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How important is your UG Institution in Grad Admission?

  1. Oct 9, 2011 #1
    Hi, I am currently applying to graduate school. My list right now contains all of the top schools for condensed matter and a few "safer" schools but I am wondering if I should try to expand my list further.

    In undergrad, I attended a middle ranked university, and graduated dual Physics and Math with a 3.99. I also have done a lot of research (eg McNair, REU's etc) and other programs (eg QuISU @ MIT). I have 2 PRLs (both in theoretical condensed matter) and have given several contributed talks at major conferences. I also was the president of two academic organizations and very involved in the department. I will be taking the Physics GRE this Saturday, so this score is unknown.

    How important is the school you attended for UG in the admissions process? What are some good (though not necessarily highly prestigious) schools in condensed matter that I should consider applying to?

    Thanks for the help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 9, 2011 #2
    A 3.99 GPA from a "top" school might mean something more to an admission committee than a 3.99 from a "middle ranked" school. However, it is only a small consideration and depending on how you do on the physics GRE you sound like you have a strong application and your UG institution shouldn't matter much at all. Therefore, I would recommend only expanding your safety school list if you don't score as well as you wanted to on the PGRE and not because your school is middle ranked.
  4. Oct 9, 2011 #3


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    As long as your undergrad university is a legitimate, accredited school, I wouldn't worry about it at all.

    The size and name of your undergrad school won't matter. Your grades, research background, letters, and PGRE are much, much more important, and you seem to doing well in those areas.

    I went to a small, liberal arts university for my undergrad. I had several REU's, great GPA, and good PGRE. and got into grad school no problem. Of course, some other people from my year had trouble getting into grad school, but there was definitely a correlation with bad PGRE performance and little to no real research experience.

    Good luck on Saturday! Remember to eat well the night before and get enough sleep!
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