochester - Physics (Should've done Institute of Optics) - QIS/QIP/Quantum Optics
Boston College - Physics - QIP
University of Massachusetts - Lowell - Physics - QIP

Safety

Stevens Institute of Technology - Physics - QI/Quantum Computation (ACCEPTED January 29th via email to check website. Stipend information to come mid-March.)
Southern Illinois University - Carbondale - Applied Phyiscs - QIS

jc8kf
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:41 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby jc8kf » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:01 pm

Undergrad Institution: Medium size state school
Major(s): Physics, Computer Science
Minor(s): Math
GPA in Major: 4.00
Overall GPA: 3.98
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: Near top probably
Type of Student: Domestic male

GRE Scores :
Q: 167
V: 170
W: 5.0
P: 990


TOEFL: N/A


Research Experience: 1 year research in CM-Exp at my university with 1 publication. 1 year research in Medical Physics at my university with 1 paper and patent application being written. 1 summer external research in fluid dynamics.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Departmental scholarships, outstanding research award for a paper.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Tutor, TA, grader for 2 years

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: None

Special Bonus Points: Took a grad mechanics class

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: None

Applying to Where:

Georgia Tech - Phyiscs - Nonlinear Dynamics - (Feb 15: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $26k TA + $5.5k Fellowship for 4 years) - declined
MIT - Physics - CM/QI - (Feb 13: Rejected via website)
Ohio State - Physics - CM - (Jan 28: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $28k Fellowship for 2 years) - declined
Princeton - Physics - CM - (Feb 14: Rejected via email)
Stanford - Physics - CM - (Feb 23: Rejected via email)
UCSB - Physics - CM/QI - (Jan 31: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email+ $31k TA) - declined
UChicago - Physics - CM/QI - (Feb 1: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website + $31k TA) WILL ATTEND
UIUC - Physics - CM - (Mar 23: Rejected via email)
UPenn - Physics - CM - (Mar 22: Rejected via email)
UT-Austin - Physics - CM - (Feb 1: Invited to Open House) (Mar 13: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $30k Fellowship for 5 years) - declined
Virginia - Physics - CM - (Feb 7: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website + $36k Fellowship for 2 years) - declined
Wisconsin - Physics - CM/QI - (Jan 30: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $20k/9mo TA + $10K Fellowship) - declined
Wisconsin - Medical Physics - (Feb 23: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $24k RA) - declined
Last edited by jc8kf on Mon May 14, 2018 11:54 am, edited 5 times in total.

Tkvs1110
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:48 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby Tkvs1110 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:20 pm

Undergrad Institution: Delhi Technological University, Delhi, India. Engineering School with no reputation in physics
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Minor: Not Applicable
GPA in Major: 78.69% (Absolute Grading)
Overall GPA: 78.69%
Length of Degree: 4 Years
Position in Class: Top 10%
Master's Institution: IIT Bombay, India. Decent reputation in physics in India
Major: Physics
GPA: 9.75/10
Length of Degree: 2 Years
Position in Class: Topmost
Type of Student: International, male

GRE Scores: (revised) 337/340
Q: 170/170
V: 167/170
W: 4.5/6
P: 990/990


TOEFL: (R:30 , L:30 , S:29 , W:28) 117/120


Research Experience:

1. Built a numerical X ray diffraction peak function modelling tool to find dislocation and defect density in a material. The work was used in a PhD student's research and got co-authorship in one of his papers. Two other papers are in making at the time of admissions.

2. Worked on finding new physics beyond the standard model by doing an inclusive measurement of rare B meson decays in LHCb.

3. Worked on developing proximity induced superconductivity in GaN nanowires

4. Worked on the verification of the unification model of the Active Galactic Nuclei through data analysis of NuSTAR satellite

5. Worked on the heisenberg exchange interactions in a kagome spin 1/2 lattice and studied model hamiltonians leading to quantum spin liquid behaviour.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Received the Institute Academic Prize for being the topper in master's institution

Applying to Where:

