2019 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.

absoluterest
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:44 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby absoluterest » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:54 pm

Undergrad Institution: One of the best engineering colleges in my country. Not as famous for physics, but quite a few alumni went on to join great schools.
Major(s): Physics (integrated Master's degree, no intermediate Bachelor's)
GPA in Major: 9.1/10
Overall GPA: 8.88/10
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Top five in my class of 70
Type of Student: International male

GRE Scores :
Q: 170 (97th percentile)
V: 161 (88th percentile)
W: 4.5 (82nd percentile)
P: 910 (86th percentile)


TOEFL: (R: 30/30, L: 29/30, S: 30/30, W: 26/30)


Research Experience: Master's thesis on integrable systems (6 months) and post-grad research assistantship on partition functions of supersymmetric gauge theories (6 months, ongoing) in two of the best institutes for physics in my country - these projects gave me a lot of exposure to advanced mathematics as well; a project in my university (4 months) on quantum chaos and OTOCs; a remote internship (long-drawn-out) on computational astrophysics with a professor from another country back in my third year. I'm interested in string theory, gauge/gravity duality, AdS/CFT integrability, and topics of mathematical physics like T-duality (mirror symmetry) and Hitchin functionals.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Got a government scholarship for my higher education because of my secondary school performance. Nothing phenomenal after that.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: None.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Nope.

Special Bonus Points: Did a very small project with a CMT legend in one of the institutes, who's unfortunately not a recommender. Took QFT and GR classes in my university and audited them in the institute in which I'm currently working (GR taught by a string theory legend, but probably doesn't count).

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Have a C from a lab course (which I hated, but this is my fault) and a couple of Bs, but the fact that I've done well in courses that directly matter to my interests should hopefully see me through.

Applying to Where: Applying only for HEP-th.

Reach:

UT Austin - Rejected via Website on April 9 (What a horrendously long wait)
Stony Brook - Rejected via E-mail on February 25 (I sent an email to the graduate program coordinator who informed me)
Penn State (reach for string theory) - Accepted via E-mail on February 8 - $22K TA stipend for first year + $3K fellowship + $4K support for summer (I just saw this since it was lost in my inbox)
U. Pennsylvania (don't know if that's much of a reach for HEP-th) - Rejected via Website on March 19 (Got an email to check status on website)
U. British Columbia (Master's) (borderline reach; I really want to get in here) - Rejected via E-mail on February 16 (I sent an email to the graduate program coordinator who informed me; I'm quite gutted since this was my top choice)

SISSA (International School for Advanced Studies) - Invited to write the written examination; didn't attend
Queen Mary University of London

Match:

Duke University - Rejected via E-mail on February 25 (Email to check website)
UC Davis
U. Michigan, Ann-Arbor - Rejected via E-mail on February 15 (I've heard that there's little to no HEP-th funding this year; I wish I knew that before I applied)
U. Wisconsin, Madison - Rejected via Website on January 30 (UWM doesn't have a big string theory group, so I'm not surprised)
U. Southern California - Rejected via E-mail on February 22
Texas A&M

Safety:
Brown University - Rejected via Website on February 25 (Got an email to check status on website)
Last edited by absoluterest on Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:32 am, edited 14 times in total.

scytoo
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:26 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby scytoo » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:01 am

I posted this elsewhere, but it should probably go here for record too.

Undergrad Institution: International, small with very few faculty, but well-respected enough for astrophysics
Major(s): Physics, Applied Mathematics
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 4.0
Length of Degree: 3 years BSc, 1 year Honours
Position in Class: Top
Type of Student: International (for Oxbridge), white female

GRE Scores : N/A (not applying US)

TOEFL: N/A

Research Experience: 2 months with alma mater in first year in astrophysics, first-author publication in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and two poster presentations (one national, one international, only undergrad to attend). 3 months with national lab in second year for astrophysics. 12 months full-time with alma mater in astrophysics, leading to a 140-page thesis, possible first-author publication. 8 months with alma mater, after graduating, in cosmology (ongoing).

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 3 scholarships for science (all within university), all university awards for physics and mathematics (about 6 of them), Dean's Roll, travel awards for conferences, award for best astrophysics thesis, university medal.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Peer and private tutor for 4 years, marker for 2 years, public speaker for astrophysics for 3 years, state representative for astrophysics in schools for 2 years, tour guide and student information leader for Open Days etc for 4 years.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: An astronomy festival I annually present at was recently awarded $10mil to build a planetarium in my tiny hometown. Ambassador for schools, so I do a lot of travelling and presenting in astrophysics, plus interviews and news articles about those events. Should come up if they Google me, along with my website. Have done all graduate coursework available, A+ in all.

Special Bonus Points: My primary research supervisor attended both Cambridge and Oxford, one as a graduate student and the other as a post-doc. I grew up in poverty in my state, so my outreach work is directly tied to engaging disadvantaged communities. I've already contacted all of my proposed supervisors, and finalised projects.

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

Applying to Where (All for astronomy/astrophysics PhD):
Cambridge (UK) - Invited to interview 23 Jan. Accepted 30 Jan, pending funding. Offered Gates-Cambridge scholarship!Will Attend!
Oxford (UK) - Invited to interview 15 Feb. Accepted 8 Mar, pending funding. Declined 31 Mar
ANU (Aus) - Accepted 6 Dec for $30k RTP stipend at Ursula Hall. Declined 10 Jan.
Home institution (Aus) - Accepted 18 Jan for $30k RTP stipend and co-tutelle in UK.

Edit: Looks like I have some good options on the table, although I'll have to wait for news on funding before I can narrow it down!

Final edit: Cambridge it is!
Last edited by scytoo on Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:48 pm, edited 9 times in total.

amb
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:56 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby amb » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:20 pm

Undergrad Institution: big state school, decent reputation I think
Major(s): Physics, Math, Astronomy
Minor(s): Computer Science
GPA in Major: 3.7
Overall GPA: 3.25
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: no idea, average?
Type of Student: Domestic Female

GRE Scores :
Q: 156
V: 158
W: 4.0
P: -


TOEFL: -


Research Experience:
- 0.5 years physics research at my university (some talk of a paper but I'm not sure if that's actually happening)
- 2 years astronomy research at my university
- REU in particle physics w/ poster presentation

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 1 physics department award at my university

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: some minor tutoring

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Attended U Michigan Astro Fall Preview

Special Bonus Points: 2 grad astro classes, female, one relatively well-known recommender

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: first-gen immigrant, really strong upward trend in grades, 3.6 gpa in last 2 years

Applying to Where:

University of Washington - Astronomy - (Feb. 6: Rejected via email)
Ohio State University - Astronomy - (Rejected via email)
University of Michigan - Astronomy - (Feb. 7: Rejected via email)
University of Texas at Austin - Astronomy - (Feb. 5: Rejected via email)
Michigan State University - Astronomy - (Rejected via email)
University of Toronto - Astronomy - no response
Northwestern University - Astronomy - (Feb. 20: Rejected via email)
University of Florida - Astronomy - (Waitlisted via email)
University of California Santa Cruz - Astronomy - (Rejected via email)
University of Chicago - Astronomy - (Feb. 13: Rejected via email)
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign - Astronomy - (Rejected via email)
University of West Virginia - Astronomy -
University of Victoria - Astronomy - interview request Jan. 18 - Feb. 19: ACCEPTED for MSc via email + $24,600 Fellowship
New Mexico State University - Astronomy - interview request Feb. 8 - ACCEPTED for PhD via email
University of Copenhagen - Physics -
University of Massachusetts - Astronomy - (Feb. 8: Rejected via email)
Last edited by amb on Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:57 pm, edited 12 times in total.

abhispace
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2018 4:44 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby abhispace » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:13 pm

Undergrad Institution: Large State School (average reputation in Physics)
Major(s): Physics; Astronomy
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 2.5 :|
Overall GPA: 2.7
Length of Degree: 4 years with double major
Position in Class: Towards the lower end
Type of Student: International male

Master's Institution: Small Private International School (no reputation in Physics)
Major(s): Physics
GPA in Major: 7.76/10
Overall GPA: 7.76/10
Length of Degree: 2 years
Position in Class: Towards the top

GRE Scores : Revised
Q: 165 (88%)
V: 163 (93%)
W: 4.5 (82%)
P: 910 (85%; Oct 2018) :D


TOEFL: (R: 30, L: 30, S: 28, W: 27)


Research Experience: Undergrad Institution: 2 years on Solar Plasma Physics (couple of posters but presented by the post docs in the group); 1.5 years on Cosmology. Master's Institution: 0.5 years on Molecular Dynamics simulations (my thesis; presented and published at a conference)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Full tuition waiver for undergrad; Class representative during Masters

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Founded the Physics society at my Masters Institution

Applying to Where: Dept.: Physics unless otherwise stated; Research Interest: Astrophysics/Biophysics/AMO/Condensed Matter

University of Arizona -
Louisiana State University -
Colorado State University -
Mississippi State -

UT Dallas - Physics - Astrophysics, Condensed Matter ( Feb 6: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $1900 per month TA) :D
UC Merced - ( Feb 8: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email to check website + $28k GTA/GRA :: WILL ATTEND) :D :D
University of Chicago - Feb 8: Rejected via email to check website
University of Maryland, Baltimore County - Feb 10: Waitlisted :!:
Georgia Institute of Technology - Feb 26: Rejected via email to check website
University of Rochester - Mar 08: Rejected via email to check website
Columbia University - Mar 08: Rejected via email to check website
Georgia State University - Astronomy Department - Mar 16: Rejected via email to check website
UT San Antonio - Mar 16: Waitlisted via email
Geroge Washington University - Mar 20: Rejected via email to check website
Wesleyan University - Mar 20: Interview request through email. Declined


Edit - Mar 08: The dominoes are falling! I am just glad to have offers from a couple of programs. I did not have a lot of confidence in my applications, given my undergrad GPA. To those who are in similar boat -> take note that your Masters performance and your research experience when coupled with an impressive Physics GRE score can outweigh your low undergrad GPA. At 27, I am one of the older applicants, but your age does not matter to an extent if you have other positive elements in your resume.

Edit - Mar 26:
This whole process was very nerve-racking.

To those with sub-optimal GPA: make sure everything else on your resume is so great that the admissions committee have to think twice before they reject you. Maybe get a Masters if you can afford it. I could because in my home country, it is relatively cheaper than in the US.
To those who have other deficiencies: one deficiency is not difficult to overcome given other parts of your resume shine through.

Btw, my SOP was 4 pages long. I had to tell them all about what I offer them and why I had a bad undergrad GPA. I think that some schools may not have read through my SOP due to its length. Anything shorter would not have given them all the information to make an informed decision and most likely would have led to a rejection. In fact the extra length of my SOP probably helped me in my acceptances - specially schools that do not receive a large number of applicants.

List of universities: apply to a range of universities and make sure to have maybe five places where you think you should surely get in. Add other universities after you have made this "safety net". Also apply by location. In my experience, geography matters a lot. Better exposure to job opportunities outside academia is essential because most of us will probably not make it to a post-doc or two.

International candidates: Your Physics GRE is probably the most important part of your application. Make sure to do well. Then you must also show them at least acceptable English proficiency - try to get at least a 160 on the verbal section and a 4.0 on the writing section. If you get these scores in the general GRE, TOEFL will take care of itself.

Also, I wish I had known about this website during my undergrad days. I found it out just last year, after I had finished my Masters. If you are reading this, make sure to share this great website with fellow students at your program wherever you are.
Last edited by abhispace on Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:59 am, edited 14 times in total.

abcd
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:41 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby abcd » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:50 am

Undergrad Institution: Top liberal arts school but not known for physics
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Math
GPA in Major: 3.5
Overall GPA: 3.6
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: average?
Type of Student: Domestic white female

GRE Scores :
Q: 166 (90%)
V: 162 (91%)
W: 4.5 (82%)
P: 630 (34%) ughh

TOEFL: N/A

Research Experience: Currently working on a year long seniors honors project, did 1 REU the summer before senior year and did 1 summer of research at another university that wasn't part of a program, just me doing research there. This is really as much research as one can hope to have coming out of my liberal arts college.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: All-Academic in my sports league but that's it..

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Grader and TA for intro physics

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Captain of varsity team, they probably don't care about this though

Special Bonus Points:

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

Applying to Where:

MIT - Rejected via email 2/12
University of Colorado Boulder - Rejected via email to check website 2/18
University of Wisconsin Madison - Rejected via website 1/30
Carnegie Mellon - Accepted via email 1/29, 30K TA stipend, Will attend!
Boston University - Accepted via email 2/1, 35K TA stipend, declined offer
Boston College - Invited to interview 1/17, Accepted via email to check website 1/28, 30K TA stipend, declined offer
Brown University - Rejected via email to check website 2/25
University of Washington - Rejected via email 3/15
Northeastern - Accepted via email to check website 4/17, declined offer
Last edited by abcd on Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:54 pm, edited 10 times in total.

ayk
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 7:53 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby ayk » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:50 pm

Undergrad Institution: International, one of the top institutions in my country (one can say that)
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s):
Overall GPA: 3.68 ( for now)
Length of Degree: 1 year(preparation school) + 6 years(undergrad.)
Position in Class: near top I think
Type of Student: International male

GRE Scores :
Q: 166 (90%)
V: 145 (27%)
W: 2.5 (7%)
P: 810 (70%)

IELTS:7.5 L:7.5 R:9.0 W:6.5 S:7.0

Research Experience:

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: High Honor Roll for two semesters

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA(undergrad. student assistant) for 2 years

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: I am 25 :?

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: first one attends college in the family

Applying to Where: Cosmology, astrophysics ... /Theoretical.

Columbia University -Astronomy PhD-----Rejected--- February 1
Uniiversity of Illinois at Chicago -Physics Master-----Rejected---February 8
Northeastern University -Physics PhD-----Rejected
City University of New York (CUNY) - Graduate Center -Physics PhD-----Rejected
New York University (NYU) -Physics PhD----Rejected---March 13
Last edited by ayk on Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

starReach
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:50 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby starReach » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:23 pm

Undergrad Institution: Big state school, good undergraduate astrophysics program
Major(s): Astronomy and Physics
GPA in Major: 3.8
Overall GPA: 3.9
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: top
Type of Student: domestic white female

GRE Scores :
Q: 158 (71%)
V: 160 (85%)
W: 4.0 (59%)
P: 560 (17%) :oops: knew I'd do bad but not THIS bad

Research Experience: 3 small astronomy research projects plus an astronomy REU and an independent project which led to a first-author paper. Conference poster

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Poster award plus a couple academic awards from school

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: One semester teaching astronomy class, lots of outreach volunteering and work

Special Bonus Points: had some solid connections to two of the schools I applied to, am generally a good writer
only two schools actually required that I send PGRE!


