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Grad School Decisions for the Mediocre

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hello Forumgoers,

I know there are probably a million 'what are my chances?' posts on here, so I apologize if I'm missing an obvious source, I'm new to the forum.
I am applying to grad schools, and understand that I have no chance at top schools, but I was wondering if anyone could name safety schools or schools that are in my range to apply to (mostly within the U.S., but I will listen to other suggestions) given these stats:

B.S. Physics and Math (double major)
PGRE 710 (51%ile)
GRE verbal (94%ile), quant(89%ile), writing(98%ile)
GPA: 3.5

I have no REUs or internships, but 6 semesters experience doing research at my undergrad, which has ~no physics reputation. The research is experimental and not in a field I am looking to apply for, unless I have to.

My recommendations will most likely be decent, including physics and math professors. A potentially strong point is that I have some advanced math electives in vector and tensor calculus, differential equations, and graduate abstract algebra. Also club officerships if that counts.
I would say try not to be too harsh, but I get it ;/

Also, if it seems harsh that I am calling this mediocre, don't worry, I don't take it as an extremely accurate evaluation of ability or intellect, in my case I was a bit caught up in the moment when taking classes and didn't worry about competing for REUs, the PGRE I had time to take once with a solid 1-2 weeks of study. I just know that physics is not like high school where a decent record is ahead of most.

Thanks,
JK
(I)
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Dr. Courtney
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Where is your undergrad institution ranked nationally in physics? That's a decent approximation for the top end grad school you're likely to get admitted to. I'd say you might reasonably consider schools ranked close to yours and then down about 50 places in the national rankings. If time permits, take the PGRE again and see what you can do to get a publication in physics or math.
 
  • #3
Choppy
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What subfields of physics are you interested in? That should guide your application a little more that a number that someone else places on a school using criteria that may or may not be applicable to you.
 
  • #4
Where is your undergrad institution ranked nationally in physics?
I don't think it is significantly ranked, probably not Top 50. Is there an official system of rankings?
If time permits, take the PGRE again
Yeah, I think I could do better, but I have already waited until after graduation to take it, so waiting another year might be a bit iffy.
 
  • #5
gleem
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  • #6
Here is one. Not necessarily official what ever that means
edit: on closer examination, it is ranked, but not by quality. For most focused ~600/700 (no surprise, it was a small program) and for highest paid ~300/540.
The math major is ranked for quality, at ~270/475.
 
Last edited:
  • #8
jtbell
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Is there an official system of rankings?
Here is one. Not necessarily official
Who would have the authority to make it "official"? :oldwink:
 
  • #9
Who would have the authority to make it "official"?
doesn't need to be official, but saying that got the desired response.
 
  • #10
I have currently applied to 4 schools. There are at least 2 more in the plans. I will update with how it turns out.
 

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