Harvard University - Physics - CME/CMT (Feb. 21: Rejected via email to check website)
Penn State University - Physics - CME/CMT (Feb. 10: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email) Awarded University Graduate Fellowship with no TA requirement of about $34,000
MIT - Physics - CME/CMT (Feb. 11: Rejected via website)
Caltech - Physics - CME/CMT (March 8: Rejected via email)
John Hopkins University - Physics- CME/CMT (Feb. 17: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email) Awarded a 9 month TA stipend of about $34,000
University of Maryland, College Park - Physics - CME/CMT (Feb. 13: Rejected via email)
University of Bristol - Physics - Particle Physics (Feb. 17: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email) Was considered for an overseas student fellowship of 14,000 GBP but declined it due to other offers
University of California, Berkeley - Physics - CME/CMT (Feb. 24: Rejected via email to check website)
Cornell University - Physics - CME/CMT (Jan 29: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email) Awarded a Cornell Graduate Fellowship for $31,000. WILL ATTEND!
University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign - Physics - CME/CMT (March 6: Rejected via email)
University of California, Los Angeles - Physics - CME/CMT (Feb. 27: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email) Awarded a Physics Division Fellowship in addition to TA support
New York University - Physics - CME/CMT (March 7: Rejected via email)

Note to all applicants: My undergrad was in engineering from a not-so-good school. I had no physics courses and no substantial physics research experience. I made up my shortcomings in the 2 years of my master's program. I took all the grad physics classes I could, did well, and did projects in different fields. So all those engineering undergrads looking to get into physics, here is way to do it.

I liked all fields, and was inclined towards Condensed matter but undecided between theory and experiment. I was honest about it in my application. Though schools like MIT, Harvard probably look for candidates who are experts and ready to start research in their topics directly, I knew I wanted to go to a school which would understand my motivations and would take me for who I am. I guess only those kind of schools picked me up. Being honest could be the right thing since I believe I was only accepted to schools where I am a potential good fit.

All the best to other applicants! Admissions is a crazy game. Don't fret too much and hope that luck swings in your favor.

theoncomingstorm
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:36 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby theoncomingstorm » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:40 pm

Undergrad Institution: Medium sized public university. No particular reputation for physics.
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: 3.59
Overall GPA: 3.59
Length of Degree: 3.5
Position in Class: University didn't track rank, but if I had to guess I would say top third in major.
Type of Student: Domestic male

GRE Scores : Revised
Q:162 (81%)
V: 158 (80%)
W: 5.0 (93%)
P: 720 (54%)


TOEFL: NA


Research Experience: One summer running simulations as a part of the DarkSide project. No publications or presentations

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: A few semesters on dean's list

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Physics club Vice President. Student Ambassador/Ombudsperson for the physics department.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points:

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Worked 40 + hours a week while going to school. Also have a previous degree in an unrelated field.

Applying to Where: All Physics for Astro/Nuclear

California Institute of Technology - Mar 7. Rejected via email. Definitely the nicest rejection letter though.
Columbia University - Feb. 28 Rejected via email telling me to check website
Cornell University - Feb 12. Rejected via email
New York University - Mar 3. Rejected via email telling me to check website
Northwestern University - Mar 8. Rejected via email telling me to check website
Ohio State University - Mar. 21. Waitlisted via email
University of Arizona - Mar 22. Rejected via email
University of California- Irvine - Apr 12. Rejected via email
University of California- Riverside -
University of Chicago - Feb 1. Rejected via email telling me to check website
University of Michigan - Feb 8. Rejected via email
University of Minnesota - Jan 23. Rejected via email telling me to check website
University of New Hampshire - Jan 24. Admitted via email. 9 month TA/ Summer RA opportunities - $26,920 stipend
University of Oregon - Mar 14. Rejected via email
University of Rochester - Feb 15. Rejected via email telling me to check website
University of Texas- Austin -
University of Washington - Mar 20. Rejected via email
University of Wisconsin- Madison - Apr 10. Rejected via inquiry
University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee - Feb 13. Rejected via email
Vanderbilt University - Mar 18. Rejected via email telling me to check website


Will continue to update as results come in!
Last edited by theoncomingstorm on Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:42 am, edited 3 times in total.

svgtek
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:33 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby svgtek » Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:06 pm

Undergrad Institution: Large state university, top 30 physics program
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): n/a
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 4.0
Length of Degree: 3.5 years
Position in Class: Graduated top in class university wide
Type of Student: Domestic male

GRE Scores :
Q: 165 (96%)
V: 164 (87%)
W: 5.0 (93%)
P: 920 (87%)


TOEFL: n/a


Research Experience:

