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

  1. Nov 18, 2006 #1
    I'm still not completely sure what I wanna 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 sorta 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 wanna 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
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 19, 2006 #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 in to 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 recieve 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.
  4. Nov 19, 2006 #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?
  5. Nov 21, 2006 #4
    *twiddles thumbs*

    just keeping this at the forefront of your thoughts >_>
  6. Nov 21, 2006 #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).
  7. Nov 24, 2006 #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
  8. Nov 24, 2006 #7
    Material science and engineering I would think is more ofthe applied side of CMP.
  9. Nov 24, 2006 #8
    hmm, so if I was more interested in like CMP theory, would I just pick physics then?
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