Applying to Where:

Caltech - Astronomy - interview Jan. 29: rejected via email
Harvard - Astronomy - Feb. 4: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via phone
University of Arizona - Astronomy - Jan. 29: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via phone
University of Hawaii - Astronomy - Jan. 23: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email Declined
University of Washington - Astronomy - interview Feb 12: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via phone
UCLA - Astronomy - Feb 15: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email Declined
Ohio State - Astronomy - interview Jan. 16: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email
Penn State - Astronomy - Jan. 25: waitlisted
UC Santa Cruz - Astronomy - interview Feb 28.: rejected via email
Arizona State - Astronomy -
University of Texas - Astronomy - interviewJan. 28: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via phone
New Mexico State - Astronomy - interview, very unofficial acceptance Declined
Last edited by starReach on Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:02 pm, edited 10 times in total.

ryanm123
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:24 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby ryanm123 » Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:38 pm

Undergrad Institution: SUNY Stony Brook
Major(s): Physics and Mathematics
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: 3.88
Overall GPA: 3.86
Length of Degree: 3.5
Position in Class: near top
Type of Student: DMW, part Native American

GRE Scores : (revised or old version?)
Q: 160 (74%)
V: 159 (83%)
W: 4.5 (82%)
P: 770 (62%) :cry:


Research Experience: At my school for 2.5 years continuously in CME and spectroscopy. One co-authored publication and two upcoming co-authored publications. No conference talks.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list every semester, expected summa cumme laude.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Physics tutor for a semester.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Strong background in community service.

Special Bonus Points: One grad course in lasers and one well-known recommender in string theory.

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

Applying to Where: All CME and Physics
MIT Feb. 12: REJECTED via email (its okay, I heard their program isnt that great anyways :shock: )
Stanford Feb. 20: REJECTED via email
Cal Tech REJECTED via email
Harvard REJECTED via email
Berkley Feb. 15: REJECTED via email
Santa Barbara REJECTED via email
Yale Feb. 13: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $35,250 TA + $1k bonus Will attend
Boulder Jan. 29: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + TA stipend + $3k fellowship( more details to come)
Maryland Feb. 14: REJECTED via email (Happy Valentine's Day)
Johns Hopkins WAITLISTED but declined via email
UCLA Jan. 25: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email (more details to come)
San Diego REJECTED via email
Boston U Feb. 11: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $23,340 TA + $11,670 summer + $1,000 bonus
University of Virginia Jan. 25: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $35,600 Stipend (no TA)
Duke Jan.18: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $31,800 Stipend TA
Georgia Tech Feb. 11: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $32,552 TA stipend

This process was very hard. I was flipping coins and I haven't slept in a month. Here is my advice for future prospective graduate students.

The graduate school rankings are important to some degree. If you want to stay in academia then going to Harvard, Berkeley and Stanford are a must if you are accepted. If you get into them the school names speak for themselves. Just look at where faculty are from on department websites. Outside of the top five or six schools the rankings are kinda BS. Certain schools will specialize in certain fields and the specific department you are interested in may be very strong but not highly ranked. What is important is the specific professor and that you like the work they do.

If you don't know where to begin when applying to schools, then look go down the list of rankings but look at each department's webpage. Go to each school and count how many groups do the work you are interested in. Check their quality by looking at publications and see what you are interested in. There is no good into getting into a top 20 school (whatever that biased ranking means) but then finding out that they don't have what you are looking for. This is what happened to me at UCLA. I loved the location and I wanted to be in California but there were only three experimental condensed matter groups even though it is ranked as a top 20 school.

I chose Yale because it had experimental condensed matter groups which also did theory. This is what I am looking for. I am not thrilled about New Haven, CT. I still don't feel happy about my decision because California has always been my dream, but I had to sacrifice the location for the physics. Maybe you'll see me on this forum in another year if I don't like it. But lets hope that everything goes well. I chose the school for the ivy name as well.

Overall, I never wish this process on my worst enemy. I am lucky that I had choices, but the process was still very hard. There's also pseudo randomness in the acceptances. I can't see how I got into some schools over others. I'll give a quick summary of the schools I visited if anyone else is looking for opinions on which schools to apply to in the future.

Yale - good quantum computing and I really like the applied physics program.
CU Boulder - an AMO dream of endless labs, Nobel laureates, and NIST and JILA are right on campus.
UCLA - good plasma and HEP.
Georgia Tech - Truthfully, I wasn't impressed. But astronomy seems cool here.
Duke - good meta material condensed matter research. I didn't go to the open house so I can't say much, just visited on another day.
Last edited by ryanm123 on Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:29 pm, edited 21 times in total.

mrh
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:29 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby mrh » Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:54 pm

Undergrad Institution: liberal arts, small physics department
Major(s): Biological Physics
Minor(s): Bioinformatics
GPA in Major: 3.56
Overall GPA: 3.46
Length of Degree: 5 years with first two at a community college
Position in Class: above average
Type of Student: Domestic male

Graduate Institution: liberal arts, same as undergrad
Major(s): MS in Physics
GPA in Major: 3.90

GRE Scores :
Q: 155, 58%
V: 158, 80%
W: 4, 59%
P: 700, 49%

Research Experience: 3 years at my home institution doing cellular biophysics. 1 publication in prep, 5 posters, 2 talks, Master's thesis in progress

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Handful of various departmental scholarships for physics GPA, dean's list

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 2 years as a graduate teaching assistant in physics. Graded/proctored exams. Twice weekly physics tutor in the department

Special Bonus Points: Have a strong record of performance in graduate physics coursework, significant research experience in my intended field (biophysics)

Applying to Where: All Ph.D. programs

Northwestern - Physics - Experimental Biophysics
U of Arizona - Physics - Experimental Biophysics
Georgetown - Physics - Experimental Biophysics
Virginia Tech - Physics - Experimental Biophysics Feb. 1: ACCEPTED via email from physics department, ~$19,000/yr TA
U of Washington - Physics - Experimental Biophysics
Case Western - Structural Biology and Biophysics - Experimental Biophysics Invited to interview on Jan. 18 Feb. 22: ACCEPTED via email from graduate school, funding info to come
George Washington U - Physics - Experimental Biophysics Feb. 12: ACCEPTED via email from graduate school, funding info to come
Notre Dame - Physics - Experimental Biophysics Feb. 7: ACCEPTED via email from physics department, ~$23,000/yr TA :D :shock: :D
U of Maine - Physics - Experimental Biophysics Feb. 6: ACCEPTED via email from physics department, ~$21,000/yr TA

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 mrh on Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:18 pm, edited 7 times in total.

XO
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:31 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby XO » Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:54 pm

Undergrad Institution: Medium liberal arts school, no physics reputation
Major(s):Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.97
Overall GPA: 3.97
Length of Degree: 3.5 (but since high school, 5.5)
Position in Class: no idea
Type of Student: Domestic female

GRE Scores :
Q: 161 (77%) (disappointed in this, averaged ~90% in 4 practice exams)
V: 161 (88%)
W: 5 (92%)
P: 740 (57%) :)


TOEFL: N/A


Research Experience: 3 years of research experience in a materials science lab (not through my school). I was full time during the summer and part time during the semesters. Resulted in one 1st author paper (low impact journal, but it was highlighted for that issue) and 2 Nth author papers. Poster presentations at 6 local conferences and 2 large international ones. Coauthor on 12 other presentations.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Graduated Summa cum laude, dean's list all semesters, sigma pi sigma, won best poster a couple of times at local conferences, my article was chosen and highlighted in a journal.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Other than my research job, I was a chemistry and physics TA for three semesters

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I studied abroad twice?

Special Bonus Points:Nope

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I took an independent study in the area I was interested in (medical physics), and shadowed a medical physicist. Was able to talk about both in my personal statements. Also, I had a two year gap four years ago during which I completely withdrew from two semesters.

Hopefully this adds to the medical physics representation on this site :D

Applying to Where:

UWMadison - medical physics PhD -Jan 15: Invited to interview //Accepted with full support, $28,000 stipend // Declined
UChicago - medical physics PhD- Jan 17: Invited to interview//Accepted with full support, ~$32,000 stipend--WILL ACCEPT!! :D
UFlorida - medical physics MS -Accepted 2/5 // Declined
UTexas San Antonio - medical physics DMP - Interview // Declined
UPenn - medical physics MS Invited to interview 2/23 // Declined
Wayne State University - medical physics PhD Jan 17: Invited to interview// Accepted // Declined
Louisiana State University - medical physics PhD -Invited to interview// Accepted with full support, $26,000 stipend // Declined
UCincinnati - medical physics DMP
Cleveland State University - medical physics MS -Accepted 2/3 // Declined
UMass Lowell - medical physics PhD//Invited to interview// Declined
University of Kentucky - medical physics MS - Invited to interview // Declined
Last edited by XO on Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.

melrows
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:40 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby melrows » Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:02 pm

Undergrad Institution: Big state school, top 50 in the US in physics
Major(s): Physics, Astronomy
Minor(s): Planetary Science
GPA in Major: 3.75 Physics, 3.84 Astronomy
Overall GPA: 3.87
Length of Degree: 4 year
Position in Class: near top
Type of Student: domestic white female, postbac

GRE Scores : revised
Q: 163 (82%)
V: 163 (92%)
W: 5.0 (93%)
P: 690 (47%) :/

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

Research Experience: 1 year in astronomy but not my desired subfield for grad school, done at my university including full time over the summer. Presented at AAS, 2 papers in progress but not first author. Have 4.5 years full or almost full time experience in social science research/data analysis from previous degree and career

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Several academic and leadership awards and scholarships during my first degree at a different university, 1 academic scholarship/award at current university

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: math tutor, officer in women's astronomy outreach group, worked full time in social science research my first 2 years at current university, and part time since then

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Prior degree in psychology and family science, prior nonrelated research, student athlete/all american

Special Bonus Points: 2 letter writers had connections at 2 places I applied to, female in astronomy

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

Applying to Where: All astronomy departments with exoplanets as a focus

Ohio State 1/3: interview via skype. Jan 16: ACCEPTED via email submitted for fellowship consideration
Michigan REJECTED via email 2/7.
University of Colorado Boulder ACCEPTED via email to check website 2/1 Very surprised at this! :D
University of Texas Austin interview via skype 1/22, ACCEPTED via phone call 1/28
Columbia University interview via skype 1/21 REJECTED via email to check website 2/1. Upset, but grateful to at least get an interview.
University of Florida Withdrew my application due to offers from schools higher on my list.
Penn State ACCEPTED via email 1/26, $29,500/ year TA/summer research stipend, submitted for fellowship consideration
University of California Santa Cruz REJECTED via email 2/28
Arizona State Withdrew application due to offers from schools higher on my list
Vanderbilt () - I'm assuming rejected because someone on gradcafe emailed admissions and they said that Astrophysics had already emailed out acceptances.
University of Central Florida - Physics dept, planetary science track Withdrew my application due to offers from schools higher on my list.
Last edited by melrows on Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:35 am, edited 4 times in total.

aghostfish
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:29 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby aghostfish » Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:59 pm

Undergrad Institution: Top 10 in the UK University
Major(s):Physics (MPhys)
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major:3.85
Overall GPA:3.85
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Not a clue, not measured
Type of Student: International (UK student)

GRE Scores : Revised I think? (Did it all on a PC)
Q: 167 (91%)
V: 159 (83%)
W: 4.5 (82%)
P: 880 (81%)


TOEFL: Waived


Research Experience: Spent a year in the US as part of study abroad, during which I spent a year working on an independent research project on the cloaking of optical fibres. This work went towards an honours thesis and was also presented at a university level conference. After that I got a paid summer internship at my home institution developing a method of thermometery for low temperature experiments. This work was presented at a small national conference. At the time of application I was working on my masters project on the effect of aerogel on superfluid He-4. I have also completed a literature review on superfluids as part of my degree.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: The only official recognition I got was a certificate of excellence in undergraduate research at my study abroad institution.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: None related to physics, some basic customer facing roles in past years which I didn't mention on my application.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I had an active part as a cultural ambassador during my study abroad, however this was a very minor part of my application.

Special Bonus Points: I have taken graduate level courses as part of my masters in semiconductors, quantum transport, advanced magnetism and low temperature physics. However I didn't have any grades for these when applying. My masters supervisor and people I work with in the lab are very well known in low temperature physics (apparently it's a small circle), this should help when applying to University of Florida and Cornell. The people I work with as part of my masters project know people at Florida and Cornell personally, two of which wrote my letters of recommendation. I did contact a potential supervisor at Florida and at Cornell, both seemed very interested due to my work with superfluids, the one at Cornell especially so.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: None come to mind.

Applying to Where:

School - UNC Chapel Hill - CME (Accepted Jan. 18: for Ph.D. Accepted via website/email + $22.5k/11 month TA)
School - Cornell University - CME
School - CU Boulder- CME/AMO
School - Duke University - CME (Accepted Jan. 23: for Ph.D. Accepted via website/email + $31.8k/2 semesters TA)
School - University of Florida - CME

All of my applications were tailored to the specific university and why the work I did fits well with what they do and what I hope to do. In my limited experience, I think this is what is most likely to get you an acceptance. I have been told applying is like a lottery and that may be true. Applying and the wait was very stressful but getting that first acceptance was a huge relief. I'd be happy to answer any questions anyone has for me.
Last edited by aghostfish on Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:24 am, edited 2 times in total.

chenkers
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:26 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby chenkers » Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:37 pm

Undergrad Institution: Small Northeast Liberal Arts School (no physics rep)
Major(s):Biophysics, Philosophy
Minor(s): Mathematics
GPA in Major:3.85
Overall GPA:3.84
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Not measured
Type of Student: US

GRE Scores :
Q: 167 (91%)
V: 164 (94%)
W: 5.0 (92%)
P: 670 (43%)


Research Experience: Done different projects over three years at my home institute. One summer REU in CMT. All research was highly computational.

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

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Physics tutor for three years at my school.

Special Bonus Points: Probably none

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

Applying to Where: (all for HEP-th or Nuclear/Particle)

School - Temple- Accepted 1/19, $24,000 12 month TA
School - Penn
School - CU Boulder- Rejected 2/18
School - University of Minnesota- Rejected 1/22
School - Lehigh- Accepted 2/8, $29,340 12 month TA
School - Rennselear Polytechnical- Accepted 1/24
School - Brown
School - UIUC
School - Penn State
School - Boston University
School - Northeastern
Last edited by chenkers on Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:24 pm, edited 4 times in total.

chihiro
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:28 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby chihiro » Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:29 pm

Undergrad Institution: top brazilian university
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): -
GPA in Major: 9.1/10 (I did not have to convert to scale of 4)
Overall GPA: -
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: near top
Type of Student: International female

GRE Scores : Revised
Q:163
V:155
W: 3
P: 850

TOEFL: 100 (R: 28, L: 29 , S: 21 , W: 22 )

Research Experience: Three years of research experience at my university with an advisor on the topic Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. Plus a side project on 2D Electrodynamics that it is going to be published this month. Three presentations on national events and one international.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: I won two times a prize for the best presentation on two events I participated. And in the international one I was ranked among 3% of the best presentations presented.


