Anybody wanna give me some advice on grad school in general?

In summary, the conversation revolved around the speaker's uncertainty about which field of physics to pursue for graduate school and their current interests in condensed matter physics and previous interests in astrophysics and space physics. They also mentioned considering geographic considerations and their GPA and GRE scores. Other participants provided suggestions for schools to apply to and discussed the differences between condensed matter physics and materials science and engineering. In summary, the group discussed various aspects of graduate school applications in the field of physics.
  • #1
schattenjaeger
178
0
I'm still not completely sure what I want to go into which makes it hard to decide where to apply. I'm in a solid state physics class right now that's pretty interesting and I've been to some colloqiums on nanotechnology that were neat, so maybe condensed matter physics? Seems like I'd get to apply some of my favorite parts of physics like E&M and QM too. I was also always interested in astrophysics and space physics until I actually took an astrophysics course that sort of turned me off, but I'm willing to blame that one on the instructor.

I'm also motivated by some geographic considerations, I don't want to stay in Texas(not negotiable, sorry)and preferably somewhere cold. Scary cold is fine even(when I was thinking about space physics I was checking out Fairbanks, heh)

If y'all could give suggestions on schools to look into, these are only for me to apply too, once I start getting accepted and rejected to places I'll finalize where I really want to go.

Another question(I graduate in May btw, or should)I took the physics GRE November 4th so I don't have the scores yet, and I'm taking the general GRE in February(oops)does that screw me in applications? I mean, can I still apply if those scores are forthcoming?(in the case of the general, very forthcoming >_>)

or should I wait? I'm not really sure. I've got about a 3.4 GPA and I'm taking 5 classes this semester, which I think at worst I can make 4 As and 1 B in, and next semester should be easy. It'd be nice to get my GPA over that 3.5 point before applying, but I know you (traditionally at least)apply to grad school right about NOW. I also heard they don't start in the spring so if I don't apply for this fall I'm waiting until next fall, which might not be a terrible thing I guess.

So yah, I dunno
 
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  • #2
I can't reccomend a school for you since condensed matter isn't my area of interest and I don't know much about where the active research is, but I can tell you that it's probably a good field to get into if you're interested in it. There are a lot of jobs in industry working on condensed matter and solid state physics, so you won't have to spend however many years after you receive your PhD scraping along as a post-doc unless you really want to stay in academia. Options are good.

It isn't a big deal if you don't have your GRE scores yet, just apply to schools and make sure you call up ETS and tell them to send the scores off whenever they're ready. You should get cracking on the applications though, most schools close their application windows in January and you're still going to need time to gather some letters of reccomendation. With the holidays coming up that leaves you with a lot less time than it might seem.

The general GRE score isn't nearly as important as the physics score is, as a physics major you should be able to score pretty highly on at least the math portion of that test without really trying, there's nothing more complicated than geometry and some very basic statistics. Most of the people I've known who have been involved in admissions don't even talk about the general GRE score, they're interested in the subject test, GPA, and prior research experience.
 
  • #3
thanks for the comments. I'm not very concerned with the general GRE, and I think I did well on the physics. Anyone have comments on schools?
 
  • #4
*twiddles thumbs*

just keeping this at the forefront of your thoughts >_>
 
  • #5
I am also interested in the answers to your questions, as I 'think' I am interested in condensed matter/solid state physics and my GPA is similar to yours (right now it's a 3.4, but I have 3 more semesters left).
 
  • #6
Materials science and engineering is roughly the same thing as CMP, right?

I've begun filling out applications, right now I've started UPenn and SUNY Stony Brook, and was wondering if anyone had suggestions for good "backup" schools, as I'm not sure either of those are the easiest to get into
 
  • #7
schattenjaeger said:
Materials science and engineering is roughly the same thing as CMP, right?

I've begun filling out applications, right now I've started UPenn and SUNY Stony Brook, and was wondering if anyone had suggestions for good "backup" schools, as I'm not sure either of those are the easiest to get into

Material science and engineering I would think is more ofthe applied side of CMP.
 
  • #8
hmm, so if I was more interested in like CMP theory, would I just pick physics then?
 

Related to Anybody wanna give me some advice on grad school in general?

1. How do I choose the right graduate program?

Choosing the right graduate program can be overwhelming, but it is important to consider factors such as your research interests, program reputation, funding opportunities, and location. It is also helpful to talk to current students and faculty to get a better understanding of the program.

2. What is the typical application process for graduate school?

The application process for graduate school typically involves submitting transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and standardized test scores (such as the GRE). Some programs may also require a writing sample or a research proposal. It is important to carefully review the requirements for each program you are interested in.

3. How do I secure funding for graduate school?

There are various sources of funding for graduate school, including scholarships, grants, teaching or research assistantships, and loans. It is important to research and apply for funding opportunities early and to also consider the cost of living in the location of the program.

4. How do I balance coursework and research in graduate school?

Graduate school can be challenging, as it requires balancing coursework and research. It is important to prioritize and manage your time effectively. Communicating with your advisor and setting realistic goals can also help you balance your workload.

5. What advice do you have for maintaining mental and emotional well-being during graduate school?

Graduate school can be mentally and emotionally taxing, so it is important to take care of your well-being. This can include setting boundaries, taking breaks, seeking support from friends and family, and utilizing resources provided by the university (such as counseling services). It is also important to remember that it is okay to ask for help and to take time for self-care.

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