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Grad School Subject Test and Research Interests

  1. Nov 20, 2009 #1
    I am looking to go to grad school for applied physics next fall. I'm applying to mostly mid grade schools (University of Virginia, University of Maryland at Baltimore County as well as a few smaller ones) and I had two questions:

    First off, I came from a small liberal arts school where GRE subject test scores are notoriously low. I scored in the 30 percentile which was actually very high for the school but obviously does not look great for grad school. My question is given that it is optional at what point is it better to just not submit your score to the school?

    My second question is in regard to research interests. I'm really not sure what area I would like to do research in at this point. There are a lot of topics that interest me, mechanics, electronics, semiconductors and anything having to do with space to name a few. Are grad schools going to like a letter that says "I have a lot of interests at this point I am looking forward to narrowing it down to one in particular interest in grad school" or should I just pick one even if it doesn't particularly stand out as my favorite?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2009 #2
    Usually you do not have to specialize until graduate school. When I was studying mathematics in undergraduate I was a big fan of Analysis but wasn't a huge fan of modern algebra and detested complex variables. After getting to that next level and having a new taste for all the topics I found new insights into the topics and developed a different view of the subject altogether. The point I am trying to make is I wouldn't worry so much about what area to choose as a focus because you may be closing doors to new ideas, moreover your not expected to know your primary area of focus.
  4. Nov 24, 2009 #3
    I feel the same way in that I don't want to close doors by becoming to set on any one topic now, but it seems that most of the grad school applications want you to specifically state your research interests. From what you say though it sounds like it does not really hurt you to say you aren't sure yet. Thanks for the advice.

    Anyone have any input regarding when you should submit your subject test scores?
  5. Nov 24, 2009 #4
    To be safe you can always choose one of your topics of interest. If you end up changing your mind I am sure that won't be a problem at all. Especially since you wouldn't take any specialty courses in your area of interest until at least your second year.
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