Applying to Where:

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign - Physics Department - CME/Biophysics (ACCEPTED via website/email on Feb. 04) - DECLINED on Mar. 29
Brandeis University - Physics Department - CME/Biophysics (ACCEPTED via website/email on Mar. 13) - DECLINED on Mar. 29
University of Michigan - Biophysics Department - NMR (ACCEPTED via website/email on Dec. 21)
Brown University - Physics Department - CME/Biophysics (ACCEPTED via email on Jan. 15)
USC - Physics Department - CME/Biophysics (ACCEPTED via website/email on Feb. 12)
UNC - Physics Department - CME/Biophysics (ACCEPTED via website/email on Jan. 18)
Maryland, College Park - Chemical Physics Department - NMR (ACCEPTED via website/email on Feb. 08)
Ohio State University - Chemical Physics Department - NMR (ACCEPTED via website/email on Jan. 21)
Columbia - Chemical Physics Department - NMR (REJECTED via website/email on Feb. 13)
Harvard - Biophysics Department - NMR (REJECTED via website/email on Feb. 06)
Purdue University - Physics Department - CME/Biophysics (REJECTED via website/email on Mar. 25)
Last edited by chihiro on Fri Mar 29, 2019 1:17 pm, edited 7 times in total.

ramreddy96
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:30 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby ramreddy96 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:39 am

Undergrad Institution: A Top Indian University
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Math for computing
GPA in Major: Physics: 9.13/10
Overall GPA: 8.88/10
Length of Degree: 5 years
Position in Class: near top
Type of Student: foreign

GRE Scores :
Q: 169
V: 161
W: 4.0
P: 910

Research Experience: Two projects in HEP Phenomenology. working on HEP theory/pheno project for masters thesis

Special Bonus Points: Good recommendation letters

Applying to Where: (All HEP Theory and Pheno)

University of Michigan -Rejected via website
University of Rochester -Accepted via Email 2/14 TA 22.5k/9 months + RA
University of Texas at Austin -Accepted via Email 3/25 TA/RA USD 28k, WILL ATTEND
University of Colorado at Boulder -Rejected via website
University of Minnesota -Rejected via website 1/23
Ohio State University
University of Florida -Accepted via Email 2/11 TA/RA USD 25k
Northwestern University -Rejected via Email
Last edited by ramreddy96 on Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:53 am, edited 4 times in total.

chris314
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:44 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby chris314 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:15 pm

Undergrad Institution: Big liberal arts college in state, not well known for physics, does not offer a PhD
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.2
Overall GPA: 3.2
Length of Degree: 6 BS / 3 MS (went to school part time)
Position in Class: Average
Type of Student: Domestic hispanic male

GRE Scores :
Q: 158 (80%)
V: 159 (73%)
W: 4.0 (60%)
P: 610 (31%)




Research Experience: 5 month NASA internship with dark matter, summer with the Navy resulted in 2nd author publication on microwave absorbing materials, 1 year graduate level research at my university with collaboration at UC Berkeley and experiments performed at LBNL, 1 summer of graduate level research at another university right before application

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's List for GPA twice

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Tutor

Special Bonus Points: 3.6 GPA for last 4 semesters of graduate program

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I doubt it, but I am from California which is why I applied to most UC's

Applying to Where:

Auburn University - CME (Mar. 18: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $24,270/year TA + $500 signing bonus)
CUNY Graduate Center - CME
Florida International University - CME
Florida State University - CME Apr 1: Waitlisted
Michigan Technological University - CME (Mar. 9: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email)
Oregon State University - CME (Mar 11: Rejected via email)
Portland State University - CME (Mar 24: Rejected via email)
Temple University - CME
University of California Irvine - CME (Jan. 30: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $7k/quarter TA + guaranteed housing)
University of California Los Angeles - CME (Mar 26: Rejected via email)
University of California Merced - CME (Jan. 31: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $28k/year TA)
University of California Riverside - CME (Mar 28: Rejected via email)
University of California San Diego - CME (Mar 13: Rejected via email)
University of California Santa Cruz - CME (Feb 28: Rejected via email)
University of New Mexico - CME (Feb. 22: ACCEPTED for Ph.D in Optical Science and Engineering (not Physics) via email + $17,136/year not including summer)
University of Oregon - CME Mar 11: Waitlisted
University of Pittsburgh - CME Mar 20: Waitlisted
West Virginia University - CME (Mar. 4: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $24.5k/year TA )
Last edited by chris314 on Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:06 am, edited 13 times in total.

alxcbrn
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:14 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby alxcbrn » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:58 am

Undergrad Institution: Mid-size private school, "Hidden Gem" Physics reputation (BONUS: Paul Dirac taught here :D )
Major(s): Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics
Minor(s): N/A ( I almost did Math, but was one course short )
GPA in Major: 4.00
Overall GPA: 4.00
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class:Not known but probably near the top
Type of Student: Domestic male; sort of a minority but did not stress on application

GRE Scores : revised version
Q: 168 (94%)
V: 163 (93%)
W: 6.0 (99%) :o Surprise!
P: 780 (62%) :mrgreen: That's what happens when you are "Applied" Physics vs. just Physics


Research Experience: Research all performed at my school, about 3.5 years in a Biophysics lab. No publications but in the very final stages of putting out a first author publication to a pretty good journal. Project was almost entirely independent of my P.I. , which was apparently stressed in my letter of recommendation. Gave lots of conference talks (and a few poster presentations), including one in Iceland my Junior year :D

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Summa Cum Laude, President of the Astronomy Club, a few "somethings list" here and there but I haven't really kept track. I have one hell of a senior design project for my Mechanical Engineering degree.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: I was a TA for one engineering class, but I did not mention this on any of my applications.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I had a senior design project which was completely focused on ice core drilling, which is sort of related to the field of study I applied for (Geophysics). Wherever the document "Supplemental Materials" was asked for in my applications; I put my final report for this course in that section.

Special Bonus Points: No real bonus points; I e-mailed professors I was interested in working with ahead of time and tried to take the hardest possible physics and engineering courses (and as many graduate courses) as I could while I was at my University. I got one hell of a recommendation letter from my advisor in my research lab

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: So I applied for two completely different types of programs: Geophysics and Medical Physics. This might sound like a bad idea from the onset (like spreading myself a bit too thin), but actually I do really have a passion for both of these fields and have some level of background in either subject. I made two separate personal statements to this end: and revised both statements so extensively that by the end (when the applications were ready to be submitted), I had a pretty good understanding of what I wanted to do in graduate school in either field, with good detail. I also sort of followed the philosophy of "if I apply to more schools, I'm more likely to get in", rather than " if I apply to a few schools and spend more time making good applications, I'm more likely to get in ".

Applying to Where:

CalTech - Geophysics (Jan. 22: Accepted for Ph.D. Accepted via email + $35k Fellowship, 3/7 WILL ATTEND 4/19 UPDATE: Will defer for a year to pursue Master's at Oxford University
Stanford -Geophysics - Glaciology (Jan 14: Invited to attend interview on Campus)REJECTED (March 3rd) :roll:
UCLA - Physics and Biology in Medicine - Radiation Therapy (Jan 15: Invited to attend interview on Campus), WITHDRAWN, WILL NOT ATTEND
University of Miami - Medical Physics (Jan. 30: Accepted for PhD. Had to check website + 2 Year Fellowship (29k per year) plus A number of smaller stipends), WILL NOT ATTEND
Oxford University -Radiation Biology - (Jan 21: Invited to attend interview)UPDATE: Interview went quite well ... (Feb. 8: Accepted for MSc. Accepted via email +£14,777 stipend + £7500 home and EU fees), Update: Funding withdrawn?!?!?! Okay, well, not going here... :roll: 4/19 UPDATE: Funding was re-given; but via a different source. The Frost Scholarship--> Full Fee coverage and £15,000 Stipend. Because this is a 1 year Master's, I will defer Caltech for a year to pursue degree at Oxford WILL ATTEND
National University of Ireland Galway - Medical Physics - Radiation Therapy(Jan 18: Invited to attend interview) UPDATE: Interview went quite well ...(Jan. 30: Accepted for MSc. Accepted via email WILL NOT ATTEND)
Berkeley - Geophysics REJECTED March 21
RPI -Physics -(Jan. 22: Accepted for Ph.D. Accepted via email, Awaiting further Funding Information), WILL NOT ATTEND
Lund University - Physics (Apr. 4: Accepted for Ph.D. Accepted via email, Awaiting further Funding Information), WILL NOT ATTEND
University of Copenhagen - Medical Physics (Mar 27: Accepted for MSc. Accepted via email, Tuition Waiver + $13200 per year stipend ), WILL NOT ATTEND
University of British Columbia, Okanagen - Medical Physics REJECTED May 3rd (Finally...) :roll:
University of Victoria - Medical Physics (Mar 5: Invited to attend interview on Campus), Declined Interview
McGill University - Medical Physics (Jan. 22: Accepted for MSc. Accepted via email, Awaiting further Funding Information), WILL NOT ATTEND
Harvard -Geophysics REJECTED February 22 :roll:
Princeton -Geophysics- (Jan 23: Invited to attend "Quick Chat" with professor in the department) (Feb. 8: Accepted for Ph.D. Accepted via email, 29K Stipend+6k First two-year bonus+ 8k summer fellowship),
University of Wisconsin -Atmospheric Sciences (Jan. 22: Accepted for Ph.D. Accepted via email, Awaiting further Funding Information), WILL NOT ATTEND

Overall thoughts?:

4/1

The application process to graduate school was a very long and, sometimes, very tiresome process. In total I probably dedicated about $1500 and many, many hours of my time filling out applications, editing essays, studying for the GRE, flying all over the country, and finally, thinking about my final decision. In all, the offer from Caltech seemed to make the most financial and logistical sense, plus, Its hard for me to get past the 'cool' factor of Caltech and the fact that JPL is right across the corner. In all, I would say all that work was well worth it, but I hope I won't have to do it again for a while.


UPDATE 4/22

Huge turnaround at the last minute with the Oxford notification. Turns out I'll be attending two universities in two completely different subjects after all!

Good luck to everyone else starting their PhD this fall! :D

By the way, if you'd like to see my new research webpage, check it out here:
https://icephysics.com/
Last edited by alxcbrn on Fri May 03, 2019 9:21 pm, edited 15 times in total.

a08599505
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:33 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby a08599505 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:08 am

Undergrad Institution: Big State university, not particularly renowned for Physics
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): -
GPA in Major: 4.2/4.3
Overall GPA: 4.2/4.3
Position in Class: near top
Type of Student: female, international

GRE Scores :
Q: 166 (90%)
V: 165 (96%)
W: 5
P: 840 (75%)


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


Research Experience: 2 summers at school (one in experimental HEP, another in CME), DAAD-Rise fellow (quantum optics), 8 months in HEP theory

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: three scolarships/awards of excellence within school, multiple student research awards, Dean's list, two awards for best talk/poster presentation

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA experience in four different physics undergraduate courses, research experience in other fields (sociology and medical research), decent amount of volunteering work (student asociation, homework help in elementary schools...)


Special Bonus Points: decent bagage and experience in machine learning, very good letters from people who know faculty in many of the places where I applied.

Applying to Where:

UBC - Physics - HEP theory or exp. (Jan. 11: ACCEPTED for MSc via email) WILL NOT ATTEND
Queen's - Physics - Particle Astrophysics theory or exp. (Jan. 16: ACCEPTED for MSc via email) WILL NOT ATTEND

Harvard - Physics - HEP exp. (Feb. 14: ACCEPTED for Phd via email, Purcell basic fellowship (31000$), open house April 1-2)
MIT - Physics - HEP exp. (Feb. 12: ACCEPTED for Phd via email, unofficial)
UC Berkeley - Physics - HEP exp. or theory (Feb. 13: ACCEPTED for Phd via email, 36000$ stipend, open house March 14-15)
U Chicago - Physics - HEP exp. or theory (Feb. 7: ACCEPTED for Phd via email, 34000$ stipend, open house March 1st)
Stanford - Physics - HEP exp. or theory (Feb. 20: ACCEPTED for Phd via email, open house March 12-13)
Princeton - Physics - HEP exp. or theory (Feb. 12: REJECTED)

Durham - Physics - MSc theoretical Physics
Edinburgh - Physics - MSc theoretical Physics (Mar. 6: ACCEPTED via email to check portal)
King's - Physics - MSc Physics WITHDRAWN
Perimeter - Physics - PSI (Feb. 23 - Interview) WITHDRAWN
University of Zurich - Physics - HEP MSc WITHDRAWN

A few thoughts:

0) I did not mention this in my applications, but I almost dropped out of my degree because of mental health issues. I'm better now, but it made me lose my momentum. I used to have huge plans and ambition and ended up having no confidence in my chances of making it in grad school. 6 months ago, I didn't even want to apply to US universities because I thought it would be useless, but one of my supervisors pushed me. Ended up rushing the PGRE, GRE and TOEFL back to back, the same week as my mid-terms, at the last minute and without studying. I still have a hard time believing how positive the outcome was. Moral of the story: No matter what people say around you or online, no matter what that annoying, judgy, voice in your head tells you, go all-in. You have nothing to loose.

1) People told me that applying to Stanford and. al with a 840 PGRE was useless. Rubbish.

2) People told me that taking an extra year to complete my degree would ruin my chances. Double Rubbish. It allowed me to get extra research exp., to have all of my grades in my transcript in time for applications, to take some time to take care of myself and even to squeeze in a little extra volunteering work, all of which I believe helped my case.

3) I believe the most important part of your application are your recommendation letters. I was told by multiple people that this was the most impressive part of my application. All three of my letters were from people with whom I worked closely and on a daily basis, and who knew me very well. A recommendation letter from someone who can vouch for the quality of your research work is worth infinitely more than a letter from a renowned person who doesn't know you very well.

4) Personnalize your application to the uni you are applying to. Mention specific names of researchers whose work you find interesting and link their research interests to your skills, even if you have not contacted them before applying. Explain why you applied to that specific program: relate the dept. to a personnal story, like a talk given by a faculty which you attended or someone you know who studied there. If it sounds like the dpt you are applying to is just another one on your list, you will be just another average applicant on theirs.

5) Have a coherent story. Even if you don't really know what you want to do for your graduate studies, make it sound like you know where you are headed and like you have a plan. Most unis will require a researcher or a member of the selection commitee to vouch for you in order to make it in. If it seems like you are unsure about your future field, you become a risky investment. In most places, it is pretty easy to change direction once you are in.

6) If you are applying in exp. physics, people with skills in ML/AI are actively sought after. A graduate or online ML course is a good investment.
Last edited by a08599505 on Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:54 pm, edited 10 times in total.

oobydooby
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:01 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby oobydooby » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:23 pm

Undergrad Institution: Big state school, not particularly known for physics
Major(s): Physics, Astronomy
Minor(s): Philosophy
GPA in Major: 3.90
Overall GPA: 3.76
Length of Degree: 4 yrs
Position in Class: unsure
Type of Student: Domestic white male

GRE Scores :
Q: 160, 74% :( can't do middle school math
V: 166, 97%
W: 4.0, 59%
P: 740, 57% hopefully this doesn't hurt too much at astronomy programs requiring it (only half)


TOEFL: n/a


Research Experience: 5 semesters of research at my school, 1 REU at national observatory, 3 presentations, 1 poster at AAS, one 1st or 2nd author paper (in prep :( )

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Typical school scholarships, one departmental scholarship, one research grant award from university, honors program

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Currently working as undergrad TA for the 6th time

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: black belt

Special Bonus Points: Have good connection at one of ivy league schools. 2 of my letters should be strong.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: My overall GPA is lower because I got Bs in all math classes freshman year, but I had a chronic illness at that time which I mentioned. Hopefully this won't hurt at astronomy programs, although I did get As in upper level math courses.