3 years experimental and computational nuclear physics
1 year nuclear astrophysics theory
Presented a talk at an APS April meeting

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list every semester, "scholarship award" for finishing top in my class university wide

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Student research assistant for 3.5 years

Special Bonus Points:
Graduate level classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and mathematical methods class
Military veteran
10+ years older than typical graduate school applicant

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
Research advisor/letter writer did Ph.D. at UC Santa Cruz, postdoc at Caltech
Letter writer did Ph.D. at Princeton

Applying to Where:

Michigan State - Physics - Nuclear astrophysics theory (Jan. 19: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $41k Fellowship + $27.5k/9 month TA)
MIT - Physics - Cosmology and astrophysics theory (Feb 12: Rejected via website)
Princeton - Physics - Cosmology and astrophysics theory (Feb 14: Rejected via email)
UC Santa Cruz - Astrophysics - Cosmology and astrophysics theory (Feb 15.: Rejected via email)
Cornell - Physics - Cosmology and astrophysics theory (Feb 16: Rejected via email)
UC Santa Barbara - Physics - Cosmology and astrophysics theory (Feb 27: Rejected via email)
Caltech - Physics - Cosmology and astrophysics theory (Mar 7: Rejected via email)
UT Austin - Physics - Cosmology and astrophysics theory

confromotron
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby confromotron » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:44 pm

confromotron wrote:Undergrad Institution: Big State school, ranked ~15 for physics
Major(s): Doubling in Physics and Anstronomy
GPA in Major: 3.72
Overall GPA: 3.65
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: No clue
Type of Student: Domestic asian

GRE Scores : Taking in October
Q: 163 (84%)
V: 160 (86%)
W: 3.5 (42%)
P: 900 (84%)





Research Experience:
- About 1.5 years in a condensed matter lab using atomic force microscopes. Helped to ease the probe making process, which we did by hand since we had the AFM running a unique set-up. Measured some cool ferroelectrics.
- About 8 months doing antenna modeling at an engineering lab affiliated with my school. Used some simulation software, and lots of Python.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: University Honors a couple times (basically earning 3.5+ in a semester)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Just the research positions I held.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: None

Special Bonus Points:
-Condensed matter lab professor is well known, won a couple prestigious awards.
-All letter writers are established researchers for 15+ years. (Not sure if this is special, or bonus)

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
-Got a paper coming out from the condensed matter lab I worked at
-The engineering lab position I held was invite only
-Looked into quantum information myself and found a strong interest in the subject. Ideally I want to study the application of quantum materials in quantum computers. (No bias towards theory or experiment)

Applying to Where:

UT Austin - Physics - Condensed Matter
UIUC - Physics - Quantum Information - ADMITTED
Caltech - Physics - Quantum Information REJECTED
Berkeley - Physics - Condensed Matter REJECTED
Stanford - Physics - Condensed Matter REJECTED
Princeton - Applied Physics - Materials Science REJECTED
UCSB - Physics REJECTED
Waterloo - Quantum Information
University of Maryland- College Park - Physics - Quantum Information REJECTED
Rutgers - Physics
Oxford - Condensed Matter Physics
REJECTED

Acouvert
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:09 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby Acouvert » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:11 am

Acouvert wrote:Undergrad Institution: Small/Medium Tech School, Nationally Recognized for Physics (By research done in Troy, NY)
Major(s): Physics and Mathematical Science
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.57 and 3.55
Overall GPA: 3.54
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: No numbers given outside of top 5, so I would say middle of the pack, maybe upper quarter
Type of Student: Puerto Rican Male

GRE Scores : (Took both once only, rookie mistake)
Q: 158 (69%)
V: 157 (76%)
W: 4 (60%)
P: 660 (42%)


TOEFL: (R: , L: , S: , W: ) N/A


Research Experience:

Summer Research in Experimental Optical Physics (2 Months), mentioned in publication in work finished by advisor's graduate student.

Summer REU at BYU for theoretical Quantum Optics (7 Months at time of applications), report public on BYU's archives, also resulted in an APS 4C conference oral presentation. Research is ongoing and may result in publication.

Senior Thesis (Ongoing, 5 Months at time of application) in Theoretical Quantum Information Systems at home institution. Working toward future publication in JURP.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Received a minority academic scholarship, that's about it!

