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Looking for potential Grad schools

  1. Nov 19, 2013 #1
    I had a friend convince me to take the physics gre with no preparation, just because i wanted to see how I would do. I do want to go to grad school, anywhere would be good based on my abysmal gre score.

    I'm a senior, next semester is my last then I'll have my BS in physics. I'm a B student, and got a 470 on the PGRE.

    Based on those scores, I have no idea what grad schools I could apply to that I would have a chance getting into.

    Could anyone give me some ideas? I'm currently in CA, so Anywhere in the US or Canada would be my choice
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 19, 2013 #2
    What university do you attend?
  4. Nov 19, 2013 #3
    I have a weird undergrad record First 2 years at UCI as bio major

    Then moved back to Arizona to save money and figure out what I wanted to do cuz didn't wanna do bio, like math too much. So then I spent 2 years at local CC and transferred to ASU last year , in which I will have spent a total of 2 years at ASU

    So in a nutshell

    2 years UCI
    2 years community college
    Then finally, 2 years at ASU, I'm graduating next spring

    I don't like Arizona...so don't wanna stay in state. Born and raised in CA and would be nice to go back; however, at this point, it doesn't really matter where I end up. Just that I get in somewhere
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
  5. Nov 19, 2013 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    If you write "cuz" on your application, your chances are zero.

    Unfortunately, your application is not strong. Roughly twice as many students take the GRE as enroll in physics grad schools. A 470 is something like 5th percentile - 95% do better. A B average is the borderline for whether your application will even be looked at. Not making it three years at any one place is a red flag. And finally, you don't even mention research or letters of recommendation.

    I'm going to get jumped on, because I am supposed to say "You are a special snowflake who can do whatever he sets his mind to", but I'm sorry. The truth is your application is very weak.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  6. Nov 19, 2013 #5
    Circumstancially, I moved around for personal reasons. That's it, and because I didn't know what I wanted to do at the time.

    physics doesn't come easy for me and I work extremely hard to focus on studying while I work, too. The material in classes and problem sets are extremely difficult, with even the best of the best students struggling on the homework sets.

    What you forgot to realize after bashing me and going above and beyond what you needed to say, is that I never studied for the gre exam because grad school wasn't planned, I just decided to wing it to see how I would do.

    Unfortunately, I took it for the first time my senior year (this year) , when, ideally I should have taken it last year. That's my fault , so don't think that I don't realize that.

    Secondly, my grades are B's simply because I'm the type of learner that needs a lot or practice, and not a lot of practice gets done simply because of my life's circumstances right now as well as coursework being presented at accelerated rates ... don't have nearly enough time in the day for quantum / lab / classical 3 and yes, I do research....which I didn't mention ... It's in condensed matter pal. Get ur facts straight before you morph into [insult removed]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
  7. Nov 19, 2013 #6
    He is just letting you know the reality of your situation. You should have studied. I am sure there are ways for you to get into a physics graduate program, but I am no expert. He never said you could not do it, just that it will be hard. Maybe start studying and take a year off, take the P GRE again, and then apply. Also mind you, these type of responses on these forums are not uncommon. They have helped me wake up and realize that I need to put in the effort if I want to go to the places I want to go. People who post on these forums have lives and are sometimes in PhD programs....pretty stressful. So don't take any post to heart. Good luck, and I hope someone can give you some good advice.
  8. Nov 19, 2013 #7
  9. Nov 19, 2013 #8
    If you can't keep up with your current courses due to the rate of material, why do you think you can keep up in graduate school? Judging from this post alone, I don't think you'd make it through a program if you were accepted to one.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
  10. Nov 19, 2013 #9

    Vanadium 50

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    Twice as many people want to go to physics grad school (determined by their taking the GRE) than get in. That's a fact.

    95% of the people who took the GRE did better than you. That's another fact.

    Below a 3.0 in grad school is failing. Consequently, for most schools that's a hard cutoff. At the lowest-ranked PhD granting school in the country, it takes the signature of the provost to admit someone below a 3.0. It only takes the signature of a dean to hire a new faculty member. That's another fact.

    You might not like these facts, but there they are.

    Your record as an undergrad has consequences. I'm sorry you don't like them, but they are there nevertheless. Low grades have consequences. Low test scores have consequences. Even switching schools has consequences.

    In graduate school, quantum, lab and classical is only part of what you're expected to take during one term. You'll probably also have math methods. This will be at a more advanced level than you have done so far. And you will TA one or more classes, and be exploring research groups. And you will be expected to get A's. (In grad school, they expect A's, tolerate B's and C's are failing.) If you can't keep up with a fraction of this as an undergrad, how do you expect to do this in graduate school?
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