Applying to Where: All for astronomy with focus in extragalactic astronomy, particularly galaxy evolution

Yale Rejected via website 1/31
Dartmouth 2/18: ACCEPTED for PhD via email. 30k stipend + health insurance. I'm thrilled!
Columbia Rejected via website 2/1
UCLA
Washington - Seattle Rejected via email 2/1
Cornell Rejected via email 2/21
Boulder Rejected via website 2/4
Wisconsin
Virginia Waitlisted 2/12
Texas Rejected via email 2/14
Michigan Rejected via email 2/7
UCSD
Tufts Invited to interview 2/14
Leiden 2/18: ACCEPTED for MS via Email. No $$ though
Last edited by oobydooby on Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:01 pm, edited 15 times in total.

peter3721
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:00 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby peter3721 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:21 am

Undergrad Institution: Top 10 public school in the U.S., top 20 in physics
Major(s): Physics & Mathematics
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.9/4.0
Overall GPA: 3.8/4.0
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: near top
Type of Student: international male

GRE Scores : revised
Q: 168, 94%
V: 150, 47% :(
W: 3.5, 41%
P: 840, 75%


TOEFL: N/A


Research Experience: Experimental - AMO (1 semesters + 1 summer,) CM (summer REU), theoretical - applied math/mathematical modeling (1 semester + 1 summer). 1 poster at a medium size AMO conference.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Typical school honors

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Math & Physics Tutor

Special Bonus Points: Letters are from professors whom I did research with and know me well

Applying to Where: mostly experimental AMO

Harvard - eAMO (Feb. 26: Rejected via email to check website)
Yale - eAMO (Feb. 14: Rejected via email to check website)
Berkeley - eAMO (Feb. 15: Rejected via email to check website)
UCLA - eAMO/eCM
CU-Boulder- eAMO (Feb. 19: Rejected via email to check website)
UMD- eAMO (Feb. 14: Rejected via email to check website)
UPenn- eCM
UChicago - IME - eAMO/QI (Jan. 23: Rejected via email to check website)
Duke- eAMO/eCM (Feb. 25: Rejected via email to check website)
Cornell- eCM (Feb. 21: Rejected via email to check website)
Michigan-Ann Arbor- eAMO (Feb. 7: Rejected via email to check website)
Northwestern- eAMO
Purdue- eAMO
Rice- eAMO - Waitlisted Mar. 28
Georgia Tech- eAMO (Feb. 26: Rejected via email to check website)
Illinois- eAMO
Oxford- Atomic and Laser Physics DPhil -(Feb. 15: invited to interview)- Accepted, Mar 19
Last edited by peter3721 on Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:58 pm, edited 12 times in total.

kot95
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:53 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby kot95 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:38 pm

Undergrad Institution: State Uni
Master Institution: International
Major(s): Physics (Astrophysics) BS, Astronomy MS
Overall GPA: 3.3 BS, ~B+/A- MS (different scaling)
Length of Degree: 4 BS, 2 MS
Type of Student: Minority male

GRE Scores :
Q: 154 (55%)
V: 154 (64%)
W: 3.0(17%)

Research Experience:
1 year research on galaxies
3 months research on AGN
summer REU
1 year research project on Exoplanet detection
~4 months research project on Milky Way structure

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
Grader for lower division courses
Paid research position

Special Bonus Points:
Letter writers are all very well known in the field
Two papers to be published in coming months
Tons of observing time/experience

Applying to Where:
Astronomy programs

Texas A&M- Astronomy- (Feb. 11: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $2k Fellowship + $2k/month TA)
New Mexico State-Astronomy-Feb 8: Interview request (Feb. 18: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $7.5k Fellowship + $23k TA/RA)
University of Florida-Astronomy Mar 11 ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $12k Fellowship + $14k TA) WILL ATTEND!
Arizona State University-Astrophysics Application Withdrawn
Cal Tech-Astrophysics-Jan 30: Rejected via email
Georgia State University-Astronomy-Feb 9: Interview request (Feb. 27: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $21k/12 month TA)
Last edited by kot95 on Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:23 am, edited 17 times in total.

nazek01
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 5:16 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby nazek01 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:10 pm

Undergrad Institution: Large state school, no physics reputation
Major(s): Physics & Astrophysics
Minor(s): Computer Science & Math
GPA in Major: 4.0/4.0
Overall GPA: 3.96/4.0
Length of Degree: 4 yrs
Position in Class: near top
Type of Student: Domestic white male

GRE Scores : Took each once in 2018
Q: 170 (96%)
V: 164 (94%)
W: 4 (59%)
P: 860 (78%)

TOEFL: N/A

Research Experience: REU 1 summer (10 weeks) in particle physics at National Lab. No publications. Three poster presentations.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: My school - 4 yr full ride honors college fellowship, physics dept awards x 2, several honors college awards.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Physics & Astronomy dept tutor x 3 yrs. Calc-based TA x 1 semester. SPS chapter president x 1 yr. SPS chapter treasurer x 1 yr. National SPS AZC x 1 yr. Honor society (PKP) student VP x 2 yrs. Astronomy club VP & certified in telescope/observatory training program.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: My age is 17 (help or hindrance?)

Special Bonus Points: 1 computational science grad class (no graduate physics at my school)

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Took every elective my dept offers. No connections, no publications, no communication with researchers at grad programs.

Applying to Where: Several ultra-reach schools. All theoretical physics - mostly computational, HEP, or condensed matter

University of Toronto - (Mar. 1: REJECTED via email to check website)
Perimeter Institute (PSI) - (Apr. 16: REJECTED via email)
University of Waterloo -
Princeton - (Feb. 12: REJECTED via email, as expected)
Cornell - (Feb. 19: REJECTED via email)
Ohio State - (Mar. 19: REJECTED via email)
Northeastern - (Feb. 1: ACCEPTED for PhD via email/website + $24k/9 month TA, open house Mar 16) First response is an acceptance! WILL ATTEND
University of Washington - (Mar. 15: REJECTED via email)
UIUC - (Mar. 21: REJECTED via email)
Virginia Tech - (Feb. 13: ACCEPTED via email, $1820/mo for 9 mo TA, later upgraded to RA w increased stipend) DIFFICULT TO DECLINE BUT WILL NOT ATTEND
University of Alaska, Fairbanks - (Feb. 6: ACCEPTED for MS via email + $20k/9 month TA) WILL NOT ATTEND
University of South Dakota - (Feb. 13: ACCEPTED for PhD via email + $2500/mo for 9 month TA) WILL NOT ATTEND
Last edited by nazek01 on Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:15 am, edited 13 times in total.

eyeRenai
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:50 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby eyeRenai » Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:22 pm

Undergrad Institution: Big State school in US, top 20.
Major(s): Astronomy, Physics
Minor(s): Mathematics
GPA in Major: 4.0 in Astronomy, >3.9 in Physics
Overall GPA: 3.941
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: top 5%
Type of Student: domestic Indian male

GRE Scores :
Q: 168
V: 160
W: 4/6
P: Taken twice in fall 2018. First received 790, then 860.

TOEFL: Didn't take

Research Experience:
I did 2 years of research in one lab, working on radio based, ultra-high energy neutrino detectors. First year was on hardware, involving soldering, machining, cable-making, and integration to prepare the stations for deployment in Antarctica. The second year, I worked on applying genetic algorithms to evolve ideal antennas for these detectors. I first evolved gain and phase patterns using thirteen spherical harmonic coefficients. Now, I work with others to evolve the physical antenna parameters using antenna and in-ice neutrino simulations. Got one biology publication from my heavy biology research the summer after freshman year, and one physics paper in hardware. Over the past summer, I got paid to to work with three other students to bring a machine learning class to our department, and there I learned a lot about writing CNNs, AEs, VAE,s as well as many ML techniques. Attended TeVPa and APS, and plan to present our group's efforts at APS April in Denver this semester.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
Always in honors program and on dean's list.
Won a decent number of departmental scholarships and one college scholarship to pursue research over summers.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)
Tutored Differential Equations for one semester.
Joined SPS, but I never attend these days!

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
None really.

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)
My research mentor and I know a professor who might end up working in one of the top 5 universities on my list, and could MAYBE bring me to her research group. Otherwise, being an Indian male doesn't exactly bring bonus points in physics!

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
I did work on a number of workshops that brought women highschool students to our department every day for a week and taught them physics.

Applying to Where:
Every place I am applying to will be for Computational Astro, or for Experimental Astro. Also 16 Schools in total :oops:

Princeton - Physics (Feb 7. ACCEPTED for Ph.D in Physics via email :D, $29.9k/9 month + $6.8k guaranteed summer research )
Harvard - Physics
Stanford - Physics
UW Madison - Physics (Jan 25. ACCEPTED for Ph.D in Physics via email, $23k/9 month + 5k signing TA position)
Cornell - Physics (Feb 12. ACCEPTED for Ph.D in Physics via email, $29,681/9 month TA + possible ~$6k summer)
U Washington - Physics
U Penn - Physics
Penn State - Physics
Ohio State - Physics
U C Berkeley - Physics (Feb 15. REJECTED for Ph.D in Physics via email update on application that showed me the letter after logging in)
U C Santa Barbara - Physics (Week of Jan 15, two INTERVIEWS with both professors I mentioned in my essay)
Caltech - Physics
U Texas, Austin - Astronomy
MIT - Physics (Feb 12. REJECTED for Ph.D in Physics via email)
U Maryland - Physics (Feb 13. ACCEPTED for Ph.D in Physics via email, $25,077.45/9 month (undecided TA or RA) + $10k Dean's Fellowship over first two years
U Chicago - Physics (Feb 7. REJECTED for Ph.D in Physics via email update on application that showed me the letter after logging in)
Last edited by eyeRenai on Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:00 pm, edited 8 times in total.

ChunnyD
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:50 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby ChunnyD » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:13 pm

Undergrad Institution: Ivy League school, Good applied physics program
Major(s): Physics (Intensive)
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: 3.86
Overall GPA: 3.84
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Not considered at the university
Type of Student: Domestic male Chinese

GRE Scores : GRE in February 2018, pGRE in September 2018
Q: 169/96%
V: 167/98%
W: 6/99%
P: 830/73%

Research Experience: Three summers of research experience.
Freshman year: Astrophysics data analysis, using supervised machine learning and regression analysis for the classification of satellite galaxies. Submitted Github page along with application. At our school.
Sophomore year: Participated in cold atom experiments, being part of a professors first year at our university. Set up optics experiments, designed an objective lens, conducted electrical wiring and safety device implementation, as well as machining and data collection for the creation of a MOT.
Junior year: Working in superconducting quantum computing, with three subprojects: On a quantum annealing potential analysis, on a multipolar modular cavity attenuator, and on a shot noise source.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 3rd place at school's research competition; awarded several fellowships for summer research, awarded traveler grant to SPS PhysCon

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Planetarium host at school planetarium, worked as TA/RA for astrophysics summer program, was SPS officer, was editor of school's scientific magazine, was design aide at school's maker center, worked as tutor for intro physics course.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Attended USEQIP 2018; I'm a friendly person!

Special Bonus Points: Taken a number of classes specialized in quantum computing, and a few grad classes (solid state, noise and amplification, microwave engineering). Recommender is well known in the field, as many of the professor's labs who I am applying for were formerly postdocs in this lab.

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

Applying to Where:

UChicago - Physics - SCQC- (Feb 7: ACCEPTED - 25.5k/9 month + 8.5k summer + insurance)
Princeton - Electrical Engineering - SCQC (Jan 21: Skype Interview) (Feb 8: ACCEPTED - First Year Fellowship - 29.9k/9 months + 8k summer)
UC Berkeley - Physics - SCQC (Feb 15: REJECTED)
UWisconsin - Madison - Physics - SCQC (Jan 25: ACCEPTED - 22k/9 month + 5k signing)
MIT - Physics (Feb 12: REJECTED) (why do they always reject me for everything i've applied for :C )
Harvard - Physics (Feb 25: REJECTED)
UMaryland - Physics (Feb 13: ACCEPTED - Full Financial Support + 2.5k Dean's Scholarship)
UColorado - Boulder - Physics (Feb 18: REJECTED)
UTexas - Austin - Physics
UC - Santa Barbara - Physics (Feb 26: REJECTED)
Last edited by ChunnyD on Tue Feb 26, 2019 3:12 pm, edited 12 times in total.

the_entangled_one
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:16 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby the_entangled_one » Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:39 am

Undergrad Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
Major(s): Physics / Computational Mathematics
Minor(s): NA
GPA in Major: 3.90 combined (higher in Physics than Math by a little)
Overall GPA: 3.90
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Top
Type of Student: Domestic White Male

GRE Scores : (revised or old version?)
Q: 163
V: 168
W: 4.0
P: 690 (Low Physics GRE Scores are NOT the end of the world! There is still hope! Good letters of rec, good research experience, and publications are the key! :D :D :D )


Research Experience: Research in the fields of planetary astronomy (1 last author publication), stellar astronomy(1 second author publication), biophysics/mathematics(1 1st author publication and 1 poster presentation), bioengineering (payed internship for 2 years), and condensed matter physics. Have been involved in this research since Freshman year.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
Regent Scholarship (Highest academic award in UC System)
Dean's Honors (every quarter)
Undergraduate Research Award
Ronald H. Ruby Memorial Scholarship
Should graduate Magna Cum Laude

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Payed Undergraduate Researcher at the Genomics Institute

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Eagle Scout / Black Belt

Special Bonus Points: The professor I research under at UCSC knows a member of the Duke faculty well and recommended me to him personally. I got an A+ in a graduate level algorithms course. I have a letter of recommendation from 3 different researchers who are each famous in their field (one in biochemistry, one in condensed matter, and one in bioengineering)

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I was very explicit in my interest in quantum computation (except for in my application to The Rockefeller University).

Applying to Where:

Duke University - Physics - Quantum Information (Jan. 18: ACCEPTED for Ph.D. via email + $31k/year TA for 5 years)
University of California - Santa Barbara - Physics - Condensed Matter Experiment (Feb. 6: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $32k/year TA for 5 years
University of Colorado - Boulder - Physics - Quantum Information (Jan. 29 ACCEPTED for Ph.D. via email + $35k/year TA for 2 years + $3,000 fellowship for 1 year)
University of Wisconsin - Madison - Physics - Quantum Information (Jan. 25: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $25.5k/year TA for 3 years + $5,000 fellowship for 1 year)
Cambridge University - Part III Applied Mathematics - NA - (Jan. 11: ACCEPTED for MASt via email)
Oxford University - Mathematical Modeling and Scientific Computing - NA - (Jan. 16: REJECTED for Masters)
Last edited by the_entangled_one on Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:02 pm, edited 4 times in total.

hepster
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:06 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby hepster » Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:46 am

Undergrad Institution: west coast liberal arts college - reputed for its physics program
Major(s): Physics
GPA in Major: Physics and Math:[/b] 3.50 (good GPA for my school)
Overall GPA: 3.25
Length of Degree: 4 years (finished in 3, since I started as a transfer student w/ 2 yrs. in basically unknown college in home country)
Position in Class: Not sure, near the top (for physics)
Type of Student: International (South East Asian) Male

Masters Institution: Reputed European science school
Major(s): Physics(concentrating on HEP topics)
GPA in Major: NA
Length of Degree: 1.5 years
Position in Class: Not sure

GRE Scores:
Q: 156 (61%)
V: 161(88%)
W: 4.5 (82%)
P: Fall 2018: 710 (51%) (All in all, a terrible test-taker, c'est la vie! :| )

Research Experience (5+ years of research experience):
a) Long-term research project in heavy ion collisions (w/ third author publication in Phys. Rev. C) with LHC group in home-country
b) Summer project at BNL/SUNY Stony Brook in detector simulations
c) Caltech SURF and CERN Summer student
d) Undergraduate thesis (year-long) in hep-ph (w/ 1x first author publication in JHEP)
e) Semester-long MSc project in hep-ex (w/ upcoming first author paper)
f) Upcoming MSc. thesis project affiliated with a reputed LHC group at current inst.
g) 4 other recent projects (independent of academics) with hep-th/ph/ex folks in the US/Europe/CERN [leading to 1x first author publications in JHEP, 1x first author preprint pending submission, 1x third author preprint submitted to a journal, 1x upcoming first author paper for Phys. Rev.]

