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From Europe to Perimeter Institute

  1. Jul 24, 2010 #1

    I've read through ZapperZ's "walkthrough" until the PhD-section to get some info and it did help.

    More specifically: I'm doing my undergraduate studies in Belgium and I was wondering what it takes to apply to PI. This might seem like a silly question, but the system is really quite different here in Belgium (for one, we don't need to apply to our universities). The site of PI (or PSI, specifically for graduate/PhD students) doesn't really give much information (for as far as I can find) on what it is required and assumed. I see that there's an application button for students: is it really as "dry" as filling out a form (not up at the moment) and then pressing send and see if they like you? As far as I understand, I'll also need letters of recommendation and take the TOEFL. How do the applicants have to distinguish themselves? I assume there's a massive load of applications for PI. I've heard that in the States and in the UK to go from high school to undergraduate university, things like extracurricular activities et cetera matter (again something totally unimportant in Belgium) -- are there similar things for PI? The thing I fear most is experimental physics : I'll have one class of it this year (starting 2nd year of undergraduate physics -- here it's only 3 years in total because we choose our major right away) and from what I've heard, the course is not a big deal and I know from myself that I'm not the handiest person, and I'm not sure what experimental experience is assumed at PI.

    Is it just as simple as "doing your best on the courses you're taking as an undergraduate and then applying" or are there other things customary in the US that I'm forgetting as a Belgian? Also, due to loving mathematics nearly as much as physics, I've decided to take on a big chunck of the mathematics undergraduate studies -- this might result in an overall lower result due to more courses; will this have a big effect, or will it "cancel out" due to the fact I've taken more courses? (or is that wishful thinking) After all, pure mathematics is never far away from the purest of theoretical physics.

    I don't know if there are students from PI on this forum: that would be ideal! But I'm eager to receive all help offered :)

    Thank you.

    EDIT: I just saw in another thread that "grad schools assume you've worked with a professor" -- I don't even know if it's common practice in Belgium that an undergraduate helps a professor. Does one simply propose this to a professor? That would seem so random.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2010 #2
    I would to like to identify to you that the Perimeter Institute and Perimeter Scholars International is located in Canada, not the United States. Deviating from that sentence Canadian and American University education is quite similar and in order to work with a professor it involves initiative to ask and involve yourself in undergraduate research.
  4. Jul 24, 2010 #3
    Yes I'm aware it is in Canada, but looking back at my initial post it might have come across as if I didn't.
  5. Jul 24, 2010 #4
    The Perimeter Institute is extremely competitve, involving yourself in research that will be published is ultimately necessary in order to be accepted of the 400 applicants. The Perimeter Institute is a program I wish to enter after my undergraduate degree in hopefully Joint Honours Math/Physics.
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