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Fraternity member (may be a double-edged sword) that participated in leadership positions (Treasurer and Scholarship Chairman).
SPS Member.
Introductory Physics Lab Instructor for 5 Months.
Intermediate Physics Course TA/Paper Grader for 5 Months (3 Months at time of application).
Academic Center Tutor for 8 Months (5 Months at time of application).

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Too busy to do much else :?

Special Bonus Points: Minority

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Technically first generation to go to college!

Applying to Where:

Color Code:
(WILL ATTEND)
(ACCEPTED)
(REJECTED)

Reach

Massachusetts Instittue of Technology - Physics - QI (REJECTED February 13th via website, not too sad they weren't really a top choice.)
California Institute of Technology - Physics - CMT/QI (REJECTED March 7th via email)
University of Maryland - Ann Arbor - Physics - QI/QC/AMO-T (REJECTED February 14th via email)
University of Waterloo - Quantum Information MSc - QIT/QIS/QIP
Carnegie Mellon University - Physics - CMT/Quantum Electronics

Match

University of Southern California - Physics - CMT/QI/Quantum Electronics
Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute - Physics - Computational (ACCEPTED February 22nd via email to check website. 23K TA)
University of Rochester - Physics (Should've done Institute of Optics) - QIS/QIP/Quantum Optics (REJECTED March 15th via email to check website)
Boston College - Physics - QIP
University of Massachusetts - Lowell - Physics - QIP

Safety

Stevens Institute of Technology - Physics - QI/Quantum Computation (ACCEPTED January 29th via email to check website. 25k Fellowship First Year TA/RA to follow.)
Southern Illinois University - Carbondale - Applied Phyiscs - QIS

ycao17
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:50 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby ycao17 » Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:18 pm

Undergrad Institution: Private School okay in physics, Good in AMO and Plasma
Major(s): Physics and Philosophy
Minor(s): Mathematics
GPA in Major: 3.85
Overall GPA: 3.78
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Near Top
Type of Student: International Asian Male (the least desired type)

GRE Scores : (revised or old version?)
Q:169 (96%)
V:161 (88%)
W:4 (60%)
P:830 (74%) :| exam panic

Research Experience:
2.5 years plasma physics research--1 year in plasma simulation (3rd author APS conference) and 1.5yrs working in a renowned lab (no pub)
1 short summer program at South Korea for dark matter detections
1 conference/short research at UCSD
Many course projects

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's List every semester

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for 3 semester

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: First generation college student

Special Bonus Points: 1 strong recommendation, several positive responses from potential advisors

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: NA

Applying to Where:

Princeton - Plasma Physics - Plasma Physics and Fusion (Rejected via email) Anticipated
MIT - Nuclear Engineering - High Energy Density Physics /Fusion (Rejected via email) A Little Sad but anticipated
UCB - Physics - Plasma Physics (Rejected via website)
UCLA - Physics - Plasma Physics (March 23rd. Rejected via website) Seriously! Getting several connections and approvals from professors only gets you rejected
UMaryland - Physics - Plasma Physics and Fusion (Rejected via email)
UMich - Applied Physics - Plasma Physics and Fusion (Rejected via website)
Wisconsin - Physics/Engineering Physics - Plasma Physics and Fusion
UCSD - ME - Plasma Physics and Fusion
Columbia - Applied Physics - Plasma Physics

No offers and nothing from the other schools. President ***** 's funding cut on fusion research made me super mad. Also it's almost impossible for international students (especially from the "you know where" country) to get in this field. Super disappointed in America.

pulsaric
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:31 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby pulsaric » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:49 am

Undergrad Institution: Decent university in Oceania
Degree(s): BSc, BSc (Honors)
Major(s): Physics + Mathematics (as separate majors)
Overall GPA: 8.74/9 in BSc, over 27 courses ; 8.63/9 in BSc (Honors), over 8 courses ; 8.70/9 in total.
Length of Degree: 3 years BSc, 1 year BSc (Honors)
Position in Class: ~top
Type of Student: International Asian male

GRE Scores :
Q: 166 (91%)
V: 155 (69%)
W: 5.0 (93%)
P: 820 (72%) (wasn't too affected by this since I was applying for astro)

Research Experience:
I find it misleading when people on this forum talk about "xx" years of research experience - this gives me zero indication on how much research you've actually done, except that you've had this weighing on your mind somehow for years, which isn't remotely an indicator of how much you actually worked. On that note...

