Great essay. I have a BS in aerospace engineering (minored in physics), and a MS in astronautical engineering. I've been studying for the physics GRE and plan to take it this winter. My question is: What (dis)advantage would I have in applying to a big physics school (MIT, CalTech, Stanford, Princeton, etc.) to pursue my PhD soley in terms of acceptance? In general, would the selection committee see my background and want to accept me, just to bring in diversity, or would they shun me since I don't not have a Physics BS?
Yes! I graduated in 2014, as a non-trad, with an English degree. Since then, I've been setting my sights on obtaining a physics degree and becoming a physicist. However, the highest level of math I had under my belt was Pre-cal which I took as an elective for my English degree; my only science was an intro to chem course. So, I decided to see just how practical it would be to accomplish should I embark on such an adventure.
Firstly, I didn't know where to start, but after a few google searches, I found PF. Utilizing the free textbooks and homework sections, as well as Insights articles and the various posts of encouragement and discussions throughout the forum, I started with Calculus. Self-teaching calculus is difficult enough and doing it while working multiple jobs is even harder, so I applied for and landed an entry-level job at the state university to take advantage of a tuition reimbursement benefit they allowed for staff. I enrolled in Calc. I in the spring of 2017 and ended up with an A. From there I've taken some online physics and engineering courses while maintaining a self-study habit.
I still have a long way to go, but, at 33 years old, I've been accepted for 2nd Bachelor's in Physics for Fall 2018.