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Fellowship from Science Academy of home-country, prestigious research fellowship from undergrad college and further research grants from physics department, CERN&Caltech studentships, talks at conference(s) relevant to my subfield of hep

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA/RA/Grader at undergrad inst.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Not much more beyond papers+conference talks and posters

Special Bonus Points: Good research output for current career stage (which hopefully offsets terrible test-scores?), graduate level/MSc courses at reputed European science school, good letters of rec from well-known researchers including head of current inst. and past professors/research collaborators, 3 years of experience with machine learning applications for HEP with publications to back it up; also familiar with/to profs. in grad school departments applying to because of research output/conference presence/contact prior to applying

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Details of further ongoing research projects with hep theory/exp folks in my subfield, and worked for inclusivity in science classrooms in undergrad inst.

Applying to Where: (all for hep-ex PhD)

U. Chicago: Offer received ($34k per year total financial offer); received email with link to check online application system
MIT: Rejected (Feb 12) (always a reach, only a little disappointed!)
UC Berkeley:
Caltech:
U. Michigan: Rejected (Feb 12) (a little surprising since my weakness was the pGRE and they don't require it...) :?
Cornell:
ETH:
U. Zurich:
EPFL:
U. Hamburg: Offer received after interview+research talk (standard German PhD salary)
Oxford:
Imperial:
U. Amsterdam:

I'm unsure how competitive I actually am for top American schools, having previously applied and got rejected with a slightly lower pGRE score (always been a bad test-taker) and a couple less research experiences. Confident about at least getting interview calls for European schools!
Last edited by hepster on Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:02 pm, edited 5 times in total.

Good_Noodle
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:41 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby Good_Noodle » Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:21 pm

Undergrad Institution: Big state school, known for nuclear physics
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: 3.0
Overall GPA: 3.2
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Unknown
Type of Student: Domestic white female

GRE Scores :
Q: 159 (72%)
V: 156 (73%)
W: 3.0 (18%)
P: 500 (9%), 560 (18%) (Disappointing, obviously the GRE is not my strong point)


TOEFL: N/A


Research Experience: 3 years of research experience with a professor at my school in experimental HEP (my field of interest for grad school). I worked on detector upgrades at analysis for the ATLAS detector, which is a large particle detector at the Large Hadron Collider. I helped write an internal note for the detector upgrade. I did two department meeting presentations on this topic at my school. I also did a talk on this at an undergraduate conference.

Summer internship at Fermilab working on accelerator physics. I did a talk and poster presentation at the end of the internship.

Another summer internship at Argonne National Laboratory working on the Muon g-2 experiment. Did a talk at the end of the internship.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: I worked at a planetarium during my freshman/sophomore years doing computer maintenance and helping edit planetarium shows. I was a member of SPS and my school's Academic Competition club.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I'm good at programming in C++ and Python, and have experience writing my own software for physics analysis. I also know how to use ROOT.

Special Bonus Points: During the winter break of my sophomore year I got to go to CERN for two weeks to work on the ATLAS detector upgrades. I have strong letters of recommendation. I also have a slight upward trend in my GPA.

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

Applying to Where: All Experimental HEP, no particular order

Northern Illinois University Mar. 4 Accepted still no funding information :|
UCSC Feb. 28 Rejected via email
SUNY Albany Mar 1. Accepted for Physics PhD 18.9K/9mo stipend + Tuition Waiver
SUNY Stony Brook
SUNY Buffalo Feb. 25 Accepted but offered no funding-Will Not Attend
University of Victoria Feb. 4 Accepted for MSc - Possible RAship + 24K guaranteed funding
University of Oregon Mar. 12 Rejected via email
University of Minnesota - Jan. 22 Rejected via email to check status
University of Indiana
University of Washington Mar. 15 Rejected via email (expected this lol)
Wayne State University Mar. 1 Invited to interview
Last edited by Good_Noodle on Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:16 pm, edited 12 times in total.

physics101
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:18 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby physics101 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:25 am

Undergrad Institution: Liberal arts college in India
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major:
Overall GPA:8.3/10 in M.Sc :) , 7.5/10 in B.Sc :roll:
Length of Degree: 3+2 years
Position in Class: M.Sc: Top, B.Sc: around 4th
Type of Student: International (Sri Lankan) male


GRE Scores : revised
Q: 158 (68%) :?
V: 159 (83%) :D
W: 4.0 (59%) :)
P: 780 (64%) :?


TOEFL: 104 (R:27 , L:28 , S:24 , W:25 )


Research Experience: Master's project in Nanotechnology. Nothing related to the field that I am applying. :cry:

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Few scholarships and award for highest GPA in class

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Attended a couple of schools in astronomy. (IIA and TIFR in India)


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points:

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

Applying to Where:

Research Interests: Astrophysics/Cosmology/Gravitation

PhD- USA
MIchigan State University - (Feb. 22: Rejected via email)
North Carolina State University -(Jan. 23: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email - Tution & Health Insurance + $18k/9month TA + $5K during summer)
University of Rochester - (Mar. 06: Rejected via email to check website)
Dartmouth College - (Apr. 22: Rejected via email )
West Virginia University -
Montana State University - (Mar. 09: Rejected via email to check website)
Ohio University - (Feb. 20: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email - $9,801/semester TA + $5K during summer)

M.Sc-Canada

York University -
University of Victoria - (Mar. 15: Rejected via email)
University of Guelph -
Last edited by physics101 on Mon Apr 22, 2019 12:39 pm, edited 7 times in total.

jagluljoy
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:45 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby jagluljoy » Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:32 pm

Undergrad Institution: Best Engineering University in Bangladesh
Major(s): B.Sc. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Major: Electronics
Minor(s): Communication
GPA in Major: 3.74/4.00
Overall GPA: 3.74/4.00
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Near Top
Type of Student: International Asian Male

GRE Scores : (revised)
Q:170
V:153 (3 verbal sections and at the last section I lost it! :cry: )
W:6.0 :D
P:950 (percentile: 90th)


TOEFL: 113 (R: 30, L: 30, S: 23, W: 30)


Research Experience: My research experience is of 2 years and it's mainly in condensed matter. No publications.
Multi-valued logic circuit design using Memristor MOS hybrid architecture (for the period of one year), Automated multi-lane Vehicle Speed Detection System using Image Processing from feeds obtained from the Traffic surveillance camera (for the period of six months), ECG based smart identification system using digital signal processing, (for the period of six months)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list awards. National Mathematics and Physics Olympiad Medalist

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Lecturer in a private university for 8 months. Courses conducted: Engineering Electromagnetics, Solid State Physics, Semiconductor Device Theory, Computer Programming, Computer Programming Laboratory, Electrical Circuit Laboratory, Electronic Circuit Laboratory.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Strong programming skill. Essay writer and debater. An athlete in high school.

Special Bonus Points: Took courses that are relevant for developing upper-level physics basics and mentioned those particular relevant courses with different names in CV. 4 recommenders, two of whom are my advisors and all strong LORs.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Anyone with EEE or non-traditional background, mention in your CV the relevant physics courses those you took in your undergrad. You should also mention why you are interested in doing research in physics in your SOP and how being an EE graduate might supplement your higher studies.

Applying to Where:

University of Minnesota at Twin Cities - Physics - High Energy Physics (Jan. 22: Rejected via email to check website.
University of Wisconsin at Madison - Physics - High Energy Physics (Jan. 25: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $22k/9 month TA!) WILL ATTEND!
University of Rochester - Physics - High Energy Physics (Feb. 18: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $28.5k/12 month RA/TA support for 5 years!) DECLINED!
Purdue University - Physics - Condensed Matter Physics (Feb. 26: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $20.5k/9 month TA) DECLINED!
Last edited by jagluljoy on Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:36 pm, edited 5 times in total.

Bry793
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:04 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby Bry793 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:19 am

Undergrad Institution: Engineering school with a very small physics department, not much of a reputation at all in physics
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Philosophy
GPA in Major: ~3.4
Overall GPA: 3.56
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Our school doesn't calculate, but I'm probably average for physics majors as far as academics.
Type of Student: Domestic white female

GRE Scores : (revised)
Q: 162 (80%)
V: 168 (98%)
W: 5.5 (98%)
P: 590 (25%) :oops: (Didn't send to any schools that didn't absolutely REQUIRE it)


Research Experience: About 3.5 years (including summers) doing theoretical research on black holes, general relativity, hawking radiation, holography, and currently quantum gravity. My school has an undergraduate thesis requirement so I think that gives me a leg up.
1 poster presentation at a regional conference, publication in JURP expected soon but no publications yet.
Worked with the same two professors for the entire time, one of them wrote one of my recommendation letters.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Summer research fellowship awarded by my university, Dean's list, merit scholarship all 4 years

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Extensive teaching and tutoring experience in math and physics (2 years) lecturing, tutoring, reviewing, grading, etc. Also tutor privately. I've worked around 20 hours per week for my entire undergraduate education, which I noted in most applications.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 3 graduate classes (two quantum and math methods in physics)

Special Bonus Points: Grew up very impoverished and I've written about it in every personal statement/challenges question, female, first generation college student, one of my recommenders and my thesis advisor is very well-known in quantum information theory (not my field though :cry:), another recommender is the head of our physics department who I am very close to.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: undergraduate thesis, my school has 7 week classes instead of semesters.

Info that might hurt me: Didn't send my PGRE score to any schools that highly recommended it, so they might not be too happy about that.

Applying to Where: (all for Ph.D. except perimeter institute)

Required PGRE (reach):
Harvard - Physics - HET/String theory (Feb. 25: REJECTED via email to check status)
CU Boulder - Physics - Gravitation (Feb. 18: REJECTED via email to check status)
UC Santa Barbara - Physics - Gravity and Relativity (Feb. 26: REJECTED via email to check status)
University of Chicago - Physics - General Relativity (Feb. 7: REJECTED via email to check status)
Stanford - Physics - Theoretical Physics (general) (Feb. 20: REJECTED via email)
SUNY Stony Brook - Physics - HET/String theory (Apr. 9: REJECTED after emailing to check status)
Arizona State - Physics - Theoretical Cosmology, particle, and astrophysics (April 3: REJECTED after emailing to check status)
UCLA - Physics - Theoretical Elementary Particle physics (Mar. 26: REJECTED via email to check status)

Only recommended PGRE/did not require PGRE:
Perimeter Institute PSI Master's program - Physics - Quantum Gravity (April 9: REJECTED via email)
Georgia Tech - Physics - Quantum Gravity (April 9: ACCEPTED from waitlist for Ph.D. + $27k/9 month TA)
University of Michigan - Physics - Theoretical Astrophysics (Feb. 15: REJECTED via email)
UC Davis - Physics - Fields, Strings, & Gravity (Mar. 2: REJECTED via email)
Washington State - Physics - Theoretical Astrophysics (Jan. 24: ACCEPTED for Ph.D. via email + $17k/9 month RA)
Lehigh - Physics - Cosmology and String Theory {April 5: WAITLISTED, Apr. 18: ACCEPTED + $29,340/year on condition that I can not work in theory)
Tufts - Physics - Cosmology and Relativity April 8: WAITLISTED via email, Apr. 21: REJECTED
Brandeis - Physics - High Energy and Gravitational Theory Apr. 15: REJECTED
Brown - Physics - High Energy Theory (Jan. 25: REJECTED via email to check status)

UPDATE 6/28/19: what I've learned through this process is that applying for a Ph.D. program in physics is cutthroat and you can't expect a school to actually notify you of their decision at all, much less by the time they say they will. This whole process has made me question whether or not I even want to work in academia and whether or not I screwed myself over by going where I did for undergrad. As of now, I'm taking a gap year to work and study for the PGRE again and I'll be reapplying in the fall.
Last edited by Bry793 on Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:31 pm, edited 12 times in total.

WuLei24
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:59 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby WuLei24 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:49 pm

Undergrad Institution: Small liberal arts school in the midwest, little reputation in physics
Major(s): Physics (BA), Chemistry (BA), and Mathematics (BA)
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 3.98
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: Probably top 1 because there are only 3 physics majors remaining in my class...
Type of Student: International Asian male

GRE Scores : (revised)
Q: 170 (96%)
V: 162 (92%)
W: 5.0 (92%)
P: 980 (93%)


TOEFL: waived


Research Experience: Two summers (full time, at a state university) plus a semester (part time, at home institution) of AMO physics research.
Summer after sophomore year: Coherent control using a pulse shaping system, with spatial light modulator being the pulse shaper. Leads to no publication and a seminar presentation at home institution.
Summer after junior year + 1st semester of senior year: Strong-field induced bond rearrangement. Continue working on this as my senior thesis project. I am in charge of the primary data analysis. Results in a poster session at regional SPS meeting. A paper (1st author out of ~20) has just been submitted in February. A contributed talk has just been submitted to DAMOP 2019.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list, some departmental awards, Thomas D. Rossing Scholarship, math competitions such as MAA-NCS Team Competition and Putnam Exam. Will graduate summa cum laude with distinction in physics as well as departmental honors in mathematics.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Physics and math tutor, physics and chemistry lab TA, both since sophomore year.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: None

Special Bonus Points: One of my recommenders is well-known in AMO physics, I suppose.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I apply to some schools where my recommenders have studied or taught. Do not think that would give me any substantial advantage. I participated in the NS3 nuclear science summer school at Michigan State University. In addition to AMO physics, I showed my interest in nuclear physics in some applications.

Applying to Where: (in the order of application deadline...)

University of British Columbia (MS) - Physics - AMO and Nuclear - Just never heard back
University of Toronto (MS) - Physics - AMO - Mar. 5: Rejected via email to check website
University of Colorado Boulder - Physics - AMO - Feb. 18: Rejected via email to check website
University of Virginia - Physics - AMO and Nuclear - Jan. 25: ACCEPTED via email + $30.6k/9 months Fellowship the first two years ($20.6k/9 months the remaining years)
Harvard University - Physics - AMO - Feb. 25: Rejected via email to check website
Purdue University - Physics - AMO - Jan. 30: ACCEPTED via email + $18k/9 months TA
Cornell University - Applied Physics - AMO - Feb. 11: ACCEPTED via email + $27k/9 months TA - WILL ATTEND!
University of Washington - Physics - AMO and Nuclear - Mar. 15: Rejected via email
Kansas State University - Physics - AMO - Feb. 4: ACCEPTED via email + $18k/9 months TA
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign - Physics - AMO and Nuclear - Mar. 29: Rejected via email
Rice University - Applied Physics - AMO - Feb. 21: ACCEPTED via email to check website + $31k/9 months RA
University of Michigan Ann Arbor - Applied Physics - AMO - Feb. 14: ACCEPTED via email + $2.6k/month fellowship for first year
Columbia University (MS) - Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics - AMO - Mar. 5: ACCEPTED via email to check website + no funding
Last edited by WuLei24 on Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:36 pm, edited 10 times in total.

athena123
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:22 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby athena123 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:37 pm

Undergrad Institution: Top science institute in the country
Major(s): Physics (Masters)
Minor(s): Math
GPA : 9.02/10
Length of Degree: 5 years
Type of Student: International Female

GRE Scores :
Q: 163 (83rd percentile)
V: 162 (91st percentile)
W: 4.5 (82nd percentile)
P: 750 (59th percentile)

Not a good test taker under pressure.