- I only added this in some applications, but I started doing something basic back in high school. I simply visually mapped the positions of galactic SNRs, O stars, and WR stars. I probably spent about a full-time-equivalent of 2 weeks on this. Supervisor's (who's 1) in the list below) been meaning to look through this, but haven't had time.
- 3 (Southern Hemisphere) summers of research: 1) stellar physics; had a conference presentation + 5th/7 authors in a paper - 3 months full-time. 2) machine learning with astro applications - nothing - 2 months full-time. 3) Galactic dynamics - currently writing a 1st author paper. I noted this in my application, though at the time I wrote that it was "likely to result in a first-author paper" - 2 months full time.
- 1 BSc (Honors) project. The time spent was quite staggered throughout the year, although naturally the amount of time invested increased towards the end of the academic year. I suspect that I spent about a full-time-equivalent of 3-4 months in total. Will publish some form of "update to the field" type of article at some point - I haven't yet started on this.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
We don't have a Dean's List in the department, though I've had 6 awards for being first in courses; 5 substantial scholarships over 4 years.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Secretary of the university's physics association for half a year in my first year, then President for the rest of my BSc. I started a number of notable events then. I was also an executive member for the faculty's science association during my Honors year.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: --

Special Bonus Points:
- I have three recommendation letters. I'm not sure what people mean by a 'strong' recommendation letter. All three letters are those who I have done research under, rather than just having me in a course. I have known two of them back in high school, and were well aware of my leadership activities, so I suspect they'll write very helpful letters. One of the two is also reputable in the U.S. as he was working in Ivy League institutions (postdoc/professor) for ~ 15 years.

- I had a relatively odd gateway into astro - thought that this might humanize me a little.

- I wrote my CV in LaTeX. I'm not sure if this is a bonus since I'd expect almost every serious applicant to have learnt LaTeX.

- Honors year is a graduate-level program for me, so I've already done GR, QFT, and grad-level QM, SM, and EM.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I've been a TA for 2 years, and a GTA for 1 year (and a maths marker for 4 semesters). I've also done the occasional tutoring and exam supervision.

Applying to Where:
Arizona - Astronomy - (Feb. 6: Rejected via email) - was originally my top choice
Princeton - Astrophysical Sciences - (Jan. 31: Rejected via email) - was originally 2nd choice!
Harvard - Astronomy - (Feb. 12: Rejected via email to check website)
Amsterdam - Astronomy - (Haven't heard back since an interview a month ago; I assume rejected)
CalTech - Physics - (Mar. 7: Rejected via email)
Cornell - Astronomy - (Feb. 19: Rejected via email)
McGill - Physics - (May 3: Rejected via email to check website)
MIT - Physics - (Feb. 9: Accepted via email) - approximately $38k/year. Fees are just $300 a year! WILL ATTEND! It stands out among the other places that I am offered/have yet to hear from
Michigan State - Physics and Astronomy (Apr. 15: Rejected via email to check website)
Northwestern - Astronomy - (Mar. 21: Waitlisted via email. I did not enquire; Apr. 13: Rejected via email to check website.)
Toronto - Astronomy and Astrophysics - (Feb. 23: Had an interview. Interviewer said that I should not be surprised if I haven't heard back after a few weeks. They're interviewing the waitlisted candidates. Apr. 24: Rejected via email)
Stony Brook - Astronomy - (Feb. 6: Accepted via email) - $23k TA + 5k summer. Fees + Health Insurance are another 2.2k annually though! DECLINED.
UIUC - Astronomy - (Mar. 3: Rejected via email)
Chicago - Astronomy - (Feb. 26: Rejected via email to check website)
Columbia - Astronomy - (Feb. 9: Rejected via email to check website0
Rice - Astronomy - (Feb. 9: Accepted via email) - $31k/yr. ~1.3k per year on health insurance + fees. DECLINED.
Tennessee, Knoxville - Physics and Astronomy - (Feb. 15: Accepted via email) - $21.5k/yr GTA + $3.5k/yr fellowship. ~$2k per year on miscellaneous fees though! DECLINED.
Last edited by pulsaric on Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.

jfm3
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:22 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby jfm3 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:25 pm

