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Graduate School Applications and Health Problems

  1. Dec 6, 2013 #1
    I have been reading posts on PF for a while, but I have not signed up until now. I am applying to graduate programs this year. I have been told I have a very strong application. I have been doing theoretical physics research for 3 years, have taken 16 graduate courses in math and physics (including QFT), have multiple presentations, have a publication (possibly two) in the works, and have been doing a very significant, independent, research-based project. However, I have some serious health concerns that affected my physics GRE score (food allergies). I don't want my application to be sunk because of this, so I was wondering if I am doing the right things to address the problem. Right now, I am including a note at the end of my personal statement explaining my health problems and how it affected my score. I am also having one of my recommenders include a note on this in his recommendation. Should I be doing anything else? And might this affect admissions even if I address the problem?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 6, 2013 #2
    Can you give an indication of what you actual GRE score is?
  4. Dec 6, 2013 #3
    I was at the 69th percentile. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, but it is not very good for theory.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  5. Dec 7, 2013 #4
    My take on this: Who knows. Every admissions group is different, and there are a fair amount of a-holes out there. I know at my institution, one of the profs was a real stickler for having high GRE scores (really high) and others fought with him about it. His requirements were having implications on always selecting theory bent students over experimental ones just on the basis of the GRE score.

    Make sure you apply to a wide range of schools.
  6. Dec 7, 2013 #5
    Thanks for the response. What I am really trying to get a sense of is if I am doing what I should to explain my situation.
  7. Dec 7, 2013 #6
    Unfortunately I don't think we know enough about your situation, nor enough about the admissions committees at the schools you are thinking of applying to.

    For example, it's not clear to me how food allergies would impact your GRE scores. I'm not doubting you and you don't have to explain it here publicly, but if you are going to explain your situation in your statement, make sure you put enough in to explain it to people who have no experience with it, nor who have any investment in you.

    I would think I'd talk it over with your academic advisors and professors. Are you at a university with a graduate program? If so, try to talk to graduate admissions or the physics department chair as to what might be the best way to proceed.
  8. Dec 7, 2013 #7
    Oh fer crying out.....I had and continue to have health problems and got a 54%. You're lucky. Is 69% above 850 or not? Anything above 850 is Jim Dandy for a domestic applicant who wants to do theory.
  9. Dec 7, 2013 #8
    TomServo: I don't believe I am complaining, nor do I endeavor to start an argument. My score was in high 700s actually. And by food allergies, I mean to say I had a reaction the day before the test. Basically, it becomes nearly impossible for me to function properly after a reaction. Like I said, I am not complaining, but I am looking for suggestions on how to explain my situation effectively.

    kinkmode: Thank you for the advice. Your post better put into perspective what I should write.
  10. Dec 7, 2013 #9
    I guess I should have used a smiley face, I wasn't trying to start an argument either.
  11. Dec 7, 2013 #10

    Vanadium 50

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    There's really only two things you can do: a) retake the test (and its probably too late for that) or b) make a brief statement about it. The problem is that it becomes impossible to evaluate what people would have done under different circumstances. Maybe a brief statement will help, maybe it wouldn't, but if a brief statement won't help, a lengthy one won't help either.
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