Research Experience: 4 summer internships, 2 with reputable groups in Germany (relevant to the field I am applying in - also the PIs of these internships were my referees). 2 semester long master thesis work.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 1 conference talk, 1 seminar talk at the German university.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for two grad level courses in physics.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Very active in student bodies and extra curricular activities, volunteer activities for mentally challenged children. Since I am completing my masters, I have taken 4 semesters of grad level courses.

Special Bonus Points: None

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
1.Health problems that affected my academics but I did bounce back, as evident from my performance in the transcripts.
2. I have research experience in four different fields, 1 theoretical/computational, 1 purely computational and 2 experimental - presented it as an advantage in SOP.

Applying to Where:
Vaguely, "applied physics". I stated clearly in my SOP that I need time to decide. I know this might have worked against my favor, but I am genuinely confused about my research interests. I did point out two or three groups and their relevant publication that caught my attention.

Yale - Applied physics dept- Rejected on 11 Feb
Cornell - Applied physics dept
UPenn - Physics and Astronomy
University of Michigan - Physics and Astronomy - Rejected on 6th Feb
Georgia Tech - Physics and Astronomy - Rejected on 25th Feb

Carnegie Mellon University - Physics and Astronomy- Accepted on 13th Feb with "atleast 2.5k per month"- more details yet to come
Boston University - Physics and Astronomy
University of Maryland - Physics - rejected on 15 Feb
Last edited by athena123 on Tue Feb 26, 2019 3:34 pm, edited 4 times in total.

JSBach1801
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:18 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby JSBach1801 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:50 pm

______________________________________________
Undergrad Institution: Middle of the road state school in Arkansas (8K-9K enrollment) - known more for Applied Science and Engineering
Major(s): Physics, but I have an Art related MFA and BS from 10 years ago (working on a career change)
Minor(s): Mathematics
GPA in Major: 4.00 (All Math and Physics courses)
Overall GPA: 3.10 (most of this comes from past degree, 4.0 since back in school as of 2015)
Length of Degree: 4 year degree program
Position in Class: Near the top, only about 15 or so undergrad Physics majors
Type of Student: 31 Year Old Domestic White Male

GRE Scores : Revised
Q: 157
V: 161
W: 4.0
P: 610, (only took this once and less than a few weeks to prep, wasn't sure about Grad school until late in the game)

Research Experience: Currently working on a grant fund materials project for one of my Professors, was able to bring more money via another grant to the project, however less than a year of overall lab experience, working towards a publication for late Spring.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Several scholarships for academic performance, Chancellor's list, etc.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Some tutoring in the Math Center for a few semesters, also I am a part time student with a full time (non-science) job, I included this on my CV in the hopes that it showcased maturity as I have held a full time job for many years while also excelling in the classroom.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I did present twice to the Physics Department faculty and students on QM subjects for an advanced independent study QM course I took.

Special Bonus Points: I do think I had very strong (stronger than average) recommendation letters, but this is just a hunch, no data to back it up

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Again, my age, former degrees, employment status, I am certainly a non-traditional student.

Applying to Where:


Johns Hopkins University - Physics
UMass - Amherst - Physics
Northeastern - Physics - (Feb. 01: REJECTED via email to check online portal) :cry:
Boston University - Physics
Utah State University - Physics - (Feb. 25: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website/email + Tuition + 15K/8 Month TA + Optional 4-5K Summer TA/RA) :D
UMass - Lowell - Physics
U of Connecticut - Physics - (Feb. 11: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website/email + Tuition + $24k/9 Month TA) :D
U of New Hampshire - Physics - (Jan. 30: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website/email + Tuition + $19.5k/9 Month TA + Possible Summer TA as well, would bring to 28K) :D
U of Kentucky - Physics - One of my Recommendation writers is a Physics PhD alum
U of Delaware - Physics
Last edited by JSBach1801 on Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:53 am, edited 5 times in total.

cpac
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:05 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby cpac » Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:32 am

Undergrad Institution: Big PA State School
Major: Physics
Minor: Computer Science
GPA in Major: 3.70
Overall GPA: 3.75
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Near top
Type of Student: White domestic male

GRE Scores:
Q: 158
V: 154
W: 4
P: 640

Research Experience: Three years of back to back research from sophomore year to senior year working with three different professors
1) Nanoscience chemistry lab researching quantum dots
2) Computational physics lab doing density functional theory
3) Quantum optics group doing AMO research

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for upper level statistical mechanics course

Awards/Honors/Recognition: Dean's list for several semesters

Miscellaneous Accomplishments: Poster presentation on AMO research and a paper being written for publication (but not published at time of applying)

Applying to Where:

Reach:
1) Brown University: (February 25: Rejected)
2) Carnegie Mellon University: (February 20: Waitlisted)
3) University of Pittsburgh: (February 28: Accepted for Ph.D via email + 28K of Support )

Fair:
4) University of Oregon
5) University of Rochester
6) Emory University (February 14: Accepted for Ph.D via email + 31K of Support for Biophysics )

Safety:
7) Drexel University (January 30: Accepted for Ph.D via email + 24K of Support for Condensed Matter )
8 ) University of Utah
Last edited by cpac on Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:35 pm, edited 7 times in total.

lob_124
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:14 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby lob_124 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:33 pm

Undergrad Institution: UMass Amherst (~50th in Physics)
Major(s): Physics, Computer Science, Math
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 4.0/4.0
Overall GPA: 3.994/4.0
Length of Degree: 4.5 years
Position in Class: Top
Type of Student: Domestic White Male

GRE Scores : (revised)
Q: 167 (91%)
V: 163 (93%)
W: 5.5 (98%)
P: 980 (93%)

Research Experience
-Experimental project in condensed matter/fluid dynamics (3+ years - 1 APS talk, publication in progress)
-Theoretical Project in general relativity (2+ years - publication in progress)
-Theoretical Project in Quantum CM as part of NSF REU (8 months - APS talk upcoming in March)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Goldwater nominee (Fall 2017), Alumni Scholar Award, "Honors with greatest distinction" graduate, Several awards for achievement in CS courses

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for mid-level Computational Physics course

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: N/A

Special Bonus Points:
Took graduate electrodynamics course and received an A
3 very strong letters from each of my research advisors
Visited Princeton as a Sophomore and talked with a few faculty, and mentioned this in my SOP (not sure how helpful this was, given I was a sophomore and didn't know a whole lot at the time!)

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
Publications weren't in in time to be listed on applications, but my letter writers did talk about how they were incoming and what I accomplished
Wrote my honors thesis about my theoretical GR project
Skyped with potential advisors at Princeton and UCSB about their work

Applying to Where:
All to Dept. of Physics , PhD, with focus in Gravity Theory/CM Theory:
Princeton - REJECTED via email 2/12/19 (this stung...)
Stanford - REJECTED via email 2/20/19 :(
UC Santa Barbara - REJECTED via email to check application 2/26/19
Harvard - REJECTED via email to check application 2/25/19
Caltech - ACCEPTED via email 2/01/19 - $35k/yr (Fellowship first term, TA'ship subsequent terms ) - WILL ATTEND
University of Illinois ​Urbana-​Champaign - ACCEPTED via email 2/20/19 - $23,298/11 months TA'ship + summer support Declined 4/10
UC Berkeley - REJECTED via email to check application 2/15/19
Penn State - ACCEPTED via email 2/06/19 - $30k University Graduate Fellowship + $4k summer support + health insurance Declined 4/10
Cornell - ACCEPTED via email to check application 2/07/19 - $31,380/9 month Graduate Fellowship (can defer for later) Declined 4/10
University of Maryland - REJECTED via email 2/14/19
University of Michigan - ACCEPTED via email 2/06/19 - $2,635.30 per month stipend, health/dental insurance Declined 4/3
UC Davis - ACCEPTED via email 2/19/19 - 2 year Dean's Distinguished Grad Fellowship ($30k/yr) Declined 4/3
RPI - Withdrawn 2/20/19

2/1- I was a little uneasy about not having a published paper yet (and taking an extra semester), but I still got accepted to one of my top choices. Huge relief, and I'm super stoked!

2/15 - Tough second week. Two rejections, and it seems the first round offers for UCSB, Harvard, UIUC, and Berkeley have already gone out. Back down to Earth, I guess...

2/26 - Well, that's that. Multiple years in the making, and just like that it's over.
Truthfully, this played out pretty much exactly as I expected - rejected by most of the elite schools I applied to (but a few acceptances based on the number I applied to), and accepted by almost all the schools in the middle/bottom of my list. I spent a lot of time over the last couple years researching and preparing for this process, and it was nice to see it bear some fruit. I'm saddened by some of the rejections (especially those top three...), but ultimately I have some great offers from fantastic schools, and I'm thrilled with the results. Can't wait to do visits next month.

4/10 - Caltech it is!! Ultimately I felt they had by far the most research options, and the setting in Pasadena blows the other options away. I'm relieved to be done with the decision process, and can finally just get excited!

Takeaways/Advice for future applicants
Some thoughts/observations I have they may help others:
  • You don't need to come from an elite undergrad to go to an elite grad program.
    You need great grades, strong research experience/LORs, and strong GRE scores regardless of where you come from. If you've got these things, where you did them won't be of huge importance.
  • Taking extra time to finish your degree can be helpful.
    Provided you have proportional extra accomplishments. In my case, I was able to get an REU with the extra summer and fit in a graduate course, so taking an extra semester greatly boosted my application.
  • You don't need a published paper to get into an elite school.
    This was my #1 concern about my applicant profile, as it was really the only thing I was missing. It turns out my fears were fairly justified (I was rejected from 4 of my top 5 choices), and publications really are important for most of those cream of the crop schools (especially for theory). Fortunately, it didn't keep me out completely, which was a relief. So it is possible, but definitely better to be published if you're shooting high.
  • You don't need to reach out to faculty.
    I didn't reach out to anyone at any of the places I was accepted to and, incidentally, I was rejected from the only two places I did talk to people at. If you're able to reach out and make a meaningful connection to a professor where you're applying, that will definitely go a long way, but it's by no means necessary.
  • Check the applicant numbers/acceptance rates on schools.
    I didn't do this until after I got my results, but a search on gradschoolshopper.com or petersons.com reveals that the big-name schools I got into (Caltech, Cornell, UIUC) all have higher acceptance rates (but still low, around ~20%) and fewer applicants than the schools I got rejected from. In retrospect, this would've been a nice gauge to base my expectations on, though I doubt it would've changed my list.
  • Apply to a lot of schools.
    If you can afford it, apply to a lot of schools. This process is inherently pseudorandom, and in my opinion it's best to throw a lot of darts at once and hope one lands on the board.


Well, that ended up being longer than I intended. Hope this helps someone in the future!
Last edited by lob_124 on Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:06 am, edited 25 times in total.

vlee
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2019 4:17 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby vlee » Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:34 pm

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Last edited by vlee on Sun Mar 17, 2019 5:44 am, edited 4 times in total.

quarksanand
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:18 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby quarksanand » Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:43 am

Undergrad Institution: Top Indian Engineering College
Major(s): Engineering Physics
Minor(s): Electrical Engineering
GPA in Major: 9.63/10.00
Overall GPA: 9.59/10.00
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Department Rank 1
Type of Student: International | Male
GRE Scores: revised
Q: 170
V: 152
W: 4
P: 990


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


Research Experience: CERN ATLAS Detector Instrumentation (3 months) | CERN Accelerator School | IHEP China - Charm Quark Physics Group ( 1.5 years) | Internship at National Institute (2 months) | One paper to be published | ATLAS Public Plots | 2 Conference Presentations

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: CERN Summer Student | Associate Member of IHEP China | DAAD-WISE Scholar | SN BOSE Scholar | Institute Merit Award | INMO, RMO Awardee

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Volunteer work

Special Bonus Points: LoRs - 2 from CERN | 1 from my country | 1 from a supervisor who completed his Ph.D. at Oxford University

Applying to Where:

Ph.D. Positions:

MIT: Physics - HEP Experimental: Rejected via e-mail, Feb 13th 2019
Stanford: Physics - HEP Experimental: Rejected via e-mail, Feb 20th 2019
Caltech: Physics - HEP Experimental: Rejected via e-mail, Feb 26th 2019
Harvard: Physics - HEP Experimental: Rejected via website, Feb 25th 2019
Princeton: Physics - HEP Experimental: Rejected via e-mail, Feb 13th 2019
Cornell: Physics - HEP Experimental: Rejected via e-mail, Mar 1st 2019
UC Berkeley: Physics - HEP Experimental: Rejected via e-mail, Feb 16th 2019
UC Santa Barbara: Physics - HEP Experimental: Rejected via e-mail, Mar 1st 2019
Yale: Physics - HEP Experimental: Rejected via e-mail, Feb 13th 2019
University of Maryland: Physics - HEP Experimental: Accepted via e-mail with additional Dean's Fellowship of 10000$, Feb 14th 2019
University of Michigan: Physics - HEP Experimental: Rejected via e-mail, Feb 13th 2019

Master's Position:

MIT: Nuclear Science and Engineering: Rejected via e-mail, Feb 6th 2019
ETH Zurich & Ecole Polytechnique Paris (Joint): HEP: Accepted via e-mail with no update on ESOP yet, Feb 26th 2019
Last edited by quarksanand on Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:14 am, edited 13 times in total.

SapiosexualStargazer
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:17 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby SapiosexualStargazer » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:30 pm

Undergrad Institution: Large state school with little to no reputation in Physics
Major(s): Physics & Mathematics
Minor(s): Philosophy & Astronomy
GPA in Physics: 3.73/4.00
GPA in Mathematics: 3.85/4.00
Overall GPA: 3.70/4.00
Length of Degree: 6 years (2 in community college + 4 in university)
Position in Class: Near top, I would guess?
Type of Student: Domestic minority female

GRE Scores:
Q: 169 (96%)
V: 161 (88%)
W: 4.5 (82%)
P: 850 (77%)


TOEFL: N/A


Research Experience: Worked for ~2 years (one summer paid, the rest voluntary) on a gravitational lensing project with a math professor, which ended with an honors thesis. The thesis was adapted into a chapter of a text published by Birkhauser, and I'm 2nd author (out of 2) of the chapter. Gave talks on the results at a handful of conferences.
Did two informal research projects with one other undergrad using physics to model and optimize robotic subsystems for an engineering club. Gave poster presentations for both projects.
Have been working somewhat informally on a project on QFT in curved spacetime since May. Have given a short talk on the progress that has been made.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's List for 3 semesters, Departmental Honors in Math, Honorable Mention for Outstanding Research Presentation (for one of the poster presentations mentioned above), Induction into Pi Mu Epsilon (Mathematics National Honor Society)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: During college: President of Math Club, President of Pi Mu Epsilon (university chapter), Calculus Peer Leader. After college, at a fairly well-known university: Physics Faculty Assistant (full-time TA for intro physics labs), Physics PLTL Coordinator.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Minority female. First-generation college student. One of my recommenders is the chair of my undergrad Physics department, for what that's worth.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Attended summer schools on Spectral Theory and Mathematical GR. Attended a workshop on the Mathematics of Gravity and Light geared toward early-career researchers.