Undergrad Institution: University of Colorado, Boulder
Major(s): BA in Astrophysics
Minor(s): Math
GPA in Major: 3.71
Overall GPA: 3.702
Length of Degree: 4 years + 1 summer semester (graduated August 2016)
Position in Class: 7 of 43
Type of Student: Domestic white male

GRE Scores: Physics GRE taken October 2017, General GRE taken December 2017
Q: 158 (69%)
V: 161 (88%)
W: 5.5 (98%)
P: 630 (35%)

Research Experience: 2+ years working at the same lab in solar physics, detailed below
Undergrad
3 months working on solar image analysis

Postgrad
17 months reconstructing, processing, analyzing and organizing a solar image data record
6 months working on data analysis and analysis algorithm development for a solar spectral data record

Awards/Honors/Recognitions
3x Dean's List for GPA

Pertinent Activities or Jobs
None

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help
I use IDL and Python for my research work, and took coding classes in Python.

Special Bonus Points
I was able to network extensively with past professors, other faculty, department staff and current grad students at CU because I knew so many of these people from undergrad. This ultimately did not make a difference, since I was rejected from both the Astro and Physics Departments.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter
When I was choosing schools I only looked at places that had both a strong department/research culture and were geographically close to mountains/snow. I am a serious cross-country skier and I wanted to be able to continue skiing in grad school.

Schools Applied
Montana State University (Bozeman) - Department of Physics - Relativity & Gravity
February 6: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website/email + 19k/12 month TA
Health insurance and student fees (~$700/semester for non-resident students) are not subsidized by MSU or the Physics Department.
WILL NOT ATTEND

University of Colorado, Boulder - Department of Physics- General interest in Quantum Mechanics
March 8: Rejected via website/email

University of Colorado, Boulder - Department of Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences - Cosmology & Relativity
February 16: Rejected via website/email

University of Utah - Department of Physics & Astronomy - Cosmology
March 28: Rejected via website/email
*No applications to Utah Physics were accepted this year. An email was sent explaining that, due to significant discord among faculty within the department and problems meeting the needs of graduate students, the chair of the department is stepping down and no applications for 2018/19 are being accepted.

General Thoughts/Notes
I decided not to accept the one admission offer I had. The funding offer from MSU is very low relative to similar schools/departments and relative to places with similar cost-of-living to Bozeman. I also realized that I probably do not have the right mentality to start a PhD. I don't have a clear idea of what I want to do for research, and I didn't realize how truly all-consuming a PhD program is. The application process was very competitive- I started networking discussions and GRE preparation last May and I think my application was only average. I'm not sure if I will apply to PhD programs in future years, or if I'll try to go a Master's route instead.

lgj1212
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:09 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby lgj1212 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:42 am

Undergrad Institution: Small LAC, decent physics reputation
Major(s): Astronomy/Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.5
Overall GPA: 3.5
Length of Degree: 4 Years
Position in Class: Unknown
Type of Student: Domestic Asian/white female

Master's Institution: Relatively well known school in Europe
Major(s): Theoretical Physics

GRE Scores :
Q: 161 (78%)
V: 161 (88%)
W: 5.0 (94%)
P: 660 (42%)



Research Experience: 6 months observational astro, 1 astro REU, senior thesis in theoretical cosmology, currently working on master's thesis; 1 publication

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list, departmental honors,

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Tutor for intro physics/astro classes, founded the Women in Physics club at my undergrad institution

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Female, one relatively famous recommender in astro

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where: All for HEP/Cosmology Theory
Harvard - Physics - (Feb. 21: Rejected via website)
Stanford - Physics - (Feb. 23: Rejected via email)
UChicago - Physics - (Feb. 2: Rejected via website)
UChicago - Astronomy & Astrophysics - (Feb. 27: Rejected via website)
Cornell - Physics - (Feb. 13: Rejected via email)
Michigan - Physics - (Feb. 8: Rejected via email)
UIUC - Physics - (Feb. 5: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $23k/9month TA) - declined
UPenn - Physics - (Mar. 28: Rejected via email)
UT Austin - Physics - (Feb. 5: Invited to open house, Mar. 13 ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $27 TA) - declined
Brown - Physics - (Feb. 20: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $28.5 TA + $1200 one-time stipend) - WILL ATTEND!
UCLA - Physics - (Mar. 1: Rejected via email)
Wisconsin - Physics -
Duke - Physics - (Feb. 27: Rejected via website)
UC Davis - Physics - (Feb. 12: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $31k TA + fellowship nomination) - declined
UNC-Chapel Hill - Physics - (Jan 15: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $23k TA) - declined
UMass Amherst - Physics - (March 23: Rejected via website)

