Graduate School Admissions

by pjfoster
Tags: admissions, graduate, school
pjfoster is offline
Jul10-09, 12:08 AM
P: 34
Hi all. I'm a Physics/Math major at the University of Iowa and have a few questions about getting into graduate school. What does it take to get into schools like Harvard, MIT, University of Chicago, or UIUC? I've looked though the information on, and from that I can get average GRE scores, but what about average GPA's? I've also looked through the admissions profiles on the physics GRE forum, and from that I can glean some specific examples about people getting into some of these schools, but I'm wondering about averages. Is a GPA of 3.80 too low to consider applying to these top schools? I'm a domestic student if that matters. If anyone attends these schools, could you estimate the average GPA of entering graduate students? Also, I'm wondering about extracurricular activities. I'm in a few honors societies, and am/was in a few clubs on campus. Do schools care about things like having leadership positions or volunteer experiences? I have a few research experiences (A year at Iowa in a one group, and a summer REU). Would I be a better candidate if I continued devoting a large chunk of time to research, or if I sacrifice some research opportunities to pursue leadership positions? I realize that there's no set answer to this, but I'm curious about priorities in the admissions process. Thanks for taking the time to read this and hopefully reply.
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diazona is offline
Jul10-09, 12:39 AM
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P: 2,156
GPA isn't as important as you may think it is - I wouldn't be discouraged from applying to particular grad schools based on your GPA. (Well, I wasn't. Maybe I should have been. But my GPA was a lot lower than yours. ;-)

I get the impression that research experience is a major factor in getting into a good graduate school. So I'd suggest not sacrificing research opportunities to pursue leadership positions. You're probably not going to be leading a whole lot in grad school anyway, except a section or two of a class if you have TA duties.
j93 is offline
Jul10-09, 01:15 AM
P: 286
I dont think its possible to give you reasonable advice without a PGRE score but more research is good.

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