Applying to Where:

Purdue - Physics - GR (Jan 29: ACCEPTED for Ph.D. via email. $20k/9mo TA.)
Washington University in St. Louis - Physics - GR/HET (Jan 25: ACCEPTED for Ph.D. via email. $26k/10mo for 5 years. Nominated for fellowship.)
UCSB - Physics - GR/QFT
UCLA - Physics - GR/QFT (Jan 29: ACCEPTED for Ph.D. via email. Awaiting details.)
Ohio State - Physics - GR/QFT (Jan 24: ACCEPTED for Ph.D. via email. Awaiting details.)
UC Berkeley - Physics - GR/QG
UC Irvine - Physics - QG
SUNY Buffalo - Physics - GR/QFT
Southern California - Physics - GR/QFT (Feb 6: ACCEPTED for Ph.D. via email. $32k/yr TA/RA.)
Oregon State - Physics - QG (Jan 15: ACCEPTED for Ph.D. via email. $2186/mo TA. Would be nominated for a fellowship, but I turned it down.)
Penn State - Physics - GR/QG
CUNY - Physics - GR
UMass Amherst - Physics - GR (Jan 30: ACCEPTED for Ph.D. via email. Awaiting details.)
IU Bloomington - Mathematical Physics - GR (Jan 25: ACCEPTED for Ph.D. via email. $18k/10mo + $5k bonus for one year)
UMass Lowell - Physics - GR/QG
Boston University - Physics - GR
Case Western Reserve - Physics - GR
University of Oregon - Physics - GR (Feb 1: ACCEPTED for Ph.D. via email. TA. Awaiting details.)
Brandeis - Physics - GR
Dartmouth - Physics - QG (Jan 31: Scheduled short interview. Feb 2: Completed interview. Discussed having a second interview.)
University of Connecticut - Physics - GR
Perimeter - Physics (Master's)
University of Florida - Physics - GR
Last edited by SapiosexualStargazer on Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:37 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Aditip97
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:45 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby Aditip97 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:47 am

Undergrad Institution: Good national institute in India, average reputation in physics
Major: Engineering Physics
Minor: NA
Overall GPA: 8.66/10
Length of degree: 4 years
Position in class: 3rd (I think)
Type of student: International female
GRE Scores:
Q: 165
V: 160
W:4
P:850

TOEFL: R30,W29,S29,L30

Research Experience: One summer project on nanophotonics at a top Indian institute, this was more like a learning project. Attended talks on neutrino physics while I was at the institute. Took interest in particle physics from here.
Next project was on Quantum optics at another top institute which was quite far (9hrs away by train) from my home institute. Travelled back and forth and completed the project over a year (publication being prepared), simultaneously managing academics at my own institute. Also parallely handled a review project on ion traps at my home institute during the same.
Also did a summer project at another IIT on ion trapping and simulations. Mostly simulation works on extractor electrode configurations in accelerator physics. Presented a poster on the same.
Currently working on my thesis project on Supersymmetric Quantum mechanics.

Awards and Recognition: SPARK fellowship at IIT Roorke, Prime Minister's scholarship recipient, Received an official appreciation letter from the HRD minister for exceptional performance high school (don't know if this actually helps)

Pertinent Activities or jobs: Played a major role in the formation of a student inter-disciplinary research organisation at my institute. Executive of the Physics Association in my department. Script writer for that drama team at my institute. Former executive of the Audio-Visual club at my institute (we screen movies and host some fun events). I may have mentioned some volunteering activities pertaining to autistic children in a couple of my applications.

Any miscellaneous accomplishments that might help:

Special bonus point: Diversity factor? :P

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Attended several talks on topics like neutrino physics, gravitational lensing,etc. Completed some online courses. Really good recommendation letters (I'm hoping :) ). My GPA shows a steady improvement with no drops, so this could help present myself in a better light. :D

Applying to where:
UC Berkeley-HEP: Rejected 2/15 via email
U. Toronto-HEP( experiment):
U. Chicago-HEP: Rejected 2/8 via email
U. British Columbia(Dark matter experiment): Accepted via mail by the department, offered 25k CAD stipend 1/9, official acceptance on 2/7
OSU-HEP:

I applied for theoretical astro-particle physics at some and experimental at others.
Last edited by Aditip97 on Sat Feb 16, 2019 2:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

abnormalandroid
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:03 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby abnormalandroid » Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:50 pm

Undergrad Institution: small private school, good reputation in engineering but not necessarily physics
Major(s):Physics
Minor(s):English and Creative Writing
GPA in Major:3.748
Overall GPA:3.748
Length of Degree: 4 years
Type of Student: Domestic Male
GRE Scores :
Q:161 (78%)
V:163 (93%)
W:4.0 (60%) (what a joke)
P:790 (66% percentile)

Wish I had done better on PGRE but I got a 640 the first time I took it so I can't be too mad.


Research Experience: 4 years at my undergrad institution. 2 projects in HEP-ph, 1 in astro. 2 publications in HEP-ph.
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Deans list 5 semesters, Presidents list 3 semesters. Award for "Outstanding academic achievement in Physics" at home institution.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: SPS officer

Special Bonus Points: Big name in particle theory on my 2 pubs


Applying to Where:

UChicago - HEP-ex (Feb. 7: Rejected via website) Knew this was coming but still hurts :cry:
Boston U - HEP-ex (Jan. 25: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email $35k/yr TA + $2k scholarship)
Wisconsin-Madison - HEP-ex (Feb. 1: Rejected via website) Disappointed but not surprised :(
Texas A&M - HEP-th (Feb. 8 : ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email $30k Fellowship for 1st year + $2k scholarship. $30k guaranteed TA/RA for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years) dang they really want me
Penn State - HEP-th
North Carolina State University - HEP-th (Jan. 25: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website/email + $4k Fellowship + $18k/9 month TA)
ASU - HEP-th
Missouri S&T - Master's Program
Washington University in St. Louis - Post-Baccalaureate Program in Physics
Last edited by abnormalandroid on Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

potatorum
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:05 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby potatorum » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:19 pm

Undergrad Institution: state school with tiny physics dept
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Math
GPA in Major: 2.6
Overall GPA: 2.0 (3.95 over past year)
Length of Degree: 10 years with all the breaks
Position in Class: probably top in department
Type of Student: domestic URM woman

GRE Scores : (revised version)
Q: 168
V: 170
W: 4.5
P: 940


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


Research Experience: 1 year, publication forthcoming

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Several scholarships from university to support research

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 10 yrs as science, math, writing tutor

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: minority woman

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: very dramatic turnaround in grades after a few years break from school, all while doing research and working.

Applying to Where:

UCLA - Physics - AMO (Jan 29th: Accepted for PhD via email from professor, funding TBA)
USC - Physics- HEP Th
UC Berkeley - Physics- AMO (Jan 29th: Accepted for PhD via email, 36k gsi)

I am so happy with this! A lot of folks said I didn't have a shot because of my GPA, but I guess the admissions committee must have not worried too much about older grades.
Last edited by potatorum on Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SassyPhysicists
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:44 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby SassyPhysicists » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:23 am

Undergrad Institution: Public University in the US, relatively small Physics total undergrad population (~50-200)
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics (Honors)
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.972 (Physics), 3.967 (Mathematics)
Overall GPA: 3.954
Length of Degree: 4-year
Position in Class: My guess is that I am in the top three or four students in my major
Type of Student: International Male

GRE Scores : (revised version)
Q: 169 (96%)
V: 163 (93%)
W: 5.0 (92%)
P: 970 (92%)


TOEFL: 115 (R: 28, L: 29, S: 28, W: 30) (Did not study for this. Only the most pesky programs needed it, so had to give it again as these scores are only valid for two years)


Research Experience: 3 month summer research in Soft Condensed Matter Physics - Experimental (SCMP-E) at the end of Sophomore year, followed by a ~1.5 year experience in another SCMP-E lab with a focus on fluid dynamics. At the end of junior year, sought collaboration with an applied mathematician for simulation work. Dabbled for 3 months in a CMP experimental lab (spintronics) during the middle of my junior year. Did a university Summer UROP at the end of my junior year in the fluid dynamical SCMP-E lab. Currently finishing up with my honors thesis. Doing meteorological research with NASA for about 5 months now. One publication related to mathematical physics during the application period (which just got accepted for publication), one university symposium oral presentation.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Deans Honor List, Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Mu Epsilon

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Grader in an upper-division Math class, Tutor in a lower-division Physics class, couple on-campus leadership positions in my sophomore year.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: My advisor suggested some universities to apply to, all my recommenders say they gave strong recommendations (which I am starting to believe now).

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

Applying to Where: (CMP-E = "Condensed Matter Physics - Experiment", SCMP-E = "Soft Condensed Matter Physics - Experimental")

Reach:
Harvard - Physics - CMP-E (Feb. 25: Rejected for Ph.D via E-mail/Website) (Well, I was expecting that as I realized that I did not get interviewed. It is quite dejecting, though.)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Physics - CMP-E (Feb. 12: Rejected for Ph.D via E-mail, Jan 12: Interviewed by a CMP-E Professor) (Well, I guess they at least got to know me before they rejected me. It was saddening, though.)
University of Chicago - Physics - SCMP-E (Feb. 7: Accepted for Ph.D via website + ($34k+$5k) Fellowship + RAships in future) (Yay! I am quite elated! :D )
California Institute of Technology - Physics - CMP-E (Feb. 25: Rejected for Ph.D via E-mail) (Part of me expected this as I found that most of my research experience does not align with Caltech's departmental interests)
Princeton University - Mechanical Engineering - Fluid Dynamics/Biophysics, Biomechanics (Jan. 25: Accepted for Ph.D via Website/E-mail/Phone + $29.9k Fellowship + $8k Summer Support, Jan. 3 - Interviewed by a couple faculty members) (I am quite happy with this actually!) (ATTENDING!)

Match: (I guess?)
Cornell University - Physics - CMP-E (Feb. 11: Accepted for Ph.D via website + $29.7k/9 month TAship) (Yay!) (Will maybe Decline Offer)
University of Pennsylvania - Physics - CMP-E (Mar. 19: Rejected for Ph.D via E-mail) (Well, I don't know what happened there. But this does not affect me anymore.)
New York University - Physics - SCMP-E (Mar. 6: Waitlisted for Ph.D via email) (Wow. I am baffled. I wonder why that happened?)

Safety:
Carnegie Mellon University - Physics - CMP-E (Jan. 29: Accepted via email) (Declined Offer)
University of Wisconsin, Madison - Physics - CMP-E (Jan. 25: Accepted via email + $22k/9 month TA) (Declined Offer) (In my opinion, this is an abysmal financial offer; graduate students at my home university receive more than this, even after adjusting for location)

Final Thoughts: I am very happy with positive responses from UChicago and Princeton. I did realize that I may have expected a little more than I actually received. I would have wished to be accepted by MIT and/or Harvard too but I guess either my profile wasn't convincing enough for them or they didn't quite like my research experience in the context of their departmental constraints. That being said, I don't know what I could have done to be a better candidate for some of my other reach school. I am also not sure how much my international student status impacted the university's decision to reject me. This graduate admissions process definitely made me reevaluate a lot of views I held about myself. I now have some experience with "No pain implies no gain but the inverse is not true". In any case, I look forward to visiting the campuses.

(NOTE: I am very well aware that there are many others who have not received offers yet. I am not writing all this to make other people feel differently about their profiles. I am simply offering a reflection of the graduate admissions process in the specific context of my own profile and what thoughts I had when I was applying. I hope this gives some perspective for future graduate school applicants.)
Last edited by SassyPhysicists on Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:47 pm, edited 16 times in total.

guckymeister
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2018 3:40 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby guckymeister » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:07 pm

Undergrad Institution: Super small, unranked state school (I am one of 3 senior physics majors)
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): none
GPA in Major: 3.97
Overall GPA: 3.77
Length of Degree: 4 years
Type of Student: Run of the mill white American male with European descent

GRE Scores :
Q: 161
V: 163
W: 4.0
P: Didn't take

I actually wasn't planning on apply to grad school until next year, and I was planning on taking that time off to study for and take the pGRE. My adviser convinced me to just "go for it" anyway and apply to whatever schools don't require the pGRE on my list, which is why there are only two schools I applied to.


Research Experience: Was invited to work for a professor at University of Michigan on experimental biophysics between my Junior and senior year, which culminated into a poster I will present at the BPS conference (it wasn't an REU, I got this because my adviser at my home school knew the Michigan prof really well). Have a first author publication on experimental biophysics at my home school, and I am currently doing some CMT with a totally different prof. I am also working on a computational biophysics project with the prof I wrote the paper with.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Whole bunch of departmental and university specific awards

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Tutoring physics since the beginning of my sophomore year.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I have a soundcloud filled with crappy musical ideas

Special Bonus Points: All three of my recommendation letters are from professors I completed research projects with. I am certain they are quite strong. I don't consider myself to be the best writer, but when I wrote my statement of purpose, everything just kinda "clicked" and it was probably the best thing I've ever written.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I play jazz guitar and a UIUC professor who I reference in my statement of purpose ALSO plays guitar

Applying to Where (all for CMT and biophysics theory):

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) - (Feb. 3: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $23k 11 month TA, Fellowships will be announced later according to the email) - Will probably accept
University of Michigan Ann Arbor - Haven't heard back yet



Decided to throw this up there to give hope to anyone who thinks their app might be lacking. The acceptance to UIUC came as a complete shock to me, since I didn't take the pGRE. Just goes to show how important the rest of the application package is. I lucked out INCREDIBLY hard with this

purplebash
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:53 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby purplebash » Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:14 pm

Undergrad Institution: Big state school in the US, medium reputation in physics & astronomy, top-10 public university
Major(s): Astrophysics
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.77
Overall GPA: 3.79
Length of Degree: 3.5 years
Position in Class: Near-ish top? hard to say!
Type of Student: Domestic white female

GRE Scores :
Q: 164 (86%)
V: 164 (94%)
W: 5.5 (98%)
P: Didn't take!

Research Experience:
Freshman-Sophomore year - 2 semesters of part-time research with a graduate student who showed me the ropes of Linux commands & Python, plus basic observational astronomy topics not yet covered in coursework
Junior year - 1 semester of research done for-credit (ie, on my transcript, and got an A) in observation simulation, more theoretical than previous gig
Summer before senior year - 1 semester of full-time research at an internship with a well-known observatory, again in observation simulation - 1st-author publication still in prep for this
After graduation (which was Dec 2017) - Researching 30 hrs/wk in fully theoretical work with galaxy mergers, another 1st-author publication in prep.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 1 statewide academic scholarship, 1 major-specific academic scholarship, Dean's list, a few awards for extracurricular activities.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
- Student-Athlete astronomy tutor for 1 year
- General math and physics tutor for 1 year
- President of the school's Astronomy Society for 2+ years
- Lots of outreach involvement with the department, one letter of rec definitely mentioned this

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: The code I developed in my internship actually seems to be pretty helpful for a myriad of research interests so if they actually check out the links on my CV, that could help?

Special Bonus Points: Recommenders all insisted their letters would be strong, they all have great connections to the places I'm applying (including being on the admissions committees for a couple of the schools). I'm also a woman, so there's that.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I had to work a service job that was 20+ hours a week throughout my entire undergraduate career, in addition to all my classes, tutoring side gigs, and research endeavors. This kept me from diving as deep into research as I would have liked until I graduated, but it also showed grit, because I did whatever it took to pay the bills, support myself, and still do well in school. I was also really involved in unrelated extracurricular activities largely relating to civic engagement and voter turnout. These efforts were actually pretty darn effective and successful and I'm really proud of that, but I have no idea if the schools care about that one bit. My assumption is, not much.