General Thoughts:
I spent a lot of time on this forum before applying and wanted to post my results to give hope to those who may not have a 4.0/990 and 10 publications- it is possible! With my profile and focus on hep-th, I knew I was going to get a lot of rejections, but I aimed high and I'm thrilled with my options and am fortunate to have a tough decision to make.
Last edited by lgj1212 on Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

Azbroolah
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:41 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby Azbroolah » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:39 pm

Undergrad Institution: Ivy; highly regarded physics department
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: 3.625
Overall GPA: 3.607
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: We don't rank, hard to say.
Type of Student: Domestic male

GRE Scores :
Q: 169 (96%)
V: 167 (98%)
W: 6 (99%)
P: 910 (86%)


TOEFL: N/A


Research Experience: Several summers working in observational astrophysics prior to enrolling in University (resulted in one paper, listed as fourth author). Two summers worth of research experience in experimental plasma physics (publication submitted and awaiting review, plus two APS DPP posters), plus one semester each of (superficial) experimental particle physics and theoretical plasma physics (two junior papers). Additionally writing a senior thesis in experimental plasma physics.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Minor internal physics award (twice)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 6 semesters of TAing introductory physics labs, plus one summer's attendance at a program which workshopped methods of physics pedagogy.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: None, really.

Special Bonus Points: One grad class (general relativity), don't think this helped much. One of my recommenders has had a long career in the field and is well-connected, if not famous.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: LGBT+, if that matters

Applying to Where:

Stanford - Physics (Atomic): (Rejected via website)
Caltech - Physics (Atomic): (Rejected via website)
UC Boulder - Physics (Atomic): (Rejected via website)
Princeton - Plasma Physics: (Feb. 14: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email, $37,000 per year)
MIT - Physics (Plasma): (Feb. 9: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email, $38,000 per year RAship -- will attend!)
UCLA - Physics (Plasma): (Feb. 7: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via phone, ~$34,000 per year with fellowship+TA)
UW Madison - Physics (Plasma): (Jan. 31: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email, ~$26,000 per year+$3000 fellowship)
UChicago - Physics (Atomic): (Feb. 1: Rejected via website)

IMSSEQMC
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 1:28 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby IMSSEQMC » Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:32 am

Undergrad Institution: Public Top ~10 in Physics
Major(s): B.S. in Physics (University)
Major(s): Triple A.S. (Transfer) in Biology, Mathematics, and Physics (Community College)
GPA in Major: ?
Overall GPA: Community College ~3.5, University ~2.5 (at time of application)
Length of Degree: 3 years Community college, 3 years University
Position in Class: Unknown
Type of Student: Domestic Male, Multi-racial and racial minority, identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community

GRE Scores :
Q: ~157 (~75%)
V: ~159 (~70%)
W: ~5 (~90%)
P: ~500 (~10%)

Research Experience: Roughly 2 years in computational condensed matter theory/statistical mechanics, working on a paper as first author with my research mentors (for quite some time), did some preliminary research work for a couple of months under a couple of other professors in computational biophysics and computational cosmology. Did a more than a few oral powerpoint presentations and poster presentations at non-physics specific symposiums and conferences.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: McNair Scholar, CAMP Intern, small scholarship.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Co-president of LGBTQIA+ STEM organization's university branch for roughly 2 years at university, incorporated outreach through this and was part of many panels. Was a math tutor in community college for a few months.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Visit program to one of the graduate schools prior to applying there.

