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Grad School (Phys) Advice

  1. Dec 3, 2007 #1
    Hello, I'm hoping that some of you can help me out a bit.

    I will be applying to physics grad schools (for PhD) in the coming weeks, and I basically have no idea where I stand.

    I am a physics major with minors in mathematics & biology.

    GPA: ~3.5
    GRE: Verbal - 550 (73%) Quant - 720 (77%) I was pretty disappointed in the Quant. score.
    Phys GPA: 4.0

    I go to a small, regional university that no one's ever heard of. I haven't received my Physics GRE score yet, but I did terrible on it. One of my professors told me not to take it, so I never studied, and ended up realizing at the last minute that I needed to take the test. I answered a whopping 57 questions, and probably made 'informed' guesses on half of them. I was also at a bit of a disadvantage due to the fact that I had not had Quantum when I took the test (it is only offered once every 3 semesters at my school, and covers ~ 20% of the test).

    I did a research internship thing at Berkeley last summer, which is my sole research experience.

    I will have very strong recomendation letters.

    Anyway, I am feeling overwhelmed at picking schools to apply to... I'm pretty hesitant to apply to any school which requires the physics GRE test, due to my stunningly poor performance on it.

    I'm not exactly trying to get into the elite schools; I just want to go somewhere where I'll be around people who want to do physics & learn. I am from the southern US, and would prefer to stay in the general region. I have no idea which field of physics I ultimately wish to go into, but I am more interested in theory than experimental physics.

    Do my stats (for lack of a better word) have any chance of getting accepted anywhere? I don't even know the tier of schools I should apply to...my family is uneducated and can't really offer advice, and my professors don't seem to be helping much.

    What about these schools?

    Wake Forest
    William & Mary
    Virginia Tech
    Georgia Tech
    Sunny Brook (in New York)
    NC State
    UNC - Chapel Hill
    Ohio State
    West Virginia

    I would love to hear any feedback anyone can offer, provided it's not purely speculation. Don't worry about hurting my feelings; I'd rather be told here that I'm S.O.L., as opposed to spending hundreds of dollars applying everywhere.

    Also, are there any recs for schools I may have a finite chance of getting into?

    Finally, how many schools does one generally apply to? I have a decent buffer on my credit card, so I think I can afford to apply at quite a few places.

    Thanks; I have to figure all this crap out in the next coupla weeks, and I'm feeling very overwhelmed.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2007 #2
    P.S. I got a 4.5 on the Writing part of general GRE; I think I got robbed on that one. My buddy, who is borderline idiot-savant, got a 4.0.

    4.5 is 54%.

    Edit: If it matters, this is what my transcript will show:

    Calc I: A
    Calc II: A
    Calc III: A
    Linear Algebra: A
    Ordinary Differential Equations: A
    Complex Variables: A
    Real Analysis I: A
    Real Analysis II: spring

    Intro Phys I: A
    Intro Phys II: A
    Optics: A
    E+M: A
    Mechanics: A
    Computational Physics: A
    Ind. Study (continuation of E+M): A
    Kinetic/Stat Phys: A
    Atomic/Nuclear: A
    Quantum: spring
    Ind Study (more Computational Phys.): spring
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2007
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