Applying to Where:

Harvard - Astronomy - Feb 12 Rejected via email to check notification status.
UT Austin - Astronomy - Feb 13 Rejected via email.
University of Florida - Astronomy - Feb 19 Unofficially ACCEPTED via phone call - March 11 Officially accepted via email! Minimum $18,000/9 months for TAship.
UC Santa Cruz - Astronomy - Feb 28 Rejected via email.
UC Santa Barbara - Physics (Astro Emphasis) - March 6 Waitlisted via email from faculty; April 8 Interview; April 10 2nd Interview; April 11 ACCEPTED via email! $10,636/9 months for 10-hr/wk (half-time) TAship; $10,636 Fithian Fellowship, $2272 Academic Fellowship, $2000 Dean's Fellowship, guaranteed $8456 summer funding, totaling ~$34,000/12 months; could go up with research assistantships. WILL ATTEND!
Northwestern - Astronomy - March 19 Waitlisted via email from faculty
Vanderbilt - Astronomy - April 13 Rejected via email to check website Rumor has it they didn't accept anyone this year??

NSF GRFP - April 9 Awarded Honorable Mention! I'll take that as great news since I can still apply in my first year of grad school! Reviews: E/E, E/E, VG/VG. One of the E/E reviews said "this is a very strong application and I recommend it for GRFP funding." The VG/VG review mentioned that I should have made clearer why research would help me grow more as a person, ie teamwork skills or something, and added that my Broader Impacts statement would have benefited by showing more impact for the "non-expert, non-college audience."

Bonus notes: I was able to get complete fee waivers for 5 of the above 7 schools, and the other ones were able to make an option for me where I didn't have to pay up-front and would only have to pay later, if accepted, so that was neat. I also pretty stubbornly refused to take the Physics GRE, so I only applied to schools that didn't require it. We'll see how much that affects things!
Last edited by purplebash on Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:34 am, edited 25 times in total.

arc2nd
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:51 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby arc2nd » Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:32 pm

______________________________________________
Undergrad Institution: Top 10 Public University
Major(s): Astrophysics, Physics
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: 3.95
Overall GPA: 3.98
Length of Degree: 4 years
Type of Student: Domestic white male

GRE Scores :
Q: 168 (94%)
V: 163 (93%)
W: 5.5 (98%)
P: 800 (68%)

Research Experience: 2.5 years of astronomy research in my department, one REU focused on computational astrophysics at a national astronomy observatory, one minor publication (an ATel)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Univeristy Scholars Program (research-based scholarship), state scholarships, Honor Roll every semester, 5 research presentations (one being a poster presentation at the AAS conference this past January)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for an astronomy lab class one semester, worked at the school's IT Help Desk for a year

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Wrote a software package in Python at the end of my REU and cited it on all my application materials

Special Bonus Points: Visited Harvard CfA, got a tour from a current grad student and met with a professor there I would want to work with. One professor from my college (not a recommender) said he would email some of his contacts from Harvard.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: A couple volunteering events (Women in Science) and I've been an officer in my school's Astronomy and Astrophysics club for 2 years as Ambassador / Treasurer

Applying to Where:
UC Berkeley - Astrophysics - Computational Astrophysics (Mar. 8: Rejected via email to check website)
Ohio State - Astronomy - Computational Astrophysics (Dec. 30: Invited for web interview; Jan. 4: Interviewed, Feb. 17: Waitlisted via email, Mar. 7: Rejected via email)
Harvard University - Astronomy - Computational Astrophysics (Feb. 12: Rejected via email to check website)
University of Michigan - Astronomy - Computational Astrophysics (Jan. 28: Waitlisted via email, Apr. 15: Rejected via email)
Cornell - Astronomy - Computational Astrophysics (Feb. 5: Waitlisted via email, Apr. 15: Rejected via email)
Caltech - Astrophysics - Computational Astrophysics (Jan. 29: Rejected via email)
Princeton - Astrophysics - Computational Astrophysics (Feb. 6: Rejected via email)
Northwestern - Astronomy - Computational Astrophysics (Mar. 18: Waitlisted via email, Apr. 18: Rejected via email)
University of Florida - Astronomy - Computational Astrophysics (Feb. 18: ACCEPTED for Ph.D, $18k RA/TA stipend)
University of Chicago - Astrophysics - Computational Astrophysics (Feb. 13: Rejected via email to check website)
UC Santa Cruz - Astrophysics - Computational Astrophysics (Feb. 28: Rejected via email)
University of Virginia - Astronomy - Computational Astrophysics (Feb. 1: Invited for web interview; Feb. 7: Interviewed; Feb. 12: WILL ATTEND for Ph.D, notified via email, $26.2k RA/TA stipend)
UMass Amherst - Astronomy - Computational Astrophysics (Feb. 8: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email, $31k RA/TA stipend)

NSF GRFP (Rejected), DOE CSGF (Rejected)
Last edited by arc2nd on Thu May 09, 2019 2:35 pm, edited 13 times in total.

vickyvaikunth
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:51 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby vickyvaikunth » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:04 pm

Undergrad Institution[/b]:Indian 2nd tier Engineering Institution
Major(s): Mechanical Engineering
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 8.04/10
Overall GPA: 7.65/10
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: above average
Type of Student: International Male

GRE Scores : 320
Q: 168
V:152
W:4.0
P:580 ( Didn't send to any university though thinking it might be a big black mark, but having second thoughts on my decision)


TOEFL:105 R:28 , L:29 , S:23 , W: 27


[b]Research Experience
: 2 years in Aerodynamics at own university. Got a conference presentation and a publication out of it( 3rd author out of 5). 3 months observational astronomy intern at a top institute in India. Now in the US at a well known institute under a well known professor in theoretical astrophysics
Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Head of SEDS( Space club) University chapter, did several projects and outreach programs.

Special Bonus Points: Professor I am currently working under is a very well person. But havent got a recommendation from him.
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:
University of Texas Austin- Astronomy Phd- Feb 6 Rejected via E-mail
University of Wisconsin- Madison- Astronomy
University of Florida- Astronomy
Stony Brook University- MA Physics and Astronomy
Princeton - Post- Baccalaureate program in Astrophysics
KU Leuven- Msc Astronomy & Astrophysics

luttinger_320
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:43 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby luttinger_320 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:24 am

Undergrad Institution: Fairly new, national institute from India
Major: Physics
Minor: Mathematics
GPA in major: ~ 9.6/10.0
Overall GPA: ~9.6/10.0
Length of Degree: 5 years
Position in Class: top
Type of Student: International male

GRE Scores :
Q: 165 :oops:
V: 159
W: 4.0
P: 960

TOEFL: (R: 29, L: 30, S: 25, W: 30)


Research Experience:
Research projects during each summer throughout undergrad (4 of them). Most of my projects have been on strongly correlated systems and developing computational frameworks. A couple of my work has been forked and starred in Giithub

- Spent a summer on thin film solar cells
- Worked on a computational technique that reproduces the correct phase diagram of Hubbard model, inaccessible via crude mean-field schemes
- Spent a summer abroad to develop a semiclassical technique to study the suppression of long range order of lattice bosons in frustrated systems (expecting a publication soon)
- MS project on an improved field theoretic method to account for quantum fluctuations (another publication is expected within a couple of months)
- A short term project on formulating k-space Hartree-Fock correction for Bloch bands

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Academic Excellence award every year, Bronze medal in an international poster presentation, secured a couple of competitive fundings from Govt. of India and a prominent Private corporation

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Nothing much. Helped science popularization causes in local community as a part of Science Activity Club

Special Bonus Points: One of my recommenders is the director of a prominent research institute, another was a Postdoc of a relevant group at one of universities

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

Applying to Where:

UC, Berkeley - Physics - CM Theory
U Chicago - Physics - CM Theory (Feb 7: Rejected via website)
UIUC - Physics - CM Theory/AMO
U Colorado, Boulder - Physics - CM Theory
U Michigan, Ann Arbor - Physics - CM Theory (Feb 6: Accepted for PhD by email + $2635 per month
Columbia University, NYC - Physics - CM Theory/AMO
Penn State - Physics - CM Theory / Stat Mech
Last edited by luttinger_320 on Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ParticleExplosion
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:46 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby ParticleExplosion » Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:01 pm

Undergrad Institution: State Research University (US), Within Top 100, Moderate sized physics department
Major(s): Physics
Minor(s): Mathematics
GPA in Major: 3.76
Overall GPA: 3.77
Length of Degree: 4 Years
Position in Class: uncertain about my exact ranking
Type of Student: Domestic Hispanic Male

GRE Scores :
Q: 153 ( 50%)
V: 150 (47%)
W: 4.0 (59%)
P: 580 (23%) Not great at standardized testing


TOEFL: N/A


Research Experience:
About 3 years of research experience in experimental particle physics.
- Data Acquisition hardware work for Silicon Photomultipliers for a dark matter experiment and a spin-off project.
- Geant4 simulations of a full body, time of flight Positron Emission Tomography scanner based on the detector technologies from the aforementioned dark matter experiment (Currently drafting a paper, Good prelim results)
- SULI: FNAL beam diagnostics for the muon g-2 experiment, mostly computational and analytical work.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
SULI, DAAD RISE Germany internship (But I declined it for FNAL), Several research scholarships at my university, On the dean's list from 2015 to 2018

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
I volunteer at outreach events hosted by my college and the physics departments handling physics demonstrations. I even built new Electromagnetic demos which have been used by other people in the department and I am drafting instructions on how to build them for those interested. I am currently working with other students at my college to start a SACNAS chapter to help students find and stay in STEM research.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
Several poster presentations and talks at multiple conferences (5 poster presentations, 2 talks)

Special Bonus Points:
Minority. I have already met some professors at some of the universities I have applied to and are familiar with my work. I know two professors and a graduate student at Princeton who can vouch for me but we'll have to see what happens.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
I managed to get fee waivers for all of my applications. Some were from college reps I met at the 2018 SACNAS conference and some were from the GEM Consortium.

Applying to Where:


Princeton University - Physics - Astroparticle/HEP Exp (Feb. 12: Rejected via website/email)
Cornell University - Physics - Accelerator Physics (Feb. 21: Rejected via website/email)
Rice University - Physics - Astroparticle Exp (Jan. 26: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website/email + $31k/12 month + $6k/yr Dean's Fellowship) Will attend!
University of Chicago - Physics - Accelerator Physics (Feb. 7: Rejected via website/email)
Purdue University - Physics - HEP Exp (Mar. 25: Rejected via website/email)
University of Notre Dame - Physics- HEP Exp (Feb. 18: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via website/email + $23k for 9 month)

External Fellowships:
NSF GRFP
GEM Fellowship Recommended for the GEM associate fellowship (16k/yr min. and full tuition from GEM mem. university) but I am unsure if that means I got the fellowship.
Last edited by ParticleExplosion on Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:03 am, edited 6 times in total.

tcarbin
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:40 am

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby tcarbin » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:03 pm

Undergrad Institution: Big State School, Top 15 in Physics
Major(s): Physics, Philosophy
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.99
Overall GPA:3.86
Length of Degree: 4
Position in Class: Somewhere in the top
Type of Student: DWM

GRE Scores :
Q: 163 (83%)
V: 164 (94%)
W: 4.0 (59%)
P: 880 (81%)


Research Experience:
Did a research project for one semester freshman year at my school's observatory through a class. I collected and analyzed photometric data of a variable star binary system.

Worked for about a year and a half in a superconducting qubit lab. Was involved with lots of different parts of the experiments. Data analysis with MATLAB, fabrication of qubit devices (including SEM lithography, double-angle evaporation, working with chemicals in a clean room), basic circuitry, Used CAD to design devices for measurement and other tests, and more. Perhaps the most impressive part of my application is that I came up with a new way for controlling our qubit systems and I was able to implement it.

Summer SULI appointment at General Atomics. I worked with a particle simulation code and applied it to create a tool for personnel in the tokamak control room who can use it to quickly identify heating sources. I also did several studies to optimize the code for this use. This involved me learning lots of new programming skills. I also presented my work at APS-DPP.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: One Physics departmental scholarship, one scholarship from my university, Phi Kappa Phi, Dean's list every semester

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: not unless you count tutoring in high school

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Each of my four recommenders I did research with and each was very willing to write me a letter and I expect the letters to be one of the strongest points of my application. One came from Harvard and is relatively big in CM, another graduated from UCLA.

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

Applying to Where:

All Physics PhD in QI/QC:

Yale (Feb 13: Rejected via email to check website)
Harvard (Feb 25: Rejected via email to check website)
Berkeley (Feb 15: Rejected via email to check website)
Princeton (Feb 12: Rejected via email)
Caltech (Feb 25: Rejected via email)
Stanford (Feb 20: Rejected via email)
UCSB (Jan 23: 15min skype chat) (Feb 26: Rejected via email to check website)
UC Boulder (Feb 18: Rejected via email to check website)
Michigan (Feb 6: ACCEPTED for Ph.D via email + $2635/month for 5 years + TA opportunities)
Illinois (Feb 13: ACCEPTED via email + $23,298 for first 11 months)
UCLA (Feb 21: ACCEPTED via email + $15,000 for first year + TA) *****WILL ATTEND!!!!!******
Washington (Rejected)
UCSD (Rejected)
Northwestern (Rejected)
Waterloo[/quote] (Rejected (presumably -- never heard back lol) )

Overall happy at where I wound up, though I definitely expected to have a few more options. I didn't really get into any of the schools I considered reaches and got denied from essentially all of the schools I thought were safeties. Nonetheless, very happy with how things turned out and excited to begin the next chapter.
Last edited by tcarbin on Tue May 28, 2019 12:37 am, edited 13 times in total.

sh2019physics
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:45 pm

Re: 2019 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results

Postby sh2019physics » Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:32 pm

Undergrad Institution: Ivy League, strong applied physics program
Major(s): Physics, Electrical Engineering
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: 3.64 (Physics), 3.72 (EE)
Overall GPA: 3.60
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Not considered at university
Type of Student: Domestic Asian Male

GRE Scores :
Q:168 (94%)
V: 159 (83%)
W: 4.5 (82%)
P: 860 (78%)

Research Experience: 2 summers of microfluidics biosensor research at home university, one semester project on nanowire break junctions, one semester project on microfabricated cell counter.
1 year cold atom experiment research at home university after graduation (full time) - designed and built electronic safety systems, special AOM drivers for spatial modulation of optical dipole trap; sub-Doppler cooling and RF state transfer of atoms en route to Bose-Einstein condensation

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Graduated with distinction in engineering, QuestBridge Scholar

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Linear algebra and multivariable calculus tutor through university math department (2 years), instructor to high school students through university summer program (2 summers)

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Low income background; first generation college student

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Strong progression of GPA through college

Applying to Where: All experimental AMO

Columbia - March 15: Rejected; email to check website
UChicago - Feb. 7: Rejected; email to check website
Georgia Tech - Feb. 11: Accepted; email to check website; $27k TA
Harvard - Feb. 25: Rejected; email to check website
MIT - Feb. 12: Rejected via email
Princeton (EE) - Applied physics concentration Feb. 12: Rejected via email
UVA - Feb. 22: Accepted; email to check website; $20k TA + $5.6k summer RA
Yale - Feb. 13: Rejected via email
Last edited by sh2019physics on Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:06 pm, edited 6 times in total.




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