Special Bonus Points: Graduate series in quantum mechanics and electromagnetic theory, but didn't do great in all of them. Letter writers: one famous primary research mentor/letter writer/Professor for a course; other was a Professor for a course; and one was a recent doctorate who closely supervised my primary research and was a previous instructor for a course.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor - Applied Physics M.S. (Mar. 6: Rejected via email)
Yale University - ESI PREP (postbac) (Apr. 5: Rejected via email after inquiry)
Princeton University - Physics bridge/postbac (Mar. 30: Rejected via email)
Washington University in St. Louis - Physics postbac (Withdrew Apr. 12)
University of Chicago - Physical Sciences Division M.S. (Apr. 3: ACCEPTED for via website/email + fully funded for 2 years (tuition, stipend, and health care))
University of Nevada, Las Vegas - Health Physics M.S. - Environmental Health Physics (Mar. 23: ACCEPTED for via email, no funding)
APS Bridge Program (multiple schools) - Physics M.S./postbac (Withdrew Apr. 5)
Columbia University - Natural Sciences Bridge (postbac) - (Jun. 3: Rejected via email, this happened after I told them I got accepted by UChicago and had to decide by Apr. 15, they said they couldn't give me a decision by then)
Didn't apply to 2 more schools that I was going to before hearing back from UNLV/UChicago.

General thoughts: Feel free to pm me. Life is really intense.
Last edited by IMSSEQMC on Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

its_lit_fam
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:09 am

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby its_lit_fam » Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:41 pm

This is to show future students that you can be mediocre and still achieve your dreams

_____________________________________________
Undergrad Institution: Large state school, small physics department, even smaller astronomy division
Major(s): Physics and astrophysics
Minor(s): Math
GPA in Major: 3.6
Overall GPA: 3.8
Length of Degree: Four years
Position in Class: idk man
Type of Student: domestic white male

GRE Scores : (revised or old version?)
Q: 160/76%
V: 156/73%
W: 4.5/82%
P: 650/40%


Research Experience: Five years total. Started as a freshman in particle physics and went on to astronomy later. One internship, one REU, one summer grant, and one full year at a well known astronomy research institute after my degree

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Lots of posters, a couple first author papers, a few co-authored papers

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: post-bacc researcher

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Lots of volunteer work

Special Bonus Points: Second time applying?

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:

All for astronomy (specifically exoplanets):

U Michigan - (01/23: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email
U Hawaii - (02/16: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email
U Washington - (01/22: Interview, 02/06: Waitlisted, 04/12: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via phone

REJECTIONS
  • Vanderbilt
  • UC Santa Cruz
  • Harvard
  • Berkeley
  • U Arizona
  • Penn State
  • Caltech

WITHDREW APPLICATION
  • Northwestern
  • UNC, Chapel Hill
  • Northern Arizona

Overall very happy with how this application cycle turned out, especially after coming from all rejections last year!

wucun667
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:47 pm

Re: 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby wucun667 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:01 pm

Undergrad Institution: small private US college strong in engineering, no particularly strong reputation in physics as far as I know
Major(s): physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.61
Overall GPA:3.68
Length of Degree: 4 years undergraduate
Position in Class: don't know
Type of Student: International Asian male

GRE Scores : revised
Q: 168
V: 154
W: 4.5
P: 640; 37% (must be the highest PGRE score in human history ever! I deserve a Nobel prize for this! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: )


TOEFL: waived


Research Experience: Two years of biophysics research in my home institution. But no publication. Only worked as a research assistant helping the PhD students in the lab. My first individual biophysics project was still ongoing when I submitted my application, so I don't think it was actually very helpful (but my most important recommendation letter is from my advisor for this project. So it might still be significant).

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: a few Dean's list in my institute

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: one semester of TA for classical mechanics

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Special Bonus Points:

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:
All are physics PhD program unless specified
Rice U (Applied Physics) Rejected
Stony Brook U Rejected
Georgia Tech Waitlisted--->>>Accepted! (Oh my heaven! What happened?????? :shock: :shock: )
U of Florida Rejected
Florida State U no response
UC-Santa Cruz Rejected
UMass-Amherst Rejected
U of Tennessee, Knoxville Accepted!
U of Illinois at Chicago Accepted!

Hope my profile helps any future applicants. Personally I feel PGRE really plays an important role in application. I would advise any future physics PhD applicants to prepare PGRE as early as possible. I only started to prepare PGRE 1.5 months before the test and it turns out this was one of my stupidest mistake. I was actually quite surprised that I got into Georgia Tech. But still I was waitlisted in the first place, and only got admitted after a brief visit to the campus and talked with a number of potential advisors. The fact I attend a US institute might also be helpful. If I go through application again with my current profile I absolutely cannot guarantee I would be admitted anywhere. But still, I'm very happy with my result, and good luck everyone!




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