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Schools Carleton University EngPhys ugrad to grad school at Berkeley

  1. Aug 16, 2011 #1
    I'm an undergrad at Carleton University (Canada) in EngPhys. I just finished my third year. My interest is in semiconductor physics. I have a A average grade, and two years research experience.
    I was wondering, is aiming for MSE at Berkeley or UIllinois or Michigan too high for me? What about McGil, UofT? Any other recommendations (is MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon even reaches??)
    Is coming from a university that's not one of the top ranked, famous ones going to be a drawback for US grad schools

    If anyone has graduated from Carleton Uni and gone on to top US grad schools in Applied Phys, EngPhys or MatSci, or if you know anyone who has, their stats/experience would be helpful.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2011 #2
    It helps if your school is famous, for obvious reasons - lots of competition means that when someone sees the letters recommending you, they're going to feel much safer accepting someone with top letters comparing them to top students at top schools.

    I would say one thing you can do is excel at the standardized testing required for admission. International applicants are usually expected to anyway, and being very strong there can help you compare to the others (even though, in the scope of things, your research experience, maturity of academic understanding, and overall performance in school are more important).

    I am unfamiliar with Carleton, though.

    Those schools are all very good ones, but I think if you're one of the best students period that your school has seen as of late, you still have a chance. Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, etc are very hard to get into even for top US applicants, as a reference, so you're going to have to stand out against them. You should still try, but apply widely to places you feel can meet your needs (as is customary advice for PhD applicants).
  4. Aug 16, 2011 #3
    Carleton IS a top school in Canada (even North America?) for engineering physics. Especially since one of the detectors at the LHC was designed and built at Carleton.

    The best thing you can do to strengthen your chances at getting into a top US grad school is get amazing grades, lots of research experience, maybe a few papers, and some outstanding reference letters from profs you have worked for.

    If you don't have any of the above then you're going to have a really hard time getting accepted to a top grad school.

    What sort of research experience do you have? How are your grades?
  5. Aug 16, 2011 #4
    I have a A average grade, with a mix of A+, A and A-'s. I've been pretty involved in research of nanoelectronics so far. No publications or anything, though.
    I'm also thinking of UofFlorida, Uof Wisconsin.
    What else do you think would be good grad schools to apply to?

    PS: Carleton's good for particle phys and medical phys, and sadly not one of the top for solid state phys :|
  6. Aug 16, 2011 #5
    ^ I think you're doing very well and should have a shot then! Be sure that professors at your university are aware how excited and able you are. Try doing some mini project with them, even if it's just understanding some topic and writing a short report about it. That will take you a long way when you apply to graduate programs.
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